Foster Flip-Flop

As the person who approves the adoption applications for our rescue, sets up and often does the meet and greets, I have a confession to make.  I get annoyed with fosters who get so attached that they make it harder for a dog to transition.  Granted, it doesn’t happen every time  but often enough that I’ve rolled my eyes a time or two.  Other than Margeaux, my longest foster(s) were the Sugar family; Sugar Marie and her litter of seven puppies. As much as I loved the puppies, by the time they were ready for adoption I was ready for them to go.  They lived in our finished basement which meant each time they needed to go outside we were transporting baskets of puppies up stairs, through the house and out to the back.  And then back to the basement.  Other than that, we’ve had guests for a night or two, but not much more.

I pulled Margeaux on a Wednesday knowing we had an adoption event on Saturday so I assumed she would be a three-day foster. Here we are now seven weeks later and with no open applications on her accompanied by lots of pressure from her Facebook fans for us to adopt her. Believe me, we’ve talked non-stop about the pros and cons of officially adopting Miss Piggy and while she is welcome to stay here as long as it takes for her to find a home and we haven’t completely ruled out being that home, we truly believe there is a better situation out there for her.

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So the Great Debate regarding Margeaux first and foremost begins with Ray.  Nearly two years ago Ray underwent a TTA surgery on his rear left leg and he will likely need a double surgery on his rear right leg this year.  Not only might he need a TTA surgery, but we’ve always known he may need to have a luxating patella repaired as well.  Margeaux requires very little time and attention but to decrease the availability of that wouldn’t be fair to her.  Furthermore, Ray is not a good patient.  His extreme anxiety dictates so much of how we live our lives that if Margeaux wasn’t completely integrated by then I fear she would suffer the lack of companionship and while she and Ray have parallel walked, they have not physically met yet.

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Then there is Julius.  Because Julius and Margeaux had such a successful meeting I became convinced that Margeaux was super dog friendly which has proven to not be the case.  Julius and Margeaux walked then proceeded to the back yard for pictures.  After the pictures were done, Julius in his Joe-cool-chicks-dig-me way, walked away from Margeaux and she has spent the following six and a half weeks trying to gain Juli’s attention. To say he’s fairly noncommittal about her would be an understatement.  He likes being in the yard with her as long as she doesn’t actually try to interact with him. When I was in my teens, my sister who is six years younger than I, used to sit outside my closed bedroom door hoping to hang out with me.  Sometimes I’d magnanimously allow her to enter as long as she followed the rules.  The rules were that she could sit in one small designated spot with her hands folded in her lap, not touch anything and not speak.  I see a lot of these rules in play as they apply to Julius and his little adoring foster sister.

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As much as we love her and as the debate rages on, we steadfastly tell ourselves that we are her foster family and as such we are doing our best to prepare her to transition her forever home.

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Meet Margeaux

A couple of weeks ago, I did something I rarely do, but when I do it, it’s for someone special.  Often while working in a different town, I try to visit the local shelter and on this particular instance, I knew that there was a special dog in house.  I had seen Margeaux when the Executive Director of this shelter had posted her on the page of a private group.  She was special and the hope was that a friend or someone “in the biz” would adopt her. While I wasn’t in the market for a third dog, nor am I the intake person of our rescue, I couldn’t leave without her.  We had an adoption event just a few days following and I figured she would be gone by the end of the weekend.

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Here we are two and a half weeks later enjoying the company of a very special and happy house guest.  While she could probably walk right under Julius, she only weighs about 10 pounds less than he and Ray. She is quite the little piggy and snorts like one as well. She’s never met a stranger and truly believes all humans are set on Earth just to adore her, with our family being no exception.

If you follow either me personally or the boys on Facebook, you’ll have seen my Margeaux in the morning posts and undoubtedly seen the numerous declarations that we should keep her.  While it isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility it isn’t a done deal either.  After two and a half weeks, she and Ray have still not met.  They have seen each other but haven’t yet even taken a parallel walk.  While this separation is happening, we have learned to gate and rotate like pros.  Margeaux lives in the office behind a baby gate.  At the end of that hallway is a folding divider gate.  There is another wooden gate that we move to suit our needs and basically is just propped against whatever wall we need.  Ray is usually behind that gate and in his x-pen which he uses as his crate or safe zone and he is becoming more and more curious to meet the little foster gal.  I believe her family is out there waiting for her and I will definitely make sure she goes to the best home possible, so stay tuned to see more about Margeaux.

 

I Love Lucy. (and YOU)

As I arrived here on my little stats page, I realized that this entry constitutes my 500th post on The Peace-a-Bull Assembly.  When I originally began blogging I intended for this space (which was actually started on the Blogger platform) to be a place to document my journey with my boy Ray.  Oh, I had such grandiose ideas about the direction this blog would take and the tone it would set.  Then life interfered and I believe I may write more about other dogs and other experiences than those of Ray and Julius. And I think that’s ok.

  
While I love, love, love my two characters, I feel that they understand what I’m doing.  Every time I come home smelling like another dog, they give me a thorough sniffing and I explain who it is they are smelling and how they are so sweet to give up time with their Mommy so that I can help other dogs like them find families.  And so it’s fitting that my intention to write today was yet again not about my Peaceabull boys but about Miss Lucille Ball-Ball-Ball!

  

Apart from Marley who has been in foster since December, Lucille is not only the longest current adoptable dog in the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition, she has had very little interest.  Actually, that’s not fair because I’ve had lengthy conversations by phone, messenger, email and text about her but the result is that several people have shared that they love her…but none of them have applied for her.  Help me figure this out here.  The “black dog syndrome” really doesn’t apply around here as we’ve had plenty black dogs adopted within a very short period of time.  She’s not an elderbelle by any means, having just turned two earlier this year (by our estimates) and she’s quite attractive and very smart.

  
Maybe that’s it:  She is a strong, smart, motivated, independent woman and that can be daunting.  Lucille is a quick learner and although she lives in a home with three other dogs, she may want too much to be the Queen of All Things Ball Related.  She can play fetch with a ball until your arm falls off so a Chuck-It may be in order for her adopter and although we don’t require a fence, she may be better suited to a home with a tall privacy fence. She behaves quite well on Pack Walks and is really a very good girl who deserves a loving home of her own (who doesn’t deserve that?) so I’m going to implore you to share her story and network this beautiful girl.  Talk her up at the gym and in your running club as well as at the Fly Ball Arena (is there such a thing?)  and even your local camping group.  This girl needs a home and an active family or person would be just the ticket.

Thanks for sharing and thanks for hanging with us through Five. Hundred. Posts.

Feeling Fonder?

Wow, I knew it had been awhile since we posted, but two months?  We hope that absence makes the heart grow fonder because we do miss being here but we have to say, the activities that have kept us away have been worth it.  Our little rescue, The Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition, has been so busy and with all hands on deck have placed 52 dogs in homes year to date!  In addition to knowing that these great dogs have found wonderful families with which to share their love, it’s been great receiving messages and images reaffirming the bond that has been forged through adoption.

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Caesar was adopted by an awesome family!

Seeing these dogs go to good homes is great, but not without some frustrations along the way but luckily so far, the good has outweighed the bad tenfold.

Ray’s Story Revisited

On so many of the blogs I read, I’m such a stalker that I forget that some folks here don’t actually know the story of how Ray came to be ours.  As I alluded to previously, I have told the story before, but I left some parts out but I think that enough time has elapsed that I can tell it without hurting anyone.

  

 
So yes, this woman had contacted me about finding help to place her male pit bull, Kane, and his pregnant sister, Sparkles. I hadn’t actually met this woman but knew of her. You see, she and her mother and her children had been renting a house until the landlord moved himself in and them out. They were forced to move into an apartment and leave their two dogs with a friend who kept them chained up outside and this is how Sparkles ended up in “a family way.”

 

Mama Sparkles

 
So before we knew it, and before we were prepared, the puppies started coming. Outside in the 32 degree weather, the puppies started coming and some of them died from the exposure. I don’t know how long Sparkles was in labor but by the time I was called, left work and arrived on site there was Sparkles and her three live pups with more small, cold bodies nearby in a trash bag. 

As soon as Katie arrived we whisked the dogs and pups away to warmth. Although I’d been reading about and had met a few Pit Bulls recently, I still knew very little about them and Kevin was worried sick that something would go horribly wrong. It didn’t.

Not only did we find two loving and sweet adult dogs, but after bringing this little family to safety I got to witness the birth of my little boy and I’ve been in love with him since the moment I first saw him. 

  

And the part I’ve never written about? Our house was on the market  at the time and we had accepted an offer-from, it turns out,the woman who had originally owned these dogs. When she asked me for help I asked her if it was for a temporary foster and did she eventually want the dogs back once she closed on the house? No, she said. The house was too nice to have dogs in it. It always gave me a special, ironic pleasure to have Ray living there. 

Ultimately that sale fell through and we remained in that home for a couple more years. Earlier this month we celebrated Ray’s fourth birthday and I feel that enough time has elapsed to tell the rest of the story. Volunteering with Pet Promises has helped me see all of the layers involved in this story for what they are. Renting, eviction, a bit of ignorance and poor choices combined to create the layers upon which this tale rests. The bitter tears the woman shed when we took the dogs were as real as her love for them. She wasn’t evil or unfeeling, but rather a person with few options and the one she ultimately chose led to a very good life for those she gave up.

A Tiny Tale

I’ve sat staring at a blank screen now for hours because I’m not sure where to begin.  This story has many points from which to begin and it’s not yet completed so the opportunity to experience it while it unfolds presents itself. I’m excited to see how this story progresses and to discover the outcome along with you.

I guess the beginning for me started last week as one of our volunteers was at a shelter* and we were talking about some of the dogs they had available to be pulled.  One of the dogs was her “type” but she didn’t bring him back and since I had an occasion to be in that area a few days later, I just had to stop in to satisfy my curiosity about this guy.  The biggest surprise was that when I entered the front door, I was greeted by a Facebook friend who graciously led me on a tour of the facility where we looked at several sweet dogs in house.  At the end of the tour we were looking at a large board which listed all of the residents.  She pointed to a name, Tiny, an American Bulldog mix who was unlikely to leave the building.  He was heart worm positive and as if that wasn’t enough of a strike, he was deteriorating in the shelter and had seemingly lost hope.

Sad case, I thought but I generally advocate more for the highly adoptable dogs. If we can get as many of those as possible in homes it opens up that much more space for those who may need it and for those who may need more time.  Not until I arrived home and began scrolling through pictures of dogs available did I see Tiny’s beautiful mug.

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My heart skipped a beat and I had to know more so I began messaging with my FB friend but as her replies to my query came through, my heart began to sink.  At intake he was a happy and wiggly big boy who acted like a puppy.  He was gentle and loving and good on leash but as the days stretched to weeks and weeks stretched to months he became “hard to handle” and began “losing it.”  Unfortunately I was already emotionally invested and ready to at least meet him.  Knowing there was a glimmer of hope, the Pit Bull Coalition agreed to pull him and give him some time to decompress before assessing him.  If  he passed assessment he would be treated for the heartworms but if he was too far gone…he would not be treated nor would he be returned.

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Those eyes!

I spent the weekend literally sick to my stomach.  With my daughter egging me on and pushing me out of my comfort zone to rescue a “hard case” the plans formulated and the pieces all began to fall into place, including gaining acceptance from the hubby and other Board members of the Coalition.  Now that the plan was set, what if when we arrived he was deranged and we had to leave him?  What if hs e crapped mountains in the van or what if he ripped up all of the upholstery? Could he be touched? Walked? Will he ride? Oh! all the questions that plagued my brain all night!

After messaging the time frame in which we expected to arrive, we made our way to the shelter full of anticipation and worry.  He was being bathed for us and as we arrived were told he was waiting.  When walking through the kennels, Kevin pointed at a dog and asked, “Is that him?” to which my first thought was that it couldn’t be.  We were meeting a potential monster, not this happy, tail wagging, calm boy but surprise! That was him!  He and I locked eyes and I believe he knew.  I had arrived with a collar, leash and harness in my hands and walked straight to his gate where he stood wagging his tail, ignoring the barking that swirled around him and he waited to be outfitted for his journey.

To be continued…

 

*If you would like to help support this shelter, message me and I’ll share the name/location, otherwise I’ll be keeping it anonymous to protect the sensitive nature of some of the details here.

“Pit Bull” Awareness Month

Yep, I’m sliding into the wan

ing days of the month with this post but bear with me, I have my reasons.  Every October for the past several years I’ve embraced the concept of Pit Bull Awareness Month and celebrated all things Ray and Julius while working towards broad acceptance of seeing my boys and all other Pit Bull types of dogs as individuals, not as lumped sums of their breed, or breeds as the case may be.  My boys are both Pit Bulls in the broadest sense of the word and yet they share absolutely no similar breed DNA.  They are individuals.

 

Sugar, Julius, and Ray

 
In light of all of the ballyhoo with PeTa joining forces with the vitriolic group that I won’t link to here I was planning to sit out this round.  I was asked by a friend and fellow Pit Bull Coalition member to help find an avenue to help spread awareness to the right people.  Here’s the thing: in person I’m pretty confrontational and blunt.  If you threaten or malign my dogs (or anyone I care about) I could very easily try to pull your eyeballs out with my fingernails while trying to figure out ways to really hurt you but when it comes to mudslinging and manufactured “statistics” from zealots, I try not to give credence in the form of attention.  Much like when you are training a dog in a positive manner, you ignore the unwanted behavior and reward the desired behavior.

  
PeTa contends that it would be best to kill all Pit Bull types for their own good to save them from the criminal element who want to adopt them. There aren’t many words in that sentence that I don’t take issue with but many people more reasonable and more informed than I have addressed such lunacy, so I won’t bother other than to point out that of course, I don’t want to see Pit Bulls abused, but I don’t want to see any animal abused.  I just don’t think that killing them all will solve the issue.

  
In the vein of positive reinforcement, I also want to take this moment to write a bit more about what you might and might not see here.  Get it?  Same message but different delivery.  I have a pretty dry and sarcastic sense of humor but you won’t see me engaging in the tongue in cheek “pit bull attack” pictures of dogs licking babies.  Here at Peaceabull we don’t “do” the words vicious, monster, attack, or aggressive even if we are describing how heartily we show love and affection and we don’t assume (well maybe we do, but we don’t verbalize it) that you are working from a point of prejudice about our dogs.  You don’t like my dog?  I’m not going to assume it is because they are pit bulls, and by that assumption I am giving you the benefit of a doubt that you are not an asshole.  (Oops!  There’s the eyeball pluckers coming out!)