Foster Fanny

The moment I saw your picture, my heart skipped a beat and I gasped at your wonderful, thick bulldog-ness.

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I knew I had to meet you and just as certainly I knew that upon meeting you I’d be compelled to foster you, which is exactly what happened.  What I didn’t expect was that you were small and scared.  Someone somewhere had crushed your trust, had made you spare your sweetness from being too present.  The click of a collar, the snap of a leash, both had you cowering, and trembling.  What monster in your past made  you afraid of these simple tools?

A Room of Your Own

We prepared your room and with a painting of the happiest dog in the world to watch over you, we eagerly anticipated the moment when I could bring you home.  We walked out of the shelter together (which never gets old) and I picked your 55 pounds of piggy-ness up and secured you in the car.  At home in your room you sniffed around to every corner, ever so slowly but yet giving me a glimmer of the nosey little girl inside.

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Settling In

The first few days you were still so scared and shy but eager to walk with Big Julius and slowly open to be given treats.

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We cuddled each night and I whispered to you that I would find you a family to love and care for you.  A place where you’d be safe and happy.  While I think you believed me, you and I both knew deep down how much I loved you.  I know you loved me too and we figured we’d be together for a long, long time.

After all, my fosters usually stay a couple of months and you, my dear, were still so afraid of people. People came to visit you and give you treats, but even still with your budding bravery, I was the only one permitted to let you outside. Slow and steady, we continued to work but as we did, the bond grew deeper.  I was hopelessly in love and wondered how much could you grow if I gave you wings with which to fly?  Would my love and protection keep you from growing into the sweet and affectionate little bulldog with whom I snuggled so closely?  What could you do in a home of your own?

Your Family Found You

They applied for a different dog, in fact they applied for two other dogs who weren’t you but after speaking with them I began to suspect that they were to be yours.  We talked about the others and cautiously I then mentioned you.  Perhaps your sweet, gentle, loving soul would capture their hearts and in their home you would blossom.  Perhaps they would sit and look into your expressive gray eyes and you’d paw at them and draw them to you for a Fanny hug.

Well, they wanted to meet you and with no expectations we drove you to meet them.  You were shy, scared, and you trembled, but still your sweet nature still glowed quietly and they saw it.  You took treats from them almost immediately and you approached your new dad.  I’ve never seen you approach a man so quickly.  Before I realized I was ready we were saying our goodbyes, but I don’t do that.  I must stay strong so that you don’t see me cry.  Adoption day is not to be sad and I refuse to let you see my sadness, only see the love.  Never think I left you but always know that I let you go so that I could let you grow.

How did only 18 days become so precious? How did they go so fast? How did you fill a spot in my heart that I didn’t even know existed?

This, my dear Fanny, is not goodbye, but farewell.  It is with a heart filled with love, and with eyes filling with emotion that I say to you that I’m honored to have been chosen to help you heal and I am glad to have been the one to partner with you on this journey.  You, my dear Fanny will have a wonderful life filled with love.

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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.

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.

 

My Happy Place

Two years ago this month, I had an epiphany and I found my happy place and while I’m not ready to make the move yet, I have no doubt that we will try really to “end up” there.  In the meantime, I’ve had a not so secret obsession with not only the V dogs but with some dogs related to them as well and I’ve been squirreling away online auction winnings and such in the hopes that I’d one day get around to displaying my growing collection.  With the cold winter and the empty office walls, we’ve finally made some headway.

First, on the side wall is a shot I took from the sanctuary.  If I was more talented, this shot would be better, but for now I can look at it and be transported.

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The glare is from my phone.

On the wall above the desk, I gave a sneak peek on Facebook as to what was in the works and now that both Kevin and I had the time to devote to it, I’d love to share our still-in-process-but-kind-of-finished wall.  I say it’s a work in process because there are a couple of other dogs I’d like to add.

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My Wall of Fame

Here’s the overview above from left to right Handsome Dan pawtographed print, Oscar’s paw print, Little Red’s pawtographed print in her “I’m with Handsome” shirt, Jonny Justice Gund plush, below him is a selfie(!) of me and Ray, next is a pawtographed print of Cherry and to the right of him is a pawtographed print of  Halle.  Above Cherry I have my pawtographed print of Wallace who wasn’t a V* dog but who did overcome some great obstacles to shine on his own as well as the brother of Hector.

I love my prints and hope to add to my collection but in the back of my mind I feel there will be a time where I will be able to “give back” by re-donating my collection to help other Pit Bull type dogs in need.  It just won’t be any time soon, as I’m enjoying these too much.

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*True geeks know that only the 22 dogs who went to Best Friends are referred to as the “Vicktory Dogs.”

Twist of Fate

The sad truth about rescue-any rescue- is that as of now, try as we might, we still can’t “save them all.” The number of requests we receive on any given day far exceed the number of spaces we have available because we generally have zero availability. Generally the moment we have an adoption, we have some soul who is waiting to fill that foster spot. But fosters take breaks (as they should) and our intake might require a specific type of foster for the arriving dog or being a breed/type specific rescue we may not be able to take your Chihuahua or any other numerous reasons may prohibit us from a specific intake.  

That type of situation recently presented itself in that our feeds and messages began blowing up over a pair of dogs-(the owner says they are 100% full pit bull) who had been abandoned in a trailer due to an incarceration. Family members were aware so had been entering to feed the dogs but realized this couldn’t go on interminably.

 In such a small group as ours, we all help each other with our rolls but for the most part have our own “boxes” that we stay in and mine isn’t intake so when the “what can we do” messages began rolling in to my personal inbox, I gave the best advice I could. We first of all can’t break into the trailer to get them, so local law or animal enforcement would be a good start. Failing that, if someone could go to the jail and get the owner to sign over the dogs that would be helpful and even then a foster must be secured and then the dogs would need to be assessed behaviorally. Armed with that advice, things began rolling and the dogs were on their way to safety through another group and I all but forgot about them for a few hours as I went about my business.

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One of my “boxes” is that I facilitate the adoptions. I review and check applications, call applicants and set up meetings, so imagine my surprise when I called to let an applicant know she was approved and was told that she unexpectedly gained two foster dogs the previous evening. The trailer dogs had secured a foster with a potential adopter. She shared her worry about how to raise funds for the vetting that would be needed and how best to network these boys. In light of the new curve ball, the Pit Bull Coalition Board voted to help cover the cost of vetting and neutering, evaluate the dogs and if possible place them in our program. The only new snag is that these dogs are far from being very pit bull at all. They are sweet and friendly, good with kids and other dogs, but definitely your average mixed breed pit mutt.  


 Tanner is almost a year old, neutered, up to date on shots and housebroken. He’s sweet, gaining confidence and would thrive in a home with another dog. 
 

Rufus is approximately 3 years old, neutered, up to date on shots and housebroken but for an occasional oops. He too is sweet and seems to be the caretaker. His foster mom says he makes sure that her beagle and Tanner have food and are eating before he eats. 


 He and Tanner both take treats very gently though Tanner eats them Rufus generally drops them. In a perfect world, they would be adopted together but ultimately they need good homes and could be separated. 

 
If you think they may be a good fit for your home, please fill out an application at http://www.fwpbc.com or if not, please share their story.

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.