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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Ray’s Legs

The saga of Ray’s legs continues. As you may remember, last July after the Sugar family was adopted, Ray went in for his TTA surgery to help repair his ACL. Due to his high anxiety levels and my anxiety over his anxiety, I waited longer than I should have to schedule this surgery and going into it we knew that he had advanced levels of arthritis is both legs for a dog as young as he is. Fortunately the surgery was a success which was doubly confirmed in March when Ray went in for his annual vaccinations and exam.For a dog like Ray I’ve just learned to do a lot of this medical in one fell swoop. At annual exam time, Ray has a dental cleaning, is vaccinated, has his nails trimmed and this year had his leg x-rayed –all while he was anesthetized. This most certainly is not ideal. Who wants to have their dog anesthetized every year? Not this gal, but I also don’t want him thrashing around screaming and injuring himself or staff at all either.

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After Ray got the all clear in March we loosened the reigns a bit and allowed him to romp more around the yard. He’s pretty reasonable when trying to chase squirrels or the world’s fastest dog Julius around the yard so we haven’t worried too much. Besides walking has really helped with not only strengthening his leg but with is overall mental happiness. A lot of what he does is he bounces about like a happy cow and pretends to chase Julius as Juli zips by only to stop and wait for the next pass.

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Then about a week and a half ago, I let the boys out for their last potty break, and after a very short time heard the worst sound I could imagine coming from our back yard. For a split second my world stopped as it sounded like the boys were in an all out fight. Screaming and guttural growling filled the night air as I ran outside fearing the worst only to find that they had crossed either over or under the temporary fencing we had put up across the side (the whole yard has a privacy fence) where Kevin is trying to grow some grass-a temporary fence they had never before challenged-and were leaping at an opossum that was balanced atop the fence hissing at them. Julius and Ray were both leaping in the air with varying degrees of height (Juli can reach the top, so I’m thankful he didn’t this time) and screeching at this poor creature who finally departed to the neighbor’s yard. I got the boys back into the house and we all retired to bed after my heart finally stopped its frantic racing.

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Sometime during the night Ray left the bed to lie on his mat and when we all got up in the morning, he did not want to get up for his morning potty break. I let Juli out and encouraged Ray to come when I finally saw that he wasn’t putting any weight at all on his leg and didn’t want to walk, so I helped him back to his mat, gave him some Rimadyl with his breakfast and left to help man the Pit Bull Coalition booth at Pet Expo. Ray has extraordinary holding powers so I knew he’d be alright until I returned, and he was. I helped him go outside in the afternoon, and kept him mostly immobile for the remainder of the weekend. He’s been relegated again to sleeping on his mat on the floor and had seemed to be healing just as we hoped. Until the following Friday. Last Friday I was sitting on the patio with the boys when Ray heard Kevin pull into the drive. We went inside to greet him after having been gone the week and all was normal yet again until about an hour or two later when Ray again wouldn’t put any weight on his foot.

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Kevin and I have agonized over this since Friday. We hate to put him under just for x-rays again but in reality we can’t not do it because we need to know the extend of any damage, but do we subject him to another TTA? Do we try TPLO? How acutely does the arthritis factor into the equation? Can his pain be managed medically? Lots of questions right now and no answers…but he knows we’re talking about him.

Marley (Like Mary Poppins) Monday

Practically perfect in every way.  That’s Mary Poppins’ tag line and it really applies to Marley.  I hadn’t been over to visit him in a couple of weeks and surprisingly it was weighing on me.  I can’t think of a single dog that I’ve helped place into a home that I feel strongly about keeping up ties with as much as with Marley.  I don’t know, maybe it’s because his foster dad doesn’t Facebook or use social media and I don’t get as many updates like I do with so many other of “my babies.”

Anyhow I was feeling especially Marley-less and decided to take some time to go visit the big galoot.  As I prepared to head over there I wondered what I would encounter.  We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of weeks and I’m sure that as he settles more in to his Foster home we’d maybe lose a bit of our bond to each other.  Maybe he wasn’t quite as handsome as I remember, maybe not quite as sweet.  Maybe as he became more comfortable in his surroundings he’d be likely to…I don’t know…love me?

  
When we picked him up and our eyes met through that wire fencing, I knew we’d be bonded but to what extent?  One the car ride back to Fort Wayne I promised him I would always look out for him and protect him but that didn’t necessarily mean he would come to live with me, so wrapping my head around what that might actually mean and how that would work was something I’d need to work on.

  
What I found upon my visit was a gorgeous specimen of a dog.  Marley has filled in some and has a huge happy-faced head and well defined muscles for a dog who is on “quiet time” rest.  He met me at the door  with a wagging tail but it still seemed to take him about 4 seconds or so to really recognize me whereupon he decided that we two should share the recliner, or perhaps I’d just like to sit in the recliner while he sat on me.  We smooched and cuddled and while I was convinced…and still am…that my home would not be the best situation for him, I couldn’t help but fall just a bit more in love.

  
Fortunately his Foster Dad is all that and a bag of chips so I know Marley is getting the best care and the most love.  He told me about how Marley sometimes falls out of bed, so now there is a body pillow to cushion him, Marley has a special toy that he sleeps with and if it gets misplaced they look all over the house until it’s found.  I know about how Marley pouts if he doesn’t get that last sip of vanilla milkshake and how he’s getting suspicious of peanut butter since it was being used to hide medicine.

  
As I looked at Marley, I realized that in the next months his treatment is going to get more intense and the need to keep him quiet and calm is going to be critical.  I leashed him up and we ambled around the block so that he could showcase is perfect leash skills and I could have just a few moments more with him.  I told his Foster dad that I probably shouldn’t come around for awhile in the interest of Marley’s health, so after a few smooches, I scurried out to my car but not without peeking back through the window to see Marley gazing at the door waiting for my return.  I turned away with a tear and a sigh.

 

checking his peemail

  
 

 

 

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Marley is in a good place and his GoFundMe is climbing!  Actually with the addition of some cash that was donated, we are at $530 to date! We are so close to our goal!

 

Marley Monday-The Photoshoot

With the growing popularity of Pit Bull type dogs and with great campaigns like The Majority Project we see people from all walks of life who are now adopting our block heads.  Since we are such a small rescue we often spend a good amount of time with our adopters and I’ve been fortunate enough to become friendly with many of them.  I love being able to follow along with many of our pups on Facebook and celebrate all of the milestones as well as share a peek into their lives.

Recently I was working an adoption application and I remember telling the Board that I had a great feeling about this person and that was even before finding out that she is a very talented photographer.  A very talented photographer who volunteered to shoot some of our adoptable dogs and I immediately thought that Marley would be a perfect model.  We’re fortunate that we have a pretty good “turn around” time in the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition but I knew that our Divine Mr. M would be in rescue for several months while undergoing heartworm treatment.

The thing about Marley is he is one of those dogs.  He’s one of those special dogs who just immediately melt your heart and make you fall in love.  When Tara met him today one of her first words were, “Oh I love him but I don’t have room for another dog.”  He just touches everyone he meets with his joy and just one look at this handsome block head and you know that he’s a happy, sweet soul.

It was fascinating for me to watch Tara setting up all of her equipment and busily snapping away while I had the honor of stuffing Marley’s face with treats in an effort to get him to pose.

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These four from Tara Denny Images

 

On one hand, I don’t think that when the time comes we’ll have trouble placing the big lug, however…will we want to?  Will anyone be good enough?  His future is still unwritten.

 

 

Say My Name

I came in to the loud place with my Brother when our mama left us for too long in the house all by ourselves. Some neighbors were feeding us but finally we got “picked up” and were off to a better place. I waggled my tail and was happy to see new people who would love me  but soon I realized this was my new home and I was going to be sharing it with a lot of other dogs.  The longer I stayed here, the more upset and sad I felt. Mama came back for my Bro but she didn’t want me anymore. No one wants me. People come looking for a dog to take home and I want to go but no one looks at me. Am I a bad boy?  Maybe they aren’t talking to me because they keep saying Tiny at me.  I’m not Tiny.  Maybe they think I am Tiny the bad boy?  Can’t you see me? 

  

I’m sad and I feel angry too. The other dogs here shout at me and I shout back. I don’t like them anymore and I don’t want to be friends anymore. I want to go home. I want to be happy again but instead I’m sad and I’m here and I’m lonely in the middle of all of the mayhem. As time stretches on I feel like I’m nearing the end of my rope.

The Lady is nice and she is kind to me and she gives me cookies but I don’t feel like eating. I’m getting boney so maybe I really am Tiny. I don’t want to be here and I’m getting tired of waiting so I might as well act like a bad boy, if that’s what they think I am.  They move me and I see even fewer people than before and I just want to lie here and …No!  I don’t want to die!  I want to give up but a small part of me wants to keep hoping. I want to go home!

The people are nice here but very busy and they don’t have a lot of time to just sit with me so I can feel their heartbeat next to mine.  I want to rest my head in their hands but they are busy and don’t have time for me. 

But what is this?  I’m getting a bath today.  That’s strange. 

It’s not too cold outside and I’m nearly dry in this kennel and I see my friend The Lady and she has two people with her.  The Man has a kind face and he points at me but then he took a cookie over to the loud blue boy that I don’t like.  The Other Lady, oh the other lady!  She looks at me and smiles.  I can’t stop looking at her because she seems kind and she is carrying a collar, a leash and a harness and from inside her big bag she brings out another big cookie just for me!  It makes me very happy to see her and I dance with my front feet but I’m being very careful to not be scary.  I don’t jump on the fence and even though my heart is pounding and filling with hope, I don’t shout at her to PICK ME! TAKE ME HOME!  I dance and prance but when they open the gate I stand very straight and still so I can get my new collar and harness on.  My friend tells the new lady something.  She looks at me and says the magical words, “Marley.  Do you want to go bye-bye in the car?” 

Marley!  She knows my name!

We go inside and the nice man holds my leash while people do paperwork.  My friend The Lady hugs the new lady and we get ready to go.  They open the door to the van and I see a huge comfy bed on the floor with a blanket, a big back seat with another blanket and the new lady sits in back with me and hugs me around the neck.  

  I kiss her face and she says to me, “You’re safe now and we will make sure you will always be happy.”  She says she isn’t my mama (yet…) but she will protect me. 

  

We take a long ride and I get lots of treats.  I lie on the comfy mat for a while then I get on the seat and rest.  I love all the options.  We drop the man off eventually and my new lady takes me to what is called my Foster Dad.  He’s a very nice man who lets me sit in his chair and watch TV, we split a milkshake and we sleep in the big bed.  He is so nice to me and says I am probably the best dog ever and  I am very proud to make him happy so I use all of my very good manners.

   

 The lady says they all saved my life but my Foster Daddy says I may have saved his. All I know is that I am Marley and I am a good boy.

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.

Party Hats and Pig Ears

Ray has most definitely had a challenging year, but in the best of ways.  We moved to a new home which fortunately doesn’t seem to stress the dogs out, we had Sugar and her pups here for a while this summer, and Ray had TTA surgery which included a log recovery, so when his birthday rolled around I wanted to make sure we had a nice little celebration of his four years.

  

The day began with his little brother being shipped off to day play so that Ray was able to gnaw on the good antler to his heart’s content.  (Half a dozen antlers in the house but only one “good” one).  He stayed at home with his dad and supervised some trim painting, took a few naps and generally had a low-key kind of day.

After work, Ray got to enjoy a walk with his best gal, Sugar followed by party hats for the dogs who wanted and the cat who couldn’t get away fast enough. 

 

Ray is too cool for a hat.

 
Ray, Julius, and Sugar split a dog bone-shaped birthday cookie and indulged in a nice pig ear party favor and to cap off the celebration, Ray got a new Bumi to destroy chew on.

  

To be honest, we don’t always do a party with all the dog friends but this year it seemed like the thing to do, since Ray now has another friend* besides Julius. 

 

Fun hangover

 
How do you and your dogs celebrate birthdays?

 

*Ray and Chance have only seen each other once and Ray isn’t a huge fan, so Chance stayed at home and got his cookie and pig ear delivered.