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!

 

La Femme Nikita

On a cold Day in late November, a little mama and her newborn litter of seven puppies found themselves in a cold, loud municipal shelter. Staff there knew that was not a proper place in which to raise a family so they contacted the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition for help. Springing into action, the coalition members racked our brains to find a foster who could take a nursing mama with her precious young babies. 

  
My thoughts immediately jumped to my sister. She had previously and successfully fostered several litters of puppies, she had no other dogs and had the time. The only drawback was that she lives about two hours away.  Fortunately she agreed to foster the little family so the next day our board president and our treasurer packed up Nikita and her eight day old pups and drove them to the next chapter of their story. 

  
As is common for the Coalition, the puppies all found good homes as soon as they were 8 weeks old leaving  Nikita with an empty nest. 

Since Nikita is now ready to leave her baby making days behind her, she caught a ride to Fort Wayne with her puppy Bruce (formerly known as Dash) who was being puppysat by my sister for the weekend. 

 

Riding to the next chapter.

 
Naturally, my sister, who had grown so attached to Nikki wanted to make sure she had the best of the best foster waiting and I assured her that Nikita would be fostered by someone who I would entrust with my own dogs.

 

Getting to know her foster sister.


Nikita is an easy dog; my sister says its like fostering a cat. She’s a good mama and a sweet little girl who was very good when meeting her foster sisters and brother. She is a dog who was once well loved and suffered some unlucky breaks. Whe she arrived at my sister’s home with her seven pups she was sporting painted toenails. Someone had loved this little girl and now she’s ready for some love and security. Could you be the one for her? 

  

Nikita is small and sweet and ready tomake your life complete. 

Runnin’ Down the Road

**If you’re newish around here, you can read more about this amazing trip here, here, here, and here.

 

My trusty TimeHop tells me that one year ago today was the first day of #TheBigTrip that Kevin and I embarked on.  At the time I thought it was a Bucket List trip and little did I know that it would become  possibly life-changing.  A person at work who had encouraged me to make these plans had suggested that I journal about the time away and though I had a small notebook and jotted notes down, I hadn’t shared yet.  So, figuring that the anniversary was a good time, here we go.

Wednesday

Made it to the plane!  Kevin has not really stopped his nervous chatter but that’s ok.  Used the trick of booking the aisle and window seats and it worked out-no one took the middle seat. Score!  We did, however switch sides with a guy wearing a leg brace so that he could extend his leg on the seat. 

  

We are delayed as the wings get de-iced and I am waiting for this all to feel “real.”

That evening we met up with a Blog/Facebook/Instagram friend Emily, Jay and the impossibly irresistible Mercy Pi. I love how people who are passionate about their dogs and about rescue just gravitate together.


Thursday

The drive on AZ87 is absolutely breath-taking.  The forests of cacti that rise up from the brown earth is amazing to this Hoosier girl.  The rock formations seem to (illegible word) as if some ancient giant had stacked them for is own amusement.  

 

Near Rye the vegetation changes and Saguaro give way to evergreen-looking bushes and enormous Yucca.  The tall pines and snow  of Coconino National Forest give way to broad stretches of scrub as we travel the last leg into Winslow!

 

Feeling solemn driving through the Navaho Reservation.  Red earth to the right, brown, gray and black to the left the scenery is sobering.

Friday

Last night I barely slept and when I did I was plagued with dreams of missing my volunteer shift.  Best Friends is a well-oiled machine and everyone is so friendly.  Our sleepover guest, Magnolia, was great.  An Elderbelle!

 

RIP, Magnolia


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Sydney was hard to leave behind.

 

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Sunday

Convinced Kevin to stay so I could volunteer for one more shift and got to walk Mya!

The song from Dirty Dancing keeps running through my mind.  (I’ve had) the time of my life.  You can definitely tell who the volunteers are, especially new ones by the bright, shiny light in their eyes and the glow on their face.

Heading to Vegas I just want to cry.  As much as I looked forward to it, it was never as much as I looked forward to the other parts of the trip and I’m now feeling homesick.  I want to be open for the next leg of the trip but at the moment am only feeling down.

It’s 4:29, we’ve checked in and Kevin is showering.  I’ve never felt more out of place standing in the hotel lobby in my rubber Wellies and red dust covered jeans.  When can we go home?

 

I must note here that this was the end of my hand written notes.  We did meet up with very good friends who are like family but as a new friend said to me, Angel Canyon calls to me and I will be back.  I’m meant to be back.

The Cat Whisperer?

*Please note that I am neither a cat trainer nor a dog trainer, though I am working on a part of that. 

I recently volunteered my services to one of our Fosters who, though doesn’t have a dog of their own, have some terrorizing cats.  Not sure just how much of a bully these cats were, I figured that although I’m certainly no Jackson Galaxy, I have a Peaceabull Assembly of cats and dogs and could maybe offer some advice.

The Fosters suggested it would be helpful if I brought along a dog who could maybe push a cat’s buttons but stay fairly respectful so I of course brought the Juli-bean.

  
The situation was that there are three cats, two of whom we barely saw as they skedaddled out of sight and heard only as one issued a throaty growl when Julius wandered near her special hiding place.  The third stood her ground, in that she was huddled near the sofa.  As Juli approached she hissed and swatted her warning and then not even crack Beggin’ Strips could lure him back.

It turns out that one of the more unsociable cats has jumped on a foster dog’s back and bit her neck.  Both survived.  I came armed with a pheromone collar and some tips on personal space, retreat space and a bit of positive clicker training.  A former foster didn’t respect the baby gate but it seems as though it was installed after his arrival.  I suggested trying to train the next one to stay away from the gate by clicking whenever a dog turned from the gate and to make a larger buffer.  They seemed excited to try and of course wanted to keep Julius.

  
I must say, my bean bean isn’t perfect by any means, but that night? Yeah, he pretty much was and I was certainly bursting with pride and overflowing with love.

Do you have a bully cat?  How do you deal with it?

 

Marley Monday-A Plea

If you’ve been following along for Marley’s story, I apologize for the lapse.  Marley is doing well.  He and his foster dad are more than dog and foster person.  They are best friends.  Without revealing any personal details that are not mine to share, let’s just say that they each needed the other in a way that neither realized.  Well, maybe Marley realized how much he needed a loving home, but Foster Dad may have come to the realization more slowly. While I would love to tell you more about how perfect these guys are to each other, I’m going to leave that for another day.

Today as Marley enters month two of his heartworm treatment, I’m asking that if any of you Marley fans has an extra dollar or two or a spare change jar that you consider helping a fellow out but sending a couple of dollars his way.  The Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition is setting up a Go Fund Me to help offset some of the cost of his treatment.  In addition to Marley’s slow kill treatment, we’ve covered the cost of a hernia surgery for an owned dog whose people were not able to fund, we’ve spayed and neutered owned dogs and have covered the cost of surgery for a dog who was adopted through our program.  That leaves Marley’s treatment fund a bit short without some help from his friends.

Thanks for considering him as you plan your budget this week.

 

Marley Monday-Video

You often hear about how Pit Bull types just have to be with people and Marley is no exception. I know three months in a shelter can be a long time and though there are some dogs who can do well invthat environment there are others who just can’t handle it. I truly believe Marley is the latter type. 

I imagine that being away from his people and among so many others who were being considered for adoption took its toll. I’d like to believe it is that frustration that lead to him “becoming hard to handle” and “dog aggressive.” 

Since we saw that his happiness over being pulled lead to his immediate change in personality in the “hard to handle” department we were hopeful that the dog aggression would have been a similar byproduct of his frustration and not a true reflection of his personality. We have, however, proceeded with caution for two reasons. First and foremost while he is undergoing heart worm treatment we want to keep him quiet so even if he were to be friendly we can’t really allow him to play. Second, well if he isn’t a fan of other dogs that can be managed but if he really was aggressive we’d again be risking the elevated heart rate, etc.

Seeing Marley at the vet’s office near other dogs gave us hope that he was pretty friendly but we still took it very slowly. A couple of weeks ago, he met Queenie, one of our adoptable dogs and although she completely ignored him, he was tail-waggingly happy to see her. Just a couple of minutes and he was as smitten as can be and soon frustrated by the closed door barrier. 

On New Year’s Day we tested him with little Ori who is the owned and fabulous dog of one of our new foster moms. (And also the adopter of one of Ray’s littermates.) We knew Ori was a very good neutral dog who would be very willing to correct Marley about any transgression. Also since he had met a larger dog successfully we wanted to see how it would go with a small dog.

We are pretty much over the moon about All. Things. Marley. But this is just pretty darned awesome no matter how you slice it, right?

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.

Bedtime Stories 

In October while attending CatWalk, which is one of the major fundraising events for the Allen County SPCA, I came to an odd and at the time, fairly awkward realization. While I serve on the boards of both the SPCA and the Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition, neither of my dogs were adopted from either organization. 

At the time it was fairly amusing because I believe there was a call for a show of hands at CatWalk of those who had adopted from the SPCA and while Asia was able to proudly affirm, I sheepishly did not much to the amusement of our table mates. 

It wasn’t until I was engaging in a conversation with Ray and Julius about why I love them so much that it hit me: they were both rescued, or adopted or whatever word you want to use, as a direct result of something I did.  

  
Please understand I’m not patting myself on the back or anything, I’m just stating this as one of the many reasons why I feel so connected to them, and especially to Ray.

  
For those who are newer around these parts, I’ll tell you the story of how Ray came into rescue and into our lives. I’ve tole it before but I’ve always left a small but interesting part out. I think we can now tell the whole tale so be sure to check back tomorrow to read all about how Ray came to be mine. 

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.

 

 

Pretty Slick

For some reason I’ve become obsessed with obtaining a yellow rain slicker. Well, I can actually think of several reasons. Being outside in the rain with dogs calls for something as useful as a slicker that is easily cleaned of muddy paw prints. A yellow slicker just seems iconic and timeless as well. I’m also not a huge fan of dull colored coats. While I do have a long black coat, I tend to wear my red or my cobalt coat way more often. 

Well, although I’ve searched the Internet for a slicker that strikes my fancy I have found these adorable slickers. 

   
 
These are packable into their own little pouch so I could actually hook them onto a leash and look! My boys are just too cute in their own yellow slickers. 

 
Although I ordered these to have for other seasons, I’m thankful for the mild December we’ve had. 

What’s one unseasonable thing you’ve been enjoying?