It’s All In the Numbers …

Edie -- Ambassador for the Breed

On September 18, 2011, I attended the “Bark in the “Park” expo sponsored by the Arapaho Kennel Club at the beautiful Exposition Park in Aurora.  Dante’s co-owner/breeder came down with two of her dogs who had the very important assignment of being breed ambassadors.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day in Colorado!

While there, we did an intake on a puppy being surrendered to rescue.  Notable in the fact it was a puppy — we rarely get puppies in rescue — and this marked our 40th foster dog.  Doesn’t seem like 40 fosters but it is when counting them down.  Of those 40, 37 have gone on to new homes.  Unfortunately, three of our fosters were euthanized while in foster care … two for unprovoked biting issues and one for medical issues.  That’s probably the hardest part of rescue [euthanasia]  because “rescue” isn’t supposed to end that way. 

Sang-Po ... a happy boy!

In any event, meet our newest foster … Sang-Po!!  Given a Tibetan name in homage to his ancient origins, it means “kind and gentle.”  That describes this boy to a “T”.  He’s a very loving dog and would like nothing better than to sit in one’s lap.  His ideal home would be one with a dog in residence — a dog that likes to play and is willing to put up some puppy antics.  A home where the new owner will follow through on the crate training and finish up his house training (he’s working diligently on the house training but he’s still a puppy and will need an owner that can provide routine and consistency). 

He’s still in the assessment/training phase of foster care and will not be placed in a home until the end of October.  However, we are accepting applications at this time.

Make sure you get my good side ... and my pearlies

Sweethearts!

This photo was sent to me by Emma’s adoptive family … awwwww, aren’t they sweet?!?

Emma (on the right) was surrendered to us as a one-year old.  She had never been housetrained and was basically living her life as a yard dog during the day and crated from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.    Adopted by Michelle, Emma now resides in Texas.

Elvis has left the building …

I was advised yesterday in a Christmas card that Elvis lost his battle with immune mediated hemolytic anemia on November 28th.  Yes, rescue allows me to have all the dogs I ever wanted … they just  go  live with someone else.  Which also means that, eventually, I will lose all of them as well.  While our fosters go on to new lives with new families, they never really leave our thoughts.  They may have been with us for only a short time but the details of their stay are vivid in the mind’s eye. 

Elvis is fondly remembered for his enthusiasm … didn’t matter what was going on, he was a happy, bouncy boy.  He was closely connected, always coming back to check-in with me and offer himself up for a good rub down … then off he’d go.  One of those dogs that exuded joy through his facial expressions.  You just knew he was happy.  He’s also the dog that taught 18-month old Frankers how to hike his leg for every pee stop around the yard.  At that time, I did not know it could be a learned behavior!

Rainbow BridgeHe had the dubious honor of being the first severely matted dog to endure my grooming skills (which wasn’t saying much at that time).  I remember feeling completely overwhelmed and definitely lacking in appropriate grooming equipment.  Of particular note was his patience with me over a 4-hour grooming session.  He could have easily been the “dog from hell”  given his coat condition and his undeniably inexperienced groomer.  Instead, he willing did everything I asked of him, i.e., stand, sit, move this way, etc., etc.

Godspeed, Elvis … I know your family will greatly miss your gentle heart.

Head high …

… and nose to the wind, little one.  Prayer flags whip in the crisp air, the lofty peaks of the Himalayas gleam in the distance … and the ancestral home beckons.  Godspeed, Lanni.

I got word this week that we lost one of our fosters.  A 14-year old, she recently developed canine cognitive dysfuction (CCD) and was clearly unhappy and uncomfortable in her surroundings.  Never easy to let them go even when we know we are doing the right thing by taking their pain and making it our own.  A milestone for us as this is the first placement (that we’re aware of) that’s aged out.

Lanni arrived in rescue as a shaggy 7-year old.  Her elderly owner had passed away and the family was unable to keep her.  I recall how badly infected her ears were.  During the intake exam, I flipped her ear leathers over and was appalled at what I found … ears full of black, gunky debris.  Literally full.  I started cleaning them out, getting black chunks as large as my thumbnail.  A review of the medical records provided noted she had an allergy to corn.  The food and treats dropped off with the dog all contained … corn.  No telling how long her ears had been chronically infected.  A larger Apso, it was a wrestling match every time we dosed her ears with the Panalog.  Applying topical medication is normally not a problem for me; however, I couldn’t do it myself and had to enlist hubby’s assistance in restraining her.  Very much like holding a greased pig.

Lanni had not been socialized around other dogs and was a bit, ummm how shall I say …  lacking in canine manners.  My crew did not appreciate her shouldering her way through any situation like a bull in a china closet.  Gentle as they come, just not able to read the other dogs’ body language. 

After a short time in rescue, Lanni hit the jackpot and went to live with Elaine and her mom, Anne, where she was well cared for and deeply loved.  I know the days ahead will be a bit less bright without gentle Lanni to grace their home.  My thanks to Elaine and Anne for taking such good care of her all these years.

‘Til we meet at the Bridge, little one …

Lanni

The Rhythm of Rescue …

There’s a certain rhythm to rescue, one that’s difficult to put into words.  Like waves on a beach, it ebbs and flows from day to day, month to month and dog to dog.  Long-standing protocols are put into place with each arrival, offering the new foster a sense of balance and structure.  Given that my dogs are already “with the program,” the foster is generally assimilated into the pack with little fanfare.  Fosters just fall into line and cue off the resident canines, making my job much easier.

Yesterday was a double tide day … after four months in foster care and extensive medical treatment, Bubba went to his new home.  A handsome boy with his new haircut, he amped up the charm for his new owner, Cindy.  Left in his wake are the foster parents — John and Neil — who lovingly nursed him back to health, and then had the fortitude to send him on to a new home.  Not always an easy thing and especially so when fostering for the first time (thanks, guys!).  No matter how many times we manage to let go, there will always be those fosters that we keep close to our heart.  But, as Neil put it, “Bubba’s journey isn’t finished yet.”   With Bubba’s new home, including canine and feline siblings, his travels are now complete.  Quite the road for a dog abandoned and left tied to a fence in rural Kansas.  As have all the others who have gone before, I look forward to hearing how he’s blooming in his new home. 

Late yesterday afternoon, four-year old Elle arrived from Greeley.  A stray found wandering the streets, she was taken in by a college student who attempted to find her owners.  Despite having a microchip, the effort failed as the previous owners neglected to change their contact information after a move.  Our thanks to Grace and Mike for getting Elle into rescue when it would have been easier  to just give her away or turn her over to a shelter!  And thanks again to John and Neil for agreeing to take on another foster so quickly!!

Having six dogs in the house this morning was very much like herding cats.  While everyone knows their place for the individual food bowls, they still have to mill around.  Remembering names becomes more problematic the more dogs that are underfoot and especially when two of them have the same coloring.  No wonder hubby calls them all “Larry.”  Elle was more interested in seeing what the others had in their bowls instead of eating her breakfast.  Pip finished her breakfast quickly and was quite willing to scarf down Elle’s abandoned bowl.  These three need to go outside immediately after breakfast … these two have to leave the kitchen … this one comes out of his crate where he’s just finished his breakfast.  One of the three that went outside is now standing at the back door, barking to be let back in.  Added to the ordered chaos is some sort of gastric bug that’s making  the rounds … four of the six dogs have thrown up in the past 24 hours.  So goes the rhythm of rescue …

Hair of the Dog …

After what’s been termed the “transport from hell” due to problems with vehicles and people, Bubba from rural Kansas finally arrived Thursday at 10:30 p.m.   We met him at I-70 and Tower Road (affectionately known as “Saudi Aurora”) …  waaay east of Denver proper and at least an hour from our place in north Loveland.  Suffice it to say it was well after 1:00 a.m. by the time we got home, pottied dogs, played musical crates, and had the dogs settled in for the night with the thunderstorms rolling low in the distance.  Note to self:  order a Thundershirt for Frankers.

While waiting for the vet to come in and do the rescue exam the following morning, I finally got a really good look at Bubba.  Both eyes are badly infected and with hyperpigmentation of the eyes and the skin around the eyes.  I first suspected something amiss while watching him around the yard that morning … he moved like my Dad’s blind Tzu, cueing on sounds.  Flip the ear leathers back and it’s obvious he’s got yeast and/or bacteria going on with abundant ear hair … hot, red, tender to the touch and inflamed.

Bubba’s lower back, rear and upper hind legs are almost devoid of hair and covered in what ‘s termed “elephant skin” … black, wrinkled, hairless and with edema present.  While I’m familiar with the term, this is the first time I’ve actually seen it on one of my dogs.  The tail is the worst with raw, scaly skin and I surmise he’s been gnawing at it.  During the transport, he received a haircut with a pair of scissors and his new ‘do is the embodiment of pitiful.  As a friend would say, “He’s got a whole lot of ugly going on.”

During exam of his mouth, I note the front lower incisors cannot be seen.  Probing reveals a wad of hair completely covering the teeth.  I manage  to pull it off and up pop five very white incisors, indicative of a young dog.  My guess, less than two years of age.  I’m betting the chewing at his tail/rear is where he picked up the hair in his teeth and it’s been there a while based on the odor.  More surprising, however, is his bite — or lack thereof.  His jaws are mismatched and he has an underbite of at least 1-1/4 inch.  So much so that the top incisors rest on the lower jaw instead of meeting up with the upper incisors.  While Apso are supposed to have an underbite, this is utterly obscene — and especially so knowing that someone is breeding these malformed dogs for a profit.

The vet walks in and immediately starts laughing, all the while apologizing.  Po’ Bubba … he’s a damn pitiful sight with a story and a haircut to match.  I have to wonder if there wasn’t some message with the tying him to a fence post.  Unlike many of the breed, Bubba is exceptional during the exam, sitting or standing quietly while he’s poked and prodded.  Final diagnosis:  eyes and ears are infected, a bit of demodex (causing the skin issues), and dermatitis.  We’re loaded up with antibiotics, eye drops, ear ointment, and Advantage Multi to get the demodex in check.  While there, he’s wormed and a microchip implanted.  Instructions are given to return in three weeks for follow-up; the eyes are a bit worrisome as it could be KCS or “dry eye,” requiring a life time of daily eye drops.  The vet is hopeful that once the eye infection is cleared up along with the skin issues, the eyes will start producing tears normally again. He’s not contagious as his problems stem from a compromised immune system so he’s fine to interact with the other dogs in the home.  Ongoing treatment, high-quality food and lots of rest should get him back on his feet.  A good haircut with a pair of clippers should help with the “ugly.”  But, then again, maybe not.  This after he got a good bath and we took him down to less than a quarter inch to even his haircut up.  Awwww, Bubba … you need some hair!

What Bubba lacks in beauty, he more than makes up for with his sweet temperament and ability to get along with the other dogs in the house.  Surprisingly, he arrived crate trained, sleeps through the night quietly, and is house trained.  Innately adaptable, he’s doing quite well after being moved to his foster home and is enjoying his walks around Lake Estes every morning.  When he tires out, he gets to share the stroller with little Ollie, who has bad hips.

Here’s to a new life in the West!

Elwood …

It’s very rare that we get a quick placement in rescue as our fosters usually arrive with more “baggage” than just their food, toys and bedding.  This generally necessitates at least a month in foster care to address medical issues and work on behavioral problems with training.  Most of our fosters stay 6 to 16 weeks, depending on our assessment and how they are progressing.  Even rarer is a home waiting to take on a ‘Poo mix, sight unseen. The stars are evidently aligned just right because this sweet boy went to an experienced Apso home … long nose/legs and all … within days of his arrival in rescue.      

His new family is just delighted with the addition to the family.  Here’s the email I received three days into his new home (as a side note, DaVinci, f/k/a Sterling, was adopted from us three years ago — we just love repeat adoptions!) …          

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He is an absolute little sweetheart and has fit into the family just fine.  It’s as if he has always had us for his family – he has shown no anxiety at all.  I found out on the way home from Longmont that he loves to be hugged and cuddled.           

When we got home, our dogs were naturally curious about Elwood and did their sniffing thing. Ha!  We took all three of them for a walk and when we got back all three dogs played in the back yard together.            

Elwood learned the doggie door in about five minutes and goes in and out like a pro.  He has not had a potty accident in the house as of yet and he sleeps all through the night.  The only problem we have had was when Piccolo and DaVinci had a few minor territorial disputes with Elwood.  That seems to now be over, and things are going very smoothly.           

DaVinci and Elwood have been playing well together and that is what DaVinci has needed.  He and Piccolo have played together some too, but Piccolo tires out quickly.  Elwood discovered a tennis ball in our dog’s toy box which he promptly brought to me to throw.  He has apparently been taught to fetch because he is very good at it.  In fact he loves it so much, he could do it 24 hours a day – Ha!          

Elwood is still such a puppy and he is so exuberant!  He is doing great here, and we are so happy to have him.   I will definitely give you updates on how he is doing, and when his hair grows a bit longer, will send you a picture of Elwood with his brothers.   DeLores and Lou          

And a week in to the new home …          

We want you to know that Elwood is doing great and we just love him!  He has the cutest personality and such cute puppy ways.  He has adapted to a routine that he enjoys which includes sitting with me in the recliner while I read the newspaper first thing in the morning, then when his dad gets up, he sits with him while Lou reads the newspaper, and then it’s off for the morning walk.   He loves his daily walks with his brothers, and afterwards he still has energy left and wants to play fetch with the tennis ball.  We do that several times a day with him because he has such high energy.   All three dogs get along great and love playing together.           

Elwood’s previous family can rest assured that he is a very happy dog in his new home and that his new family is so happy to have him.          

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My new family ... am I a lucky dog or what!!!!