Pet Stuff...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Want To Quit


I want to quit!

My health is bad. There are days I feel so terrible that I can barely move. My phone bills are outrageous, and I could have replaced my van with the funds I have spent these last 3 years—on animals that were not my own.

I want to quit!

I spend hours and hours emailing about dogs. There may be 500 messages when I start—and at 4 AM, when I finally shut down the computer, there are still 500 emails to be read.

I want to quit!

Gosh, I haven't the time left to email my friends. I can't remember the last book I read, and I gave up my subscription to my local newspaper- — I used to enjoy reading it, cover to cover, but now it often ends up under the kitty litter box — unread.

I want to quit!

I've spent days emailing what seems like everyone—trying to find a foster home, help for a dog languishing in a shelter—but his time has run out, and the shelter has had to euthanize to make room for the next sad soul.

I want to quit!

I swear, I walk away from my computer to stretch my legs—let the dogs out—and come back to find another dog in desperate need. There are times I really dread checking my email. How will I find the funds, the help, to save yet another dog?

I want to quit!

I save one dog, and two more take its place. Now an owner who doesn't want his dog—it won't stay in his unfenced yard. An intact male wanders… This bitch got pregnant by a stray… This 3-month-old pup killed baby chicks… The dog got too big… This person's moving and needs to give up his pet. I ask you, friends— what town, what city, what state doesn't allow you to own a pet?

I want to quit!

I just received another picture, another sad soul with tormented eyes that peer out of a malnourished body. I hear whimpering in my sleep, have nightmares for days…

I want to quit!

I just got off the phone. "Are you a Rescue? We want to adopt a male to breed to our female." How many times do I have to explain? I have tried to explain about genetics, about health and pedigrees. I explain that rescue NEUTERS! I usually end up sobbing, as I explain about the vast numbers of animals dying in shelters across the country, as I describe the condition many of these animals are found in. I wonder if they really heard me…

I want to quit!

It is not like I don't have enough rescues of my own to worry about– -but others have placed dogs improperly and aren't there to advise the new owners.

I want to quit!

There ARE some unscrupulous rescues out there—hoarders, collectors, and folks who will short change the care of the animals to make a dollar. They save them all, regardless of temperament, putting fellow rescuers and adopters at risk by not being truthful.

I want to quit!

I have trusted the wrong people— had faith and heart broken…

I want to quit!

AND THEN… My dog lays his head in my lap, he comforts me with his gentle presence—and the thought of his cousins suffering stirs my heart.

I want to quit!

AND THEN… One of those 500 emails is from an adopter. They are thanking me for the most wonderful dog on earth—they cannot imagine life without their friend—their life is changed, and they are so grateful.

I want to quit!

AND THEN… One of my adopted Rescues has visited a nursing home. A patient that has spent the last few years unable to communicate, not connecting– -Lifts his hand to pat the huge head in his lap, softly speaks his first words in ages— to this gentle fur child.

I want to quit!

AND THEN… A Good Samaritan has found and vetted a lost baby, "I can't keep him, but I'll take care of him until you find his forever home."

I want to quit!

AND THEN… "Johnny took his first steps holding on to our dog." "You should see this dog nursing this hurt kitten!" "I was so sick and he never left my side…"

I want to quit!

AND THEN… I get an email from a fellow rescuer, "Haven't heard from you in a while—you OK? You know I think of you…"

I want to quit!

AND THEN… A dozen rescuers step up to help, to transport, to pull, and to offer encouragement. I have friends I have never seen, but we share tears, joys, and everything in between. I am not alone. I am blessed with family of the heart, my fellow Rescuers. Just days ago it was a friend who shared her wit and wisdom, whose late night email lifted my heart. Sometimes it is friends who only have time to forward you a smile. Often, it is my friends who forward me the notices of dogs in need. There are Rescuers who see a failing transport and do everything they can to find folks to pull it together for you. Rescuers who'll overnight or foster your Dog while you seek transport. There are Rescuers not used to or comfortable with your breed, but who put aside their discomfort to help.

There are Rescuers whose words play the music of our hearts. Foster homes that love your Rescue, and help to make them whole again—body and spirit. Foster homes that fit your baby in, though it may not be their breed. Rescuers whose talents and determination give us tools to help us. Rescuers we call on for help in a thousand ways, who answer us, who hear our pleas. Rescuers who are our family, our strength, our comrades in battle. I know I cannot save every animal in need. I know my efforts are a mere drop in a sea. I know that if I take on just one more — those I have will suffer.

I want to quit!

But I won't. When I feel overwhelmed, I'll stroke my dog's head while reading my fellow Rescuers emails. I'll cry with them, I'll laugh with them—and they will help me find the strength to go on.

I want to quit! But not today. There's another email, another dog needing Rescue.

This piece is dedicated, with love and gratitude, to all Rescuers.
--Author Unknown

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tilly-Bell

Tilly's been with me over a month...maybe two months? She's sweet, cuddly and even tempered. She likes my cat and parrot and all other dogs. After fostering for a month you begin to think that maybe this one is going to stay. Perhaps she's meant to be in our house forever.
Sooner or later every foster family goes through this with a certain dog.
Only one other dog stayed this long. Coconut found a great home, one worth waiting for.
Now there's Tilly-Bell. A small Fox Terrier from Tennessee.
She's smart, cute and loves to cuddle. Just to be by your side is her bliss.
Today I got an awesome application for her from a nice couple with 5 cats and another little dog. I called all their references and googled their house, work, names and all that. Everything looks good. Great in fact. They're going to meet Tilly on Saturday.
This is hard....

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Puppy


How to Prepare for a Puppy
Pour cold apple juice on the carpet in several places and walk around barefoot in the dark.
Wear a sock to work that has had the toes shredded by the blender.
Immediately upon waking, stand outside in the rain and dark saying, "Be a good puppy, go potty - now hurry up- come on, let's go!"
Cover all your best clothes with dog hair. Dark clothes must use white hair; light clothes must use dark.
Float some hair in your first cup of coffee in the morning.
Play "catch" with a wet tennis ball.
Run out in the snow/rain in your bare feet to close the gate.
Tip over a basket of clean laundry; scatter clothing all over the floor.
Leave your underwear on the living room floor
because that's where the puppy will drag it anyway...
especially when company is coming.
Jump out of your chair shortly before the end of your favorite TV program
and run to the door shouting "NO, NO! DO THAT OUTSIDE!"
Miss the end of the program
Put chocolate pudding on the carpet in the morning;
don't clean it up until you get home from work in the evening.
Gouge the leg of the dining room table several times with a screwdriver...
it's going to get chewed on anyway.
Take a warm and cuddly blanket out of the dryer and immediately wrap it around yourself.
this is the feeling you will get when your puppy falls asleep on your lap
Author Unknown

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gracie looked at me...

Gracie looked at me today. I know that doesn't seem like much but it is. She came out of a puppy mill in Missouri and was then thrown in a shelter to be destroyed. Her breeding days were over at 3 years old. Maybe she wasn't producing enough puppies in each litter or maybe the pups she did produce just weren't up to par for the miller. Whatever their reason for dumping her she was pulled from the shelter by rescue and flown to New Jersey by Pilots for Paws. (Yay! Pilots for Paws!) Then she came to my house. I was supposed to foster her so she could find a good home. And I've fostered over a dozen dogs so she was just another one of the little loves that came into my home.
When she arrived Gracie had an infection in her spay, was shaved down to her skinny little bones (due to matting) and mostly just hung her head. She was the saddest sight you've ever seen. And she avoided eye contact at all times. This is something I see a lot in rescue dogs. They are afraid to meet your eyes. When held up they look anywhere but into your eyes. When you do get a glimpse there is only fear reflected back.
Something in Gracie touched me. As tough as I thought myself to be, this little girl reached me in a way I couldn't deny. So she stayed and I became a foster failure. :)
She slowly came out of her shell. It was two weeks before I knew she could bark. Another few before she'd move toward the food bowl on her own. Each day she did a little more and slowly made our home her own. Then the day came when Gracie looked me in the eye. She didn't turn away or avert her gaze. She looked up at me and wagged her tail. I'm sure she didn't understand the tears in my eyes or the joy in my heart.
But today Gracie looked at me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

What a Deer....

There's a little deer in my house now. Brianne weighs 7 lbs and likes cuddling, biscuits and her crate. (her safe haven) She came off an euthanasia list in Tennessee. As I hold this tiny bundle in my hands I wonder how anyone could have dumped such a helpless creature in a cold, lonely shelter. One that euthanizes on a daily basis.
Still, like most dogs, she wants nothing to love and be loved. She holds no hate in that tiny heart for those who did this to her. She only wonders what she did wrong.
I tell her she's a princess now and a family member of the Castle of Dreams
and from now on life will be good.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Not me, nope, never!

One thing a foster home has to struggle with is love. Of course you're going to care for each dog that comes through your house. The injured ones and puppies are the hardest because your heart aches as they heal from their wounds. Puppies are all goodness and love wrapped up in a furball. How could you not love?
But a foster has to harden their hearts to their own feelings and do the right thing. Find them a good forever home so we can move on and save the next one.
It's what we do.
We are rescue.
My latest foster is Buffy the Shih Tzu. She's a puppy mill dog from Missouri. She came with two ear infections and an infected spay incision. Very sad case. She was saved down to fuzz from the matting. I still see strange black little clumps in the hair close to the skin. We vetted, administered meds, cleaned her wound on a daily basis and slowly she perked up.
I took her to one home to adopt but she didn't get along with their dog so that was a no go.
Then the impossible happened. I fought hard. Suffered. Wrestled with my conscious. Weighed it. Discussed it and finally couldn't change the fact.
Buffy had stolen the heart I tried so hard to keep guarded.
My confession: I am a foster failure.
Here's my heart:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Joy


Joy left my house today
It ran out all wrapped in warm golden fur
As happy as ever to go for a walk
Did he know he wasn't coming back?
Did he feel my heart break?

Joy left my house today
More bouncy and happy than when he arrived
There was a spring in his step
and a smile in his eyes

Joy left my house today
And now I look for that furry face
by the back door, waiting to come in
by my side, waiting for a cuddle

Joy left my house today
Leaving me in despair
Leaving me depressed
Knowing it's for the best

Joy left my house today
I miss his warm furry body
I miss his shredding newspapers
And tossing toys in the air

Joy left my house today
My heart is broken
My mind depressed
Yet I know it's for the best

Joy left my house today
To find his forever home
I pray his life is better now
Maybe because of me

More joy comes tomorrow

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Dangerous Foster Dog

Some foster dogs are dangerous.
They’re sneaky and steal things.
Like your heart.
They sneak up on you with wistful brown eyes, reach into your soul, and you want to keep them forever.
This is called a foster failure. The foster families who want to keep their foster dog.
I was never a foster failure. I would never do that because I know how important it is for the next dog coming up to stay with me until he has a family.
But some do.
Some, scratch that, most foster moms I know have several foster failures and I can see why.
Scooby.
He’s why.
Scooby came into my home on a breath of fresh air. Although transport said he was cranky and fought with the other dogs he hasn’t shown a bit of aggression to anyone. Not my fourteen year old golden, Halston, not my cantankerous old calico cat, Gizzmo, not anyone who ever stepped foot into our home.
His transport people were gentle and did their best but he must have been so scared. Once he had a home. Then life happened and he was dumped, lost, scared, picked up, put in a cage, shipped on a truck with lots of big, noisy, scared dogs. The truck stopped and he was taken out of one cage and shoved in another with more scared, strange dogs.
I’d probably snap at someone too. . .
Scooby is love wrapped in fur. All he wants out of life is to play and to love.
When he first came into our home he gave Halston a sniff and ran to Gizzmo to play. I guess since Gizz is about the same size, Scooby thought she was another playmate. Gizzmo was not amused. To this day, three weeks later, she’s still not amused with Scooby.
I work full time.
Scooby is young.
When I’m gone I crate him because he seems to think everything is a chew toy. I’m afraid he’d electrocute himself or something when I’m gone.
He leaps the gate so I can’t even leave him in the kitchen.
And I want to keep him.
My heart breaks at the thought of giving him away.
>sniff<

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Scoooby doo beee doooooooooooooo


Scooby came from Missouri and is looking for a new home. He's just a year or two old and loves his toys!
When Scooby first arrived we dunked him right into the tub, but his back was so matted he really needs a trip to the groomer. I could probably clip the dreadlocks off myself but I'd make a bigger mess of it than he already is. He goes tomorrow morning and I can't wait to see him all cleaned up.
This little fellow is a charmer. He love people and wants to please. He already knew how to sit when I offered him a treat so I think he must have been in a home at one point.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Foster Puppy!


This little man came up from Mississippi tonight. We immediately put him and the five other pups he came up with into the sink and washed him up with Dawn dish washing liquid. (Dawn kills fleas.)
He came into the house very sweet and friendly. He went nose to nose with the cat and then walked away. Good sign. Right now he's playing tug of war.
First night is going well so far.
One problem...they sent him up saying he was a she and named Rita. After his bath we discovered she's a he. So we're thinking up a new name. I like Scooby. My daughter votes for Benji and, because of his mop of hair, Swiffer.
We'll see what name fits his personality....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Just a Foster Family


When you fall in love with a foster who has fit into your family so well it's sooo tempting to want to keep her. And there's been a few here and there that I wantd to keep. I almost felt like I would be betraying the pup who I knew was falling in love with us as much as we were falling for her. When the dog goes from absolute fear to meeting my eyes with love and devotion it's hard to give her up. I tell the pup I'm just a foster mom and I was here to find her a good home with people who will love her forever. I say this over and over and I know maybe I'm just trying to convince myself.
When they leave sometimes it feels like my heart has been ripped from my chest. Will they understand that I did love them and that's why I gave them up? Will they know that their trust wasn't betrayed and that moving them to a new home is the best thing for them?
I worry.
I think about them day and night.
Hoping their adoptive peeps will be extra gentle with them for a few days as they adjust.
I worry.
I think.
And wonder if this is the dog I should have kept.
And if she'll forgive me for passing her on.
I cry over this.
And then I remember that by adopting this one out, I save one more. That's the prize. The gift for the one I adopted out and the gift for the one on death row in a shelter somewhere.
So for the pain in our heart of the dog we adopted out and the hope in our heart for the dog on death row we remind ourselves that we are just a foster family. We take them in, heal their pain, and find them a forever home.
It's what we do.
We are foster families.