There will be dogs available for adoption, food, nail trims and lots of fun all around.
Today is a great day. One year ago today we brought home a little scared dog who wasn’t sure what was going on. One year later, she is an integral part of our family and we couldn’t imagine our lives without her.
Portrait by Jennifer Bailey Photography
She has come such a long way. This year has definitely not been easy, but every step of the way has been worth it. It was quite the challenge to figure out how she fit into our family, and into our lifestyle but I can safely say now that we are finally there! She has found her place and is very confident and happy about it.
Portrait by Jennifer Bailey Photography
I must apologize for not writing the 11 month update, but I wanted to save it all for this post.
Wellie has been doing so well that we can’t even believe she’s the same dog! She rarely has accidents in the house anymore and we don’t even really need to use the bells on the back door anymore as she lets us know when she has to go out. She still needs to go out quite a bit, but as long as we are able to let her outside, she doesn’t have any accidents.
Since day one, Wellie has had attitude and it still shines through every once and a while. We are making sure to keep working on making her realize that we are in charge, not her.
We still are crating – she doesn’t fully have her freedom back yet and we are moving very slowly with it. She now is allowed in the kitchen when we are gone out, but only sporadically. She is also allowed to sleep on the bed with us, but only every other night. We need to do this slowly so that she doesn’t think that she’s in charge.
One thing we’ve realized recently is that Corduroy is the top dog in our place. It was quite the surprise to realize this because she’s the most chilled dog of the bunch, but she is the only dog who can control the others and none of the other dogs ever bug her. Ever.
Corduroy and Wellie are still best buds and do pretty much everything together. It’s the cutest thing. Paddington and Wellie still don’t love each other totally, but they do love to play together but once they are done playing, they go to their separate corners.
One thing we realized over the Christmas holidays this year, was that Wellie was wagging her tail for us. I’d never noticed the absence of tail wagging, until I saw her actually doing it. It made me sad to realize that she wasn’t’ wagging it for so long, but made me so happy that she’s wagging it now and we know she is so happy to see us and be in our family.
Wellie is such a ham and LOVES the camera. She adores posing for portraits which is funny because Paddington and Corduroy are quite the opposite!
Wellie fiercely loves Thomas. Every evening she lays on his lap and gets him to pet her. She much prefers sitting with him, to sitting with me. When she sleeps on the bed, she is always pressed up against him (he doesn’t love this as much as she does! haha). It’s really wonderful to see the bond they’d developed and I know it will grow over the years.
Continue reading →
I must admit I am a few days late posting this, but it’s (mostly) good news that I bring!
We have had a month full of ups and downs, and we are still learning lessons.
We’ll start with a down: mid month, Wellie started throwing up a lot. During each incident, she’d vomit four times. This kept happening and after the third straight incident (the last being from 3am-4am), I brought her into the vet to see what was up. I was confused because her spirits were high, she was still eating and drinking normally, but she kept throwing up. The vet felt around and concluded that she probably ate something that was blocking her pyloric valve, causing the food to stay in her stomach and ferment, which then was uncomfortable so she would throw it up. He instructed us to keep our same diet (stew + muffins) but water it down to a slop-like consistency as well as give her a papaya supplement and some Nux Vomica for a week. That did the trick! Wellie didn’t throw up once after visiting the vet and we were very relieved that she was ok.
During her time of not feeling well, she had a few accidents. I honestly think these were accidents, and not “i’m-mat-at-you-adents”. Since her diet was all of a sudden really watery, she needed to pee a lot more and one day I forgot to let her out every hour and she had an accident on the floor. The same week she had a poop accident in the living room, but again, I’m chalking this up to her not feeling well.
We did have one true act of defiance last week, which was after she was feeling better and was a flashback to when she was doing it to let us know she was unhappy. I had a wedding consultation for my photography business and Thomas took the dogs into the basement. We do this for every consultation and he’s usually in the office or the basement. I guess Wellie got angry that she couldn’t come see me and peed on the couch RIGHT next to Thomas. From now on, she will be crated during my consultations. I think we got so excited at how well she was doing and let her have too much freedom too soon.
I can’t believe it’s been six months since we brought Wellie home from Animatch and she became a part of our family.
This has been a good month. The dogs have finally settling into a routine of having me working from home and things are going well.
Initiating the routine for Wellie’s crating has been integral in her progress. It hasn’t been perfect, but she is so much better and we are feeling much more confident about her housetraining.
Every once and a while, Wellie regresses back and lets us know she’s unhappy about something – last week I was out the front speaking with my brother-in-law and Wellie peed in the front hallway because she was unhappy that I didn’t take her out there with me. Next time I’m speaking with someone outside, she’ll be outside, tethered to Thomas, or crated. We learn from our mistakes and move on!
We went to Toronto to visit with my parents this month and I’ve found that Wellie reverts back to her old self when we are in other people’s houses so we’ve been making sure to tether her at all times when she’s out of the crate. I made the mistake of letting her off at my parents house on a few occasions and she had two “accidents”. One was purely her letting me know she was mad, and the other she was playing around with Sonnet and she just stopped and pooped. I think maybe she didn’t realize how much she had to go.
Since we’ve been back home again we’ve been on track and there have been no accidents. We’ve even gone so far as to replace the rug in our living room, which we discovered after feeding some wires under it, that the dogs had been using it as a pee pad for goodness knows how long. Ew. We definitely rustled up some smells that day! Continue reading →
I am an animal lover by heart and trade. Working with a rescue organization for 4 years has been inspiring, and each day holds new lessons to be learned. It has never been any other incentive to work in the field of animal welfare other than for the sheer happiness it has always brought me to be the voice for misunderstood animals in a high-volume, no-kill, open-door facility in a very transient community.
Roxanne was beautiful. She was a mixed breed – German Shepherd was probably her primary breed, and had lovely, bright and shining brown eyes. Her coat was black, and she had flecks of brown and white on her feet, like little kisses. Her teats were swollen still from feeding and caring for her 7 pups that she had given birth to 5 weeks earlier. She was scared, but looking for comfort. The embers in her eyes flicked all over the room. She and her pups had been brought to our facility for care from a Native American Colony a few miles north of our city. Roxanne was the “favourite” of her main care-taker, who was adamant that he was not her owner. He called her Roxanne, and fed her, her pups, and a total of 10 other dogs on the unforgiving land on the reservation. Sadly, Roxanne and her pups did not look to be favourites.
Although Roxanne’s eyes were very telling, and very much alive, they were in the head of a skeleton of a dog. Roxanne was a semi-feral dog who had been living off the land and the few people who might feed her a few bites here and there, finding shelter where she could, and taking care of her pups. With barely enough sustenance to keep her alive, and her hungry, nursing puppies draining her of valuable calories, Roxanne weighed a mere 38 pounds.
Roxanne’s 7 puppies, too young for adoption, were slightly undernourished and had parasites in their intestines but were otherwise healthy. The little ones did not stay in the shelter for long, as a foster home was called. The sweet things would be nursed back to health and returned to the shelter to be spayed and neutered before adoption in a few short weeks, however, Roxanne had bigger problems.
Roxanne was rushed back to for an evaluation by the veterinarian, who had the difficult job of evaluating prognosis and quality of life, especially since Roxanne was semi-feral. Intussusception was Roxanne’s problem, the doctor said. Her intestines had started to telescope on themselves. Roxanne’s only chance was to have a surgery after stabilizing her condition and monitoring her for a few days to have that part of her intestines removed. We would then have to introduce her to solid foods very slowly in order to get her back to a healthy weight.
Miraculously, Roxanne survived her surgery, and went on to recovery treatment in another foster home.
Roxanne’s story is particularly inspiring to me and many others. Although Roxanne had grown and learned to live in a harsh environment, was semi-feral, and had been brought in to a strange place, with strange people who used what might seem to be terrifying medical equipment, Roxanne was a perfect patient. Roxanne accepted such change in her life not without difficulty, but her intrepid and fiercely strong spirit allowed her to move on and push through her salvage. Anyone who has ever had the blessing to have the love of a dog would be able to tell you that their spirit is intrepid. Dogs are miraculous in their forgiving and loyal nature. Dogs are eager to please and amazingly easy to please. At the animal shelter, I learned that a dog would never just lay down and give up – that is unless you told him, “lay down”.
Ultimately, what we learn from Roxanne is that we cannot focus on pointing fingers, but we can focus on what was really important – doing everything in our power helping her to fight the fight of her life to live in happiness. Roxanne lives in a home now that is as patient with her as she is with her new family. They teach each other new things every day. Roxanne learns that she no longer has to worry when her next meal will come, and her family learns of a love so intense and loyal that only a dog can give.
It’s been almost 8 months since we entered into the world of foster hood, and although 8 months doesn’t seem like a long time in the grand scheme of things, I feel like a seasoned vet. We’ve learned quite a lot about the rescue world and fostering since then, and for anyone wondering what it’s all about, I wanted to share the good, the bad, and the ugly.
#1 – You can say goodbye to a lot of your free time.
Between vet visits, grooming appointments, people coming to your home to meet your foster, and multiple home visits (which you may or may not opt to do), you will find your days filling up very quickly. On the flip side, your foster may come to you fully vetted without any health issues, and after going through multiple applications, you may decide that one person really stands out so you only need to do the one visit.
#2 – If you do choose to do your own home visits, you will know exactly where your foster is going.
Although these visits do take up quite a bit of your free time and can be a bit of a pain, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being able to see and visit the home where your foster may end up living helps to decrease the anxiety you feel when they leave. This is definitely one of the pluses to volunteering with a foster-based rescue over a shelter.
#3 – You will inevitably find yourself spending your own money on your fosters.
Although rescues usually will pay for vetting and food (the latter is not the case for many rescues however) you will still spend gas money driving to and from various appointments and visits. If you don’t have a car, then there is usually a volunteer driver who will take your foster dog to the vet, and a home visit team who will do your home visits.
Hopeful Hearts pays for all vetting, food, and most supplies, but sometimes those supplies run out or they just don’t have them. In those cases, we’re asked to keep the receipts and submit them. Have I ever done that? No. I’d much rather have the rescue use that money on a dog needing vet care.
Having said that, every time we bring a new foster home, we usually make a trip to the pet store. We’ve spent money on things like new collars for our fosters (Crazy Beautiful Collars is an addiction of mine), leashes, a playpen and monkey sweater for Snoopy (that he ended up hating), toys — you name it. But that’s our own choice.
#4 – There will be messes.
I have stepped in pee, poo, and puke (the three P’s) more often than I care to remember, and it feels like we’re always cleaning. Sometimes I think we have a houseful of furry babies running around.
You will come to realize that having a squeaky clean and beautiful home is not always a reality when fostering. A few days after multiple fosters arrived at our home for the first time, I had to say goodbye to our rug (it got peed on) and any notion of replacing said rug on the main floor. Between the three P’s, dirty snow and muddy footprints, it just wasn’t worth it.
There may also be damage to your belongings if your foster is destructive. Crates will become your new best friend, but if your foster has an immense dislike for crates, a great alternative is the playpen.
#5 – Your own dog’s behaviour may change.
Once upon a time our dog Halladay used to be impeccably housetrained. We would leave him alone in the house for 8+ hours, come home from work, and there wouldn’t be a single accident. Now that we have a different dog in our home every month or so, sometimes with questionable bathroom habits, Halladay has begun displaying his own less than stellar bathroom habits.
For example (yes, there is an example), the other night I was lying in bed, going through emails on my laptop. Lara was sleeping in her bed beside me, and Halladay and Wookie were wrestling. Suddenly Halladay stopped playing, went to a corner of the bedroom and began doing his poo spin. Thankfully I stopped him in time and got him downstairs and out to the backyard.
Clearly someone needs a refresher in housetraining.
On the flip side, if your dog is an only dog like Halladay used to be, you will dance with happiness when you find your beloved dog and foster getting along, and a few days later, even playing. As much as your dog loves you, nothing replaces their need for doggy companionship. It’s the same thing with humans. As much as I love my dogs, I could not survive wholly on their companionship.
When Wookie and Halladay began playing on Day #2, we really did do a happy dance. Wookie was the first foster that ever wanted to play, and I think Halladay felt like he hit the jackpot.
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