Lucy – Post 2

Lucy came into my home as my foster in September. She’s a Jack Russel Terrier mix and sweet as can be.  I don’t know a lot about Lucy’s past, she is originally from Mexico but was adopted out in Canada before she was 1.

Lucy’s Canadian family split up and apparently there were three dogs, the female took two of them and the male claimed he was moving in with his brother and couldn’t take Lucy.  So she was surrendered back to the rescue.  They told the rescue all sorts of fabrications of behavioural issues, which I knew within a week of having Lucy they made up to make themselves seem like they were less horrible people for not wanting her.

Lucy was put into a pet centre when she was surrendered.  She did not do well in this environment at all, the excitement of the other dogs scared her, it was noisy and she was confused.  Lucy was getting depressed, she was starting to break down and refusing to come out of her crate for play and socialization.

Lucy needed to get into a foster home ASAP.  I had just adopted out Sally/Tess and the rescue asked if I could take Lucy immediately.  It was a Friday evening, I was going away for the weekend but arranged to pick up Lucy on the Sunday evening.  When I first met her she was so scared she was crawling on her belly.  It broke my heart!

Lucy when I first met her

I got her outside and immediately went down to my knees so I appeared less scary to her and she stood up for me.  I talked to her a few minutes and then took her home.

My friend and neighbour (Auntie Janet, as she’s known to my dogs), met me outside with my two forever dogs – ALWAYS introduce new dogs to your dogs in neutral territory.  Immediately upon meeting Flipflop (my 3 year old forever dog), Lucy was in love.  She took to Flipflop immediately and him to her.  In fact, integrating Lucy into our home has been the easiest foster integration to date!  The two “terriers” as I call them, as they both have JRT in them, became instant BFFs.

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Lucy is 2 years old and a sweetheart.  She loves to chase squirrels, play with dogs (when off leash – on leash she is not as confident), and snuggle.  This morning I was working out at home and as I laid on the floor to do some crunches Lucy laid on top of me and wanted to just keep kissing my face.  It was SO annoying, in the sweetest way!

Lucy is on the smaller size of medium – about 35 lbs. The perfect size for snuggles.  After her walks she loves to crawl up on my bed and sleep. And when I walk in my room she looks at me and gives her tail a soft wag as she remains resting.

When she wants to play she loves stuffed toys (destuffing them of course), or wrestling with Flipflop.  Outside she loves to play fetch or chase with other dogs, unless of course a squirrel catches her eye!  I really hope when we find Lucy’s forever home, they have a canine sibling for her to play with.

Lucy is available for adoption through Royal Canadian Pooch.

 

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Hope

Hope is not one of my dogs, or a previous foster, Hope is my best friends’ dog.  Hope is an eleven year old Springer Spaniel/Chocolate Lab.

This year has been a year of change for Hope, in the spring one of her canine sisters, Jasmine, passed away, Jasmine was a lovely 12 year old German Shepherd.  Hope and Jasmine had a love/hate relationship but they were a pack.  A pack that included Chloe, a 13 year old Black Lab/Border Collie mix.  Sadly only a few months after Jasmine passed away, Chloe joined her.  Leaving Hope, who always had dogs with her, alone.

While Hope and her human family grieved, life went on as normal as it could.  One evening on a walk with her mom, Hope was maliciously attached by two dogs whose irresponsible owners let wander around neighbourhood unattended.

This resulted in Hope being rushed to the emergency vet office, where it was determined she may have to lose her tail.    Hope always wags her tail, even in her sleep you could hear the thump thump of her tail wagging while she dreamt. It devastated Jennifer.  The emergency vet splint and taped Hope’s tail and Jennifer was to take her to her family vet the next morning.

The family vet operated on Hope immediately and amputated her tail.  The vet was worried that she’d have to amputate so much of Hope’s tail that Hope would have to be euthanized. Fortunately that was not the case.

After the surgery, Hope was on pain medications and three antibiotics for weeks while she healed.  She had to go to the vet every 3 days to be checked on and make sure she was recovering well.  It was very overwhelming for both Hope and her parents!

Hope now has a little nub as her tail but she wags it happily, still the sweet loving dog she’s always been.  I am very grateful that she is doing so well, but it angers me that these irresponsible pet owners let their dogs roam free and have taken no responsibility or ownership of what happened to Hope.

Dogs will be dogs, even the kindest dog can do something unexpected, and part of being a responsible pet owner is taking full responsibility and not ignoring the situation.IMG_6197

 

Making a match

It’s one of the moments I dread but also am so happy for – someone is interested in my foster.  It’s such a mash up of mixed emotions, but I know if it works out, it’s so rewarding so I suck up my selfish tears and set up the meet and greet.

The meet and greet is the final step of the adoption process, it’s where the family and the dog meet to see if they are a good fit.  It’s very exciting and emotional, as the foster mom, to know my foster could be leaving soon but also knowing that it could be another happy ending in the making.

Not all dogs are right for all families, no matter how badly everyone wants it to work.  Lucy received an application and everything seemed like a perfect match, the family agreed to come to my place to meet her.

I took my forever dogs to my neighbours, so all the attention could go to Lucy.  Lucy and I snuggled and waited for her potential family to arrive.

It did not go as expected at all…….Lucy was scared and nervous, she hid under my dining room table, I had never seen her behave in such a way.  I called for reinforcements, Lucy can’t resist her auntie  Janet (my neighbour).  Janet came over and Lucy immediately ran to greet her.  Lucy didn’t return to hiding but she still refused to go to the family.

Janet eventually went and got her dog, Miss Ellie.  Lucy followed Miss Ellie’s queue and started socializing with the family, although she still showed some nervous energy when around the male.

I don’t know a lot about Lucy’s past but she definitely has a fear of some men and is nervous around most until she warms up to them over time.

Unfortunately in this case, the family was looking for a dog for the man of the house, he wanted a dog who was going to bond with him instantly and it was pretty apparent Lucy would need some time.

Rescue dogs don’t often bond immediately with their family, thee dogs need to go to patient understanding homes.

This family really liked Lucy and could see she was a sweet girl, but the dilemma they faced is she would not likely bond quickly to her new dad.  We all agreed, while they would make a great family for the right dog, Lucy was not the match for them.

I know Lucy will find her family, and in the meantime I’m only too happy to keep fostering her.

Lessons in Leadership – that I learned from a dog

I wrote this for a company newsletter, but thought I’d post here as well:

Anyone who has spent two minutes in my office, or has spoken to me for more than five, knows I am truly passionate about animal rescue and the well-being of those less fortunate than me.

Dogs, much like humans, all have different experiences, backgrounds and needs.  Some are more sensitive than others; some need my constant attention while others just want to do their thing and are content to be left on their own.  Most of my foster dogs have loved my forever dog, Flipflop, and got along with my cats. Others were scared of the cats, or only liked the cats and not Flipflop.  Just like people, they have their likes and dislikes.

As the foster mom, just like as a leader, I need to assess each dog and what their needs are and how they best respond to my demands (or expectations). I need to learn how to communicate to each foster so my message is clearly understood.

While it’s easy for me to want to coddle and baby each dog, especially the ones from abusive pasts, I had to learn that coddling dogs (just as when we coddle our employees), is not productive.  The dog does not respond to or respect me as their leader when I do not set boundaries.

My most recent foster has a very sad history of neglect and abuse and I found myself wanting to make up for all her past trauma.  For those of you familiar with dogs, you can imagine what this led to.  By coddling this dog I wasn’t helping her improve or teaching her what my expectations were, I was allowing her to make her own rules and not respect me.

After three weeks of having breakdowns every day over this sweet dog that unfortunately ended up dictating my life and sky-rocketing my stress level, I realized she wasn’t the one out of control: I was.  By not setting firm but fair boundaries and not showing her proper discipline when she misbehaved, the dog felt she could do whatever she pleased. I was not a leader in her view.

With our employees, we must also be firm but fair and speak to them when they are displaying behaviour which is not in line with your organizations culture. Otherwise, they will not understand they are not performing to our expectations.  It is also important to reward for good behaviour, make sure our employees know when they are performing well and that we are proud of them. Without proper leadership, our employees will feel unsupported and that they have no accountability to their leader or the organization.

We all enjoy a structured place of work, knowing what the expectation is and our deliverables to achieve greatness.  Just like our canine companions, we look up to the strong leaders, who display tough love, are there to support us but also guide us to achieve our goals and be the best we can be.

While even a crazy dog lady like me recognizes dogs are NOT people, there are similarities in between being a strong leader for a dog as for our employees. So next time your dog (or employee) misbehaves, don’t be afraid to show your leadership side.  Remind them of the expectation, show them support and be their cheerleader when they shine.

 

The news………….

I rarely watch the news, I find it so depressing and sad. Yesterday on my phone’s news feed there were two stories that caught my eye:

Beagle shot in the head 6 times, found in critical condition; and

48 dogs found in Northern Alberta.

Seriously, these stories are what make me hate mankind, which obviously is unhealthy and unfair, considering I truly believe there is more good than bad in the world but it’s hard to remember that.

But it’s also these stories that bring attention to rescue and hopefully encourage people to step forward and help.  There’s never a shortage of animals in need, and there is no such thing as doing do little.

 

 

 

 

A visit to the dog park.

This morning I started my day by taking my two forever dogs (Dahlia and Flipflop) and Lucy (my foster) to the dog park.  I know there’s a lot of mixed opinions on dog parks but my blog is not to debate things either way, its simply for me to share my experiences.

Lucy and Flipflop love to run and play and knowing the dangers of letting them off leash in the city, when time permits, I like to take them to the leash-free parks in my neighbourhood.  When we got to the park, I was quite surprised that Lucy and Flipflop were so calm and just puttering around smelling (normally they would immediately engage in a game of chase).  As we walked through the park they kept exploring and saying hello to other dogs, while Dahlia (my older girl) happily walked by my side.

After about 10 minutes of walking they found their inner terriers and started chasing and playing with one another, only too happy to let other dogs join in. Flipflop, at one point, was running so fast and hard he came right toward Dahlia, I held my breath waiting for impact, instead he jumped her like a hurdle – his agility classes paying off!  Dahlia looked up at me smiling away, although she can’t play as rough as the others, she sure loves when she feels included.

I decided to leave the leash-free area and walk the dogs down to the lake, although it is not a nice day for a swim, it’s always nice on the waterfront.

Lucy can get nervous while on leash around other dogs, something I am working on with her. An off leash dog approached us, I explained to the owner my concerns but Lucy proved me wrong, she was calm and friendly with the dog when it approached us!  I felt like a huge success, although I realize she still needs more work in this area.

I know many people leave their friendly dogs off leash in areas that are not leash free zones, but always remember, some dogs are uncomfortable and/or may be under socialized, which can be escalated when they are approached by another dog.

After a short walk on leash, we returned to the dog park, where Lucy started finding her confidence and engaged other dogs in play, leaving Flipflop to do his own socialization.  While the young dogs played, Dahlia and I had the privilege of meeting other rescue dogs and their parents, something I always enjoy!

Sally aka Tess

Tess was a foster of mine a few months ago, she is a Redbone Coonhound.  When she entered into rescue she was approximately 18 months.

The rescue named her Sally, but to me she was Tess, although she didn’t really get to know either name before being adopted (her forever family kept the name Sally).  Tess  had been kept outside in a cage and had no socialization with humans. She would be allowed out only for hunting and if you saw the energy this young dog had, you’d know what a sad life that must have been for her.

She was out on a hunting expedition and battled a wild boar, needless to say the boar won.  Tess had a gash in her neck, part of her ear bit off and some scars along her body.  Realizing she was not going to be the dog they had hoped for, the owners called a rescue and said they were going to shoot Tess unless they wanted to come get her and find her a home.

This was in Florida, the rescue did go get Tess,  and when she arrived in Canada I was set to be her foster mom.

You could literally count the ribs on this young dog, she was so skinny and despite her lack of socialization, she was very sweet but timid.  When Tess entered my home, she found her safe place, under my dining room table.  I set up a bed and put bowls of food and water there for her.

I had Tess for two weeks and during that time she would come out of her safe spot for periods of time and then retreat back to it.  She liked sleeping on the floor in a dog bed, and although she would sometimes run up to me to get some love and attention, for the most part she kept her distance.

It was not a surprise for me when a family came to meet Tess and took her home that same day. Although she was nervous and unsure, they saw the same beautiful potential that I saw in her.

It took Tess a while to come out of her shell with her family but they remained patient. I received a text this week telling me how Sally (aka Tess) loves to cuddle on the couch and is a bed hog at night.

I cannot tell you how it warms my heart to hear that this amazing dog who wouldn’t dream of getting too close to humans has taken over her family’s couch, bed and hearts!

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Lucy – Post 1

Lucy is adorable, she’s a 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier (JRT) mix.  I’ve been fostering her since August and she’s had no hits for adoption.  For the life of me I can’t figure out why, she’s young, great with dogs, cats and kids, but it was suggested to me it may be the time of year.

When I received Lucy everyone was heading back to school and now everyone is focused on the holidays, hopefully in the New Year we’ll find this sweet girl a home, if not before the holidays.

Lucy is really fun, she loves to play with Flipflop, go on long walks and really enjoys days at daycare.  And she’s so good inside, she snuggles and sleeps and is quite calm, except every now and then she reminds me she’s a young JRTx!

This morning she has an hour walk, including some off leash fun so she could run out her energy.  But I had a longer than usual day at work and when Lucy gets bored, she doesn’t chew the furniture or anything of value, she goes to the bathroom and toilet papers my place.

This evening I came home to half a roll of toilet paper on the holder and by half a roll, I mean she chewed half the roll vertically off the holder. I then noticed one of my favourite stuffed Christmas decorations missing off the shelf I put it on.  Fortunately it was on my bedroom floor no worse for the wear!

Lucy is not a bad dog, she is a dog with high energy and that’s what happens when a high energy dog is bored.  They find mischief!

If you have a high energy dog, you are best to either crate it during the day (safely so it can’t get hurt), hire a dog walker, and/or take it to a daycare.  I have been fortunate that Lucy rarely toilet papers the house, but when she does, I know its from boredom and I shouldn’t have left her as long as I did.

I believe it may be Lucy’s energy that is keeping her from finding a forever family.  JRT’s require a lot of mental stimulation and are not for the inexperienced owner.  That said, they make wonderful pets when they properly socialized and exercised!!!IMG_6099

Here we go!

Weeks from sending my first book to be published and taking the advice of my coach to start a blog.

A little about me, I am a fur mom to cats and dogs (all rescued) and a foster mom to dogs.  I always knew I loved animals and had a great respect for them, and I always have been a supporter of rescue, but it wasn’t until I started fostering that I had a feeling I never had before.

This was what I am supposed to be doing with my life, I am meant to foster dogs and help them find their way to forever homes.  I can’t explain it and it sounds ridiculous to some, I’m sure, but when I have a foster dog, I feel complete.  I know I’m helping, in the best way I can.

I have two beautiful forever dogs.  One who was previously a foster, Dahlia and Flipflop.  I won’t share too much about them on this post, you’ll have to read my book for their stories!

This blog will be about my fosters mainly, my journeys and all things rescue!  Thank you for stopping by and as the weeks, months and years go by, I hope you find inspiration in some of my posts to get involved.