Think with your head

***FOSTERS NEEDED*** I read, and saw that there was a chance to get a couple of “adult” dogs off the Island off Turks and Caicos, if fosters were found.  With Rose being adopted, and knowing that the rescue I work with was not due to have another intake of dogs until the fall, I responded to the email.

The Human Society of Durham Region (HSDR) has a wonderful Potcake program, and when they can, they bring dogs from the Islands for adoption.  I haven’t posted on Island dogs yet, which is funny since Flipflop is one, a future blog post, I suppose!

I have been on HSDR’s email list for a while but have not had the opportunity to assist them, yet.  I had to go through their process to be approved as a foster. I completed the forms and watched their foster video.  The video was not anything I wasn’t aware of, but its a great video for people new to fostering in general.  The slide that really caught my attention was “Think with your head, not your heart.”

It addresses the importance of doing this when fostering.   It is very easy (in fact too easy) to fall in love with every foster.  It is also very tempting to want to keep them all, but that is not what fostering is about.  Fostering is about getting the dog ready to go to its forever home, or in the case of HSDR to the shelter to be adopted.

The slide talks about the importance of what a foster home’s responsibility and duty is and the importance of letting your foster go.  I loved the slide because I hear time and time again (and pretty sure I’ve ranted in my blog a time or two) about people who don’t understand and say things such as they couldn’t do it as they would fall in love with the dog (can’t think of one foster I had where I didn’t sob when they left because – yep – you guessed it, I fell in love with him/her).  Or how they couldn’t do it as it would break their hearts, yes my heart breaks every time one leaves, but what happens to strays and unwanted dogs in this world breaks my heart even more!

And while I sob and mend my broken heart – which one special rescuer said to me, “it’s not your heart breaking it’s your heart expanding to make room for another dog” – I think of the amazing life that dog who just left my home is going to have with their forever family.  And of course, what adventure the next foster will bring into my world.

My HSDR foster is expected to arrive August 5th, weather permitted (dogs can’t fly when the temperature is over or under a certain degree).  I will definitely get on line and share their story and the love my pack and I develop for them.


Rose – Post 2

Rose was dropped off July 10th and much to my surprise, she was an absolute delight.  I wasn’t sure what to expect with Rose, she was little (11 lbs), and I had only ever had dogs 30-100 lbs.  Rose long and lean like Dachshund, but her ears weren’t quite as long as a purebred.

As soon as she came over to Flipflop and I, I could tell this little dog has sass!!!  She was playful and confident and ready to start her next adventure!  I was smitten.

I had expected Rose to be yappy, but she was not. I expected her to be shy, but she was not.  Rose loves everything and everyone. She couldn’t wait to greet any person we walked by and play with any dog.

Her first night she slept in bed with me and the following day I put her in her crate when I left for work.  I expected barking and crying, there was none.  She was content in her crate with her toy and a treat.

When I got home from work, she was quiet in her crate, standing up and wagging her tail.  I approached her to let her out and she started crying with excitement.  The next morning while I was working out, Rose was running around the living room, collecting dog toys and putting them in her crate.  I guess she decided if she was going to be in there all day, she wanted a selection of toys!

But she wasn’t in there the second day, she went to daycare with Flipflop.  At daycare, Rose’s confidence excelled even more, she played with every dog in the room.  Rose literally didn’t stop all day.  It was so blissful that night, she curled up and slept soundly the whole evening!

Friday she was left in her crate again, with a selection of toys, and was quite content.

Saturday morning I woke up early to walk the dogs before taking Rose on an hour drive to an Adoption Fair.  Rose happily played with the other dogs while people came and went to see the dogs.

At the end of the day Rose, much to everyone’s surprise, had not been adopted.  I was asked to leave Rose at the pet centre where the fair was being held.  I immediately said no.

The pet centre owner told me that if I left Rose, she would likely be adopted out in a few days based on how many people saw her today.  I was torn, but then decided I would leave her there, as it was best for Rose that way.

I spent some more time with Rose and then took her to the pen she was going to sleep in for the night, and I saw where she would be free to play during each day she was there.  In my most cheerful voice I told her what an amazing girl she is, and how she is going to go to a new home very soon and will have the best life she deserves.

I put her down and she looked up at me with her big brown eyes, I shut the gate and told her she was good. As I turned away my tears stated flowing like crazy, they are starting again, as I type this.

I felt as if I abandoned her, I was so sad and worried that Rose would think she was not loved by me.  I stuck around speaking with some of the other volunteers, one of them was kind enough to check on Rose and told me she was totally content and chill and just being a dog.  It didn’t make me feel less sad or guilty for leaving her but I was relieved she was content.

Rose wasn’t even at the pet centre for 24 hours and was adopted! Sunday morning she met her forever mom, and her sibling, a dachshund!

Another happy ending!



The joy of skunks

My sweet foster Rose arrived Tuesday night.  She is a very sweet Chihuahua Dachshund mix, who is friendly and full of cuteness!!  We had a usual first night, where everyone was a bit unsettled and figuring things out.

Wednesday morning I got up early so I could take the dogs to the local park and get in the fully fenced football field to give Flipflop and Rose a chance to play and start to bond.  Flipflop gleefully put his leash in mouth and started running.  Flipflop thinks his leash is pure gold and everyone wants it.  He proudly carries it around every chance he gets!  As expected, Rose excitedly understood the game and started running.


Dahlia and I hung back and watched the two young dogs run and chase one another.  They ran circles around the filed and then suddenly Flipflop stopped, something caught his attention.  I started looking along the fence line for another dog or a person walking.  And then I saw it, just as Flipflop and Rose ran to the end of the field, a skunk was on the other side of the fence.

The two dogs ran near the fence line, just in range of the skunk, I called Flipflop, he came to me, I gave him some pats.  I should have grabbed his leash, because no sooner did I pet him and gave him the signal he was free, he ran back toward Rose and the skunk.  I called him again and this time both he and Rose ran to me but it was too late.

Rose dropped and rolled, Flipflop rolled a bit, I could smell it immediately, the skunk had sprayed.  So in less than 12 hours since I met Rose, she was getting a bath, followed by Flipflop.

A remedy I found that works well is 1 bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide, 1/4 cup Baking Soda and 1 Tsp Dish Soap.  Mix the ingredients with gloved hands and lather up the dog.  Let the lather sit for a short period of time and then shampoo the dog with their normal dog shampoo, rinse well.  If you wish you can shampoo the dog a couple times, but I find one good shampooing usually does the trick.

Unfortunately due to Rose’s size, she got sprayed from head to toe, so her face is still smelly, but it doesn’t change how adorable she is!


Rescuing Dahlia

Dahlia is my 9 year old Catahoula, she came to me as a foster last year and I ended up adopting her.  I have seen this girl come a long way in the 15 months since I first met her.  She is part of our family, and happily part of Flipflop’s pack.

It’s a very hot summer weekend in the GTA, with a humid-ex making it feel in the mid 40 degrees Celsius.  Hot for many humans, extremely hot for dogs!!  So after a day of brief walks yesterday, I decided to let Flipflop get his energy out at a lovely dog park nearby. It is in a wooded area, with a creek running through it, which the dogs can swim or wade in to stay cool as they play.  I don’t always bring Dahlia to this park, as the terrain is very rough and I worry about her legs.

But today I decided we would only do the first half of the park and not go up on the cliffs and rougher terrains.

Needless to say as soon as we got there, the dogs were extremely happy.  Dahlia, Flipflop and their best friend Miss Ellie (who is staying with us this week) were all happily trotting around.

As we walked through the woods on our way to the water, Flipflop climbed down a steep  hill to enter the creek.  He playfully ran around and enjoyed cooling off.  Dahlia stood at the edge looking down, I knew she wanted to go in the water, but I also knew she’s never get back up, if she even got down ok.

I leashed her up to keep her safe and we kept walking until we got to part of the creek where she could easily walk into. And she did, Dahlia, Flipflop and Miss Ellie enjoyed splashing around and cooling off.  Greeting other dogs as they came and went.  Once ready to move on, Flipflop and Miss Ellie got out of the water and started toward the path, then stopped to wait for me.  Dahlia was not quite ready to leave the water though.  After some coasting I got her to come out and leashed her up to keep her walking, as she just wanted to stay in the water.

We stopped at a few more swimming areas before I decided to walk back to the car.  They had been out for over an hour and although they were refreshed in the water, I was starting to wilt!

As we walked back toward the car, we stopped along the way for more water time as the dogs wanted.  After the last swimming area, we continued through the woods.  I didn’t leash Dahlia up, as I didn’t think there would be a need, I was so wrong!  Flipflop (who’s is young and agile) decided to waddle down a 10 foot cliff and into the water.  Miss Ellie looked down, she likes to think things through before doing them, I knew there was no way she would go down that cliff.  That is until, before I could even think, Dahlia was going down the cliff and Miss Ellie followed her.

They all safely made it into the water and Dahlia was wagging her tail as happy as could be.  It was when Flipflop and Miss Ellie came running back up that I realized Dahlia didn’t have the confidence to get up on her own.

I walked down the path a bit, where she was still in site, to an area where the cliff wasn’t so steep and called her.  She stood in the water looking up at me, but still didn’t have the confidence to try and come up.  She walked back to where she first got into the water.

After a few minutes, I realized, not only did she not have the confidence, she wasn’t even going to try to come up.  There was only one thing to do, I took a deep breath and started climbing down the cliff, holding onto branches and along the way and hoping I didn’t fall!

I didn’t fall, and when I got to the bottom, Dahlia danced with glee that I was there with her.  I put her leash on and told her I had her and we were going to go up together.  At first Dahlia still didn’t want to come up but as she saw me starting to climb, she started following behind me.

Thankfully Dahlia made it up with no injuries and her legs still strong.  I have a few bruises but well worth it to get Dahlia up safely!

Dahlia stayed on her leash the rest of the way to the car and is now contently sleeping on her couch!