My Flipflop – Post II

Flipflop is my Bahamian Potcake, and you don’t need to know me very well to know he is the apple of my eye.

I’ve shared his adoption story many times, on a single photo I saw at 4:30 am on an October morning, I messaged my friend and Flipflop’s soon to be Canadian foster mom, Sarah, that I wanted Dupont to meet this dog. Sarah knew immediately what that meant………..

Arrangements were made when Flipflop (then Smokey) arrived in Canada for Dupont and I to do meet and greet.  This was done to make sure Dupont didn’t despise the pup, and arrangements were made for me to adopt Flipflop within a couple of days.

This sweet pup, found under a broken-down home in a pile of trash, was to test me in ways I never know a dog could!

As a puppy, Flipflop had bounds of energy!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but he had a lot of Jack Russell in him, and with JR Terriers comes a lot of energy.  I couldn’t tire this dog out, no matter how much I tried, no amount of exercise would do the trick.  I would be in tears some days, as I was beside myself on what more I could do for this puppy to make him content enough to sleep.  I exercised him daily, for at least 2 hours, I had a dog walker to walk him twice during the day while I was at work. And he would still have energy to spare!

Dupont’s previous dog walker had posted an ad on social media for a place called Dogtopia, a dog daycare, opening soon.  As I drove to work a few days later I saw the sign for Dogtopia. It was opening up down the street from me! I called the number I found online and was told there was an open house that weekend and dogs were invited.

That Saturday, Flipflop and I went to the open house and we enrolled!!  Finally, a way to help this young dog burn off energy.  That daycare was a blessing! At first, Flipflop went 3 days a week (sometimes more), and he would play and run so much. The daycare attendants had to force him to rest, as he would be so stimulated he wouldn’t stop.  He didn’t earn his Instagram id “Flipflop_the_pup_who_wont_stop” for no reason! (https://www.instagram.com/flipflop_the_pup_who_wont_stop/?hl=en)

It was in daycare, Flipflop started showing signs of the funny dog he was going to grow into.  He was six months old when he started Dogtopia and quickly made some friends.  A sign of things to come in the future, the daycare staff told me, that Flipflop would only play with his circle of friends and if new dogs came he shied away from them.  To this day, Flipflop has a handful of dog friends (fortunately in BC he’s met some too), and he will only engage those dogs in play.  All other dogs, he stays away from, he will go behind me, if on leash, or run away from the other dogs, if he’s off his leash.

As his confidence grew and he aged, he started acting as the Daycare “go to guy”.  He would greet any dogs that were new to the daycare, and “show them around”.  When the new dog seemed to relax and get in the groove of the playroom, Flipflop would leave them to fend for themselves and return to his pack.  The staff loved watching him show new dogs the ropes, he’d greet them and take them around the room and show them how to climb the ramps and run through the tunnels. I was a proud momma!

Every morning, when I would drop him off at day care, he wouldn’t go to the playrooms until he hugged me goodbye.  If there was a new person who didn’t know our routine, he would refuse to walk with them, I would explain he needed to hug me goodbye.  They would look at me like I was crazy, until they would see me go down on my knees and he would run over to me jumping up to wrap his two front paws around my neck.  I would hug him back and tell him to have  a good day and I would see him after work, and only then, he would go to the playroom without resisting.

One day a room attendant had to get after Flipflop and a couple of  other dogs, as their play was getting a bit heated.   The attendant broke up the play.  The other two dogs simply calmed down and continued their day.  Not, Flipflop!  He calmed down, but then climbed up on one of the toy ramps and sat there for two hours, and refused to even look at any of the room attendants, or play with the other dogs, he was MAD! Everyone at the daycare laughed at his behaviour, even his favourite employee went in the room to try and get him to play and he would have nothing to do with her!

As Flipflop aged, his energy level stayed pretty consistent, although he did slow down slightly.  He eventually needed only 1 day of Daycare a week to get his crazy out.  And eventually, at 4, he stopped going all together.  He was no longer interested in playing with other dogs, we were fostering at this time and had adopted Dahlia, he had all the friends he needed in his own home.

When Flipflop was 4-1/2, I moved to BC.  It was here, I found Flipflop’s true way of life.  As stated in previous blogs, he was meant to be in the mountains, I finally found a way to tire him out!  And when my best friend visited us in the fall, the first thing she noticed was how much more content Flipflop was.  He no longer had excess energy that he couldn’t get out as a city dog.

At 5 years old, Flipflop still has decent energy but he is now content with just 1-2 hours of good exercise a day!  I was worried he was sick when he started coming back to me after only 20 minutes of running!  He still loves to run the mountains, and unfortunately, still looks for any form of wildlife to chase.  But I no longer find myself in tears that he won’t stop!

He has taught me so much about loving life and being in the moment.  And although he still misbehaves, just not as often, when he knows he’s been naughty, he will come to me with his ears back, tail between his legs and head down.  He will stay that way, until I hug him to make up.  It’s the funniest thing.  He is the craziest dog I have ever loved. He wears his heart on his sleeve and lives each moment to the fullest.

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A quiet moment of snuggles.

I’m so glad he gets to enjoy the next several years of his life in the BC mountains with me, enjoying the freedom and exercise he needs to stay healthy and happy.

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Reunions

“Do the dogs remember each other?” “Do they remember you?” I get asked these questions a lot and the truth is, I don’t really know for sure. I would assume it depends on the dog, but from my own experiences, my fosters have remembered me, and the dogs remember one another.

I was speaking with my friend, Mandy.  I met Mandy when she became the forever mom to my foster, Hannah.  Hannah and her family (as well as Solo’s and Ben’s family) have started fostering, paying forward the amazing gift of love they got from adopting.   Mandy was very excited she is going to have a visit with one of her previous fosters, Stella.  It made me start thinking of all the wonderful reunions I have had and have heard of with my extended foster family.

Hannah

When I saw Hannah for the first time after she was adopted, she was very calm, and didn’t seem to register who I was.  It was only my second foster reunion, and my first foster (Dougie) cried and cried and wanted me near him constantly. That said, Dougie was very abused and bullied by both humans and dogs, prior to landing in a rescue and I spent 8 weeks rehabilitating him. Our bond was very strong.

Hannah only spent a week with me prior to finding her forever home, so we didn’t have as much time to bond.  I recall teaching her to do stairs, something her mom and I still laugh about!

Hannah learning stairs

Teaching Hannah Stairs

After a few moments of saying hello, Mandy and I hopped in our cars, as we had planned to take the dogs to the dog park for a play, prior to returning to Mandy’s for a visit.  It was while riding in her mom’s car that Hannah seemed to all of a sudden realize who I was.  Her mom said her face and poster changed and she got very excited.  When we got to the park and let the dogs out of the car, Hannah came running over to me, so happy, it was the delayed reaction I had expected (and wanted!).

Hannah and Dahlia

A testament to Hannah’s kindness. She had never met Dahlia before but just loved having her at her home.

Hannah and Sonny

Hannah was found as a stray with brother Sonny.  The two seemed inseparable as Eddy and Sherri worked to gain their trust.  While Hannah came around, Sonny was still very unsure.  It wasn’t until they were able to get Hannah and put her in a crate to transport her to safety that Sonny came running out of the bush. Howling and crying for his sister and chasing the truck.  Despite having no room for Sonny, Sherri and Eddy couldn’t leave him behind.

Sonny was adopted to a family in Ontario as well, and the rescue put the two families in contact.  When Hannah and Sonny saw each other about a year after being separated they rejoiced and played. No amount of time could break their bond, and their families have since continued to get the siblings together for play dates.

Lucy

I blogged about the reunion with Lucy, that we had.  How at first, she didn’t recall who I was, but as soon as she saw her canine friends, it all came back to her!

She wasted no time engaging Flipflop in play and then occasionally would run back to me for pets and love!

Lu and Flip

Doug (previously Ben)

When Doug’s mom pulled up on my street, Doug knew exactly where he was.  He was excited to be back in his old neighbourhood before he even got to my building.  He excitedly got out of the car and greeted me with such joy!

We had a great play date with the dogs and I was so impressed with all the training that Doug’s mom had done with him.  I knew he would do so well with a family who would invest time in training him as he was such a smart pup and eager to learn.

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This boy will always be my “button”

Vanya (previously Bambi)

Vanya was one half of my “twins”. She and her brother, Willie, were being fostered by me together, for the Durham Region Humane Society.  They were adopted out separately, but both families keep me updated on these two little cuties.

The twins

My twins.

A few months after being adopted out, Vanya’s family came to see me.  Vanya knew who I was immediately, she couldn’t get enough of Dahlia and I. And although she tried to say hello to Flipflop, he was a bit standoffish with her.

We had a wonderful visit and Vanya remembered everything about her foster home, she knew where all the toys were, all the things she used to get into and was happy to see us all.

Vanya and Willie

It was over a year since the two pups were adopted out separately and many failed attempts at getting them together finally worked out.  I was heartbroken, I was in BC and couldn’t join the reunion.  But I received many photos and videos from that day.

Vanya was at the park first, and as soon as she got a sniff of Willie’s scent her tail went crazy, she ran up and down the dog park fence anxiously awaiting her brother.  And when he saw his sister, he wiggled with excitement as well.

The two siblings ran and played for hours, so happy to see one another.  What I love about this reunion too, is these two pups were rescued together. Willie would follow Vanya around and do whatever she did. Vanya was full of life and mischief.  She still is!  Being adopted by separate families, helped Willie become his own dog. He grew up to be a confident, playful, loving pup.

Twin reunion

Together again!

And although they went their separate ways at about 4-5 months old, when they saw each a year later, they still remembered one another. Just like Hannah and Sonny, their bond remained.

What warms my heart more than anything with my foster dog reunions, whether it’s a reunion with me or with their siblings, is no matter how exciting and heartwarming the reunions are, the dogs are all content to go to home with the amazing people who opened their homes and hearts to them.  The dogs know they have their happy endings and I was just a stop along the way.