Welcome Home

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that we traveled out of town this weekend. You also know that we took Tonka & Gaige. Thankfully, my parents are dog lovers, and always treat our pooches like their grandchildren. (Read: Spoiled. Rotten.) However, in their brand new house in a gated community (without a fenced-in yard!) it isn’t the best place for all THREE of their grandpuppies. On top of that, neither of our vehicles are quite large enough to comfortably accommodate three dogs, two people, and all of our belongings, on a 6+ hour drive. Out of the three dogs, Gia is the one that can become most stressed out in new situations, so we have always felt that she would be most comfortable staying in her normal surroundings here at her home with our close friends.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

A snuggly puppy makes cramped quarters less comfy... but exponentially more adorable!

A snuggly puppy makes cramped quarters less comfy… but exponentially more adorable!

All of that has always been true, until this trip… poor girl lost. her. mind. when we left without her. 😦 She was barking and crying and scratching at her kennel after seeing us loading up the truck with our bags and being left in her kennel without Gaige in the one right beside her. Babygirl was not happy… and of course, then neither was I. We’re talking crocodile tears here… how could I leave her when she was so visibly upset?

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving more than one dog here for our friends to watch. The girls have had a tendency to try to wander off lately, even when I’m right there calling them to come back… we need to work on our recalls! The spring bunnies in the yard are just more tempting than anything that I can offer. Because of that, I have been leashing them more often than not, and I just feel like two dogs with shakey recalls is too much to ask of a friend/pet-sitter. We are getting closer to being able to purchase and install a fence, but that hasn’t happened yet. So I left Gia content with a delicious frozen Kong, and made my way hesitantly out the door… armed with constant contact from my friend, who offered regular photos and updates to keep me from feeling too guilty or heart sick.

These are a few of the photos they sent me <3

These are a few of the photos they sent me ❤

0516132030As hard as it was for all of us to be away from our girl, it was all worth it when we came home… when I came to her kennel, little lady just stared out at me in disbelief! It was like she hadn’t thought we were ever coming back 😦 Once she realized that it was really me, she gave me the most enthusiastic welcome home that I’ve ever received… wags and kisses and paws were all flying!

Life has returned to normal here in the AFM5 household (aside from the flu bug I brought home as a souvenir from our trip. Ugh!) All of this has left me with a lot of thoughts, and a driving passion to start something that has been on my mind and heart for a little while… I know that I sound a bit cryptic, but I promise I will share more with all of you as the process continues! Until then, I want to know:

1) What do you do with your pets when you travel? Do they go along with you, stay in their own home, or visit a fun place?

2) If you opt to have someone else stay with your dog, what are your non-negotiables? What requirements do you have?

3) What are some services, skills, or experiences that you wish your dog sitter or kennel offered?

4) What is your budget for your pet’s care when you are away?

5) What is the best experience you have had with trusting someone to care for your pet, and why? Did it keep you coming back?

6) What is the worst experience you have had in trusting someone to watch your pet, and why? How did you handle it?

I really appreciate any and all input that you can share with me!

Dog Pack

“If you don’t own a dog, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.”

I have always said that people come into our lives for different reasons. Oftentimes if we look at the people we choose to surround ourselves with, they may represent a spectrum of personalities. Maybe these people encourage us to display varying aspects of our identity, or simply serve distinctive purposes in our lives.

For example, most of us have that friend from our childhood. The person with whom you share early memories and silly stories, inside jokes that no one else understands. You grow up spending as much time with their family as your own, and maybe even become something like siblings.

Some of us have friends from college, the people that are there to support us and help us grow, as we go through one of the biggest life transitions. You cram for exams, spend late nights together, and hold each other during heartbreak.

We have friends that are there for the fun times, to grab drinks or go for manicures. They are our good time friends, with whom we share wild stories and lots of laughs, but maybe nothing deeper. And that’s okay!

Then there are the friends that hold a part of our soul. For me, this person shares a passion for the same sport, but she is also always there to pick me up when times are hard. She never hesitates to set aside her own issues when I need her. She is the epitome of selfless. Her advice is boundless and always offered without criticism or judgement. She always offers me the benefit of the doubt, and knows that although I certainly don’t always get it right, my heart is full of the best of intentions for others.

While all of these people hold a vital place in my heart, as well as in the story of my life, today’s post is about a different type of person. A person that I bet all of you know, and value… the person we trust to watch our dogs when we are away.

It must be someone who will treat our dogs with tenderness and compassion, yet maintain our structure and discipline. This person must understand our neurotic tendencies as pet parents the canine nature, and have an idea about training. You must trust that they are good under pressure, and can stick to a routine. Finally, and perhaps most hard to come by, this person must be willing to give up a portion of their time, usually sacred nights and weekends. For me, these people are almost as scarce as working squeaker toys in our home, but I am lucky to know a few. From my perspective, no amount of compensation or thanks will ever truly portray my appreciation.

I met Ellie when I was working as a manager at an equine veterinary clinic. After a stellar interview, I recommended that she be hired for a position as a veterinary technician. Ellie was the person who always showed up on time, if not early, and consistently stayed late. She was willing to do any job, from monotonous stall cleaning to assisting with complex medical cases. She completed every task with a willing attitude and a smile on her face, and was always seeking out new projects to fill idle hours. She could manage criticism from her superiors, even when it was not necessarily constructive, without letting it negatively affect her performance. Perhaps most importantly, Ellie maintained an understanding for our clients, while handling the horses with the perfect combination of skill and compassion. As she embarks on her path to vet school, I know that she will make an incredible veterinarian. Not only do I feel safe when she is watching our pets, but I feel blessed to have such a trustworthy, caring, and responsible person that is willing to devote her time to allow us some freedom.

Foster Dad indulged me this weekend by taking me on a trip to Ohio for a large annual horse show. While we took our two perma-dogs along with us for the ride, we left Georgia and our cat, Bella, home with Ellie. We are so happy to share Ellie’s account of her weekend with Georgia. Enjoy!

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Georgia got to make a new friend this weekend! In order to let foster mom and dad take a weekend trip, I was called in as backup.  An avid animal lover as well, I jumped at the opportunity to meet this sweet girl that I had been reading about.
I was super excited to meet her, but nervous at the same time, as I was worried she would be anxious with foster mom and dad leaving. She was quick to prove my worries wrong, greeting me with hundreds and hundreds of kisses. (Yes, hundreds. I’m not exaggerating or complaining!) She was an all star the entire weekend and was up for whatever it was I wanted to do,
whether that be long walks on the farm…
watching TV… (Bella too!)
studying…
playing tug of war…
or sun-bathing.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with her patience and willingness, as well as how quiet she is (no whining or barking from this girl, not even after being kenneled for bedtime!!) and I think we had a pretty great weekend together.  Hands down, anyone would be lucky to have a dog as great as she is.

Georgia (and her ears!) napping after a long day of fun!

 

If you think you might know someone who would be interested in adopting our sweet girl Georgia, please share her story! Any questions about Georgia or the adoption process can be directed to me (Stephanie!) at sel1490@gmail.com.