It’s Getting Adorable Around Here

If I had a dollar for every moment Kingston did something outrageously adorable… well, I would have a lot of dollars. And I would be able to save a lot more animals! I don’t have a dollar for all of those moments, so I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it. But, a picture’s worth a thousand words, right? So there ya go…

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He loves to come out of nowhere and jump up onto my lap for snuggles while I’m working on the computer. Best work break EVER.

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Sometimes he tries soooooo hard not to fall asleep, for fear of missing out on all of the fun…

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And then he fails, but of course he does so adorably.

Have an ADORABLE weekend, friends 🙂 I know we will!

Foster Dog Update

Sorry it has been a few days, but hopefully most of you have been able to stay updated on Kingston’s progress via our facebook pages. He is doing so well, and it is in large part thanks to all of you and your generous contributions. His surgery was largely successful, although more extensive than originally anticipated. Many thanks to the wonderful team at Butler Veterinary Associates, who took care of Kingston like one of their own, and made every effort to make it as affordable as possible for us. As of tonight, he has officially finished his antibiotics and pain meds, and we are looking forward to his suture removal on Saturday (when he will FINALLY be able to get a bath!)

Not a day goes by that I don't hear Foster Dad reminding Kingston that 'chicks dig scars,' and 'scars are tattoos with better stories'.

Not a day goes by that I don’t hear Foster Dad reminding Kingston that ‘chicks dig scars,’ and ‘scars are tattoos with better stories’.

In approximately 5 weeks, he will again be put under in order to remove the rod that was placed to stabilize the bone as it healed. Only then will we truly get a handle on how he has healed and how his future movement will be affected.

In the meantime, we have enjoyed getting to know this wonderful little guy as he grows more comfortable, physically as well as emotionally. We have learned a lot about him, including:

1) What’s yours is yours and what’s his is yours…

Kingston has no concept of guarding his toys, food, bed, etc. He is more than happy to share with us, our guests, other dogs, and even the cat!

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2) He really does love everyone

Along those lines, Kingston hasn’t met anyone that wasn’t his friend! He is friendly and appropriate with other well-mannered dogs, and if anything is somewhat passive. With that being said, he can be a little nervous around new people, especially at night if he cannot see their faces, or in other new situations. The more friendly and loving people he is introduced to, the more confidence we see in his interactions with them. He warms up very quickly, but his adopters should be prepared to keep his history in mind, and therefore take introductions slowly.

3) He has his driver’s license

Okay, so obviously not really. But he does make an awesome passenger!

4) Basically a teacher’s pet

This boy is SMART. Tell him something once, and he’s got it nailed. He is easily mastering sit, down, stay, come, and a few others.

5) Nobody is perfect

We are working on improving a few things… the first being his masculine tendencies (let’s just say he REALLY loves the dog beds, and loves to display his affection whenever the opportunity presents itself) the second being how to greet people appropriately (now that he has 4 working legs, he seems to want to test their strength!) and the third being house training (although we are almost positive this has been compounded by the many medications he’s been on). Finally, he has some separation anxiety. Any unique or creative tips on how to approach these issues would be appreciated!

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All in all, this dog is absolutely going to make someone a fantastic family member. Even with limited opportunities for exercise, he seems to have the ideal activity level, as he is happy to run and play in the yard, but easily entertains himself when you would prefer to relax. Kingston is incredibly appropriate with other dogs, although it is important to note that his tendency toward timidness may not make him an ideal candidate as a dog park dog. He absolutely revels in human attention and affection, and would do best in a home that is prepared to lavish him with both.

A few of you have reached out to ask what you can do to help our little guy, even though the donations have met the estimates for his medical care (THANK YOU!). You may know that we weren’t planning to foster at this time, but we just couldn’t say no to his handsome face! If you would like to donate a dog bed (even a lightly-used one!) or a bag of dog food (Acana Grasslands) it would be very much appreciated. I should also mention that he has two awesome adoption applications in the works. Pretty exciting stuff! As always, thanks for following along in our journey, and for all of the love and support you’ve sent his way. You are as much a part of his success story as his foster family!

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Busy as bulls! (pit bulls, that is)

Woo! It has been an exhausting few days around here. This weekend, we enjoyed time with friends, did some Christmas shopping & decorating, took lots of family walks, and even had a visit from a special guest… a local celebrity dog trainer! (We will save that last bit for tomorrow’s post, however.)

There is ALWAYS time for snugglin'

There is ALWAYS time for snugglin’

The hectic schedule didn’t end there. Today began with an early morning trip to the vet. Georgia was due for her rabies shot, and had also been itching more than usual. She was an angel for her exam, took the shot like a pro, and shared lots of tail wags and kisses with the staff. Of course, they just couldn’t get enough of our girl. We received a few comments on what a BIG girl she was (don’t they know it’s just plain rude to comment on a lady’s weight? Really… 75 pounds is not that bad!) We only encountered one other dog while we were there, and while Georgia didn’t seem entirely eager to investigate the stranger, she stayed relaxed and quiet. We also have a new anti-yeast shampoo to try, in order to combat the itchies, so we will keep you posted on that!

After our adventures at the vet were through, we took a trip to Petsmart. Georgia’s previous foster had warned that Georgia could get uncomfortable at public adoption events, so she hasn’t been out and about much since coming to live with us. I figured that a quiet Monday morning would be as good a time as any to give it a try, and so I hooked up her harness and had a buddy for my shopping trip. I armed myself with lots of treats to reward positive behavior. Again, we didn’t meet too many other dogs during our excursion, but Georgia was a model mutt, even sitting politely when presented with a treat from the check out girl.

Georgia does so well in the car. She loads quietly, waiting for her cue to step up. She even waited patiently while I ran in to a store and then the post office. She was content to sleep in the back seat for most of our travels, checking in with me occasionally for a pet or a kiss. Can’t you just imagine her as your permanent co-pilot?!

And there is always time for play!

And there is always time for play!

Please stop by tomorrow for a big fat post with the full run-down of our time with a special dog trainer. We will share our new-found ‘expertise’ with all of you… and don’t worry, it’s free only to our readers! 😉

There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Dog

A few weeks ago, I shared a link on our facebook page, that had been shared first by one of my daily reads, Peace, Love & Fostering. The original post was from the blog, Notes from a Dog Walker, and it is probably one of my favorite blog postings I’ve read thus far in our fostering experience. I urge you to head over there to check out the piece. For even some of the most seasoned dog lovers, it just might change your perspective forever.

If there is one thing I could convey to all of you, it would be this… “It’s not how they’re raised, it’s how dogs are managed, that matters most.” A dog with a terrible past can still make a wonderful addition to your family. At the same time, unfortunately, sometimes a dog raised with all of the right tools, whether pit bull or black lab or poodle, will not be successful. Don’t stereotype ANY dog, for ANY reason… it is dangerous, and unfair. Give them a all a fair chance. The Vicktory Dogs & BAD RAP dogs are just two perfect examples of this! These dogs were rescued from the most cruel and outrageous fighting operations. Yet through careful and dedicated rehabilitation, they have become loyal and gentle family companions. If I took the time to list every popular story of a dog fighting victim that went on to live happily with other animals and children, this page would be full.

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I don’t believe that either Georgia or Gaige were ever involved in dog fighting cruelty. Yet if I had a penny for every time someone asked me if my pit bull was aggressive, or had been a ‘fighter’… well, I would have a lot of pennies. And while I don’t like to focus on the negative, I think it is important to note that those questions have come even from those that claim to like pit bulls! The point is, we love dogs because of their loyalty and resiliency. Give them a chance to prove it to us!

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In other news, please check out our facebook page here. We shared a few videos of lucky boy Cash, from yesterday’s post, who has begun his new life! One shows him playing exuberantly with a toy, while the other shows him interacting happily with his new foster sister.

Finally, we are very excited to announce that we have a two-hour training session scheduled tomorrow for Miss Georgia! We will be working with the talented Debby McMullen of Pawsitive Reactions, LLC. Debby specializes in positive reinforcement dog training, as well as management of multi-dog households. She has even written a book on the subject! You can even follow her blog here, and she also maintains a facebook page.  We are planning to focus on Georgia’s issues with overly enthusiastic greetings towards new humans, and also narrow down her discomfort with some other dogs. We are hopeful that we will learn new tools to manage her introductions, and also identify what sort of doggie household she would be most comfortable in. We are anxious to see whether her issues with female dogs are simply a matter of additional socialization, or something that would be best avoided for her comfort level. Wish us luck! We know this will only add to her repertoire of skills and talents, thereby making her more adoptable.

Are you my forever family?

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We hope your weekend is kind to you!

Wordless Wednesday: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

..Oooh, girls just wanna have funnn! (You know you read that in a singing voice… don’t lie!)

You all know that Wednesdays never stay wordless for long around here, but I do my best to keep it short & sweet. I spoke in this post about how Gia is quite the little lovebug, when it comes to flirting with the men in our house… or, the ones she meets on the street. Not to call her easy, but let’s just say that our girl doesn’t discriminate!

However, I must say that Georgia can also be a girl’s best friend… and I think I am perfect proof of that!

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Big thanks to Foster Dad for capturing all of these special moments 🙂 Now if only we could get a few with ALL of us in the shot… but that would be some sort of Christmas miracle!

Bittersweet

I typically do not post on the weekends, but since I skipped out yesterday, I figured that I owed you all one today! 🙂

I will keep it short & sweet, but I wanted to let everyone know that Georgia has her very first meet-and-greet tomorrow! We will be traveling a few hours away to do a home visit simultaneously, so Georgia will have the opportunity to meet the family’s 7-year-old son, female pit bull, and cats as well! I am very excited, as the family seems to be a wonderful fit for our girl. They have experience with pit bulls and the fostering process, and they live on a very large piece of property… perfect for long hikes and family time outside!

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At the same time, I need some help here. I have to admit that I am also a little bit nervous! I have never done this before, and I want to make sure that I show Georgia in the best possible light. For a pooch that can be easily overwhelmed by new situations, how do you other fosters approach introductions with prospective adoptive families? Georgia still has a tendency to jump on new people, although she has improved dramatically in this area. The family is aware of that, and told me that they have the same issue with their other dog! Nevertheless, it still takes Georgia a bit of time to trust, and to really let her guard down. I am worried that she won’t be able to relax enough to show this family her huge heart and sweet personality, which would thus make them fall desperately in love with her! Any advice?

Every day I’m snugglin’

Finally, I am starting to have foster-doubts. You foster families out there have got to know what I mean… she is our first foster, and of course we are attached! However, I find myself worrying more about her than I am about myself. Of course I will miss her, but what concerns me most is the level of trust she has built with us. It took a few weeks for her to truly let down her guard, and now that she has, she is flourishing. I know I may be anthropomorphizing here, but I am just so worried that she is going to feel abandoned by us. That she is going to wonder what she did wrong to make us lose interest in her. More importantly, will this make her take longer to trust her new family? Georgia has been bounced around so much (we are her THIRD foster home!) and I worry that this might be the final straw for her.

I hope that I am just being overly dramatic and reading into this way too much. In fact, I would love it if you would tell me that I am being crazy… Georgia is a fabulous dog, and if she had become best friends with Tonka & Gaige, I’m pretty sure that there is no way we could have given her up. But while they all get along well, and there have been no scuffles, it just does not seem to be a love affair between any of them. I want Georgia to find the perfect home for her, and I do not believe that we are it. I just hope she can find a family that sees her for who she is: perfections, flaws, and all. I hope that they will love her for it, and embrace a lifestyle that can ensure her success.

I could really use some advice from our blogging family right now! How difficult was it for you to give up your first foster? What was your most heart-breaking goodbye? Do you have any tips for successful adoption introductions? And please, tell me that she won’t miss me…

Wordless Wednesday: Sweet Dreams

With the cold, rainy weather we’ve been seeing around here lately, we’ve been doing a lot of this…

Three of the ‘dogs’

Gia cuddling with J.

Bella snoozing

Tonka’s turn

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I hope none of you out there get your hopes up, expecting our W.W. posts to actually be wordless. You should know better. You’re lucky we actually get them up on Wednesdays!;)

Election Day!

We will keep this post short and sweet, because we’d rather you be out voting than reading our silly blog! If you remember one of our early posts, which can be seen here, you know that Georgia probably wouldn’t judge you for not voting.

Georgia already has a bone to pick…

But as her foster parents, whomever you choose to support, we urge you to remember that if the economy improves, the condition of animal welfare in our country will typically improve along with it. Please, make a decision that YOU feel is best for our economy! If you were not planning to vote, please at least research this issue and make a vote that supports your position.

In more light-hearted news, I have to brag for a second. Last night, Foster Dad & Georgia were playing in the living room. It took Jonathan all of about 5 minutes to teach Georgia to play fetch. Not sure who I am more proud of! But I know that at least one of you out there can just imagine your kiddos throwing a tennis ball for our little lady.

Are you my forever family?

So thankful to live in a country where we are all free to vote in ways that support our individual beliefs! God Bless America.

Smells like Thanksgiving…

When the Foster Gods giveth, they giveth in bounty!

1. Today, we are thankful for not just one, but TWO families who are interested in Georgia. 🙂 NOT that we are surprised, but it is great to realize that other people are seeing what we see in our lovebug.

2. We are thankful for foster siblings that are so willing to share; their toys, their beds & couches, their treats, and their time with mama. You two are the best foster siblings we could have asked for. Tonka, ever the kind & gracious gentleman, and Gaige, a little socially awkward, but always ready to wrestle and play. You are wonderful examples to Miss Georgia, and have welcomed her beautifully into our family. We would never have been able to help her without your enthusiastic cooperation. She is so lucky to have you both.

3. We give thanks for our Cat that Thinks She’s a Dog, Bella. From eating my slippers, to playing with tennis balls, and from sleeping sprawled out on the floor, to wrestling with Gaige… we can’t blame you for your weirdness in thinking you’re a dog. In fact, we love it. In a family that likes cats, but never considered ourselves to be ‘cat people,’ you fit right in. I guess we are cat-dog people, instead.

Didn’t believe me?

4. Every day, I count my blessings for a foster dad that loves our furries almost just as much as I do. No matter what crazy schemes I come up with, you are always ready; not just to cheer me on from the sidelines, but to jump right in and help me reach my goals and dreams. You came into this as green as can be, and now I catch you giving me advice. It warms my heart that you put so much effort into making all of our aminals productive members of society. Whether you are pooper-scooping, working on obedience (the dogs’, not your own!), bragging to strangers about our ‘kids,’ or cuddling with one of the many in our big bed, you can’t hide your soft side… and I love you all the more for that!

5. In the wake of the hurricane, it is easy to remind ourselves of our many gifts and blessings. We are SO thankful for a warm, dry home, with working electricity, clean water, plenty of nourishing food, and even some of life’s extras (like Tempurpedic dog beds, big fields for running, and new squeaky toys). It breaks our hearts to see all of the beings, both two and four-legged, that are going without. Worse still, are the dogs and cats on euthanasia lists by the HUNDREDS due to the aftermath of the storm. If you can give, in ways of time, physical donations, or monetary gifts, please do not hesitate. It will save lives.

6. When counting our blessings, we could never forget our wonderful rescue organization, LCPO. They stand by us through everything from adoption questions to health issues and training techniques. You brought us into this journey, and have stood by us every step of the way. We are so thankful to have found a strong organization, run by individuals that are truly caring and endlessly dedicated. This goes out to Julee, Casey, Kaelyn, Christine, Kate, & Patti, just to name a few! If you are interested in adopting a pittie, but for some crazy reason don’t think Georgia is the right fit for you, please check out LCPO’s other adopta-bulls.

7. The most surprising, or at least the most unexpected, thank you, goes out to our blogging family. Really, when I started this journey, I thought that my only reader would be my mom (actually, I’m not sure that she even reads this regularly). However, we have been welcomed by a community of people who have been in our shoes. The guidance and support you all have offered us is so refreshing and inspiring. I am so glad we are all in this together!

8. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, my most heartfelt thanks goes to Georgia. You have been the sweetest, easiest pooch we could have asked for in a foster. Really, you’ve spoiled us. We were prepared to take on stained carpets, chewed shoes, and terrible manners… the worst you’ve ever offered were enthusiastic greetings and hundreds thousands millions of kisses. We have enjoyed every step of this journey with you, and while we have tried our best to make you even more adoptable than you already were, we want you to know that we are the lucky ones in this relationship. You have changed us so much as individuals and as a family. I had myself convinced that I would not get too attached, that this giving up process would be an easy one… but even thinking about a morning without your kind eyes, warm kisses, or soft tummy, makes me teary-eyed. You are such a special girl, and you are going to continue to do special things in the lives of the family who is lucky enough to end up with you.

Our cuddle bug

Keeping the Vet Away

Now, don’t get me wrong. We love our vet. But let’s be honest; no one wants to see their pooches sick, or the multi-figure bill that follows. We have been working to make Miss Georgia a more healthy member of society since she came into our care, but the process began long before that.

When Georgia was pulled from the shelter in the state of Georgia, she was a severely malnourished new mama with major skin issues, and was also determined to be heartworm positive. Our rescue did a great job of improving her major conditions, but when Georgia came to us (almost a month ago, now!) she was still harboring some ailments.

We noticed pretty quickly that while the rescue had identified a few ways to manage Georgia’s skin sensitivities (weekly baths, prescription shampoos, etc.), we felt confident that a change in diet would show a major, and more permanent, improvement in her condition. We switched Georgia to a limited ingredient, grain-free, dry dog food, with a novel protein and carbohydrate source. This can be a great way to identify your dog’s allergies or sensitivities. In Georgia’s case, she has responded much more positively to this new diet. The itching and chewing she used to do almost incessantly has completely subsided, as have the rashes on her tummy and paws.

Look at that healthy, shiny coat!

The other issue that worried us was some sensitivity in Georgia’s spine and hips. She would hesitate or shudder when asked to sit, and would wince noticeably when even the lightest pressure was applied to her hind end. She also had very irregular, sometimes strained, bowel movements. After an appointment with the renowned Dr. David Smolensky, our adored canine chiropractor, we have seen some major improvements in this area. We will continue to make trips to the chiro until her back has strengthened, but feel so grateful that we are able to help make Georgia more comfortable. We can venture many guesses as to what has made her so sore, but all that matters is that she deserves to be free from pain.

As Georgia lays curled up beside me, snoring, I also recognize an improvement in her general attitude. Her weight has decreased to a more manageable level, and she has become a happier, more active pooch. She still prefers to cuddle up for couch time, over exercise any day! But play time lasts longer, and we see more pittie-smiles every day!

“You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”

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.