Must Love Dogs

We have all heard the urban legend of the stunningly ideal ‘catch’ of a woman; beauty, brains, compassion, ambition, all in one package (no, I’m not describing myself!) This woman may complain that sometimes she is not approached by men, because they are intimidated by her perfection.

You are pawsitively beautiful.

After talking with Foster Dad, we think that this just might be what is going on with our precious little Georgia girl as she searches for her forever family. The dating world can be daunting, and while she has had a few casual suitors, there have been no potential matches that Foster Dad could entertain for devoted interest. That is to say, they must not have had the purest of intentions with our little lady. Or, maybe it is just that she has so many fabulous qualities, that they assume she will be scooped up by another family?

So, let’s break the illusion; while we know Georgia would make someone a fabulous four-legged family member, she is not perfect! There, we said it. And we would love your help as we improve her obedience training in order to make her even more adoptable!

When Georgia is comfortable in her environment, she is a very relaxed and low-key dog. However, when introduced to new situations or new people, she gets nervous. One way she displays this behavior is by jumping up on people when she meets them. She is full of love and kisses, but a large pit bull jumping up at someone with their mouth wide open is not everyone’s idea of a great first date!

We would like to enroll Georgia in some obedience classes in order to increase her confidence, which we think will go a long way towards helping her with this issue. But, we want to know; what challenges have you faced when training your dogs, foster or otherwise? Maybe you’ve had the same issue, or maybe it is a different one. How did you overcome it? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue we are facing with Miss Gia.

 

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.

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!

—————————————————————————————————————————-

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.

Wet Behind the Dog Ears

So fresh and so clean, clean.

Looking lovely!

One thing that will be important for Georgia’s forever family to know, is that she has some allergies and issues with sensitive skin. These are under control now, but when she is nervous and/or in a new environment, the itchies seem to creep right in. We are able to manage these with a special diet (NutraMax), and weekly baths. Yes, I said weekly baths. 3 times per month, these baths are done with a Selsun Blue shampoo, and once per month, we use a special medicated shampoo from the vet. The good news, is that these baths also serve as her flea treatment… no creepy crawlies to be found on this lady!

The even better news?! Georgia is a rock star in the bath tub. Okay, no, she is not belting out ballads like Joan Jett & Pat Benatar. However, Georgia is an angel during bath time. She sits patiently, lounging in the warm water, and soaking up all the lovin’ that she can. I was able to ask her to sit and stay, and then I left the bathroom (door open!) to go get my camera. She didn’t even shake off until she had a towel covering her! Post-bath, our bathroom essentially looked as if no dog had been there at all! (Until it was time for Tonka & Gaige baths… ugh! Black hair everywhere.) After she was all dried off, she did a few zoomies through the house, and took a nap. What a sweetie pie! Now she is extra clean and shiny and smelly-good.

In case you don’t believe us when we tell you how great Georgia is with kitties, here is a video of our cat tormenting her… and of course, Georgia takes it all in stride!

We are excited to announce that we will have our very first guest post on Monday! Tune in then 🙂 Have a great weekend everyone!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Lions & Tigers & Pitties… Oh my!

“Roarrrr! Do you think they will really believe that I’m a lion, Mom?”

“Hey look! These ears are just like my real ones… always going in two different directions.”

 

“Trick or treat! … You’re laughing at me, aren’t you?”

Domestic Helper

We do not want to rule out ANYONE in the search for Georgia’s forever family. She is such a low key little pup that I think she could be added to virtually any family successfully. However, it is no secret that she has a thing for the guys. She is a little flirt, and whenever she sees a big, burly man, she just cannot contain her excitement. While hanging out with Georgia around the house when Foster Dad is at work, it became quite clear to me that she would make a great housewife-dog for any single (or taken!) man.

Don’t mind me. Just adding to the list of qualities that make Georgia ‘wifeable’. You know you want to add her to your family. Here are a few of the many reasons that she makes perfect housewife-dog material… (Or, the perfect domestic assistant for any woman!)

1.) Window Licker Cleaner

With her natural zest for life, Georgia brings joy to even the most mundane tasks like cleaning the windows. Here, she drops the dust rag to stare at squirrels and watch the leaves fall.

2. ) Laundry Goddess

White, colors, delicates… no problem! Coming from a home where her Foster Dad is a laundry nazi, Georgia has very clearly learned the rules of hanging vs. drying, as well as how to properly fold everything from underwear to T-shirts, and all else in between. Plus, she is a low-shedder, so you don’t have to worry about having extra hair on your clothes… particularly if your wardrobe consists mostly of browns, whites, and reds.

3.) Caring Nanny

Kisses for kitty

We have already displayed Georgia’s impressive child-rearing skills here, but did you know she is also good with cats and other dogs? She is not a cat chaser, and enjoys being around her feline friends. Additionally, she has lived and played successfully with small dogs. You can rest assured that when it comes time for your afternoon nap or soap opera special, Georgia will have the littles (both two and four-legged) under her expert supervision.

Cat’s got your tail?

4.) Makes her own bed… and lies in it.

Did I mention that she treats stuffed animals like her babies? No flying fluffing here!

Ok, well it is clear that Georgia lacks opposable thumbs. While this may prevent her from being able to tuck the sheets in tightly around the corners, she can certainly hold down the bed spread, so to speak. What a domestic diva.

5.) Killer Kisses

Luscious lips

I told you she was a flirt, but Georgia is also a bit of a seductress. She has a great tongue, and she isn’t afraid to use it. Ladies, lock up your husbands hounds…

(Also, please ignore the terribly unflattering photo of me… actually let’s just pretend that’s not even me. It is my far less attractive, fraternal twin sister.)
 
 

“Look into my eyes, and fall in love.”

So there you have it. It is no secret that Georgia is a beautiful girl. With her shiny red furs and those deep, soulful brown eyes, she is quite the looker. However, just imagine how she’d look if she were all wifed up and pretty! Given this list, it is clear… Georgia is NOT just a pretty face. You know you like it… put a ring on it, y’all!

Single Red Female Seeks Loving Family

Well, it’s only taken us about 24 hours, but we found Georgia’s single flaw. It has us very concerned for her future in these difficult social times… and we just aren’t sure what to do about it.

It became very clear during the presidential debate last night, that our little Georgia peach has very little political interest or ambition. In fact, it could be argued that she doesn’t even care about the outcome of the election! While Foster Dad watched the debates intently, adding his opinion for every point, Georgia did a little bit of this…

And some of this….

and a whole lot of that…

While Foster Dad was a little bit disappointed in her lack of political interest, I loved the fact that she was so eager to relax in our home. She is the type of dog that would be happy to lay at your feet while you watch the evening news, or cuddle on the couch if you are feeling under the weather. Really, what more could you ask for?

Georgia is obviously house-broken. She waits patiently to walk through doors behind you, and knows how to sit, stay, lay down, and come. She waits to eat her meals until she has been given the proper cue. During our dinner last night, she layed patiently on the rug without begging. She walks well on the leash, and will even run alongside you when jogging! Most importantly, Georgia has been friendly with everyone that she has met. Including these two guys, who are so very special to us!

As predicted, Georgia is fabulous with children! She does lots of tail wagging and licking, but is also just as content to lay down beside them while they play. Our nephews enjoyed having her nearby. It was wonderful to see them all so happy together. I think she would do best in a family with some children around their age or perhaps older, that could truly enjoy all that a large dog has to offer.

If you think you might know someone that 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 at sel1490@gmail.com.

Trouble…

Oh folks… we are in BIG trouble. If you in any way have felt the calling to foster a dog, but just aren’t sure the timing is right for you… well then you had better stop reading now. Because Miss Georgia is in the house, and she’s about to show us all how this finding a forever home thing is done!

I picked up Georgia yesterday in the State College area. She snoozed quietly in the back during the entire ride. When we finally arrived, she gracefully explored the outdoor area, and then came inside to do some sniffing around. I took her back to her ‘room’ and she made herself right at home… playing with the toys, lounging on her bed, and sipping from her water bowl.

Foster Dad left work early to come meet our little house guest. I was concerned that she had not been subjected to men much, and might be fearful of him. She instantly put my worries to rest by licking him from head to foot! She became immediately attached to J, following him everywhere and refusing to leave his side. They played and cuddled, and it almost seemed as though I would be losing my foster project! Just kidding, but they really did love each other instantly.

Mid yawn

Tummy rubs are her favorite

Georgia had a brief encounter with our nephew, JJ, yesterday as well. While we did not want to put either of them in a stressful position by introducing her to a pre-schooler on her first day here, from a short distance, it was immediately evident that Miss Georgia has a love for kids. She sat patiently, with a wiggle-waggling tail and booty, while JJ stood nearby. She seemed so sad that she was not allowed to snuggle up to him for some cuddle-time!

Georgia slept quietly through the night in her crate, and seems to be entirely house-broken. She walks well on a leash… although her body size would suggest otherwise, she doesn’t pull much or get overly excited to go outdoors. She seems to have no issues with guarding her food, bed or toys. While she is curious and aware that there are other dogs in the house, she is not overly concerned with their presence. If you recall, we will be doing the two week de-stress period with her, before we introduce her to Tonka & Gaige.

Georgia seems just as happy to snooze the day away as she is to play outside. She really is just the most happy go lucky dog that I’ve met.

Professional napper

We plan to work on some obedience training with her, but Georgia seems to have some of the basics down! Don’t tell her I said this, but she will also be going on a little bit of a diet, to help her be at her best to find a home.

We are realistic in knowing that we will most likely face challenges with Georgia, but have been so impressed with her behavior thus far. She seems like the type of dog that will integrate seamlessly into most any loving home. Someone is going to be SO lucky to have her join their family.

Black Dog Fall

Ahhhhh. I wish you could smell our home through scent receptors on the computer right now. I advise that you RUN to Bath & Body Works and scoop up as many of these candles as you can. My mom gifted one to me this weekend, and it just might be my favorite present ever. Our house reeks of fall, in the most glorious of ways! Autumn is absolutely my most anticipated time of year. Growing up in my family, our holiday philosophy authorizes festivities to start essentially as soon as the calendar month begins with the letter ‘S’. Today is officially October, which means that we’re almost to November, and therefore it’s practically already December. No, I don’t want to rush through these months and start putting up the Christmas tree today. (Um, hello, have any of you been to Wally World recently?! Ridic!) BUT yes, I do cherish every second of these cozy days. I want to jump in a pile of leaves, wear tall boots & flannel shirts, sip hot apple cider, attend fall festivals, carve pumpkins, curl up in front of the fire place with a good book and thick wool blanket… all simultaneously, of course. (By the way, we don’t even have a fireplace. So sad.)

The very BEST way to spend a weekend!

My boys of fall

In true fall fashion, we are adding some color to our world tomorrow! I will be making the trek towards the State College area (PA fall central!) to pick up our little red-headed Georgia doll. We are looking so forward to our adventures with her.

We will spend tonight embarking on a fall walk… our last as a family of four! We plan to have some quality time with our pups tonight, to hopefully make the transition a bit easier for them. Tonka & Gaige will be sacrificing some time with us over the next two weeks, while we keep the dogs separate during Georgia’s transition. However, we hope are confident that this will help to ensure that the evolution to a 3-dog household is a seamless one.

We’d rather be jumping in the leaves too, Mom

Keep us in your thoughts, please! We may need some good vibes sent our way. In the mean time, enjoy all that this season has to offer with your pooches.

Applying for the Toughest Job You Will Ever Love

Applying for the Toughest Job You Will Ever Love

For those of you that may be considering becoming foster parents to a lucky shelter dog… first of all, THANK YOU! It is a wonderful gift to be able to assist the rescues, the shelters, and the dogs themselves. In a previous post, I spoke with you about how we are preparing our family and our home for our foster dog. I thought I might give you a bit of background on the process of becoming a foster family.

1. Research Reputable Rescue Groups

I was first introduced to the world of fostering by my friend Francine, whom I mentioned in yesterday’s post. She would share photos on facebook of dogs from the shelters in New York City that have a high kill rate, and I was desperate to find a way to help these highly adoptable dogs before it was too late. You can check them out here, and I urge you to do so if you think it might be the right fit for you. She has even fostered a few pups from there, with the help of this rescue. The problem with this process, is that the dogs have very little time between when they are listed on the website, and when they are euthanized. Added to that, you need to be able to pick the dog up in person at the NYC shelter, within 48 hours of reserving them. With a hectic personal life and work schedule, this was not an option for me. In that case, you can fill out applications through certain rescues that have been approved to pull from the shelter in NYC. These rescues will then typically pick the dogs up from the shelter, and hold them for you until you can arrange transportation. Usually, you will then serve as a foster family for their organization, so before you can select the dog, you must pass their stringent application process.

The problem with this process, for us, was that our applications seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle, even though we submitted them to 4 different approved groups. Knowing what I know now, I should have then gone to the extra effort of finding phone numbers or contact information for individuals within the group, and pursued the matter further. However, being new to the process, I assumed that the rescue would contact me if they had interest in our application.

We also visited a few large, well-known rescues in our area. We attended tours of the facilities, as well as meetings for volunteers and informational sessions for foster families. We were very impressed by their organization, funding, and sheer numbers. However, we felt as though we should search for a group that was smaller, and had a greater need for us.

2. Select the Right Organization for You

We will be working with LCPO, or the Luzerne County Pit Bull Owners, Inc. You can visit their website here, and check out their precious adoptable pooches here! You may be wondering why we would choose an organization in Northeastern Pennsylvania, when we live in Pittsburgh. I asked myself the same thing! I do not want to bash any rescue organizations on here. Every group does the best that they can, with likely limited resources of staff and finances. However, we were very disappointed in the lack of response we got for many of our applications. LCPO was one of the only groups that got back to us right away. Not only that, but they sent us a welcome packet of information, letting us know what their organization was about, important contacts, and what to anticipate when fostering a dog through them, as well as their expectations of their foster families. For a nerd like myself, this influx of information was exactly what I needed! They are a very well-run and organized group, and I feel very lucky to have not only found them, but to have been so warmly welcomed. You can also check them out on their facebook page.

The high level of communication and strong organization of LCPO is what most attracted us to working with them, but when considering the many rescue groups, there are a multitude of important factors to consider.

The financial aspect is vital, as it can vary between rescues. You need to ask yourself what you can afford to contribute financially. Most rescues will cover the animal’s veterinary care, at a minimum. In our case, we are electing to pay for all other costs, including the crate, collars, leashes, food, bed, toys, etc, although this is not a requirement through LCPO. We have budgeted this money into our financial plan, and feel that it is one more way we are able to give back to the rescue group. If this is the route you choose, it is important to save your receipts, as they can serve as a tax-deductible donation to the rescue. Be sure to consider all costs thoroughly, before agreeing to take on a foster animal. The last thing anyone would want, would be for you to have to return the animal because of financial constraints.

Another important consideration will be the time commitment. I am not just referring to how many hours per day of your time that the dog may require. Rather, you must consider how long you are willing to keep the foster. The stay can range from a matter of days, to many months. It is important to be up front with the rescue about what sort of time frame you are able to accommodate. Do not assume that if you can only hold a dog for a few weeks, that you will not be considered. This can be the perfect amount of time for a puppy to get out of a stressful shelter environment, learn some basic manners, and become house-broken. There is usually an ideal dog for every situation, so select a rescue that is willing to work with you to find a scenario that is mutually beneficial.

3. The Application Process

The applications for each rescue we worked with were largely quite similar. One thing that stood out among all of them, was the sheer length! Our final submitted application for LCPO was over 7 pages. To me, this shows that they are thorough in wanting to find out as much as possible about their foster families. However, I did walk away feeling as though they knew more about me than my own employer!

It can be tempting to stretch the truth on the applications you submit. You have high hopes for your plans with the foster, and want to convey this to the rescue organization. However, it is vital to your fostering experience, and for the well-being of the animal they place with you, that you maintain honesty at all times. It is especially important to list the proper information about your own pets, as well as their compatibility with other animals, to ensure the safety of all involved. The rescue will then analyze all of the information that you provide, and match you with a dog that is best suited to your lifestyle.  For example, f you have young children and a busy work life, then a puppy may not be the right fit. Most rescues are not looking for the ‘perfect’ application. They should not turn you away simply because you work, or because you do not have a fenced-in backyard. However, they want to see that you have a knowledge of how a dog should be cared for, and priorities that are in line with their own.

4. The Home Visit

Our own home visit will be occurring this Monday, so I can’t offer much first-hand experience. I should confess that I am feeling a bit nervous about it! Of course, I think that our dogs have the best life any pup could ask for. With lots of room to run, toys to play with, ponds to swim in, and comfy beds for cuddling, it’s pretty much their idea of doggy heaven! However, it may look different from the eyes of our reviewer.

I brought my questions to some other members of the LCPO group, and they assuaged my fears by assuring that it is “to make sure you’re not a crack-head or hoarder“. Whew! After some NA meetings and a deep spring cleaning, I can cross that off of my list. Kidding!! But in reality, they have had instances where potential foster homes were denied, based on their home visit. The main point to keep in mind is that they are wanting to verify that your living situation reflects your application. If you followed my point above, and maintained honesty in your application, then there should be no cause for concern.

Amid the unnecessary butterflies, I am looking forward to our home visit on Monday. It will serve as a great opportunity to get an outside perspective on how to make sure our home will provide the proper shelter for our special pup. There is a precious girl we have in mind, and I want things to be perfect for her. She hasn’t had the easiest life, and she really deserves to share the love that I believe our family can provide.

——————————————————————-

In yesterday’s post, I promised to include a new highlight on our blog! Until our own little foster baby arrives, we will share a daily update with you all that will feature some really special adoptable pit bulls. Introducing….

Lilo

You know you want me…

At a mere 14-weeks old, Lilo boasts a pretty impressive resume. His foster mama describes him as ‘calm, and totally sweet.’ He is a professional cuddler, and already successfully house-broken! By adopting Lilo, you get all of the puppy charm, with a head start on training and veterinary care, and little risk of stained carpets! Lilo is extra-special in that he is known as a blue-nosed pit bull. He loves his four-legged foster siblings, has been properly socialized, and gets along well with everyone. LCPO was able to pull Lilo and his siblings from a no-kill shelter when they were 10 weeks old, so information of his early life is limited, but his foster mama has been dedicated to making him a responsible member of the bully society ever since. She is doing a fabulous job of sharing his story, and he has had 146 views on his Petfinder profile this week alone!  If Lilo sounds like the perfect addition to your family (of course he does!) then check him out here. If you love Lilo, but aren’t able to add a pup to your home at this time, we would greatly appreciate you sharing his page and this blog to help him find the forever home that he deserves. Thank you for looking!

How could you say no to those eyes?!