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.

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Today we will entertain a question from one of our littlest fans! Her name is Lilly, and she is the most endearing and precocious two-year-old, whose mama runs the touching blog, The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood.

Apparently, Miss Lilly was fascinated by the pictures of our pooches. Her lingering question… where do all of the puppies sleep at night? I realized that perhaps some of our (bigger) readers, might have some of the same questions.

Tonka’s preferred sleeping location

Perhaps we should begin with where our two perma-dogs, Tonka & Gaige, are supposed to sleep… in their Tempur-pedic (yes, don’t judge!) beds at the foot of our own. But, more often than not, I awaken in the middle of the night to two LARGE dogs laying on top of my legs, stomach, head, etc. Until recently, I blamed the two little scoundrels for their disobedience. Little did I know, that Foster Dad (previously Mr. No-Dogs-in-the-House) felt guilty, and was inviting them into the bed! What a sneak sap!

And Gaige’s preferred sleeping position…

As far as Miss Georgia, oftentimes the most obedient of my FOUR (hehe)… we have chosen to have her sleep in her kennel, which is in her own room. This was in an effort to: 1) Keep all three dogs safe when unsupervised overnight, since we haven’t yet completed their introductions

and…

2) Make her more adaptable to most families that might choose to adopt her. While Georgia is used to sleeping on her own, and happy to be in her kennel, I am confident that she would adapt quite well to being allowed to sleep with her people.

My favorite picture of Gia, to date

Thank you to Miss Lilly for the great question… anything else out there that our readers are just dying to know about Miss Georgia, or the rest of the five?!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I would say, full of lots of playtime and walks, but Georgia told me tell you that she hopes your weekend is full of lots of cuddles and naps! I know her’s will be. 😉

{She is cuddled up on the bed beside me, with the cat, as we speak!}

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.

This Old Dog Learns New Tricks

I have to start by saying, thank you SO MUCH to all of you that commented and emailed your advice to us. It is much appreciated! We will be taking all of your tips and suggestions to heart. It is so nice to know that we have many friends and supporters as we face new challenges with fostering. All of us blogging fosters are a little community… know that we are happy to repay the favor anytime you need support!

I try to keep this space very organized and methodical… much like I try to maintain my life! But my world is feeling very topsy-turvy disorganized right about now, so this particular post may be much the same. I apologize in advance!

Gia wrestling with Foster Dad. Her signature move? The Kiss of Death

Have I mentioned lately the fabulousness that is Foster Dad?! He really is the most supportive husband I could ask for… he is my perfect life partner. While I was working yesterday, he was on afternoon doggie walk duty. Which, can be a bit hectic, given that we are still doing some pooch rotating, rather than releasing the hounds all together. Not only that, but while playing with Miss Gia outside, my notoriously terrible multi-tasker was also pooper scooping. For a dog-loving Foster Mama, does it get much hotter than that?! Some of you out there know what I’m talking about… and the rest probably think I’m crazy.

Best friends

Anyways, what may sound like a silly story turned into an opportunity for us to learn more about Georgia girl. As Foster Dad was wielding the shovel with skill, he leaned down to give Gia some lovin’… and she proceeded to melt down onto the ground into a terrified, shivering puddle. 😦 Poor baby. She adores her Foster Dad, at least as much as she does me. They share a special bond, so the fact that with a shovel in hand, she didn’t trust him, made J feel terrible. As soon as the tool was down on the ground, she came back up to him wiggle-waggling, but it just reminded us that you will learn new things about your pup’s past everyday. This is why it is so important to approach their training process with sensitivity and understanding, as well as a willingness to adapt your methods as you learn more about your dog. Every dog is different, every dog’s past is different, and maintaining flexibility in your approach will ensure that you provide your dog with a secure foundation for their future. While we have long ago made the decision to only employ training methods of positive-reinforcement, Georgia still deals with issues from her past that create lingering fear and distrust. We will embrace this knowledge as an opportunity to increase her confidence and security in her relationships with us.

He knows the way to this girl’s heart

Not to get too philosophical here, but isn’t that a great way to approach life in general? Whether two or four-legged, we never know what challenges others have faced or are currently facing. If we kept in mind that everyone has their own battles to fight and insecurities to face, perhaps we would not be so quick to make their paths more difficult. We should all be so busy pursuing the improvement of our own journeys, that we have no time to judge the actions of others. Jonathan and I approach our marriage with the philosophy that if both spouses are consistently putting their partner’s desires first, everyones’ needs are met; but what if we brought that theory to all of the relationships in our lives? We would all feel constantly empowered and embraced. To me, that is what life is all about: doing what I can to improve the happiness and experiences of those around me.

“Let the refining and improving of your own life, keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” — H. Jackson Brown Jr.

{Okay, sorry… end soap box.}

You should all know that our brain-storming idea of sharing one of Georgia’s only flaws, actually may have worked! We have a family that sounds pretty darn ideal who is very interested in our baby doll Gia. Fingers crossed that it works out… so far they seem like a match made in heaven! It would be great to have Georgia in her forever home in time for the holidays. We will keep you posted.

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.

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.

(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?”

Georgia Peach Fuzz

Enjoying a fall walk 🙂 Photo by Foster Dad

One of the most precious things about our red Georgia girl, are the little surprises of white thrown in around her body. Her nose, her tummy, her feet, and her tail… little white flashes that break up the red, like the first pure snow flakes of winter, brushing upon amber-hued leaves that still lie on the autumn ground.

Nightly tummy rubs

The patch of white on her tummy feels like cashmere beneath your hands. Or, more appropriately, as soft as the delicate fuzz on a Georgia peach. Where her red coat is sleek, smooth and shiny, the white spots almost disappear beneath your hands. To rest your head on her tummy is to brush your cheek against the inside of your favorite sweatshirt; soft, warm, and worn with love.

Did you notice this special marking?

Most adorable? The tip of her tail, just the end dipped in white, as it thumps quickly against her sides when she greets you. Back and forth, back and forth… thump thump, thump thump.

To read about Georgia is not to fully know her, but to meet her, is to truly love her.

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 (Stephanie!) at sel1490@gmail.com.

It’s a Dog Eat Dog World

Hope everyone has been enjoying a beautiful and relaxing weekend! At least here in PA, the weather has been perfect. So perfect, in fact, that we decided to head out on a new adventure with our darling pups. We took Tonka and Gaige about 45 minutes away to Misty Pines Dog Park. We had never been there before, but were impressed by their website and wanted to check it out.

The dog park is a full service facility that includes a dog park, dock diving and pond, agility courses, training classes, boarding, and a retail store, to name a few! They are vigilant in requiring every visitor to bring updated proof of vaccines, including bordatella. Additionally, they welcome dogs that are working on socialization issues, simply requiring that they be fitted with a Gentle Lead halter that prevents biting.

We pulled in to a beautiful 25 acre wooded property, complete with safety fencing and many trails. Much of the doggie play areas are set in heavily shaded areas, allowing for fun to be had even in inclement weather. Sunday is the only day of the week that Misty Pines is open by appointment only, which allowed us to enjoy the facility with limited traffic by other visitors. We registered at the main office, and were checked in by a very friendly and helpful staff member. We then walked down to the pond area, which was complete with a covered pavilion and multi-level diving dock! Of course, Tonka was in doggie heaven! He showed off his skills, making impressive leaps and dives to catch toys off of the dock. Gaige watched in appreciation, and tried her best to copy her big brother. There were only two other dogs at the lake, and they politely kept their distance from ours.

Once the dogs had their fill of the water (or, more accurately, once we were soaked and decided we had had enough), we followed the trails to the fenced-in agility area. Although Tonka has been properly socialized from a young age, he has been twice attacked by an intact yellow lab, so he can have some fear issues with other dogs. We let Gaige watch from the sidelines, as this was her first time in an area with many other unfamiliar, unleashed dogs. Tonka entered the area confidently, and was greeted by a young yellow lab. This dog was boisterous and untrained, but harmless, and perceptive to the body language of the other dogs. They played well together. After a few minutes of introductions, we brought Gaige in, leashed. Things went well for a while, until an older woman came in with her aged shepherd mix dog. This dog was unleashed and also harmless, but a bit of an instigator. Gaige, who was still leashed, was working on an agility obstacle with Jonathan. The shepherd rushed up to her from behind, and began barking and nipping at her sides. Gaige turned away multiple times, and let out a low growl. The woman saw all of this, but never once called her dog away. Neither did the dog hear Gaige’s signals, and back off. He kept barking at her and pushing into her space. Jonathan pulled the dogs apart, looked pointedly at the owner, and went to another obstacle. The shepherd lost interest for a short period of time, and then came rushing back to bark and nip at Gaige. She growled again, and when the other dog still would not back off, she did try to bite. Although she never made contact, and calmed down as soon as the other dog backed away, we ended up taking her out of the park to cool off.

We really need some help here from our readers. What are your reactions? We need to take Gaige somewhere to improve her social skills. She has never had an issue with other dogs, and my instinct is that this dog was a bit of a bully. If someone got in my space and refused to back off when I made repeated requests, I can only imagine that I would react similarly. My new worry is that her only association with a dog park is now a negative one. I know that many responsible dog owners swear off of dog parks entirely, due to issues such as these. Do you feel that we could have done something differently? What do you suggest for socializing our dogs in the future? Do you take your own dogs to dog parks? Why, or why not?

I do NOT think that this was a situation of an ‘aggressive’ dog, or a terrible owner. Rather, I think she lacked the control over her animal, and worse, lacked the acknowledgement of this fact. Tonka listens well, and so he has the privilege to go off-leash in safe areas. Gaige, however, has a much shorter attention span, and sometimes lets her own free will over-ride her obedience. Because of that, we do not allow her off-leash in areas other than our own property. She has never displayed aggression with other dogs, but has not been exposed to a large variety of new animals. I am really anxious to hear what some of you might suggest for us.

In other news, we will unveil our foster dog on Monday! Please tune-in then 🙂 Enjoy some pictures of our pups until then. Thanks for stopping by!

Playing keep-away!

That’s one happy pup!

Best friends, always.