For the Love of Shelter Dogs*


Rest in Peace, Ulani
May 28, 2009, 12:21 am
Filed under: Foster Pups

Ulani contracted parvovirus and had to be put to sleep today. We noticed the symptoms this morning and kept an eye on her all day. We brought all three to the shelter when it opened to get them tested. They only tested Ulani, and they told us she was parvo-positive. Since Keanu and Malia aren’t showing any symptoms yet the shelter let us keep them. They’d had their vaccinations before they came with us, and we have a 7-10 day window (incubation time for the virus) before we’ll know if Keanu and Malia will make it. Hopefully they will…

Ulani

Ulani

Ulani

We’ll miss you, sweet girlie.



Foster Babies!
May 26, 2009, 3:46 am
Filed under: Foster Pups

We picked up our foster pups last Friday. We got three one-month-old shepherd mixes (two girls and a boy). They were born at the shelter and had just been taken from their mom the day we picked them up (or a day before, I’m not completely sure; but I know it was recently).

We divvied up the babies (I got the boy, Caroline got the short-fur girl, and Mariamme got the medium-fur girl). We had so much trouble thinking of names for them! I was leaning toward either Jenkins (after PBR rider L.J. Jenkins) or Edgar (after Edgar Hansen on Deadliest Catch). Neither of them seemed to fit him well enough. Eventually I decided on Gunnar, but I found out the next day that “we” decided to go for a Hawaiian-name theme. I eventually settled on Keanu for my baby. Caroline settled on Malia for her girl, and Mariamme chose Ulani for her girl.

I think the shelter gave us the most dominant puppies of the litter. They’re always going at each other and bullying each other, and occasionally they’ll bully us. We don’t stand for that, though, and they’re slowly learning that growling at humans, justified or not, is never a good thing. We try to discipline them like their mother would, picking them up by the scruff (and keeping a hand under their rear for support), or holding them on their backs (in our arms) until they stop squirming. They’re getting the idea, and they’re not picking as many fights with each other.

Keanu

Keanu waking up from his nap. Such a sweetie! He's also the smallest of the litter.

Ulani

Ulani trying to sleep. She's the sweetest pup. She likes to curl up in your arms and sleep, and she loves to cuddle!

Malia

Malia curled up in Caroline's arms. So cute!

That’s all for tonight, but as more and more adorable things happen, I’ll be sure to post the stories, pictures, and possibly the videos!



A Few Adoptions
May 21, 2009, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Adoptions

I wasn’t able to make it to the shelter for over a week, but I’ve been informed (via Internet) that a few of my favorite dogs have been adopted!

Craig was one one of the long-timers. He’d been at the shelter since maybe last July or August, and since he was super energetic and playful no one wanted to adopt him. He loved to run around and really enjoyed playing chase, especially when you wanted to put the leash on him. He was finally adopted last weekend!

Craig is a cute and happy Labrador Retriever mix. He is about one and a half years old, and he is nicely sized at about 25 - 30 pounds. Craig is very playful and fun. He likes to play with other dogs and he likes to meet new people. Craig will be neutered as part of his adoption fee.

Craig is a cute and happy Labrador Retriever mix. He is about one and a half years old, and he is nicely sized at about 25 - 30 pounds. Craig is very playful and fun. He likes to play with other dogs and he likes to meet new people. Craig will be neutered as part of his adoption fee.

Browny was also adopted. She’s such a sweet little girl who loves to be a lap dog. I saw her get surrendered a couple months ago because she’d just had a litter and her family couldn’t keep her (or the litter). She came in with her pups, and she finally found a home!

Browny is an adorable four year old shepherd mix. She weighs about 30 - 35 pounds. Browny is affectionate and gentle. She likes to be petted and snuggled by friendly people. Browny will be spayed as part of her adoption fee.

Browny is an adorable four year old shepherd mix. She weighs about 30 - 35 pounds. Browny is affectionate and gentle. She likes to be petted and snuggled by friendly people. Browny will be spayed as part of her adoption fee.

Darling was originally named Pucca (though I’m not sure why), but fortunately someone changed her name. She was really sweet, but I didn’t really know her until Caroline and I noticed she looked pregnant. We took her out to be sure, then called a vet tech to look at her. We really didn’t want to do this because the last dog I found that was pregnant ended up having her litter aborted (sad, but necessary because of all the dogs the shelter has). We didn’t want this to happen to Darling too, but we knew it was probably necessary. We asked the vet tech anyway, and she told us that they’d see how far along she was and how healthy she was, and then they’d make their decision. Well, Darling was missing from the adoption rooms for about a month, so I’m assuming they let her have her litter before they put her back up. Now she’s been adopted!

Darling is a pretty hound mix. She is about one and a half years old, and she weighs about 40 pounds. Darling is outgoing and likes to meet new people. She likes to go for walks and she tries to hold it until she can get out of her kennel. Darling will be spayed as part of her adoption fee.

Darling is a pretty hound mix. She is about one and a half years old, and she weighs about 40 pounds. Darling is outgoing and likes to meet new people. She likes to go for walks and she tries to 'hold it' until she can get out of her kennel. Darling will be spayed as part of her adoption fee.

Faulkner was another of my favorites, but he’s not listed online anymore. He was a big silly boy. He loved to play and loved to run around with his cagemate. He was adopted last Wednesday.

We pick up foster puppies tomorrow, if all goes according to plan. I’ll be sure to take pictures to post!



Construction, Puppy Countdown, and Adoptions
May 11, 2009, 1:46 am
Filed under: Adoptions, Foster Pups, General

The shelter is under construction! Well, not the whole shelter, just a little bit. They’ve been wanting to add a separate building where adopters can go to fill out the adoption paperwork. The lobby gets so crowded on the weekends that there is hardly ever room to move around, let alone walk dogs without risking fights, so the new building will be wonderful to have. The only problem? In order to build this building they had to tear down two of the front gravel exercise pens. Now we only have one exercise pen out in front of the shelter, and with all these dogs to walk it’s going to be difficult to juggle which dog gets to run when. But we’ve been told that they’re going to find a different place for the pens they tore down, and that we will eventually have more pens. So, we’ll have an empty lobby, a new paperwork area, and different pens. It won’t be that bad, and I’m sure all of us volunteers will be able to share that one pen nicely until they can put up the new ones.

Puppy Countdown: 14 days! Exactly two weeks until we can pick up our foster pups. I’m excited. Puppies!

The shelter is having a half-price weekend, where all pets over 1 year old are half off! We had quite a few adoptions yesterday and today, including Tonka and Tom-Tom. Tonka has been featured on my blog before (remember him?) and Tom-Tom has been one of my favorite dogs at the shelter for a couple months.

Tonka

Tonka

Tom-Tom, not too sure about the camera

Tom-Tom, not too sure about the camera

Hooray for new homes!



Wolverine
May 1, 2009, 2:18 pm
Filed under: Foster Pups, General

No, not the movie, the dog! There’s a little shepherd mix at the shelter right now named Wolverine. He’s about 8 or 9 months old, and he’s scared out of his mind. He came to my attention through Jan, another volunteer who’d met him and was trying to find a foster home for him. I told her I’d work with him.

Now, I easily fall in love with the Damaged Dogs, as I call them. The dogs who don’t have any manners because no one ever bothered to teach them. The dogs with separation anxiety because they’ve been left so often by their owners. The dogs who are so scared to trust people because their trust has never been rewarded in the past. These are my favorite dogs to work with, and Wolverine fits perfectly into this category.

I took him out a week ago and spent a little time with him to gauge how shy and afraid he really was. I took him out front to a gravel pen, and he wandered around and cowered from me whenever I moved. I brought him back to the smaller pens in the back (they’re a little smaller than the dogs’ kennels inside the shelter) and sat with him there. There’s not enough room in the little cage for him get far away from me and cower, so this is the perfect place to work with him. I sat there and every once in a while I’d reach out to stroke him or touch his paw. I noticed that he left little wet paw prints on the concrete, even though it was completely dry outside. I’d heard somewhere that dogs’ paws sweat when they’re really nervous, so I stopped messing with him. He put up with everything I did to him, but he shook and looked at me sideways, like he was pleading with me to stop. I did, and I put him back in his cage.

I took him out last Monday again, and just sat with him in the back. I didn’t touch him this time. I just let him work it out himself. I sat in the middle of the cage so he’d have to brush my shoulder when he moved. I’d had a song stuck in my head all day, so when no one was outside I sang it softly. Whenever I stopped Wolverine looked over at me like “Why’d you stop?” I guess it made him feel more comfortable. After about 10 minutes in the cage with me, he went up to my back, sniffed, and licked the back of my neck. Then he went on shaking and pacing, then he came up to my side and licked my arm once. He slowly got accustomed to me being there, and started accepting my presence. After a little over half an hour, I picked my hand up and reached toward him, talking softly. I murmured comforting things and stroked his head and down his back, over and over. He was nervous the first few times, but got to the point where he realized it felt good and I wasn’t hurting him. He loosened up and I could see his face relax. After 45 minutes with him, I leashed him up and put him back. Unfortunately, due to the end-of-semester rush, I haven’t been able to get back to the shelter since Monday. Hopefully I’ll get back over the weekend.

Well, my countdown to puppy-fostering has begun! We have a little under a month until we pick up pups who may not even be born yet. I absolutely love fostering. We’ve had three sets of pups so far, and they’ve all been adorable.

Ani and Aida (or Ada) were two little shepherd/lab mixes we fostered back in June 2007. They were so adorable. Ani liked to flop over our arms in her sleep, and she looked dead quite often. Aida was my little baby.

Ani (darker brown) and Aida/Ada (lighter brown)

Ani (darker brown) and Aida/Ada (lighter brown)

Our second set of pups were spaniel mixes. We’d originally planned to get fosters as soon as school let out, so early June. But when we called, we were told that they didn’t have many pups in need of foster homes. We got a call a couple days later that they had 3 shepherd mixes that needed parents. So we packed up and went to the shelter to pick them up. We got there, and were told that they couldn’t let us foster them because the pups were starting to look kind of pit-ish, and the shelter can’t adopt out pits, so they’d have to wait and see if the pups started looking like pure pits (they didn’t, and were eventually adopted out). They said that the only other litter they had was a litter of 6 spaniel mix pups. Caroline and I were all for having 6 pups, but her mom and Mariamme weren’t quite as sold on the idea. Eventually they gave in, and we brought home the 3 boys and 3 girls. We each picked a boy and a girl to call “our pups” and we named them. Caroline chose the smallest girl and one of the boys, and named the girl Serenity and the boy Sirius. I chose the two problem-eaters that we’d had to hand feed during their first feeding. I didn’t think Mariamme would want to deal with the hand-feeding (I was right) so I took them on. I named the girl Marcy (after an old exercise machine we had in our house..I liked the name) and the boy McCoy (after one of my favorite PBR riders, Cord McCoy). We gave Mariamme (who wasn’t there at the time) the remaining pups, who she later named Jeremy (after Jeremy Irons) and Jaida (because she liked the name). We raised them, and they all ended up getting adopted!

The girls on the left (from far left, clockwise: Marcy, Serenity, Jaida) and the boys on the right (from top left, clockwise: Sirius, McCoy, Jeremy)

The girls on the left (from far left, clockwise: Marcy, Serenity, Jaida) and the boys on the right (from top left, clockwise: Sirius, McCoy, Jeremy)

Later that summer Mariamme and I fostered two needy shepherd mixes. I won’t go into¬† too much detail because I’m writing their story in a collection of other shelter dog stories (that I’m hoping to eventually get published!) and I don’t want to give it all away. But the two boys, David and Gabriel, contracted Parvovirus and had to be humanely euthanized in July. We miss the little boys.

My David

My David

Sweet Gabriel

Sweet Gabriel

So, that’s it for now. I’m hoping to get to the shelter this weekend, and I’ll update after that! Then, when we get our foster pups, I’ll blog about them!