This morning Remy was looking better but was still not feeling great. I gave him about 1/2 a cup of food and he just sniffed it. He is usually voracious with food. When Mike got home from work this evening he said that Remy was getting back to normal. Maybe he learned something.
Mike and I went to lunch in DC and came home at about 6:30pm. When we got home all of the dogs were happy as usual, but very soon after starting to pet on the dogs we noticed that Remy was a bit different. His belly was huge! It was quite tight and he wasn’t dancing around as usual. A quick check in the laundry room discovered the source of the problem. I had put a new bag of dogfood in the laundry room and Remy had opened the top corner and eaten quite a bit of food.
Well, we fed the other dogs and Remy didn’t even act like he was going to need food.
Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Subject: RE: Happy New
It is really good to
hear from you! Riley continues to do well….he’s just another member of the
family now. He’s been to the vet a couple of times….once to have his leg looked
at – he was limping around for a few days, and we wanted to make sure he hadn’t
hurt himself. He also recently finished his lyme disease vaccination series…the
vet suggested that. We use frontline on him, but ticks really seem to like
Ryan is definitely
Rileys favorite person. They sleep in the same bed….Riley lays on the floor
outside the bathroom when Ryan is in the shower….it’s kind of pathetic….but in a
Oh, I meant to tell you
about the snow…We had a snow shower the other day….and we took the dogs out in
it. Riley just stood there with the dumbest look on his face. You could
almost hear him saying “what is this stuff and why is it on me?”
Anyway, we love him.
You can’t have him back – but anytime you want to come visit, feel
I hope you guys had a
wonderful holiday. We did! We didn’t have any trouble with Riley and the tree
or the presents – which is good – last year Casey ate all the candy canes off of
the bottom 1/3 of the tree – came home to a sticky dog and cellophane wrapper
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 11:11 PM
Subject: RE: Forman’s doing great
Very good to news, and we very much appreciate you sending us a quickupdate. I think he will do fine as it sounds like he is off to a greatstart. He’s not a puppy, but you will get the chance to see him come out ofhis shell like we did. Hopefully this time it will be a few weeks insteadof closer to a few months.
And here I was all worried he’d be nervous/skittish is first night away.You have definitely made him feel welcome/comfortable.
Keep the updates coming, placing dogs in good homes is the best reward wecan get.
Michael and Scott
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 10:44
Forman’s doing great
Hi Mike and Scott,
I just wanted to
check in… he’s doing really well so far. I’ve attached a couple pictures (my
in-laws came over to meet him). He ate up his dinner, so his appetite is still
fine; when we ate dinner, he came in under the table without having to coax him
to come with us, and when Rob was working on the computer, he lay right at his
feet under the desk just like you said he liked to do – I think they both have
found a new friend. He seems comfortable in his kennel where it is, he tucked in
there when we were just talking and couldn’t keep his eyes open.
I’m hoping all will
continue well, but I thought you might find some relief that he doesn’t seem as
We’ll keep you
posted, thanks again.
~Niki and Rob
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 7:25 PM
Subject: Forman’s home visit
Forman’s home visit when very well. He did better than both Scott or Iexpected, he did well with their 3 year old daughter (which meant ignoringher as she ran around the back yard). He liked their back yard (~1/4 andwell fenced with Squirrels one yard over to watch) and was adventurousenough to walk around on his own without his tail tucked. He led me aroundtheir house, including bounding up the stairs, once I motioned that it wasokay for him to go and as long as I stayed within sight.
Scott gave them a good run down of his ‘idiosyncrasies’. And they know itwill take him time, weeks, to get comfortable, they seemed up to the task.They both seemed to genuinely like him and good with dogs.
We both felt comfortable with leaving him there. They will either stop bythis coming Sat and fill out the contract (first choice), or if for somereason they cannot make it Sat we will stop over with a contract. We leftthem with the large crate (that he has been sleeping in) to borrow as wellas a bucket of food, his bowl, 2nd dog bed, two of his toys, a bottle ofdoggie shampoo, and the Red Folder. He ran right into his kennel when weset it up and came right back out. The father instructed the three year old(as best he could) that she was never to go in the cage after the ‘doggie’.We stressed this with both the parents and they were clear on the issue. Hemay be ok but no sense risking it.
While perfectly fine the entire time we were there, Forman was expectedlyrather upset when we left. They have our home and cell numbers as well asemail with instructions to call if there is a problem. They are about 20minutes away (<5 minutes from the PV kennel). She may call you Charlieasking for a local vet recommendation, the folder only listed emergencyvets.
We have our fingers crossed,
At about 3pm we took Foreman over to his new home. They have a wonderful house with a nice large fenced back yard. They parents look like they are between 25 and 30, and they have a young daughter that is 3 and a toddler. They were both experienced dog owners and seemed to be very prepared for Foreman. We took the crate that he sleeps in, his bed from the basement that he slept on during the day, his Kong toy, a bucket of food, his favorite bowl, a rope toy, and a bottle of Shampoo. When we put the crate in the house, Foreman immediately ran inside and seemed to be content. We went into their back yard and Foreman was fascinated with the squirrels. He was inquisitive and seemed happy. The first time we put him in our back yard, he dropped to the ground and cowered. It was great to see how changed he was and how comfortable he seemed.
I’ll miss Foreman. He changed so much since we took him in and he was such a better dog. He was a great companion and shadowed me everywhere I went. He was beginning to be a good watch dog for the house and was just learning how to use the doggy door. But, as much as I will miss him, I am really happy that such a good family took him in as a permanent pet. This makes fostering completely worthwhile! Here is a classic picture of Foreman. No expression…just that silent look of being scared of everything around him.
I am still sick enough that I cannot go to the adoption events, but Mike took Foreman today as he has done every weekend since I got sick in November. Well, today a family put in the adoption paperwork for Foreman and they get their home visit tomorrow. Mike is going to do the home visit and he thinks they are a wonderful family for Foreman. Everyone at the adoption event was concerned that I would be upset to see Foreman leave. Much to the contrary… Like Riley, I really would love to see Foreman go to a great home where he has a family that can love him and care fore him. He is a pretty good dog and has come a long way since we started fostering him back in October. It will take some adjustment time with him, but I am really glad a family sees that he would be a great pet.
I may go with Mike to do the home visit but it will have to be less than 2 hours total away from the house else I won’t be able to make it. We will see.
Sent: Saturday, January 13, 2007 5:10 PM
Subject: Happy New Year!
Yea, about 13 days late, but Happy
New Year to you all!
How is Riley doing? I have been
wondering about him. The dog we have been fostering since you adopted Riley
just got adopted today. He was a good dog, but didn’t have nearly as much
personality as Riley.
Anyhow, I hope all is well for you
guys! Happy New Year!
I had a meeting this morning at 8am so I rushed out and forgot to lock the gate to my office. While I was gone Remy went in and took everything out of the trash can and tore it to pieces. Mike got home before I did and sent me a picture on my mobile phone of the disaster in my office. Ugh…
Foreman mostly plays with Remy and they play pretty rough. It is mostly Remy running through the house with his tail tucked while Foreman is chasing after him. They get to the basement and Remy runs around the back side of the pool table and then darts out to bite Foreman and they roll around on the floor growling and biting at each other’s neck. They are the same age and neither of them seems to be getting hurt. Occasionally Foreman will try to play with Kira but she just snarls at him and he leaves her alone.
Over the past week, Foreman has tried to play with Bones but Bones doesn’t like it at all. When Foreman starts to play, he rares up on his back feet and boxes bones in the face with his front paws. Bones lashes out in a fury of biting, snapping, and growling. Foreman darts back and then comes at bones from differnt angles. Since Bones can’t see very well or hear, he is fairly defenseless and just starts snapping in the air in all directions making the most fierce noise. Eventually Bones looses his footing in his back legs and he falls down and then is stuck laying on the floor snapping at any shadow he can see.
This obviously upsets Mikey something awful and all we have to do is yell at Foreman and he runs back into his crate. Bones then struggles for a bit to get his back end back up and just pouts for a bit. Mikey always holds Bones and checks him for damage. Bones has some cuts on his ears and lip which we had not noticed before. We are thinking that since Foreman escaped from his cage yesterday that he may have had one of these “play” episodes with Bones but there was no-one to intervene and so he actually made may have made contact.
When it all starts, it looks just like when Foreman is starting to play with Remy. But, since Bones is the top male dog in the house, it could be that Foreman is trying to establish dominance. He already dominated Remy in the first day just as all dogs do. So, maybe he is trying to be king of the hill. More to come I am sure…
It was an interesting house today. At 7am we found a puddle in the front entryway to the house. We have been letting Foreman sleep without his crate door locked. Last night he must have had to go and he just wet in the front hallway. Mike cleaned it up since he was the one that decided that Foreman could be trusted with more freedom at night.
When I got home from work, I was greeted by all 4 dogs. I checked the basement and the cage was fully locked. After further inspection I noticed that the clip that is used to hold the bottom of the cage together was missing and the wires were bent. He somehow got that clip off (which I haven’t found) and squeezed through the bottom part of the cage. Man this dog is good at getting out of his cage.
I also found an empty dogfood bag on the floor just inside the doggy door. It had the signature of Remy on it and he hid as soon as I discovered the bag half chewed to bits. I fussed at him and he cowered under the table while I cleaned everything up. I fussed more at him and then changed out of my work clothes. As soon as I stopped fussing he went to normal self. Neither of us will hit him, but he certainly does not seem to take being fussed at to heart for very long.
After a week of tricking Foreman by going to the glass door and then nabbing him by the collar to lead him to the doggy door, he finally seems to have the hang of what the doggy door is about. Today when I got home from work, he ran to the glass door and I walked past him toward the doggy door and he then ran past me and out the door. When he finished his business, he came right back in.
The next step…getting him to figure out that when he has to go, he can take himself out. At the moment, he just goes and sits by the glass door until he is desperate and will then either bark or run in my office and paw on me.
I am in the basement just watching TV, playing pool, and occasionally throwing a dart or two when I hear this big commotion from upstairs. Soon the commotion is heading down the stairs and Remy comes blasting down the stairs into the basement. He runs to me seeking cover and then hides under the pool table. Shortly thereafter Mike comes stumbling down the stairs fussing at Remy saying “Bad Remy! Bad!!!” and shaking his finger at the dog.
I asked Mike what was going on and he said that he heard a noise from his office on the second floor and came down to find that Remy had pulled the empty dog food bag out from behind the bin where we store the dog food and was laying in the middle of it tearing it to little tiny pieces. Well, Mike caught him in the act and chased him through the house yelling at the dog. Unfortunately for Mike, the dog us less clumsy than Mike and could easily outrun Mike to head for cover.
About an hour later, I hear the sound of a herd of cattle running through the house and then down the stairs to the basement, but this time they were all just making noise around Mike. The noise was Mike coming down to let me know he had made up with Remy.
Starting on Sunday, rather than letting Foreman out the glass door to the deck, I walked him over to the doggy door and pushed his nose through it. The first time he put on the brakes and then gave in and darted through the door. He stood on the deck looking in at me as if he was terribly insulted.
Tonight I got home and let him out of his play cage and he ran to the door to go outside. I walked to the doggy door and he darted right through the door outside, danced around on the deck, ran back inside, then back outside, and did his thing in the yard. He seemed surprised that the same door could lead to two different places. No trauma or whimpering. He seems to be learning where the little door leads.
I cleaned up my office a bit and put lots of stuff in my trash can. It was overflowing with papers and wrappers from stuff that had been on my desk. I went to the bathroom and heard a rustling sound. I thought it was the wind blowing a bush against the house but when I got back to my office, the trash was all over the floor. I think Foreman has some racoon in him as he just pulls everything out of the can, piece by piece, and tears it up.
It’s been a long year with lots of changes. Fostering dogs has added an interesting twist to life.
Kira has grown into a good match for me. Almost a perfect match… always sick, distant, unaffectionate, and grumpy. But, she is sweet and stays with me all the time. She isn’t scared of the pool table and gets endless pleasure from chasing the frisbee. She never has an accident in the house except for the occasional episode of wetting the bed while sleeping due to her infections. So, there are some differences between her and me… I don’t wet the bed, and I don’t chase the frisbee. 🙂 One of the best things about Kira is that she always stays close to you wherever you go. When in the yard she stays within 10 feet at all times. When walking on a trail, she never leaves your side. And when you take her to the office or to a park, she shadows you all the time. The most rewarding thing about Kira is that she is protective of me. Although she never seems to want to be pet, when she and I are around other dogs or people, she gets between me and whatever else is there and she will growl and snap if they get close to me. She doesn’t do this when they are just near her, but she is protective of me. All I have to do is say “Kira, no” and she will back down and lay on the floor. I think she likes me.
Bones is getting way up there in age. He can’t see very well, can’t hear much at all, and he is getting feeble. He falls down a lot on the hardwood floors and falls down on the front steps quite often. But he still eats and wags his tail for Mike. He is Mike’s companion and whenever Mike leaves the house, Bones camps out at the front door looking through the glass at the driveway for the entire time that Mike is gone. Occasionally he howls and cries.
Remy is just a mush dog. He loves everyone equally and has no loyalty to anyone. His loyalties are only in those that have food or are willing to pet him. But, he is so affectionate and gentle that you cannot help but hug on him. His fur is so thick that he is like hugging a plush teddy bear. He is the most vocal of the dogs and will bark at you whenever he wants something, is happy, is frustrated, or is hurt. Each bark is different, so we know how to interpret it. He is the only dog that does a little dance every time he is about to get food. It is so cute. And he is very good at staying near the house when we are outside. His only big weakness is that he won’t give the ball back when you play fetch. I mean, he will not give it back. You can try to pry it from his mouth and you will not succeed. You get one throw and that is it.
The foster dogs have taught me a lot about doggy behavior and provided great reward when the dog readapts to human companionship. Riley was out of control when we got him. He was aggressive and almost unmanagable. But, after Riley bit me and I learned that he responded to a firm voice and dog language (yea, I growled at him a lot and forced him on his back whenever he was bad). In time, Riley turned around and became a wonderful little dog that loved to talk to you and wagged his tail so hard that he would bloody the tip. He was still aggressive with other dogs and became protective of me. He seemed to really take to me which didn’t make Mike all that happy. After 3 months with Riley, he was adoptable and it was a matter of finding the right family. Fortunately, the perfect family found him. After 6 weeks in his new home I went to visit him and he was a completely different dog. Playful, attentive, and not a bit aggressive. He lives with a slightly older female that is about his size, and he seems really happy. Seeing Riley like this makes fostering completely worthwhile.
And the open book in fostering is Foreman. He is like “Santa’s Little Helper” from the Simpsons both in action and look. He is a mix of Grey Hound and Labradore. He has wonderful colors and markings and can run like the wind. He is beautiful when he is running. When walking, he looks goofy. He has such muscular back legs that they dwarf the rest of his body. When we took him in, he was so skittish that the wind blowing through the leaves scared him. Really…the first time he was out in the back yard and the wind blew through the leaves, he tucked tail and ran back to the house and right into the glass door. It has been about 3 months of fostering Foreman now and he is getting better. Like Riley, he responded quickly to dog signals like barking, growling, and putting him on his back. He favors me over anyone else but he also seems to recognize people. When he is in a strange environment and recognizes someone, he immediately goes to them and seeks protection. It doesn’t matter if the past experiences have had him hiding from them or not. They are familiar in a sea of the unknown. Foreman is not aggressive with people, but can be with other dogs when they come near me. He is protective of me, and is actually the best watch dog in the house. Kira and Remy hear a noise and just look, listen, and occasionally growl. But, Foreman will hear a noise and sneak up to where it is, peek around the corner, and if there is something there, he starts barking this nasty growly bark that would scare most people away. When someone invades the home and neither Mike or I are around, he will stand his ground and be nasty. But, if they approach him, he runs for cover. So, not quite the perfect watch dog. Hopefully someone will recognize him as a good family pet and will take him in. Till then, he will sleep under my desk and be scared of the wind.
Happy New Year to all. I hope you are enjoying the stories of the dogs.