Raven: A reminder for Christmas

I had largely put Raven behind me and gotten over her going to her new home. But, for Christmas, Mike bought me a new spoon rest for the stove and marked the package as “From: Raven”. My eyes watered up as I thought of that first week with that little dog and her destruction of things in the house. Who would have known that such a destructive little dog would get so close to my heart.

Raven: Gone to her new home

Well, Raven got adopted and went to her new home today.  I spent as much time on Friday with her just playing and saying goodbye.  She was such a bundle of joy and I am already sad that she is gone.  But that is what fostering dogs is about.  Sometimes you fall in love with one and want to keep it.  But if you followed through on wanting to keep them, you would never be able to get any adopted out.

So, I woke up this morning a bit sad, but I have guests coming over this evening so I will keep myself occupied preparing for the guests.  Mike left with Raven at 11:30 and he said that when her new family came to get her that she stared at him as if in disbelief that someone else was taking her away.  He said that she stared out the window at him as they drove away.  Sounds a lot like Roxy except that we got to say goodbye to Raven.

I hope she does well.  But a part of me hopes that she comes back.

Raven: The counter surfer

I got up this morning and in the spirit of Thanksgiving (which is next Thursday) I made peanut butter cookies.  I had the cookies cooling on the counter and had pulled the last batch out of the oven and set the pan on the top of the stove.  I went to the bathroom and in moments I heard the familiar sound of paws on the counter.  I ran to the kitchen and she had already stolen 5 and a half cookies.  I scolded her and she peed everywhere and kept trying to make up.  Mike anticipated my anger and temper and came running down with the intention of protecting her from me yelling at her.  But Raven is so innocent and has such a sweet face that I just couldn’t bring myself to do more than shake my finger at her and fuss.

I really think that my reaction is muted because of Darby. I use to get so angry at Darby that I would lock him out of the house or lock him in his cage.  I would yell at him and if he was terribly destructive I would spank him.  And this happened just 3 weeks before he died… that has haunted me.  I have thought for a long time as to if a smart dog like Darby was unhappy here in the house because I tried to impose rules on him and when he violated them he got punished and in the extreme case, got a smack on the butt. So, I think Raven reminds me so much of Darby that I can’t bring myself to treat her like him for fear that she will pass and I will never get to apologize or make up.

So, Mike arrived and I was just scolding her.  He was harder on her than I was.  That surprised me.  I do like this little dog, and I do feel like she is an opportunity for a second chance to deal with Darby’s soul.  But that choice has fortunately been taken from me.  She has been adopted.

Well… Mike went on a hike and not 5 minutes after he left I hear the crash of metal and I go to the kitchen to find pans and various cooking utensils all over the floor with Raven frantically licking everything that she had pulled from the sink.  Yes, I had put all of the utensils and bowls from making lunch and cookies in the sink and she had retrieved them.  I scolded her… but now I had a delima.  I was about to go out and cut brush in the yard.  But I couldn’t possibly leave her in the house free.

So, grabbed her by the collar and took her to the basement and locked her in the cage.  I hadn’t put my shoes on yet, but I left her in the cage.  She barked her head off… sounded just like Darby… just was barking.  No howling or whining… just barking.  I put my shoes on, and then went outside for about 2 hours and cleared brush.

When I got inside, I let her out and she just mauled poor Remy.  I took them outside to let her run some energy off.  In the process, I got a ball and threw it for Clifford.  But he was being possessive and wouldn’t give me the ball back.  So, I backed him into a corner and spent 10 minutes convincing him that I should have the ball.  I got it, and promptly put it away after fussing at him for not giving it to me willingly.  All the while, Raven stood there watching the events and just seemed really intrigued by the interaction.  She is a smart dog… she learns by watching… and I suspect she will take a ball and see if I force her to give it back.

But that opportunity won’t come because she will go home in a week.  This morning when I was in bed, she came down from Mike’s room (she sleeps up there with Remy) and jumped on me.  I had gone to bed at about 1:30 and I already had the covers over my head.  She started digging at the covers to get to me. Then got distracted by some noise and left…only to return in a few minutes and continue digging at me.  I eventually rolled over and played with her till she got tired and fell asleep beside me laying on my chest.

I will miss this little dog a lot.  She is a counter surfer… she gets up at 6am and demands play time for about an hour, and she gets into everything.  I hope the new owners realize that if the house gets quiet… she is up to something… Treat her like a 2 year old.

A big part of me wants to keep her but logic steps in and says that she will not let me make up for Darby and she isn’t a replacement for Darby.  He died in a terrible way through our negligence and it haunts me every day. But I can’t let my own guilt for Darby’s death affect the reality that Raven is too much for me at this age and she deserves and needs a better home than I can give her.

Still… I have to put her up there with Roxy.  Yea… remember Roxy.  I loved her and was about to adopt here when I took her to an adoption event.  No-one had told me that she had a good application.  So when her new owner showed up and took her, I just cried as they drove away without me getting to say goodbye.  She peered out the window at me as they left.  I never saw her again and I never went back to another adoption event.  I still get teary eyed thinking of losing Roxy.  I won’t let myself get that way with this little dog.

But… when I am ready for another Roxy, Darby, or Raven… I feel confident that the dog and the personality will be there.  After all.  If Roxy, Darby, and Raven all have this same personality that makes me fall in love with them… then another will come along… I hope.

Raven: Good adoption application

I have loved having Raven in the house.  She is the most innocent thing I have ever seen and yet she gets in so much trouble.  But you can’t possibly be mad at her because you know she is just experiencing anything that catches her eye.

Drop a penny in the middle of a room and then let her into the room.  If that is the only thing that changed… she will immediately run to it, sniff it and then lick it.  She discovers absolutely everything.  And she is into everything.

I adore Raven and she is the only dog I have had since Darby that can leap onto the bed, pummel me, lick any exposed skin (usually my face or hands) and then jump on my chest without me getting upset at all.  I just giggle like a little kid when this dog is around.

And, she responds to me.  Mike has this “no no Raven” voice that she largely ignores.  But when I use the deepest most gravely dog voice that I have (that I use when reprimanding most dogs I train) she immediately responds, stops whatever she is doing and collapses on the floor or wherever she is.  She stays there till I come to her and apologize.  She really understands right and wrong if wrong is characterized by the deep voice.

But, she really just endeared herself to me when on Thursday night I was up late with a customer and then couldn’t sleep so I went to the basement and slept on the couch.  I do this because the basement has a bunch of servers that make a nice droning noise that puts me right to sleep.  That and that Clifford, Kira, and Remy had already jumped in my bed.  Usually they split up and I have 2 while Mike has 2.  But when I headed for bed at 2am, there was no room for me.

Well… I slept in the basement on the most comfortable couch you have ever seen… and slept well till about 4am when I hear Kira’s nails tapping on the floor overhead.  She is going throughout the house, walking into every room… and I suspect she is looking for me.  She does this whenever she realizes I am not in my normal bed where she sleeps also.

Eventually I hear Kira nuzzle the door open to the basement and come down the stairs.  But instead of the familiar sounds, she has a companion that is making a lot of noise.  I know that Raven is following her.

Kira is a sly dog and she knows where I am.  She comes in, looks at me, and then instead of coming over to greet me as she usually does, she just goes to her chair in the basement and curls up.  Raven is there standing in the room looking around.  It is as if she is looking for me but isn’t familiar with me enough to know my habits.  Her nose doesn’t appear to work so she lives by sight.  And I didn’t move.

Raven wandered around the basement with every little thing catching her attention… but it was dark and all lights were out.  I can see in the dark as can most dogs.  But she didn’t appear to have as good of vision at night as Kira.

Raven continued to wander and then from about half way across the room she realized I was there and she just ran at me like a shot.  Her entire body was wiggling like she does when I first come home from work.  And she leaped on me.  Just jumped on the couch and I was prepared.  I had 2 blankets over me (the house was about 50 degrees) and she landed square on my crotch.  As expected.

But she just curled up right on my chest and went to sleep immediately.  And there she slept… on my chest, from around 4am till 6am.  I slept too… as she isn’t very heavy… she is quite light.

She never moved, never did anything and at around 6am when I woke, she was laying there staring at me.  Wide awake.  Just waiting for me to wake up so that I could be her chew toy.  I pulled my arms from under the covers, and she started to gently chew on my hands and forearms like she does every morning.  She is gentle, never bites down… but always wants to just chew on my hands.  She doesn’t do it to Mike or anyone else.

We played for about an hour with her chewing on my hands, me teasing her nose by grabbing it and tugging on her muzzle, and then alternatively grabbing her feet.  She just rolls around like the pup that she is and played.

So… this is Raven.  Just a playful little dog that doesn’t have a care in the world, is smart as a whip, and seems to genuinely enjoy everything she encounters.

But, today she got a great adoption application.  A Stay-at-home mom with a 4 year old and a 10 year old.  She interacted with the kids and did great.  So, Mike Texted me to tell me of the pending adoption giving me a last chance to keep her.  I texted back that she should go.

We don’t need 4 dogs.  I don’t need a Darby replacement.  Raven is a handful and will be just as troublesome as Darby.  Kira doesn’t need the competition in the last years of her life.  And we don’t need 4 dogs.  I love that little dog to death, but I can’t keep her just because she makes me so happy.

Oh, don’t think for a moment that I won’t miss her.  I will cry when she leaves.  I asked Mike to arrange for her to go next Saturday after Thanksgiving so that I get to spend my 2 days off here at the house with her.  I’ll miss the little happy girl.  But then life will be back to normal when she is gone and some other family will be just incredibly happy when she is with them.

Raven: Channeling Darby

I am really surprised that Raven hasn’t been adopted.  She is a beautiful little dog and just the sweetest thing.  But as we have gotten to know her, I have no doubt that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, then it occurred with Darby being reincarnated as Raven.

I really like this little dog for all the reasons that I loved Darby so much.  But given that Darby was one of the most frustrating dogs I have ever had, a big part of me just can’t see adopting her for fear of repeating the history of Darby.

Yesterday, I did something I use to do with Darby. She was in the kitchen watching me cook, and turned to walk to the water bowl.  I leaned down and grabbed her back hips and went “BOOO!” and she did just like Darby by tucking tail, running forward about 3 feet, and then spinning around standing on her back legs and just boxed with me like a kangaroo.  That was so much fun with Darby and it is fun with Raven.

After getting dinner started, she was begging, and I started to walk away.  She was watching the counter (she does steal food from the counter or your hand) but keeping an eye on me, and as I turned the corner, I took off running.  She started scrambling to run after me with her feet not getting traction on the hard wood and it was just hilarious.  Just like Darby.

Once she started going, I ran from her and then grabbed a column and did a sharp 90 degree turn.  She couldn’t stop to make the turn and went sliding down the hall with her feet scrambling to get traction on the hard wood.  Then she came after me again and I did the same over and over running around the kitchen which is an island in the middle of the house.

In the morning she gets up and wants to play.  She runs through the house at full speed and leaps onto the bed.  I cover my head under the sheets and she just pounces on me searching for a way under the sheets.  Just like Darby.

And she has Darby’s attention span.  She will be doing next to nothing and then get distracted with some noise and then will take off on her own looking for it till she hears another noise.  But about ever hour she will just appear and check on me to see what I am doing.  Just like Darby.  No matter where he was, he would stop and come running to visit me, give me a lick, and run back to whatever has distracted him.  Raven does the same thing.

What is most concerning though is that she is just like Darby in that she doesn’t stay with the pack when outside.  She does her own thing and I would bet that if she ever got out without a leash, she would take off just like Darby which leads me to believe that she would also meet Darby’s fate.  She is smaller than Darby and can easily slip through he fence just like Darby did.

So… while I really would love to adopt her, I worry about repeating the years of destruction from Darby.  I don’t think we would ever be able to leave her out in the house without her destroying the house.


Raven: no adoption yet

Well.. I am not at all unhappy that this sweet little pooch hasn’t been adopted.  I just can’t figure out why she hasn’t been adopted.

Every morning at 5:30am she is up and make me get up to let her out and feed her.  The other dogs just ride along enjoying the early feeding.  No matter the day or the situation… she is on her own clock.  But after feeding, it is such a pleasure to have her jump in the bed and pounce on me and the other dogs.  It is like a mini version of Darby.  I suppose that is why I like her so much.  She has Darby’s personality and I suspect she has his destructiveness.

Yes, I loved Darby and I mourned his death for over a year.  I just now am able to go to his grave and not break down in tears.  Raven reminds me so much of Darby and all of the happiness that he brought to the house.  Just the overwhelming enthusiasm for living, the fun of anything new, and the inquisitiveness to investigate anything as simple as a bug.  Raven is all of this.  I really want to keep her but I know it isn’t right and we don’t need 4 dogs.

Interestingly, Kira usually hates female dogs but something about Raven being a puppy makes Kira and all of the other dogs just accept her and put up with her playful biting and bouncing on them.  Kira clearly is maintaining her alpha dominance for the house and growls but has never been nasty with Raven.  The dogs usually don’t let a newcomer to the house have a first chance.  They put them in their place.  But with Raven, they seem to just let her be as goofy as she is.  Something about being a pup and them recognizing her age.  It is surprising none the less.

Well.. I would love to keep Raven forever.  She is just the perfect dog for me.  But Kira is in her twilight and she doesn’t have many years left.  So, it is better to let Kira live in peace thinking that she is the focus of all of my attention without fear that another dog is taking her place.  After she passes in a few year it will be right to consider a new dog.

So, I won’t keep Raven… but I will miss her when she is gone.  I really have fallen in love with her. But I also know what is best for both her and me. Timing is everything.

Raven: Gets into everything

Accidentally leave a door open?  She is immediately in there sniffing everything and finding something to run away with.  She doesn’t chew everything up like Darby did, but she takes it back to her bed. If you are in the house and things are a little too quiet… you better get up and start looking for her because she is into something.

Raven is just a bundle of joy, energy, licks, and belly rubs.  She knows paw and when she can’t get your attention, she puts her nose down, looks up out of the top of her eyes, and lifts up the paw.  Everyone just melts to that.

I think the only problem that Raven has is that she is skittish.  If you rush up to her too fast, she flops on the floor and closes her eyes like you are going to hit her.  If you raise your hand to her, she flops on the floor and closes her eyes as if she thinks she is going to be hit.

She loves the Piano, and loves to just crawl all over the other dogs.  Remy is just an old kremudgin with lots of growls, and leaving the room, but eventually he just lays on the floor while she chews on his tail, bites at his feet, licks his ears, lays on his head, and in general just mauls him.  She does the same with Clifford but Clifford eventually tires of it and lifts his lip and then swats her with his paw.  Kira won’t have anything to do with her but I have fussed at Kira for snapping at her so Kira lifts her lip and there must be some low growl that I can’t hear, but Raven jumps up and gets about 6 feet away from Kira whenever it happens.

She is a sweet little dog… but she is trouble if you don’t keep an eye on her.

Raven: A smart little dog

Well.. I hope that Raven gets adopted very soon.  Not because I don’t want her… but exactly the opposite.  I am quickly falling in love with this little menace.  She is just so sweet, so incredibly affectionate, and into everything.  She is smart as can be and has learned the doggy door faster than any other dog we have had.  She now goes out, does her business, and comes back in.

The greatest thing about this little wiggly dog is that she is a greeter.  Our dogs just kind of assume that when we get home they will get food… and they come and go wanting attention as it hits them.  But Raven is a greeter.  When you get home, it is like her entire being is excited to see you.  She wags her tail and it translates to her entire body.  She is just one big undulating wag with her little tongue lapping at you as fast as she can.  She is just such a joy to see.  Even when you have had a bad drive or a bad day, this little dog just makes all of your problems go away.

And the other dogs just seem to understand that she is a puppy and they put up with being mauled, chewed on, and nipped at.  Even old Remy just grumbles while she is pouncing on him, jumping on his back, and chewing on his legs.  Remy… the dog that never liked any other dog when he was separated from his companion from Hurricane Katrina.  Remy… the grumpy old bear of a dog… seems to like her and play with her… or at least tolerate her.

If you put her on a leash… she is happy and she darts around biting at the leash and playing the entire time.  She is just a bundle of happiness. Just happy with everything that you throw at her and happy that anything is interacting with her.  I wish life could be as feckless as she seems to perceive it.

So, I need this dog to get adopted fast.  I am very quickly falling in love with her and I just can’t have that.  After Darby, I just don’t want to love a dog so much that it hurts so bad to lose it.  And this one will get adopted… but I just hope I haven’t fallen for her by time she gets taken.

Raven: Completely untrained

This has to be the most annoying creature we have fostered.  She is sweet, loving, and affectionate.  But she is the most destructive animal we have ever had. Darby… as much as I miss and love him was destructive but he kept his destruction to large comm0n things.  But… this freaking pooch steals everything, chews everything, and destroys anything in her reach.

Tonight I was making soup and she ate the wooden spoon, then broke the ceramic spoon holder, then a bowl, and continued to a bowl.  None had soup in them.  She just kept taking things off the counter and breaking them while I was napping.

Oh, now I remember why I never wanted kids… and why I dislike puppies so much!


Raven: The new pooch

After the event today, Mike arrived with a new pooch. A black lab puppy that is about 8 months old.  The original owners gave her to HART for financial reasons and said that they had been walking her and training her.  She has no training… at all… and isn’t house trained. By the end of the week she will be house trained.

She is a cute little black lab that s really energetic.  We usually don’t foster females because Kira gets so upset.  But this is an exception.  She is a pretty dog, shows well, and will probably be adopted quickly.  So, we might have her for 2 weeks to train and prepare her.

I put her on her back and she didn’t care at all… thought it was a game.  She is definitely a puppy.  She jumped all over Remy and he just stood there and occasionally let out a groan indicating he wasn’t happy… but he wasn’t mad.  Odd thing… in dog world… it seems that they recognize a puppy and just let it do anything that they normally wouldn’t tolerate.

Kira ran to my office and just hid from her.  Raven is a ball of energy… She runs around… sniffs, and plays.  She doesn’t sniff like a dog investigating… she just runs around interacting with anything she comes in contact with and sniffs.  Totally a puppy.