Blossom Update

So we’ve had a few highs and a few lows since bringing Blossom home.

Let’s start with the highs:

She’s adorable. So freaking cute. She has an adorable gray muzzle, the biggest cow eyes and the best head tilt in the world.

She has settled into our routine relatively easily. She’s quick to join us (and Lucy) on the couch, knows she gets a treat after doing her business outside, knows our walking route and quickly got into the routine of sleeping in our bedūüôā

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She and Lucy are still getting along very well. Again, I wouldn’t say they interact all that much – Blossom certainly doesn’t play with toys like Lucy does – but they are totally comfortable being in the same room and spend the days sleeping on the couch together.

Blossom’s relatively healthy (more on that in the “lows” section, though). She is perfectly house trained, eats with no issues and gets around wonderfully.

Now, the lows:
Despite appearing to be healthy, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Her levels came back low enough that treatment isn’t necessarily required but we’re still gathering the facts. Ultimately, she might have to undergo treatment for it, which would suck.

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Her “Elvis lip”

She has a few big quirks which I mentioned in my previous post. I cannot touch her feet and when trying to put on her (adorable) new harness we had a not-so-minor freakout that left her “off” for the rest of the night. She was antsy and nervous. Poor thing. I can’t expect years of abuse to be erased in a few days, if ever, but it makes me sad she was scared when I simply tried to put a harness on her.

She is a barker. Fortunately, a 17-pound peanut of a dog doesn’t bark very loudly but it’s still in stark contrast to Lucy.

She’s a velcro dog. This isn’t really a low but I wouldn’t call it a high, either. It’s hard to call it a high when I can’t pee by myself. But she’s so darn cute it’s hard to get angry.

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I cannot get angry at this face.

Anyway, it’s obvious I love her and she is fitting in very well after less than a week. We’re still learning her quirks and I’m very quickly remembering what it’s like having a pug around but so far it has been really good for all of us!

Introducing Blossom

After five long months, we are fostering again!

Meet Blossom:
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That’s right, a pug! A 14-year-old pug, to be exact. I picked her up a few days ago and knock on wood, things have been really good.

Her background is a bit fuzzy. I can only assume she was with one family for nearly all of her 14 years but I honestly don’t know. I do know, however, that the children (and I really don’t know the ages – I’m guessing older kids) in her primary home horribly abused her. I won’t go into the specifics but it was bad enough that she is now terrified of children. She was surrendered to another home roughly a year ago but that home had children and it was quickly discovered that was not a good fit. She was then turned over to a shelter and that’s when SNORT was contacted.

Because she needed a kid-free home and because I was actively looking to foster again, we decided to take her on. She was with a temporary foster home for maybe a week and they were wonderful with her. Blossom learned to better trust people and was already much less skittish by the time I brought her home.

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For an old girl, she moves!

The other reason I agreed to foster her was because she was reportedly good with other dogs and I can say that, as of now, that is true.

She is a true velcro dog and does NOT like to be separated from us. We had her gated in the kitchen for most of the first night and while it was ok, she was pretty vocal about her displeasure. The times she did get near Lucy were fine – she largely ignored her, which is fine by me!

Just a few mornings later, this was the scene on our couch:

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It looks sweeter than it actually was – I think Blossom plopped herself down there and Lucy was too lazy to move but it’s still sweet. The two don’t interact much at all but I’ll take peacefully co-existingūüôā

So, what makes Blossom tick? Besides being a velcro dog, she is definitely on the nervous side. She has definite “no’s” in her book. I can pet her but I cannot grab her face which makes it difficult (ok, impossible) to give her the eye drops she came with. She is iffy about being picked up. Sometimes it’s ok, sometimes it’s not. She’s largely ok with it if I’m lifting her onto the couch to be with us but if I pick her up simply to move her, that is not ok. We did learn that she is perfectly capable of getting onto and off of the couch all by herself, though. And touching her paws is most definite a “no.”

She has arthritis and a bit of a goopy eye which she is on the aforementioned drops for but again, I haven’t gotten the eye dropper even remotely close to her eye, let alone actually get the drops inūüôā

Blossom is pretty spunky for a 14-year-old. Despite temperatures approaching 90 and humidity at approximately 200%, she’s taken some brief walks around our apartment complex and even though her joints are stiff, they don’t appear to be causing her a ton of pain.

Today she got a visit to the vet. Not an easy visit by any stretch but she was a trooper. First and foremost, she’s healthy. No heart problems, lymph nodes are good, etc. She got some senior bloodwork done but pending anything off in those results, she’s as healthy as she can be at this age. We opted not to get her spayed at this time – it honestly won’t benefit her health that much and surgery at her age should only be of the mandatory kind, not the optional kind.

What broke my heart, though, was Blossom’s fear. She was literally shaking like a leaf the whole time. Our vet was wonderful with her and went so, so slowly. She finally let him pet her after about 10-15 minutes but obviously he wasn’t able to do a super thorough superficial exam; luckily what he was able to see was pretty healthy/normal.

For now she’ll be loved and spoiled with us. Every day she gets a bit more comfortable and trusting; last night she slept curled up at my feet and didn’t make a peep all night. I am so thankful she and Lucy largely get along – it makes things so much less stressful.

Blossom is a super sweet girl who’s had a super rough life and while I wish it hadn’t taken her 14 years to find a good home, I’ll make up for lost time.

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My favorite thing – spoiling my dogs.

Summer So Far

It has been a wonderfully unremarkable summer. We do not currently have a foster, Lucy is active and healthy and up until this past week and a half, we spent the majority of our weekends at home relaxing.

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Ok, a CrossFit competition isn’t relaxing but it was fun!

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One of the summer’s highlights? Visiting this handsome devil and his dad!

Yesterday, we got back from an 11-day, 1550-mile roadtrip/vacation. We started out by dropping Lucy off at my parents’, driving to Lake Placid for Marty’s Ironman race, then down to Western Maryland for Marty’s family vacation, then back to NJ to pick up Lucy and then back home to Pennsylvania. Phew.

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Ironman Finisher

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Lake Placid

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Deep Creek Lake, Md.

It was an exhausting 11 days, not helped by the fact that I got food poisoning midway during our Maryland vacation. Still feeling some mild effects from that, to be honest, but I’m mostly back to normal. And it was worth it – everyone had a wonderful vacation.

It’s unfortunate that tomorrow is Aug. 1 – it means almost back to reality for me at work. The summer months are largely 9-5 with free weekends and it’s so easy to fall into that relaxed routine. Sadly 10 months out of the year are the polar opposite of that so I thoroughly enjoy relaxing summers like we’ve had so far. It’s nice to not be on the go and not being required to be anywhere for the most part. I got to see friends and family but still had lots of time to read, relax and – most importantly – nap on the weekends.

While late August marks the real start of the fall athletic season, it’s always this time of year that I start to really want to foster. That sounds like a backwards way to think but I know it’s because fostering¬†gives me a distraction from work with which I am less than satisfied. I honestly do not know if Lucy is ready for another foster but if I think what appears to be a good fit comes along, we will foster again and sooner rather than later.

I’m sure we’ll have a few more highlights as the summer winds down and hopefully I’ll be checking back in soon with a new foster!

Friday Favorites

I read a lot of blogs and a common theme is Friday Favorites. I always love those posts – I inevitably find a piece of clothing I want, a book to read, etc. So here are my non-dog Friday Favorites.

  1. Goodreads – I joined less than a year ago and I already have 30+ books on my “want to read” list. The website allows me to track what I’ve read, review what I’ve read, add books to my wish list and receive updates from other friends who are members of Goodreads about what they’ve read and enjoyed (or not enjoyed). It’s 10 times easier than carrying around a worn piece of paper with a list of to-read books.
  2. 48 Hours podcast. I finished season two of Serial. Meh. Good but not great. Did not hold my interest nearly as much as season one. Sword & Scale is great but new podcasts are only produced every two weeks; I walk twice a day and run 2-3 days a week so one episode every two weeks didn’t cut it. Stuff You Missed in History Class kept me entertained for months but I’ve listened to the majority of the episodes that interest me. Then I stumbled upon 48 Hours in podcast format; all of their TV episodes are turned into podcasts so I have found my new podcast addiction.
  3. Lularoe leggings. I know, how trendy and unoriginal. But I love them! I’m not-so-secretly pissed the temperatures are insanely hot and I can’t wear them.ūüė¶
  4. This dress from White House Black Market, aka my favorite store ever. I don’t have $150 lying around to spend on a dress but man, if I did, this dress would be mine.
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  5. Ellen on youtube. Marty doesn’t appreciate her humor but it’s right up my alley. Fortunately for me, he’s been traveling a ton for track meets so I get to indulge and binge on Ellen clips.
  6. Another sign of my true, inner dorkiness: I just bought this:
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    This was the first Broadway show I ever saw and it remains my favorite. I was watching one of my favorite songs on Youtube the other week and  I just had to have this soundtrack Рwith the same cast of the show I saw. Best $18 nostalgic dollars ever spent.
  7. A long weekend. After today, my first, honest-to-goodness long weekend since probably the holidays. Track and field is still competing so I have work to do but I do not have to be in my office for three whole days. I’ve already stocked up on wine.
  8. Because of the aforementioned holiday weekend, Monday is the annual “Murph” workout at CrossFit boxes nation-wide, including mine.

    The original workout in memory
    of Navy Lieutenant Michael
    Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y.,
    who was killed in Afghanistan
    June 28th, 2005.

    • 1 mile Run
    • 100 Pull-ups
    • 200 Push-ups
    • 300 Squats
    • 1 mile Run

    I fully expect to Rx it this year. My time will probably be slower than last year, but this time around I know I can Rx the pull-ups. In a sick way, I can’t wait. I probably won’t be able to walk for a few days and it’s doubtful I’ll have any skin left on my palms, but oh well!

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    It’s as painful as it looks.

A Few Days Late, But…

Sunday marked Lucy’s fourth “Gotcha Day!” with us. On May 8, 2012, my mom and I drove to Philly to bring Lucy back to Selinsgrove.

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Bringing Lucy home

That year, Marty was at a track meet and gone until very late at night. My mom was spending a few days with us, so that night we put Lucy in her cage and went to bed before Marty got back. He tried to be quiet when he got back but I was so excited to see his reaction to Lucy that I raced downstairs to show her off.

Since that day, the four years have flown by. I so desperately miss Puppy Lucy. She was just the absolute cutest puppy ever. And I’m superficial – there is nothing better than having a cute puppy that’s all yours. But she’s still super cute and housetrained now, so things have evened out, I guess.

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She’s still cute but man, I miss having a puppy.

I honestly did not know how much I would benefit from having a dog. I love her entirely too much, more than is healthy, but she makes me unbelievably happy. There has never been one second that I’ve regretted my decision to bring Lucy home. Literally – I have never once wished I did not have Lucy in my life. I can find the negative in anything so for me to have zero doubts is huge.

These four years have gone by way too fast but there is not one day that I don’t appreciate having a healthy and happy Lucy.

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Car ride buddy

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Back to “Normal”

Since it’s been a month between updates, it’s obvious life has been pretty uneventful. Which is a good thing considering all that was going on as of my last post. Lucy has rebounded 100 percent from her surgery and is loving life as an only dog again.

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“I love life!”

Minus Lucy’s puppy days, we’re entering our longest stretch without a foster. It’s semi-intentional, semi not. Lucy absolutely needed a break since our last two fosters were tough on her and Marty and I are both in our super busy seasons with long days and zero free weekends. If what appeared to be the “right” foster came along I know we’d consider fostering but none of the fosters that have entered SNORT since Novalee’s departure have been the right fit for us – some needed dog-free foster homes, some had extensive medical care we knew required more time than we have, etc.

I have to admit, I feel lost without a foster! So much of my identity the past two-plus years has been wrapped up in being a foster mom and but I’m almost positive we’ll foster again so for now we’re enjoying a one-dog household.

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Lucy does go back to the vet in a month to get some vaccine booster shots. She lost about four pounds from the surgery and it was a much-needed four pounds. I’m hoping she’s kept the four pounds off but I’m not optimistic.

So for now, signing off until we embark on our next doggie adventure!

A Lucy Update

Frankly, it’s been a horrendous four days over here. Obviously Lucy’s surgery and the adoption of Novalee made¬†for some not-so-great days. What’s made it worse is that Lucy is back in the ER vet for the night.
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Since I brought Lucy home Friday evening, her appetite had continued to decrease. She’d eat maybe 75 percent of her food in the morning and then less and less as the day went on. And I was feeding her super small amounts every 4-5 hours so it’s not like she was getting a ton of food at once. I knew she felt like crud but the problem was she needed to take her¬†six¬†(yes, six) medications with food to feel better but she didn’t feel like eating.

The less she ate, the less medicine she got into her system and the crappier she felt and the more dehydrated she got. And the cycle continued until she felt so badly she puked Рmedicine and all Рwhat she managed to choke down Sunday morning.

There was a list of warning signs which, if they happened, I was instructed to call the vet and of course vomiting was one of them. So Lucy and I spent almost four hours at the ER vet this morning/afternoon to figure out what exactly was going on.

The vet on call scared me to death when he said she might have a perforated intestine from her stitches stretching and causing tiny perforations which required, yes, more surgery. Fortunately it appears she just needs some stronger anti-nausea and pain meds to start feeling better. But, because she was dehydrated and hadn’t actually ingested all of her meds since her initial discharge Friday, she got herself another overnight visit.

I was so relieved I almost cried; the vet really had me thinking worse case scenarios. And then I forked over $1100…

Which brings me to what else is on my mind – money. I worked very hard for the past 18 months or so to put some amount, any amount, into my savings account each month. Of course I always tried to save money but the last 18 months were spent with precise budgeting. That work has been completely erased by Lucy’s surgeries and subsequent care. Don’t get me wrong – there was zero hesitation on my end to pay for whatever Lucy needs. That’s why I have a savings account, after all. It just hit me how easy it is to be back to “square one” so to speak after months of diligent budgeting.

Lucy is worth it 10 times over and there’s no way I would have ever¬†not paid for what she needs, it just adds stress to what was already a stress-filled four days.

The good news is the vet assured me that Lucy should be like a new dog tomorrow morning and will only improve from here on out.

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I want this happy face back.

Two Days I’d Rather Not Relive

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows this has been a hell of a few days over here. For those who aren’t aware, hang on…

I have to rewind to maybe a month ago. One morning Lucy got sick – vomited and may have had some other intestinal distress, I can’t remember. It really wasn’t a big deal – we fed her a bland diet for a day and just a few hours after getting sick¬†she¬†was already back to normal.

Maybe a week or 10 days later, the same exact thing happened except this time she puked up some random round object. I looked at it for a while and really had no idea what it was. Still don’t have a clue. But I figured that may have been in her stomach the first time she got sick but now it was out of her system¬†and I thought¬†that was the end of it.

Then on Thursday morning – her fourth birthday! – she got sick yet again. I was planning to call the vet that day anyway to set up her yearly physical and when I mentioned she had gotten sick three times in 3-4 weeks, they suggested bringing her in that morning. Twenty minutes later we were waiting in the vet’s office.

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Among other tests, they took some x-rays and found something somewhat concerning on two of the four images – a round object in her intestine. Because the round object disappeared on two of the four images, the vet wanted to send it off to an expert x-ray reader (didn’t know such a job existed…) for a second opinion. They sent me home with some probiotics and instructions to wait to hear back about the x-ray.

Well, five minutes after we got home, Lucy puked up the half a cup of bouillon she had drank that morning all over my couch. I called the vet and barely got the words out “Lucy puked” before they said to just bring her in and they would keep her until they figured out what was going on.

That afternoon the vet called back and said the x-ray expert recommended surgery – he felt strongly that something was blocking her intestine and making her sick.

At 5 p.m. Thursday¬†evening, she went back for surgery and the vet found two objects. The first was something completely lodged in her intestine – as in, they could not get it to move¬†at all. So it took a bit more cutting than they had anticipated to get it out. What was it? Still no freaking clue. They said it was a big hairball but I was able to look¬†at it – and it doesn’t look like hair, exactly. It looks like a solid dust ball or something. I don’t know. We’ll never know.

And the second object? Even more random. There was a piece of¬†something¬†dangling¬†into her stomach. They showed me that object, too. It’s not a foreign object – it looks like a small clot or tumor of some sort that was hanging on by…body tissue, maybe? Anyway, it was hanging off her stomach wall and into her stomach. Probably not making her sick but the vet recommended getting it biopsied. Crossing my fingers the biopsy shows nothing concerning.

Thursday night I was able to sneak into the vet to see her before they shipped her to the overnight ER clinic. So pathetic.

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She arrived back at my vet Friday morning but they wanted to keep her for the majority of the day for observation. Because she has stitches not only on her tummy but also literally holding her intestines together, they needed to be sure that small amounts of food wouldn’t rupture the stitches before they felt comfortable sending her home with me.

I picked her up a little after 4:30 today and I could not have been happier.

Oh, and while all this was going on Novalee was adopted.

Yup, Miss Nova found herself a forever home.

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Her adoption was finalized earlier this week and her new mom is from Central NJ. I had planned to drive home to my parents’ house in NJ on Friday to do the exchange; our university is on spring break and I thought taking Friday off for a road trip with Lucy and Nova to get Nova to her new mom while also visiting my family would be ideal.

And then Lucy decided she needed surgery the day before our planned roadtrip. Novalee’s new mom was kind enough to meet me about an hour from here and she was so happy to meet her new addition. Nova was just happy to get back in a¬†car and sleep.

I actually held it together when they drove off. Nova is such a people dog¬†and I know she’ll absolutely love any home she’s in. And she won’t have to share attention with another dog. Her new mom is very bulldog experienced and could not wait to bring Nova home. She even bought her a new martini glass collar – my kind of womanūüôā

But wait, there’s more. Marty has been gone since Wednesday morning and isn’t home until midnight on Sunday (Monday morning, technically) so I’ve been handling all this on my own. I’m stressed and tired but I managed everything just fine. Logistically things were a little tricky but all of us got through it. I know I’m capable of doing anything that needs to be done on my own but when you’re used to having someone else in the equation it’s easy to get used to relying on the other person for support of all kinds. I’m proud that I handled everything on my own without asking for or needing outside help (asking for help is not a strong suit of mine).

So, Nova (whose new name will be Holly) is settling into her new home, Lucy is snoring away next to me on the couch and I’m drinking a massive glass of wine.

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I have to keep a close eye on Lucy for a few days to make sure her food seems to be moving through her without issues and we go back in 10 days to get her stitches out. Hopefully the biopsy is completely normal and we don’t have any lingering issues from that.

Right now I’m still in a fog; it’s been a really, really weird and stressful two days. In some ways it works out well that Nova was adopted today. Sure, it made for a long and emotional day but Lucy’s issues prevented me – and are still preventing me – from dwelling too much on the departure of Nova.

I hope the next time I blog it’s about something completely trivial.

The Sweetest Thing

Our apartment building is set behind a karate school and its adjoining parking lot. Our front door faces the school and Novalee loves to start our walks by going through the lot. There are always people and cars to look at and she’s no dummy – she knows that the odds are in her favor someone will stop to pet her.

As soon as I got home from work the other night, I leashed Novalee up and we began our pre-dinner walk through the parking lot. Immediately a boy – maybe seven or eight years old – rushed over, asked if he could pet Nova and plopped down on the pavement to start petting her.

His dad is someone I “know.” He’s the one who helped me rescue Isaac after he ran away. His son still attends karate lessons so I see him from time to time in the parking lot plus he lives along the river which is one of my frequent running routes. So I know him well enough to smile and wave and his son was all about Nova so all three of us began chatting.

Actually, his son began chatting. He told me about how he used to have a dog but they recently had to put him to sleep at 17 years and three months old because he was in pain. He told me about how they thought the dog was invincible and might never die. And about how now he’s lonely and doesn’t have anyone to play with at home anymore. He said he plays by himself with his toys and sometimes lays in bed watching TV but that it’s lonely without his dog.

He told me about how he wants his dad to take him to go look at dogs that are available for adoption and that maybe a bulldog would be a good dog to get. And that maybe his new dog could sleep in his bed with him. And “does this dog like to sleep in your bed?” he asked, pointing to Nova.

All the while he never once stopped petting Novalee and kept saying how cute and well-behaved she was and that again, maybe a bulldog would be a good dog to get (not so subtly hinting to his dad…).

Novalee started to get cold (I actually think she was milking sympathy pets out them) and so the dad started to get his son to move toward their truck and head home. As the son got in the truck, he turned around and asked me what the dog’s name was and I told him Novalee.

Nova and I continued down the sidewalk and as the dad and his son drove by on their way home, the son leaned out the window, started waving and shouted, “good-bye, Novalee!” He waved all the way down the street.

I have never been so happy to spend 15 minutes outside in 30 degree temps.

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Making Progress…

I’ve lost track of time but I think Novalee has been with us for just over…six weeks? Just over¬†five weeks? I’m too lazy to go back and look but we’re definitely closing in on a month and a half.

Her first two weeks or so with us were…rough. She did not like Lucy – attacked her, in fact – and that made Lucy super paranoid to be remotely close to Novalee (understandable). We couldn’t leave the dogs unsupervised; I made Novalee follow me every time I went into the kitchen.

Day by day, though, Novalee showed more interest than anger toward Lucy. She’d come over to the couch Lucy was laying on and sniff her or bop her with her nose. And then just walk away.

Baby steps. Tiny, tiny baby steps.

Eventually they could be floor-level together. They wouldn’t play together and really didn’t pay any attention to each other, which was fine! No attention is a million times better than angry attention.
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Novalee got more and more comfortable with her new living situation and after a few weeks made it very clear she wanted to be on the couch with everyone else. Problem is, with her spine she can’t be jumping on and off couches. But she’d start by putting her head and/or front paws on the couch and then look at us, just begging for us to help her up the rest of the way. And we did. And do.

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“Help me up, Mom!”

She is a very happy girl on the couch. Novalee is also still very much the dominant dog. She will literally walk over Lucy to sit next to me – she, not Lucy, must be next to her people.

I thank my lucky stars every day that Lucy is so adaptable. I do think she’s starting to accept Novalee and despite being deemed Nova’s inferior (only by Nova!), she’s still largely Lucy. She’s a bit timid around Nova and we quickly learned feeding time must occur in totally separated, gated rooms but other than that, we’re peacefully co-existing.

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Actually touching!

And man, I forgot how much fun a puppy is. I know Novalee isn’t technically a puppy any more, but she’s not even 14 months and spent a lot of her puppyhood being a mom! Now that’s escaped that horrible life, she can be just a puppy. She goes from zero to 100 back to zero. She rolls around, gallops over to us and is just so happy and playful and wonderfully goofy.

We have several good adoption applications for her; we’re carefully weeding through all of them to find her best possible home. She is even more cute in person than she is in photos and I know there is a lot of interest in her. But despite being a pretty normal puppy at this point, there’s no guarantee the rest of her life will be “normal” and we need to find a home that understands and can deal with those uncertainties.

For now, though, she has us absolutely wrapped around her paw!