A Whole Lot of Nothing

Not much at all to report. This should be renamed the Blog About Nothing (a Seinfeld reference, one of my favorite shows). Work is insane, Lucy’s still fat and Isaac’s still with us.

At this point I’ve assumed Isaac will be with us for the foreseeable future. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be adopted any time soon so for now he’s ours :-) And because he’s ours, I get to dress him up in reindeer costumes (disclaimer: it was for SNORT’s facebook site for Halloween).

Because there’s nothing else to write about, I thought I’d write about 10 things people may or may not know about our dogs.

  1. Lucy is NOT the puppy I thought we’d bring home. I had my eye on another female (I had the pick of the four females in the litter). But when she attacked my sparkly ring, I knew she was mine.

    Lucy in the middle; the one I thought we'd bring home is on the right.

    Lucy in the middle; the one I thought we’d bring home is on the right.

  2. Isaac was actually in another foster home for two weeks before we got him. After two weeks, the family realized he was not going to work with their pug (or pugs – I can’t remember) and I was contacted to see if we’d take him. I now know why the pug family couldn’t continue to foster Isaac…
  3. Lucy HATES when we carry things. Anything. Boxes. Bags. Suitcases. She is petrified and runs away. Which is fun when I leave Petsmart with both her and bags full of stuff because she refuses to walk with me even though I’m carrying her treats. I have no idea why. It honestly makes us look like we abuse her or something. It’s horribly embarrassing.
  4. Isaac likes his jerseys but doesn’t like his sweater. And he doesn’t like his sweater because I once got his dew claw stuck in it while trying to put it on and he’s never forgotten.
  5. Lucy hates costumes. I can’t put her in anything. Not the reindeer costume. Not a tutu. The only thing I can put her in is the Susquehanna singlet which makes me sad because I want to dress her up.

    Lucy as a seventh-month old Susquehanna "runner."

    Lucy as a seventh-month old Susquehanna “runner.”

  6. I don’t actually know what Isaac’s life was like before we got him. I was told he was with a male owner in Boston for all eight years of his life but I don’t know if he was an only dog (he must have been, if I had to guess), if he was in a house, an apartment, lived with more than one person, was socialized with other dogs or people, etc. I just don’t know.
  7. Both dogs love cat poop. I just don’t get it and it makes me want to vomit.
  8. Both dogs love butt scratches. I think this is pretty common, especially for bulldogs, but scratch their butts and they’re in heaven.
  9. Lucy never has and probably never will “do” steps. There’s no reason – she’s perfectly healthy. She’ll only go up staircases that are like six steps high – max – and only those that are wide. It severely limits where we can live, to be honest. Second-floor apartments are legitimate no-go. She absolutely won’t go up stairs and I’m not carrying all 48 (fat) pounds of her up stairs.
  10. Isaac’s nubbin wags; Lucy’s nubbin does not. When Isaac’s happy, his nubbin shakes like you wouldn’t believe. When Lucy’s happy, her entire rear end shakes like you wouldn’t believe.

Hopefully I have something more interesting to report soon; it is almost holiday travel time, which is always an adventure. And not necessarily in a good way.

Decisions, Decisions

The blog has been quiet, as has been the pattern for the past several months. Admittedly, it’s not a great strategy to keep readership at a consistent level, but I’m also not going to write content for content’s sake. Which means I have something of substance to write about today!

Over the past few weeks we had been moving towards a potential adopter of Isaac. It was as perfect a home as I think we could have found for him; rural, 10 acres of land, a single, retired adult male with no other dogs at home. I had been trying to set up a home visit when the man called me back earlier this week to say he could not adopt Isaac at this time because he was potentially facing knee replacement surgery.

Clearly this failed adoption was just a matter of unlucky timing; it was no fault of Isaac’s or the man’s. It was just bad luck.

So handsome in his new collar.

So handsome in his new collar.

But the outcome is the same – we start back at square one trying to find Isaac a home after nearly 14 months of fostering. I’ve found myself seriously debating whether we shouldn’t just officially adopt Isaac but I don’t want to do that just because we haven’t found right home yet – it may still be out there. Plus adopting him means taking on the medical expenses of two bulldogs (one is costly enough) and because it solidifies that Lucy is going to have to co-exist with Isaac for however long he lives. And mentally I can’t make that commitment.

While things have gotten better between them, they’re still not ideal. Isaac continues to hump her from time to time and any playfulness from Isaac turns into humping. Lucy has been able to spend a bit more time off the couch and share the floor with him, but the couch is still where she spends most of her time because she’s scared of him. It’s absolutely not fair to her.

“Yeah, Mom, it’s most definitely not fair!”

So, to adopt or not adopt. I absolutely love Isaac. He is by far the most challenging foster we’ve had because there are things that I cannot fix – he will never love other dogs outside the home, he may always be protective of me when we encounter strangers (and not protective in a good way…) – but he’s also a fabulous dog inside our home (minus the humping). His eyes kill me, his joy at seeing me walk in the door is my favorite part of the day, our twice-daily walks keep me sane (usually), his nubbin that shakes when he’s happy, his pouncing on his toys when he’s excited – he is just the most fun dog to have around (although Lucy strongly disagrees).

So right now there will be no adoption of Isaac, at least not by me. We’ll keep plugging away trying to find his perfect forever home while we continue to love him beyond belief in our home.

Dog Days: 2015 Version

Dog Days at Susquehanna are back!

I LOVE Dog Days. Maybe even as much as Lucy. The minute we park at the University, she sprints to the area where Dog Days is held.

Dog Days are every Tuesday in September and the goal is to ease homesickness any students might feel – dogs always make people happy! For the past few years we’ve been staples at Dog Days but last week we had three home athletic events that prevented us from going to the first one of the year. And honestly, we probably should not have gone today – it was 93 degrees and felt like 95. The complete opposite of bulldog weather. But by the time I got out of work we wouldn’t be able to stay long anyway and the shadows were creeping in. So off we went!

Soaking up all the attention. And there was a lot of it.

Soaking up all the attention. And there was a lot of it.

As usual, all Lucy wanted a water bottle and she was in her own world, which completely defeats the purpose of Dog Days since she won’t let anyone pet her, but she was happy.



We’ll be back next week in what is hopefully more appropriate bulldog weather!

Tis the Season

Lucy has always been an itchy dog. It’s why, for three of her three-and-a-half years of life, she’s been on a regimen of Zyrtec and fish oil, no matter the season.

Over the past week, though, her itching has gotten out of control – she was clearly miserable. She was constantly shaking her head, rubbing her ears and scratching her arm pits (do dogs have arm pits? I don’t know, that’s the general area she was itching). She itched so hard she was rubbing the skin behind her ears raw, so off we went to the vet.

Lucy LOVES the vet. No, really. It might be her favorite place.

Lucy LOVES the vet. No, really. It might be her favorite place.

Bad news #1: She’s still fat. Despite slightly smaller dinner portions and more outside play time (with a few walks thrown in!), she weighs exactly what she weighed the last time we were at the vet in March. Sigh.

Bad news #2: I came home $125 poorer and with several medications, the biggie being prednisone. Lucy will be on steroids and ear drops for roughly the next 2-3 weeks to get the itchies under control. From all the dog owners in the area I’ve spoken to, almost everyone’s dog is suffering a bit more than usual right now so we just have to ride it out.

Harley was in for a visit because she was suffering from worse allergies than Lucy.

Harley was in for a visit because she was suffering from worse allergies than Lucy.

At least it’s not preventing her from fun stuff like attending football practice with me!
lucy_football practice

One Year of CrossFit

It’s been weeks since I’ve posted and today’s post won’t even be dog related. There isn’t anything newsworthy regarding the dogs. Isaac is still with us and the verdict is still out on whether the medication is making a difference. It usually takes up to six weeks to see the full effect so I’ve sort put it out of mind. I just give him the meds each day and forget about it. We’ll see where we stand in a few more weeks.

His energy is still low. Poor guy.

His energy is still low. Poor guy.

I have a fun survey at the end of the post because I like surveys (in some ways I am still 12 years old) and because I have nothing else to say!

A quick personal update, though. One year ago today I started CrossFit. I had been working out for years and years before trying CrossFit. I ran, I cross-trained, I lifted weights, I did p90x, I did Insanity. I was in good shape but certainly not in CrossFit shape. I found that out real quick when I couldn’t walk for two days after my first class.

Let's just say my legs didn't look like this a year ago.

Let’s just say my legs didn’t look like this a year ago.

Some background for anyone new: I suffered from an eating disorder and exercise addiction for more than six years. I once weighed 90 pounds and my life revolved around food (not eating it) and working out. I did permanent damage to my body (my bone density is crap for a 31-year-old) and in some ways forever changed (not for the good) my approach to food and exercise.
HOWEVER, CrossFit has helped all of those issues more than anything else ever has. I am such a better place physically and mentally than a year ago. I care so much less about what I weigh. I care so much more about what I can lift. I eat more often when I’m hungry rather than ignoring my hunger. I eat far more whole food and a lot less processed food. I hit the gym most days of the week but have finally learned to listen to my body and take rest days. I run less but run smarter. CrossFit isn’t for everyone and I’m not going to try and make everyone drink the “CrossFit Koolaid” but it’s been a life changer for me. I’m still not where I want to be in regards to my mental approach to food and fitness, but I’ve made gigantic steps.

A 5k PR with LESS running.

A 5k PR with LESS running.

Now, onto some mindless information about me:

A – Age: 31

B – Biggest Fear: Spiders. Creepily clustered holes (it’s a real phobia!)

C – Current Time: 5:30 p.m.

D – Drink You Had Last: Polar Lime Seltzer Water.

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: My parents. I have to include both because since my mom’s stroke, she can’t really hold a conversation but she’s still easy to talk to!

F – Favorite Song: So many. Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac is up there.

G – Grossest Memory: There was one diaper in particular during my babysitting days that makes me cringe to this day.

H – Hometown: Morristown, N.J.

I –  In Love With: My dogs. Wine. Chocolate.

J – Jealous Of: People who are happy with where they are in life.

K – Kindest Person You Know:  One of my best friends, Lauren.

L – Life Isn’t Complete Without: Dogs. Wine. Chocolate.

M – Middle Name: Anne.

N – Number of Siblings: 1 – a twin brother.

O – One Wish: To have enough money to foster all the bulldogs. And then adopt them. In a home with a fenced-in yard, of course.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Marty.

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: What exactly is it that you do? Collegiate sports information isn’t exactly a self-explanatory career.

R – Reason To Smile: It’s not Monday.

S – Song You Last Sang: All the songs from Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits album. Makes for great driving music.

T – Time You Woke Up: 5:20 a.m. Well, alarm went off at 4:55 but I’ve become a snooze button pusher.

V – Vacation Destination: Having just been to St. Croix, I certainly wouldn’t argue a return trip.

W – Worst Habit: Picking scabs. Usually until they bleed. Drives Marty bonkers.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: A lot. My teeth are a disaster and I’m at a high risk for stress fractures so that adds up to a ton of x-rays.

Z – Zodiac Sign: Cancer. Born a few weeks too late to be a Gemini whose sign is twins!

One Day, Two Celebrations

Today is a momentous day in our household. I had no idea at the time, but when I picked up Isaac exactly one year ago today, it was also his birthday. I didn’t know until I went through his paperwork the next day that Isaac had literally just celebrated his birthday the day I brought him home. Which means that today Isaac turns nine and that we also celebrate (I guess it’s worth celebrating?) one year of fostering Isaac.

I felt so badly that he spent his last year’s birthday being transported to his second foster home after having just left what had been his home for eight years. I think he had a better birthday this year.

Isaac has been with us twice as long as any other foster and for the most part, this past year with him has flown by. Gosh, I adore him. So much.

Isaac's birthday pup cup.

Isaac’s birthday pup cup.

Handsome boy.

Handsome boy.

The day I brought him home.

The day I brought him home.

Yesterday Isaac spent the day with his favorite dogsitters while Lucy, Marty and I went to a BBQ.

Lucy thoroughly enjoyed herself at the BBQ.

Lucy thoroughly enjoyed herself at the BBQ.

Originally we were supposed to leave Isaac in Selinsgrove while we traveled to NJ for a long weekend. Our plans changed, though, and I’m glad we got to spend Isaac’s birthday with him.

Two Years Ago Today…

…our first foster, Cindy, was adopted.

That face.

That face.

Cindy, now Nellie, will always be special because she was our “first.” Nellie is a puppy mill survivor who, despite having many health issues we needed to resolve, was one of the sweetest dogs ever. She should have been frightened, shy, even angry and except for the first few days when she was adjusting to life outside the mill, she was none of those things. God, she was so sweet. She was a velcro dog and tolerated Lucy even though Lucy was still a puppy when we brought Nellie home and Nellie had had more than her share of puppies to deal with throughout her life.

Her adventures with us were limited as she underwent heartworm and lyme disease treatment for three of the six months she spent with us but she never seemed to mind. She was happy with the couch, a pillow and love.

She loved pillows.

She loved pillows.

I have no idea if we would have continued fostering if we hadn’t had such a good experience fostering Nellie but that doesn’t really matter because we did have such a good experience. I cried like a baby after we dropped her off at her forever home two years ago today and I cried for several more days after that. But it was obviously worth it because she has the best home ever and she made me want to continue fostering other dogs who need a temporary home as badly as she did.

Happy Gotcha Day, Nellie!

Nellie's forever home.

Nellie’s forever home.

God, she was so sweet.

God, she was so sweet.





A Long Three Days

It’s been quite a week so far. As previously mentioned, Isaac had a vet appointment on Monday afternoon for the purpose of getting some anti-anxiety medication. He happened to get sick that morning but had partially rebounded by our appointment. We were still sent home with some antibiotics for his stomach but he seemed to be on the mend.

Canned pumpkin helps settle dogs' tummies. Isaac didn't quite get it all in his mouth...

Canned pumpkin helps settle dogs’ tummies. Isaac didn’t quite get it all in his mouth…

Tuesday was largely a normal day; Isaac ate a small mix of food, pumpkin, rice and bouillon along with his medication that morning and again in the evening. He didn’t have as much pep as usual but seemed just about back to normal. Then just three hours after his evening meal, he puked. And puked again. And again. And twice more at night while we were sleeping. When we woke up Wednesday, he was lethargic, slightly shaking and had zero appetite. I’m talking, he walked away from a spoonful of peanut butter (his favorite!) without so much as a sniff.

The vet opened at 7 a.m. and I called at 7:02 to make an appointment. I could tell he was losing weight and with no signs of wanting to eat or drink, I knew we had to get him to the vet. When they weighed him, he had lost three pounds in 36 hours. Yikes. They admitted him for IV fluids, IV medication (the same medication we had in pill form that he was no longer eating or keeping down), anti-nausea meds as well as bloodwork and x-rays to make sure nothing too serious was going on.

So pathetic.

So pathetic.

Fortunately it looks like Isaac just had a stomach bug and needed some extra help kicking it since he wasn’t able to eat or drink or take oral medication on his own. He was understandably exhausted when he got home Wednesday night and Thursday morning while we took a little walk he was definitely not as peppy as usual. However, he’s eating the bland food we were sent home with and for now the food and his medicine are staying down.

Looking a little perkier the evening he came home.

Looking a little perkier the evening he came home.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not know how parents do it. I panic at a mere stomach bug in a dog; granted, Isaac had never once puked in the 12 months we’ve had him so this was super abnormal but still – he just had a stomach bug and I was a nervous wreck.

Trying Another Tactic

**Warning: I realize there are people who may not agree with the most recent approach we’re taking with Isaac. Just know we’ve exhausted all options and everyone – the vet, myself, SNORT – is on board with this approach. Our behavioral trainer even mentioned this route as an future option in our first session.**

Late last week I scheduled a vet appointment for Isaac for this afternoon. Over the past six weeks or so, Isaac’s reaction to strangers has been escalating and not in a good way. He’s never been good with dogs – that’s well-documented and not likely to be completely eradicated although with the help of the most recent trainer we used, he is far better. Just today on our walk Isaac passed right by one dog that was roaming leash-less on his yard and a chihuahua who was – in typical chihuahua fashion – barking his head off without a single reaction to either dog.

"I told you I could be an angel!"

“I told you I could be an angel!”

However, he’s become a lot more reactive to strangers. Because we’ve run bloodwork we know there’s no health reason for his reactions. We’ve done behavior training and again, while I’m seeing improvement around other dogs, he’s not learning to better interact with strangers. I can’t get inside Isaac’s head but it’s likely that the longer he’s with us (and me in particular), the more protective he gets. Unfortunately, his protectiveness is starting to present itself as some aggression.

I will state that I have never once been scared around Isaac; this is very clearly a reaction only to strangers. Today on our evening walk, a friend/co-worker saw us walking and pulled his car over to chat. I forewarned him that Isaac was reactive to strangers but Isaac had no reaction at all to the individual; I’m convinced Isaac could tell this person wasn’t in fact a stranger based on how I greeted him.

"I gotta keep my family safe."

“I gotta keep my family safe.”

All that being said, Isaac is big and strong and if he is reactive at the wrong moment, I’m scared of the consequences so we visited the vet for our last resort – medication. “Puppy Prozac” as people like to call it except that it actually is Prozac.

I do not want people to get the wrong idea about Isaac; he is an utter sweetheart. He’s obviously loving – I think he loves us so much he feels the need to protect us! Our dogsitters adore him and he’s never once been reactive toward them except in a positive, playful way. He’s been wonderful around my and Marty’s families. I do think he’s just protecting me from strangers but it’s still a behavior that needs to be reversed or eased.

Several of SNORT’s fosters have been on Prozac for similar reasons and it’s done just as it’s supposed to – ease anxiety for whatever the specific cause of anxiety is for each dog.

It’s not a route I wanted to take but it would also be completely biased of me to deny Isaac medication that might help – I’m on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication myself and it’s been a very positive addition to my life.

Of course, to add stress to our day, Isaac woke up and proceeded to get very sick. His tummy was obviously bothering him and he went from having some energy when he woke up to not even getting out of bed just an hour later. I was petrified – he’s never gotten sick in the year we’ve had him! Fortunately,by lunch time he had some energy back and the vet gave him some meds to make his tummy feel better; good thing we had the appointment!

Pumpkin helps with upset tummies; Isaac left a bit on his snout.

Pumpkin helps with upset tummies; Isaac left a bit on his snout.

Isaac’s Birthday Wish

Isaac has just one wish for his birthday, so please help spread the word!

(In case you can’t read it, his message says, “Why hasn’t anyone adopted me yet? I’ve been with my foster family for a year and I love them but it’s time for me to find my furever home. Everyone tells me I’m the most handsome dog and my age shouldn’t fool you – I have energy to spare! My birthday is in a few weeks and all I want is a forever family. Love, Isaac”)

Visit SNORT’s website!

Isaac and I thank you in advance.