We Love the Vet

Based on the amount of time and money we spend at the vet, I should buy stock in our vet’s office. Today I was back at the vet, this time with Lucy.

I’d say within a couple months after bringing her home we noticed she had a propensity to lick, bite and eat her paws. Annoying, yes. Problematic? Well, months ago I turned to the vet to answer that and it was confirmed she had a yeast infection going on.

So, since then I wipe her paws and wrinkles at least every other day with our anti-fungal rinse. The past few weeks, however, it seemed I was fighting a losing battle with her licking and biting, so back to the vet we went for the second time in two-plus months.

Laughing at the amount of money I was about to fork over.

Laughing at the amount of money I was about to fork over.

Inspecting the food supply in the lobby.

Inspecting the food supply in the lobby.

As usual, she was a handful in the waiting room. I swear it feels as if my shoulders are about to come out of their sockets while we wait – she goes up to every dog and every person multiple times and as expected at a vet’s office, we always have a bit of a wait so by the time we get called back I’m sore and sweating.

Finally in the exam room.

Finally in the exam room.

Listening to all the interesting sounds in the lobby.

Listening to all the interesting sounds in the lobby.

Ultimately Lucy has some sort of allergy – to what we don’t know as she bites and licks her feet year-round, not just during “allergy season.” So we have to wipe her feet with baby wipes every single time she comes inside and I have to start giving her fish oil supplements – I take fish oil supplements! If the fish oil doesn’t work it’s on to an allergy medicine like Claritin.

I was able to pick up eye drops for Cindy while we there, so I was able to kill two birds with one (very expensive stone). And just because she’s adorable, here’s a photo of Cindy lounging to the max.

She's an excellent lounger.

She’s an excellent lounger.

Fortunately Lucy loves the vet – so much attention! – and our vet’s office is great, from the techs to the doctors, and it tires Lucy out, so it’s a win-win for everyone!

The Final Countdown

Before I get to the topic of the post, a few pictures from a very relaxing Memorial Day weekend.

Cindy, the lawn ornament

Cindy, the lawn ornament

Cindy, the upside-down turtle, and an apparently unimpressed Lucy

Cindy, the upside-down turtle, and an apparently unimpressed Lucy

While Cindy is still on an exercise restriction due to her heartworm treatments that ended just over a month ago, today we ventured into the karate school parking lot next door and she got pretty far (for her)…this was the aftermath:

Passed out cold!

Passed out cold!

In the back of my mind, I know we’re nearing the end of Cindy’s stay with us. S.N.O.R.T. has been accepting applications for her adoption for the past two weeks or so and from my understanding there are a few potential fits that are being explored.

To say I don’t want her to go would be an understatement. I knew when we agreed to foster a puppy mill dog that we really had no idea what kind of dog we were getting. She could have been surprisingly healthy and ready for adoption relatively quickly or she could have needed a lot of care – Cindy fell into the latter category.

We’ve had her for well over four months now and she fits right into our lives. Would it be easier to let her go if she’d been a short-term foster? Maybe, I don’t know. I love her to death, though, so I’m really glad we’ve been able to foster her for as long as we have because it means we’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with her.

I keep getting asked why we didn’t just keep her and the reason is that being an adult stinks. If money weren’t an issue she would never have been officially listed for adoption and she would have fallen into the category of “foster failure,” in which a foster family (in this case, me!) becomes their foster dog’s “forever” family. Unfortunately, money does matter and bulldogs aren’t an inexpensive breed. If only I had won the lottery 🙂

So for the remainder of Cindy’s time with us I’ll give her extra hugs and kisses, snap a million more photos and know that S.N.O.R.T. will pick Cindy’s perfect “forever” home.

Confession Part II

A second “confessions” post…

What do the following three things have in common?

A bag of treats with a side of Lucy

A bag of treats with a side of Lucy

A leash

A leash

A testy-looking Lucy

A testy-looking Lucy

They are all required to take Lucy for a walk. Yes, despite having Lucy for over a year now, she still refuses to willingly go for a walk.

In puppy school, we learned how to get our dogs to properly walk on a leash – stay on one side of their owners, not pull, etc., with rewards (i.e. treats) for obeying proper walking techniques.

And Lucy was, and still is, really good at that. However, Lucy has a unique problem when it comes to walks – she never wants to actually go for a walk. Hence the treats. I am forced to act like we’re back in puppy school and lure her (and reward her) with treats just to get her to walk with me through the park every afternoon.

There isn’t a walk that goes by where I don’t think to myself, “feeding a dog while she takes a walk totally defeats the purpose of the walk.”

Now, don’t get me wrong. Lucy has gotten better but it is still a struggle to get her walking without a treat to lure her off our yard. It’s both frustrating and hilarious. She is a bulldog, therefore she is stubborn, and the humor in going for a walk with a treat bag isn’t lost on me. However, I have been called stubborn more than once in my life so despite her best efforts, everyday we go for a walk whether she likes it or not.

Sleepy Saturday (and Friday)

There’s no way to be certain, but we’re pretty sure Cindy has a doggie cold. She’s been extra tired (which is hard to do!) and a little snortier than usual. She spent her Friday night cuddled up with her pillow.

It took a little while to get her pillow juuuust right.

It took a little while to get her pillow juuuust right.

I feel so bad for her, and not just because she has a cold. I feel badly for her because she’s older and her body is probably physically way older than her seven years because of neglect.

This afternoon I took Lucy to the dog park and she had a blast, which left her looking like this:

Cooling off by the fan.

Cooling off by the fan.

Tongue out, passed out.

Tongue out, passed out.

Lucy ran around like a maniac with two dogs that were easily 2-3 times her size. I always have so much fun watching her keep up with the bigger dogs. She more than holds her own, that’s for sure!

But it makes me so sad and so angry that Cindy has never gone to a dog park before and most likely never will. And if she does ever get to go to a dog park, she’ll never know what it would feel like to be young and have tons of energy to run around and make friends.

I keep trying to reassure myself that she doesn’t need to go to a dog park or take long walks by the creek. Everything she has now is more than anything she had in first six-plus years of life and she certainly doesn’t know what she’s missed out on.

But it’s still not fair.

Happy “Gotcha” Day!

This day one year ago, my mom and I were in the process of driving home from Philadelphia with precious cargo in the backseat:

Lucy and her "grandma"

Lucy and her “grandma”

Last year the day after Mother’s Day, I extended the celebratory weekend by making a trip to Philadelphia with my mom to pick up little Lucy, who had just turned eight weeks old.

My all-time favorite picture of Lucy

My all-time favorite picture of Lucy

It was so great for my mom to make the trip with me. Not only did it provide me company on the trip, my mom was able to spend two days with me, Marty and Lucy as we all got adjusted to having Lucy in our lives. It was also a great reason to extend Mother’s Day weekend with a mini “vacation” of sorts for my mom and me.

My mom suffered a massive stroke two years ago and for a while I think we all doubted whether she’d be able to make trips like the one she did last year. So it was extra-special to bring my mom – my best friend – with me to bring home my precious cargo. My mom still struggles greatly with her speech, and always will, so it is incredibly rewarding to see her light up around Lucy and interact with her.

Still a puppy!

Still a puppy!

Lucy and I have been through puppy school, emergency vet trips (someone is allergic to bees), a nose job, triathlon spectating and many, many roadtrips.

This past year has been SO. MUCH. FUN. Lucy has gone from a wee little 12-pound puppy to a petite 40-pound bulldog with loads of personality. For many years I was too selfish with my personal time to want to spend it on a puppy; now I can’t imagine life any other way!

Happy Gotcha Day, Lucy!

An annoyed Lucy with a photo-bombing Cindy.

An annoyed Lucy with a photo-bombing Cindy.

A Confession

I have to preface this by saying I am a dog lover. I grew up with dogs and find all most dogs adorable. That being said, I am a bulldog snob.

There, I admitted it. I am totally partial to English bulldogs. If I ever permanently added a second dog, it would be a bulldog.

So addictively cute

So addictively cute

However, that doesn’t meant I don’t feel guilty about this little confession. I feel like I should love all kinds of dogs regardless of breed and to a certain extent I do. It’s just that bulldogs hold a special section in my heart that’s a little bigger than the rest.

Case in point – when I first started volunteering with S.N.O.R.T. I initially said we weren’t going to foster. Lucy was still a puppy, our apartment isn’t huge and I just didn’t think we needed two dogs, even if temporary. However, once an email came through that an English bulldog needed a foster home after being rescued from an Amish puppy mill, I changed my story very quickly. And before it had time to really sink in, we had two English bulldogs!

In fact, when I decided to get Lucy, it was a conscious decision to get a bulldog, not just a dog.

Baby Lucy!

Baby Lucy!

I have been accused by more than one person that I have a very black-and-white approach to life and there’s definitely some truth to that. I’ve also been known to change my mind, though, so these are probably famous last words and in five years I’ll have three dogs of three different breeds!

I Spoke Too Soon

I have a few blog topics rattling around in my head, but it looks like they’ll have to wait as work has yet to calm down.

After really, really hoping last weekend would be the last busy weekend of the spring, I was really, really wrong. I leave this morning to travel to Montclair, N.J. as our softball team is competing in the NCAA Tournament at Montclair State University starting today.

Which means I have to leave these faces yet again:

They really do like each other, I swear! Actually, Lucy was trying to get Cindy to play. It was a no-go.

They really do like each other, I swear! Actually, Lucy was trying to get Cindy to play. It was a no-go.

The location of this weekend’s games couldn’t be better, though, as my parents live 20 minutes from Montclair so I’m able to spend a few nights with them. I’m still tossing around the idea of bringing one of these along for the trip…

Caught Cindy eying the newspaper.

Caught Cindy eying the newspaper.

Cuteness

Cuteness

My dad has voted for Lucy because “she actually does something.” I took offense, but it’s true that Cindy is a giant, squishy blob who doesn’t really “do” anything.

However, I’m leaning towards keeping them both here with the birthday boy.

Lucy was REALLY interested!

Lucy was REALLY interested in Marty’s gifts!

Cindy may not be staying with us much longer (she’s currently up for adoption; cue the waterworks) but Lucy will have plenty of travel time this summer with vacations and Marty’s races so I don’t think she’ll mind spending a weekend with her favorite owner, anyway.

I’ll miss all three of them tons, but this time I really think this is the last weekend of the spring where I’ll be busy with work. Famous last words, though.

I Missed These Faces

This past weekend was, without a doubt, one of the longest I’ve had in a very long time. And it’s not over yet as I have to head back to work at 8:30 tonight.

Working in athletics, I knew I was going into a field where I would never have a 9-5 schedule and for the most part that’s ok, but weekends like this past one – that included a 12-hour workday on Saturday – flat-out stink. And they stink 10 times more now that I have these two faces at home while I’m stuck at work:

Chilling in the kitchen, i.e. hoping for crumbs to drop

Chilling in the kitchen, i.e. hoping for crumbs to fall

I got home a little after 8 last night and could not wait to give Lucy and Cindy big hugs. And while I do have to work tonight, I’ve been enjoying spending more than an hour at a time with these two faces today:

Sweet Cindy

Sweet Cindy

And of course I missed Lucy (and Marty), too

And of course I missed Lucy (and Marty), too

This past weekend may or may not have been my last weekend with home games and/or work travel until August. While I’m ecstatic our teams are doing so well (three are NCAA-bound!), summer and its free weekends cannot come soon enough.

Look Who Ate Out of a Bowl!

Cindy ate breakfast out of a bowl like a big girl!

Cindy ate breakfast out of a bowl like a big girl!

As many of you might know, Cindy more or less refused to eat out of a bowl ever since we brought her home. The most she ever did was drink the water the food was soaking in but never actually ate the food itself. There’s no way we’ll ever know for sure, but our guess is that at the puppy mill they threw food on the floor and she just isn’t used to eating out of a bowl.

So we’ve been feeding her on a mat on the floor for nearly four months now. It’s never bothered me because Cindy should be able to eat however she wants after spending nearly seven years at a puppy mill. But, now that she’s getting ready to be adopted we figured we’d give it another try.

I guess she was a hungry dog this morning because she was tap-dancing around the kitchen (which is hilarious, by the way) more than normal while Lucy was eating her breakfast so I suggested that Marty try putting the bowl on the floor to see what Cindy would do. She started off just drinking the water, as usual, and then we realized she was actually eating the food!!

And then we had a minor fail because she ate close to 90% of her breakfast and then puked some of it back up 😦 Not entirely sure why – maybe she ate too fast? (Never thought we’d have that problem with bowl-feeding!).

Either way it was a major step forward. I’ll try again tonight and maybe feed her half her food at a time to slow her down a bit.

Marty and I were so proud of her this morning!!