Checking Up on Lucy

It’s been about 10 days since we dropped Cindy off at her forever home and I promised an update on how Lucy was handling Cindy’s departure.

Having just finished up a grad school course on research methods, I can tell you that we definitely did not pick the right week to determine how Cindy’s loss would affect Lucy; we had way too many variables changing at once! It started with an out-of-the-ordinary trip with Lucy and Cindy to New Jersey (Cindy’s first real road trip with us). Then we came back to PA to a Marty-less apartment as he was on vacation with his family. Then literally within minutes of him getting back to PA, we turned around, left Lucy at home and brought Cindy to her new family. Then, the three of us spent the last few days being bums for the remainder of our vacation; Lucy is very used to us spending the majority of our days at work so that was also not normal for her.

Clearly the entire week was an abnormal one even without the loss of Cindy. Also, Marty and I were expecting Lucy to be sad and depressed so we were probably extra paranoid observant in regards to Lucy’s behavior.

So, was Lucy sad with the loss of Cindy?

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In a word, yes. But for the reasons mentioned above, the whole week was just so abnormal for everyone that I honestly think she was thrown off for reasons other than just Cindy. Although several times we caught her watching the door when we took her outside as if she expected Cindy to follow her out. And for the first few days she would run into the living room after eating just like she did when we had Cindy and it was Cindy’s turn to eat in the kitchen.

"Are you done messing around with my schedule?"

“Are you done messing around with my schedule?”

Marty and I both thought she was being a bit more cuddly but again, we were kind of looking for signs that she was sad so we were probably definitely over-analyzing things.

Then, less than a week after Cindy was gone, Lucy developed hives which meant two days of benadryl, a vet visit and allergy meds so the abnormal happenings continued!

However, this weekend Lucy seems to be back to relatively normal on all fronts. I took her to the dog park yesterday and we took at least two walks to burn off her energy, we played with her toys a LOT and she finally cuddled on the couch last night, all things she did before (and during) Cindy’s time with us. The hives are gone and the allergy meds seem to be making her eat her feet slightly less.

Now that our normal routine is back, we’re going to throw Lucy for another loop when we leave next Friday afternoon to spend the weekend in South Jersey to celebrate Marty’s niece’s graduation/departure for college. Lucy’s going to have a blast (she gets to see Diesel again!), though, so I think she’ll forgive us for interrupting her schedule again 🙂

An Early Morning Wake-Up Call

For whatever reason, I woke up at 2:30 last night to go to the bathroom and thought I saw a shape at the bottom of the stairs. Lucy sleeps on the couch at night – and never moves – so I flipped the hall light on to see what was at the bottom of the stairs. It was Lucy.

Since this was not the norm, I went downstairs to check on her and immediately noticed something was off, even though I couldn’t immediately tell what. Then I looked at her legs and thought I saw some small hives. And then it clicked – her face was slightly puffy, which was what was “off” when I first came downstairs.

I took her outside and she immediately had some…intestinal distress. And once we got back inside I could see that she did have hives on her legs, although they were way smaller than the infamous bee sting incident. I gave her a dose of benadryl and then since it was 3 a.m. and I had to get up at 5 a.m., Marty spent a few hours on the couch with her then I relieved him when I got up at 5 a.m. to work out.

By the time I came back downstairs at 5 a.m. her hives seemed about the same, if not slightly better, but her right eye was definitely still puffy. So, late this morning I called the vet to ask if they felt I should bring her in and they said yes (shocking, more money I was about to shell out!).

You can't really tell, but her right eye was still swollen

You can’t really tell, but her right eye was still swollen

So off to the vet we went. Again.

Puffy but cute in her pink harness

Puffy but cute in her pink harness

The diagnosis? Essentially she is a “highly allergic” dog. Most likely something bit her last night and caused the hives, which were and are treatable with benadryl. But, the vet also noticed her red, puffy paws, which led to her diagnosis of a “highly allergic” dog.

So, get this – Lucy is now on: a probiotic (for one week), benadryl (until tomorrow morning), Zyrtec and one other liquid allergy medicine that goes into her food. Yes, that’s four medications for a simple case of the hives that were just about gone by the time we saw the vet.

However, I know the vet is right. Lucy’s foot problem is clearly due to an allergy of some kind; the hives were just a random occurrence but the paws are not random – they’re constant! I was glad to get a vet who not only wanted to treat the immediate problem (hives) but also Lucy’s chronic problem (irritated paws). Do I want Lucy to be on allergy meds forever? Of course not. But as the vet pointed out, plenty of adults are on allergy meds either part of the year or even full-time in the case of allergies to dust, dog, cats, etc.

So for now we’ll be on the two allergy meds for 14 days before trying to wean her off one of them. After that, we’ll see if she does need them year-round or if it’s going to be a seasonal thing.

It’s never dull around here!

R.I.P. Lucy’s Bed

Lucy is an absolute terror to all things stuffed. And you can include dog beds in that statement, as well.

One of Lucy's many past beds.

One of Lucy’s many past beds.

Besides the papson cushion, every single dog-specific bed we’ve bought, Lucy has destroyed. She chews on them, rips holes in them and then promptly (tries) to eat the stuffing. For that reason, we do not leave any bed (except the cushion) out when we’re not home with Lucy.

And now, it’s time to say good-bye to her latest bed, one we’ve had for a long time only because I hid it upstairs after she ripped open the cushion (which was a separate piece from the frame of the bed itself). I brought the frame of that bed to my parents’ house for Cindy to use and Lucy immediately rekindled her love with that bed.

And her new-found love lasted a whole week before we had to say good-bye, this time for good.

Here’s a short video clip Marty took of Lucy at the onset of her destruction.

Things slowly deteriorated from there…

Taking out her frustrations on the bed?

Taking out her frustrations on the bed?

And just like she's managed to almost completely de-stuff her bed. Or what was left of it.

And just like she’s managed to almost completely de-stuff her bed. Or what was left of it.

What’s Next?

We’re going on our second full day without Cindy and things are a bit gloomy around here.

Sad Lucy

Sad Lucy

I think I’ve dealt with things reasonably well (even Marty agreed) although nighttime is the worst – that’s when I miss her most because I let myself truly think about her; Thursday night I cried myself to sleep. But the updates I’ve gotten so far have been great ones; Cindy has really found her perfect home which makes this process a million times easier. She deserves her wonderful new home!

It will take a few more days to determine how Lucy’s adjusted to the loss of Cindy and that will deserve its own post down the road.

So, the logical question is what are we going to do next? For now, we’re going to hold off on fostering for the immediate future. Come late August, my Saturdays are pretty much entirely devoted to football (and all the other fall sports!) and Marty’s cross country teams compete entirely on the road – no home meets at all – which means that we’re out of the house all freaking day on Saturdays. We get someone to watch Lucy but with a foster dog, you often just don’t know what you’re going to get; it could be a dog that doesn’t respond well to strangers, needs some sort of special medical attention, etc.

Do I (we) want to foster again? I think I do; it was beyond hard to see Cindy leave, but it was such a rewarding six months. More rewarding than I ever expected it to be.

How could you not fall in love with this face??

How could you not fall in love with this face??

We also happen to (unfortunately) live close to Amish and Mennonite puppy mills, which means there will likely always be a Cindy that needs saving in addition to all the non-puppy mill dogs S.N.O.R.T. takes in who need foster homes. However, we also had Cindy for longer than we thought and we developed such an emotional attachment after six months; it’s emotionally draining to say good-bye when you form that kind of attachment.

So to answer the question, what’s next is nothing for a little while. I’ll obviously continue volunteering with S.N.O.R.T.; I write some of the adoption bios, help with transports when I can, etc. I also know that in the future I’m going to have a very hard time not taking in another dog that needs saving but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

She’s Gone

This afternoon Marty and I dropped Cindy off at her “furever” home.

Cindy's new parents (cropped out their faces for privacy in case they didn't want their faces plastered on the internet!)

Cindy’s new parents (cropped out their faces for privacy in case they didn’t want their faces plastered on the internet!)

Because the last two adoptions fell through I didn’t say much leading up to today. However, this home truly is her perfect home. This family has two other dogs – a male English bully and a male chocolate lab – and all of their dogs have been rescue dogs, including many bulldogs (even a mill momma like Cindy).

Here was Cindy on her last night with us:

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And this morning Cindy and Lucy got in some final “snuggles” (in quotes because Cindy promptly hopped off the couch seconds after I snapped this):

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Marty drove back early this morning from spending the week on vacation with his family and made the two-hour drive with me, which was appreciated more than I can say. I would have been fine on my own, but it helped a lot to have him with me.

Cindy’s new family was so happy to welcome her into their home, as were her fur brothers! Cindy was a bit uncertain about the whole thing but I could tell she adored her new parents (as you can see in the picture). I think it will take a while for Cindy to get used to two new dogs; it took nearly two months for us to feel comfortable keeping Cindy and Lucy in the same room when we weren’t home, but she did indeed get used to Lucy and the two have gotten along very well for the past few months.

Her new family has a large basket of toys and just like the past six months we’ve had her, she had no idea what to do with the toys but she did know she wanted to stand in the toy basket!

"I'm supposed to play with the toys, not stand on them?"

“I’m supposed to play with the toys, not stand on them?”

As usual all she really wanted was a spot to lay down and relax and she will have plenty of places to do that in her new home.

We brought "her" pillow with her so she had something from our home.

We brought “her” pillow with her so she had something from our home.

She followed Marty and me to the door and I’m not going to lie – I was close to losing it when she did that, but I held it together until we got back in the car and started to drive away. And then I lost it.

There’s lots more to say about this whole experience – how hard it actually was, how Lucy’s reacted, whether we’d do it again, etc. But that’s for later. Tonight is the definition of bittersweet for me; I am so happy Cindy found a home that really, really wanted her but I am also really, really sad that she’s no longer here with us. Six months is a significant amount of time to have a dog and Cindy truly became a part of our home. It’s going to take a little while to adjust to life without Cindy, although it certainly helps that she’s found such a wonderful family.

The Princess and the Pea

I should probably explain this setup:

A bed on top of a bed

A bed on top of a bed

I promise there’s a logical explanation. It started months ago when I took a large papson cushion off the hands of a co-worker to use as a bed for Lucy, who absolutely loved it. Yes, it was a bit big for our apartment but Lucy loved to lay on it and chew her toys, so we kept it around.

The original cushion

The original cushion

Turns out Cindy liked it, too.

Fast asleep

Fast asleep

Unfortunately, one morning I came downstairs to a cushion that was covered in Lucy’s bodily fluids; I’ll leave the details out, but let’s just say the cushion was beyond saving. However, the dogs liked that cushion so much I ordered another one, but this time put it in the kitchen; Cindy no longer needed the large crate we previously had in there so it freed up some room. This is how our kitchen/dining area looks during the day:

A bed/toy repository

A bed/toy repository

The doggies like laying on the bed while I’m cooking in the kitchen, eating dinner or doing some homework at the table.

So, how did another bed wind up on top of the cushion? Well, Cindy breaths and therefore sleeps much better when she can prop her head up against the side of something (not possible on the cushion), like the arm of a couch or the side of a doggie bed. Like this one:

Your typical dog bed

Your typical dog bed

Notice anything in the above photo, though? Yes, that would be a hole in the bottom of the bed, courtesy of Lucy. Since Lucy pretty much eats holes in every real dog bed we’ve owned, we can’t keep that bed out during the day or it would be torn to shreds in a matter of hours. So, we put that bed away during the day and then bring it out at night and put it on top of the cushion so Cindy can sleep comfortably since she sleeps in the kitchen at night. The papson cushion is so big that we don’t bother to put it away at night and we just lay Cindy’s other bed on top of it.

I have no idea if this makes any sense, but it’s perfectly logical in my own head 🙂 And that’s the story behind Cindy, the Princess and the Pea.

Now THIS is Tired

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Apparently our weekend in New Jersey tired Lucy out – this was taken less than an hour after we arrived back in PA. That’s how I look at five in the morning, not five in the evening!

Now off to cuddle with the doggies for the rest of the night before hitting the books tomorrow!

A Roadtrip

It’s Vacation Week! I normally spend vacation split between a few days with Marty’s family on their annual vacation and a few days with my family since they watch Lucy for me while we’re away. This year wasn’t exactly normal, though, for a reason named Cindy.

My parents are more than generous by offering to watch Lucy, who isn’t exactly an easy dog; she’s very high energy for a bulldog! Therefore, I did not want to force two dogs on them, especially since they don’t really know Cindy and all of her quirks (of which there are many!). I also didn’t want to put Cindy in a kennel; she spent so many years cooped up that not only would I have felt badly, there’s no way to know how she’d react (and I don’t even know/think that foster dogs are allowed to be kenneled).

Combined with the fact that I have summer classes that rudely don’t stop when I’m on vacation, I decided it was best if I did a staycation of sorts. However, I knew I’d go nuts sitting at home in the middle-of-nowhere-Pennsylvania by myself for a week so I thought I’d take the doggies and spend the weekend with my parents and then head back to Central PA to do homework and relax with the doggies for the rest of the week.

So, this morning I packed up the doggies for Cindy’s first-ever (at least known to me) long road trip. She did surprisingly well, although she didn’t really sleep on the ride. She’d spend 10 minutes on one half of the backseat, walk over to the other side, spend 10 minutes there, etc., etc.

She was very excited when we got here and it took a good 30-40 minutes for her breathing to get back under control (another reason I would have felt nervous leaving her in a kennel). Once she got settled in, she pretty much hasn’t moved from this spot:

Absolutely out cold.

Absolutely out cold.

And Lucy is finally doing much of the same:

She loves this spot

She loves this spot

The good news is that Lucy has been much, much more normal this time around. Not normal, mind you, but more normal.

I do think that both doggies with need a vacation from this vacation, though!

I Need to Hit the Lottery

Warning: This post is a bit of a downer.

For the second time, a potential adopter of Cindy has backed out 😦 This time it wasn’t because of a pool, it was because the applicant decided Cindy was too old.

"Too old?? I'm in my golden years!"

“Too old?? I’m in my golden years!”

Luckily this applicant pulled out literally three hours before I was scheduled to leave for the house visit. Not so luckily, Cindy is (obviously) still without a forever home. And yet again, I have a range of emotions from sad to depressed to frustrated. Doesn’t anyone realize that no matter how much longer she lives she’s worth it? We’ve only had her six months but she’s already made us very happy, and we’re just the foster family!

At this rate, I feel as if all signs are pointing to Marty and me just keeping her. But it’s simply not practical; we work long hours and finding and paying someone to watch one dog on occasional weekends during the academic year is hard enough, let alone paying someone to watch two dogs. Which leads to the next reason that it’s not practical to keep her – we just don’t have the money for two expensive dogs. I’m in grad school for the next year and let’s face it, neither Marty nor I are in our jobs for the money. Cindy might need to be spayed (maybe not, it all depends on what the vet recommends) and she is getting older – she’s bound to have some health issues arise because, as my grandfather always said, “getting old sucks.”

So the only real solution is to hit the lottery. Marty won two dollars on his birthday scratch-off lotto ticket; we’re going to need to multiply that by…a lot. So next time I hit the grocery store I’m going to buy a lotto ticket or two and then after I’m actually down a few dollars from buying losing tickets, I’ll go home to the girls and wait for Cindy’s forever home to find her!

The Best (and Worst) Toy

This toy:

toy

has been simultaneously the best and worst toy. Lucy adores this toy – she can easily spend an hour chewing away at it. She had gone through two or three when we brought Cindy home and after a few weeks when Cindy got comfortable being here, she decided she loved the toy, as well. Never mind that it made her gums bleed (chewing on a bone with your gums will do that and don’t worry, she never, ever appears in any pain and it’s not a lot of blood), she became very possessive of it. In fact, 90% of the times that Cindy snapped and lunged at Lucy over the past few months it was because Lucy had the audacity to walk within five feet of the toy while Cindy was “chewing” on it.

So, I bought a second one so we’d have one for each dog. And that worked…sort of. Cindy was still quite possessive in the beginning so we had to make sure that the girls chewed their respective toys in opposite corners of the room. She still snapped at Lucy from time to time but the incidents seem to have decreased over the past few weeks.

And of course there’s no other toy that Cindy shows any interest in whatsoever (and we have plenty). Thus, Lucy tends to get a bit protective from time to time.

One is good, two is better

One is good, two is better

"All for me!"

“All for me!”

We’re going on probably over a month without any snapping incidents of any kind whatsoever (knock on wood!). It appears it only took Cindy five months to get used to the fact that Lucy was here first and isn’t going anywhere 🙂

On a totally unrelated note, Marty and I were both up at 5 a.m. this morning (well, I’m always up at that time, Marty never is) and for some reason Cindy decided today it was just entirely too early and put herself back to bed after doing her business.

Yes, she sleeps in a bed on top of another bed. A story for another day.

Yes, she sleeps in a bed on top of another bed. A story for another day.