A (Deservedly) Spoiled Dog

Friday night, I had five packages waiting for me; four were for Lady. She now has a wardrobe that spans a matching harness and leash to (sparkly) sweaters to an outdoor coat.

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Thanks to wonderful SNORT supporters and family and friends, Lady is not only warm, but she has an entire wardrobe!

We went to the vet Thursday night and so far so good. She’s still on meds for kennel cough and Lyme and we started an anti-yeast medication to get her itchies under control. Right now that remains the most obvious issue – she is still very, very itchy, so we’re working on that.

She’s also put on two-plus pounds! That’s my girl! She adores treats, peanut butter and mealtime so it is zero surprise she’s putting on weight. She’s now started whining when I’m not fast enough with the treats – just like a normal dog!

I can also see why she’s inclined to be skinny – like every pug I’ve ever met, she follows me everywhere. If she can hear me, that is. I’ve quickly figured out she is partially hard of hearing. Whenever I come home, she usually stays fast asleep because she hasn’t heard me open the door. I kind of love it, though; I get to see her all curled up and peaceful before she wakes up.

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Lady is also getting to be so excited when she finally realizes I’m home. She runs right over and waits for me to kneel down and pet her. She puts her wee little paws on my lap for closer snuggles. I love it.

And we’re now t-minus four days until I pick up Lucy; I’m more than anxious to see how that goes. Because of her kennel cough, I haven’t let Lady near dogs in the apartment complex but at this point she isn’t contagious anymore so I’m hoping to let her meet a dog or two before introducing her to Lucy so I can see how she is around dogs. Today she spotted a dog across the street and was super interested – in a good way. So I’m optimistic (for once).

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I just adore this dog. She was sweet from the start but now she’s starting to become a bit more outwardly happy and it melts my heart.

A Bit About Blossom

We’ve had Blossom for two months today and in some regards a lot has changed and in other regards not much has changed.

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She’s beautiful.

First, she still gets along wonderfully with Lucy. Blossom does not like or have interest in toys so that means she’s got at least one thing going for her, at least in Lucy’s eyes. No interest in toys means no fighting over toys.

While Blossom can be on the….annoying side (more on that later), I think for the most part Lucy likes having a companion. Every single day I come home for lunch, the dogs are curled up together on the couch. They are literally touching every single day. It’s so sweet. So I think the company is good for both of them.

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Blossom is still about as healthy as can be for an old girl. She recovered wonderfully from her spay and dental and besides some achy and stiff back legs, she’s one active little dog. Blossom MUST follow one or both of us if we even so much as get off the couch so obviously her mobility is not limited in the least.

So what’s changed? She has blossomed (pun intended) in the two months we’ve had her. We went from not being able to pick her up, touch her face, touch her paws to being able to (almost always) pick her up, kiss her face, rub her belly. It’s been remarkable, really. It’s the sweetest thing – each morning I go back upstairs after letting Lucy out to bring Blossom downstairs. Lately every morning she opens one eye, looks at me, then rolls onto her back for belly rubs. Then she waits like the spoiled dog she is for me to pick up and literally place her on the floor so she can go downstairs.

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Blossom most definitely knows the word “treat” and “runs” back inside after doing her business to get her treat. That girl moves when food is involved.

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“Running”

Her one major flaw? Her barking. It’s pretty constant and it’s slowly driving Marty mad. It doesn’t bother me nearly as much unless I’m trying to sleep. If she were our dog I might try to do some behavior training but with her abusive background I really didn’t even know how to start…so I didn’t. But if that’s her biggest flaw, I’ll take it. And her cute face MORE than makes up for it.

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YOU try to get mad at that face.

In short, I love her. I love her big eyes, I love how much she’s improved since she’s gotten here, I love her demanding little personality. I love having a shadow follow my every movement. I cannot wait to see how much more she grows.

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.

What I Want to Remember

I write a lot about problems, stories and events surrounding my dog(s) and it’s fun to look back every once in a while and read about what we did on a certain day or what it was like to travel with Lucy as a puppy, etc.

Baby Lucy

Baby Lucy

However, one thing I noticed after Cindy (Nellie) was adopted was how much I didn’t write about. What I mean is I forgot to write about the things made Cindy, well, Cindy. I wrote all about her vet visits, health problems and how sweet she was but I didn’t really capture the small details during her time with us. As someone who loves writing, that makes me upset at myself as my goal of writing should be to capture the real essence of something, in this case a dog.

For example, one of the things I remember most is how when she was lying down, she’d exhale so hard her cheeks would puff out. Or how she’d practically sit on a person’s feet so they would pet her.

Paws crossed like a lady.

Paws crossed like a lady.

But sadly a lot of the specific details don’t go much beyond that. So before Snowy leaves us, I wanted to document for myself what it is about Snowy that makes her unique; the small details I don’t want to forget about after she’s gone:

– Snowy’s nubbin. Most bulldogs’ tails don’t wag because they don’t really have tails. Lucy just wiggles her entire butt. Snowy’s little nubbin, though, shakes and shakes and shakes! Sometimes all you have to do is just talk to her and her nubbin starts going.

– She’s not really a snuggler in the same way Cindy was. Don’t get me wrong, she must be near a human at all times but if we’re on the couch, she’s content to just lay with you, not on you. She’ll certainly let you snuggle her and occasionally she’ll rest her head on my lap but mostly she just wants someone near her.

Chillin'

Chillin’

– Her hoppy dance. She is just so freaking happy when someone comes home that she hops around on her back legs. It starts with a big head bob/swing to get her momentum going and then she just hops and hops all over the place.

– Her version of “play.” Snowy doesn’t really get, or care to get, the whole idea of fetch or tug of war. She’d rather grab a chew toy and run up onto the couch with it and then repeat that process over and over until pretty much all the toys are up on the couch.

Hoarder

Hoarder

– Mealtime. Her food bowl NEVER winds up where it started. Sometimes it only moves a matter of feet, sometimes it winds up in a different room!

– Her belches. They could rival the belch of any human in both volume and length. And smell. And they happen after every single meal, without fail.

– Her love of the outdoors. Minus when it’s so cold outside it’s dangerous, she loves being outside and loves going for walks. However, when she decides she’s done with her business, she sprints to our front door to wait for us to let her in. She has some serious speed.

Yay, people and grass under my paws!

“Yay, people to pet me and grass under my paws!”

– Her ability to sleep sitting up. I know it’s common for dogs to look like they’re dozing while sitting up, but Snowy is the master of it. She’ll sleep sitting up and snore while she’s at it, no less. A true master.

– Her distaste for healthy treats. Lucy will gobble down carrots, bananas, green beans, etc. Snowy curls up her lips the minute a healthy treat approaches her mouth and if I happen to get it actually in her mouth, it gets spit right back out.

– How sweet she is. There is not a mean bone in her body even though, after all she’s been through, she has every right to be a cranky, angry dog.

"I know, I'm pretty darn perfect."

“I know, I’m pretty darn perfect.”

Obviously we’ll miss her beyond belief but I know she will thrive in her forever home because that’s the kind of dog she is!

36 Hours of Thanks

Phew, what a whirlwind of a Thanksgiving!

Their looks say it all - they are TIRED!

Their looks say it all – they are TIRED!

We left Selinsgrove early Thanksgiving morning and made the 3 1/2 hour trip to South Jersey to spend the day and night with Marty’s family. It was Snowy’s first long roadtrip with us and her first time taking an overnight trip!

As usual, Lucy was in her prime as she loves Marty’s family and Thanksgiving because that means people food!

Overseeing everything!

Overseeing everything!

Snowy was a real trooper. She was understandably freaked out; let’s just say it took a lot of convincing to even get her inside Marty’s parent’s house! And once she was in it took a while for her to settle in. In fact, she wouldn’t even leave her bed to eat dinner so we fed her in bed. Yes, she got served dinner in bed.

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However, once the people food was brought out and she got a few nibbles of turkey she warmed up quite quickly! Marty’s brother also brought over his dog Ramzee later in the evening so the girls got to meet him. Ramzee is old and can’t see or hear but the girls did very well with him!

Lucy and Ramzee

Lucy and Ramzee

By the time company left, we had two incredibly tired (and stuffed!) doggies!

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The next morning Snowy was back to her usual self – she greeted me in the morning with her normal “hoppy” dance (but still insisted on eating breakfast in bed – I think she was just milking us for all she could at that point).

Buuut, just when she was getting comfy we threw her for another loop; early Friday morning we packed up the car and made the two-plus hour trip up to my family in Northern New Jersey to spend the afternoon.

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Stop. Taking. My. Picture.

Stop. Taking. My. Picture.

Yup, still eating in bed.

Yup, still eating in bed.

Lucy is still scared of my dad so of course Snowy then became frightened of my dad but by the end of our visit both were letting him pet them and of course both doggies loved my mom! My mom and I took both dogs for a nice, but cold, walk around our neighborhood and they really enjoyed themselves. My mom is a big walker and if my parents ever get another dog, she wants one she can walk several times a day (we grew up with a chocolate Labrador my mom walked all the time). I tried to showcase how well Snowy walked and how much energy she had to prove she would be a perfect fit for my parents but I don’t think they’re on board. Yet. 🙂

We left my parents’ house around 6:30 and got back home a little after nine last night. As the first picture indicates, both dogs are still exhausted – a Thanksgiving hangover, if you will!

Lots more to write about in regards to the logistics of our trip (let’s just say I was a nervous wreck traveling with two dogs, one of which is in heat and has a propensity to use carpets as her bathroom) but for now, we hope everyone had as fabulous a Thanksgiving as we did!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Seat Hog and Grumpy Dog!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Seat Hog and Grumpy Dog!

Odds and Ends

First, Lucy the Good Luck Charm strikes again! The girls made another appearance at Saturday’s men’s soccer championship game and the Crusaders won the title for the second-straight year (coincidence? I think not!) and will be making another trip to the NCAA Tournament.

The first round game is only about an hour and 20 minutes from here but because I have to attend the game for work purposes and Marty is out of town on Saturday and can’t bring them, I don’t think they can make the trip with me to the game. Let’s hope the team doesn’t lose without them there!

Second, Snowy has perfected the art of sleeping (and snoring) while sitting up:

Really, truly asleep

Really, truly asleep

Third, Snowy’s food bowl never winds up in the same spot where it started at meal time.

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The bowl started all the way back in the kitchen but every day it winds up in the living room.

Finally, Snowy’s name is not indicative of how she feels about snow. We got a few flurries (emphasis on “few”) this morning and this about sums up how she feels:

"I see the flakes, Mom. I'm not moving."

“I see the flakes, Mom. I’m not moving.”

Finally got her outside and she kept one eye on the door at all times.

Finally got her outside and she kept one eye on the door at all times.

It’s going to be a long winter if a few flakes on the ground causes this much drama!

Bathing Beauty

Snow White came to us with a few issues, most notably her eyes and skin. I was told that she had been prescribed by her previous foster home’s vet to take a bath twice a week with medicated/anti-allergy shampoo. When I picked her up yesterday, one of the first things I noticed was that she smelled! I don’t know if it was from her eye goop (of which there is a lot) or her skin, but I figured she was probably due for a bath.

This evening I came home from work a bit later than I had hoped so I quickly let the dogs out, fed Lucy, gave up hope that Snow White would eat (another post for another time) and quickly ran upstairs (key word: upstairs) to change into clothes more appropriate for bath-giving.

Because the collar Snow White was forced to wear at the puppy mill caused some irritation and hair loss, I keep her new, fancy collar off except when I take her outside; the point is she is a very quiet dog without her collar on because while I was in the midst of changing, I thought I heard heavy breathing (keep your jokes to yourself). Yes, it was Snow White.

Well, who is that in my bedroom?

Well, who is that in my bedroom?

Well, at least that solved my problem of lugging a 55-pound lump of dead weight upstairs to the bath!

She resisted the bath, as a lot of dogs do, and more than once tried to make a run for it but in the end she was all fresh and clean!

She wanted to preserve some modesty.

She wanted to preserve some modesty.

Selective Memory

I was going through old pictures the other day and stumbled on a bunch from Cindy’s first few days with us.

As we were getting ready to send Cindy (whose new name is Nellie) to her forever home, Marty kept telling me what a good foster mom I had been, saying that Cindy had come a long way and it was because of my care. I brushed him off; in my mind, Cindy had been easy from the start. She was a sweet, sweet dog who had minimal needs – just a couch, food and a hand to pet her (and not stop!).

But in looking through the pictures, I realized Cindy did come a long way in the six months we had her (although I maintain that given her background, she obviously had an inherently sweet disposition and was a fighter. No dog who isn’t innately sweet and strong would come out of that situation as well as she did, no matter what care they receive after escaping a puppy mill).

Bringing Cindy home

Bringing Cindy home

Blurry, but you can see she was just cowering in her cage.

Blurry, but you can see she was just cowering in her cage.

It really didn’t take long to see her personality start to shine through but physically it was a long (and not-so-pretty) road.

You can see her wrinkles were so red they were almost black.

You can see her wrinkles were so red they were almost black.

Some diligent cleaning, filtered drinking water and quality food quickly erased those tear-stained wrinkles.

She also had a leaky private area. For the first month-plus, we had to keep her in the cage when we were gone in part because she leaked goo all over the place; I should have bought stock in baby wipes during that time! I still have a stain in the trunk of my car from her drips. The cause wasn’t anything serious, most likely an infection or remnants from her final litter and she was treated with antibiotics, so I really didn’t think twice about wiping her; Marty told me not everyone would “wipe a dog’s hoo-hah” but it was simply what had to be done.

Cindy also had dry eye so she accumulated some impressive eye gunk that had to be cleaned out several times a day, even with the eye drops she was given.

I don’t write all of this to pat myself on the back – not at all. There are many, many people who do more than I did with Cindy. It just occurred to me that in the midst of caring for Cindy I really didn’t think about what I was doing. I don’t know how anyone wouldn’t want to do whatever needed to be done for this face:

Smiles

Smiles

It’s funny the things we remember and the things we block out; to be honest, I had completely forgotten about Cindy’s leaking until Marty had mentioned it. Knowing the type of environment from which she came, though, it was impossible for me to deny her anything, from attention to care, no matter what that care entailed.

I don’t think I ever once got frustrated with her, even when she wouldn’t eat out of a bowl or leaked in my car, and that’s saying a lot. Patience is not a trait I possess but I found myself incapable of getting frustrated with Cindy. It’s one of the reasons, I think, that I’d be willing to foster again down the road. Besides the obvious saving of a dog’s life, it teaches me patience and I know I get as much out of fostering as the dog does.

A Lunchtime Surprise

Every day I come home for lunch to let Lucy out and spend some time with her (and eat my own lunch!). Most days are pretty routine – I come home, we go outside, Lucy does her business and we spend some time roaming around the yard if it’s nice out. Then we come inside, Lucy eats her peanut butter (I slather some on her Kong), I eat my own lunch then we sit together on the couch watching What Not to Wear.

Not a bad little routine.

Sometimes, though, that routine doesn’t go as planned; I have a lunch meeting, it’s raining, or…Lucy gets sick.

Probably licking vomit off her nose.

Probably licking vomit off her nose.

I knew this was coming when Lucy grabbed her stuffed toy out of the closet while we had it open for literally a few seconds yesterday. There’s a reason the stuffed toy is hidden away – Lucy eats it. Literally. I’ve begged Marty to just throw it out but he didn’t and so she grabbed it. And before we could stop her, she’d eaten pieces of it, including some of its stuffing.

So today I took her out and her stuffed toy proceeded to exit out both ends. Let’s just say I didn’t have much an appetite for my lunch.

Sick, pathetic Lucy

Sick, pathetic Lucy

Now, most dog owners probably wouldn’t be too terribly worried, right? Obviously whatever she ate was no longer in her system. However, growing up we had a lab who routinely ate things she wasn’t supposed to and twice had to have surgery to remove foreign objects from her stomach. So, I think it’s pretty understandable that I get a tad worried.

Fortunately Lucy seems to be feeling a tad better. Not great – she’s lacking her usual pep and energy – but she seems to have regained control of her bodily fluids.

So now we’re on a diet of rice and bouillon that so far is staying down. Knock on wood.

Yum

Yum

And on that note, Happy Monday!

The Feeding of Cindy

It has been well documented that we have struggled to get Cindy to eat out of a bowl. We finally figured out a few weeks ago that it wasn’t so much the bowl, although that was part of it, as much as it was the water we soaked her food in was too much for her tummy to handle.

However, we had gotten a tip from a fellow foster family that maybe starting with a Frisbee and working up to a bowl would be a good idea. So here’s our twice-daily process…

You start with a hungry Cindy.

You start with a hungry Cindy.

Letting the food soak while Lucy eats

Letting the food soak while Lucy eats

Transferring the food over to her Frisbee with a slotted spoon

Transferring the food over to her Frisbee with a slotted spoon

Feeding time!

Feeding time!

Could we start feeding Cindy out of a bowl now? Probably. Although given her flat face, I do think she has an easier time eating out of the flatter, wider Frisbee. Yes, she scatters food everywhere while she eats – definitely not the neatest eater you’ve ever seen – but she manages to eat every little bit of food that escapes from the Frisbee!

"Hey mom, this is really good!"

“Hey mom, this is really good!”