Isaac’s Early Easter

One thing I love about volunteering with SNORT – they do so many special things for their fosters. One of which is gifts at holiday times and that includes Easter!

Which is a roundabout way of saying that Isaac got a package from his Secret Bunny! He got every single thing on his wish list – treats, coconut oil and, most importantly, a new Nylabone!

The most important gift...

The most important gift…

Isaac (and Lucy) will love the treats and Isaac loves his coconut oil rubs but let’s face it – the highlight of the package was his Nylabone!

Clearly I was starting to annoy him.

Clearly I was starting to annoy him.

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This has been a rough week for me (and yes, it’s only Wednesday). For the past three nights I haven’t been home before 6:30/7 and/or not able to make it home at lunch (don’t worry, Marty let the dogs out for me!). I haven’t had a car since Thursday night (in the body shop because someone hit my bumper) and I’ll be working roughly 10 hour days straight through the weekend. But it’s little things like tonight – giving the dogs new toys and treats – that get me through weeks like this!

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Cross Your Fingers…

Lucy goes to the vet on Thursday for her yearly physical and I’m praying she hasn’t gained too much weight. She’s definitely…rounder than this time last year and I have a sneaking suspicion the vet is going to tell me she’s got to drop some pounds. The unfortunate part is she still doesn’t like to walk unless she’s in the mood (so, once a week, no more). I foresee a diet consisting of carrots for treats instead of real dog treats.

My plan is brush her and get as much loose hair off of her – every ounce counts, right?? And if you’ve seen Lucy lately you’d know all you have to do is touch her and hair falls off. Shedding is no joke.

Maybe her cuteness will make them forget her fatness?

Maybe her cuteness will make them forget her fatness?

In all seriousness, she also has a patch of hair that’s starting to thin just like last year. I’m hoping it’s just seasonal but she’s already on a high dose of fish oil which was the solution last time around. And her paws remain red but sort of under control. So, other than those minor things, I’m expecting a clean (and expensive) bill of health. My budget certainly hopes nothing unexpected arises.

Lucy, for one, will be giddy when she realizes we’re going for a car ride AND to the vet. She loves the vet. A strange dog, for sure.

In other news, this was the scene on our couch last night – a first for these two.

The Hump Monster is tamed...for a bit.

The Hump Monster is tamed…for a bit.

Isaac still has a lot of issues around Lucy but I have to say they may be a tad more manageable since he’s been back. Not great and over-stimulation is a definite precursor to an attack on Lucy, but it might be better. Not good. But better.

Six Months of Isaac

We officially hit the six-month mark of fostering Isaac!

The very first picture I took of Isaac - on our way home!

The very first picture I took of Isaac – on our way home!

Actually, we hit the six-month mark on Feb. 2 but I was in the midst of the flu, a sinus infection and thrush. I’ve only just begun feeling human; the past couple days have been rough, to say the least. Honestly, I really never get sick beyond a cold or two a year and so to get hit by a virus and double ear infection two weeks ago and then the flu and a sinus infection this past week…I’m physically drained, to say the least.

Anyway, Isaac’s six-month anniversary didn’t escape my notice, I was just too sick to write about it! I thought I’d do a mini recap/highlight reel of the past six months.

August 4, 2014: Isaac Goes to the Vet
As is standard with all fosters, I took Isaac to the vet the first chance I got. He essentially had zero health concerns, the first time that’s ever happened with a foster! He was (and still is) missing large chunks of fur but the lack of hair was not deemed to be caused by anything serious; likely a case of unexplained alopecia.

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

August 7, 2014: Isaac Goes back to School
Isaac didn’t, and still doesn’t, know how to play with Lucy, let alone other dogs. So was this training session a waste of money? Absolutely not. He learned a lot of basic obedience commands we still use. He just is never going to be a dog that plays well or gets along with other dogs.

The (not-so) model student.

The (not-so) model student.

Oct. 26, 2014: Isaac Goes to Crusader Carvings
His first real outing and he did great! He had an absolute blast and was very well-behaved with all the people.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

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Oct. 31, 2014: Isaac Runs Away
He took years off my life. He had a blast.

"I'd do it all over again, too!"

“I’d do it all over again, too!”

Thanksgiving, 2014
We took Lucy and Isaac on their first extended road trip together. It was stressful, but we survived, thanks in large part to nice weather and a lot of walks!
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December 22, 2014: Isaac’s First Christmas With Us
We went low-key this year, but Isaac didn’t know any better!

He was just as happy to watch us open gifts as to get his own!

He was just as happy to watch us open gifts as to get his own!

Christmas, 2014
All four of us survived our second road trip in a month. Again, not exactly stress-free but we all made it out alive!
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And now here we are at six months! Nothing of note has really happened since the holidays; we haven’t traveled anywhere, Isaac hasn’t run away again, etc. He’s been hit or miss in regards to his behavior around Lucy; he’ll go days where he won’t bother her too much and then we have a morning like today where they haven’t even gotten out the door to do their business and he’s already humped her. So, the norm.

It’s not like you exactly celebrate six months of fostering because you’d like all foster dogs to be adopted ASAP but it’s still been a fun six months to look back on. He’ll definitely stand as our longest foster to date; I checked on Cindy’s stay with us and it was six months and five days and we’re just about there already with Isaac. But he’s so fun and sweet. Last night he curled up in bed with me again until my coughing drove him back downstairs 🙂 And this morning on our way in from our morning walk, he grabbed just one more chunk of snow to chew on (he clearly doesn’t understand this snow isn’t going anywhere soon!). He never fails to make me laugh.

He makes himself laugh, too.

He makes himself laugh, too.

Happy Five Months?

Can you believe we’ve had Isaac for five months already??

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

I, for one, cannot believe it’s been five months. Despite him not being our easiest foster (due to his determination to dominate Lucy), these past five months have flown by. We’ve now had him for nearly as long as we had Snowy and just one month less than we had Cindy, who has been our longest foster to date.

What’s different about Isaac is that for the majority of these past five months, he’s been healthy, which most certainly was not the case for our other long-term fosters. (I consider Buddy a “quick” foster because we only had him three months but even he had a host of health concerns). Isaac’s missing fur on his sides was not deemed to be caused by anything significant and his thyroid levels returned to normal really quickly once he was put on medication, which he no longer has to take.

So for five months we’ve enjoyed a healthy and fun second dog – certainly a change with no surgeries, medications, etc. to worry about. But that also means that for five months this perfectly healthy and handsome dog has been searching for his forever home and has yet to find it. Five months of his life that weren’t spent with his perfect family.

The longer we have him, the more I fall in love with him. Partly because it’s pretty obvious he also loves me, not to sound too self-centered. But he follows me pretty much everywhere and Marty says that every morning after his breakfast, he stares at the garage door waiting for me to get home from CrossFit. I can’t tell you how great of a feeling it is to have such unconditional love! I don’t even get that from Marty 🙂

A very, very common sight when I'm home.

A very, very common sight when I’m home.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that if he got along with Lucy we’d keep him, especially since he’s not getting any adoption applications. He is such a fun, healthy and active dog. But he doesn’t get along with Lucy, even though he probably thinks he does. She is getting very aggravated (as are we) with his persistent humping and let’s face it – he’s not getting any smaller and she’s not getting any bigger, so he will always win.

While it is possible to teach an “old” dog new tricks, it certainly isn’t a guarantee. Isaac’s learned “sit,” “down,” “touch” (i.e. “come”) but try to teach him not to hump Lucy? So far an utter failure.

I know Isaac’s perfect home is out there – a dog-free home with plenty of open space for walks and running (he loves running through the park next door to us) and maybe even kids; he’d be fabulous with kids. I’m sure people are turned off by his age (8 1/2) but I’m not exaggerating when I say he has the energy of a two-year-old dog, if not younger.

Hang in there, Isaac. We’ll find your forever family soon!

ALWAYS happy. Except when I cut our walks short.

ALWAYS happy. Except when I cut our walks short.

Odds and Ends

I’ve probably used this title for another post but it pretty much sums up what I’m about to write.

Isaac’s bloodwork results came in yesterday and everything was normal! Which is good – really good! – but also kind of mystifying. Seeing as we’re with Isaac every day, it’s hard to tell if his hair is getting better – as in, actually growing back. Well, our vet squashed any glimmer hope I had of improvement by saying his skin looked exactly the same as the pics she snapped at our first visit well over a month ago. Sigh.

With a face like this, who cares about missing fur?

With a face like this, who cares about missing fur?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved his thyroid levels are back to normal. They weren’t that far off normal to begin with, though, and it’s obvious the medication had zero impact on his hair growth, so we can stop giving Isaac the thyroid medication.

The next step? After consulting with a doggie dermatologist, our vet suggested adding a melatonin supplement to his diet. Even though melatonin is used as a sleep aid for humans, when given to dogs it can help with alopecia (hair loss) in addition to acting as a sleep aid. Um, Isaac certainly doesn’t need help sleeping but we’ll give it a whirl and see how he responds both with his energy levels and his hair, or lack thereof.

In other news, Lucy and I attended our final Dog Days of the academic year. It’s obvious we both love going but this year Lucy’s reaction has been particularly memorable. I don’t know if it’s being able to escape from Isaac for a few hours or what, but Lucy just cannot control herself on Dog Days. The minute we get out of the car she goes racing towards the middle of campus where the event is held. She always has her Susquehanna jersey on and she does this awesomely cute little hop/run across the quad. She tugs on the leash the whole way there and run-hops as fast as her short, stubby, jersey-impeded legs will let her.
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It’s just fabulous to see her get so excited and we have a great time there. Until next year!
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Making friends.

Making friends.

I’d Finally Had Enough (Dog Cleaning 101)

Our apartment just isn’t that big, but as anyone who owns a dog will know, a dog has a way of inching its way into every space, corner and crevice in a home – I find hair in my food, drool marks on the couch, blades of grass on the carpet brought in from Lucy’s paws, etc., etc.

The grass is easily taken care of – it’s called a vacuum. There’s really not much I can do about the hair; despite my hate for this phrase, “it is what it is.” I vacuum pretty frequently, dust the hard surfaces and use this fabulous tool on the carpet:

I guess Lucy doesn't want me to clean?

I guess Lucy doesn’t want me to clean?

This was one of those total impulse buys turned turns out to be one of the best purchases I’ve made! It’s essentially a scraper for the carpet and despite using this at least once a week on the carpets in our living areas, I scrape up at least another small dog’s worth of hair every single time. Kind of fascinating in a weird way.

The drool, however? Major thorn in my side. I never wanted Lucy to be a couch dog but she is and there’s no going back now. Unfortunately, she drools in her sleep and chews her toys on the couch so it is now a cess pool of (crusty) drool. Basically, it’s just plain nasty. I couldn’t stand to sit on it, let alone let visitors sit on it. And we can’t put a blanket down because a certain 18-month old bulldog likes to eat blankets.

This weekend I’d finally had enough. I was sick of sitting on a couch encrusted in drool so I did what everyone does when they have a problem; I Googled the shit out of it.

Our couch is a microfiber couch:

An "after" shot after the second cleaning of the weekend.

An “after” shot following the second cleaning of the weekend.

And Google said rubbing alcohol would solve all my problems. According to what I read, all I had to do was spritz the couch with rubbing alcohol and use a neutral-covered sponge to rub all the nastiness out of it.

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So, Lucy was designated to the floor while I cleaned the couch…twice.

Sad Lucy

Sad Lucy

Verdict? I think it’s helping. It’s not perfect but that’s also part of the beauty of microfiber; it’s similar to suede in its feel and texture so it’s not supposed to look perfectly even-colored. The water/drool stains seem to be just about gone so if nothing else, I feel as if I can now actually sit on my own couch without contracting a disease (I’m joking…sort of).

In more interesting news, my parents came out to visit this weekend and Lucy was semi-normal (for her) around my dad. She adores my mom and seems to be more receptive to my dad in her own territory. Baby steps, baby steps.

My parents’ visit was much needed (for me) as it will be the last time I see them for entirely too long. It’s pretty obvious I am very close with my family; I’ve had a lot of things on my mind for the past year-plus and seeing them always puts me in a better frame of mind. It’s too bad that with my job I can’t see them more frequently.

I think Lucy misses them, too.

"Why did they have to leave?"

“Why did they have to leave?”