Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Zoo is a Zoo

Phew…it’s been crazy around here lately. My friend and coworker died and things were very emotional and exhausting from Friday when I got to say goodbye to Monday when I found out she died that night.

My dogs are wonderful stress release though and having a sleek puppy snuggle with me is very therapeutic.

I’m a horrible foster mom. And hubby is turning into a bad foster dad. We have allowed (okay, encouraged) Bullet to sleep in our bed with us. Both of us always wanted a dog to cuddle up at night in our own bed. I’m not sure why but that’s just us. Unfortunately none of our furry babies want anything to do with us once it’s bed time. They get warm in cool weather so curling up on a bed with blankets and two humans is not their idea of fun.

Bullet on the other hand LOVES to snuggle as close as she possibly can - to the point that her head is under our pillow. It’s the cutest thing!

Sleepy Time Hiding

Of course she’s ruined for her next home (if we ever let her go!).

I took her yesterday to the new low cost spay and neuter clinic in Tacoma. It’s called Coalition Humane and it seems like a nice little clinic. It is a fairly well oiled machine. I had to work but was able to take her in at their drop off time at 8 a.m. Pick ups are at 7:30 a.m. so people picking up were crowded and waiting for their babies. I filled out a small amount of paper work and paid for her surgery and shots. We never did get her original shot records and have to have them for adoption (not to mention puppy daycare).

What a miserable night we had!!! I was SO sad that she wasn’t there when we went to bed. No sweet puppy cuddling last night. Or tonight for that matter because I don’t want her to jump off the bed - she’s not supposed to jump for 7 days. Yeah right!

She was happy to get home that’s for sure.

She was also extremely (extremely!) constipated. Is that normal??? (Paging Dr. Ferrox!) I mean so badly that we were out there for a good 5 minutes while she tried to squeeze it out (sorry to be gross but it was only 1/2 way out and she was starting to CRY!!!). When we got back in I swear she felt sweaty.

I have her corralled in one of those adjustable gate style pens in the living room. She’s been sleeping pretty much all day - mostly because I won’t let her out to do anything else. I think all the dogs are enjoying the quiet though. ha!

I can’t imagine I’ll be able to keep her content and quiet for 7 days though. She’s a puppy with a LOT of energy! I want to take her for a walk but can’t belly wrap her right now so that will be tough. We’ll see how she does the next couple of days. Thankfully someone will be home nearly all the time so she won’t be alone.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Trooper Bear!

My sweet boy Trooper Bear turns two years old tomorrow. I cannot believe it’s been that long!!!

Just a baby!
Just 4 or 6 weeks old!

Just a few months old - around 6 - in his first experience with snow!
Baby Trooper

He used to sleep on the fireplace bricks - he’s too big to fit now but he still lays his head on them. And still sticks his tongue out. It’s SO cute!
Tuckered Out

It was kind of traumatic, getting him home. He had diarrhea twice before we even got out of the breeder’s driveway. So the kennel was disgusting and I ended up holding him on my lap the whole way home. That was a bit nerve jarring.

When we got home he was tired but excited. By the time we had him in this little makeshift kennel area he was tuckered out. But he still had strength, even at 8 weeks old, to knock over the walls! Hence the use of papa’s weights to hold it up and not let it move around the kitchen.

First Night Home

Trooper’s presence in our lives has been a blessing from God that I cannot even fully describe. I’m sure most who read this blog understand the bond between a person and their pet. My bond with Trooper is stronger than I’ve ever had with any other animal. I love my other two dogs, don’t get me wrong. But Trooper is special. As my husband says… He’s “my” dog. :) He loves his papa, but he’s a mama’s boy.

His first few weeks home with us were stressful. My husband got VERY ill and was so sick that he couldn’t even get up to take Trooper out to potty during the day. We’ll eventually be getting our carpet replaced. :) We’re used to the stains by now though. ha!

Night was a challenge because we were determined to crate train…Trooper was determined to not let us sleep. He would howl like I’ve never heard an animal howl. As if he were being severely beaten. Then he’d get his little baby puppy jaw stuck in one of the crate holes and that sound was gut wrenching. I’d hop out of bed, quick like a bunny, and unstick it for him. Thankfully he grew too big to get his jaw through the holes! We only maintained the crate bedtime routine until he was potty trained.

His bed now a days is a spot directly under me under our bed. He scoots down and does a stomach crawl to get there. He’s huge and yet he loves sleeping in his cave.

If you ever decide to buy a dog from a breeder, please do super careful research and ALWAYS visit the breeder’s location first. I can’t stress that enough. I’m reading a book right now about puppy mills, that I will review later, that tears my heart apart. I am always grateful that we found an amazing breeder who does a wonderful and responsible job with her dogs. Thank you Carmen of Gryphen Mals!!!

Carmen and Puppies

Trooper’s daddy’s name is Hooch and I think he might have inherited his love of all things alcoholic from his papa.

Naughty Boy


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Double Trouble

Life is as crazy as ever at our Zoo.

Bullet and Trooper get along like lifelong pals and are causing all sorts of mischief. Bullet really enjoys sticks and they’ve both discovered that if you dig down a little bit in the dirt you can find roots that are fun to tug on.


So these stinkers dig and dig and create an unholy mess (and Trooper gets allllll muddy) to try to get at these roots. It’s hilarious but annoying.

Then they run around the yard like crazy dogs. Trooper gets hot fast and so he gets in his pool to cool down…and then proceeds to run in the dirt. He got groomed yesterday but I have a feeling the clean and pretty smelling fur won’t exist when I get home tonight.

They play pretty roughly and I’m really super impressed that Trooper hasn’t hurt Bullet. I’m so not used to a dog with so little fur. His mouth is as big as her head and he looks like he’s killing her but there’s not a mark on her. It’s remarkable how gentle he is with her. He is never that gentle with Quinn - grabbing the back of her neck and shaking. Although there really isn’t any fur to grab onto with Bullet. Ha!

Here is a video from her first full day with us. When I tell her not to be rude she had snuck up on me and stuck her nose up my bum. Ha ha ha!

Quinn is not nearly as thrilled with our little Bullet girl. She doesn’t like it when other dogs play and often tries to break it up. It’s hilarious. She’s constantly “talking” to Bullet like she is trying to make sure she learns the rules of the house. Like don’t bother Kodiak.

And of course one more video from her first day. I have another video on my camera that I need to download.

They are going non stop. First thing when they get up in the morning they start wrestling. *grin* It’s so cute but we need to teach them to calm down and sit quietly at some point!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm Falling In Love

Someone better adopt this little sweetheart fast because she is melting our hearts like butter. I swear she is one of the sweetest dogs ever.

Of course, on Friday evening I was already wishing someone would adopt her that night! LOL She is non-stop active. She even wore out Trooper, our two year old Malamute, who is higher energy than any other dog we’ve ever had. Now he knows how Quinn feels when he refuses to leave her alone. :)

Meet Bullet.

Gunner Silver Bullet - 10 month old Weimeraner

She is a 10 month old Weimeraner puppy who loves to be loved. This girl is a cuddler and when she does finally stop moving she cuddles up next to me and tries to get as close as she possibly can without being physically in my lap completely…though her head ended up in my lap last night as she slept before bedtime. I think if I let her she’d climb right up and be a huge lap dog.

She knows several commands and knows her name…and she’s housebroken which is an added bonus! Bullet can sit, leave it, drop it, and sometimes stay if she’s not being too wiggly. She takes treats very gently from my hand though seems to think it’s okay to check out what’s on the counters.

Hubby has nick named her Meercat because she will stand up at the window sill and peer out … she looks like a Meercat - practically standing straight up. It’s so cute. I tried getting a decent photo but this one of her on the couch is the best I did.

Bullet the Meercat

She looks HUGE there, but she’s really only about 40 pounds. I can see her ribs!!! I’ve never seen our dogs’ ribs…I can hardly feel our dogs ribs. When we first got her I wasn’t really even sure how to pet her. I’m used to three inches of fur between skin and fingers and here she is sleek and silky steel gray fur right up front. Her skin is apparently very strong though because she and Trooper have been rough housing non stop and the worst she’s gotten is slobbered on.

Bedtime is quite easy and painless. She knows her crate and knows the command to go “night night” which is the same command we use for our dogs. She doesn’t always want to go ‘night night’ but she hasn’t fought me too hard yet. She hasn’t been waking up in the middle of the night but OUR dogs have so we let her out at the same time. She knows the command “go potty” though gets quickly distracted with the other dogs around.

She will need a firm but gentle alpha leader because if she’s allowed to do whatever she wants she will take over. Weimeraners are very strong willed and extremely smart. Thankfully I’ve had experience with that kind of mentality in dogs. :) I’m always alpha!

And she’ll need a little work on her manners. She jumps up when first meeting someone and has to be told “off” several times. As mentioned above she also counter surfs. For a family with other dogs she’ll need some correcting because she doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of not sharing. Trooper corrected her this morning (many yelps were heard but no blood seen!) when she got too close to his food. Quinn corrected her Saturday night when she got too close to Quinn’s bone. It’s just a learning process.

She has no respect for personal space, that is for sure. Which I find hilarious because Trooper really never did either, though he’s gotten better.

Was someone sitting here?

I really wouldn’t recommend her for a family with very small children - though I do think she would make an amazing and excellent family dog. Especially for an active family who likes to go on long walks and hikes. And a family with another active dog would be even better - the only thing keeping me sane is Trooper’s ability to wrestle with her for 6-8 hours in a day. :)

My Ball!

No, My Ball!

I’ve submitted the information on Bullet to Ginger’s Pet Rescue and she should be available to adopt soon. I hope it’s sooner rather than later because I could seriously get attached to this sweet girl.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dog Food Warning - Nutro's "Nature's Choice"

Just when we thought the madness was over there appears to be another suspected dog food scare out there. It’s really disheartening to me that pet food companies seem to only care about the bottom line and disregard the love people have for their pets. Animals have become family members and while human children are protected through the FDA (as protected as any government agency can make us) animal food has no such oversight.

The warning about Nutro’s Nature Choice comes via the cat/dog Log and her work with a rescue organization in Florida. Apparently several dogs have died and the believed cause is this food. Sadly Nutro has shut out all inquiries and is not communicating about this scary issue.

Nutro’s “Nature Choice” line of food is highly suspected in the deaths of six dogs in Florida in the past month. Two Rottweilers and a German Shepherd from one household, and three German Shepherds in another household all consumed this product and then died within 48 hours.

Considering the fact that I am bringing a new dog into my house and will need to pick a food for her, this scares me so much. I want to pick a lower cost food than what I feed my dogs (because honestly we can barely afford their food!) but want it to also be healthy. I may have considered Nutro!!! Not anymore of course.

Always use the utmost care when picking your dogs food. The more natural the better, of course. But always read the ingredients and look for things like ‘meal’ or ‘by-product.’ Those are not high quality ingredients. Even treats need to be reviewed carefully.

*chicken by-product meal - an inferior source of protein made from necks, feet, intestines, etc.
*Fish meal - Like with all other animal sources, if a type isn’t specified, you never know what type or quality of fish is used.

The Dog Food Project has a nice list of ingredients to avoid with your pet’s food. I know it can be expensive to feed healthy food to our animals, however I try to look at the long term benefits. Over time, poor nutrition can have a significant negative long term results that can require even more money to treat.

I want what is best for my dogs and the dogs in my care. I wish dog food manufacturers felt the same way.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Our First Foster Dog

Well, it looks like we were approved as foster doggy parents. Woohoo!

Hubby is still hesitating and not excited but once he sees a 9 month old puppy Weimaraner he’ll get over it. I still need to set up a time to pick up the little darling, but hopefully we will get her this week. She will come with her crate and toys, which is nice, though we do have extras.

I’m excited…and a little nervous. Trooper is just now calming from his puppy stages and I’m sure that this new puppy will have some issues - seeing as how she’s leaving her family and coming to a strange new place. She’s also not spayed but the rescue organization will pay for that.

It sounds like Weimaraners are headstrong and willful. Gee, I wonder what that’s like? Ha! I can’t imagine a dog as headstrong and stubborn as a Malamute or Husky.

Now the plan is to ease Hubby into the idea within the next 24 hours. *crossing my fingers* I know that once we get into a routine he’ll be fine. It’s just getting used to the idea of a temporary dog.


I’ll definitely update here and post photos if we do finally get her home. I have a feeling she’ll be adopted out pretty quickly. Have you seen Weimaraners? They are gorgeous!!!

Shelby Weimaraner

Monday, July 7, 2008

Out of Their Misery

*** You may not want to read this post or view the video if you are particularly sensitive. =) ***

Hubby and I went on a fishing trip yesterday and had a blast! We went Saturday night and stayed the night in a moderately dive-ish room but it was better than waking up at 1 a.m. to drive two hours and be at the docks no later than 4 a.m. Westport is a town on the coast of Washington. It’s a tourist town but mostly a fishing town so the “tourist” stores were actually closed by 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday. It was weird. I did buy Salt Water Taffy and Sea Foam though. Yummy!

We woke up at 3 a.m., got ready, and walked to the docks to check in with the Charter company. It brought back SO many memories. My father used to take me fishing when I was a little girl - he’d wake me up when it was still dark out, make me some buttered toast wrapped in a paper towel and hot chocolate, and we’d head out to sea. My mom says that I loved rough weather and would come home talking about all the “rocks” we hit. *grin*

The day didn’t start out rocky but boy by the time we came back in it was super rough. The boat was rocking so much that I couldn’t see the horizon at several points.

But I had so much fun. I finally found my sea legs and was able to stand up without falling over - though walking is always tough. I get wobbly on a plane!

I caught the first fish of the day!!! =) Though the boys on the boat didn’t think it counted because it was “just” a flounder. They were just mad that a girl caught the first fish. Ha! I wasn’t the last one to catch a flounder though - two others were caught as well.

Hubby caught the biggest fish of the day though and it was a salmon!!! It was SO exciting and I am so proud of him. Hubby gets sea sick so I’m not really sure why he even suggested we take this trip. He never wants to do it again of course, but is happy with his catch.

**** WARNING - This video *is* a little graphic. Nothing bloody or anything but if you are extra sensitive to fishy feelings you may want to avoid watching. My mother in law thought it was mean…but she’ll enjoy the salmon once its cooked! ***

Now…I asked why they hit it on the head with that big pipe thing because it did shock me a little. I hadn’t been fishing for a long time and forgot that they do that sort of thing. But it’s for two good reasons. The fish can’t breath out of the water so it’s just suffering more if it’s not knocked out right away. Two, it can actually hurt people if it’s flopping around the boat. Trust me, even the smaller fish get in the way if they flop around under people’s feet. So while it seems mean (my MIL was horrified) it really is better than letting it suffocate to death.

Hubby's Giant Salmon

They filleted it when we got back to the docks and we are going to be feasting on salmon for a long time. It was a fatty!

I caught 11 Sea Bass and Nick lost count of how many bass he caught. There were only three other salmon caught, but hubby’s was the biggest. Woohoo!!!

Here’s me with one of my Bass - I’m sure my papa was smiling down on me from heaven with pride. And my grandma too. She was quite the fisher-woman herself.

Me and my Bass

Needless to say, we’ll be eating a LOT of bass. :) I don’t even know how to cook bass.

Hubby says it’s the last trip he will ever go on - he was so sick last night it would have been funny if it hadn’t been so pathetic. I was a bit dizzy (and exhausted) but at least I wasn’t sick. If you are interested in reading more details and seeing more pics please feel free to visit my other blog where I’ll be posting lots of pictures.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Think About Fostering

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve applied to be a foster dog parent. I talked to hubby about it and while he’s not as thrilled about it as I am he didn’t say no, which is as good as a yes in my book.

So now I’m starting to think about all the things I’ll need to do and how to act with a new dog who will be a temporary member of our pack.

Commenter, 14 Karat, who I’m guessing found me from Rachel Lucas‘ blog *grin* had a lot of advice and totally overwhelmed me. LOL Not that it takes a lot to overwhelm me.

Some of the advice seems completely opposite to what I had intended to do, which scares me! I welcome any and all advice and want this to be a conversation so I’m going to take some of 14k’s comments and give my thoughts. In no way am I discounting 14k’s thoughts or try to pick on her. Her experience is invaluable and I just want to learn!!! :)

“Plan to be at home all the time.”
That just isn’t going to happen. I work away from home 4 days a week. Luckily, my husband’s schedule varies so there will be times when he will be home while I’m at work. However there will be “away” days when we’re both gone. We don’t allow our own dogs to stay home by themselves for too many days in a row. They will either go to Daycare or grandma will come over to dog sit. We’ll probably ‘hire’ grandma to watch the doggies but I don’t expect her to handle a strange dog. We’ll have to have a family meeting about that. And of course it depends on the dog too.

“Avoid looking your new animal directly in the eyes for awhile.”

I totally get this one. However, what about establishing pack leadership? I’m used to disciplining my dogs, two of whom have only lived with us since the age of 8 weeks old. We flip them on their backs. We put our mouths over their muzzles, punishing them in dog language. I would never do this to a strange dog of course. But how am I supposed to establish dominance as the pack leader? I can’t let another dog get away with things that I wouldn’t allow from my own. So how do I do this?

“Make sure you are around the dog when it gets fed, and don’t let kids around until you are sure it won’t bite you at feeding time.”
No problem there. We feed all our dogs at one time and in their assigned areas. We don’t have kids so that’s not an issue. I had planned to train the foster dog the same way I did with Trooper and Kodiak. Quinn doesn’t have to work for her food. =) She’s an old lady.

Trooper is required to lay down and wait for his food until I release him. I don’t make Kodiak work all the time because it’s harder for him with his bad legs but if I think he’s being too excited or hyper I make him sit and “leave it” until I say “get it.”

Of course, these things took a few minutes (*grin*) to get them to do but are absolutely necessary parts of feeding 3 dogs at once. Plus I always feed Kodiak before Trooper so that Trooper knows he’s not alpha over him.

So I’m torn about how to feed a 4th dog. Do I make Trooper wait until I feed the new dog? I don’t necessarily want him to be “lower” in the pack than a new dog but I also don’t want him to think he’s alpha. We’ll have to create a separate place to feed the new dog and we have one of those moveable gate things that we can use in the kitchen.

“Keep the dog outside or in a kennel; don’t allow any foster animal on your furniture or on your bed.”
This one is one I’m not sure I can deal with. I want to train a dog who can become a family member for someone and to me that means being inside. All of our dogs sleep with us in the bedroom. They all have their “spots” on the floor but are allowed on the bed if they want (though Trooper is the only one who can actually jump that high and the other two don’t like it up there). I don’t anticipate letting a new dog up on the bed.

It will be difficult, if not impossible, to restrict the couch though. It’s pretty much FOR our dogs. In fact, Kodiak is curled up there right now sleeping soundly. :) Is it okay to restrict one dog when the other three don’t have those restrictions? Won’t that confuse them?

And the only time I anticipate the dog being in the outside kennel is when we are both away from home. The other three dogs will be in the house and the foster will be outside. The other alternative is to have the foster dog in the kitchen in either a crate (if we can properly acclimate them to a crate) or the moveable gate/fence thing.

We are one of those families who believe that family dogs belong inside with their pack. Unless they are a farm dog or something and even then I have a hard time seeing a dog constantly outside and not allowed to be part of the pack.

“No human food. Period.”

No problem there. I’m always yelling at hubby not to feed the dogs from his plate. It drives me bonkers!

“Provide only specific toys, and don’t tussle with the dog. If it seems aggressive at all it won’t be adoptable.”
I don’t tussle. =) Hubby does but I won’t let him with a foster. What do you mean with specific toys? You mean don’t let him share with the other dogs? Toys may present an interesting issue with us. Trooper LOVES his toys and he tends to try to take the other dogs’ toys. We actually have gotten pretty good at preventing this over time but he still has his moments. We’ll have to police this very carefully.

“Be careful about hugging your dog, since this can be seen as aggression.”
Gotcha. I hug my three dogs all the time but I didn’t start hugging Quinn until we were more used to her and she to us. I know she’d never hurt me. But I’d never hug a strange dog.

“Try to help the dog minimize exposure to behaviors the ancourage barking (for us it was people moving in a herd and really loud noises when they were kenneled. I had to build a privacy fence).”

Hmmm…I guess we’ll have to figure this out as it occurs. We’ve never had to deal with barking before because Huskies and Mals aren’t real big ‘barkers’ … they do talk though. :)

I’ve never had to deal with a barker. Other than when Trooper was a puppy in his crate - which we ignored for two weeks straight until it stopped. Our neighbors said they never heard anything. We may have to get advice on stopping a barker. I’ve watched the Dog Whisperer but I’m no Caesar. =)

“Try to use their name and touch them whenever you can.”
ABSOLUTELY!!!! Every time I’ve had a new animal I say their name constantly … all the time. When I got my new kitten I would sit there and pet it and say its name over and over and over again as I pet. Same with Trooper and Kodiak. Quinn came with her name. LOL

Phew…it’s a lot of information to digest. I’m nervous and excited at the same time. I already have chatted with our agility trainer and have permission to bring another dog along and we can pay a few extra dollars to have some training while I work with Trooper. I plan to practice walks and loose leash. Trooper is going to be very jealous. Ha! It’ll be good for him.

I look forward to a continuing discussion about this new adventure. =D

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Independence Day - Help Grant Freedom

While most of us will be celebrating this 4th of July with BBQs, hotdogs, fireworks, and a cold drink or two…animals at our local shelter will be facing off with the clock. Don’t wait until after the holiday if you have plans to adopt.

Go visit today or tomorrow and bring a new family member home.


Herd County animal shelter in Georgia has the most beautiful little Siamese kitty. I wish I could bring her home! Trooper would enjoy her as a snack. :) She would make a wonderful companion, as would the other sweet kitties and doggies in danger of being put down this Friday.

And Saving Shelter Pets needs your help!!! They have 52 - FIFTY TWO - puppies to rescue and transport. That is a lot of sweet, adorable, and adoptable puppies to save.


Look at that face!!! My heart melts. If you can spare it, please make a special Puppy Promises donation. I donated $25 yesterday and wish it could be $2,500! So far, most of the sales from my Etsy shop have gone directly to SSP. :) Don’t tell my hubby!

Thank you Hounds Good for your hard work to find these animals homes or rescue. You have inspired me so much in the last few months and I put in my application yesterday to be a foster mom. =) I’m nervous but excited and hope that I can make a difference and save lives! The minute I get approved I am going to start blogging about our experience.

Oh and I’ll also be asking for help and advice!!! =D LOL You can be sure of that.