Say What?

Back in July, we took the pups (Marley and Heidi) to the beach for the weekend and when we came back we discovered one of our barn cats had disappeared. Tully was our little brown tabby that we’ve had for over 2 years. We initially wanted only 2 barn cats, so I picked a brother and sister out of a family of 5 feral kittens. When my husband heard the family of siblings had been separated, I got the green light to go get the other 3! Over the past 2 years, Tully has become extremely friendly, he wants to be loved on before eating. We were very sad to find out he was gone. This last year, Tully would stick real close to the barn so this was very unusual. We hoped that he would return but after a few weeks we gave up hope.

My husband recently sent me an email saying I should update my blog profile to read I have 3 barn cats (instead of 4). I was still too sad so I decided it wasn’t a high enough priority. WELL…five weeks ago, my husband went down to the barn to feed the barn cats (the remaining 3) and woke me up with an announcement. He said he hoped I didn’t already update my blog. I started to cry because I thought he meant we were now down to 2 barn cats (I care very much about those boys). Turns out my husband should have just said Tully had come back!

I got bundled up and raced down to the barn with a can of wet food because my husband said Tully was very underweight but otherwise appeared fine. I took one look at Tully and decided he needed a lot of TLC so I scooped him up (he was light as a feather) and brought him in the house. I never did get an initial weight, I’m guessing 4 lbs. He was a little smelly, turns out he had an abscess near his groin. Poor guy was so hungry! I made the mistake of letting him free feed, which led to diarrhea. I can tell you from experience, it is not fun waking up in the middle of the night to clean a SMELLY litter box and a cat’s tail… What I Do For Cats & Dogs!

After a visit to the vet, Tully’s abscess is fully healed thanks to them shaving and cleaning the wound plus the antibiotic injection. I was THRILLED that I didn’t have to give him a pill twice a day for two weeks! After Tully was diarrhea free (thanks to Bene-Bac Plus) and abscess was healed, I was able to focus more on helping him relax more in the house. So far, he isn’t hiding much and will usually come out from hiding if you call his name. He is playful especially with wand toys and is frequently found on the cat shelves in the living room.

I think Tully is enjoying the life of a house cat!

Introducing Jack (Jack Benny)

You may be thinking that this dog doesn’t look like a Golden Retriever and you’d be right. Jack is a Labrador Retriever mix from Taiwan (flew into Seattle on Aug 30th). I picked him up the next day and found out I don’t know JACK…

Turns out Jack is a puppy in an adult body. We don’t know his history, but I think it’s safe to assume he spent time living on the streets as a stray. He is a very scared boy who is slowly learning life can be fun & safe. Living out in the country where there is less noise is helping Jack lower his stress and gain some much needed confidence.

We’ve been working on training basic commands and house manners. Every day I’m seeing improvement and Jack is looking & acting more relaxed (he’s sleeping on the couch by himself right now). He isn’t going to his crate as often because he’s scared. This week I’ll focus on getting him more comfortable being outside. This should help him on his walks. As of now, he still freezes up and won’t move at times.

We’ll help Jack understand that he shouldn’t live in fear, and that being a dog is reason to celebrate!

New Foster Dog Coming Soon!

Tomorrow I will be picking up our next foster dog named Jack Benny. He is coming to us from Taiwan. At this time all we know is he’s around 4 yrs old and was exposed to cats. It is our job to figure our who is Jack Benny (the dog, not the comedian).

To read more about Golden Bond Rescue of Oregon’s overseas rescue efforts click HERE.

The plan is to pick him, go on a nice walk before heading over to the vet for an exam. When we get home I’ll walk him on our long driveway, around the house and back yard before making the introductions. First will be my husband who will have recently walked our dog Marley (who’ll be enjoying a Kong indoors, locked in her crate to prevent barking at Jack through a window). Once Jack is calm with my husband, we’ll grab Marley so we can go for a walk with the dogs on leash. Once both dogs are calm walking together, we’ll take them to the fenced backyard when we can have them off leash. Hopefully this will go smoothly so we can take them indoors. Any cats indoors will be locked in a bedroom so Jack can get used to the house and the cat smells. Early evening the cats will be let out so they can get on the cat shelves to check out Jack at a safe distance.

We’re very excited for tomorrow and look forward to helping Jack Benny become a well adjusted boy so he can find his forever home!

Hanging with Marley (and the Kittehs, of course)

Two weeks ago our foster dog Heidi got adopted by a wonderful family! After taking Heidi to them for a home visit, my husband and I knew that we were going to be saying goodbye to this beautiful spirit covered in fur.

A few days later we escorted Heidi to her new home and family. She now has 2 adults, 2 young ladies and 2 kittehs to call her own. I have never felt so much joy and sadness at the same time. We said our goodbyes and drove away as Heidi went on her first walk with her family. Knowing she has a great family to care for and love her has made this process easier.

As I’m writing this, I’m wiping away my tears. I remind myself that I did my job, which was to get Heidi healthy and ready to for her forever home. Now that has happened, I prepare for the next foster dog. If I had my way, we’d already be getting to know our next foster dog!

During this time I’m spending some extra quality time with our dog Marley. I want to make sure that she isn’t stressed by Heidi’s absence and give her reassurances that this is her permanent home. The less stressed she is, the better off everyone will be when the day comes to bring another Golden into our home. Marley is all for the extra stuffed Kongs, extra training sessions, ATV runs and playtime! She’s even been joining me on the couch while I read some new books I got.

I decided to make the most of this foster-less time. Since I want to be better prepared and educated when making future dog introductions (I was lucky with Bela & Heidi), I picked up a bunch of dog training/behavior/communication books that were recommended on the Golden Bond Rescue of Oregon website. I’ll let you know what books I find the most beneficial.

 

Heidi’s Favorites

While Heidi has been staying with us she has been exposed to some things she thinks are really great. If she could speak our language she would tell you all about these items (in random order):

1. Her crate is the place to be when it’s not by you! She has never hesitated going into her crate and enjoys stretching out in this spacious crate. The crate is 35.5″ Tall, 28.5″ Wide, and 47.5″ Deep. It is labeled for a dog larger than Heidi but she wasn’t interested in going into the crate the next size down. The trick is to get a thick supportive bed & a cozy cool blanket for on top of it (or warm blanket for the winter). I also made a crate cover that covers all but the front of the crate (I can easily lift the side pieces if she needs more air circulation).

2. Venison Jerky Treats

Real Meat Venison Jerky Dog Treats (12 oz)

This morning she “table surfed” for the first time for these suckers! I was gathering her belongings on the dining room table & had a zip-lock baggy of these. I found the empty, torn up baggie in her crate.

I order a lot of stuff from Amazon.com since you can earn money thru smile.amazon.com for an organization such as Golden Bond Rescue of Oregon (plus the prices can be quite cheaper). Click on the image for the link to where I purchased them from. To make them last longer (and Heidi not gain weight) I cut them up into smaller pieces.

3. Nylabone

Nylabone Heidi LOVES chewing on her bone SOOOOO much! She gets so much joy & entertainment out of these bones. A must have for when she’s crated.

4. Gentle Leader (Large Size)

This isn’t Heidi’s favorite but she loves her walks so much she wouldn’t mind this being on her list. Heidi moves fast on her walks & can eat stuff she’s not supposed to so it’s nice to have better control of her movements.

5.Chilly Dogs Soaker Coat

Heidi likes drying off in her bath robe after baths, swimming, or walks in the rain. I like it because she dries faster & that means less wet dog smell & wet furniture in the house. Click on the picture for more info.

6. Grooming Supplies

Heidi uses the de-tangling com mostly around her ears, especially when the fur gets wet from ear cleanings & after getting wet from rain, bath or swimming.

I used the mat remover a few times around her ears, a great tool to have! I’m certain more fur would have been lost if I had used scissors to cut out the mats.

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/images/Categoryimages/larger/lg-35436-74510.jpg

This is how the slicker brush should have been designed from the beginning. I refused to use slicker brushes because I’d end up bleeding trying to clean them. Now it only takes a push of a button & I’m able to wipe the fur off. I use this brush a few times a week & as long as I’m gentle Heidi has no problem with it.

Heidi gets the fur on her feet trimmed regularly with these little scissors. She’s not a big fan but at least I know she’s not getting stabbed with a pointy tip.

MinkSheen Pet Shampoo has done wonders for Heidi’s coat & skin. She was on a medicated shampoo for a while but it was making her itchy. This shampoo has really softened up her whole coat, helps keep insects away (at least a few days after a bath), smells great & gets LOTS of compliments.

7. Food

A cup for breakfast and a cup for dinner is all she needs (don’t listen to her if she says she wants more) to keep her new healthy figure.

* Heidi will eagerly eat this food (this is a huge deal considering we tried at least 10 different foods, wet & dry, with her not eating for close to 4 days).

*She doesn’t itch nearly as much since the food switch.

*Keeping her allergies under control also works towards keeping her ears and skin healthy. She doesn’t want to go through those medical problems ever again & you wouldn’t want to either.

8. Thyroid Medicine

Heidi thinks this is the GREATEST STUFF EVER because it helped her lose weight and grow back all her missing fur!

Heidi takes Soloxine (.7mg) to manage her hypothyroidism. She gets 1 pill with her breakfast and 1 pill with her dinner. It is critical that she doesn’t miss any doses. We use a pill box for dog medication that holds a weeks worth. This way it is easier to see when you need to call in a request for a refill. Remember that if it has been a year since last thyroid blood work was done, she’ll need to get her thyroid level check before they’ll give you the refill.

This isn’t everything that Heidi loves but it’s a good start. I am anxious to see how many of these things the next foster dog will love!

Heidi’s First Date

Two weeks ago we received the first adoption application for Heidi.  While it excites us that families are interested in Heidi, we had to pass on the applicants because it wasn’t a great match. This week we received an adoption application. The information from the GBR Home Evaluation made us feel this family may be a great match, so I contacted the family to answer any questions they had. None of the answers scared them off, so we scheduled a time for us to bring Heidi to their home to meet them.

This is the first time going through the adoption process because our first foster dog had to go to a cat-free foster home, so we never made it to this point in the process. I’m very excited for Heidi, but also nervous, sad, hopeful, cautious, happy … all sorts of emotions!

To prepare for the first date, Heidi had a full spa day. This included lots of brushing, paw fur trimming, bath, nail trim, and ear cleaning. We had quite the busy day, especially since I also did the same for our dog Marley.  The fancy dog wash station we built a few months ago helped a lot with minimizing back strain.

This evening will determine if Heidi has found her new forever home or if we need to wait for a better match.

What I do know is that this sweet girl deserves to go to a new home where she is loved, her needs are met (physical, emotional, and medical), and she brings joy to their lives. Hopefully she’ll also have kitteh friends!

Wish her luck!