Monday, January 27, 2014

The bromance resumes

Big thank you to all of you who commented and offered words of encouragement on my last post about Lars. I know I haven't been around a lot, so it meant a lot to me that you guys were here for the big news!

What a difference a few days makes. When I went to pick up Lars, I have to confess it was with a feeling of dread at all the upheaval that was about to come into our relatively content, but already busy lives. 

He's integrated into our house better than I could have imagined. Fozzie was just a tad tense when he first saw his old bud, but he warmed up quickly and now its as if they never parted. Humping each other, wrestling, running around, maintaining a remarkably balanced exchange. 

He and Fozzie get their wild impulses when they're together, especially in the evening, and we have to make sure they don't get too wild primarily because Lars' ear is still infected and I don't want him to get hurt.

Fozzie has a rough, impolite play style but Lars can't get enough of him. For some reason those two just love each other. I was worried, because Fozzie's a few years older now than when Lars was here before and his breed or mix of breeds is reputed to become less dog-friendly after age 2. And, when we are on walks it's the large dogs with pointy ears that really make Fozzie have a fit.

But I think he remembers. For some reason Lars is special to Fozzie. 


When Fozzie doesn't want to be humped, he makes a big dramatic loud noise but he doesn't do much else. Sometimes Lars comes back for more and I have to make sure he gives Fozzie some space, but they listen to me. 

They are both good listeners. Lars will just sit and look into my eyes as I pet him and talk to him, like he's so grateful to have the chance to connect. 

And when Fozzie's had enough of playing and just wants to be left alone, sometimes he'll go into the crate all by himself and chill out.

Lars is a lot to handle, there's no doubt about that. And three dogs is more than I thought I wanted, more than feels completely sane. 

It's stressful for Lamar, but I'm making an effort to give him extra-long massage sessions and more one-on-one time, and keep the other dogs out of his space. 

Despite the insanity, for some reason it feels so right. 

And no, I'm not talking about the particular brand of love Lars gives me. 

I'm talking about the fact that Lars needs me, needs us, needs Fozzie, needs to be in our house with us right now. And I need him. 

I don't know what the future holds, but I know that right now, everything is as it should be.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lars: The Continuing Saga

A few of you may remember Lars. Lars history in a nutshell:

In the spring of 2011, Fozzie broke out of my front yard to take off after a stray running along my street. When I caught up to him in a neighbor's yard, he was lying in the grass, panting, grinning from ear to ear, next to a filthy, scrawny white dog who looked way too skinny and had a similarly smug expression on his face. I leashed up Fozzie and brought him home, and the white dog followed us into my yard. 

My story about finding Lars--and especially Fozzie's role in it--was published by Care2.

The white dog was shy, and it was a few days before I could even touch him. But he was hungry, and he was happy to stay in my yard and eat the cheesy snacks I tossed his way. 

After a couple of days, he started coming close to me, and then letting me touch him. After that, it wasn't long before I could scratch him, kiss his long elegant nose, give him a belly rub, and give him a bath. And inspect his paws, which were bleeding--apparently from running for a long time. 

He was eager to bond with someone, and seemed relieved and so happy to find a human to be close to. 

He also loved Fozzie, and those two played for hours on end in a mutually rewarding frenzy of humping.   

But he was skittish around new people, and he had a sort of anxious, kind of feral quality that made Lamar very nervous. I screened some adopters but was having a hard time finding anyone who would give him the kind of home he deserved. I felt that he should go to a calm household without too many people around, and I didn't think he'd be happy being walked in an urban, noisy environment. 

Since I was not involved with a rescue at the time, I fostered him independently and not with the help of any official group. But another rescuer friend had a sort of small sanctuary where she thought Lars could stay for a while. 

Lars loved it there and stayed for over a month. The caretaker loved  him and he got along famously with the 4-5 other dogs there. We all thought he could stay there permanently, but then the county found out there were 5 dogs at the house and Lars had to come back. 

Lars stayed with us throughout the rest of the summer, the fall, and into winter. Finally I got a call from someone who was interested in him, a single guy who lived in a townhouse in Baltimore. So just before Christmas, we left Lars in his new home. But I think the change was a lot for him, and the guy wasn't willing to give Lars a chance to settle in...when Lars urinated in the house while the guy was at work, he had to move on.

I was in New York when I got the call, so I called another potential adopter I'd spoken to earlier and we agreed she'd hold on to him until I got back. So Lars went to his fifth home, counting wherever he started out...until he escaped from an unlocked gate in the yard, and was on the run for the next month

When he was finally found, as a result of the hours we spent hanging up signs all over the neighborhood, this intermediate adopter decided to keep him despite having a full house of three other dogs already. 

Fast forward three years, and apparently the three are not getting along all that well. Finally there's been a bad fight and Lars' ear has been badly injured.

 So, I immediately put him up on Petfinder, on,on a few German Shepherd rescue group sites, and almost as immediately got a response. From a young woman who lived near Lars, who visited him, loved him, and agreed to take him the following Friday after he had his stitches removed.

He did great with her dachshund Lola, hit it off with her...but not so great with her cats. Sooo....


Lars is back with us. Still loves me, and much more friendly toward Florian than he was before. 

Happy to see Fozzie, though we're taking it slow. 


We went on a walk together, me Fozzie and Lars, and it was easy. They walked together nicely. Lamar is not thrilled but they're not going after each other. They're avoiding each other, which is appropriate and good of them both.

I think he's happy to be here, in a nice calm environment with people who love him and where he knows he's safe. 

And where he can get all's apparently been yearning for.

Don't worry Lars, Florian has that effect on a lot of people.  It's good to have you around!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter Beach Vacation

In our part of the world, as elsewhere, last week brought some record cold temperatures along with snow and freezing rain. Since Florian has a long vacation from teaching around the holidays, we figured--let's go to the beach!

I've always loved going to the beach in the winter, when everything is empty and vast and the dogs can just run and chase seagulls unmolested. 

We decided to go to Rehoboth, as we haven't been there in a while and we knew we'd be able to find a dog-friendly hotel. 

When we got there, it was the beginning of the intense cold snap we had and there was an icy wind. Time for Fozzie to break out his waterproof flannel-lined jacket that makes him look like a ridiculous horse. 

It would be a cool place to visit in the summer, but it would be packed, and no dogs allowed on the beach, and impossible to park. In this weather, it was perfect.

 We got there late in the afternoon, in time to take a walk on the beach and watch the rays of the setting sun as they just caught the breaking waves. 

And throw some sticks and bits of driftwood for Fozzie, 

who, along with Lamar, was in heaven.

Lamar has always had a great love for the beach, especially for chasing his friends the seagulls. 

He did some of that this time, and barked when Florian threw sticks for Fozzie, and trotted along with us and tried to avoid the icy water. 

In the evening, we treated ourselves to a hotel room as even we are not crazy enough to attempt to sleep in the car when the temperature is hovering in the single digits. 

Some tired dogs were happy to indulge as well.

One of the great things about Rehoboth is that it is right near some other beautiful places, like Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Henlopen State Park. 
 Which were also beautiful, empty, free, and dog friendly--at least in the winter. 

There are some very cool old barracks from World War II,

 and an observation tower you can climb up in for an incredible view. 

There are great places to go for a hike and observe wildlife, and with temperatures in the 30s by the second day we were there it felt positively balmy and completely pleasant for a nice nature stroll. 

So many hidden treasures. 

A cool little town called Rock Hall, where there were only about 3 stores but all 3 of them were cool little artistic shops. Which is very close to Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, which Florian says we went to, years ago, but of which I have no memory. 

Another great place to view wildlife 

and just enjoy the vast silence and peace of nature, turned inward for the months of cold.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Natural Balance Holiday Packs: a Nifty Gifty from

Yes, its been ages. The holidays, a new job, social events, travel, dogs to groom, dogs to massage and make out with and pet and massage some more: lots of excuses for not being a consistent blogger of late. 

And what better excuse to blog again than to review the Natural Balance Dog Holiday Pack we received from in December? 

The holiday pack contains some  limited ingredient treats, a can of ultra premium chicken formula food, and a turkey food roll. We got right into testing out our Holiday Pack. 

The limited ingredient treats are a nice, crunchy snack that provided a great between-meals pick-me-up for my dogs. 

While I wouldn't use them for anything that required a really high-value treat, I like having some substantial, crunchy treats around for when the pups are hungry and yet they're tired of their mealtime kibble. 

And while they're maybe not as exciting as a freeze-dried treat or nonvegetarian human food leftovers, Fozzie was happy to scarf some down even on a walk, and even when he was wearing his winter coat. 

Next we tried the canned food, which was a huge hit. 

The boys just chowed down that tasty canned food mixed in with their kibble and it was great to see them enjoy their meal so much.

The last item in the box was a little turkey food roll, for use as a meal or broken up into bits for snacks. I hadn't thought of this stuff in a while, but it's what I used all the time back when I was teaching a lot of training classes and had to have handy, tasty, not too nasty treats.  Dogs loved them and they were easy to break into tasty bits for storage in a treat pouch. Lamar is really happy to have them back.

Thanks,, for the great holiday fun pack!