Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dr. Tim's Freeze Dried Treats: A Powerful Tool for Concentration

This month, I was so happy to see that had some freeze-dried treats among its offerings in exchange for product reviews. 

The dogs I've known would walk through fire for freeze-dried treats. And with a high-energy, new foster dog in the house, a high-value treat is just what we need. 

So I went ahead and asked for some Dr. Tim's Natural Chicken Chips. You can tell just from looking at them that to a dog, these things are going to be good. 

It was TV night and I'd been doing some focus training with Daria with cheesy snacks, and she was working hard enough. Once Dr. Tim's came out though, there was no messing around. With laser-like focus, both Fozzie and Daria zeroed in on those freeze-dried treats. 

And as long as I had them out, there was no humping, no nipping, no barking. 

Daria even stood still long enough for me to wrap her in some cabbage, which I've heard is good to help shrink the poor distended mammaries of a dog who's been made to breed. 

Not long enough for any therapeutic effect I'm sure, but still.   

And of course Fozzie got to have some freeze-dried treats, in exchange for just being so sweet and tolerant through it all. 

Guys, those are some fantastic treats. Thanks again,!

Do YOUR dogs become little angels for freeze-dried treats?

Paddle Boarding with the Pups

Daria is truly a precious little affectionate, sweet, good-tempered pup. 

In the evenings, however, she does have that capacity, common to many young freshly rescued dogs, to morph into a holy terror. 

Desperate for a playmate, she incessantly pesters Fozzie. 

If she's put in a separate room, she barks like mad. 

If redirected with some exercises and treats--we're working on Puppy Pushups, roll over, shake, catch and others--she enjoys that and focuses for as long as I'm doing it, but it's tough to keep going with puppy exercises for 3-4 hours every evening, when you really want to stretch out and let your brain cells slowly turn to sludge with the latest episode of Bachelor in Paradise.

Time to get that girl some serious exercise. OK kids, let's load up. We're going for a hike.

Off to Annapolis, where Florian thought we'd find a nice public dog-friendly beach. Forgetting that the vast majority of Annapolis is home of the High Brow, Private, No Trespassing No Dogs No Drinking No Swimming No Walking No Access beach. 

Except for one little tiny beach, which we found our way to after driving around for a while. Where they had paddle boards you could rent!

Florian had never tried, and found it very hard to keep his balance standing up. More fun to paddle sitting down, with a dog as company. 

First up, Fozzie.

We've noticed that Fozzie, when he is nervous, tends to be particularly intense with the kisses. I think it relaxes him.

It was a bit windy and the water a bit choppy,

but we were so impressed with how Fozzie stayed put on that paddle board. I thought he'd be all over the place, but he must have been smart enough to know things would be better if he stayed where he was.

Good job Fozzie, time to come in. 

Let's see how Daria likes it. Maybe a bit nervous, 

but another admirable job staying balanced 

like a brave and seaworthy crew member. Alright Captain, let's bring 'er in to shore.

Mission accomplished, with a snoozing and loudly snoring foster dog throughout the evening. 

Captain, whaddya got for the rest of the week?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Daria the Deaf Piglet-Cow-Pittie Mix Pup

Now you've seen one picture of my new foster pup Daria, with her worried sad shelter face. 

Since Daria is deaf, and has clearly had several litters of puppies--both of which may count against her in some adopters' minds--it was extra important to get her into a foster home where someone could experience what an amazing little creature she is and become her adoption advocate. 

Daria is wiggly, cuddly, goofy, 

and affectionate. 

I've always loved dogs who snort, but Daria's snorts are particularly wonderful. Like a little cow-spotted piglet, Daria snorts when she kisses, snorts when she sniffs, and snorts when she eats. 

She snorts when she throws herself onto her back on the floor or the grass, and rolls around in sheer joy. 

But the best thing about Daria is that even though she is an adult dog, she acts like a little puppy. 

Perhaps she is trying to recapture a childhood she never had. 

All those years she was giving birth to litters of puppies, then nursing her
babies only to have them taken away and sold, 

she probably wished she could just roll around on her back in the grass, or bark incessantly at a handsome boy dog with no risk that she'd just get knocked up again. 

Poor Daria, you're safe now. Frolic all you want, just try to let us get some rest at some point, OK?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fostering to Ease the Pain

Has anyone else noticed that the world seems to be a particularly sad and scary place lately?

We lost a great comedian, a terrifying disease is running rampant in West Africa, and a journalist has been brutally murdered by Islamic extremists as Ferguson, Missouri continues to erupt in the aftermath of a racially-motivated killing of an unarmed young man. 

On a personal front, my heart still sinks a little every time I become aware of the emptiness that was once occupied by Lamar, my circle-wagging, shrill-barking, velvety little man of possibly Anatolian ancestry. How is it possible for the last of my New Mexico Brown Dogs to be gone?

Times like this, I'm not really sure how to stay hopeful and engaged, and not succumb to apathy. Except for one thing: there is always another dog to foster.

I'm not saying that my relationship to dog fostering is a prime example of psychological health and balance. In fact, I'll freely admit that foster dogs are to me as coffee, cigarettes, binge drinking and crack cocaine are to other people.

When times are tough, reach for the foster dog and worry about the consequences later. 

Which is what I did. This is Daria! 

Daria is as wiggly, affectionate, cuddly, and loving as you'd expect from an addiction-satisfying controlled-substance-like foster dog.

She is also deaf, and was very worried in the shelter. Her serious, knit-browed profile images have not been getting much adopter attention. 

Let's spif up that profile of yours, girlfriend! Let's see if we can get you to smile.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Dibee-licious Interlude

Just a short post to commemorate a fun little interlude, in which we dog sat for our former foster Dibee!
Who is now named Zilla, and lives with two people who adore her.

Who is still full of intense, full-bodied, rough, facial-scrub-quality kisses,

 who is a bit of a nut job but who gets along well with Fozzie

who likes to help out in the yard and demonstrate her zeal for weeding 
and who enjoyed going with us on a hike to the Patapsco State Park where she got to put her entire nosie under the water, splash around and be a wacko

 and who loves car rides. 

A perfect little interlude to get back in the swing of fostering. Yep, that's right...stay tuned!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Re-Connecting with the Swiss Goaties

I want to thank everyone for your kind thoughts about my beloved Lamar. If there's anything more wrenching than making that decision about a beloved companion, I'm not sure what it might be. But remembering how many of my friends have been through it was a comfort. 

And as we all know, the agony of making that decision is followed by the emptiness of of no longer hearing that familiar bark, no longer seeing that circle wag. And in this case, that confusing state was immediately followed by our trip to Switzerland.

A stressor for someone who's not a fan of air travel, though fortunately, Switzerland is beautiful. As always, we traveled within Switzerland and France and got to see some truly amazing places.

Like Annecy, France, which is built around the Thiou River and on the edge of Lake Annecy. 

Aunt Nancy, my cousin Courtenay, and her daughter Kayleigh had joined us in Geneva, and we all went to Annecy together. 

What a lovely place to spend the day with family and friends. 

Some gorgeous dogs there too, including one that I think was an Anatolian shepherd. I always used to tell people Lamar was an Anatolian shepherd, when they asked, and they would laugh. 

But don't you see the resemblance? 

Another of my favorite places to visit is Yvoire, a beautiful little town filled with old stone buildings and flowers.  

As it is on the shore of Lake Geneva, my aunt and cousins were able to meet us there by boat

and then we had a lovely time walking around the cobbled streets 

and admiring the French knack for decorating with windowboxes.

Not too many dogs there; had to go back to Florian's parents house for a good dose of animal therapy. 
The goats are still there, right down the road, and I'd swear that the super-friendly ones

The ones I've been scratching and massaging and making out with since I first went to Switzerland in 2008, remember me and are happy to see me again.

It's a good thing they are so friendly; being anywhere without contact with animals more than a few days is enough to make me go a bit batty. But these goats are really, incredibly friendly. Whenever we went to see them, a couple of them would run up, then just stand by the fence for as long as I would scratch them. Then the eyes would glaze over as I hit all those good spots. It's enough to make you want to kidnap one.

I could happily have stayed by the goats for the whole two weeks, but there were more sights to see. Off to Chamonix, in France, for a trip to the Mer de Glace. 

A glacier that's receded rapidly with global warming. We took the trail down the side of the gorge that houses the glacier, and at various points there are plaques indicating the glacier's location at points in the past. 

The melting that has occurred over just a few years was astounding.

Our destination was the ice cave, which has been carved into the glacier and decorated with colorful lights. 

An incredible experience, and one I'm glad I got to have before the glacier disappears entirely.
Enough scenic views, get me back to my goaties!

Florian and I still had enough time to go on a sweet walk through Geneva, 

in which we hiked across the confluence of the Rhone and Arve Rivers in Geneva and visited a small zoo, where we saw another horned creature, more magnificent but less endearing than our little friends.

And we got one last swim in Lake Geneva, which was warm and delightful.

So many beautiful sights and experiences! And still there's no place like home, when home is where the dog is.