Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Yesterday, Jack's other family sent birthday greetings for him.  We don't really know when his birthday is, but that was the day that they adopted him eight years ago.  He is now somewhere between 13 and 16 years young.  They still love him and he will always be part of their family, too.

Back in November, we celebrated our one year anniversary with Jack (Jack-iversary?).  In fact, we ended up taking him on almost the exact same hike as we did one year earlier.  Back then, he had only been in Colorado for a few hours after a late-night drive from Oklahoma.  He didn't know what hiking was.  Now, he is a pro.  He and his sister, Sky, inspect my clothes and shoes as I get dressed each morning to see if it is going to be a hiking day.  If they decide that it is, then we had better not try to sneak out of the house without them.  With a hiking buddy this adorable, why would we?

Jack's first day:

One year later:
I think we'll keep him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy (Weekly) Birthday!

You know that your dog is old when you throw a little party every week, just because he made it another week.  Time to refill the pill dispenser!  "Operation Spoil the Shit Out of Andy" has gone into extra innings.  We did have to increase his dose of kitten food, though.  Small price to pay for this fuzzy muppet.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Treated With Love

For the holidays, "Grandma" sent a big box to our home.  There were loads of toys for the dogs and cats, presents for my Sweetpea and me, and a plethora of homemade goodies.  Included was a note aimed specifically at some mischievous pups:

If you remember from the year before, said pups helped themselves to the people treats, then assaulted us with bodily functions for several days.

Now, "Grandma" is extremely generous to us and the furkids, and even admitted that she would have made treats for them, but ran out of time.  To reward them for not eating the people treats this holiday season, I decided to make them some homemade treats of their own.  Afterall, doesn't everyone want to be popular in their own home?  A little effort goes a long way with these dogs.  My Sweetpea totally brought me back down to earth when he reminded me that our babies don't exactly have a refined palate.

Whatever.  They liked the treats.  I'll take that as a compliment to the chef.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Rug Rats

As soon as we stepped foot in our new house, we immediately began ripping out the carpet.  If you've ever done this, you totally understand how disgusting carpet really is.  Yes, you can see the pet hair on our hardwood floors all of the time, but I'd rather see it than hide it.  Plus, we didn't want to constantly be cleaning carpets when the dogs tracked in mud - or worse.

Fast-forward three years, and we have some aging dogs that sometimes have difficulty getting (or staying) on their feet on those same hardwood floors.  We have been solving that problem, one area at a time.  First, it was a welcome mat (with dog bones, of course) next to the couch to assist traction when the "running" start failed to boost Andy as much as he expected.  Instead of having his back legs end up underneath him (and the couch), he was able to stay on his feet and make a second attempt.  Next, it was a large outdoor rug in the middle of the living room to help Andy get on his feet when he wakes from his nap on his bed.

Now, we have added another rug in the bedroom for the same reason, a mat by his food bowl so his hobbit feet don't slide out from under him as he eats, a runway of rubber mats and bathmats from the rug in the bedroom to the back door, and another mat behind his bed in the living room for when his back end slides off.  My Sweetpea had already built a ramp off the back door, which also has welcome mats screwed to it for traction.

Our house is starting to look like a remnants sale at a carpet and flooring store.  If our visitors don't like it, I'll happily pull the welcome mat out from under their feet and find a more suitable spot inside for the old dogs.  Problem solved!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Pup Tent

On a recent hike with two of our four dogs, we decided that it would be fun to take all of them on a camping trip.  This is something that we've never been able to do, mostly because camping also usually involves hiking.  Not all four dogs are physically able to hike anymore - especially Andy.  Our walks in the neighborhood are limited to going a few houses down the street and turning around.
A plan was hatched.  We would camp close to home.  REALLY close to home - in our backyard.  We got home too late that night to set up the tent, since there needed to be a thorough poop pick-up first, and it was already dark.

The next afternoon, the tent went up and was filled with a queen-sized air mattress and multiple dog beds.  We left the flap open for the dogs to come and go as they pleased.  The firepit was lit and we all shared s'mores after sunset.  (Now that I think about it, the graham crackers could have contributed to the increased dog flatulence.)

As we settled in to the tent that night, Andy decided that his massive couch-sized dog bed - complete with doggy sleeping bag on top - wasn't good enough.  He immediately climbed up on the air mattress at our feet.  I tucked the sleeping bag around him and he was cozy all night.  My Sweetpea's feet were his pillow, while my own feet had to hang off the mattress or be curled up so as not to disturb Andy.  It reminded us of the old days when Andy could still jump up on the bed.  I think we should camp in the backyard more often.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Campin' Jack

Packed Jack
Back in April, we took Jack on what was probably his first camping trip ever.  For this special occasion, we chose Great Sand Dunes National Park.  It is one of the only national parks that allows dogs in places other than your car or the campground.

We chose this particular weekend because of the full moon.  What we forgot to check was the weather - specifically, the wind.  Jack could have used some doggles, for sure.  When the wind really whipped up, I would scoop Jack up and try to shield him from the sandblasting as much as I could.  Good thing that he totally loves to be cuddled like a little baby.

April nights at the dunes are still a bit nippy.  We brought a doggy camping bed for Jack and some blankets, but he refused to stay in his bed.  Eventually, I would give up and just tuck him under my blankets with me.  It didn't help that his sister, Sky, was with us and isn't a fan of being anywhere but her house after dark.  By the last night, both pups (and people) were so exhausted that we all slept soundly.

While we were in the area, Jack and Sky got to meet some other animals.  There is a local alligator tourist trap (not recommended) where dogs are welcome.  The gators didn't deter the puppies at all, but Jack was terrified of their giant tortoise.  Well, it WAS bigger than him, so can you blame him?

Stay tuned for another doggy camping adventure - this time with ALL of our pups!
Pretend that you see leashes

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Rabies and Foster Failure

Fourteen years ago, I received a call to foster a puppy that had been dumped in the country in Guthrie, Oklahoma.  He had been squatting under a porch at a home with four other dogs.  When I arrived to pick him up, the husband crawled under the porch and retrieved a terrified, 6-month old, 35-pound furball.  His velcro fur was studded with leaves and twigs and whatever else that was under their porch.  This was not the little puppy that I had in mind.

Sad for the pup, and hating the sucker in me that kept falling for calls like these, I drove home with the "puppy".  He didn't make a sound the whole way home, I didn't either.  I got him home and he proceeded to pee himself every time I touched him.  Not only was he NOT a puppy, but he was black, he was part chow, and he was a nervous pee-er.  There's a long waitlist for people wanting dogs like these, right?

I named him "Anderson" for the road where he was dumped.  Andy's eyes were crusty, so I made an appointment with my vet.  The vet immediately suspected distemper.  His prognosis was not good.  I was told that it was extremely contagious, especially for my other foster dog that may not have been vaccinated before I got her.  Distemper is almost always fatal, and if he happened to survive the disease, then he would likely have seizures and other serious health issues for life.  The recommendation was to euthanize.

I asked what my other options were.  In the end, I took him home and quarantined him in the bathroom for the next few weeks while dosing him with antibiotics.  Quarantine proved to be difficult with two dogs of my own and a foster or two.  At one point, we were under direct threat of a tornado.  I had my own two dogs and couple of cats in the hallway in crates.  One foster dog was on a leash in the hall with me.  I kept picking up Andy and putting him in the bathtub with a blanket over him, but he kept jumping out.

Three weeks passed and Andy's eyes cleared up.  He never developed any other symptoms of distemper.  We went back to the vet and I had him neutered and vaccinated to prepare him for adoption.

Every two weeks, Andy and I would go to the adoption outreach.  Every two weeks, Andy and I would come home from the adoption outreach - unsuccessful.  This continued for the next few months.  Finally, I made a pact with Andy on our drive to the outreach one Saturday.  I told him that he needed to either get adopted that day, or I would just need to keep him.

That day, Andy did his usual and hid under the tablecloth at our adoption table.  Occasionally, someone would notice this teenage puppy and would inquire about him (as he peed himself).  My answer was consistent that day - "I think he has rabies."

I sure got some funny looks, but at the end of the day, Andy went home with me for good.  He was my first "foster failure", but not my last.  I have no regrets.