May 2000

Keena was adopted but we're getting Sassy tomorrow. Lab/dobe mix, I think. She's only 7 months but she looks sort of big on the picture. She is supposedly very sweet. They sent her to Misty Pines for a while, hoping somebody would see her and adopt her, but nobody did.

Sassy's here. She's fine, she's really sweet. Bigger than Brin, but not too much. Things were more organized this time. They gave us her rabies certificate, and 40 lbs of food, and they let us read the form her owners filled out and the notes the dog walkers wrote. Reason for surrender: uncontrollable. Pees in the house, jumps up, digs, runs away. I'm sorry but SHE'S A PUPPY! Her owners had no clue that dogs must be trained.

She peed all over the floor when they brought her out. She pulled on the way to the car, but she isn’t nearly as big as Buddy and I certainly wouldn’t call her uncontrollable. She threw up on the way home.

She's good with the dogs. She hasn't met Keek yet. He's hiding. Brin was not impressed. Echo had to do her usual in-your-face, snarling, alpha bitch routine. Echo is being a real jerk, getting in her face and acting all tough. I think maybe we'll return Echo and keep Sassy. ;) Sassy was submissive, let the other dogs walk all over her, and rolled over on her back. I really like submissive dogs.

She jumps up but she's very gentle about it and she gives up easily if you ignore her. She sits for attention. I took her for a walk and we met some kids who just adopted a border collie. She was very gentle with them. So far she's been very quiet, playful, and friendly. She's hanging out on the futon right now.

I worked on getting her used to the crate. She had no problem with it. We met some kids on our walk. She was great with them. I tethered her to the dog bed and she stayed there quietly all night.


"that place is doing pretty good getting those dogs adopted."

Well, they have to, if they really want to become a no-kill shelter.

"misty pines sounds like an old folks retirement home."

It's a boarding/training/off leash dog park kinda place. It sounds cool. They have a pond where the dogs can swim, and a fenced in area with agility equipment. And apparently they donate kennel space for shelter dogs, hoping that somebody will see them there and adopt them. She said they sent 4 or 5 dogs there so far and this was the first one that didn't get adopted. (Not a very good sign, is it?)

I wonder what Sassy's problem is. It might be as simple as being a clueless, fairly large adolescent. It's hard to tell how big she is from the picture but if she's a lab/dobe mix, she's probably big.


For a 7 month old, totally untrained puppy, Sass is amazing. Once again, the volunteers have done a great job with her. She sits to go outside and to get her leash on and off. She also comes when called more reliably than my own brats, and most of the time she sits automatically when she gets to me. Very cute.

She stayed in the crate quietly all day today. Warren said she whined a little when I left but that was it. I’ve been putting the citronella collar on her every time she goes in the crate to prevent a barking problem, but I don’t think she needs it.

"sounds like a nice dog. and a puppy, huh? I think she should have a different name."

Yeah, I'm not sure about the name. She sort of recognizes it though, so I guess I 'll just use it. We were trying to think of things that sound kind of like it. Like Sasha. But I 've just been calling her Sass and it seems to work okay.

It should be fairly easy to find her a home, once I get her housetrained. In some ways she's better than my dogs. She's very quiet, she sort of plays ball, she's not too bad on leash, although she does pull a little. She jumps up sometimes but she's softer than Brin and Echo. She doesn't bruise me. I haven't let her off leash, but I took her to the playground on a flexi and she kept track of where I was and stayed with me pretty well. And came when I called her. She really wanted to run in the playground but I didn't want to risk it. She isn't quite housetrained but she's doing okay. I haven't noticed any digging, chewing, or running away (her owner checked them all on the form). Of course I crate her when I can't watch her, and I have a fenced yard -- voila, instant fix for digging, chewing, and running away. Sigh... I think you should have to take a test before you can get a dog.

When we were picking up Sass, three young college-aged girls were coming out with an empty collar and lead. I guess they just turned one in. The people at the desk were writing stuff down and saying something like, "Don't EVER give an animal to these people." I guess they keep a file on people like that.


I haven't seen any indication of any of the problems the former owner mentioned, except the housetraining problem. Even that has not been a big deal. She peed twice and pooped once in the house. I’ve been giving her too much freedom because otherwise she is reliable (doesn’t chew or get into stuff) but I keep forgetting that she will go potty in a corner somewhere if the need arises. The submissive peeing is a separate problem that I expect her to outgrow.

We worked on sits and downs. She isn't terribly food motivated, although she's a better eater than Buddy was the first few days. She seemed to remember down after a little luring. Her idea of down is to crouch down, crawl to my feet, and roll over on her side or on her back. Very cute. We also worked a little bit on “go lie down” and targeting my hand. She's pretty good but she's still a pup and has a short attention span. I think Brin and Echo would work with me all day as long as the treats kept coming. They have me spoiled. They really are good dogs.

The only problem with Sassy so far is that she is definitely NOT good with cats. Keek has decided to live downstairs by himself. I moved all his stuff down there so he doesn’t have to deal with Sass at all. I try to crate Sassy a couple times a day so I can give Keek some attention. He sure is friendly when he gets ignored all day. When Sass is in the crate and Keek comes into the room, she sort of crouches and stares at him. Not good. Once I put Keek in a crate so Sass could sniff him but she went totally crazy, barking and whining, lunging at the crate, and trying to dig through it. A few times when Keek allowed it, I let Sassy sniff him while he was on a table. She didn't try to attack him, but she was way too interested for my comfort. Unfortunately I'll have to recommend that she doesn't go to a home with cats.

Warren helped me give Sass a bath. We couldn’t stand her oily coat. She objected a little when I put her in the tub, but she was surprisingly calm for the rest of the bath. She seemed to enjoy being brushed afterward.

In the pictures, you can tell that Brin is not pleased.

"haha, yes! he's got that "look" on his face, it's so funny! poor brin."

It's funny cos I don't remember him being like that when we got Echo. He was the only dog for a couple months but I don't think he was upset when she came along.

"well, sassy is really cute. I bet it's pretty neat to be able to try out different dogs like that, huh?"

It's cool because I can be a lot more consistent with fosters because I 'm not as emotionally involved. Sass is crated whenever we leave the house, and she's tethered to the dog bed at night. She's okay with that because that's just the way it is. Every time she goes in the crate, the citronella collar goes on. She's remarkably quiet. She isn't allowed on the bed, no way no how, and she doesn't challenge that. Except yesterday, Warren said hi to her and she jumped up and cuddled up with him and HE LET HER!! He even called me in to show me! He's a lot nicer to her than he was to Buddy. He totally ignored Buddy.

Sassy is NOT housetrained. So far we've had two pees and a poop in the house. I saw both of the pees but I just found the poop this morning. BIG poop! I think I 've been letting her run around unsupervised too much. Other than the housetraining problem, she's good in the house. She doesn't chew or get into stuff. So I kinda forget that I still can't really trust her.

Sass is starting to bark at people during our walks. I don’t like this behavior but I don’t know what to do about it. I think I might start using the bark collar for walks. Actually I think that might help Echo too.

Both of them seem to be disturbed the most by people who stare at them and don’t say anything. I think in dog body language that would signal a fight. So I can understand why that would freak them out. Then when they start barking, the people get freaked out, and that makes the dogs react even more. And the barking is reinforced because the person backs off. Both of them are also more easily frightened in the dark, or when they get close to a person before realizing someone is there, so I wonder if poor eyesight might be a factor.

I guarantee you will love her. She is very sweet. Very obedient for a totally untrained, "uncontrollable" dog.

"i'm just trying to imagine you coming home, bringing 3 dogs and cat!!! whoa!! :D"

Yeah, I know. I'm not sure how that will go. Maybe it would be best to leave Keek here. Sassy would have to sit just a couple feet from him in the car and it might be really stressful for Keek. Maybe I could make Sass sit with me. At least I have lots of tranquilizers to give everyone. Sass will definitely get one, because she got sick both times we had her in the car.

I've been trying to figure out what to do with all the animals if we still have Sassy when we come home on the 19th. The problem is, I totally do not trust her with Keek. I moved his food into the kitchen and his litterbox into the living room so he doesn't even have to come upstairs anymore. He does seem to understand that she can't get to him when she's crated or the gate is up. He's eating normally and he doesn't seem really stressed or anything, but I just don't get to see him much anymore. :(

So I could take Sassy back before we come home. But I don't really want to do that cos she's not ready yet. I'm worried that if she is adopted before she's reliably housetrained, she'll end up back at the shelter. So I want to keep her until she's trained.

"i think C would have taken sassy for the weekend if she was housebroken. I told her that if she took her, she would want to keep her. and she sorta said the same thing."

Hey, that's a great idea. C would like her. She's better than Buddy. Buddy was okay but he was sort of a PITA. She's been doing a lot better with her housetraining. Of course I crate her during the day, so that makes it much easier for her to hold it until I get home. Yeah, she'd probably want to keep her. She's very sweet.


We had just gotten back from Warren's birthday dinner at Ponderosa. Several neighborhood kids were walking around the garage. Apparently they were playing hide and seek. I was going to yell at them but I decided to just give them a dirty look. I figured they'd stay away now that they knew we were home.

We went inside. Warren went upstairs and I immediately took the dogs outside to pee. Normally I make the dogs sit and wait at the door while I look to make sure all the gates are closed, but I didn't this time because I had just come through the gate and closed it behind me. And Sassy doesn't know how to wait at door yet anyway. So I let Echo and Sassy out. Brindle stayed inside. They rushed out the door barking like crazy because one of the kids was OPENING THE GATE! The kids started running and screaming. I ran out yelling, "DON'T RUN!" The older girl (the one that opened the gate) stayed at the open gate. I was able to grab Sass, push the girl out of the way, and close the gate. Meanwhile Echo was barking her head off and chasing the other girl off the property. All the kids (there was also a third girl) were screaming like they were being savagely attacked, and I was still yelling, "DON'T RUN!" I caught up with Echo just off the edge of our property, basically holding the girl at bay. She looked and sounded really scary but she stayed about two feet away from the kid, never touched her, thank god! I took her back in the yard. The gate opener girl was still there, shaking even worse than I was. I gave her a lecture about not opening gates and going onto other people's property. Something like, "You never, NEVER open this gate! I wasn't worried about you kids because I know my dogs don't bite, but you didn't know that. You KNOW I have dogs. You never NEVER open a gate and go in somebody's yard without permission...." on and on, lots of never NEVER kind of stuff. And then I told her if you think a dog is going to attack you, DON'T RUN! The dog will chase you and the dog is faster than you and the dog WILL catch you. ("Well, what SHOULD I do?") I told her to stand still and not stare at the dog and back away slowly. I told her I was upset because my dogs could have gotten loose and been hit by a car, and she must never NEVER come in that yard and open that gate.

I told her to tell her friends everything I told her. She was shaking so badly that I thought she just might have learned a lesson. She said, "But my ball is in the yard!" I swear, at this point she had her hand on the gate latch and was about to go get her ball! IDIOT! The dogs were still in the yard, barking like mad. I told her I would get it for her. I went back in the yard but I didn't see the ball. It turns out the ball was in the bottom part of the yard, WHICH YOU CAN GET TO FROM THEIR YARD! WITHOUT GOING THROUGH MY GATES!!!! I was flabbergasted.

At least now we know Sassy has great bite inhibition. She’s the perfect watchdog: lots of noise but no physical contact. And she never left the property, which was a big relief, since I don’t have ID for her yet. Ironically, I had ordered a tag for her a few hours before this incident, thinking, "I don’t really need this because she’ll never get out, because I’m responsible." I was also glad to see that Echo didn't attempt to bite either.


I tried clicker training Sass tonight. She just doesn't get it. Click, treat, click, treat, on and on, and she never made a connection between the two. She has no idea that she controls the click. I kept waiting for that "light bulb" moment and it never happened. Finally she seemed like she might possibly have understood something, so I gave her a bunch of food. She didn't eat it. I didn't feel like picking it up. So I let Brin and Echo in. Brin ran straight for the food and of course then Sassy decided she wanted it. MAJOR in-your-face snarling. I was picturing eyes being bitten. So I started smacking them both on the head with the food scoop. They quit, and I gave the rest of the food to Echo. Brin has some serious resource guarding issues. He thinks everything belongs to him. He is a spoiled brat.

Some kids on bikes wanted to meet Sassy. She was scared and hid behind me. I expected her to start barking, and I was glad I had the collar on her. But she didn’t bark this time. The kids persisted, coaxing and sweet talking her, and eventually she let them pet her. Then she was fine. But she got scared when we passed them again on the way back. I think part of it was the bikes.


I was very proud of all the dogs this morning. I walked Sass on her regular collar with no pulling. When she tried to pull (only 2 or 3 times), I just stopped dead and waited for her to come back to me. Then she got a treat and we walked some more. I also had the GL on her (without the leash attached) and she did fine with that. She did manage to paw it off at the very end though. We did some “follow me” stuff in the playground. She got a treat whenever she walked with me. She sort of seemed to react when I said, “Good!” so maybe that will be her substitute click. I really like how she sits in front when I call her. I assume they taught her that at the shelter. Very cool. I tried luring her from there to heel position. I have to do the “step back and then step forward” trick to get her there. She’s starting to get it. I’m trying to get her to target my hand.

Then I walked Brin and Echo. Brin was on his regular collar. He did great. I think we might beat this pulling thing yet. If only I had been consistent right from the beginning. Echo did okay too, although I had her on the GL. She isn't normally a puller anyway, unless she really wants to follow a scent or chase something.


I am teetering on the edge of being in control of all the animals in my care. =) This morning was difficult.

"i can't even begin to imagine how you do it"

It's hard because I still have to do everything else (work, cook, clean...) I don't mind taking care of the animals. I mean, that's part of the fun of having them. But it is hard to find the time and energy to make sure everybody gets what they need, especially since Keek and Sass have to be separated. And it's hard to find time to walk them now cos I have to go twice and I hate walking when everybody's around (bratty kids especially). I wish I had a big farm with a huge fence and I could just let everybody run around all the time.

I waited until about nine last night to go walk Sass because I wanted to avoid the bratty obnoxious kids. Unfortunately people around here are pretty clueless and will let their tiny kids roam the streets after dark. As we passed the playground, this tiny girl (from the dog incident on Tuesday) said to me in this totally 'TUDE kinda voice, "Don't you bring that dog over here." I stopped and said incredulously, "What did you say?? Did you just TELL me not to bring my dog over there?" She lost a little of her tude and kinda looked at the ground. I took several deep breaths and continued walking. What I wanted to do was rush her and let the dog bark in her face until she started screaming again. Then I wanted to tell her I won't let my dog bite her face off if she stays the hell out of my yard. But I didn't. I just walked away.

A couple minutes later, I took all the dogs out to pee. The brats were out on their front porch and they started barking at my dogs. Of course my dogs barked back. This really ticked me off. They knew they were far enough away to be safe so they teased the dogs. I guess I shouldn't have said anything but I didn't want them to think they were getting away with it. So I said something like, "Yeah, that's really fun, isn't it. You guys sure are funny, barking at dogs to make them bark back at you." One of them 'tudes back to me, "We wasn't doin' that." I said something sarcastic like, "Yeah, I know you would NEVER do that."

I just checked the humane society webpage. They updated some stuff and they now have a page especially for dogs in foster homes. Guess what -- Sassy's the only one! Warren is gonna laugh when I tell him that. We've been joking all along about how nobody seems to know about the foster program and it looks like we really are the only people doing it. There was one other dog up on the foster bulletin board last time we were at the shelter.

You should find out if they need people to foster dogs at the East Shore Shelter. I think it's one of the only worthwhile things I've ever done. I feel like I actually made a difference for two dogs so far. Besides the unbelievably lucky dogs that live with me permanently.

This morning we went to the park. I thought nobody would be there that early (around nine) but all the dog people were there. We had Brin and Sass on flexis, and we let Echo run loose with the bark collar on. She tried to bark once at a guy who was trying to say hi to her. She got spritzed and she quit. Pretty cool. The guy was surprised though. She didn't bark at anybody else. Overall they were all pretty good this time. Echo stayed right with us, and she only ran off once. She wanted to chase a big yellow dog through the woods. But she came back.

So I think I 'm gonna go lie down in front of the TV with two or three dogs and take a rest. Sassy's not allowed on the bed, though, no way.... unless I invite her up.

Sassy is learning to walk nicely on the GL. I’ve been putting it on her but not attaching the leash. Sometimes she tries to rub it off but she mostly ignores it now. Today I attached the leash to the GL and she did great. She can now come, sit in front, finish (with no food in my hand but I still have to step backwards) and take a step in heel position. I think she’d progress faster if I used the clicker but so far she has shown no indication that she gets it.


The dog that is “never allowed on the bed” snuck up on the bed last night while we were watching TV. She crawled in between us, snuggled up with Warren, and sighed.

Sassy is lying on her back on the futon, holding her bone between her front paws and chewing it. Very cute!

"so, when are you coming? and how many animals?"

Three dogs, I guess. No cat. Keek will enjoy having the place to himself, I 'm sure. I will bring a crate for Sassy. He also said his aunt really wants to meet her, so maybe he can take her there for a while. They have a good fence.

We discussed it last night and decided it is best to leave Keek here. We have left him for this long before so he'll be fine. I'll have to leave lots of food and water for him.

Sassy had a chance to eat him last night and she didn't, so I guess that's good news, but I still don't trust her with him. She is way too interested in him. I never really thought about it before we had foster dogs, but my dogs are really good with the cat.

We took Sassy to visit my parents. Everybody loved her. She was quiet and well-behaved, although she did have a couple accidents in the house. She was great with my 4 year old nephew. We took her to meet Warren's family and she tried to play with their 3 month old boykin. The boykin was scared but Sassy behaved herself pretty well. She wanted to chase the papillon though.

There were several messages from the humane society on Friday. They also called me at work. Apparently there was a couple that saw the dog when she was at Misty Pines and now I guess they want her, or at least want to meet her. (Why did they wait so long?) Of course we weren't here. So hopefully they're still interested. I guess we could just drop her off at the shelter tomorrow. Too bad it had to be the one weekend we weren't here.

It's time to get Sassy into a new home. She is really sweet and I’ll miss her, but she is totally obsessed with the poor cat.

The couple that was interested in Sassy didn't work out. They didn’t want to go to the shelter to pick her up, and they didn’t want to deal with housetraining. So, she’s still with us. After complaining yesterday about how awful she is with the cat, I noticed she is starting to do a little better with him. I’ve been saying NO and rolling her when she gets too rough with him, and I’ve been praising and treating her when she is gentle or when she ignores him. I have been able to call her away from the cat several times. This just might work.

I started to work on a web page for fosters. We have had Sassy for three weeks and no one has wanted to meet her, so I have to start advertising her somehow. I should probably put an ad in the paper. I need to make a poster for on the foster board at the shelter. I want to include a link to more pictures of Sassy. The problem is that the rest of my website is such a mess that I don’t want people to have access to it. That's why I’ve been putting this off for so long. Hopefully I'll get it all straightened out this weekend.

I just finished cleaning up another pee spot. I think Sassy's regressing. I've been giving her too much freedom. Thank goodness for Simple Solution.

Keek is making my life difficult. Apparently he's tired of keeping away from Sassy so he just started going wherever he wants. I woke up this morning and he was sitting on me again, purring. So I had to get up and grab Sassy and crate her before she could get to him. He's been doing stuff like that all day. He puts himself in a vulnerable position, lets her nose him for a while, then freaks out and runs, and of course she chases him, and then he jumps up on something so she can't get him, and then she jumps and whines. It's getting very annoying.

I feel like all I've been doing today is cleaning up dog pee. I don't know what is going on with Sassy. She has peed inside more than outside the last couple days. Maybe it's the rain. Echo used to be like that, but Echo is good now. I take Sassy out, she won't even step in the grass, and then she comes in and pees a couple minutes later.

I haven't been taking the dogs for evening walks anymore. I can't handle it. They don't seem to mind. Except walks were good for getting Sassy to "go" outside. So I decided to take her for a walk this evening. I didn't really feel like walking, but I didn't feel like cleaning up more pee, either. So I took her. We got halfway up the alley and there was this little baby robin squirming around in the middle of the alley. I wanted to move it out of the road and away from the neighborhood kids. Sassy's walk was cut short because of the bird, and she ended up pooping in the house instead. And now I am not a very happy person.

I gave Sassy her dinner and then went outside and sat in a chair until she peed and pooped. When she finished I clapped my hands and jumped up and down and told her she's a wonderful dog. I bet the neighbors really think I'm nuts. And now she's allowed to run around the house for a while cos I know she won't do anything for a couple hours. Right now she's in her crate. I got tired of watching her. She pooped in the bedroom this morning while I was showering. So she's back on puppy schedule. If she hasn't just pottied outside, she's either in the crate, tied up, under direct supervision, or outside. It's a pain but I feel guilty even putting "mostly housetrained" on her paper. I have to get this back under control.

I finally put Sassy's ad in the paper. I think it starts Friday and will run for two weeks. I got a special rate cos it's a nonprofit thing. It says something like, "Cuddly dobe mix female, 8 mos. Sweet, quiet. Foster home: (phone #)." I wanted to say more stuff about how snuggly she is, but I had to cut out a lot of stuff cos you only get four lines. Hope I get some calls.

"i didn't realize you had to do the advertising, but I guess that makes sense. you know her best now."

They would have done it for me but I figured I could afford $8.88 to find her a home.

"she sounds really nice. but, no, I don't want another dog."

Yeah, I could do with a few less dogs myself. (I actually know that I should have said "fewer" dogs but "a few fewer dogs" sounds very dumb.) It will be nice to get back down to two dogs again for a while. But I know I 'll get suckered into another foster again soon.

I had to give Sassy some kaopectate this morning, and some rice for breakfast. I have no idea what made her sick.

Did I mention the house really stinks? Great, just in time for company this weekend....