September 2000

This is Herky. They were going to put him down cos he had a runny nose, so, well, now he's here.

... Anyhow, we're going to Misty Pines Dog Park tomorrow. J from the Humane Society is going to be there doing some humane society thing. She said we could bring Herk and show him off and maybe somebody will adopt him.

They say he's part Great Dane. He's only 6 months old.


Karen wrote, "you get the prettiest dogs!!!!!!! :) he's going on my desktop."

He's gonna be a heck of a dog someday! I wonder how big he'll get. Right now he's a clueless adolescent. He barked bloody murder last night in the crate. Eventually i gave up and chained him to the dog bed. He was quiet all night. He has absolutely no leash manners. But he appears to be housetrained and so far has only chewed on bones. He can sit and shake. So he's not completely unruly, just mostly. =) He seems healthy and fit, and he likes people, so somebody was taking good care of him. I wonder if he was set loose on purpose cos he got too wild, or if somebody is looking for him somewhere.


Sorry, i just haven't had much to write about! And i've been kinda busy with the puppy. He's a good boy but he wants to play with Echo and Brin, and they aren't too pleased about that. Right now they're all sleeping. I gave them bones to chew and i guess that wore them all out. Poor Keek is feeling neglected again so i have to go visit him every once in a while.

Did i ever tell you about Misty Pines? It was neat. They have a brand new training building with mirrors on the walls, and agility equipment, and little hooks in the wall to hook your dog to. They do boarding there also, and you can watch the boarding dogs playing outside through this big window they call "Dog TV." They have a big fenced in area with agility equipment but i think you have to pay to use it. And they have a little pond that Brindle got to play in. (Echo stayed home.)

They put Herky in with the boarding dogs and lots of people were watching him through the window. One of the people that works there (V) was just sure she was gonna adopt him. She has a dane already (i'm not convinced Herky's really part dane, but whatever...) and they played together and she really wanted him. She said her husband was "on his way" so we waited around so he could meet the pup. We got there at about 9:30 and we were really wanting to leave at noon, and we found out the guy wasn't coming until 1:30. I wanted to leave Herky there so they could take him back to the shelter to be neutered (to save us a trip) but J only had space for two dogs. So we offered to take Faith (cute little white dog from an abuse case), since they already asked us to foster her if Herky was adopted. But they wanted to keep her there to show her off a little. So we took Herky and left. I wouldn't have minded staying longer, but it was so very hot, and Brin was getting bitten by fleas, and there really was nothing to do, and i felt like people were looking at us funny cos we were using the wrong kind of collar. (The guy that owns Misty Pines invented some special kind of collar and EVERYONE there was using them. We were using a prong collar cos Herky is huge and has apparently never been on a leash before, and i didn't have time to get him used to a Gentle Leader.)

Anyway, V was supposed to call this weekend to come and let her husband meet Herky (cos she can talk him into anything) and of course i haven't heard from her. So, looks like i'll be stuck with the little dude for a while. And i would prefer to take Faith. She's cute. And smaller. We made tentative plans with J (from the HS) for her to pick up Herk and give us Faith tomorrow when she is going to Monroeville for something. But that was when we were pretty sure V was adopting him. So now i don't know what we're gonna do.

It was kinda cool hanging out at Misty Pines cos we got to talk with J and G a little. J said she's having the time of her life working at the shelter and helping to place dogs. G, on the other hand, seems more cynical, but not in a bad way. She didn't seem to think V was really going to adopt Herk.

Did i mention we have fleas? Not a lot. I noticed Brin was biting himself when we were at Misty Pines. He had his belly all bloody and i saw two fleas crawling. When we got home, i gave all three dogs a flea bath, but apparently it didn't work. Brin is still scratching and biting, and now Herk is too. Echo is immune to fleas. I have bites on my legs. I don't know if the fleas got in our house from King (although we had Shiloh since then, and i didn't notice her or anybody else scratching) or if Brin and Herky just got them from the park. I'm mad. We've never had fleas before.

I'm gonna have to talk to J about Herk. I don't know how long i'm willing to keep him. He's really not a bad pup, but he's too much for Echo. Brin doesn't like him either, but poor Echo is his usual target. He's being a typical puppy, but he's too big! He wants to play and he keeps biting Echo on the neck and chasing her around. He stops when i yell at him, but then he just goes right back and does it again. I've been keeping them separated some of the time to give Echo a breather. She is acting nervous all the time and i don't think it's fair to make her put up with him. She has enough emotional problems already! Originally we were gonna switch dogs tomorrow, but since those people apparently don't want to adopt Dorky (i can never remember his name), i don't know what we should do.

Herky snores with his eyes open. It's kinda disturbing. I heard him snoring and looked around to watch him sleeping, and he's just back there staring at me. He's a good boy.

Excuse me while i scratch my flea bites. =)

Mom wrote, "see, amy, i like you. but i really do not like the idea of getting infested with fleas. i know how hard they are to get rid of. i've done that. and i didn't like it. "

I took Herk outside about a hundred times today. I'm beginning to wonder if he has a UTI or something. Drink and pee, drink and pee.


Mom wrote, "so, will you be fostering any emus?"

I sure hope not.

Well, Herky's gone. What a disaster. V never contacted me about him. J from the humane society was supposed to pick Herk up today to take him back to be neutered, but she never called, so i guess she figured there was no reason to take him back until somebody was ready to adopt him.

But i got a call at work from some woman who saw Herk at the shelter last week before we picked him up. She went back to the shelter today because apparently somebody had told her he would be back today to be neutered. (Nobody told me!) I really don't understand what happened with this entire situation. If these people wanted him last week, then why did they want me to foster him? All they would have had to do was wait until his 48 hrs were up (cos he was a stray), neuter him and send him home. I guess part of it was that they knew they were busy and wouldn't be able to neuter him until this week.

Anyway, the people came and brought their two daughters, about 4 and 6. The kids were terrified of the dog. They were both crying within minutes cos he jumped on them, scratched them, and mouthed them. The mom and dad kept saying how great the dog was and that he was just a puppy and puppies do that. I was not happy with the situation and i told them so. I said something like, "Obviously it's your decision, but i'm not happy with the way he is jumping on the kids and chasing them and mouthing them. He's a puppy and he's big and wild, and he's going to get bigger, and the kids are going to run and scream like kids do, and he might play too rough." The dad basically said, "Yeah," and continued playing with the dog and telling the kids that he would grow out of it. At one point i had to drag the dog off the kid cos she fell and the dog got on top of her and started mouthing her head, and the parents laughed. The mom had to hold the younger girl the entire time, and the older girl was saying things like, "I don't like this dog, i don't want a dog, i don't like dogs," and hiding behind her mom. The kids were obviously scared of the dog and the parents didn't care. I wasn't concerned that Herky was going to be aggressive with them -- that's just not his personality. But I thought he would be too big and rowdy for little kids.

Warren and i figured if they were determined to adopt the dog, we'd at least try to give them a fighting chance. Warren told them about Bitter Apple and they sprayed some on the kid's hand, and the dog finally stopped mouthing her. I showed them a Gentle Leader and told them they need to take the dog to obedience class. Warren told the kids what to do if the dog gets too wound up. At the end, Herk was getting REALLY bratty. He needed a nap. The kid actually said, "He needs a crib," and i wanted to tell them yes, he needs a crate. But they don't believe in crates. Hmm. Or prong collars (they wouldn't want to hurt him). They totally ignored my Gentle Leader suggestion. The guy said his doberman pulled on the leash, so his solution was not to use a leash.

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with these people. They were nice, and they obviously liked the dog. But i am worried about the dog-kid interactions. The kids are small, and they run around and squeal. Herky's a big adolescent with basically no training. He's active and he plays roughly. He jumps up and he mouths people. If he gets too wound up, jumps up and scratches or nips a kid, and ends up back at the shelter, he'll have a history of "biting" and won't be adoptable. But maybe i'm just being pessimistic.

I figured we did the best we could, short of saying, "Do NOT adopt this dog." And the people still wanted him. And, well, i wanted the dog to go away regardless. He was harassing Echo too much. So i called the shelter and asked if we could bring him in tonight even though we couldn't get there until after they closed. They said okay. So we took him back. He'll be neutered tomorrow and if they decide to adopt him they can pick him up tomorrow afternoon. I guess i'll have to talk to the shelter people tomorrow but i really don't want to. I'm so disturbed. I don't understand why we were fostering him. He wasn't sick. He's totally adoptable, he just needs a lot of training. If these people wanted him last week, why didn't someone tell me? And why did i have him in the first place?


Mom wrote, "that was way too confusing about the dog. i kinda lost track again."

Yeah, i know. Me too. I talked to G and J today and they were both really cool. G told me i can do whatever i want in terms of deciding who gets to adopt my fosters. She appreciated my telling her that i thought this might not be a good placement, and she told J to call them and talk to them. I feel bad cos i sort of told them they could adopt him. Who knows, maybe they decided they didn't want him anyway.

J, of course, asked me if i wanted him back after he was neutered. I said no, cos he was abusing my Echo dog. I told her maybe next week we could take Faith or somebody else. So i got us back down to the normal number of animals for visiting this weekend. And we just went to the vet and got some Advantage and treated everybody, even Keek, so we should be totally flea free this weekend. I know you're happy to hear that!


At least i managed to unload that puppy before coming back to visit! Mom and Dad are pretty tolerant but i think that would have put them over the edge. And hopefully we'll be free flea by then. (Wow, i meant to type "flea free." It's as hard to type as it is to say!) I made the mistake of telling Mom that we had fleas (thanks to King, i guess) and i got the impression that she would rather not have the itchy mutts in her house. So we got Advantage yesterday (freakin' expensive, $12 per animal) and i sure hope it works. The first thing Keek did was try to lick it off, so i had to keep watching him to make sure he didn't die. He's fine.

Nothing's going on here. I found out that the people with the two little kids did adopt Herky, even though they tried to discourage them, and so far it's working out fine. I told her i couldn't take the next foster she wanted to give me -- a dalmatian/akita mix that is nice, but big and unruly. No thanks, i said.

R called me about a new foster today. Apparently she's their German Shepherd person. Ranger was a stray. He's very skinny and very spooky, but he's sweet once he gets to know you. So we went to pick him up. He was very stressed (he was blowing coat like crazy) but he seemed nice. We sat around forever and then finally they told us he didn't have his rabies shot and they couldn't give it without the vet's approval cos he's so skinny, and they couldn't get a hold of the vet. I was kinda mad cos they should know this stuff ahead of time. Every time i agree to take a dog, i feel like i've asked enough questions, but it seems like i always forget to ask something. It just didn't occur to me to ask if he had a rabies shot. I thought for sure they would have done that already. He wasn't microchipped either. He isn't neutered but i already knew that. They won't be able to do the surgery until he gains some weight.

Anyway, we left him there and i guess we'll get him tomorrow if they give him his shot. I thought they would have done all the basic stuff already (shots, grooming, chip), but it occurred to me that they probably didn't bother because they were going to put him down if they didn't have a foster home for him. He doesn't seem to be sick or anything, just skinny and dirty and shy. So i guess we'll have him soon. If not tomorrow, then over the weekend, i assume.

While we were waiting, somebody brought in a boxer that they found in their yard today. She looked so much like Echo! Same brindle color, white feet, black mask, waggy tail, thin and muscular, licky and jumpy. But she had a really ugly face. We also found out that one of the employees lives in North Braddock. Small world, i guess.


Gail wrote, "ranger sounds very nice. no, i don't want him. i never heard that "blowing coat" phrase before. but i guess you talk like that a lot when you are a dog person, huh?"

You know, i sat here for several minutes as i was writing that, thinking, "If i say "blowing coat," Gail's gonna comment on it. But i didn't know how else to say it. It's the correct terminology. Yes, i read dog related email lists every day so i tend to speak in those dog-people terms.

Gail wrote, "did you pick up ranger yet? my guess is, probably not yet. it's still early."

Yep, he's been here about an hour.

Gail wrote, "i know you can make ranger feel better. well, actually, people are the minority in your house, so he'll probably feel like he fits in there."

I hope so. He's such a spooky dog. We introduced the dogs in the yard, and of course Echo and Brin basically attacked the poor dog. They sounded nasty. So i yanked Brin off and spanked him, and Warren put the citronella collar on Echo, and then everything was fine. Poor Ranger never even tried to defend himself.

I kept him outside for a long time, trying to brush as much hair off him as possible before bringing him inside. I stopped counting after about 15 brushes full of hair. Now he looks a lot better. I think they groomed him at the shelter, too. He looked a lot less shaggy than yesterday, and i think they cut his nails, too.

He came inside and sniffed noses with Keek, and wagged his tail, and then ignored Keek. That's a good sign. Hopefully he won't become more interested in the cat as he starts to feel better.

He paced and whined when i brought him in the house. He wouldn't eat but he drank lots of water. Then he had an accident and i noticed something didn't look right. There was some blood in his pee. Great. I wouldn't even have known if he hadn't peed in the house. So i'll be calling the vet tomorrrow. Otherwise he seems alert and healthy so i'm not really worried. I'll just keep an eye on him and see what the vet says. Funny how you don't worry as much when it's not one of your own.

Right now he's napping. I'm glad he finally stopped pacing. As long as he's healthy, i'll have the whole weekend to get him settled in, crate trained, eating, etc. So that's what i'll be doing the next couple of days.

I should have taken a picture of him yesterday at the shelter so you could see how icky he looked. He looks a lot better now. I only took one picture so far. He looks every other German Shepherd. He's not very big for a shepherd.


Mom wrote, "ranger looks cute. i like him. pap thinks he looks nice. no, we don't want him, thanks. we just think he's cute. hope he's ok with the pee thing."

Well, i tried calling the shelter to see if we can get some medicine for Ranger. Of course it's Saturday so the vet isn't there. The regular vet is out of town and they can't get in touch with the other vet. S (who was really nice), said that it's probably a bladder infection but she isn't allowed to dispense any medication. She said the other vet is supposed to be at the shelter tomorrow for a feral cat something-or-other, so she's gonna leave a note for him to call me. He seems okay otherwise. It's just kind of a pain to have a dog peeing blood on the carpet, you know? I was hoping to get the medicine today cos i figure, the sooner he starts taking it, the sooner he'll get better. I tied a towel around his belly and that has helped somewhat. Gross, i know. But i don't have a lot of options. I also sat outside with him for a while, and he took a nap in a crate for a while. I just have to watch and make sure he can still pee. As long as he can still pee, apparently it isn't a really critical thing.

I got to use my Bissell Little Green a lot. Works great, even on bloody dog pee.

So that's my exciting day so far. Guess i better go take him out again. Oh, never mind, he went back to sleep.


The vet tech was allowed to give us some medicine yesterday, but only enough for two doses. She said the vet will be calling me today. He's still having his problem, but he was able to go for about three hours at a time without having to go out. And i got some velcro and made a new diaper for the dog.

The vet called and said she checked Ranger's pee and she was surprised how bloody it was, but that it's probably just an infection. We got some more medicine for him.

Have i even written to you since i had to collect his pee? I guess i forgot to tell you that. Lots of fun.


I've told some of you about the pee thing, but not everybody, and it's just so much fun (not!) that i figured i might as well share with everyone.

We picked up Ranger on Friday evening. (We tried to pick him up Thursday but he didn't have his rabies shot.) I noticed right away that he had blood in his pee. I called the shelter on Saturday morning but of course the vet wasn't there and nobody could really help me. One of the techs figured it's probably just a bladder infection but she isn't allowed to dispense medication. She was really helpful and eventually she was able to give me enough pills for Sat evening and Sun morning, and then the vet was supposed to call me on Sunday. So we went to the shelter. We met the girl i talked to on the phone. She is fostering an 8 week old chihuahua/beagle mix puppy. I guess you have to work there to get the good fosters. I just get all the big, dopey, sick ones on death row. She is planning to keep the puppy. She asked us if we were going to keep Ranger. I think that is so dumb. How can these people not understand that the whole idea of fostering is to keep the dog alive and happy and healthy until you can find them a permanent home? What if we had kept our first foster? Ranger would have been put down, i'm almost certain. King, too. If the foster people always keep their foster dogs... well, i just think they should know better. She is not the first person who asked us that, either.

Anyhow, the vet was in surgery all day Sunday (they had a feral cat spay/neuter thing all day) but somebody in the clinic told me the vet prescribed more of the same medication and also wanted to see a urine sample. So i armed myself with some gloves and an old pan (i knew i didn't throw that away for a reason!) and a butter dish, and i went out and followed Ranger around the yard until i could catch some pee and put it in a cup. Then we went to the shelter. (In case anyone is keeping track, that's four days in a row that we went to the shelter.)

The vet called me later on Sunday. She is super nice. She said she was surprised at how much blood there was, but hopefully the medicine will clear it up. She wants to see another sample in a few days. (She actually said she was looking forward to seeing Ranger's pee! I thought that was cute.)

Anyhow, he seems to be doing a lot better, although i had to take him out MANY times in the middle of the night. But he hasn't had any accidents in the house lately and he isn't even wearing his diaper anymore. =) R (the lady who originally asked me to take him) called and said she was going to put an ad in the paper for him. I told her there's no rush. We have to wait until he's better, and he needs to gain some weight.

Mom wrote, "so, i was just thinking, i get such interesting sounding mail. ranger's pee. and stories about collecting dog pee. and all kinds of details. but it's a good thing you're doing."


I came home to a crate full of pee and one very smelly dog. I've been meaning to give Ranger a bath since we got him, but i wanted to do it outside and the weather hasn't been cooperating. Well, i had no choice today, and since it's kinda chilly, i decided to try washing him in the tub. Surprisingly, he was very good! First, he climbed in when i pointed at the tub. Then he sat down and looked miserable the entire time. Now he's fresh and clean. He even let me blow dry him.

Karen wrote, "how's ranger's pee?"

Hee hee! Much better, thanks for asking. I only had to get up with him once last night. And it's not bloody anymore. I'm supposed to take another sample to the vet today. Sounds like a pain. We've been going there too much lately.

He's turning out pretty nice. He got fluffy and frisky after his bath, and even Warren noticed that he looks much better. I'm mad that i forgot to take video of him cos it would have been neat to have "before and after" pictures. He actually chewed on a bone last night (he had been ignoring toys and chewies). He doesn't whine and pace and pant anymore. He goes in his crate easily, and he only cries a little. And he's eating a lot now. And he wags his tail.

I might want to have a shepherd someday. Especially a rescue. They appreciate me. And they are attentive. Ranger is a good size too. King was some kinda huge freak.

The other day, Ranger slipped out the gate as i was going out to the garage, but he came back when i called him. That was before he even knew his name.


The vet wanted to see another pee sample so we went back to the shelter yesterday. Some of the employees were outside when we got there, and we got to show off Ranger a little. Then we went inside, and R and her husband showed up, so we got to show him off some more. She's the German Shepherd person who asked me to take him. I was very proud because everyone kept saying how much better he looks, and I've only had him for a week. Everybody in the place was making a fuss over him. We stayed for a couple minutes to talk about him. He was pretty relaxed, except when a little girl knocked something over and it made a loud noise, and poor Ranger jumped several feet. So R decided he shouldn't go to a home with small kids. Actually, she was saying no kids and the person must be home all day. But I don't think there are many homes like that. If they exist, they probably already have a dog. I think he could adapt to being alone during the day (he crates nicely now) and I think he'd be fine with gentle older kids (but not with rowdy little kids). I'm still not sure about cats. He stares at Keek and whines, but he wags his tail. He tries to chase Keek across the kitchen, but he can't get enough traction. He looks like those cartoons where their feet go but they never get anywhere.

All the animals are fine. Ranger's developing some behavior problems now that he's feeling better. But mostly he's pretty cool. I really like how he pays attention and looks right at me when i talk to him. Right now he's playing with Echo. Brin doesn't care for him. Brin wants to be an only child because he doesn't like to share.