October 2001

Diamond is going back later this week. She still needs to be spayed and then she'll be up for adoption this weekend. She is definitely past the ten day point! She's been running around, chasing the cat, barking A LOT, and wrestling with Echo. She's such a happy little dog!

I finally got a phone number for the people who adopted Zoey. I tried it but it was disconnected. So not only am I disappointed that I didn't get to talk to them, I'm also a little worried, because why would somebody adopt a dog and then move a couple weeks later?

We took Diamond back to the shelter tonight. We were planning to take her back tomorrow, but Warren was worried that he might be late cos he's supposed to do something with "the guys" after school. So we took her today. She'll be spayed tomorrow and then hopefully I'll get a message on Monday that she was adopted over the weekend. I haven't had a chance to start missing her yet. Actually it's kinda nice to not have to jump up every 20 minutes and take her out! I guess i'll clean the carpet this weekend....


There was a message on the machine from the person who adopted Diamond! It was from Friday evening, so she wasn't at the shelter very long.

Diamond's mom seems really nice. She said they just had to put their 13 year old dog to sleep, and Diamond sort of looks like her. They got her for free because they are in their 70s. They like her a lot but they are having a lot of trouble with the housetraining. She is on amoxicillan for a possible bladder infection but it doesn't seem to be helping. They are going to their regular vet on Wednesday and she's going to ask about it. I'm a little worried because they seem to be doing everything right and I don't know what else to tell them. They bought a crate, they feed on a schedule instead of just letting food out all day, they clean up the spots to get rid of the smell, and they take her out a lot. But she is still going in the house, and sometimes in the crate. It's no surprise because she was like that when she was here, but I was really hoping the medicine would help. I'm almost certain that it has to be some kind of medical problem cos she seemed to understand that she was supposed to go outside but it was almost like she didn't even know she was doing it when she went in the house. Hopefully the vet will be able to figure it out.


I just talked to Diamond's owner and she said the peeing problem is totally under control now. So it must have been an infection, and the antibiotics must have helped. Yay! (Wish I had put that together sooner and gotten the drugs while I had her!) But she said the dog is now pooping in the house. I told her that she didn't do that when she was here. She always had to go within about 5 minutes after she ate, so I just made sure she was outside then. She said they have a rope and the dog is supposed to go on the concrete, but the only time she will poop outside is when they put her on leash and walk her in the grass. I suggested getting a rope that's long enough so that she can reach the grass. She said she's going to try that. I bet that's all it is.

Other than that, Diamond seems to be doing fine and they really like her. She is quiet in her crate at night. They are home with her most of the time but they will crate her occasionally if they go somewhere. I'm really glad they got a crate for her.

Their vet thought she was 9-12 months old. I said it's too bad they didn't find a dog that was already mature and housetrained. She said she thought about that, but her husband really liked Diamond because she reminded him of their old dog. So I hope they just stick with it and get her housetrained. They do seem to like her. It's too bad they don't have a better plan for exercising her though. They don't have a fenced yard and they have no interest in walking her, especially in bad weather. But she's small enough that she'll probably be able to get enough exercise in the house. She has balls and toys and stuff. She is a little afraid of the husband, which is sad since he's the one who picked her. He tried to take her out and she hid under the table.


"Hope you are well. G suggested I contact you about the foster dog we have -- Alley -- in hopes that you may have had some of the same experiences.

"She's wonderful when it's just her and me. Add our dog, Lucy, to the mix, and she becomes violently aggressive toward Lucy, and generally growls at anyone around. We've had a few instances where she's growled (threateningly) at my husband, as well as the neighborhood boy who lets Lucy out while we're at work. All signs seem to point toward a dog that needs to be the only dog. We worked with Sheri, and she gave us some ideas on how to solve some of the problems, but I'd like to know if this resembles anything you've encountered. Give me a call when you get time. Thanks a lot. Gail says the foster manual looks good and will be out soon."

I'm glad to hear that the foster manual is well underway. I can't wait to see the finished product!

Did you go to the foster class last night? I didn't even know about it until yesterday but I think it's a really good idea.

Anyway, the only real experience I've had with aggression was with Ranger, a German shepherd I fostered last year. The only time he became aggressive was when there was something for him to guard -- especially food, and sometimes toys. I managed the problem by crating him when I wasn't here and when I fed all the dogs. He is now in a home where he is the only dog.

I don't know much about Alley but my first suggestion would be to get them to do a physical on her. I'm not sure how much of that they do automatically when a dog comes in, but I know I've had a bunch of dogs with various medical problems that could certainly make a dog feel grumpy. Actually Ranger had prostatitis and I wouldn't be surprised if that was a large part of his aggression problem. He was probably extremely uncomfortable.

Other than that, it might be a good idea to let your husband take care of her for a while -- feeding, walks, training, etc. She might actually be afraid of him. A lot -- I mean A LOT! -- of the dogs we've fostered have initially been a little scared around men. Most dogs will just cower and try to get away when they're scared like that, but some dogs (including our own dog Echo) believe that "the best defense is a good offense." They bark and growl and try to get the scary thing to go away. I don't know Alley's history; she could have been abused by a man, or more likely, she just wasn't ever socialized correctly and isn't used to being around them.

I saw your Lucy in the last newsletter. Cutie! How is she handling the whole fostering thing? Have you fostered other dogs? I hope you don't have trouble finding a home for Alley. It might be tough, given her age and her slight aggressive tendencies. I actually decided to take Ranger back to the shelter after he nipped Echo on the neck. No damage was done, but I couldn't rationalize putting my own dogs in danger. Luckily he did get adopted anyway.

Well, that's all I can come up with for now. I hope it helps. Feel free to write back or call if you want to talk some more.

"Thanks for your email. It's interesting that you mention health problems...she has some trouble getting up and down, which S noticed as well. I think I'll take her in to the clinic for a look.

"I am a little concerned about finding a family for her. If we didn't have Lu, I'd keep Alley, because she really is the perfect dog when she's all alone. Well mannered, quiet, and I can walk her without a leash, as she immediately comes when called, regardless of any distractions. Maybe it might be good to get a solid profile written up on her and then letting her spend an occasional weekend in the kennels so she's more visible. Have you ever tried that, or does it upset the dog too much?

"Miss Lucy is doing alright...we have a lot of puppy issues with her, although they are abating somewhat. She does become more excitable when Alley is present (which is most of the time), which I know is not helping. The one thing that we cannot seem to curb in her is the biting. Not aggressive biting, just playful biting and general mouthiness. We have tried everything... yelping like a puppy would, putting her in time out, walking away, biting her ears (this one is difficult and a little gross, but I read that this is what the mom and other puppies would do), holding her mouth shut, popping her underneath the mouth (the monks from New York swore by this one), and yelling "no biting!" Amy -- NOTHING works. We ordered an elastic muzzle called The Husher that is supposed to be extremely gentle and humane, allows them to eat, drink and pant, but somehow curtails biting. But she can't wear it all the time, obviously. I'm hoping she grows out of it to some extent. Any advice?

"Sorry...this email was supposed to be about Alley...

"I did get a call the night before the foster class, but it was too late for me to reschedule what I had for that night. Apparently it will be every you plan to go to the next one?

"Thanks again. Do you have any foster dogs right now?"

I think letting Alley spend some time at the shelter would be a good idea. Like you said, write up a fairly detailed sheet for her and leave her there for a weekend or so. (Hint -- let somebody else put her in the kennel for you. I felt soooo guilty when I put Zee in the kennel and closed the door and left!) If you need ideas for what to write, you can check out the ones on my website. Make sure you mention any problems (in as positive a way as possible) so there are no surprises.

When I first started fostering, some people seemed to think that the dogs would be too stressed out if I took them back occasionally. But I got really frustrated because I knew it would be nearly impossible to find homes for them if nobody ever saw them. I had some of them for two or three months. So with my last three fosters, I kept them for several weeks, tried to get them healthy, and did a little training. Then I dropped each of them off for the weekend. Every one was adopted within a few days. The only thing I don't like about it is that I don't get to meet the adopters. But I have talked with them on the phone.

About Lucy's mouthiness... how old is she? My last foster was like that. I have found that any kind of physical correction just gets the dog more wound up! I can think of two things you might try. If you are playing with her and she gets mouthy, you can totally withdrawl your attention. Either crate her or just leave the room. She will eventually learn that biting ends the fun. You could also try a product called Bitter Apple. It was designed to keep dogs from chewing on themselves or other objects and it works pretty well for mouthiness too. Some dogs don't mind it if they only get a little taste, so you might have to condition her to hate it first. You can saturate a cotton ball with the stuff and then pop it in her mouth. She'll go Yuck! and spit it out. After that, she will most likely be deterred just by smelling it. You can just spray a little on your hands and she will learn that people taste bad!

I don't have a foster right now so I'm not planning to go to the class. But maybe I should go just to get to know people and see who's fostering what. I don't know if you know L, but she's a neat person and she knows a lot about training. So I'm sure the class would be worthwhile.

Write back anytime, and good luck with Alley and Lucy!

"Thanks again for all of your help and advice.

"I did talk to G, and she thought it might be better to keep Alley with us until they have fewer dogs in the kennels. In the meantime, we're going to rerun the classified ad.

"I am going to try and make the foster class on Monday, so I'll let you know how it goes."


I was wondering if you were able to find out anything about the people that adopted Zoey?

I've been in touch with the woman who adopted Diamond. Apparently she really did have a bladder infection and is pretty much back on track with the housetraining. Yay!

I heard that L is teaching a class for people who foster. That's good, I know you wanted somebody to do that a long time ago.

"Our agent went out (nice new townhouses) and left a card on Friday and never called. I will send a letter and see if I get a response. It is weird - there are occasionally people that do not care about being in touch with us. I will let you know."


I should be able to make it to the meeting on the 7th. My supervisor said no problem. Now I just have to figure out the bus! [I was told that I should really try to make it to this meeting if at all possible, even though it was during work, and I was glad I did because they ended up giving me a Volunteer of the Year award. It made me feel really good, and I still have it years later.]

"Hey Amy! It's L from the humane society. I was looking at various sites of homeless dogs and ended up on the basset hound rescue page. I came across this and thought of you immediately. Hope you like it, I know I do."

Yep, I do like it! Did you see the poem on my site called "Little Pieces?" Similar theme.

The woman who adopted Diamond has called me several times, which is really nice because most people don't bother to keep in touch. Things are going well there, now that they have the bladder infection cured and the housetraining sorted out!

I never did get to talk to the people who adopted Zoey. Did I tell you that the phone number they gave is incorrect?

Anyway, thanks for the poem!

"Hey, glad to hear that Diamond is doing well, I think it is nice of them to keep in touch with you. Sorry about the false number for Zoey. I'll see what I can do about getting the right number. And the poem is beautiful!

"So I hear you'll be fostering yet another dog, "Lucky". She's a nice dog, just a little crazy....she's a terrier mix! Once again Amy thank you so much for all you do. I personally thank you and so do all the dogs that you've got homes for. Take care and I'll see you soon."


I will probably be fostering Lucky. She's a four year old mixed breed that was a stray. She's on the website. She's cute. She did well on her temperament test, but she guards her toys, so she probably shouldn't go to a home with small kids.

Lucky is not doing well at the shelter. She's supposed to be very sweet but I think she's barking at everybody from being stressed out and nervous, so nobody's gonna want her. So it will be good to get her out. She's been there about 3 weeks. She was spayed today and I'll be picking her up on Friday or Sat.