September 2001

Tonight I took some pictures of Zoey cos she's going away tomorrow. She will be spayed on Thursday and then I guess she'll stay at the shelter for a little while, and hopefully someone will adopt her. If she stays there too long, I'll take her back again. You can see the big nose print on the picture that I took after the one where she came right up and stuck her nose on the camera.

I got a message from Sassy's owner. She said Sassy's the best dog ever. It's so cool to get messages like that. They adopted her over a year ago:

Just an update to let you know that Sassy is the best dog we could have ever hoped for. Thanks again for all the work that you do. Please know how thankful we are for people like you who do so much behind the scenes. Sassy has been a fantastic addition to our family. I knew she was special the night we came to your home, because of the way she was upset that your dogs were barking in another part of the house. She is unbelievable with small children, spoiled beyond belief, and we couldn't imagine life without her. We will always turn to the Humane Society for pets, and have encouraged many others to do so, also. Thanks so much again for being Sassy's foster mom.


Well, we dropped Zoey off about two hours ago and Brin is a happy dog again. He puts up with a lot. It was really depressing to leave her there, but she certainly didn't seem freaked out by being there. She wanted to say hi to everyone, and she really wanted to sniff the bunnies. I left her favorite bone with her. Maybe she'll be adopted this weekend.

Of course she barfed in the car. She waited until we got onto the street that the shelter is on. She's gifted, I think. When we took her to the park, she always made it until the last 60 seconds or so. I always withheld her food and even gave her Dramamine, but she got sick almost every time we took her in the car.


How are things going with Piper? I would love to see a picture of him if you have one. In fact I would really like to post one on the web page, with your permission. Sort of a "before and after" thing.

The foster program is still going strong. We just took our 11th!! back to the shelter to be spayed, and now I am going through withdrawal.

Did you see the article in the Post-Gazette a few days ago? Apparently the city is rethinking the whole "dog park" idea. I'm stressed out about it because I really rely on the off leash area at Frick Park to exercise the dogs (especially the fosters). So of course I had to start a letter-writing campaign.

I hope everything is going well with you and your family (including Piper, of course!).


Dear Amy,
Piper is doing great!! I have to confess - I have about 10 rolls of film that I have yet to get developed. I keep forgetting to take them when I actually have the extra money to do it...and I should really just invest in a digital camera. I promise I'll get you a picture soon!

Piper now weighs 49 lbs! I was looking through his original paperwork from the shelter and saw that he was just 38.6 lbs the day they picked him up. His fur is really growing in and he's just beautiful! The last remnants of that awful skin condition are almost gone. He is currently under treatment for an ear infection, tho. You should see us wrestling him to get the medication in his ear - what a battle! But then yesterday, I finally got smart - I had Frank hold a handful of food under his nose while I slipped the tube in his ear - he still fussed but couldn't resist keeping his mouth in the food - it was much easier! His re-check is this afternoon and I'm really hoping it's all cleared up.

Piper is, for the most part, extremely well-behaved. He's very smart and has settled in well. We continue to work with him - he still gets agitated around older boys - but no other problems at all. The kids love him and he sure seems to love them, too. Even Frank, who was always more of a cat person, has fallen in love (but will never admit it!).

I missed the article about the dog park. Why are they re-thinking it? Send me a copy of your letter - I'll write one, too. It looks like a dog park will soon be a reality in North Park, which is great for us but won't help you at all...

Glad to hear from you. I feel for you on the withdrawal symptoms, and admire what you're doing so greatly.

I'll e-mail again soon with a picture attached.
Take care,


Hi Amy, My name is L and I work at the shelter, I've helped you a few times when you and your husband came to get your foster dog. I just spent my entire morning looking at your site and reading your journal, it's awesome. I just want to tell you that I think it's really wonderful what you do for these dogs, I don't think you truly know how much we appreciate all that you do. All I can say is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! O ya and in case you haven't heard Zoey has been adopted! I did the adoption, the people were really nice and don't worry I am very picky when it comes to placing "my" dogs. Take care and keep up the good work.


Can you tell me how many dogs you have had and how many have been "problems" as far as food aggression, disagreements between dogs etc.

I fostered 11 dogs, and only one was aggressive in any way. Ranger, one of the German shepherds, was food aggressive around other dogs (not with people, though). He was unneutered and had prostatitis at the time, which probably contributed to the problem. The altercation happened when I fed him outside of his crate because he would no longer eat in the crate. My dogs got near his food and he made a lot of noise and snapped at them, but he didn't do any actual damage.

Other than that, everybody has gotten along okay. My male will guard his bed and his toys from some of the fosters (especially the intact males), but all of the fosters have been submissive to him, even the ones that are two or three times his size. They start totally ignoring each other within the first few days.


Zoey was adopted last Saturday. I haven't talked to her new people yet. I think I prefer keeping the dogs for a while and then taking them back to the shelter to be adopted. It saves me a lot of stress because I don't have to deal with placing ads, talking to people on the phone, and having them not show up for appointments. But it's disturbing in a way because I never get to meet the people, so I don't have that sense of closure.

Today we picked up Diamond. She's a black and white spaniel/sheltie mix (actually I think she looks like a small border collie mix). She's about a year old and seems basically healthy but very thin. She's about as tall as Echo, but she only weighs about 18 lbs. (Echo is 30 lbs.) She is too thin to even get a rabies shot. The humane agent went to the house because she was being neglected, and I guess they gave the people the option of turning her over to the shelter. She must not have actually been taken away by the officer because the previous owners filled out the owner surrender form. They had two different reasons listed for giving her up: she was too big!! and the kids didn't take care of her!!

She's very cuddly and submissive. Right now she's nibbling on my toes. Brin and Echo aren't terribly impressed but they don't seem to be annoyed, either. Keek doesn't seem to mind her much because he is sitting in my lap right now. So far she seems pretty well-behaved but I think she might be a chewer. Her previous owner said she barks a lot (I haven't heard her bark yet, but it's too soon to tell) and that she is a picky eater. She certainly isn't a picky eater. She actually crawled into the dog food bag and would have probably tried to eat all of it if I had let her.


Diamond did not want to go to bed last night. She was good most of the day, entertaining herself with her toys while I was at the computer, but I guess she ended up napping too much during the day. I tether the unhousetrained fosters to the big wooden dog bed at night because they are calmer and quieter there than in the crate. So the first thing she did, just as I was getting ready to put her in there and tie her, was to hop in and pee all over her bed. Great. Then she kept waking up every few hours. I took her out twice in the middle of the night. She peed both times. But then she'd just be awake for a long time. She wasn't crying but she just wouldn't settle. Finally I guess she did fall asleep, and this morning when I got up, she was curled up under the bed, with just her head poking out.

Diamond loves to eat. I got some canned puppy food to mix with her kibble. She's only been here a day and she has already gained weight.

We took her to the park this morning. There were two people who really liked her. The one said to the other, "Well, you don't have a dog, why don't you adopt her?" Although I don't think they will, it was nice to see that people think she's really cute, so she should be easy to place once she's healthy.

She was really scared at the park. She hid under the picnic table. Even after we moved to sit in the shade, she stayed all the way across the field under the table. She tried to come out a couple times but she always ended up running back under the table. She seemed to be more intimidated by the dogs than by the people, totally opposite of Zoey.


Yeah, I know, I get excited about the dumbest things. Diamond has to pee very frequently and I knew there was no way she could wait all day while I was at work. I considered gating her in the kitchen but I figured she would chew stuff. Since she's so small, I set up the big crate with a litter box with papers in it in the back, and a comfy towel to sleep on in the front. She was kind enough to pee on the carpet Sunday night so I could sop it up with a paper towel and then put that in with the papers so she'd know what the box was for.

Well, yesterday while I was at work, she peed on the towel. So I had pretty much resigned myself to just having to wash pee towels every day, which was okay with me because at least that way she doesn't get it all over herself. But surprise, surprise, today she peed on the papers! I tried doing that with Brin when he was little but he always waited until i got home, even when he was only 8 weeks old. Diamond is supposed to be a year old but she seems younger to me. Regardless, she certainly was never housetrained. Her owner didn't even mark it on her sheet. How could someone have a dog for a year and not housetrain it? They said she lived in the house and slept in the basement. Must be a smelly house.

She's well on her way to being housetrained now. Over the weekend she managed to pee several times while I had her tied to me, which made me think she was gonna be really hard to housetrain. I even considered getting her checked for a bladder infection, but she seems to be improving so I guess it's a training issue. I can't say that she's 100% yet, but she's only been here for four days and she hasn't had any accidents since yesterday morning.


Diamond is doing great. She's coming along with the housetraining, and she's gaining weight every day. She was a bit intimidated by all the dogs at the park, but she was good with the people. Somebody even thought about adopting her.

All the animals are ready for bed now (except Diamond, who just wants to play). She peed three times already since we've been back (outside each time, luckily).

Yesterday Diamond totally regressed in her housetraining. After she peed in her crate and then on the futon, I realized I needed to do something different. So I put her on a 15 minute schedule. I set my watch and took her out every 15 minutes until bedtime. She went almost every time. Today she's on the 20 minute plan, and so far, so good. It's a pain but it's less of a pain than cleaning up pee spots. She's harder to train than a new puppy cos she was allowed to develop a habit of going whenever and wherever she feels the urge. So every time she goes outside is helping to create a new habit.

Diamond wore her vest to the park and it was a big hit. Nobody asked how I made it, so it must look like something official. Only one person thought she was a service dog. That was one thing I was worried about, cos that's what the vests are actually made for. But Diamond got a lot of attention. Somebody said you couldn't have a better or cuter advertisement. So it serves its purpose. Yay!