October 2003

We took Brin and Echo to Sewickley Heights, then took Rufus and Dex to a tailgate party. Warren's cleaning the tub for me cos I just had to bathe Brin and Echo cos they swam at the park and got kinda smelly.

Rufus's family wants to see him this weekend. They are really excited and can't wait another week. I'm trying to decide if we should meet at the park or if it would be okay to let them just take him for an afternoon or something. I should probably go do a "home visit" before deciding to leave him there. It just makes me feel better. Warren's on call tomorrow, so we pretty much have to stay home.

The people who said they wanted Dex last month never returned my phone call. So I guess they changed their minds. That tends to happen when people actually have a chance to think about it. So we'll have to start looking for a home for him. I guess we'll still have him when we come in on the 31st. He (Warren, not Dex) has to go to school for a half day so it will be late afternoon/suppertime when we get there.

Warren was making me crazy last week because he wanted to keep Dex, and was making me feel like the bad guy for not wanting to keep him. Meanwhile I'm putting in hours every day just trying to keep up with all the feeding and peeing and pooping and medicating and training and cat chasing and Rufus-biting. He severely scraped up Rufus's neck so I'm back to keeping them separated again. The dumb thing is that Rufus seems to like it. Dex has come away with some cuts too though. They really are just playing but it's extremely violent play, and neither one seems to have a normal pain threshold. I knew that about Dex though because I quicked his nail once and he never even blinked. I didn't even know I did it until I saw blood on me and I was like, oh, where did that come from? He didn't even limp or anything. I think that's a pit bull thing.

Oh, I just got done bathing him cos he went outside and stepped in poop and came in and got it all over Warren's jeans. At least he's small and doesn't have much hair so it doesn't take long to bathe him.

Rufus knocked the toaster on the floor a couple times when we left him home alone. We've been wanting a new toaster anyway so we got one. It was good too because he knocked it off again while we were shopping for the new one, and it broke. Good timing.

Oh, and tell dad that I got a lot of use out of the little remote camera thing with Rufus. First I used it to see how badly he barked and stuff in the crate. Then I did it again after he was on benadryl. And then I set it up in the kitchen to see how he did without the crate. It was very useful.


"My fiance & I spoke with you at Misty Pines on Customer Appreciation Day about adopting Dex. Has he passed the vet check? We are still interesting in adopting him & would like to bring our 2 dogs to meet Dex. Please contact me or my fiance C. Thank you!"

It's good to hear from you. I left a message for you early this week and when I didn't hear from you, I thought you'd changed your mind! They weren't able to schedule his vet check until Thursday, the 23rd. I expect him to pass because his skin and coat look fine. They won't neuter him until after he passes the vet check, and they don't do surgeries on Fridays, so the earliest he could be neutered is Monday the 27th. I can't schedule that until after the vet check on Thursday though. Thank you so much for being patient! They are pretty careful about making sure all the dogs are healthy before letting them go to their new homes.

The boxer we had at Misty Pines has also found a new family and will be going home after his vet check on the 23rd! His family wants to see him this weekend also. We are thinking of meeting them at the dog run in Frick Park sometime on Sunday. Do you think that would work for you? We are pretty flexible on times. If not, it's no problem. We can set up another time and/or place. Frick is a good spot because it's fenced and it's also close to us, but I know it's more of a drive for you.

I have more recent pictures of Dex but I haven't gotten around to getting them up on the site. He has to be 20 lbs at this point! Very smart, doing great with housetraining, tries to be good but sometimes he's a little devil! You'll need to make sure your other dogs get a break from him because he never wants to quit playing. Are you planning to use a crate? (Please say yes!)

I check my email pretty frequently, or you can call me.

P.S. You are lucky... Warren has been trying to convince me to keep Dex! ;-)


We're meeting both Rufus's and Dex's families tomorrow at the park at noon. Dex's people emailed last night and said they want to see him so their dogs can play with him a little. I was surprised cos I thought for sure that they changed their minds. She said she lost my number (which I did leave in my message, so I don't know what happened there) and she called Misty Pines but they knew nothing about it, and then she called the shelter and they said they didn't know anything about it! So finally she realized she could just email me.

I'm still trying to help the other family find a boxer. There is a nice looking one at the shelter but she's 8 so I don't know if they'll want her. All the dogs I was supposed to foster have been adopted. So if she isn't adopted soon, maybe I'll foster her. Oh, but Echo probably won't let me.


Things are going well here. Are there any special adoption requirements for pit bulls? It seems like I heard something about it at one time but I've never fostered a pit so I wasn't sure. I have a really nice couple interested in Dex.

Assuming everything goes as planned and there are no surprises at the vet check on Thursday, both of my boys should be in their new homes by the end of the week or early next week! (Dex still needs to be neutered.) So I'll be available to foster whoever needs me. =)

"Fantastic! We have plenty of foster candidates available so I cannot wait for these 2 to be placed! As for Dex's family, your recommendation is fine. Remember adoption is $150 which includes puppy training classes. Right now I have a litter of pups that need a foster for a week or two ..."

We met Rufus's family at the park at noon. There were a lot of dogs there and it wasn't safe to let their kids go in, so it was kinda dumb cos Rufus just wanted to play with the other dogs and was totally ignoring all the kids standing at the fence. So I ended up just sending Rufus home with them. We were planning to do that anyway, sort of as a trial. They are supposed to return him sometime this afternoon/evening. Hopefully they'll call soon and haven't just disappeared somewhere with him.

Dex's people were supposed to meet us there too. They finally called us on the cell and said they had tried to come to the dog run at upper Frick but somehow ended up at the lower one. They walked pretty far the wrong way. Rather than trying to explain to them how to get to the upper one, we walked down and then took them back up to the fenced area. They really love Dex. He was even coming to them when they called him at the park, which he doesn't even really do with us. He was fine with their male dog (a pit mix) but he was a little aggressive with their female puppy. She's a little bit taller and maybe a couple weeks older than he is, and skinny and sweet and gentle. They will need to intervene when Dex gets carried away. Some mean lady was there and she said, "I would be worried about that dog if I were you." I wanted to smack her. Did she really think we were unaware of the problem?

Rufus's mom just called. She asked if they can keep him until after dinner. So they're gonna bring him back around 7:30. She said he's doing great, loves everyone, met half the neighborhood already, hasn't had any accidents... sounds like he's going to fit in really well there. She said he didn't want to leave me at the park. He kept looking back to see where I was. That's so sad.

Dex is sound asleep. He had another bath and now he's white again. Brin got in the water so he needed a bath too, so now he's licking himself dry. Echo didn't need a bath cos she didn't really do much at the park today. She's had an upset tummy since yesterday. And it's her own fault. I was going crazy trying to figure out where I put Rufus's special bone that he only gets when he's home alone and I finally figured out what happened to it when I heard Echo barfing yesterday. It was a pile of undigested wheat bone. She threw up several more times after that. Today I tried to look at a mark on her belly and she cried when I touched her. And she's just been kinda lethargic and not quite herself. Hopefully she's just not feeling good from eating that entire bone which was supposed to last Rufus at least another week. I'll have to keep an eye on her.


If Rufus's vet check goes okay, he'll go home with them on Thursday evening. I told her that if they don't clear him for whatever reason, she can just take him home anyway. He's been acting weird since he's been back and the only thing I can figure is that he knows he's their dog now and he misses them.

We enjoyed our walk with you on Sunday, and we think Dex will be very happy with you. Your dogs are really sweet and reflect well on your doggy parenting skills.

I checked with the humane society about adoption requirements for pit bulls, since they try to be a little more careful about where they place them. They said my recommendation is good enough, so you won't have to jump through any extra hoops to adopt Dex. Adoption fee is $150, which includes 6 sessions of puppy classes.

I started conditioning Dex to the gentle leader. I had to break out the best treats (chicken baby food) and now he is starting to accept it a little more. I'll keep working on it and hopefully he'll be a lot more comfortable with it by the time you take him home.

I'll try to schedule his surgery for Monday. Hopefully they will have a slot for him. If they do the surgery early in the day, you could take him home the same evening. If not, he'd be ready the following day. I'll let you know more after his vet check on Thursday evening.

"Thanks for the update about Dex! I'm so happy to hear his appointment went well!!!! I also would really like to have his hips & knees x-rayed. Would this be possible? Let me know. I look forward to knowing the date of the surgery.

"C & I also really enjoyed our outing at Frick Park last Sunday. Weather permitting, we would love to meet again this Sunday @ Frick Park if you have time in your schedule. Please call me or C so we can set up a time. Hope to hear from you!"


3:19 PM at work (quitting time is 3:20): "Hi, this is M from the humane society. I see that you have a vet check scheduled for Rufus for tomorrow... The doctor won't be here and she really needs to listen to his heart before he can be released for adoption. Can you bring him in on Friday during the day?"

No, I have to work.

"She'll be here tonight until 6, could you bring him in tonight?"


"Okay, let me see if we can fit you in and I'll call you back."

I told her to call me at home. I got home and there was a message:

"Hi, this is M, call me at the shelter and have them page me."

I tried, but you can't have someone paged unless a real person answers the phone, which is rare. I got a recording twice and then finally left a message for her to call me back at home. 45 minutes later she hadn't called, and it was getting late enough that I needed to know whether they could see him tonight. So I called back and actually got a human on the other end. They paged her.

"The doctor really needs to see him before he can be released for adoption, and she is only here during the day. Can you bring him in on Friday before four?"

(still) no.


I can have someone else bring him in on Friday, would that be okay?


So here's the plan. We're taking both dogs to the clinic tomorrow evening. Rufus will get another heartworm test. (The techs can do that.) His new mom will meet us there and she will take Rufus home that night. She will then take him back on Friday for his appointment with the actual vet. If he passes his vet check, she will then fill out the paperwork and take him home for good. Even if he doesn't pass the vet check, I told her to just go ahead and take him home and we'll work out the details later. I'm so sick of this. The dog is not sick. And even if he was... what difference does it make if he stays with me or with them? He'll be better off there anyway cos he won't have to be alone all day. So I had to make some executive decisions and if they don't like it they can fire me.


I loved the pictures. It looks like they have always been together. And the one with the kid is fantastic. I bet it makes you feel good to see a kid being like that with a dog. I told Karen that it makes me think of that dog in Peter Pan, I think it's named Nana. It just looks like Rufus has been taking care of them forever.

I worry about stuff like this too much, when I know I'm right. I was having these imaginary conversations...

"Hypothetically speaking... if I tell you I am no longer able to foster Rufus, what will happen to him? Will he go onto the adoption floor, or will you try to put him into another foster home?"

And if they said "foster home" I point to K and say, "okay, here's your foster home," and if they say adoption, I'll say, "okay, here's your adopter." Cos I mean, what are their options, really, if I decline? I'm only obligated to keep him for two weeks at a time (that's a new rule -- you are supposed to renew your "commitment" every two weeks). Keep him in a holding kennel until they run out of space, at which point he suddenly becomes "adoptable?" I'm sick of it. Not to mention that I STILL haven't actually seen a vet after all these vet checks we've gone to. Never heard an actual vet say why he had to stay in foster for so long. If it's to make sure his activity is restricted... um, guess what. Haven't done that since the first week. And he didn't keel over and die. So therefore, he's not sick, and therefore, he's adoptable. Sorry, just venting early in the morning.


Dex's appt went well tonight. The skin scraping showed two dead mites, which I think is fine (they are present in small numbers on all dogs anyway). They told me to call tomorrow to schedule his surgery, so unfortunately I still don't have any definite info for you, but I'll let you know as soon as I make the appt. I expect to get an appt for Mon or Tuesday but who knows. Sometimes it's like a circus around there.

Good news! We got them to commit to Monday for Dex's surgery. We will drop him off before they close on Sunday evening, and you can fill out the paperwork and pick him up whenever he's ready to go on Monday. I don't know what time he'll be ready... it depends what time they do the surgery. I guess we'll have to call on Monday to find out when he'll be ready. They'll be open until 7pm.

I asked what their policy is regarding pit bulls going to homes with other dogs. She said they do it on a case-by-case basis. So you're good to go. See you tomorrow at noon!


We've been pretty busy. Yesterday morning we took Keek to the vet. He's in good shape. Then we went to the shelter to meet a new foster. They tried to get us to take a dog-aggressive female pit bull puppy. I was mad at them for trying to give us an aggressive dog. I've told them in the past that we can handle pretty much anything but aggression. As she was getting the dog out of the kennel, somebody else said that it had attacked another dog the previous day. She still tried to get me to take it. The dog pretty much tried to eat Echo. We said no thanks.

Then they brought out the dog that this one had tried to attack. It's this pathetic looking conehead thing, complete with little booties. They are calling her a chow mix but she's a lot smaller. She's black, long haired, soft, quiet, and she seems really sweet and cuddly. She likes Warren. She has some kind of ear thing (chronic otitis) and her spay incision got infected. So they put the cone on to keep her from scratching at her ears and biting at her belly, and the booties on her back feet keep her from scratching her belly open. Of course it's raining so the booties are soggy and gross, and she can't see with the cone on and keeps running into stuff.

We were supposed to meet Dex's people at the park today, but it rained. Dex is scheduled to be neutered tomorrow, and then his new people are gonna pick him up. So we had to drop him off tonight and probably won't see him again. It was pretty sad. He's a really good boy, a special one. It was good that we picked up Candy tonight cos she's a good distraction. Warren is really sad about Dex. He actually wanted to keep him. He said I'm not allowed to foster any more puppies. He doesn't understand that I get attached like that to all my fosters.

It's a shame too because it's been so much better with Dex since Rufus has been gone, because Dex kept chewing on Rufus and was totally fixated on him. After Rufus left, Brin started playing with Dex. We got a lot of video. It was good cos Brin was totally appropriate, never hurt Dex, but really put him in his place. And Dex never once used his teeth on Brin. I think Brin could have taught him how to play nice. Hopefully their other pit mix will be able to do the same.

Echo's being kind of grumpy with Candy, but I think she'll adjust. They totally ignored each other when they met at the shelter, so I guess she's just not happy about sharing her space with another girl dog. Candy just wants to rest, and I don't blame her. She went in the crate on her own downstairs while we ate, and now she's napping on the futon. I know better than to assume she'll be like this the whole time, but for now she's really easy.


Dex was neutered today, and his new dad picked him up. He took him to visit his new mom at work. She works at a vet's office. It was funny cos she called and asked me if he still needed one more distemper shot, and I said he did, so she said she was going to go vaccinate him herself. She was like, "And I see that you taught him sit, down, and shake." So that made me happy. She said everyone in the office loves him.

It's the weirdest thing. Warren is really upset. He misses the puppy. He really wanted to keep him. I feel like the bad guy cos I found him a home. He's really sad. He was, like, sighing and stuff. I really miss him too. He's special. But I knew I was gonna have to do all the training, feeding, walking... I remember Brin as an adolescent and it was tough. And he went to a really good home. And T said we can get together at Frick and she'll send us pictures and stuff.

The new dog, Candy, is really kind of... inert. So far she doesn't eat, drink, poop or pee. Or bark or play or anything. Well, I did get her to eat some rice and chicken baby food, with some extra water mixed in. Cos she just won't drink or pee. That doesn't seem good. She's been here 24 hrs. Oh well, she'll have to go eventually.

Right now she's asleep on the futon, with her little cone head. She just had a nightmare and was breathing too fast. She has a cold and keeps sneezing on the cone. And I have to put stuff in her ears and on her belly, and give her a pill twice a day. She deals with it. She wags her tail every once in a while. She seems to really like Warren. She'll just go right up and sit by him and wag her tail. I think she'll be really cuddly once she feels more comfortable, and once her face is cleaner.


I hope everything is going well. I just wanted to let you know some basic stuff, some of which we already covered over the phone.

I've been feeding him 3 cups a day of Pedigree puppy food (1 cup 3x/day). He has to go outside right after he eats and will usually pee and poop. He needs to go out to pee often, especially when he's playing, and he usually doesn't go to the door to ask.

He loves rawhide but it gives him diarrhea.

You already figured out his three "commands" (sit, down and shake). We also worked briefly on lying down on a mat. (Not on cue, but he was going over and lying down on it pretty consistently for a click/treat.) He understands the clicker method quite well. If you aren't familiar with clicker training, the HS offers a clicker class. He would be a great clicker dog because he offers a lot of behaviors.

I gave him a frozen stuffed kong in his crate every morning when I went to work. I put a pee pad in one end and a towel in the other (it's an extra large crate). He was really good about using the pee pads, but recently he started chewing them up. I don't know what your work schedules are like, but if you only need to leave him for a few hours at a time, he can and will hold it (as long as he's in the crate). He slept in a crate in the bedroom at night, with a nice cushy bed. (We have a crate in every room!) He can make it through the night without going outside.

We gave him lots of stuff to tear up and destroy, like cardboard boxes, plastic milk jugs, etc. He's teething so I'm sure he'll be wanting to rip up lots of stuff.

We would love to get together at Frick anytime. We are there most weekends anyway (although we'll be out of town this weekend).

Sorry you didn't get any info on the obedience classes. I thought they would also have given you a certificate for the chip because otherwise you can't change the contact info, but maybe that's how they prefer it. I'm not sure.

If you have any questions or problems, you can call us any time. Dex is a part of the family around here.


"Dex is doing great!! He asks to go outside & he's eating like a Hoover. Oona won't stop playing with him, I have to peel her off of him. Zero loves him too!!! Thankfully they all 3 get along great. Of course, Chuck & I adore him! He has settled into our little family with no problem.

"I'm going to take some pictures of Dex (hopefully this weekend) so you can post them on your site.

"I couldn't reach anyone at the Humane Society about the obedience lessons for Dex. If you have a contact person, please let me know.

"If you ever want to get together at Frick Park, give us a call any time & we would be happy to bring the dogs to the park.

"Thanks again for everything Amy."

I'm glad Dex is doing so well! We miss him so much! I get attached to all the dogs I foster, but Dex is truly special. I'm so glad he found you guys.

I'm also glad that O is holding her own with Dex. I was a little worried about how he was playing with her at the park -- very similar to what he used to do with Rufus (poor Rufus!). Pit bulls have such a high pain tolerance that it can be hard for them to learn how rough is too rough. I quicked his nail once and I didn't even realize it because he never yelped or even pulled his foot away. Plus he was taken from his litter too early to learn how to play with his littermates. Puppy class should be a big help for his socialization with other dogs. (I'm not at all worried about his interactions with people.) It's good that he has Z and O to help him learn how to play nicely. Brin was a pretty good big brother to him too.

I called the shelter on Monday before I heard from you because I wanted to see if his surgery went okay and if you were able to pick him up.

I would love to get together at the park. Thanks for indulging me! This weekend's no good, and we might be away the following weekend too (Nov. 8-9) -- not sure about that yet. But I definitely want to get together again.

Thanks so much for keeping in touch, and for giving Dex a wonderful home.


I still miss Dex terribly. I think I made a huge mistake. We both are just so messed up about it. It feels like somebody's missing. It never felt like that with the other fosters. And Candy's no help, she's such a lump. =) I know he went to an awesome home, and I helped to turn him into an ambassador for his breed. And I can help another one some day. Still, I feel like I screwed up. Oh well, it's a moot point now.

I haven't cleaned the house in weeks. Maybe it's good that Dex is gone. Candy leaves clumps of black hair on the carpet, reminds me of someone I used to know.

"Today I finally got the information about the obedience classes from the Humane Society. Orientation is this Saturday at noon without Dex, so that works out really well. I've been giving Dex a Kong toy filled with treats & another big bone to satisfy his chewing needs. He's doing great. Whenever you have a free weekend give us a ring so we can get together. Thanks again for everything."


I'll have Candy when we come to visit, no crate (she doesn't need one). Don't worry about her, she'll just lie down and sleep til we get back. She'll have her cone on. She doesn't actually go to the bathroom so don't worry about it. (She goes about once per day so far.)