October 25, 2001
"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."
October 29, 2001
October 31, 2001
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.
November 1, 2001
Lucky was just spayed this afternoon and I will pick her up Fri or Sat.The humane society will have a table at the expo, so I will most likely be there with whatever foster I have at the time.
November 3, 2001
We picked up Lucky last night. She is really sweet. She hasn't been here long enough to really tell what she's gonna be like, but so far she's quiet, housetrained, doesn't get into stuff, and gets along with everybody. She tries to bury stuff. She pretends she's pushing dirt over it with her nose. Too cute!
I crated her last night when we went to eat and she was fine with it. But I'm pretty sure she's not gonna need to be crated. She slept in the dog bed all night. And we left her gated in the kitchen when we went to the store today, mainly because I didn't want Echo bugging her. I think she'll have the run of the house now though. (unless her behavior changes on day 10!) Oh, she's burying her bone again!
We went to the park this morning. Lucky pulled a lot but eventually she was responding to her name and coming back to get treats. She was fine with everybody at the dog park. No issues with this one (so far).
November 4, 2001
November 7, 2001
Lucky smells like a kennel. I never gave her a bath cos I wasn't sure how long I should wait after her surgery. But I might do that tonight.
November 11, 2001
We went to the park yesterday and again today. We have to make the most of it on the weekends because we can't go during the week anymore until the days start getting longer again. The dogs were good. We went on a different trail and eventually went up to the off leash area. Lucky is doing really well. I keep her on the flexi when we're on the trails and she has already developed a really good check-in behavior. She runs back to me on her own a lot, and when I call her. It helps that I always take really good treats when we go to the park. She is good at the fenced area too. She loves to run with the other dogs and she seems to get along with them really well. She usually ignores the people, but she doesn't seem shy at all.
I tried to clip her nails the other day and she really didn't want to let me touch her feet. So I've been trying to desentize her to having her legs and feet handled. She is doing tons better after a couple sessions of click/treat for sitting still while I touch her feet. I started doing it a little at the park today and she started offering me her paw! I wasn't even trying to teach her to shake hands but she's doing it consistently now, and she seems a lot less freaked out by being handled. She could use more work but we're definitely on the right track.
Next weekend is that super pet expo thing in Monroeville. Maybe we'll be able to find a home for her there. She's just about perfect. She's housetrained, affectionate, gets along with everybody, and doesn't get into stuff -- as long as somebody's here with her. But she absolutely needs to be crated when she's left alone. She still barks a little in the crate but she settles down in less than 5 minutes (according to Warren, who is still in bed when I crate her before I leave in the mornings). So as long as somebody is willing to use a crate, she'll be a wonderful dog for somebody.
She does a couple cute things. She tries to bury stuff with invisible dirt. And she rubs her face on furniture and stuff after she eats. And she backs up to us and rubs her butt and her side against our legs. She was doing this a lot at the park. I don't know if she was insecure or just itchy.
I hate the haircut but I guess she was pretty matted when they found her. I think she'll be cuter when her hair grows back in.
I've had her for a week already! Somebody at the park asked if she is a Portuguese Water Dog, I guess cos she's black and has a curly tail. But they have curly hair too. I should call her a Portuguese Terrier.
She keeps licking her stitches but I think everything is healing correctly anyway. I just told her to stop licking and she gave me a look like, "What? I wasn't doing anything."
November 18, 2001
Back from the pet expo... and we still have Lucky. Lots of people petted her and gave her treats but nobody was interested in adopting any of the animals. She did really well. She interacted with a ton of people and was good with everybody, even little kids. She was really tired by the time we left and she's sleeping now. I'm tired too. We were there about 5 hrs. I bathed her this morning cos she was dirty from going to the park yesterday. Everyone thought she was very fresh-smelling and soft.
I assume Lucky will have to come home for Thanksgiving. She's housetrained and stuff so it shouldn't be a big problem. We thought of dropping her off at the shelter but I don't think anybody's gonna adopt a dog over Thanksgiving, so she might as well just hang out with us.
November 29, 2001
December 2, 2001
December 5, 2001
I placed an ad for Lucky. It started today. I'm mad because the girl wrote it differently than I said, plus there is another ad for almost the same dog, but better.
Mine says: terrier mix 4 yr old fem, black, 35#, house trained.
The way she wrote it cost me a bunch of characters and I had to take something out to make it fit. And I know from last time that people don't know that # means pounds. I don't know why they don't have a way to submit it online. I will mail it in next time.
The ad directly below it says: TERRIER Mix fem 1yr 30lbs. beautiful very affectionate & gentle, nds gd home
So nobody is gonna call on mine when there is a younger, identical dog that is also beautiful, very affectionate, and gentle. I wish I would have paid the extra money for another line or two. I feel stupid now. They didn't have a cheaper rate for non-profits (the other paper does but we typically don't get as many responses from there). So I wanted to keep it as cheap as possible since it's not like anybody's gonna reimburse me or anything. The minimum was $15, but each extra line was only $3 more, so I should have just written more. Darn it. I bet I won't get much response at all. Wasted $15 and I'll probably end up just taking her back next weekend and hoping for the best.
Okay, so here is what the ad says: terrier mix 4 yr old fem. black, 35#, house trained.
I got the first phone call. She had two questions.
1) Is she housetrained?
2) How big is she?
Now I remember why I hate doing it this way! Actually I think she was confused about the two different ads because she mentioned the 1 yr old terrier mix. So probably everybody that calls will be confused. My plan is to direct everyone to the website as early as possible in the conversation.
December 8, 2001
I've had some calls off and on but nothing promising. Sometimes they want a smaller dog, or a bigger dog, or a younger dog. The biggest problem has been that most of them have little kids and I'm just not sure how she'd be. I know she would be fine with older kids. But she gets possessive of her stuffed toy and I don't think that would be a good combination with a little kid. I don't think she'd bite but I know she'd growl if a kid tried to take her stuffie away. Her initial evaluation said that she guards her toys, but I didn't see any indication of it for a long time. Apparently she only guards toys that are really special -- like her stuffed bone with a squeaker in it. Echo would have eaten the stuffing out of it but Lucky just carries it around. It's great for when she gets excited because I can give it to her and it keeps her from barking!
I think if I don't get any decent leads this week, I'll try taking her back to the shelter next weekend. Depending on how many dogs are there, she would have a pretty good chance of getting adopted. She's so darn cute.
We went to the park this morning, even thought it was kinda raining. We didn't stay long but it was enough to wear the dogs out. They've been sleeping all day.
December 9, 2001
I had a bunch of calls about Lucky but it's always the same story: "I was looking for something a little smaller." I really don't think she's a big dog. She's actually one of the smaller fosters I've had. But whatever. And like, if the ad says she's 35 pounds and you want something smaller than that... why would you call??
Lucky likes tennis balls. She was playing all by herself today, throwing it and then chasing it and running back to her crate to chew the fuzz off. She a crate nut. She loves her crate.
December 10, 2001
I just spoke with a man who might be interested in adopting Lucky. He said his last dog died in 1994 and he hasn't been able to think about getting another one until now. He said he likes to get dogs that nobody else wants. They have a 14 year old daughter. I decided not to refer him to the website because, for some reason, nobody ever gets back in touch with me after checking out her pictures (if they bothered to check the website at all). I am thinking that maybe the pictures do not do her justice and she is just the type of dog you need to meet to appreciate. He sounded extremely interested in her, so I took a chance and asked them to meet us at the HS tomorrow evening. For all I know, he will fail to show up, but he did sound very interested, so hopefully it will work out. I have my fingers crossed and I will keep you updated!
Of course I haven't actually gotten around to sending out any cards yet. From now on I plan to either get them to write their address down for me, or I will just make a copy of their adoption application.
December 11, 2001
Yesterday I got a call about Lucky. It sounded promising because they just have a 14 year old daughter (no young kids) and they thought she was a good size. It was weird but I got a vibe that they were planning to take the dog sight unseen. So I decided to meet them at the shelter so that they could adopt her immediately if they wanted her. And they did! Lucky really wasn't doing a good job selling herself. She was acting spastic, which was really a shame because she's not normally like that. She kept wandering around the room, sniffing stuff, and basically ignoring everyone. But they liked her and they adopted her on the spot. Everyone at the shelter was really happy that Lucky finally found a good home. She will most likely be sleeping in bed with the daughter tonight. I don't think they are going to use a crate when they leave her home alone, but she won't be alone much, and hopefully they won't have any problems.
June 1, 2002
Hard to believe it's been almost six months. Sorry not to have emailed you sooner. Lucky is very happy with us and we are very glad we have her. She is quite a protective watchdog and has become daddy's girl. For some reason I am her favorite. From what we are able to determine she seems to be part pit bull. She has the size and shape of one and many of the behaviors. The other half we are still trying to figure out. All we can guess is something black and hairy. I have attached a picture. We have more but I'm at my dad's house and this is the only picture I had with me.
Hi Dean! Thanks a lot for the picture! I just got back from vacation and I'm still wading through lots of email. I'm really happy that Lucky found such a wonderful home. Kind of curious why you think she might be part pit. I definitely remember her as having a very terrier-like personality so it's certainly a possibility, but I was thinking more like schnauzer or something like that. I have a pit mix and I love the breed but I don't remember Lucky having the wiggly pit bull butt!
Thanks again for the picture and update. It really means a lot to me to know that one of my "kids" is doing well!
June 5, 2002
You might be right about Lucky being part Schnauzer rather than pit bull. I'm not sure how big the biggest Schnauzers get or even what they call them. Lucky has a very broad ribcage and is very stocky for her size. That plus her fondness for chewing the hell out of things and roughhousing is what made me think she has pit in her. I've never owned a pit bull so I'm not an expert on them. I guess we'll never know for sure. I'm just glad we have her. She was needed in our lives.
August 1, 2002
Little bit of advice, concerning Lucky. Lucky's being good dog, very protective when you're laying like *ERRRRRRRRRR* and wags her tail, especially her Daddy, more so then me. She only asks my mom to go out. LOL! Question.. please answer me when you can, how did you cut her nails? We've tried so many things but she practically bites your hand off. She snipps and snarls. We did have a previous dog, Stanley and it didn't bother him, he let you cut his nails. How can I cut her nails?! Do I have to take her to a pet parlor or to the vet? Please e-mail me back.
Dani, Darlene, Dean, and Lucky
P.S. I have attached some recent snaps of Lucky.
I love the pictures! I can't believe how much different she looks with all that hair!
It sounds like Lucky doesn't like to have her feet handled. So, her nails need to be cut pretty soon... take her to the vet or groomer for now. Warn them that she might try to bite and don't be offended if they want to muzzle her. I don't recommend trying to hold her down yourself at home to just get it over with. This could set you back in terms of your long-term goal. Let a professional take care of the immediate problem, and then you can concentrate on desensitizing her to having her feet handled.
Get some really good treats that she never gets at any other time. Briefly touch her somewhere she tolerates (maybe her back or shoulder) and give her a treat. Repeat until she accepts this touching with no problem. Now, touch her shoulder and move your hand slightly onto her leg, and give a yummy treat. You get the idea. Break it down into tiny steps, and repeat each step until she is relaxed and doesn't nip or pull away.
Eventually (over multiple sessions -- not all at once) you can work up to touching her foot, holding her foot, touching her nail, etc. Go gradually and slowly enough that she never gets uncomfortable. If she jerks her foot away or tries to bite, you went too far too fast. Back up to where she was comfortable, and go more slowly this time.
If she's afraid of the nail clippers themselves, you can desensitize her to them by just leaving them someplace where she can get used to looking at them. I did this with a little foster dog who was afraid of the brush. I left it on the floor and she had to walk by it dozens of times each day. She got used to seeing it and didn't spook away from it after
After she's comfortable with the foot handling and the clippers separately, you can combine them. Will she let you touch her shoulder with the clippers? her leg? near her foot? on her foot? on one nail? Pretend you're clipping; hold her foot in one hand and wave the clippers around with the other hand.
When you actually start to clip the nails, just take off a tiny sliver at a time. Make sure you know where it's safe to cut. The vet or groomer can show you if you aren't sure. It's a little harder with dogs that have dark nails because you can't see the quick.
Give it a shot and let me know if you make any progress, or if you have any questions. I know it's a lot to digest! =)
Thanks for taking such good care of my girl!
August 3, 2002
She loves pet-pets. She loves brushy. She doesn't growl when you try to take her food. She doesn't really growl when you try to take a toy. She usually thinks you're playing. Sometimes she'll walk up to you, drop her toy in your lap and wag her tail and give you this dumb look she gives you. The only thing she hates is the clippers. She lets you touch her paw to a certain point and the she growls. We recently got the computer moved here to home. And I'm on like all the time, she comes up to me and wags her tail and sits her head in my lap. And I'll pick her up and sit her on my lap. She'll sit like I sit and she'll just lay there and "type" on the computer. Hehe. I printed out your e-mail and I will show it to my Mom and Dad. Thanks for your help Amy. =)
That's good if she already lets you handle her feet a little. Make sure she's comfortable with really having them touched in different ways. Make sure you can hold her paw for a couple seconds without her trying to yank it away. See if she lets you play with her toes. And then you can just start getting her used to the clippers like I described in the other message. It should go pretty fast once she understands what you want her to do.
One of my dogs doesn't like it when I touch her feet, so sometimes when we're just sitting around watching TV, I'll just kinda mess with her feet a little bit so she gets used to it. So you might try that, too. Good luck!
August 24, 2002
All day today, Lucky has been like hacking when she gets exciting, she sounds like she's choking, but as soon as she calms down, she's ok. What's wrong with her? My Dad said we don't have the money to take her to the vet. Is she going to be OK? Is this normal? Please help.
No, it does not sound normal. It could turn out to be nothing, but it could also be something serious. She should see a vet. If you are a member of the humane society, they can do the exam for free and will only charge for medicine or whatever. It is $25 to become a member. The Animal Rescue League also has a low cost clinic and you don't have to be a member. I think a trip to the vet is in order if the problem continues.
I hope everything is okay.
From My Mom: She only gets this when she digs in the garbage. It could be coffee grinds.
Could that be it?
I have no idea. =) If it happens when she gets excited (and hasn't been eating something she shouldn't) I still think it could be something serious. If it only happens when she gets into the garbage... find a way to keep her out of the garbage from now on! We have a can with a lid on it. If she was in the garbage there's a chance she got something
stuck in her throat. Keep an eye on her and see if she seems better tomorrow.
My rule of thumb is... if a dog isn't acting right, I just take them to the vet. Even if it ends up being nothing, it gives you peace of mind. Good luck.
Well she just ate a few minutes a go and she seems to be fine now. Whatever was stuck must of went down with her food.
December 15, 2002
It was a year last week that we got Lucky from you. She is alive and quite well, except that lately she has been scratching and chewing at what we believe to be dry skin. We gave her a serious haircut to see if that would help but it hasn't. The next thing we try will be to get some dog shampoo for dry skin. If that doesn't work we'll have to bite the bullet and take her down the hill to the vet for some professional advice. I'm hesitant to get her soaking wet in this weather but I guess if we pick a warm day and keep her indoors for several hours she'll be ok. She also has picked up a bad habit lately of running off when we let her out to go to the bathroom. My best guess is that she's tracking wild animals or maybe she's in love with the neighbors goat. Now we use a leash instead of just letting her freelance. One day I let her chase a flock of wild turkeys that was passing through my yard. That was funny. I never knew turkeys could move so fast. I told some people about it and somebody said that turkeys killed one of their dogs once by pecking its neck til it bled to death, so I won't be doing that again.
D found a fascinating book at the local library. You should definitely read it if you haven't already. It's called Dogs that know when their owners are coming home by Rupert Sheldrake. You can get it by request at any library in Allegheny County courtesy of the RAD tax that those cheap bastids squawked so much about a few years back. I sure get my money's worth for the extra 1% sales tax I pay. (I have a season ticket for the Pirates). I actually seriously insist that you read this book. Any animal lover should. Now I know my dog Sam was just as smart as I thought he was. He died in 1978 and I still miss him. I have tears in my eyes right now just from thinking about him. There are times when I can't wait to die because I know that the instant I do I will get to see my mother and Sam again. Like I always tell Lucky and my cat Tigger, animals good, people bad. Whenever people mess with my head I always tell my nonhuman friends over and over-animals good, people bad. No, I'm not a psycho. No dog ever flew a jetliner into a building or raped an altar boy or stole people's pensions.
I'm glad Lucky is doing well. I have heard that oatmeal shampoo can help with dry, itchy skin. I just bathed three dogs yesterday (our two plus the current foster) with tea tree oil shampoo, which is supposed to do the same thing. They weren't scratching but they were all dry and flaky. It seems to have helped.
I'm surprised that you were able to let Lucky off leash to go potty. I never trusted my dogs enough to try that (before we got the fence). I worry too much about cars. (Not much of a wild turkey threat here in North Braddock.) =) I do let them off leash at the park, but only when we are far away from traffic.
I am having a bit of a dilemma with my foster dog, Murray. He was placed with a family for a few days, but he barked at their grandmother and freaked them all out, so now he is back with me. He's a really fun and gentle dog, and he gets along so well with *both* of my dogs (which is rare). I have been toying with the idea of keeping him. But I know that I can't. The thought of having three "full-time" dogs is a bit overwhelming. But I need to find a really special family for him (not one that will bring him back if he barks at somebody). Warren says I have all the signs of becoming one of those psycho "dog collectors" (you know, the ones you see in the paper with hundreds of pets) because I don't believe anybody else is qualified to take care of them.
I'll have to check out the book you recommended. It sounds good. I've read a bunch of dog books but somehow missed that one. =) And I definitely agree with your comment, "animals good, people bad." I have more animal friends than human ones, and I like it that way!
Thanks for the update on the pupster. Tell everyone I said hi and Merry Christmas. And give Lucky some scratchies from me!
Tea tree shampoo-we use that on our own hair occasionally. MY GOD IT STINKS!!!! I have decided that I would rather itch than reek. I guess this time of year many mammals get itchy from the dry weather. Maybe we'll try it on Lucky tomorrow. That smell is enough to make her run away from home. We let her out in the back yard and she has never went toward the front yard where the road is. Roadkill pets ain't cool.
January 3, 2003
Hey Amy, it's D. Today we've been having some problems with Lucky. She is being very vicious towards us and we havn't even done anyhing to her. We yell at her to stop growling and she bites us. She bit my mom's foot and bit my hand. She drew blood. I can barely type my hand hurts so bad. What can be causing her to act so vicious?
I'm really sorry to hear that you are having problems. I wanted to call you but I can't find your phone number. You need to contact the trainers at the humane society. You can get some advice from them over the phone, and they also might want to evaluate her in "person." Please call [info removed]. She is in charge of training and education. She has more experience with behavioral issues than I do and will be able to offer you advice and possibly some training. It would also be a good idea to take Lucky to a vet to make sure she doesn't have a physical problem that is causing her to act differently.
I have actually just left a message for her within the past half hour for a similar problem. My current foster dog has not bitten but has shown some aggression (barking and snapping). Do not despair, but also please don't take this problem lightly. Please get a professional trainer involved so you can make an educated decision about how to proceed from here.
Hope your hand is feeling better.
January 4, 2003
I am Lucky's attorney and I am entering a plea of not guilty to the charge of a malicious unprovoked attack on humans. I wasn't home when it happened but I'm certain that there were extenuating circumstances. For instance, it is a known fact that Lucky was trained in her previous life to defend all sleeping humans from all other humans. This includes anyone lying down anywhere, anyone pretending to sleep, and anyone occupying a place that she percieves to be a nest. Lucky has come to understand that I am her master and that D and D are my other pets. When D got out the water mister and said "I'm gonna spray your face" Lucky misunderstood her. She thought she said "I'm gonna spray you with mace" and she had a flashback to the time her previous owner had a run-in with the cops and both of them got maced. At that point she snapped and started biting. She also told me that she was protecting her master's lair and if it had been another room she wouldn't have been quite so short tempered. She says that since she has had no other biting incidents in the year that she has been here, it is quite obvious that it is the human animals that need training and discipline, not her. Case closed.
Thanks for the update. It's always a tough call, because it's entirely natural for dogs to bite, and sort of unfair of us to not just let them. =) Still, it's definitely something to keep an eye on. Lucky has that "terrier" personality. She is feisty and won't back down. It wouldn't hurt to be a little extra careful anytime you have visitors over (especially if little kids ever visit), because most people see it as a black and white issue, and you could have a real lawsuit on your hands. (Not saying I believe it's right -- just that, if she ever drew blood on anybody outside the family, things could go bad pretty quickly.)
Still, I think if she had wanted to do major damage, she would have. Dogs tend to bite exactly as hard as they meant to, and not any more or less than they think is necessary. =)
I'm not at all saying that you have a dangerous dog on your hands. It's just the safest policy to always say "see a vet and a pro trainer." I remember Lucky had some other issues with toy guarding and not wanting her feet handled, so I know she can be a touchy girl sometimes. Not necessarily a big issue, as long as you don't allow any lawsuit-happy folks to mess with her.
I have aggression on the brain these days anyway, because my current foster dog barked and jumped on my grandmother over Christmas (she swears it "attacked" and "bit" her), and now she is telling all our friends and relatives about this dangerous dog that I am harboring.
Anyway, I hope you were able to get Lucky's itchiness under control.
December 2, 2003
"It's been a long while since I last e-mailed you about Luckie. I had you on my mind recently and thought I'd give you a little update. Luckie is doing great. She's in need of a hair-cut and bath, but she'll be getting it soon. She's starting to get a little chubby, but compared to how stick-thin she was when we first got her, it makes her seem like a cow. (lol) Hmm. Can't think of anything else to tell you. Well, about Luckie anyways. If you have any questions about her, let me know. I have enclosed a recent picture of her."
Thanks so much for writing! Wow, I can't believe it's two years since Lucky was here with us. She looks great. I've been threatening to have a little get-together at the dog park for all my former fosters and their new families, but I just never get around to it. Maybe this spring...
Do you ever go to the dog park in Frick Park? It's pretty nice, fully fenced, and the dogs love it. We go there pretty often. Not so much now that it's cold and yucky out. After a long break from fostering early this year, I got back into it again by taking TWO foster dogs at once (a boxer and a pit bull puppy). We placed them both, and now I have two more. Tell your folks I said hi, and give Lucky a special hug from me!
"You should definitely have a reunion of sorts. I've never been to any dog park. Luckie's kind of deprived when it comes to getting to actually go places. She goes on car rides a lot, but rarely gets out and runs about. The one time she did was about a month ago. We were picking up my friend, L, to come spend the weekend. Luckie wriggled her way out of the car and ran into her house. L herself has a dog, X, who looks like a big puffy white cloud. Luckie and X somewhat bonded for those brief minutes. Sadly, X passed away a few weeks back. I was attached to her myself, so when L told me, I broke down into tears. We'll miss her.
"Your current dogs are freakin' adorable. Candy is ¸ber cute! I want her! Too bad we can't adopt her. I don't think my parents would want that right now. =("
I wish you could adopt her too! I know it might be too soon, but if L's family is ready to think about getting another dog, maybe they'd be interested in Candy. (Hey, it couldn't hurt to ask!)
"Yeah, that is a nice idea. I don't think they want a dog right now though. L said something about them getting a kitty. Which is even better, I LOVE kitties!"