September 21, 2000
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.
September 22, 2000
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.
September 23, 2000
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.
September 24, 2000
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.
September 25, 2000
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."
September 26, 2000
September 27, 2000
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.
September 28, 2000
September 29, 2000
October 1, 2000
I took Ranger for a long (half hour) walk this morning. I went the same way i always do, up Brinton/Wolfe and then left onto Mary St. I like to walk there because it's quiet and there isn't much traffic. Some white haired lady was getting into her car and she looked at us and i thought, oh, she's gonna want to come over and pet the dog and talk about dogs. Nope. She said, "You ain't allowed to walk dogs here. If i see you again i'm gonna report you." I stopped and gave her a bewildered look. I said, "But... it's a street. I'm just walking my dog on a street." She ignored me and got in her car. Boy was i mad! I wanted to go up to her and demand proof of a law that says i cannot walk a dog on Mary Street. And i wanted to know what sort of official person she was planning to report me to. I know they aren't allowed to have dogs in those apartments, but that's not the same as walking a dog on the street. I've been walking dogs there a couple times a month for two and a half years, and nobody has ever said anything before, except, "Hi."
On the way home, some ugly little dog growled and rushed at us. I yelled at him and waved my arm at him, and he left. His clueless owner was calling him back into his not-quite-fenced yard. Ranger just ignored him. Good boy! Dogs barked at us the entire way home. On the weekends, people around here get up and put their dogs in the yard and then go back to sleep for a couple more hours. And the bored dogs just bark and bark.
Brin's on my list today. When i was going to sleep last night, Ranger tried to lie down in the dog bed. Brin (who was on the real bed and wouldn't sleep in the dog bed for a million dollars) decided that Ranger was not allowed in the dog bed. He jumped up and snapped at him, really nasty. I won't tolerate that kind of behavior, so i took Brin and put him in his crate. I wasn't planning to leave him there all night, i just wanted him to see that there are consequences to snapping at other dogs. He started whining. And he didn't stop. I never let a dog out of a crate for whining because it teaches them that if they just whine long enough, they'll eventually get their way. He whined for several hours. What a spoiled brat! I can't believe i let him get so spoiled. Finally he was quiet for a few minutes and i let him out. He lay down at the bottom of the bed and didn't bug me all night.
G wrote: "mean ol' lady. tell her that's okay cos on your street there's a law that mean old ladies aren't allowed to walk there. so she'd better stay away."
K wrote: "stupid mean old coot lady! geez, i wonder what her problem is? she must've had some traumatic experience with dogs or something. i think if i had had all the trouble you've had in that neighborhood, over dogs, i would've left by now. you guys are moving sometime, right? cos it's not like that in other places, at least i don't think it is."
The humane society vet called yesterday about Ranger's pee. She said it was still bloody but there was no sign of infection, so she thinks he might have stones. She was gonna have us drop him off at the shelter so they could get more urine and possibly have him x-rayed for stones. But i told her he definitely improved on the medicine and maybe he just needs more time. I haven't had to take him out in the middle of the night for a couple nights now, and he hasn't peed in the house in a bunch of days. So she decided to give him more of the Baytril and check another sample on Tuesday, and then we'll see if we still need to do x-rays.
"if it's stones, does that hurt him? i hope he's not uncomfortable. you can never tell with dogs."
He doesn't act like it hurts. And like i said, he doesn't have to go outside nearly as often now. I'm pretty sure it was just an infection and it's taking a while for it to get completely better. The fact that it did get a lot better with the medication makes me think that's all it is. Then again, i'm not a vet. =) The vet said the second pee sample didn't show any sign of infection but was still bloody, so i could be wrong.I put the dogs in the bedroom so Keek could come visit for a while. He's sitting on top of the AC looking out the window. Ranger is whining cos he can't see me. Remember how King used to carry my sneakers around? Well, it must be a German Shepherd thing. Ranger had one this morning. He didn't chew it, he just carried it.
October 2, 2000
Anyhow, the really amazing thing is that this was all done with praise as the only reward. I have tried clicker training with him and rewarding with treats, but he's scared of the clicker, and he loses his concentration when food is involved. So i tried just saying, "Good!" as a marker, and then petting and praising him as the reward. And he did great.So now i'm wondering, is this just a German Shepherd trait? They are bred to be obedient, biddable working dogs. Or did somebody spend the time to train him? If so, don't you think they'd be looking for him and wanting him back?
October 3, 2000
Gail wrote: "thanks. we appreciate it. but, what if he's left handed? then he's doing it right, right? how did he end up there? was he lost? he's young, right? it does seem strange. well, i bet somebody will be really glad to get him, either way. it will be impressive when you do that write up for him and say how smart he is."
He was a stray so nobody knows anything about him. He's probably one or two years old. He's fully grown and he's not hyper like a puppy, but he doesn't act totally like a grown-up dog. Hs teeth are clean and not worn down (supposedly that's how they guess the age).
I guess since he didn't have a collar on, his people must not have cared too much. Then again, maybe he slipped out of his collar or something. Who knows. I think most people stop looking for their lost pets too soon. I mean, they're out there SOMEWHERE. Chances are that somebody has seen them.
But... Ranger acts like he was abused. He cowers and cringes if you raise your voice. I tried to hand him a toy once and he thought i was gonna hit him. So maybe he didn't want to be found by his owner. Maybe he ran away on purpose. But then again, Echo acts like that and we never hit her. Some dogs are just sensitive.
We took another pee sample to the shelter tonight. I'm sure getting tired of doing that. Traffic was bad this time, too.
October 4, 2000
Hard to believe they would go to this much trouble for a stray dog, huh? But he's a nice dog, and somebody will be glad to have him someday. I just hope he gets better. At least he doesn't have to go outside every couple of hours anymore. So i do think there was an infection and the medication helped. But i guess there are other factors too.
October 7, 2000
We are gonna drop him off at the shelter on Monday evening and they are taking him someplace for x rays on Tuesday. Hopefully we'll be able to pick him up Tuesday evening. I feel bad for him cos i know he's gonna be freaked out.
Keek has gotten to that stage where he's sick of watching out for Ranger, so he just does whatever he wants, even when Ranger's around. Not good! Ranger seems to want to play with him. He wags his tail and whines. But he always tries to put his mouth on the cat and that is not good.
The foster dogs always become more difficult to live with somewhere around day 10-14. They start feeling better and get kinda hyper. Ranger is very mouthy and jumpy now. He's weird. He acts like he absolutely can't be separated from me, like if i go into another room and he can't follow me. But then when he has the opportunity to go wherever he wants, he almost never ends up in the same room with me. Like right now, i don't have the gate up, and he's lying at the top of the stairs. If i put the gate up so he COULDN'T come in here with me, he'd cry. I don't get it.
Did you ever see Brin do that thing where he tucks his butt and runs? He's normally really mellow, but every once in a while he gets this mischievous look on his face and you can tell he needs to run. He tucks his tail, and it seems like he tucks his whole butt, and scoots around kinda low to the ground, and spins in circles. Basically it looks like he's having a fit. It's very cute.
Well, anyway, up til now, Brin hasn't been friendly with Ranger. Echo will play tug with him sometimes but Brin just tells him to go away. A little while ago, i let them all outside to pee. All of a sudden, Brin got that look on his face. He ran up to Ranger, jumped in his face, tucked his butt, spun, and ran. And the chase was on. The two of them played for a couple minutes and they never got growly or nasty at all. It was really cute. I wish i had it on video.
I know you asked if we were planning to come home anytime soon. I'm not sure if i'll have Ranger or not. It depends what they find out at the vet and whether they need to do surgery or something. If he comes i'll bring the crate, so no big deal. He's housetrained now and pretty well-behaved, just a little whiney.
October 8, 2000
Karen wrote: "how's ol' brin butt tucker today? hehe!"
He stole Ranger's bone. I gave them each a rawhide and i was really surprised that Ranger finished before Brin. Then Echo got done too, and Brin was still chewing. Then i realized that Brin had finished his and apparently ate most of Ranger's too. Piggy.They were crazy today, especially Brin. I was throwing a ball for Ranger (upstairs) and Brin decided that was his most favorite ball ever (he NEVER played with it before).
October 9, 2000
Poor Biggie Size. (Biggie Size is Warren's nickname for Ranger.) We took him back tonight so he can get his xrays tomorrow. We waited until close to closing time so i could hang out with him for a while first. He played with Brin and Echo, and he played ball with me, and then we took him back. He was not happy. He went into the building fine, but once we got inside, he started to shake and he leaned up against me. Everybody fussed over him and kept saying how much better he looks. That made me happy. They got his old kennel ready for him and gave him some clean blankies, and we left him there. G was there and she said she'll call me tomorrow as soon as she knows anything.
October 10, 2000
October 11, 2000
They didn't neuter him. I didn't talk to the vet, but we figured he still has an infection and they didn't want to do surgery because of that. So he has to take more antibiotics and he's supposed to be neutered next week. It's the same antibiotic (Baytril) but he's taking twice as much now. He was already on it for two weeks and now he's on it for another two weeks. And in 2-3 weeks they want to do another urinalysis.If i had known he wasn't going to be neutered today, i would have gotten him last night, instead of making him stay there for an extra day for no reason (although Keek enjoyed the break). But he's back now, and he's happy. He won't eat and he has diarrhea. Apparently being at the kennel is very stressful for dogs. But he'll be back to normal soon. He just wagged his tail.
October 17, 2000
Remember how Ranger was starting fights over food? Well, he's getting worse. It was kinda my fault cos i should have known better. This morning i tried to give him his canned food in the crate, but he turned his nose up at it and just lay there looking unhappy. For some reason he won't eat in his crate anymore. Brin and Echo had already finished their breakfast and they were upstairs, so i figured it was safe to let him out of the crate to eat. Wrong. Brin and Echo heard me put the bowl down, and they ran down and tried to eat his food. He totally freaked on poor Echo, just like he did at home, only worse. Even after he got her away from the food, he just kept biting her neck. She was squealing like a little pig and trying to get away. I screamed and whacked him and grabbed his scruff and hauled him off her. She was fine, not hurt at all, just slobbery, and she didn't seem too freaked out after it was over, although she did stay away from him and the bowl (which i quickly picked up).
When i was leaving for work, i got out a handful of biscuits, just like i do every morning. Ranger decided Brin and Echo aren't allowed to have biscuits and he snapped at them both.
I decided he has to go away. He is going to be neutered tomorrow so we have to take him back tonight anyway, and we just aren't going to pick him up. I told them he's not aggressive towards people, just dogs, and only when there is food around. And i told them that if he really runs out of time, they should call me and i'll do what i can, even if i have to keep him crated almost constantly for a couple days. But it just isn't worth putting the other "kids" through all of that to try to save some dog that isn't even mine. Especially poor Echo, as sensitive as she is.
R said a couple people called in response to the ad, but they were not appropriate homes for this dog. One was an 85 year old one-legged guy in a wheelchair. Another was a lady with 2 and 3 year old kids, living in an apartment. And another guy said he had a nice insulated dog house and an electric fence. I feel guilty about taking him back to the shelter, because i know he'll get sick and won't eat, but i did what i could for him. I kept him safe for almost a month. She said she had somebody who was going to take him when we went away (although now we're not going) but she thinks that person won't take him now because of the food guarding.
It's depressing, but a person can only do so much.
Karen wrote: "something about him just scared me."
You're just not used to big dogs. The good thing is, he hasn't done anything even remotely scary to people. He's submissive to me. Moreso than my own dogs, even. He's just a troubled young man. I can totally understand why he has food issues. He was starved for who knows how long. But aside from that, he's been totally normal. He puts his head in my lap and looks up at me. If i ignore him, he lies down and waits until i'm ready to give him attention. He hasn't been whining and pacing (except when he's in the kitchen with Keek sitting up on the fridge). He's been totally normal and not agitated like he was when we were all crowded together at home. And i was hoping that he'd quit being "guardy" when we got back to N. Braddock, but he didn't.
I do feel guilty. It's stupid if he ends up being put down after all this. I mean, we could have saved him an entire month of stress and anxiety if he had been put to sleep immediately. But then i think, maybe he felt okay with me, and maybe that was the first time he ever felt safe and relaxed. So i guess it's worth it even if it does turn out that way.
We took Ranger back tonight. I brushed him first, and cuddled him. He was really sweet. I made a poster for them to put on his cage. Both printers ran out of ink when i tried to print it but luckily Warren had some spares. The trip took forever. It was raining, and there was an accident on the parkway. We were stuck for a while, and then we got off and went a different way, and it took a while. Somehow Ranger threw up in the car, even though i didn't give him any dinner. We finally got to the shelter about five minutes before they closed. As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a fire truck, and some firemen were going into the shelter. It was a false alarm (thank goodness). There was a big iguana at the shelter and the firemen wanted it, so they said they wouldn't charge the shelter for the false alarm if they could have the iguana.
Everyone said Ranger looked great. Nobody tried to make us feel guilty for taking him back. They totally understood why we had to. All the firemen petted him (after i took the Gentle Leader off and explained that it wasn't a muzzle). I tried to give him a treat but he wouldn't take it. They put him in a big kennel in the stray room. We told them he probably won't eat and they said they'll give him canned food. I gave them his medicine and his poster, and i made sure everybody there knew that i am supposed to be called if he runs out of time. I'll take him back if i have to, but i hope it doesn't come to that.
I went back to his kennel to say goodbye. He came up to the front of the cage and looked happy. I petted him and stepped back, and he started to cry. So i left quickly and he stopped crying. I think he'll be okay.
October 18, 2000
October 22, 2000
Mom wrote: "must be quiet and calm now with king, uh, rex, umm, ranger gone."
Yeah, the animals are happier than i've ever seen them, i think. But i'm worried about Ranger. I think the ad that R ran is done, and apparently nobody decent called. I'm worried that he probably isn't eating much at the shelter. I'll have to call tomorrow and find out how he is. I assume someone would have called me if he was adopted.
R just called. She said she had 15 calls about Ranger but most of them weren't quite right. Finally she found this couple with no kids, no other pets, a fenced yard, and someone home with the dog all day. They adopted him yesterday and she just checked up on them tonight, and apparently they are really happy with the dog.
She said she went to the shelter twice a day to walk him and he always went when she took him out, so he seems pretty well housetrained at this point. He was really sore after his neuter and she felt so bad for him, she was planning to foster him herself if he wasn't adopted soon. I told her i was worried that he wasn't eating at the shelter, but she said he was, and he is eating fine in his new home already. So i think maybe he was stressed out living here and couldn't eat. R also said maybe he finally was recovered from the prostate problem and felt well enough to eat.
I asked her for their phone number and she gave it to me. She said they had wanted to ask me some questions about him, but apparently she didn't give them my number. And the poster i made for his cage had my number on it too, but i never got a call, so apparently they didn't bother to put the poster up. That's really frustrating.
I'm gonna call them eventually but i think i'll wait a couple days so he has time to settle in a little. I'm really relieved. Every day i've been wondering if i did the right thing taking him back to the shelter, and i kept thinking i should probably go back and get him. But i think it was good because my own animals have been really happy since he went away, and he apparently is doing well in his new home, so everything worked out okay.
October 23, 2000
Well, i can't really take credit for this one, since i didn't place the ad or interview the people or anything. Yeah, it's a good record, but i mean, when you consider the alternative... well, these dogs just HAVE to be adopted. There IS no alternative, as far as i'm concerned. I won't keep them permanently, but i'll do whatever i have to do to keep them from being put down. Once i bring them into the house, they're my "kids." That's just how it is.
Mom wrote: "wow, i was surprised to hear that ranger got adopted. kinda sudden, huh? i'll bet you are relieved. so, another success. way to go. dad wants to know if you have another foster dog lined up."
October 24, 2000
I called Ranger's mom. She's great! She couldn't stop talking about him. She is the type of person that understands how much commitment it takes to have a pet and she is willing to do whatever is necessary to turn him into a good pet. She said he loves to eat! and apparently he is feeling well enough to start getting into stuff. He was trying to chew on a rug when i called. He peed once in the house right after they took him home but other than that he hasn't had any accidents, and he even asks to go out. They're having a couple behavior problems. He tries to dart out the door, and he is acting aggressive towards other dogs. The first one doesn't surprise me, but the second one kinda does. I asked her if any food was involved, but she said no. She is planning to take him to obedience classes, so that should at least help them establish some basic control over the dog, plus he would be exposed to other dogs at class so they could work on the problem with a trainer. Actually she is planning to take classes at the shelter, which means R might be her instructor, so that should be really cool.
We are going to meet sometime. We haven't decided where and when yet. I think it's really neat that she is agreeable to that. In fact, she suggested it! I invited all the other adopters to keep in touch, let me know how the dogs are doing, send pictures, etc., but so far only Sassy's mom has bothered. I should probably call all the other adopters sometime and bug them for an update. If i was really cool, i could organize a get-together of all my former foster dogs and their new owners. But i'm not that cool, i guess.
October 25, 2000
We might meet at Frick Park this Sunday. I wanted to go back anyway to let B&E run some more. They most likely won't let Ranger off leash since the stupid area is not entirely fenced, and they don't know him well enough yet to know what he'll do. I hope he is not aggressive with the other dogs there. There will probably be a bunch of dogs, cos i saw a sign last time that said there is supposed to be some kind of doggy Halloween party.
Mom wrote: "you know, i actually miss your dogs. you've been visiting so often that i got used to having them around."
Yeah, i really like having them around, too. Especially since Ranger left. I didn't realize how... suppressed, or something, they were when he was here. Now they are really animated and playful, without being annoying. It's actually hard to believe how well-behaved they are. You know, they're almost 3. I guess they grew up.
October 28, 2000
November 8, 2000
"wonder what is going on with ranger's person? what if they want you to take him again?"
Well, then i guess i'll take him again. =) I'll do whatever i have to do. Maybe i could get him a muzzle for when he's loose with the other animals, and the rest of the time he would be crated. But i hope i don't have to do anything at all. I hope they get it figured out. I'm glad that R is involved now so it's kinda off my shoulders. It could be that the lady just changed her mind for whatever reason, and then she started getting annoyed that we kept calling. I wonder if the humane society did a follow-up call. They are supposed to be doing that now, i think, for every adoption.
November 9, 2000
Turns out her boyfriend erases her phone messages before she gets them. This was one of my ideas too, but i didn't think he would erase FOUR messages before she got them -- especially since we called at all different times. I called once in the evening while he was at work and once on the weekend, and Ruth called twice during the day. She's trying to tell me that she never got any of those messages. But on the phone just now, she told me she didn't want to meet at the park, since Ranger is so dog aggressive now. But i'm almost positive that the only time i mentioned meeting at the park was in the first message that i left for her. So if she REALLY never got that message... well... how would she know i wanted to meet at the park? And she said something about how i mentioned that i really wanted to see Ranger. I only said that in the second message i left.
Anyway, at this point it's all funky and i really don't even want to meet her anymore. But i kinda have to now. I told her to call me sometime and she said she'll probably call next Sat and we can get together next Sun. But not at the park. So it's probably gonna be really dumb. I was picturing walking our respective dogs on trails at the park. Now we probably shouldn't even take ours, if he really is that aggressive now. He pulls on leash and he lunges at other dogs. She said she can barely hold him, and even her boyfriend has trouble.
She said something about taking classes from somebody at the shelter but that she probably couldn't start until January and she wants to get him under control before that. So R might help her. R is a trainer but apparently she does more obedience-type stuff and not much behavior modification type stuff. I would offer to help her but i'm really not qualified. I'm one of those people who knows just enough to be dangerous.
One good thing about meeting them is that i could show them the Gentle Leader and maybe the prong collar. The prong might not be a great choice cos it may not be the best idea for dog-aggressive dogs. They see a dog, they lunge, it hurts, and they just get madder. But the GL should help. I'm just worried she'll say they can't afford it (it's under $20). You know me, i'll probably end up giving them one. I'm stupid like that sometimes.Guess i better spend some time this week reading up on dog-aggressive dogs. I think it is truly pathetic if the shelter really can't help her until January. If they are concerned about keeping adopted dogs in their new homes, they really need to get on top of things like this. Here is a woman who is actually willing to work on a behavior problem instead of dumping the dog, but there's nobody to help her. I'll have to figure out the scoop on that one.
December 4, 2000
R. called last night. She's the person who rescues German shepherds and got me to take King and Ranger. She said she heard from Ranger's people. They finally got desperate enough to seek help. Basically they just couldn't control him on the leash. They were walking him on a regular buckle collar. So R. fitted him with a Gentle Leader and showed them how to use it, and voila, perfect dog. Now i'm a bit irritated because i TOLD the woman to get a GL the first time i talked to her! You know, the night that she talked to me for AN HOUR and told me about his behavior and i gave her advice (which she obviously didn't follow). R. said she was kinda surprised that Ranger took to the GL so quickly and i said, "Yeah, that's what i walked him on the entire time i had him."
Anyway, Ranger is doing great. They even took him to the groomer (people don't normally take shepherds to the groomer). He put on weight and R. said he looked great. And she can tell that they really like him. The guy paid $6000 extra to get a truck with the extended cab so the dog can ride with him.
On another doggy note, Bingo's new person is going to adopt him on Saturday morning. She wanted time to get everything ready. G said she's getting lots of basic dog info together to give her. She said she could tell S was really excited about getting the dog. So i guess you won't be seeing Bingo for Christmas!
"hey, i know - i get that all the time. i tell them stuff but they don't really believe it til they hear it from their doctor or some other "expert". i'm glad ranger's doing good. :) that's something, the guy paying all that extra money on the truck just for a dog, wow! too bad we won't get to see bingo again (i really like him, you know) but he'll have a family of his own now and he'll be happy. he'd look really cute with a big red bow on his big black head for xmas... sigh..."
September 12, 2001
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.
October 16, 2001
"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 Monday...do 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."