Teddy: Home at Last

This is the story of a sad little five-year-old Cockapoo named Teddy.  Last October, Teddy found himself at an open-intake Baton Rouge shelter called Companion Animal Alliance and yesterday, he got the happy ending he so richly deserved.

TeddyEnRouge

 

These are the things that happened to Teddy:

1. https://dogbydog.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/teddy/

2. https://dogbydog.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/teddy-ii

3. https://dogbydog.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/teddy-iii/

4. https://dogbydog.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/teddy-iv/

‎5. https://dogbydog.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/teddy-v/

Yes, this is a lot of reading, but seriously, it’s a good story, so don’t ruin it by reading the ending before you have all the juicy details.

Go get a cup of coffee and we’ll wait for you to get caught up.

 

 

 

 

Ready?

(Don’t cheat!)

Also, if you read these other entries about Teddy already, you might want to refresh your memory. Just a (pushy) suggestion.

Okay, so from where I left off, at “Teddy V,” I was very sad that the lovely older couple didn’t adopt Teddy after his hip surgery, though I did understand. And we were committed to finding him a home and not foster failing.

In the weeks that followed, a slew of people with children wanted to adopt Teddy and that was frustrating. Teddy loves kids, but he wasn’t going off to a home with them. (You read the other blogs, right?).

I took him to adoption event after adoption event, including this one at the Mystic Krewe of Mutts Mardi Gras parade where he had a great time, got a lot of attention and I gave my contact information to more than one interested prospective adopter. But none ever called.

ReneeTeddy

 

Teddy also spent several days a week at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House, an amazing place open to the public in Baton Rouge, where foster dogs can go for “Doggy Day Care” while they are available for adoption. The Dog Adoption House not only looks like a decorator showroom, dogs there get excellent glamour shots taken by generous volunteer photographers like Holly “Bird” Harris and Cheryl Smith Dispenza, who runs a program called Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) that helps keep dogs out of the shelter in the first place. Cheryl took these of Teddy in November:

Teddy4 Teddy3

Teddy loved it at the Dog Adoption House. It’s cozy, immaculately clean, and the dogs there are given a lot of love from staff and volunteers who let into play yards hourly and give them treats like Kong toys stuffed with frozen peanut butter in their kennels. The Dog Adoption House adopts out dogs at a rate of 1-2 per day, seven days a week. Several of our fosters have been adopted there, but Teddy was passed up again and again. I just didn’t understand it. Maybe it was my sign on his kennel saying he was sensitive and delicate after hip surgery and he needed to be in a home without kids. Who knows.

And then at the end of January, a month after Teddy’s surgery, I got an adoption application from a woman named Claire who lives in Boston.

I have sent fosters to New York, Maine and  Chicago, so I have nothing against shipping dogs thousands of miles away for a great home. But a month out from  surgery, Teddy was still occasionally limping around. On very cold nights, he seemed really uncomfortable and would sometimes cry out while getting in and out of his dog bed. And he was taking arthritis medicine that he might possibly need to take for the rest of his life.

 

Teddy_SundayMorning

 

On paper, however, this Claire person looked pretty wonderful. And she didn’t have kids. Also, she had gone to college at Tulane and was extra excited when she saw that Teddy was a Louisiana dog. Claire loved Louisiana.

I sent her an email expressing my concern for Teddy’s health in a cold climate, because Boston has been slammed with freezing temps and blizzards all winter. I told her about the arthritis meds and about my concern that if she adopted Teddy and wasn’t happy with him, I couldn’t easily get him back, like I could if he were adopted locally. My biggest fear for Teddy was that he might end up at another shelter.

Claire wrote back, saying the arthritis meds weren’t a problem and assuring me that if she adopted Teddy he would never end up in a shelter. Worst case scenario, she said, she would make sure to get him back to me. We agreed I would ask Dr. Salmon what kind of impact the cold might have on Teddy’s pain, and I said I would call Claire the next day to speak with her further.

I never did.

And I didn’t call her the next day either. Very unlike me, but at that time, I just could not envision it. Plus, a really lovely friend and neighbor was letting me rehab Teddy’s hip in her indoor pool and hot tub and he needed more of that. Doing this at a dog rehab facility would be very expensive. Here is the pool where Teddy and I worked out together:

 

Can you even believe our luck that this was blocks from our home and my friend had no objection to letting a DOG swim in it? Let me add that she fostered a pregnant terrier for Companion Animal Alliance. The dog had more than seven puppies in her bathroom, all of whom found homes. And my friend adopted the Mama.

Can you even believe our luck that this was blocks from our home and my friend had no objection to letting a DOG swim in it? Let me add that she fostered a pregnant terrier for Companion Animal Alliance a couple of years ago. The dog had more than seven puppies in her bathroom, all of whom found homes. And my friend adopted the Mama. You really do meet the best people doing stuff like this…

 

I apologized and emailed Claire again, saying Teddy needed  more free pool rehab time. I also told her about the snapping. He hadn’t done it in a month, but I was concerned if he did it to Claire, she might freak out. I signed off saying if she were still interested, I would touch base with her in a month if he hadn’t been adopted locally. I never expected to hear from her again.

But she was still interested. Oh, did I mention Claire works with children who have special needs? Did I mention when I told her about the snapping-but-not-biting, she said, she worked with kids all day who lashed out at times and she felt confident she could handle it?

Thirty days ticked by and the kind of home I wanted for Teddy still wasn’t coming along in Baton Rouge. In that month, he grew stronger, healthier and happier.

Crespo, Luna and Teddy

He didn’t cry getting in and out of his bed on cold nights. He no longer needed arthritis meds. He let me massage his hips and gently tug his tail in a game that I instituted which at first he found puzzling and later found hilarious. And after three months of watching my dogs play with each other and never joining in, Teddy started awkwardly trying to roughhouse with our 85 pound Mastiff mix, Crespo. This was previously unimaginable in his formerly delicate state. Crespo obliged, allowing Teddy to pummel him, like he does with our 30 pound Beagle mix, Luna.

By the end of February, Teddy was feeling like a million bucks, and although I was sure Claire probably had adopted another dog, I gave her a call.

She had not adopted another dog. She was waiting for good news about Teddy.

WHAT?

Seriously, one of the best things about fostering dogs for me is getting to meet amazing people like Claire. You think they don’t exist, and yet they keep showing up, again and again, making fostering dogs so addictive.

I asked Claire for two references and called them — they were Perfect and More Perfect.

I made a Skype date with Claire and met her via video-conference — she was lovelier than I had even imagined.

My friend Deborah, who lives in Boston and had adopted my friend, Laurie Lynn Drummond’s CAA foster Sally the previous month, did a home visit at Claire’s house for me.

Deborah’s verdict: Claire is as great in person as she was on the phone, by email and Skype. Claire clearly understood what she was getting herself into. She was planning to take Teddy to obedience school, not for him, she said, but for her. What Deborah liked best about Claire was how she “lit up” when she spoke about Teddy. If a person could fall in love with a dog over the internet, Deborah said, Claire had done that with Teddy.

It was a done deal. I approved Claire for adoption, she booked Teddy a ride north on the Rescue Road Trips truck and paid for it.

Teddy was Beantown Bound.

My husband, Ed, is from Massachusetts and we met at UMass, Amherst. Ed couldn't wait for Teddy to learn how to root for the Sox and the Pats.

My husband, Ed, is from Massachusetts and we met at UMass. Ed couldn’t wait for Teddy to learn how to root for the Sox and the Pats.

 

For moral support, my friend Laurie Lynn drove me to the Love’s truck stop in Port Allen, Louisiana, where Teddy was being picked up at 9 am on a Thursday. I kissed him goodbye in the backseat of her car.

 

Teddy20140319_3

Was I a little nervous that Teddy would be scared or naughty and snappy with his handlers on the bus? A little. Was I worried he wouldn’t want to leave me and get into a tractor-trailer lined with 60 cages of dogs and think he was in a strange moving animal shelter? A little.

But it seems Teddy’s experiences at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House made him see kennels filled with other dogs as happy places. Teddy also loves riding in the car, so when he saw the truck, he started wagging his tail like he was about to go on the best ride of his life. He hopped on board in two elegant leaps and let the driver/owner, Greg, lift him without objection, for a picture.

Teddy20140319_1

This is Greg Mahle, who owns and operates Rescue Road Trips. He’s an gentle, kindred spirit who loves dogs as much as we do. Every two weeks Greg drives from his home in Ohio down through the deep south to pick up and deliver homeless dogs  to New England.

Teddy20140319_2

Over the next 48 hours, Teddy let perfect strangers in Alabama and Pennsylvania walk him. And he got to see his first snow. (Unimpressed with that white stuff…Lemme back into the truck!)

TeddySnow

Forty-eight hours later, Claire and her sister drove to get him in Putnam, Connecticut.

TeddyArrived1

I’d be lying if I told you I don’t miss Teddy this morning as I sit on the sofa typing this. He would be pressing his feathery little body into my side trying to get closer than close and encroaching on my keyboard. And if Crespo got too close, he would be turning around and giving him the stink-eye.

Anyone see a photo- bomber trying to disguise himself using the wrong camouflage against my pajama bottoms?

Anyone see a photo- bomber trying to disguise himself using the wrong camouflage against my pajama bottoms?

But the fact is, although Teddy liked Crespo and Luna well enough, he is more of a People Dog than a Dog Dog. And in all the time he was here, he never gave up his hope that he could one day have me, or any woman, all to himself. I am a foster dog mom though, and no dog is ever going to have me all to himself. After everything Teddy had been through, he deserved a woman all his own.

It took a few months to find her and more than a thousand miles of traveling, but Claire, it turns out, was Teddy’s woman all along.

Happily. Ever. After.

Happily. Ever. After.

If you would like to donate to help dogs at Companion Animal Alliance, the open-intake municipal shelter in Baton Rouge where Teddy was housed when I met him, please click here: http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx

If you would like to help dogs at Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge, a rescue organization that holds offsite adoption events and has the amazing Dog Adoption House where Teddy spent many happy day time hours over the course of many months, please click here: http://friendsoftheanimalsbr.org/donate.html

Both of these organizations have my heart. Thank you!

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Cody: Husky/CataGoofball

Cody13CodyAtOrvis

Cody is my weekend foster. I don’t especially have a thing for Husky’s, Shepherds or Catahoulas, all of which I think he may be. And I didn’t go to the shelter, lock eyes with him through the chain link and say, “Wow. That’s my boy,” as I have done with another dog or two (or 10). Nope.

I had just heard on Facebook that Cody was there the longest — since November when he was picked up as a stray — and that he wasn’t doing well. He was getting skinny and he had to be carried back to his kennel if someone took him out for a walk. And a whole bunch of us volunteers felt bad for him, including my friend, Sharon, who had taken him to some offsite adoption events, but couldn’t bring him home as a foster because her male dog doesn’t often tolerate other males.

CodyCrespo2

So I picked him up Friday afternoon, intending to have him only for the weekend and to keep him in my indoor/outdoor kennel, provided he wasn’t a barker. And Sharon offered to take him to another offsite adoption event for me Saturday, as I had to work. 

 When I picked him up from the shelter, he was kind of a nervous wreck. He was even afraid to get into my car, so I had to lift him in and put him in the kennel I keep in the back. I don’t like lifting strange dogs and putting them in places they don’t want to go. Call me a chicken, but I can only imagine them ripping my face off under the circumstances. I’m happy to report, Cody didn’t. In fact, he just slumped in my arms like a baby.

I got home and decided to throw my dog, Crespo, into the car too and take them both to the dog park, but I was a little concerned about how the introduction might go. Cody seemed very friendly, wrestling with a dog in the lobby of the shelter as we were leaving, but you just never know. And my dog is a huge hulk weighing in at 85lbs., so sometimes other male dogs find him intimidating and decide to go for a pre-emptive strike against him.

I kept Cody in the kennel and let Crespo sniff him through the bars. No ill will. In fact, both boys wagged tails. So I threw Crespo in the car and drove the five minutes to the dog park, where they had their introduction in the parking lot, both of them leashed and one in each hand. Yeah, maybe that was stupid. But it worked out fine with no growling or posturing.

The first five minutes at the dog park proved terrifying for Cody and I kept him leashed, just in case I needed to get to him right away. And also because I wasn’t sure if he was one of those dogs who would take off and try to elude me at all costs. The first thing he did was tuck his tail and curl his body into a big horrified question mark. But by minute six, he morphed into a racehorse/bucking bronco/kangaroo and had a ball. And when I say kangaroo, I mean, all four of his feet left the ground simultaneously more than once in a dog-on-dog mad dash. One time, Crespo stopped short and Cody wound up squarely on his back, as if they were horse and rider. Fortunately, Crespo thought that was hilarious. 

Cody reminds me a little of Napoleon Dynamite during the big dance scene...

Cody reminds me a little of Napoleon Dynamite during the big dance scene…

...or a kangaroo.

…or a kangaroo.

Trying to get in on a little tug-o-war with Crespo and his girlfriend, Dottie.

Trying to get in on a little tug-o-war with Crespo and his girlfriend, Dottie.

An hour later, Cody and Crespo piled into the car as if they were old friends. Well, that’s not really true. I still had to pick up Cody and carry him to the car. He doesn’t like cars. Even if one drives by us on the street, he’s really worried it’s going to run us all over. He’s very skittish. I guess if you spent the last four months of your life in a cage, you’d be afraid of everything too. 

Back at my house, he wasn’t thrilled to go in the backyard kennel, so again, I had to carry and deposit him in there. And he wasn’t even interested in eating a bowl of food sprinkled with frozen bits of brisket I keep in my freezer for special dog treats made of leftovers. He was really having none of my big time foster dog hospitality at first.

But when my husband went to check on him in the morning, the food bowl was empty. And our second trip to the dog park was instantly a good time for Cody.

There were five adoptions at that offsite Saturday, but Cody wasn’t one of them :{ He did have a delightful time, however, and seems just fine with all kinds of people, and even did well with cats. Sharon was planning to bring him back to the shelter for me if he wasn’t adopted, but my husband and I decided to give Cody a few more days here with us. At first, he barked on and off  in our outdoor kennel, and we can’t subject our neighbors to that. But he’s since settled down and if he continues to be quiet out there, we’ll foster him longer. Cody’s a very sweet boy. Please spread the word to help him find his Forever Home. If you’re interested in putting in an adoption application on him, please email me at reneebacher@gmail.com. It’s possible for us to ship him to the northeast on Rescue Road Trips (www.rescueroadtrips.com).

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If he goes back to the shelter, you can find him at:

Companion Animal Alliance of Baton Rouge 

http://www.companionanimalsbr.org

2680 Progress Road | Baton Rouge, LA 70807
Phone: 225.774.7701| Fax: 225-775-6403
Shelter open: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday; closed Monday.

His impound # is #29293

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Wouldn’t you like to make this your permanent nose to kiss at home? I’ll tell you what, Cody sure would like it.

Huckleberry (the artist formerly known as “Syrus”)

Huckleberry

Look who made it onto transport in Slidell, LA this afternoon! Yes, that’s our boy Huckleberry (formerly Syrus), about to make his way north to his forever home on Long Island, New York.  It took several weeks and three different antibiotics for poor Huck’s upper respiratory infection to go away, but he is finally healthy enough to ride on Rescue Road Trips. www.rescueroadtrips.com

Wow, was this whole thing a complicated ballet: An acquaintance from my former hometown saw him on this blog and fell in love with his picture. I couldn’t keep him in my backyard for longer than 10 days, so a volunteer pal arranged a second foster home for him. The adopter’s  big-hearted 69 year old mom lives in New Orleans and drove here to do all the adoption paperwork, pay the fees and bring the second foster home food for him and other supplies. Then when he flunked his first health check and could not ride on transport, the second foster home kept him another two weeks, lavishing him with love and letting him loll on their sofa and enjoy the company of four roommates and their Great Dane. And then this morning,Huck’s new grandma drove up again from New Orleans and brought him to the pick-up spot in Slidell. And if that’s not complicated enough, his adopters had to travel out of the country and so when he arrives in New England this weekend, a sister-in-law will be picking him up and holding onto him until they are home.

And THEN, they’ll get to meet their sweet, new boy. It seems like a lot to put a dog through, but as my rescue friend, Jill, said when she brought him to my house, “He was supposed to go Jesus yesterday.” Fortunately, Jesus was cool with waiting.

Happy Tails, Huck! No more living alone underneath a camp carport for you!

Quinn: Black Dog Syndrome

Quinn: Black Dog Syndrome

Patti says she caught Quinn saying a little prayer to help her find the perfect Forever Home.

Photo: Holly Harris

This is my friend, Patti Carson’s foster dog, Quinn, a
darling mini-black Lab mix currently looking for her forever home.

Everyone has that perfect little black dress or jacket that is often overlooked but always makes a person feel like a million bucks; Patti says that’s Quinn too.

Last October, Quinn came into the shelter as a stray and sat huddled in a corner, overlooked for months, probably because of an unconscious bias called “Black Dog Syndrome.”

What is Black Dog Syndrome? As it happens, black dogs have the smallest chance of making it out of a shelter alive because they are difficult to photograph in dim shelter lighting, and potential adopters sometimes think of them as menacing (perhaps from the way Hollywood has typically portrayed aggressive dogs over the years as breeds that come in mostly black, like Dobermans and Rottweilers). Check out this blog on the topic: http://www.cesarsway.com/community/pettravel/Travels-with-My-Dog-Casey-Black-Dog-Syndrome

When Patti got Quinn bathed, toweled dry and into the sunlight, her glistening black beauty unfolded as did her sweet, calm disposition.

Photo: Jeannie Frey Rhodes

Photo: Jeannie Frey Rhodes

Patti discovered quickly that Quinn loves children and other dogs (Patti has five dogs of her own. Yes FIVE. And Quinn fits in beautifully with the pack that Patti and her husband, Doug call “Dog Nation.”) And at 39 lbs., Patti says Quinn is the perfect size for someone who loves Labs but would prefer a more compact version.

Along with Quinn’s gorgeous, shiny black coat, Quinn sports brindle feet and tiny glimmers of gold sparkling throughout when the sun hits her back. “She is sprinkled with fairy dust,” Patti says. Adore this dog much, Patti?

At about one year old, Quinn loves to play, but she is finished with that challenging puppy stuff that keeps dog owners awake at night. And the best news is, Quinn has tested NEGATIVE for heartworms, and is house trained, crate trained, spayed, current on her vaccinations, and micro-chipped. And for all of this, her adoption fee in Baton Rouge is only $100 through the rescue group, Friends of the Animals ( www.fotabr.org ) Friends of the Animals, as I’ve said before, does great work, and can always use donations if Quinn has stolen your heart but you’re not in the market to adopt (Any donation “in honor of Quinn” is greatly appreciated and will help offset funds spent on her care and those of other shelter dogs they will help).

For an additional fee, Quinn can be shipped to the Northeast on Rescue Road Trips (www.rescueroadtrips.com), which will transport my former foster dog, Syrus (now Huckleberry) this week. (He passed his vet check and got his health certificate to travel! Hooray!)

Photo: Jeannie Frey Rhodes

Photo: Jeannie Frey Rhodes

While Quinn is full of life, Patti says she is also a cuddle buddy and happiest when snuggled next to her humans or sleeping at their feet.

Patti is selective about who adopts her foster dogs, preferring they will live mostly indoors in homes where they will get plenty of love. If you need a Quinn in your life (and the above describes you), please contact Patti at 225-505-9831 or email her at pdcarson@cox.net.

Or please pass this along to a friend. While Patti and Doug will hate to see Quinn go, there’s another dog waiting at the shelter for them to save. So treat yourself to an easy, sweet and fun dog like Quinn.

UPDATE: Quinn has had FOUR families call wanting to adopt her since this story was posted. This weekend, there will be meet and greets and Patti will decide which lucky family will get her. Thank you for caring about Quinn and for helping to share her story.  

Here she is below with the lucky family who adopted her today:

 

Quinn: ADOPTED!

Quinn: ADOPTED!

 

Quinn loves all. Including men with glasses and hats.

Photo: Holly Harris. Quinn loves all. Including men wearing glasses and hats.

Syrus (now Huckleberry): Day 13

Huckleberry, fattened up and  relaxing in his new foster home en route to his Forever Family in New York.

Huckleberry, fattened up and relaxing in his new foster home en route to his Forever Family in New York.

So the truth is, I haven’t updated you on Syrus, whose name is now Huckleberry, because I’ve been nervous. Nervous because I did something I’ve never done when fostering before: I adopted him to someone (fabulous) who lives more than 1,000 miles away. And the logistics have been a little complicated. I haven’t wanted to share because I’m holding my breath that it’s all going to go off without a hitch, but enough with the superstition. You care about Huckleberry too, so we can all cross our fingers and toes and hold our breath together. Alas, here it is:

About a week ago, my adopter (who wishes to remain anonymous for now) sent her 70 year old mother up from New Orleans to officially adopt our boy. Her mom, the most delightful woman you can imagine, arrived with a huge bag of nutritious puppy food for Huck and a blankie and other goodies for his stay with the next foster and we went up to the shelter together for her to do the paperwork. The reason he went to another foster is that I was only able to have him here for a week due to my work schedule. And the adopter’s mom couldn’t keep him at her home. And also, because I wanted him to be in a place where he could live indoors and practice his good house manners, as well as recuperate in a warm place from his kennel cough and snotty nose. (He’s on round two of antibiotics for that, bless his heart).

So Huckleberry is doing great in his new foster home from what I hear, and he’s house trained and crate trained and coughing less and enjoying the company of a Great Dane too. And if all goes well and he gets his health certificate from the vet in the next couple of days, he will ride on the transport with Rescue Road trips (www.rescueroadtrips.com)to his fabulous new home in a beautiful little fishing village in New York on Long Island.

I ask you to send our boy good, healing energy so that he is well enough to make the trip. And that every requirement is met so that he can get on that transport and be on his way to his new life.

Addendum: Looks like poor Syrus flunked his pre-transport check-up because he still has the remnants of kennel cough, despite two different antibiotics and a week on each. And no health certificate, no travel north to his Forever Family. Hopefully, his foster can hang onto him for another two weeks until the next transport when he is 100% with certificate in paw. A stay at an animal shelter for an unvaccinated dog or cat can be an unbelievable germfest. I’m just grateful Huckleberry continues to improve, because a lot of dogs and cats die in shelters from the disease they can all spread around there. Please make sure your dogs are vaccinated for Bordatella (aka: Kennel Cough) every six months, even if you don’t board them. If they ever get out and picked up by Animal Control, even a brief stay in a shelter can be a death sentence.

Huckleberry with Camelia on our "goodbye for now" walk.

Huckleberry with Camelia on our “goodbye for now” walk.

Huckleberry's new collar, with tag that doesn't let him forget his Louisiana roots.

Huckleberry’s new collar, with tag that doesn’t let him forget his Louisiana roots.

Huckleberry's new grandma (or MawMaw as they say it).

Huckleberry’s new grandma loving him in my garage .