I Wish I Could Foster, But My Dog Would Be Jealous

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

Anyone see a camouflaged photo-bomber waiting his turn for snuggles?

When you foster dogs and bring them to adoption events, there are a few things you hear constantly from those who stop by to visit. One is, “If I could take them all, I would.” (Yes, so would we. But we don’t want to get arrested, so instead we do this.)

Another is, “I wish I could foster, but my dog would be jealous.”

Let’s address the latter, because sometimes it’s a legitimate concern. But oftentimes, it’s not. I mean, no dog ever died from being jealous provided he has a strong pack leader in the house.

I’ll start by saying that my dogs were absolutely jealous of foster dogs at first too. Three years ago when we brought home our first Companion Animal Alliance foster, Rosie, we kept her in the backyard and never even let her sniff our two female dogs unless it was through a glass door. Rosie was definitely a dominant dog — I could tell by her growling at my girls through that glass door — and both of my dogs would have fought back if she started something. Fortunately, Rosie was quiet and very easy going in our backyard and there was shelter out there for her and the weather wasn’t cold. When my husband took Stella and Luna out for a walk, I brought Rosie inside and carried her up the steep steps to my office where she spent a few hours a day with me while I worked. When my husband took our dogs outside again later, I brought Rosie back outside to our fenced yard. In two short weeks, Rosie was adopted by this lovely woman:

Rosie, our first foster for Companion Animal Alliance, with the beautiful woman who adopted her two weeks after we pulled her from the euthanasia list at the shelter.

Rosie, our first foster for Companion Animal Alliance, with the beautiful woman who adopted her two weeks after we pulled her from the euthanasia list at the shelter.

It wasn’t the ideal foster dog situation, but it all worked out. And Rosie has been living a great life for more than three years now.

As I trotted another 30 or so foster dogs through the house, I realized I needed to hone in on some criteria for who we would foster. This way they wouldn’t all have to stay in the backyard and could be integrated into our home, which makes it possible for me to tell a potential adopter whether a dog is house trained. And that’s a big deal for many adopters.

Unless you have a dangerous, dog-aggressive dog, chances are your dog will do just fine with foster dogs in the house. You just need to establish your criteria for which types of dogs you might foster most easily. Our criteria includes the following:

  • A submissive dog
  • A dog who will be mostly quiet if left outside
  • A dog who can’t or won’t climb our fence
  • A dog who is calm and happy in a crate
  • A dog who is ideally more than two years old and won’t run laps around our house and tempt our dogs to join in that fun.
  • Absolutely no puppies. A lot of people LOVE fostering puppies. We, however, are too cranky and we value our sleep too much.

We will take dogs who are injured or sick, depending on the illness or injury. We will take shy dogs, because our confident dogs often bring a shy dog out of her shell, and shy dogs are usually really low maintenance. We will take pit bulls, because our dogs have never met a pit bull they didn’t like, nor have I. (I won’t take a male Rottweiler because for some reason Crespo wants to pick a fight with every big male Rottie he meets).  We will take 100 pound dogs. We will take dogs that we personally think are ugly (and I’ll never, ever tell which) because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Plus, a dog who unveils a beautiful personality very quickly becomes a movie star in our eyes.

We introduce the dogs through a variety of methods. Sometimes I put them in the backyard kennel and bring our dogs down to investigate:

Crespo, Luna, Stella and Kahlua (an overnight foster).

Crespo, Luna, Stella and Kahlua (an overnight foster)

Sometimes I’ll come home from the shelter with a new foster and have my husband meet me out on the street with our dogs leashed. We immediately go for a walk around the block together because dogs hunt in packs and going on a walk together is a dog bonding experience. If there is growling, we correct with a yank on the collar and pick up the pace. After about a half a block, we let them sniff, nose to butt, which seems to be less of an affront than nose-to-nose.

Crespo and Big Bear.

Crespo and Bear, a 100 lb. Lab. I was reluctant to take Bear home to foster because Crespo can be reactive to very large male dogs. But my friends at the shelter assured me that Bear was very, very chill. And he was. 

Usually it all works out just fine. Once Bear was back at our house, however, he began to shove my other dogs out of the way to get loved on first. But when Crespo reacted by going after him and pinning Bear to the ground, Bear was so easy-going about it I was able to pull Crespo off, correct him and put him in time out. (He has never bitten any dog, but he will make a big show of his machisimo at times). In fact, it improved my dog’s behavior overall, and I have Bear to thank for that! They got along swimmingly after I made it clear who was the boss: Me.

Crespo and Big Bear

Crespo and Bear

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Crespo and Bear

Crespo (again with the camouflage) and Kahlua, wet, stinky and on the way home from the dog park in my car.

Crespo (again with the camouflage) and Kahlua, wet, stinky and on the way home from the dog park in my car.

Sometimes, Luna’s not the most gracious hostess.

Luna telling Big Bear who was boss. Luna weighs 30 lbs. Big Bear weighed 100 lbs at the time. Fortunately, he agreed with Luna about who was boss and he didn't bother her.

Luna telling Big Bear who was boss. Luna weighs 30 lbs. Big Bear weighed 100 lbs at the time. Fortunately, he agreed with Luna about who was boss. With one tap on the butt and a look in the eye, I set Luna straight on who the real boss is though. 

Yogi giving Luna a little kiss. They got into it over a very delicious bone that she tried to take away from him once. I had put him outside with it and Ed unknowingly let her out to pee. Bam! Fortunately, Ed was there to save her life when she tried to rip it from his jaws. To be on the safe side, don't leave your fosters and your dogs alone unsupervised. And especially not with yummy treats.

Yogi giving Luna a little kiss. Once time, they got into it over a very delicious bone that she tried to take away from him. (I had put him outside with it and Ed unknowingly let her out to pee. Fortunately, Ed was right there to break it up when she tried to yank the bone away from him and he went back at her). To be on the safe side, don’t leave your fosters and your dogs alone unsupervised, especially not at feeding or treat time. We make every dog in the house sit, stay, and wait their turn before they get a treat. And we feed them in closed crates so we don’t have to supervise, which makes them associate that space with food and like it better than they might otherwise.

Luna, Crespo and Yogi

Luna, Crespo and Yogi

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Luna and Ty (formerly Tiger)

Luna and Bebop

Luna and Bebop

Crespo and Ty (formerly Tiger)

Crespo and Ty (formerly Tiger)

Crespo, Mattie and Noodle

Crespo, Mattie and Noodle

We do try to take breaks between foster dogs, and to give our own dogs a lot of individual love and attention too.

Yes, we've had a lot of fosters around lately, Luna. Sure, you can try to slip me the tongue (but I've got these lips locked).

Yes, we’ve had a lot of fosters around lately, Luna. Sure, you can try to slip me the tongue (but I’ve got these lips locked).

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Hold still, gorgeous boy. I need a selfie with you.

I could hug you all day long too, Crespo.

I could hug you all day long too, Crespo.

Crespo, Luna and Teddy

Crespo, Luna and Teddy

Ultimately, working foster dogs into our pack has made them less jealous not more. It has also improved their training, socialization skills and it reminds them of their roots every time I have to refresh their memories and say that they were once foster dogs too.

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL DOG TRAINING CONSULTATION OR MEDICAL ADVICE ABOUT THE PETS YOU BRING INTO YOUR HOME.

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Teddy (girly sweater)

Adopt this dog or I'm going to continue to dress him like a girl. Against his will. In strange, hand knit sweaters I made myself from remnants. Without a pattern.

Adopt this dog or I’m going to continue to dress him like a girl. Against his will. In strange, hand knit sweaters I made myself from remnants. Without a pattern.

The Top 10 Dogs of 2014 (AKA: Our Fosters Last Year)

One of the things I like most about fostering is that it allows those of us who really like dogs to try out various breeds, sizes, ages and fur types we never thought we would want for our own. Sometimes I take dogs just because I’m not attracted to them; that way I think the temptation to keep them will be less. Other times, I take dogs because I’m so attracted to them it tears me up to leave the shelter without them (See Izzy, below. She looked so much like my beloved dog, Tick who passed away in 2001 I almost couldn’t stand it.)

Here are the dogs from Companion Animal Alliance who lived at our house for a spell last year.

Yogi, a pathologically shy (sweet) guy, was our foster in the spring of 2013. He was returned to me  in November 2013 because he was really afraid of men and would submissively urinate inside every time the man of the house tried to put a leash on him to take him for a walk. He was adopted one more time and returned to me again after a day (another guy problem). And ALMOST adopted a third time, but he made a break for it on his overnight trail with the adopter which led to a harrowing chase and, well, it didn't work out. In the interim, Yogi and I became quite attached all while he really wanted nothing to do with the men in my house. And they left him alone. At last, in the spring of 2014, his princess came along: An LSU student getting her PhD in psychology. YOGI GOT HIS OWN PERSONAL PSYCHOLOGIST! Seriously, they are so incredibly happy together and I could not be happier that he found the person of his dreams.

Yogi

Yogi, a pathologically shy (sweet) guy, was our foster in the spring of 2013. He was returned to me six months later because he was really afraid of men and would submissively urinate inside every time the man of the house tried to put a leash on him. He was adopted one more time in 2013 and returned to me again (another guy problem). He was ALMOST adopted a third time, but he made a break for it from the yard of the prospective adopter on his overnight trial with her which led to a harrowing chase and, well, it didn’t work out. In the interim, Yogi and I became quite attached. He really wanted nothing to do with the men in my house though, and they respected that and didn’t engage him, so it all worked out fine while he was here. At last, in the spring of 2014, his princess came along: An LSU student getting her PhD in psychology. YOGI GOT HIS OWN PERSONAL PSYCHOLOGIST! Seriously, they are so incredibly happy together and I could not be happier that he found the person of his dreams.

Yaya

Yaya

Poor Yaya didn’t work out at my house. We fostered her through her spay recovery, but my dog Luna didn’t like her and I was afraid one of them was going to get hurt, so I had to return her to the shelter. That’s always the tough part about fostering for me: If a dog doesn’t work out with my pack, they have to go back. It may sound cold hearted, but with a shelter that houses 300 animals, I can easily find a dog there that does get along with my pack and I can’t endanger my animals or the foster (Luna did bite a foster once and it cost me $100 at the vet to fix that). Fortunately for Yaya, a volunteer named Susanna met her at an adoption event and was very smitten with her. Susanna went back to the shelter after Yaya had been there for several weeks and brought her home as her foster. Yaya is still available for adoption. Susanna is her hero.

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Jacy

Jacy and her litter mates were born under a house, had very little contact with humans and by the time they were brought into the shelter most of them were terrified of people. Translation: Unadoptable. Two of her siblings were euthanized and she was slated to be next. My friend, Jacinta, who works at the shelter begged and pleaded for someone to get her out of there, so I gave it a shot. I wasn’t hopeful, because she was just so shut down and wack-a-doodle when I met her. But after a couple of days at my house she totally came out of her shell and became the normal, spunky puppy she was always meant to be. It was kind of a miracle. I brought her to the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House where she was adopted by a lovely young woman after I’d had her for only about a week.

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Louis (now Lazlo)

I put in my orders for dogs with my friend, Jacinta who works at the shelter. This time I said, “Kooky (that’s my nick name for her), get me something that’s practically in a coma.” I really don’t have a lot of patience, energy, time, etc. at the moment (or ever). But I do want to help. I just can’t have a dog that’s going to wring me out (or my husband, Ed). That was Louis. You see how he looks in this picture? That’s how he looked at the shelter most of the time. And he was incredibly sweet and well behaved when he managed to wake up. I brought him to a dinner party with me the first night I brought him home because he was so impressive. The hostess, my incredibly big hearted friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, said she would foster him so I could pull another dog from the shelter. I had him a day, Laurie had him a week, and my yoga teacher, Janene, adopted him and he lives happily ever after with her and her husband, Mike and their two other dogs (and so many cats I’m not allowed to tell you the number).

Chip

Chip

“Hey Jacinta, get me another Louis,” I said. That would be Chip. Both Louis and Chip had languished at the shelter for months. Why? No clue. Both were fantastic. Chip stayed with us a few months. Everybody loved him, but nobody adopted him. Finally, a really nice couple from outside New Orleans saw him on the Friends of the Animals Facebook page and came up to their dog adoption house with their dog to meet him. Their dog was his girl twin. They adopted him and he lives happily ever after. At Christmas, they sent out the cutest picture of the two dogs snuggling like an old husband and wife.

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Godiva was also on the long timer list at Companion Animal Alliance. They call it the Lonely Hearts Club. Isn’t that the saddest thing? I was at an adoption event with another dog and she was there on a day trip with a volunteer. She had a squeaky toy in her mouth that she was enjoying very much and I watched another dog reach over and take it away from her. She gave it up so willingly, I knew she would fit in just fine in my house (with our holy terror, Luna). That day, I pulled her from the shelter to foster and later Friends of the Animals took her on as a rescue. Godiva too was with us for several weeks.  Again, no clue why it took so long. Is she not the most gorgeous thing? Google “Dutch Shepherd.” That’s what I think she might be. She too was adopted at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House. She lives with a lovely family that includes an old dachshund, an old cat, at teenager and a pre-teen who just worship her — as she deserves.

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Noodle (L) and Mattie

Noodle and Mattie were short term transport fosters. They were being transferred to a shelter in Virginia Beach and needed a place to stay in the interim to make room for more animals at our shelter. It was only going to be three days, so although I’m pretty adamant about fostering only one dog at a time, I thought it would be fine. They were perfect angels. Mattie would peel her lips back and give me a full blown smile whenever she was excited to see me. She and Noodle liked to perch on my husband’s chair or curl up in his lap while he read on his I-pad. They were adorable. Both were adopted quickly at the Virginia Beach shelter.

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Teddy

You’ve heard enough about my darling Teddy already, haven’t you? Well, for this week anyway.

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Izzy

Like I said, we don’t usually foster more than one dog at a time, but while we had Teddy, I could not resist taking home Izzy too. She looked just like our dog, Tick, who passed away in 2001. She has a hilarious personality and is a hard core snuggler who also likes to burrow. We’d wonder where she was and then find her under a pile unfolded clean laundry. A police officer and security guard at the produce stand where I shop adopted her at the Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House. Have I mentioned how much I love Companion Animal Alliance’s partner organization, Friends of the Animals? I foster for them as well. (Godiva and Yogi were both Friends of the Animals’ rescues). Izzy now lives in a home with four humans and three other dogs. Her dad reports that she fits right in.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2015. Raising my water bowl to you and your dog(s)! If you’d like to make a donation to either of these fantastic rescue organizations, both of which could really use the help, please click here their names here: Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals. I love them equally, and both help so much on the local level.

Please leave a comment and tell us about your rescue dogs. Did you adopt or foster in 2014? I’d love to hear their names and stories, please!

Teddy V

The first week Teddy was at our house, he didn't know how to negotiate the big dog bed with other dogs in it. So he just made himself comfortable in a clean basket of laundry. How cute is that?

The first week Teddy was at our house, he didn’t know how to negotiate the big dog bed with other dogs in it. So he just made himself comfortable in a clean basket of laundry. How cute is that?

The sad news is, the night before our arranged meeting, Teddy’s awesome prospective adopters decided it wasn’t a good idea for them to adopt him. At ages 68 and 71, their adult kids were concerned Teddy might have health issues down the road that they wouldn’t be equipped to handle.

Although Teddy’s prognosis is excellent and as we all know there are no guarantees about any dog’s future health, these really nice people had already been through their fair share of health issues with their elderly Labradoodle, so I understand their reservations. And I don’t hold anything against them, though I was really disappointed for Teddy. (For the record, I would highly recommend a dog like Teddy to my own parents, who are 76 — though my dad does not go for the fluffy type, nor the mixed breed type, nor the shelter type, nor anything that doesn’t start out in his house as a puppy from a breeder, despite the fact that he overtly cheers my shelter dog fostering efforts).

Before we hung up the phone, the man asked me if I was going to adopt Teddy myself. It’s difficult to explain to people who don’t foster that this innocent question is upsetting. I have no intention of ever adopting any dog that we foster (though it did happen once, with foster #12. Oops). My family has two dogs. We don’t want or need more than two dogs, even as I often fall in love with every shelter dog that comes through our door.

We foster for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is that our shelter has to kill highly adoptable animals every single day because they are overflowing and people will not stop dumping their animals there. Many people here in south Louisiana also won’t (or can’t afford to) spay and neuter their pets or take proper care of them. People across the nation create a market for puppy mills by purchasing dogs from them, and tons of puppy mill dogs end up at municipal shelters like ours too. If my husband and I were to have adopted every dog we fostered, we’d have more than 30 dogs right now, which would make us hoarders.

So no, we have no plans to adopt Teddy. My plan is to find him a loving, devoted home where he can snooze peacefully on a dog bed beside his person making them as happy as he is making me right now. It’s only a matter of time before that will happen. I have faith because I’ve seen it at close range 30+ times. And when it does, I will get that same great high that I always do, and then head up to the shelter and get another.

If you’d like to donate to help dogs at the shelter that stepped up for Teddy, please click http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx And thank you! 

Teddy (IV)

Teddy1228_5

Teddy’s been a good patient who doesn’t seem to mind being doted on one bit.

Teddy’s recovery is coming along much better than I expected. The day after his surgery he was touching his back left toe to the floor. I read online that this wasn’t to be expected until day 10. When we left the shelter, he hopped into my car on three legs, unassisted.

I’m not saying he wasn’t in pain. He surely was, and he cried out now and then, or skittered through the house with his tail tucked between his legs. I tried to comfort him, scratching his neck where I know he likes it and caressing his downy fur. I told him he was a good, brave boy and counted down the minutes until he could have his next pain pill.

Here’s what his hip looked like on Day 2:

Teddy1228_4

The incision looked great to me, so I texted this picture to Dr. Salmon. She texted me right back and said it looked swollen. So I took a deep breath, prepared to be snapped at, and broke out the frozen blueberries to see if he would let me ice it.

First I let him sniff the packet so he would know what it was. He was good with that. Then, I put it gently on the side of his chest so he would know it wasn’t going to hurt in general. Good with that too. Then, verrrrry, verrrrrrry slowly I approached the tush.

Post-operative frozen blueberries help keep the Teddy's hip swelling down.  (He finds this humiliating though and this is why he won't smile for the camera. Don't take it personally.)

Post-operative frozen blueberries help keep the Teddy’s hip swelling down. (He finds this humiliating though and refused to smile for the camera. Nothing personal.)

No problem! He didn’t snap or even growl. In fact, he seemed grateful. It must have numbed the pain.

He’s been going outside on a leash several times per day to potty, mostly hobbling on three legs, but using the fourth leg when I lean on the opposite hip, or walk him in a circle to the left, as Dr. Salmon instructed. At one point, he even seemed as if he was willing to give the neighborhood cat a chase when she was lounging on our front porch. And he hops on and off the sofa pretty easily managing some combination of three or four legs.

But mostly he’s been resting on my lap, seeking comfort. And I can’t say I blame him.

Teddy1228_2

You can help dogs like Teddy by donating to Companion Animal Alliance’s Sick and Injured Animals fund. Thanks for your help! http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx

On Tuesday, a retired man and his wife who live in New Orleans (and sound lovely on the phone) are coming to meet Teddy. It will have to be a perfect fit all around, and I really hope it is. Stay tuned!

Teddy, Christmas Day (two days after surgery). Pretty amazing.

Teddy, Christmas Day (two days after surgery). Pretty amazing.

Teddy (III)

Some nice person brought a cheese cake to the vet clinic at the shelter. Teddy was hoping he could have a piece before surgery. But no...

Some nice person brought a cheese cake to the vet clinic at the shelter. Teddy was hoping he could have a piece before surgery. But no, Teddy, we did not fast 10 hours before surgery so you could blow it on cheese cake, man.

Was I concerned about bringing in a foster dog for major surgery that would require me to do post-op rehabilitation (and on the day before Christmas)? Yes.

Did I want to be absolutely sure this surgery was necessary before putting Teddy through it? Yes.

And was I afraid that if Teddy was in pain, which he surely would be after his operation, that he would bite me as I tried to help him in and out of cars and whatnot? Oh hell yes. (Remember, I’m a chicken about being bitten. And I’m not even slightly kidding about that).

Dr. Michaelson’s observations about Teddy were interesting. When he looked at his films, he said, “Dogs don’t walk on X-rays.” All three vets laughed. Clearly, a veterinary inside joke.

TeddySurgery3

Looking at the films. To operate? Or not to operate? That is the question.

“I don’t get it,” I said.

Dr. Michaelson said, “It doesn’t so much matter what the x-ray says if the dog is walking around like nothing is wrong.”

The truth is, after a week of anti-inflammatory medicine, Teddy seemed to be in pretty good shape. He jumped in and out of the car on his own with no problem. He could jump on and off my sofa and my bed. And he had stood on his hind legs and pawed at me in the vet clinic several times during his exam.

“So what would you do if I were a private patient who brought him into your clinic?” I said.

“I would probably tell you to wait a couple of weeks and see if his symptoms returned.”

But the fact is, I still didn’t want to adopt out a dog to someone who might require an expensive surgery down the road, even if he seemed fine in two weeks. What would happen if his symptoms returned in 6 months? What about in a year? Very often, dogs are brought to the shelter because the people who own them can’t afford the expensive medical treatments they require. And this might be Teddy’s one opportunity to have this surgery and go on to live a hip-pain free life based on the generosity of a supervising veterinarian donating his time and services and a shelter that had purchased the equipment to do it.

As we were deliberating, Dr. Salmon picked up Teddy to weigh him and he snapped at her (again, no biting).

“Ah ha,” Dr. Michaelson said, “Now that couldn’t have hurt him. He just didn’t want to be picked up.” I could tell he was now concerned that Teddy might just be unpredictable.

“My hand was on his groin,” Dr. Salmon said. “That may have hurt.”

I also felt sure, after having Teddy in my house for six weeks, that he was predictable and that the way Dr. Salmon had lifted him had, indeed, hurt. “No, watch,” I said, and reached down to pick up Teddy under his chest.” He dangled in my arms like a happy little sack of flour.

Then Dr. Michaelson, Dr. Salmon, and another shelter vet, Dr. Moore, came up with a plan to definitively decide whether Teddy was in pain or just being an ass. They would sedate him for his exam.

So, a shot in the tushy, as we say in my birthplace of New York:

Teddysurgery4

I figured this would simply make him woozy and not really mind being touched in places he ordinarily did not like. I thought it would simply take away any mojo he had for snapping if something they did hurt him.

But no. He was out cold. He looked like a dead dog on the vet clinic floor. See?

Teddysurgery5

Dr. Michaelson was able to manipulate his back legs and hips every which way. And when he really dug in and started working that left hip, Teddy let out a howl from the deepest sleep that just broke my heart.

Teddysurgery7 Teddysurgery8

“We have our answer,” Dr. Michaelson said.

“Let’s do it,” I said.

Dr. Salmon and Dr. Moore nodded and smiled.

And Teddy, a neglected little fella from a rough part of town who had probably spent most of his six years living outdoors with infected ears, a cracked vertebrate and a bum hip, was going to be treated like a dog that was loved (and by people with the financial resources to help him, like other lucky dogs).

Teddysurgery9

Shave that dog’s rump, please, Dr. Moore.

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Me: Okay with you if I take pictures, Dr. Michaelson? Dr. M: If it helps other animals, of course!

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More shaving for Dr. Moore while Dr. Salmon gets ready to support Teddy’s airway during surgery.

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I don’t know how people do this. I’m so grateful that the world is not made up of people just like me (who would faint if she had to do this).

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Teddy:  I.  Have become. Comfortably numb.

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Did I want to observe Teddy’s FHO surgery? Part of me did. The other part said, “I’m getting out of here!” and dragged the first part home.

Post-op wakey wakey:

TeddySurgery2

Thanks, Dr. Salmon!

The next day (doing great!)

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Thanks, Dr. Moore! Thanks, Dr. Salmon! Thanks Dr. Michaelson! Thanks Companion Animal Alliance!

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If you have charitable donations you still need to make for 2014, please consider Companion Animal Alliance, the shelter that helped Teddy in Baton Rouge, LA. Here’s the super easy link to click and donate: http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx And thank you for caring!

Teddy (II)

WhiteSale

Teddy overlapped at my house with Izzy, a little Jack Russell Terrier  foster who was with us for a just couple of weeks before she was adopted. I kenneled them together at night and they were very snuggly with each other. Who wouldn’t want to help dogs like this?

Dr. Salmon sat on the floor petting Teddy for a few minutes and earning his trust. Then she began to feel his lower back and manipulate his hips. He let her do the right hip without incident, but the left hip sent him flying through the air at her yelping and snapping. (She has excellent reflexes and Teddy didn’t get her. Again, he rushed right in to make up with kisses as soon as her hands were off his hurty hip).

Dr. Salmon suggested an X-Ray to see what was going on and also to see if Teddy was a candidate for a Femoral Head Ostectomy, also known as FHO surgery. This surgery removes the ball-shaped bone at the top of the femur bone if it is grinding into the hip joint and causing pain. The shelter doesn’t have an x-ray machine, however, so I would have to take Teddy across town to a local vet clinic that does. No problem, El Tederino.

Thanks to Companion Animal Alliance Assistant Director Paula Shaw, the cost of the x-ray was covered by the shelter’s Sick and Injured Animal Fund. (If you’re moved by Teddy’s story, and want to make a tax deductible donation to our shelter, they sure could use it: http://www.caabr.org/#!donate/ctzx The sick and injured animal fund helps dogs like Teddy. The General Fund feeds, houses, spays and neuters the hundreds of dogs, cats, horses, pigs, roosters, and God only knows what comes through the shelter doors on any given day. CAA is a municipal shelter and no animal is ever turned away. It is also remarkably underfunded for the sheer number of animals it is tasked with helping.)

Here’s what Teddy’s x-ray looked like:

TeddyXRay2

I’m no vet, but that left hip looks pretty wack-a-doodle doo, even to me. Also, another of the films shows an old injury to one of the vertebrate in Teddy’s lumbar spine and some arthritis too.

Say it with me: Poor Teddy!

An FHO surgery can range in cost from $1200-$2500, so not many people are looking to adopt a dog who needs one. However, the shelter recently purchased some of the special tools required to do this surgery so that adoptable dogs like Teddy would have a second chance. And Dr. Frederic Michaelson (http://jahvet.com/about-us/meet-our-veterinarians.html), a Baton Rouge veterinarian who also taught at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, volunteered his time to supervise the shelter vets who had never done the procedure before. This made it a professional development opportunity for the vets as well. Win/win.

So we scheduled the surgery for the Monday before Christmas, and I was eager to see what Dr. Michaelson would say about Teddy’s hip and his prognosis when he examined him before the proposed surgery. Aren’t you dying to know? You have to be a little more patient while I crank the rest of this story out though. Okay? Okay. Also, a fun fact: Dr. Michaelson is a U.S. Army Veteran, a Louisiana State University alumni, and he was also a starting defensive tackle for LSU from 1967-69. (To be continued…)