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)

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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.

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“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).

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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:

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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)

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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:

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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…)

Teddy

Meet Teddy, our very special holiday foster. I picked up Teddy from the shelter a week before Thanksgiving. On his intake report it said someone had called and reported an injured dog in their neighbor’s yard. Animal Control came and picked up Teddy. His owners never came to get him back.

Here’s the matted, scraggly mess he looked like the day I picked him up at the shelter (he had been there for several weeks):

That’s my friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, who also fosters for Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge. We went up to the shelter that day to each pick out a new foster dog . I picked Teddy and Laurie picked Olive, a pretty Border Collie, who was recently adopted. You should read Laurie’s novel, Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Anything-You-Will-Used-Against/dp/B000C9WXUY#

That’s my friend, Author Laurie Lynn Drummond, who also fosters for Companion Animal Alliance and Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge. We went up to the shelter that day to each pick out a new foster dog. I picked Teddy and Laurie picked Olive, a pretty Border Collie, who was recently adopted. You should read Laurie’s novel, Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Anything-You-Will-Used-Against/dp/B000C9WXUY#

At the shelter they had named him Howie. He looked more like a Teddy (bear) to me.

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When he was first brought into the shelter, the vets there noticed Teddy’s ears were badly infected and put him on a course of antibiotics. One of them said they were possibly the worst ear infections she had ever seen. Aside from what the good samaritan had told Animal Control, there was no note of injury on Teddy’s record.

A fluffy, non-shedding, cocker/poodle mix (cockapoo) with maybe a splash of shih tzu thrown in, Teddy had languished at the shelter for weeks after being neutered. Despite his matted hair and bad breath, I knew once he was cleaned up he’d be beautiful. And he sure seemed sweet. He let me bathe him in my front yard without complaint.

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He let me clean his ears without complaint. When I tried to cut some mats off his belly, he let me, but then I accidentally, um, slipped with the scissors (No blood though!) and he snapped at me. I deserved that. He didn’t bite me, just let out a scream and gave a couple of warning snaps in the air. I think I clearly heard him say, “Yo, I’ve already been neutered. Watch. Those. Scissors!”

I brought him to a wonderful groomer (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pretty-Paws-Grooming-by-Teresa/189305501171383) who said he was an excellent boy and she didn’t even need a muzzle to carry out any of his beauty treatments.

Here’s what he looked like when she was finished:

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On Thanksgiving, my 17-year-old son was petting his back when Teddy yelped and snapped at the air. Then he ran back at my son to kiss him and make up. Another time my 85-pound Mastiff mix bumped into Teddy’s rump and again, he yelped and snapped at the air, then ran back at my dog to lick his face. I also noticed that when I reached out to pet Teddy sometimes, he would blink as if I was going to hit him. That made me sad. Clearly, he was used to being hit. But he always sought me out for affection and he seemed very relieved and delighted when he knew I was only ever going to caress him and tell him he was a good boy (when I didn’t have a scissor in my hands, that is. Okay, bad joke).

There were a couple of additional snapping incidents when Teddy felt hurt or threatened, but nobody was ever bitten. I don’t foster aggressive dogs; my life is just too complicated and frankly, I’m a chicken! But I didn’t think Teddy was aggressive. I thought something was really hurting him and he was trying to protect himself, so I brought him back to the shelter vet to see what it might be. The answer was something I wasn’t quite prepared to handle. But I would handle it. I’m handling now, in fact, and it’s all good so far. (To be continued…)

Short term fostering

I promised my hubby, Ed, I’d take a little break from fostering because we had a pretty big parade of dogs through the house after Yogi was adopted for the second time last spring. (Yogi: Long story. An upcoming post. In short, he’s got it so good right now, and hopefully forevermore.) So we hosted Yaya then Jaci then Louie then Chip then Godiva, and I promised Ed we’d take a month off and let our own two dogs luxuriate in being the only dogs in the house.

About three weeks into that month though, our shelter put out a plea for short term fosters. They were doing a transport of 22 dogs to the Virginia Beach SPCA , a facility that is also open-intake like ours, but has a 90% save rate; the only dogs there that are euthanized are those that are too sick or behaviorally unstable to be adopted.

Short term fostering is a great option for people who want to provide a warm bed and lots of love to shelter dogs but can’t make the commitment to do it until the dogs are adopted. And in this case, it would only be three nights.

So I headed up to the shelter with the goal of walking 10 dogs and giving them some love, and then pulling a couple of small ones who were scheduled for the transport to take home for three days. What I saw first were these blue, blue eyes gazing up at me from her kennel:

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She told me Jensi wasn’t her name. She told me her name was Noodle.

My friend Jacinta said she was very shy but absolutely precious once she warmed up. I figured I’d grab her and something else that was small. That turned out to be this one (who was in a kennel just across the corridor from her):

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Yeah, my name is Mattie. It even says it on my tag right there. The tag I was wearing when my owners surrendered me :{

While I walked the other dogs, I put Noodle and Mattie together in a kennel and let them get to know each other for about an hour. Because the last thing you need is a Little-Doggy-Bloodbath in your house, especially if you wind up with a couple of alpha females.

But as you can see, these were no alpha-females when I got them home. And both “noodled” their way into my heart, and Ed’s too.

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I’ll be honest, usually I am very happy to see my fosters go. I don’t want more than 2 dogs. And I just want to help homeless dogs; that’s why we do this. But on the day that Noodle and Mattie were scheduled for transport, I was very grateful my friend, Morgan, who works at the shelter and lives next door to me, took them to the departure point for me.

My friend, Jacinta, texted me this picture as they were loaded up on the van and ready for the 15 hour drive from Baton Rouge to Virginia Beach: : Noodle&Mattie

Broke. My. Heart.

In the morning, I woke up and I missed those little goons tremendously. Mattie would literally smile at me when I went to get them out of the bathroom (where we kept them all cozy with a dog bed and toys, which were safe there from our own dogs and their thieving ways).  Both Mattie and Noodle were perfectly behaved while they were with us and house trained too. Also, I never heard either of them bark. Not once. That is really unusual for little dogs.

All of which is to say, these perfect little angels are available for adoption at the Virginia Beach SPCA and you can see more pictures on their Facebook page. Please share and send the very best people you know to go and adopt them, either separately or together. If the adopters contact me through my blog, I’d love to do an updated entry on them. We do so love happy tails!

Here’s one more peek at these beautiful girls: Noodle1

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Diego

I haven’t posted in a while, and apologize for that. I have two very happy stories to tell about my fosters Knightly (now Yogi) and Tiger (now Ty), who are living happily ever after in their forever homes. But before I tell you those stories (and I’ll have to do that another day), I have to tell you about Diego, my friend, John’s foster, and ask you to spread the word. John has a dog of his own, with whom Diego gets along very well, but John and his wife have their adult daughters coming to stay with them soon, each with a dog of her own (and one with a newborn human baby) and John cannot continue to foster Diego much longer. It will break his heart to have to bring Diego back to the shelter.

Here’s John, with Diego’s Story (please share this link on social media):

Diego was brought to our open-intake shelter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in June, last year. He was about 9 months old, dirty and kind of skinny. He had some scratches and we worried he might have been used as a “bait” dog. He had a great spirit, but he also was a big, mostly black dog that had the look of some pit bull. Things got even worse…he was put on the list to be euthanized.

We thought we found his savior; someone adopted him and he went off to a new life. A couple of months later Animal Control brought him back. It seems his savior had Diego and 40 or so other dogs. They were confiscated and Diego found himself back in the shelter.

I recognized him. I had taken some of his original pictures and I knew how much he wanted a home. I had another foster, but I kept my eye on him. He had gotten huge since we last saw him, then about 70 pounds. He also had developed some fatty tumors and was placed in a kennel where he could not be easily noticed. I went home several nights telling my wife about this poor guy who couldn’t get a break. She saw it was upsetting to me and agreed that we could at least get his tumors removed.

We arranged to have his surgery scheduled. Then we worried about him being at the shelter while he healed and decided we would also foster him, just for a little while, just till his wounds healed. When he came home from a local vet, it didn’t take long before he melted into our lives. You see Diego doesn’t want much. He wants food (and plenty of it), something to chew on, and to be on the couch snuggled up against you. He likes to play in the yard with our other dogs, chasing lizards and birds. But he tires of that quickly and just wants to be inside with you.

Diego went to off-sites adoption events every weekend for the next few months. We despaired of finding him a home until some simple folk from across the river saw him and adopted him. I expected he would have a good life with them. It was not the best situation for which I could have asked, but I thought it was good enough.

A couple of months went by and we had moved through a couple other fosters. Then I was “friended” by his owner. I thought about Diego and was glad that I might get an update on him. Sadly, the update I got was not what I expected. They said they had become worried about him. He was acting aggressive towards some workmen in the yard and they were going to bring him to their kill-shelter if I didn’t come for him. I had a number of suggestions but they weren’t interested. So, I took a drive to their house and found out what the problem was. Diego was being kept on a chain in the yard. It was winter, cold, and wet. There had been a fence, but rather than repair it after some damage, it was removed. I’m sure that Diego was just protecting his family, but like a lot of dogs, he gets snarly when not properly introduced to newcomers.

The man of the house tried to caution me not to walk up to Diego, but he knew me and strained at his chain to jump up and lick my face. I put him on a leash, walked to my car, and we never looked back.

Diego got out of the car, went around to the dog door not waiting for me, and went looking for my wife. He found her in the kitchen and gave her a huge hug (“Mom, I’m home”). It was like he never left. He was still house-trained. With a few reminders, he remembered his basic commands to sit, get in his kennel, etc. We were so excited to have him back, we forgot a few things, such as that he still wasn’t much older than a puppy. We trusted him in the house when we went to work but we probably should have been more cautious since he had been gone a while. We paid for that when we came home from work to find he had eaten our sofa cushions. Live and learn, right?

Minor adjustments were in order. Number one was that he had to spend the day in his kennel when we went to work. Number two, we had to keep more appropriate chew-things around the house. That was an expensive lessen, but it did not diminish how we felt about him. He was a good boy, we loved him, and he still needed a forever home.

It was back to weekends at off-sites, posting pictures, and placing ads. We were still determined to find the right home for him. He did get a little interest, but I couldn’t see letting him go to live in an apartment or house without a yard after what he had been through before.

The Friends of the Animals Dog Adoption House opened and we were optimistic. My wife and I started bringing him every morning. It was a little out of the way, but we wanted him to find a good home and thought this new venue would be the ticket. Day in and day out, Diego went to the house. Other dogs came and went, but not Diego. One day I got a call that someone was coming back to look at Diego a second time. I left work early, got to the house with plenty of time, and perched Diego and myself on the couch and waited. But, she was already there. She was looking at another dog. She didn’t even say hi to Diego. Was he upset? Not Diego, he was lying with me on a couch. What could be wrong with that? I was the one who was devastated. My boy had been passed over…again.

The months have gone by and we’ve gotten used to the fact that Diego is not for everyone. He’s big and meaty. He’s black and white. He’s not pure bred. He’s got heart-worms. He’s protective. But he’ll climb into your lap when you both know there’s no room. Or he’ll sneak into bed and lay with his head on your shoulder while you listen to him breathing softly, in and out. He gets so very excited at mealtimes, like it’s his birthday again and again. And so very hot and tired when he’s been playing in the sun too long.

Diego has to find a forever home and we need everyone’s help. Please repost, copy, and share this as much as you can. If you want to adopt Diego, please email: jnosacka@gmail.com

Thanks!

p.s. Diego is enrolled in a six week obedience class at “Fleur de Lead” dog training in Baton Rouge. He comes with a lifetime of free dog training in Fleur de Lead’s classes for whomever adopts this big, beautiful fella. Also, he is spectacular with little kids and small to medium sized dogs. He also gets along with large dogs, but needs a proper introduction, which John can tell anyone who is interested about.

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Thanks, ASPCA!

 

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Thanks to a generous $4,000 grant from the ASPCA, Friends of the Animals in Baton Rouge (FOTA) has been able to spay/neuter 50 dogs at the shelter. Thanks to FOTA volunteers, these dogs have been placed in loving foster homes where they are safe and secure until adopted.  FOTA has $643 left, but it must be spent by November 1 or we lose it. And we need more foster families to make that happen so we can help save another 6-12 dogs with the ASPCA grant. Won’t you please consider fostering a dog for FOTA? They make it so easy, especially with their beautiful, new dog adoption house on Highland Road near Staring Lane. Here, you can drop off your foster dog on your way to work in the morning and pick it up by six if it’s not adopted. And if it IS adopted, well isn’t that nice? What do you say? FOTA can find the perfect foster dog to fit in your home, whether it’s a chihuahua, a pit bull, a great dane, or maybe even a hilarious mixture of all of the above. Please email Paula Schoen at pbschoen18@gmail.com for more information. And thanks!

Oh, p.s. See that cutie on the bottom right? That’s right, it’s my foster boy, Knightly (now named Yogi) who was adopted last month and is living a wonderful life in a wonderful home with a mom and a dad and two little girls who adore him, as well as a lovely chocolate lab for an older dog brother. 

 

 

 

 

Toshie & Friends (part 2)

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Another guest blog from my friend, Lily: 

I am very happy to report that Toshie is stronger than ever! Today she hits 3 weeks old and I have very high expectations for this little girl. I began syringe feeding her wet food mixed with formula. The first attempt was successful, but a lot messier than I imagined it would be. Even with a towel in my lap, this was the state of my clothes after feeding! At this point, she will even try and eat on her own, typically dunking her entire face into the bowl of gruel.Image

She has also graduated to her “big girl” crate, since she became so adept at climbing out of her nesting box. She has gained another possible breed distinguishing characteristic: little spots on her white socks! So Aussie? Border collie? Time to start playing guess Toshie’s breed!

Toshie has met a bunch of friends along the way at adoption events. They are a little easier to see now that her eyes have fully opened, but you don’t need good eye-site to chew on someone’s finger! And call me crazy (because I probably am!), but Toshie has two new siblings. Two baby kittens that didn’t quite know how to eat on their own came into the shelter at only 3-4 weeks old. I took them to the home of the founder of Project Purr, Peggy Polk, to try them on two momma cats. One was completely insulted by the assumption that she would take care of them while the other, while not as overtly nasty, showed complete indifference. And that’s how they came home with me. One is a Himalayan that was pre-adopted the very first night I took them home. I am not even quite sure what gender that one is because it is such a little fluffy thing! It is the sister I sympathize with. An adorable little thing with gigantic eyes that would typically get her noticed by just about anyone is immediately passed over next to her gorgeous sibling. I have named her Umeko (patience in Japanese) because she is patiently awaiting someone that will be able to withstand the allures of a fluffy kitten and love her! They are both surprisingly social for little babies and are also transitioning to wet food. Bubbie, my Boxer/Bulldog foster who is still looking for his forever home, loves to  assist me in gently “cleaning” the babies in between syringe-fulls.

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I know it is blasphemy to advocate for the kitties on a blog titled “Dog by Dog,” but once again I send out a desperate plea for bottle babies fosters, especially for kittens. A lot that come in just need a little education on the marvels of wet food and are all set to eat on their own. It is the season and everyone can do something to help. Please email me if you would like to give it a try at: caalilyy@gmail.com.

 

Thanks again for following Toshie’s story. Along with all the wet food, milk, and fingers, she is eating up all those positive thoughts!

Toshie

Toshie

Toshie

Today’s Guest Blogger is my friend, Lily, who works part time as a staff member at Companion Animal Alliance while attending college full time at Louisiana State University. She also has a huge heart and fosters dogs and cats for the shelter, including “bottle baby” puppies and kittens.

Here’s Lily’s story about her bottle baby puppies as well as her current foster, Bubbie (a big lug of an American Bulldog/Boxer mix who is the sweetest, goofiest thing around and also recovering from Demodex. See story on Halle Bear for more on Demodex):

Bubbie and Toshie

Bubbie and Toshie

A week ago today, four bottle baby puppies were brought in to the shelter. They were found on the side of the street by a kind soul that picked them up and called animal control. The officer that picked them up had taken them home for the night because it was so late and no one was at the shelter to care for them. He bottle fed them, dubbing one black and tan one “Hoover” due to his vacuum-like fervor for eating. Another close second in feistiness, a little black and white one, he named “Kirby.”

Working at the shelter, I have always had people ask me how I could possibly work there without taking them all home. I give them a one-word answer: foster. It is the closest thing you can do to taking them all. But I have always followed a very strict regime simply because I do not know how I could ever choose. I take the dogs that have been at the shelter the absolute longest. They are the ones that have been passed over again and again, the plain ones that typically have the best personalities. But my weakness, my only exception, is bottle babies.

When bottle babies come into the shelter, they need a foster immediately. Typically they cannot even survive the night without someone there to care for them. I usually take them for a couple of nights before we send out a desperate plea on facebook and they find their permanent fosters. This set of babies was supposed to be like any other. But each day, another puppy was lost. It was after the second puppy died that I knew I wasn’t going to let the babies go to anyone else. On Sunday I was down to my last two, formerly Hoover and Kirby. Hoover faded suddenly and quickly. My dreams of the pair growing up and getting adopted together were painfully dashed, but I know that all my puppies are in a better place now. There was no reason for their pain to last any longer than it did and their ashes are spread under a big tree at the house I recently moved into. So here is to new beginnings.

Kirby, now named Toshie, is doing wonderfully well. She sucks down her meals like a champion and is not afraid to let me know when she is hungry. Her brother, David, a 10 pound tom cat is perplexed by her presence, but will be ready to rule the house with a firm paw once she is of the age to be truly annoying. Bubbie, her foster brother, loves to watch me feed her when he is not busy playing with the other baby animals of the household. Their sibling rivalry will grow as they race to see who will get adopted first. I always knew my little Toshie was a fighter, so it made me smile to see, when googling the name, that Toshie Uematsu happens to be a famous female Japanese wrestler J.

Toshie and David

Toshie and David

Please follow her story and send those positive thoughts. I am looking forward to her growing into a real, hyperactive, destructive puppy that I will regret ever having taken home in the first place. Even though I know I will never really regret it. It is always worth it.

If you are interested in adopting Toshie or Bubbie or you would like to foster bottle babies or any dog or cat at the shelter at all, please email me at caalilyy@gmail.com

Thank you!