Foster Happiness!

I realized that I never said anything about my foster situation! If you follow me on Facebook, then you probably already know, but…..drum roll please…Apollo has been adopted!!!

He went to a really great family, with 3 young children, a dog, and a big backyard! They had recently had a dog pass away, and their other dog, Lou, seemed to be depressed. She was sad, and they wanted to help her, so in came Apollo. It was a match made in Heaven, and they adopted him immediately! I have heard from them a couple of times, and they seem to be totally in love! They said that Lou is so happy, and they are the best of friends.

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*sigh*

Oh the happy lovey dovey feelings!

Once Apollo was adopted, I figured I would take a little break since the holidays were coming up and I would be doing a little traveling. (And don’t forget, I still have Petey, my ol’ perma-foster!) But, as usual in the rescue business, my plans went awry! LHR was contacted by someone who had purchased a pure bred pit bull (ahem!), just to find that he was not allowed to have pits in his apartment complex. The puppy was very well taken care of, and we were happy to help….enter, my next foster puppy!

This is Bailey!

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She is about 4-5 months old, and very petite. In my (non-expert) opinion, she is not a pit bull at all! She is tiny, and doesn’t have a bully-type head shape. Her feet are very small, and she looks and behaves a lot like a terrier. I think she is a Boston Terrier mix, but as always, we can never know for sure (without a DNA test anyway!). Bailey is gorgeous in person, with light brindle patches on her face. And my favorite thing about her, is her legs. The outside of her back legs are black, but the insides are the light brindle color of her patches! It is awesome! She also has gorgeous green-golden eyes.

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Bailey wasn’t too sure about my dogs at first, and she was pretty timid. She warmed up quickly though, and now bounds happily around corners, and jumps in everyone’s laps, and growls playfully at the dogs! Bailey loves to play outside, and cuddle up in the evenings by my side. She already knows “sit” & “down” and does them both flawlessly. She is eager to please, and loves treats. She is fully crate trained, and I don’t want to jinx it, but I think she is now officially potty trained too! So, all in all, we got a great little pup and now she is up for adoption…she has even had an application turned in for adoption! The meet & greet is this weekend, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

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*Last Hope Rescue is currently in desperate need of new foster homes. We have a handful of dogs that need to be moved from their current fosters. We also can’t save new dogs without available foster homes. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in learning more about our foster program, please email us at LastHopeRescueFL@gmail.com! 

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Fellow Dog Lovers

A week or so ago, I spent some time writing a long post about the importance of having your dog’s back, and what it takes to adopt a dog, etc. If you missed that, you can check it out HERE. So, now I thought I would talk about some of the special people in my life that DO in fact have their dog’s back (in no particular order).

#1-One of my oldest, closest friends, Sandy, has a senior Basset Hound, AJ. He was actually a roommate and friend of my Basti’s, who passed away several years ago. AJ has been through a few moves, was best friends with the resident cat who has since passed away, and he has welcomed the two human siblings with nothing but happiness. This last year has been hard on him though. He has been through emergency surgery due to bloat. Thankfully Sandy was home at the time, and she recognized right away that something was wrong. AJ made it through the surgery, but has had a few complications since, and the stress has aged him, physically. Through all of this, Sandy (and her hubby, Eric) have done everything possible to love and care for AJ. Even before the medical issues, they often take him with them if they go out of town. They love him for his howling Basset behaviors…which are hilarious, by the way! Sandy and her family, definitely have AJ’s back and I am honored to call them my friends!

AJ and his human sibling, Callie
AJ and his human sibling, Callie

#2-Next is my previous foster, Lola’s, adopters.  I have raved about them before, but they deserve constant praise. It is no secret how much I love Lola. Out of the  ten dogs I have fostered, she is the only one that I had a hard time saying goodbye to, and even cried over a few times as well. (That’s nothing against my other fosters!) So, you can be sure if I love these people, there is a reason! They definitely always have their dogs backs! They are positive pit bull advocates. They have put both Lola & her doggie sis, Yage, in training classes, and both passed the CGC test. They have worked very hard with Lola on her extreme car anxiety/sickness. They are always doing what is best for their dogs, caring and loving them, helping them feel secure, safe, and loved.

Lola (on the left) and her doggie sister, Yage
Lola (on the left) and her doggie sister, Yage

#3-My parents also have their dogs’ backs. They have an English Cocker Spaniel named Trixie, and a devil Chihuahua named Tinks. Both my mom and dad take the girls on several, very long walks a week. They get a treat whenever my dad walks in the house, and this has started the habit of extremely loud barking by Trixie until she gets the treat! My mom is always bathing them, checking them for ticks after the trail walks, and making sure they are well cared for.  Trixie is a bit older now, and has begun to have seizures in the last couple of years, as well as having issues with incontinence. My mom got Trixie right to the vet when each of these issues were happening, and got her on the medicine that she needed. These things might seem simple, but there are so many dog owners that do not do these things for the pets. Especially when a pet begins the aging process, owners will sometimes dump the dog in a shelter instead of providing them with the care they deserve. My parents also opt for pet-friendly hotels when vacationing whenever possible, so that the girls can go with them. Trixie is fiercely loyal to my mom, and Tinks is a naughty devilish dog. But my parents love them, no matter what!

Trixie taking a boat ride, just one of their many adventures!
Trixie taking a boat ride, just one of their many adventures!
Yup...that's a bed, on top of the couch.
Yup…that’s a bed, on top of the couch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4-The next person I want to mention is another adopter. Sassy came to me as a puppy, and ended up being very sick. She made it through though, and was adopted pretty quickly. Then about 4 months later, she was returned. Now she was a 7 month old, unruly, untrained, crazy puppy. She did not know any basic commands, not even “sit”. So I worked with her, literally telling her every day that she had to become a valuable member of society! Then along came Jan. A very sweet woman, who drove from GA to Tally, to meet Sassy. She sat right on my living room floor, and loved on Sassy. She asked all kinds of good questions, and I explained with full honesty that Sassy needed some training, but that I knew she was worth the time and patience. The rest is history, as they say, and Sassy was adopted. Her name is now Kali, and she is so loved and cared for! Jan often takes Kali out to her lake house, where she gets to go swimming and play with fellow dogs. Jan also took her through an obedience class, which Kali passed with flying colors. This is a perfect example of an owner having a dog’s back. Jan understood what Kali needed, and she has given it to her, to help her be the best dog she can be. It makes it so much easier to say goodbye, when you know that your foster dog is going to such a fantastic home! 

Kali (on the right) enjoying the good life!
Kali (on the right) enjoying the good life!

 

These examples are just a FEW of the wonderful dog owners in my life! There isn’t enough time or room to mention everyone, but I truly am honored to know so many fantastic people who love and care for their dogs as family pets.

Please feel free to share, either below in the comments or on my Facebook page, about the many ways you have your dog(s) back! I would love to hear your stories!!

*Disclaimer: I may or may not have stolen some of these pictures from the mentioned person(s) facebook pages. To those mentioned, I know you all are used to my stalking and stealing ways, so I assume you don’t mind! 😉 

My Proudest Moments!

If you follow my Tails of a Foster Mom facebook page, you may know that it is my birthday today!!! And if you don’t follow it….well, follow it!

So today I thought I would celebrate by talking about my proudest moments as a foster mom! 🙂 (Listed in no particular order!)

#1-I got an update yesterday on my previous foster girl, Sassy! She was the pup that almost died from parvo, then was adopted, and then returned after being left as an outside dog, and never getting any attention or training. She came back to me as a 7 month old, crazy puppy with NO manners! I worked with her to teach her basic obedience, and told her every day that she had to become a valuable member of society. When I met Jan, I had a feeling she just might be the perfect person for Sassy. She was patient, understanding, and so loving! Sassy is now named Kali, and this is what her mom said: “Kali is doing great!  We have just finished the intermediate [obedience] class and Kali now passed the Canine Good Citizen test.  She is my baby and I am so glad she is here with me.  I love her so!” Hearing this is similar to what I imagine it will feel like when my son passes a college course…I know I didn’t do the hard work, but yet I am so very proud. I am so happy that Kali has gotten the forever home she deserves, and am very thankful to Jan for giving her the time and training she needed!

Kali, enjoying some cuddles and a nice warm fire!
Kali, enjoying some cuddles and a nice warm fire!

 

#2-Seeing my fosters out in public, knowing what great dogs they are! Lola has actually been the only one I’ve seen out around town, but I get updates on Petey all the time since he is with my brother, and I check in on Chelsea pretty often too. There are always good things being said about these dogs! Every time I have seen Lola, she is calm and happy. It doesn’t matter what is going on around her, or if there is a crazy dog near her (ahem, Oscar), she just wags her tail, smiles, and goes with the flow.  My brother’s report on Petey is always “he’s a great dog”, and Chelsea’s family continues to give her the love that she needs, and they see improvement in her every day.

Pete, going on a road trip with his family!
Pete, going on a road trip with his family!

 

 

#3-My first couple of fosters were owner returns. Meaning, they had previously been adopted and then for some reason, had to be returned to the rescue. My first dog that was from the shelter was Lola! I saw her picture posted on the Wakulla Animal Control page, and B-E-G-G-E-D to save her! She was out of time, and the shelter volunteers were posting her like crazy, asking for someone to save her. My home had just opened up, and I kept asking the rescue boss lady to please let her be my next foster. There was just something about her sweet face! I truly loved fostering her, and though I say things about her being my favorite and how obsessed I am with her, this is why. I feel like she was the first dog I ever really saved. She will always have a special place in my heart. As will the amazing family who took her in as their own, and will spoil her with love for the rest of her life!

 

The picture that stole my heart!
The picture that stole my heart!

 

#4-I recently got an update on another foster of mine, Toby! Toby had come to the rescue with his litter mates, and was adopted. About a year later, his owner decided that Toby was just too big and returned him to the rescue. I offered to take him…and had no idea what I was getting myself into! I thought I was a “big dog” lover but Toby was giant! The first hint should have been his breed…he is a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shep mix! Toby was very well behaved, and SO sweet…and very playful! This was a lot of dog for my little town house. We made it work though, and it helped that I started taking him to Doggie Dayz every so often to let his energy out. We had TONS of inquiries about him, but it never seemed to be the right fit. The rescue group is very big on their dogs being inside, family pets. They are not to be used for outside guard dogs…and that is exactly what people wanted Toby for. Finally we found the right person. I talked to Bob several times on the phone, and without ever meeting Toby, he was already in love. He and his wife traveled all the way to Tallahassee from South Florida, and the rest is history! Unfortunately I don’t have any new pictures of Toby, but here is what Bob has said about him: “He is amazing.  He has the most wonderful temperament of any animal I have ever seen.  We signed him up for classes… The trainer who has trained dogs for the ASPCA for 20 yrs,  wanted us to bring Toby in for a free evaluation before the classes begin.  The trainer was really impressed with Toby, and she has advanced him directly into the next class for obedience training.  What she was really impressed with was his temperament  and intelligence.  I hope we can advance to the point where he will be a service dog and I can take him to schools and nursing homes. He loves and looks after Sandra, but he is really bonded to me.  He is constantly by my side when I am home, which is most of the time.  Thank you so much for the work you and your organization  are doing for the animals and thank you for allowing us to adopt Toby.” Proud foster mom moment!!!

 

#5-The little things are wonderful too! Like when crazy Sassy finally learned to “sit”. Or when Lola who gets extremely car sick, laid down in the back seat and relaxed, making it home without throwing up. When Chelsea, who is literally scared of everything outside of her cozy kennel, runs and plays in the backyard like a real dog should!

The only time Chels would fully relax and have fun, was when she was with the dogs!
The only time Chels would fully relax and have fun, was when she was with the dogs!

 

 

No matter what the issues have been, or why they came to me, I have loved all of my foster dogs. Whether I accomplished something big while they were with me, or if they have made great strides since being adopted, I am so very proud of each and every one of them. I will always consider them as partly mine, and they all have a special place in my heart. With each one of them, I was able to bond and see the trust they had in me. I am so grateful that I have been able to be a bridge for them, allowing them to cross over from unwanted dog to beloved family pet.

Thank you for reading about some of my proudest foster mommy moments! Please feel free to share your proud moments too, whether it be as a foster mom, dog mom, or human mom!

Sharing IS Caring!

Today I thought I would do something a little different. Instead of showing you adoptable pups, and begging you to share them, I am going to do just the opposite. I am going to share some (short) adoption stories, and the importance of social media sharing.

First, there’s my little Oscar. He was located in a shelter in Gainesville, and after about a month, his time was up. As a last ditch effort, the shelter sends out emails to any rescue contacts they have, to try to save the dog before he/she is put to sleep. Angela, founder of Last Hope Rescue, received the email about this little dog named Half Pint. She forwarded it on to her contacts, which included me. Half Pint found his forever home, and was renamed Oscar! Oscar came to me as a fully potty trained, crate trained, 11 month old dog. He is unbelievably sweet, gets along with every dog he’s met, and loves everyone. He also already knew “sit”, and has quickly learned “off”, “kennel”, and of course “treat!” He was going to be put to sleep simply because no one wanted him, and they needed room for more homeless dogs. When I think about what a goofy, loving dog he is, and how his life was about to be cut short, I am so relieved that he is in my hands now. So, moral of the story? Had the shelter not shared him, and then Angela not shared him after that, I am certain he would no longer be alive. And what a shame that would be, considering the good, loving, sweet dog that he is!

"Half Pint"
“Half Pint”

Next I want to share the story of Champagne. She was on the urgent list at a local shelter. The shelter was begging and pleading for help. They were full, and had already put down a few dogs due to the never-ending drop offs. The shelter has certain criteria that indicates which dogs go first, and Champagne was now at the top of the list. They were sharing her on facebook as much as possible; I shared her; multiple rescues were sharing her; fellow volunteers and dog lovers were sharing her. Next thing you know, she is adopted! Again, another dog that is perfectly sweet, about to be put down because of over crowded shelters, but she was lucky enough to be saved.

Champange is safe, thanks to her forever hero!
Champagne is safe, thanks to her forever hero!

The next story is on this adorable little pup, Roxy. She was found roaming a golf course, and a good Samaritan took her in (kudos!). Unfortunately that person’s dog wasn’t fond of Roxy, so they needed help ASAP or she would have to go to the shelter. Again, she was shared all over the internet. And now, Roxy has found a new home.

Roxy is sure to love her forever home, much more than the boring ol golf course!
Roxy is sure to love her forever home, much more than the boring ol golf course!

 

Quite a few dogs from Last Hope Rescue have also been adopted recently, including Duncan, James, & Gracie!

 

Duncan-adopted by his foster mama!
Duncan-adopted by his foster mama!
James is so happy to have found his forever home!
James is so happy to have found his forever home!

 

Gracie, a very young mama dog. All of her puppies were adopted, and now she's finally found a home too!
Gracie, a very young mama dog. All of her puppies were adopted, and now she’s finally found a home too!

 

There are also quite a few adoptions pending, but in fear of jinxing them, I won’t list those stories! So anyway, the first reason for sharing these is just to show that there ARE happy endings out there. It is frustrating and sad to see all of these homeless animals, and sometimes I need to remind myself of the good things happening. I remind myself to think about the wonderful adopters that have given forever homes to my foster babies. I truly feel that they are all now in great homes, to be loved for the rest of their lives. The second point of this post, is to remind you of how important it is to share these animals through social networking. I don’t expect anyone to share every single dog that needs a home. I am certain that no one wants to hear about these homeless pets every day. I am also aware that some people are just not dog people. And that is perfectly ok. No judging here! But, just hear me out…

Our world has turned to social media for so many things these days. People share every minute of their lives, personal moments via their facebook status, pictures of their kids, animals, vacations on Instagram. We have let technology completely take over our lives. Instead of picking up the phone, we text or facebook someone, even email seems to be the last form of communication used. What happened to sending a letter or card to someone you love? We are all in such a rush, always moving, looking for the next thing to do. I am totally guilty of this myself. Instead of watching the news on tv, I read the stories I’m interested in online, usually via Twitter. Sometimes I catch myself thinking of a friend, and instead of calling or even texting them, I go on facebook to see what they are up to. That doesn’t show them that I am thinking of them though, that I am here for them…but while I feel that social media has had a negative effect on relationships, I think it is important to admit that it also has it’s benefits. If there was no facebook and email, how would these dogs get seen? Many of them are stuck in tiny little shelters, on back roads where no one even knows about them.

So, that leads me to my challenge for you today….I ask that just once in awhile, every now and then, when you see a dog posted that is in need of a home, you hit that “share” or “forward” button. You never know who will see that scruffy ol’ face, or that beautiful purebred (trust me, there are plenty of them!). Can you truly say without a doubt, 100%, that you KNOW none of you 239 facebook friends are looking for a dog? Maybe it will inspire someone else to share the post, just like you did, and who knows how many people it could reach from there. So, my friends….will you share today?

Check out these facebook pages to view many dogs in need: Tails of a Foster Mom; Last Hope Rescue, Friends of Wakulla County Animal Shelter

Friday’s Facts (sort of): Fostering & letting go!

Well, today is the day…Chelsea is going to her new home!!!! She started out terrified, hiding behind corners, and refusing to look me in the eye. Now, while she’s not completely carefree, she is playful & has learned to trust me. Considering I have only had her for a month, I think the change in her has been remarkable. And, it goes to show, with the right family, she CAN become carefree & happy like all dogs should be! So how did we get here? If you remember, I told you all about her adopter here. Last night, I brought Chelsea over to Kristine’s house to meet the rest of the family & their dog, Caleb (the cutest & friendliest little long haired chihuahua!). Chelsea was nervous as usual, but she really did great. She met everyone, and then ran around outside with Caleb for awhile. The family consists of Kristine (mom), Michael (dad), and three kids ranging from 10yr-1yr olds. The kids were super excited, but very patient & understanding of Chelsea’s needs. They were just dying to love on her! During most of the visit, mom & dad held on to the littlest one, just to be safe. (In my opinion, you should ALWAYS be over cautious with a new dog!) Finally, as we were finishing up, the little boy was freed! He went right over to see Chelsea, and she gave him a big, giant lick right on the face! The little boy just smiled & giggled, and Chelsea gave him a few more kisses. This reminded me…Chelsea’s previous family had a baby while she was with them, so she was present for a year of a baby’s life…I have a feeling she will bond to the little boy the fastest. I think he makes her feel at home, and that was so wonderful to see! So, we said our goodbyes & made the plans for Chelsea to return today for good! I can’t wait to hear updates from the family over the coming weeks, as Chelsea adjusts to life with her new forever family!

As I thought about this being our last day with her, I wondered what other foster doggie parents do to say goodbye to their temporary babies. For me, I like to give the foster dog some extra special attention. I usually let them sleep on my bed for the last night, and give them a few extra treats. I tell them what a good dog they are, and how proud I am that they have patiently waited for their family to find them…and yes, I do actually say this stuff out loud. I also tell Lucy (and now Oscar) that our friend is leaving. (I know, I know, crazy dog lady.) I make sure the dogs all get some extra play time. Chelsea even layed out in the sun on the deck for a little bit, which is actually the first time she has ever done that!

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I have heard of some people doing a little goodbye party, inviting those that have been a part of the pup’s temporary home. I think whatever you do, it is important to focus on the positive. Think about the good you are doing. You have helped this dog find it’s forever home. Does it always work out? No. Is it frustrating to have a dog returned? Sure. Is it sometimes really hard to say goodbye? Absolutely. But, you have to believe in what you are doing. Know that you have personally had a hand in saving this dog’s life. I look at my foster dogs, and the homes that they are all in now, and know that no matter what they’ve been through, and as hard as it may have been to leave them, it was worth it to see them now, with loyal committed loving doggie parents.

So to Kristine & her family, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart! And to Chelsea, I say good luck girl! May you one day be fearless and carefree, as you deserve. And until then, take comfort in the home filled with love that is now yours forever!

Chelsea