on Jul 30th, 2012And then there were 5?

The 2 men in my life

After moving to CT I met my husband’s cousin Jodi who has a rescue organization called “Running for Rescues”. I started to follow the various dog pounds and dog rescue people on Facebook. And after following a few dogs stories…as well as the dog I was working with in the pound was adopted…we decided it could be time to foster another dog. I am now working from home so figured I would have the time to devote to another dog. Along came a dog named January. I followed January’s story…he was in the Bristol Pound…a pound that puts dogs on petfinder without photos or descriptions…not really the best way to get dogs adopted.

He had been in the pound for 7 months, his previous owner went to jail and the family never came back to get the dog.  Their loss.  We brought him home, we decided to name him Leo. And we love him.

on Mar 12th, 2012Adventures of a Foster Dog Mom

I love dogs.  We adopted our first two dogs as a pair.  They are Jack Russell/Chihuahua mixes….and they are double trouble!  Many years later I went to purchase food for the little girls and met Lucy-lulu.  Lucy is my mush.  Moving in with my Mother-in-Law bumped the pack up to 4.  Shammy is my MIL spaniel mix.  She’s an old girl but still has a lot of spunk.

So, on Facebook I am connected to many dog folks.  Many of these folks post dogs in pounds that are about to be put to sleep.  One caught my eye…her name was Charlotte.

We renamed her Sweet Pea and she is just a love.

on Feb 6th, 2012Apartment for Sale!

We loved the 2 BR apartment in NYC. Now we must move on and find a seller.

on Jan 5th, 20122012

So here we are in 2012. My post at the beginning of 2011 was not a happy one and I am pleased to say had a much nicer, calmer, less drama filled holiday season.

We moved to CT, 124 Main St, Centerbrook, CT. 06409. To a house that was a Sears kit house…and where my MIL has lived for 20 years. There was much work to be done and much left to do. But it’s good.

I am optimistic about 2012.

on Jan 5th, 2012No longer the couple in the city

We are now living at 124 Main Street, Centerbrook, CT

Check out Charley’s blog

on May 15th, 2011Classes

So, we finished class a few weeks ago.  We didn’t just learn sit, down, etc, etc…but I learned how to bond with my dog and how to have her trust me.

What is so cute lately is that Thelma is laying next to Lucy…many times Thelma would growl at Lucy when she got too close.

Thelma and Lucy on the couch

Soon we will be starting a new chapter in our lives moving out of the city.

All the girls will have a wonderful fenced yard to run in.

on Mar 25th, 2011Little Steps

Tonight I had a great walk with Lucy and my neighbor and his puppy.  Lucy has been having issues again with the corner directly outside of our building so I boiled some chicken and brought a piece with me.  I gave her some chicken just outside the door and then again when we crossed the street and on the corner turning toward the Greenway.  She did her business and we headed back home.  On the block across the street from our house I noticed one of our local homeless guys coming down the street.  He has made it known to me that he does NOT like dogs…and for some reason Lucy has been interested in him but afraid of the cart he pushes sometimes…tonight being one of those nights.  So, my brain quickly thought…I should play the attention game with her.  She went into a sit without me even asking and then she keep her attention on me as the homeless guy passed with his cart…and WAHOO, no panic, no pulling…just a nice moment for me and Lucy.  I feel so blessed to have such great dogs and such a great trainer!!!

on Mar 20th, 2011Lucy goes to class

The city is sometimes too much for Lucy.  Trucks, cars rumbling over potholes…and it sucks that we live on the corner of 181st and Haven Ave which is which is the exit off I95 and truck route into Manhattan.  So, my yoga teacher recommended a fantastic trainer to help Lucy with her anxiety in the city.

Dot’s approach is positive reinforcement training using a clicker.  She taught me some of the basics; sit, down, touch, and doggie zen.  Doggie Zen is a really cool exercise where you hold a high value treat in your hand and when the dog ignores your hand with the treat it in you click and treat with the other hand.  Lucy is to the point where I can have my hand open, with steak and cheese in it…and she will leave it alone until I give it to her.  Amazing.

I have to admit I was a huge Cesar Milan watcher…I tried some of his techniques on my little dogs…all the shushing in the world did NOTHING to help my little ones.  I basically got as far as having them sit for their dinner and that was about it.  As they are little, things like jumping up when we come home have not been such a big deal as they are only about 10lbs each.  I also realized that Louise has some of the same issues as Lucy with certain blocks she does not like to walk on.  I always just picked her up and carried her past the area that she was scared of.  Lucy is way to big to carry myself.

Dot sent me an email that she was going to have a class at Spoiled Brats which is the store were I met Lucy for the first time.  I was excited to have to opportunity to take a class with her and other dogs of similar breed.  So, my husband Charley got up early with me and we took a walk up to the car and then drove Lucy over to Spoiled Brats.  She was a little unsure of the block so Charley and I both got out of the car to bring her into the store…she literally ran inside the store.  Class was GREAT!  We worked on some of the things Lucy all ready knew and did a few new things.  All great building blocks to build a great bond and help her build her confidence.

Charley took the car up to Ft. Tryon Park to play with his HAM radio and see if I may need a ride home.  I was pretty confident I could walk Lucy back over 18st to home.  Well, she didn’t want to walk the length of one store front to 181st, but would walk away from 181st.  So, just to see where we would go and knowing Charley could always pick us up.  Off we went up Bennett Ave toward 184th, we turned right toward Overlook Terrace, headed up Overlook Terrace toward 190th…we were about half a block past the 187th stairs when Lucy decided to turn around.  I was like…OK, let’s try the stairs…we were 1 flight from the top of the stairs when she stopped dead.  So, we took a little break and then I gave her some encouragement and up the last flight of stairs we went!  At that point we were in a place she was familiar with and I knew I could get her home.  I called Charley to let him know I thought I could get her home from there.  We finished the journey down Cabrini to 181st and home.

It was a great day, great class and much to look forward to with Lucy!

on Mar 6th, 2011Lucy settles in…

Lucy Settles in

The first night Lucy was with us she slept on a blanket next to our bed, the little girls sleep on the bed with us and have since the first day we got them.  We had gotten a crate for them but they wiggled and would not settle down inside and would jump out and onto the bed.   We were living in a studio apartment at the time so there was not much area for us to separate them from us if we so desired.

So, thank goodness we have a 2 bedroom as we were still not sure about leaving Lucy with the girls all day.  We put Lucy in our office and the girls in our room as always.  I was lucky enough to have my afternoon appointment cancel so I just took PTO and came home.  I called our vet to take Lucy over there to get checked out.   The great news was she liked riding in the car and was completely healthy.  The vet thought she was around 8 months and was on either side of heat.  Within 24 hours I was so in love with this dog, as was my husband.  We decided it would be best to go get a crate so we headed over to Petco and got the large metal dog crate.  Once Charley set it up next to the bed Lucy jumped inside and turned around and looked at us like “hey, thanks for my new house!”  A much different reaction then Thelma and Louise’s when we brought them home.

I am not sure what Lucy’s history is but I can tell you she had no concept of potty training, she would pee and poop in the apartment, the hallway, the stairs…OMG, again I wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into.  We would crate her at night and she would start whimpering at 4am..I would get up, take her out, and then we would cuddle on the couch.  I started wondering if she was training me at this point!   The other thing was she decided that she liked going next to the exit ramp of I95 onto 181st…this is right behind our building.  That seemed somewhat dangerous so I started taking her to the patch of green where there was a tree between the exit ramp and the circular drive…others took there dogs there too and it was somewhat protected by traffic barriers…then the city revamped that area and put in a bunch of plantings there….no more potty there.  I’m not sure if it was the combination of the hot weather, construction, and her settling into “a home” that Lucy decided that she would no longer walk up our block or outside of a 2 block radius of the house.  This was agonizing for me, I would end up taking her out 3-5 times a night for short walks and sometimes she would just sit her butt down outside the front door and not move.  I would try treats, or reassurance…ugh, nothing seemed to work.  I had asked the Vet and she said it could be that Lucy just didn’t like hot weather…that she had a dog that did the same kind of behavior.

Fed up with life and some plans that fell through, Charley and I decided to take a vacation to visit my parents in WI…with all 3 dogs.  We bought a great travel crate from Dr. Fosters Smith to use at my parents house and in the hotels.  I also bought new travel harnesses for all the girls so we could tether them into the back seat.

I was a little stressed how they would handle riding in the car together but they were great!  Each one picked a place on the back seat of the car and settled in for the long ride.  I have also found Lucy to be a calming influence on the girls as they don’t bark as much while in the car…very nice.

Sharing the back seat...

The one huge surprise we had on the trip was LUCY WENT INTO HEAT!!!  I have never had a un-spayed dog before so again, completely in the dark on how to deal with this…and my parents house has wall to wall carpet…ugh.  I armed myself with a gallon jug of Nature’s Miracle I did my best to clean up after her…at one point we even took a pair of my dad’s retired tidy whities and put them on Lucy to help catch some of the flow.  We also purchased some big rawhide bones (my sweet Mom had bought some smaller ones as well as a welcome gift for the pups…I have the BEST Mom)  to occupy the girls and give them something to chew…so the did not chew my parent’s new furniture…not that they ever had but it would be a bad time to start!  Here is Lucy enjoying her bone…

Lucy in WI

After her heat passed we had her spayed over Labor Day weekend.  She did extremely well with the surgery and didn’t even have to wear an e-collar as she didn’t bother the incision area.  As the heat passed and fall started to settle in I was able to get Lucy to walk a little further.  This was very encouraging to me however I decided that maybe I would need some extra help…  and that is when I met Dot.

on Mar 6th, 2011And then there were 3

It was last spring and I was over at Spoiled Brats to get “the girls” some food. I have fed them either Natural Balance or Wellness formula their entire lives with us. It’s kind of hard to think they are 7 years old now. In many ways they still have the energy of puppys.

I am not sure why I decided I wanted a 3rd dog. The girls were a handful all on their own, but a wonderful handful. They have each other to keep company so they sleep on our bed while we are at work, and they are also great travelers. We have taken them to WI and CT multiple times. They are very friendly with new people…but not so much with new dogs until they get to know them. Which I feel is part breed and part the lack of socialization from when they were puppies. Sometimes they surprise me though, like tonight on our walk we met a very placid little fluffy dog that the girls didn’t growl or snap at once. Just a friendly sniff. Nice.

So now you are probably wondering if my 2 little ones don’t like other dogs why would I want a 3rd?

Well, I kept my eye on the website of the shelter were we got the girls . But at the time there didn’t seem to be the right fit for the girls…or I didn’t feel like I had time for a puppy…and they had a lot of puppies at that point. So, back to the day I went to get food for the girls. I walked into Spoiled Brats and there she was…I thought maybe she was one of the owners dogs so I asked…who is that beautiful dog? When I found out she was a stray that someone in the neighborhood had brought into the store my heart melted. See, I was brought up with a small dog, my husband always had big dogs. She was my hubby’s kind of dog all the way.

I asked the guy, Mish, at SB what they were going to do…it was getting close to closing time. He said they may call ACC. That is the equivalent to the pound in NYC and dogs don’t have many days to live there. Being she was large powerful kind of breed I knew this was probably a death sentence for her, I also considered the shelter where we got the little girls but they were also close to closing time so Lucy needed somewhere to stay for the night.  That is when I picked up the phone and called my hubby. He told me it was “my decision”. I got my wits about me and thought…what if my girls hate this dog, what if she’s aggressive toward them…not being a dog behavior specialist I was not sure…so, I decided to come home and get the girls and take them over to meet her. Well, I was more than pleased to have them do their normal growl at her and she just gently nudged each one. Like…is that all you got…totally gentle. So, the fantastic folks at SB gave me a collar and leash and off we went. Little did I know that Lucy had no idea how to walk on a leash. She bucked and twisted. About a block away from the store I was all ready wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into. Luckily I ran into Bart, a local dog walker in the neighborhood…Bart was totally taken by Lucy…he actually gave her the name Lucy…I was going to name her Ginger…and in his Scottish brogue “you can’t call her Ginger!” Apparently he believes in shorter easier names for dogs.

So, to this day I have never named a pet myself.