Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bean Town

Last week, Foster Dad & I took an extended Memorial Day trip out to Boston.  Though it’s always a bummer being away from the pups, we were excited to stick another pin in our travel map, do some sight-seeing and spend some time with friends and family who live out that way.

We made a stop at Fenway to catch a Red Sox game…

…and even made it out to Cape Cod to wriggle our toes in the sand and wade bravely into the ice cold Atlantic.

And what would a trip to the East Coast be without some fresh sea food?  Bought live and cooked at my sister’s place, these souls sacrificed their lives for our dinner and boy were they delicious.  I choose to believe they didn’t suffer.

Luckily we didn’t have to go too long without a four-legged furry friend fix, even if the stand-ins were feline. 

Poor Oscar, stuck in his cone, spent the week with friends, pouting that he couldn’t come with us.  At least he got to sleep on the bed!

Meanwhile, Molly Tamale and Cooper spent the week playing with all their buddies at Camp Bow Wow

Photo courtesy of Camp Bow Wow

Photo courtesy of Camp Bow Wow

This is yet another wonderful perk of fostering with Agape Animal Rescue – they make all the arrangements to take care of our foster dogs while we’re out-of-town, if we give them plenty of notice.  They’ll either arrange for them to stay temporarily with another family, or pay for their boarding.  Since it was a holiday weekend and lots of people in Agape’s network weren’t available, and since Molly and Coop go to Camp Bow Wow on occasion for day care anyway, we knew they’d be perfectly comfortable there. 

Photo courtesy of Camp Bow Wow

After a week away, Foster Dad and I were ready to get back to real life again.  And we couldn’t WAIT to be reunited with our fur-babies! 

It was a great little vacation, but everyone was happy to be home.

~

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Graduation!

Last week, Cooper completed the Basic Family Dog Manners class with Dogs & Kat.  He passed his skills test with flying colors – We’re so proud of him!

Of course as a doting Foster Momma, I had to take some video of Cooper’s progress.  First, here is he working on “stay.”

Next, we practiced the beginnings of what could be turned into “roll over.”  For this task, we put Cooper in a “down,” then held the treat close to his nose and moved it back around his head.  Some dogs are naturals at this and go the rest of the way, completing the “roll over” on their own…we are not quite there yet.

Finally, the crown jewel – four on the floor, or “greeting a friendly stranger.”  This is one of the ten tests that dogs have to pass in order to get their Canine Good Citizenship certification, and Cooper – well, see for yourself:

Trust me, I was beaming with pride.  Cooper did so awesomely amazing in his class, I couldn’t be more proud of him.  He’s one smart cookie, extremely food motivated and loves to please his people – a training trifecta!

However, we are far from done with Cooper’s schoolin’ – he still needs to learn how to keep his nerves in check.   So, next on the docket is Relaxed Rovers, also with Dogs & Kat.  In Relaxed Rovers, “we work on helping dogs learn to be calm and focused on their people in distracting environments.  This class is for dogs who have a hard time being calm, whether due to excitement, reactivity with other dogs or people (especially when on leash), anxiety, or just plain lack of focus.” I am extremely excited for this class – it’s just what the doctor trainer ordered for young Coop, and I’m looking forward to sharing updates on his progress. 

If you’re interested in adding Cooper to your family, please contact Agape Animal Rescue.

~

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Super Duper Cooper: now of StubbyDog fame!

Drum roll please….

Cooper was recently selected as StubbyDog’s Rescue Dog of the Week

StubbyDog is a non-profit group with the goal of changing public perception of pit bulls.  Each week they pick a rescue dog or two from around the country to feature on their website, and this week – Cooper is the lucky pooch! 

A HUGE thank you to StubbyDog for helping us spread the word about awesomely adoptable Cooper.  Maybe his furever family is out there right now reading about Cooper on StubbyDog…

Let’s just hope the fame doesn’t go to his head.

If you’re interested in adding Cooper to your family, please contact Agape Animal Rescue.

~

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Kissing Toads

For those of you who follow us on Facebook, you may remember a little while ago I sent out a post to see if anyone had ever seen an enlarged nipple on their dog.  Just one nipple, not all of them.  Oh, and I should specify, on their boy dog – so this would be a non-baby-making-related issue.

Our darling Oscar, the center of our universe, had what appeared to be an enlarged nipple.  Now, we’re no stranger to “weird things” on our boy.  Just a year ago, we had a lump removed from his toe, which turned to be nothing, but better safe than sorry. So when Nipplegate popped up, we took him right to the vet to have it checked out.

Turns out, it wasn’t the nipple itself that was enlarged after all.  The initial diagnosis was a skin tag right next to his nipple – a benign mass that, while gross, generally isn’t anything to worry about.  We were sent home with instructions to keep an eye on it, and if it changed color or size, or started to bother Oscar at all, that we should come back and lop that sucker right off.  Well without going into any gory details, about a week later is started to bother him.

He came home from our return trip to the vet groggy and embarrassed in a dreaded Cone of Shame while we waited for the Mystery Growth to be sent off for analysis.  Oscar must have been finding some toads to get friendly with, because it turned out to be nothing but a big wrinkly wart.  Gross, but whew!

While we would have been happy to avoid a trip to the vet (and the bill that came along with it), we were glad that we got it checked out.  If we didn’t look into it, and later it turned to be something serious that we could have avoided, we never would have forgiven ourselves.  Admittedly, since Oscar is “Our First Dog” we err on the side of caution more often than not when dealing with the unknown.  Thankfully, our vet is fantastically patient, and is more than willing to talk us off our ledge when Oscar does something like eat a book of matches (“ohmigosh is that poison??”) or if we just can’t remember how long we should wait after we apply his flea/tick topical before we give him a bath (two days, if you’re curious).

The bottom line is that Oscar is our baby.  We love him with our whole hearts and we would do anything for him.  We might be a little overly protective and neurotic at times, but – well, no “but,” I don’t need to make excuses or rationalize it, he’s our kid and we love him.  We will gladly shell out the cash for an office visit if something is going on that we’re not sure about, if for nothing other than peace of mind.

And we can sleep easy now knowing that Oscar is happy and healthy….well, “healthy” anyway.  He’ll be happier once he’s out of that cone.

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Problem Solving

Oooh, a new viewing portal to Outside has materialized.  I have never noticed this portal before…hmm, it is much higher off the ground than my current observation post.  How am I supposed to keep watch to make sure we’re not invaded by those pesky outside cats? Curse my stumpy little legs!

Fear not, because I am Molly Tamale and I am a problem solver.  I will keep us safe from those ferocious felines, come hell or high windows.

If you’re interested in adding Molly Tamale to your family, please fill out an applicaiton with Agape Animal Rescue.

~

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Calming Cooper’s Quirks: Separation Anxiety

Cooper taught us early on that he does not appreciate being left alone.  We’ve used a lot of trial and error in dealing with this issue, including varying the amount of time he is alone, leaving him in a crate or out of the crate, exercising before he is left alone, leaving him with a Veggie Kong – you name it, we’ve tried it. Time after time, no matter what we did, we’d come home to…well, this:

                   

We had about reached the end of our rope.  As much as we adored Coop, we felt that we were failing him in some way – what was causing his anxiety?  How could we help him? We sought the wise counsel of one of the Agape staff, Gayle.  Gayle has helped us out many times in the past dealing with different behavioral issues in our foster dogs, including learning how to bring a nervous Tucker out of his shell, and mediating some tension between Oscar and Kaylee.  She knows her stuff, and she’s always willing to help.  In short, she’s a lifesaver – and we trust her guidance.

After talking with Gayle about everything we had tried so far, she suggested we try a supplement called Quiet Moments.  She had used it with several of her nervous foster dogs in the past with great success.  These chewable tablets includes natural ingredients like passion flower, chamomile and ginger, with the aim of reducing stress and tension in your dog.  Plus, as I said – we had tried everything else, so what the heck?  Cooper gobbles them right down. 

***Important: We are not medical professionals.  Please consult your veterinarian before starting your pet on any medication or supplement.***

Along with the Quiet Moments, we’ve been leaving instrumental music on the radio when we’re gone.  We continue to leave Oscar, Cooper and Molly Tamale all out in the living room together, closed off from the rest of the house.  We’ve puppy proofed the stinkin’ heck out of that room, and we’ve decided that we’ll shed no tears over anything that may fall victim to any vicious puppy chompers – especially since Cooper apparently isn’t the only one we have to worry about!  

We also make sure that all the dogs go outside to conduct their business right before we leave the house, and we never make a never “big deal” out of our good-bye routine.  No big pets and hugs and drawn out good-bye’s with “I-love-you-I’ll-see-you-soon-you’re-such- a-good-dog-please-don’t-eat-the-house,” we simply look at the dogs, say cheerfully “We’ll be back!” and shut the door behind us.  When we first implemented this tactic over the course of a weekend, we used “We’ll be back!” for first a quick trip around the block, then a run to the store, and increasingly longer periods of time.  The idea is to build trust in Cooper that we will, in fact, return!

We’ve been following this routine now for several weeks, and we’ve been doing pretty well.  Destruction has gone way down, and we’ve all but alleviated the potty accidents.  It’s gotten to the point recently to where I can start closing doors to separate off the living room, and Cooper will hop up on the couch, ready for his daily snooze, instead of following me to the door bouncing around like a dog possessed.

It’s taken us three and a half months with Cooper to get to this point.  His growth has been exceptional, and I could not be more proud of him.  I do think that when he does get adopted, his furever family can expect a bit of backsliding – that’s only natural.  This is where that patience and love comes in, and willingness to stick with Cooper while he works through it…. 

…because eventually, he will!

If you’d like to add Cooper to your family, please contact Agape Animal Rescue.

~

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Spring Break

Since we started this blog back in September, we’ve never followed any hard and fast 5-days-a-week rule of blogging.  There have been weeks when we’ve posted five times, and weeks when we’ve posted twice.  We’ve posted on weekends and holidays.  We post when something funny happens, or when we have a story to tell.  Usually, in the world of dog fostering, that’s pretty dang often!

However today I realized it’s been almost a week since our last post.  And it had been a week before that since the previous one.  I think our unplanned hiatus started with technological frustration – I had an entire post written that mysteriously went missing before I could publish it, and instead of re-writing it right away, I sulked.   That instance on top of the fact that Foster Dad and I have both been So. Freakin’. Busy lately catapulted this blog firmly into the backseat of our priorities.

So, whether intentional or not, we’re taking a page out of Love and a Six-Foot Leash’s book and making some time for us.  And for the pooch’s, of course.  We’ll still be posting, but maybe a little less often. We have lots of stuff to talk about coming up, including a fun project Molly Tamale was involved in and updates on how Cooper’s progress with training and some of his other quirks

And of course, if anything happens on the adoption front, you know I’ll deliver the details with a quickness!  In the mean time, check us out on Facebook for quick updates, short stories and lots of pictures.  Thanks for hanging in with us, cyber-friends!

Molly Tamale and Cooper are both searching for their furever homes.  If you’re interested in adding either of these awesome pups to your family, please fill out an application with Agape Animal Rescue.

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