Thursday, December 27, 2007

My year in pictures

2007's adoptions

I've had a whopping THREE adoptions this year...but we've only had four fosters so that gives us a 75% success rate. And I'm not counting Marley, since WE are the suckers who adopted her!

1. Clementine - adult female found on my front porch. Could have belonged to a neighbor I suppose...but she was intact and roaming without identification so that's not my problem. The lesson here is, don't let your pets roam near my house. I have my eye on a huge male tom cat that lives in the neighborhood right now...

Clementine was adopted on January 6, 2007. I'll never, ever forget that - Pepper died later that same night :-(

2. Next up is Minnow (a.k.a. Minnie Pearl) - 9yo blind female. Dumped at Baldwin County Animal Control in the middle of the night. In January. Classy people, I'm certain...but I digress. We drove down to pull her in late January and she was adopted in April. She now lives in Montgomery with the director of a German Shepherd rescue group, and believe me, Minnow is in charge of the German Shepherds!

3. Finally. my sweet Georgia - 3yo adult female. Georgia was found with one pup living at Samford University in Birmingham. When I was first contacted about her I had no clue what I was supposed to do with a slightly dog aggressive American Bulldog. But we figured it out - we raised the money ($475) for her heartworm treatment and she was a fixture at our house for more than five months. Man, we love this girl!

Georgia was adopted in early November and while she's still adjusting to all the changes in her life, she's doing quite well. We're not always heartbroken when our fosters leave (especially the puppies!) but we'll always have a special place in our hearts for Georgia.

So, that just leaves us with Miss Ruby's amazing to me that I've adopted out an adult cat, an ancient blind Chihuahua and a slightly dog aggressive adult American Bulldog...but I can't seem to GIVE away a young, small breed pup with no health or behavior problems!

Ruby's time will come, I'm sure of it...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas is over?!

Christmas is so different as an a child it's so...magical I guess. As an adult...I don't know how to explain it, except that it seems to be a huge dividing line between the "haves" and the "have nots." I'm blessed to have always fallen into the "haves" category, but as I get older the line becomes more and more apparent. And it seems that there are so many out there who "have not." I generally enjoy the anticipation of Christmas, but I'm not too sad to see it gone for another year.

So now we're on to New Year's...a time to take stock and make resolutions...not too crazy about that tradition either, but I've been working on my list. My goals for 2008 include (but are certainly not limited to):

- I either need to improve my organizational skills or find some new ones! I have so many things going on from day to day that I feel like I spend most of my time trying to figure out what the hell to do next. I have a daily/weekly planner to I'm going to do my best to keep up to date.

- In keeping with my need for organization, I'm also going to do a better job of saying, "NO!" I'm rotating off my homeowner's association's board of directors this year and I will NOT pick up any activity/function/committment to take it's place. The world will not stop turning if I decline an invitation every now and then. Plus, that's fewer things to write in my day planner ;-)

- I'm going to make more time for my OWN dogs. I spend so much time transporting and fostering that sometimes my own dogs (and their awful manners) fall thru the cracks. I'm scheduling several new classes and will spend more time actively training my dogs rather than relying on damange control once things get out of hand (and things always get out of hand at our house!).

- This falls under both the "organizational skills" and the "dog" category: before the end of 2008 I want to have our life insurance policies squared away and start the foundation work for our trust (the purpose of which will be to care for our dogs should something happen to both Brandon and myself). Go ahead and laugh, but my dogs will be wealthier at the time of my demise than most people will be when they retire (and the remainder of the trust will be donated)! Now, I bet you all want to put your name on the list to get one of my dogs, don't you??

- I either need to increase my dedication to my job (the real one that pays the bills and has nothing to do with dogs) or find a new one. I'm always complaining about being bored at work but I'm doing nothing to make a change. Thing is, I'm positive I can't find the money and flexibility I have it looks like I need to start taking on more responsibility and finding myself more work to do. NOT excited about this one!

- Speaking of "work", I need to decide how far I want to take my side business (sewing, embroidery, monogramming). I've been pretty swamped with orders since Halloween so right now I don't really want to think about it at all...but I'm working on some new dog collars and leashes...hopefully that will make things exciting again.

- Debt. Gross. But I will say that we're more than 3/4 of the way thru my Iron Fist Budget Plan and we're only about 12 months from being totally debt free (except for our one mortgage payment - no cars, no student loans, no credit cards, nothing!). I don't even want to talk numbers but I will say that the first few years of our repationship was lived WAY beyond our means...and we're certainly paying for it. I'll also add that this will be year FOUR that we've not used a credit card. For anything. At all. We're cash only and I plan to be that way until I die (which takes us back to my life insurance resolution).

I'm sure the list will grow but hopefully this time next year I can look back and be pretty pleased with the results!

Friday, December 21, 2007

I love updates!

And Christmas is the perfect time for me to email my adopters with "holiday wishes" in an attempt to solicit an update!

Meet Mina - she and her brother Mason were found by a co-worker of mine when they were only about 8wks old. Mason looked more Boxer-like and was adopted within a few weeks. Mina, on the other hand stayed with us for almost three months. She was adopted by a young couple in Tampa, FL - I met them in Tallahassee the weekend she went home.

Here's Mina at 8wks:

And here's Mina now, a year and a half later (on the right):

LOOK. AT. THOSE. EARS!!! I never thought they'd stand straight up like that! She's doing well and they've just added a new (although older) pup to their family.

Here's hoping my "holiday wishes" work on my other adopters...I'm dying for a Wally update from NYC!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Isn't it weird...

how a simple smell can trigger memories of things you forgot years ago? With my allergies, I honestly can't smell at all most of the time but something about my own perfume today is taking me back to high school...and the person I was dating at the time. And no, my perfume isn't that old...and it certainly isn't men's cologne!

It's the same for me with sounds. I went to a coworker's house a few weeks ago and one of her dogs is battling congestive heart failure...we lost Pepper to CHF almost a year ago. Symptoms vary from dog to dog, but one common symptom is the hacking cough caused by fluid in the lungs. It's like the smell of Parvo, once you experience it, you never forget. I heard Lenny before I saw him...the last time I heard that cough was the night Pepper died...but for a split second, I honestly expected to see Pepper come bounding around the corner. Only he didn't. I was crying so hard by the time I made it home that Brandon was sure something awful had happened...and it was that ugly, elementary school, I can't catch my breath kind of crying. You know what I'm talking about. All from the sound of a dog's cough.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A fly on the wall...

would see this nightly ritual at our house. Marley's invitation to play generally starts with a wallop to the head with the big rubber chicken (or is that the duck? We have so many...). Unfortunately, Ruby is so much smaller than Marley (14lbs vs 50lbs) that the game often ends when Ruby goes sailing across the room like a canine cannonball. At least this time she was just yanked over the back of the loveseat. In Marley's defense, Ruby could just let go of the blasted chicken...

**Disclaimer: no dogs were injured in the making of this video!**

I don't know why I bother...

Every year I think this is the year I'll get good Christmas pictures...and every year I give up and send out plain old boxed cards. We were dressed for a party last night so I suggested we grab the dogs for a few pictures before leaving. I got this nice shot of Brandon with Marley (l) and Lily (r):

So then it's my turn. Brandon gets this lovely picture of me, CiCi (l), the back of Mazie's head (r), and more cleavage than should ever be allowed on any card:

I'm no photographer myself, but come on! Seriously?? That's the best you could do??
Be watching your mailbox for our plain old boxed card again this year *sigh*

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Anniversary Brandon!

FIVE years ago...feels like forever ;-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday CiCi!

CiCi - my very FIRST dog - turns 9yo this month. God, how time flys! I bought my first house in May of 1999 and since I couldn't have a cat (I'm allergic) I thought I'd get a dog. I should add here that, at the time, I knew less than nothing about dogs! But the dog was to live outside only. That quickly turned into, "Well, she can come inside, but she's not getting on my furniture." By the end of the week, CiCi owned the house and was sleeping in the bed! We've been together ever since.

CiCi has been with me longer than my now husband (though Brandon and I were friends at the time). We've been thru a LOT together - including TWO knee surgeries (her's, not mine!) and countless facelifts (as a result of the fights she likes to pick with the other dogs) that have left her looking an awful lot like Joan Rivers. She has been both my best friend and the thorn in my side.

Thank you CiCi, for 9 years of unconditional love that only a dog can give.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Here's the problem with my blogging...

like everything else in my life, if I don't stay right on top of it, it'll be WEEKS between entries. So this will be a big one!

1) A Georgia update. She left a little over two weeks ago for her new home and though she had a bit of a hard time adjusting at first, she's doing much better now. Her new dad is making an awesome effort to make her feel at home - he spends lots of time down in the floor with her and they take short car rides (Georgia's favorite thing!) a few times a week. He's open to us seeing her again but we want to make sure she's adjusted well before we do - I don't want to upset things for her at all. Man, we miss that girl!

2) If you'll remember back a couple of entries, I posted about a Boxer mom who was seized by animal control as part of a cruelty case. Two months after she was picked up, she was finally released to recuperate in the comfort of a foster home. I picked her up last Friday, she stayed the night with us and then made her way to Atlanta early Saturday morning. She's still thin as a rail and is missing most of the hair up her back, but she simply could not have been any sweeter. Once she's physically recovered, she's going to make a very nice dog for some lucky person.

3) Ruby. What can I say about Ruby? We mistakenly thought she'd be adopted rather fast (given her size, breed and age) when we pulled her from the shelter. And yet, 6 weeks later, she's still with us. Oh yeah, she's also WILD! She can be with 5 of our 6 dogs (everyone but Lily – we’ll introduce them this week) though so having her with us is really not a big deal. For now ;-)

4) Veronica and I spent three days in Chattanooga earlier in the month at a flyball tournament and I’m SO proud! Our December tournament will mark three YEARS since V started competing. At best, she’s been inconsistent (a result of our lack of dedication to training and her gnat-sized attention span) but we seem to have turned a corner. She ran EVERY heat of EVERY race EACH day (she generally alternates) and with one or two small exceptions, her racing was flawless all weekend! She’s taken almost an entire second off of her times and in the grand scheme of what is generally a 22 second race, that’s a LOT.

Brandon will be handling her this weekend so we’ll see if that makes any difference.
5) We had a great (and very successful!) fundraiser for our rescue group thru Art Buzz Birmingham this month as well. In a nutshell, it’s BYOB, girls night out and an art class all rolled into one – fabulous! And for a great cause – the instructors donated $385 to our group at the end of the night. And I painted a great picture for my guest bath!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Georgia's home.

We took Georgia to her new home Friday, and I have to say I'm terribly jealous of the view from her new backyard (top picture). We spent about an hour letting her get acclimated to her new surroundings and answering her new dad's questions and then quietly snuck out while she was exploring the house. I'm also proud to report that I made it out the front door before bursting into tears...and then sobbed the entire way home. And it was that ugly, "I could only cry that way in front of my husband" sort of crying...

My main concern is for Georgia's safety - getting loose, eating something she shouldn't, etc. Her new dad is fabulous and he's given me no reason to worry...but now that she's no longer with me, I can't control things...and that scares me.

I called Saturday afternoon for an update and it seems that once we left, she searched the entire house for us and would get excited every time a car drove by. Oh man, as if my heart weren't already broken...I never stopped to consider what a hard time she might have adjusting. I'm used to placing puppies and they generally adjust easily. I never thought that this might be different.

She is running and playing though and is doing quite well in her pen at night (she has her own little room). I know she'll adjust in time...I just wish it were easier. The worst part is feeling like she knows we abandoned her. I know, I know, I'm projecting human emotions onto a dog, but really, how would you feel?

I have to call today (no really, I do!! I have a leash suggestion for him!) so hopefully yesterday was a better day.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Going to Animal Control at lunch :-(

Does that face not just break your heart? She's a walking skeleton.

I have at least one Boxer rescue lined up to take momma, but they've asked for more pictures of the pups before committing to them too. Please, please, please let them look full Boxer...I think Brandon might divorce me if I go home with a litter of six (on top of the eight we already have at home right now).

Anyone out there a Boxer lover? Ever consider fostering? All the love and devotion of a dog without all the expense and long term commitment! It's the most rewarding thing you'll ever do - that I can guarantee.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

My broken heart.

Georgia is leaving. It's been the original plan all along. It's what we've prayed for daily. So why is my heart breaking?

We approved an awesome adopter on Saturday though Georgia won't leave until after her heartworm recheck next week. For my own peace of mind, I need to know that she's healthy first. She'll be moving to 3 acres in Blount County to be a companion for a man in his early 60s... an unlikely applicant for a bully breed, I agree. But his brother has a female American Bulldog so he was looking for the breed speficially. No cats, no dogs, no kids, no grandkids. Perfect, perfect, perfect! Georgia needs one person to devote herself to and I think this is the one.

My only slight gripe is that he would prefer she not be on the furniture. Not a big deal as long as he realizes (and he does) that she IS allowed on the furniture at my house and it will require a bit of retraining. I also have to remind myself that my first dog CiCi was not even going to be allowed IN THE HOUSE. Yeah, that plan worked out great.

So, we have less than a week left with sweet, I'm going to miss that girl!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Introducing Ruby!

As it turns out, she really is a 6mo Dachshund-mix! Once we had her out of the kennel and were able to handle her we realized that what we originally thought were puppy teeth are actually tiny adult teeth. And let me tell you, she's a firecracker!

She came into the house with the worst case of "little dog syndrome" I've ever seen. We put Veronica (very tall, 50lb Lab-mix) with her first because she's generally good natured with other dogs - she LOVES to do what we call the Jimmy-Jam when playing ;-) Yeah, Ruby (all 12lbs of her) jumped up to put her front feet on Veronica's back (a very dominant gesture) and actually tried to BITE HER! Of course Veronica laid her out flat, but still!!

And Marley...bless her big heart...I think she's sort of scared of Ruby! Ruby is about the size of Marley's head but when Ruby would growl, Marley would take off. She's either scared of her or of the fly swatters we had out for growling puppies!

So, for now, we're keeping her away from Lily and Georgia - until she learns some manners, I think she might be too much for them. I think Veronica, CiCi and Frankie will be able to straighten her out pretty quick though.

On a good note, Ruby behaved very well in the bath last night as I tried to kill all the fleas that were jumping ship and she slept quite nicely in her crate (without peeing or pooping during the night!). I'm making her spay appointment this morning (I won't even get into all the attempted leg humping) and she'll be on Petfinder by the end of the week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's official.

I've lost it. Gone off the deep end. Rock bottom isn't far away.

We're pulling a puppy from a local shelter tonight to foster. She was in the overnight drop box last Tuesday morning when we picked up our van for our trip. For those of you unfamiliar with the overnight drop box, it's a way for irresponsible cowards to dump their pets without being held accountable. But, I guess it's preferable to them being dumped on the side of the road.

Anyway, since she was dumped, she had to be held the required seven days (in case the irresponsible coward who left her changed his mind). So she's spent the last week in the animal control kennels, exposed to God only knows what, learning that it's okay to pee where you sleep. Yesterday was her seventh day and I just faxed the paperwork to transfer her to our rescue group.

The shelter is listing her as a Dachshund-mix but I think she's already too big for that to be possible. Either way she has beautiful red hair and we're going to call her Ruby. Our dogs are actually really good with puppies - CiCi (our oldest female) teaches a mean course in puppy manners 101. And puppies are really good for Lily, our otherwise crazy pit bull - adult dogs make her nuts, but she LOVES puppies! Hopefully Ruby will pick up on the housetraining relatively fast...hey, a girl can HOPE, right??

Check back tonight for pictures!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Our latest trip to NH...

I think that's it for us for 2007 - like a friend told me, they don't need me up there driving 10mph on their potentially icy streets! But even Brandon is excited to go back in the spring - he kept telling me, "Man, this really isn't as bad as I thought it would be!" Gee, thanks, that's flattering!

Picture 1 - Hufflepuff, one of our transport dogs after we arrived at the shelter (I don't name them, I just transport them!) - he rode the last few miles in my lap after an unfortunate poop accident.

2 - the Mystic drawbridge on the river in CT (we stayed there the night we dropped the pups at the shelter). The foliage up there is unbelivable this time of year - my first New England fall! Oh, and Mystic Pizza? Yeah, it's fabulous!

3 - that's Otto (and Brandon!). Otto belonged to the owner of the carriage house we rented for the night. A resident dog - does it get any better than that?!

4 - another shot of the river - it was overcast and a bit cool that afternoon. A great change to the awful heat we've had in Alabama this summer.

5, 6, 7 - various signs. 26 Pearl was our rental and of course we found the two dog related shops immediately.

8 - Napping in the van after a long drive - I'm pleased to report that Brandon not only gave up 4 days of his time willingly, he also rocked his "Jesus loves pit bulls" shirt all the way up the east coast (and his houndstooth cap which, for all you yankees, is a University of Alabama thing)!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Georgia is still looking...

for a family to call her own. I mean come on people, she's a picture of grace, don't you think??

In all honesty, she's a total sweetheart - almost officially heartworm free and she graduates from basic obedience class next Monday. Georgia was found almost FIVE months ago and I've received exactly ZERO applications for her adoption. I at least thought I'd be getting BAD applications by now. But nothing.

We fostered a male American Bulldog (granted, he was a pup) in early 2006 and I was turning applications down left and right. Wally is now living the high life on the lower east side of Manhattan - quite a step up from the Walker County trailer park where he was found.

So now it's Georgia's know you want to adopt her!

What a difference a year makes...

That's Marley almost one year ago - we pulled her at 10wks when she was still a tiny cuddly puppy.

One year later, she's a 50lb BEAST! We had no intentions of keeping her, but being a somewhat plain, brown dog...she didn't get much interest. But even I have to admit that those lo-o-ong legs just scream "FLYBALL!"

Funny how things work out...