Thursday, September 18, 2014

What I did this summer...
or the Wonders of being a Rescue Foster Mom

(Blog entry started 9/6/14...)

For a long time now I have been searching for a way to give back. I donate $ to specific charities, I give toys to toys for tots, mittens to the mitten tree, but still I needed to "DO" something. 

That something turned out to be joining Big Fluffy Dog Rescue as a "Foster Mom".
My first foray into this world was doing an emergency transport from Memphis to Nashville of two dogs that were rescued from Louisiana and were in need of a ride to get them from Memphis stop to Nashville vet for medical care and then foster/adoption process. Willa and Eric arrived in Memphis on June 28 and needed to go to Nashville (3.5 hour drive from Memphis) to the Animal House vet clinic for vetting and to start the foster/adoption process.

Willa - Senior Great Pyr
Transport from Memphis to Nashville
Rescued from Louisiana
I only have a picture of Miss Willa - she is a senior Great Pyr who had been buzzed and had bad back legs (come to find out the acls in both her back legs were blown - we were lucky she could move at all). Knowing Eric was traveling in an airline crate I set up a bed for Miss Willa in the back of my Rav - removed the two seats and made her a cushy bed of pillows (to fill the foot spaces), exercise mats (to cover the pillows and the metal hooks that the seats connect to), and a huge thick (30 below) sleeping bag folded in half. I wrapped a tent roll in the end of the blue exercise matt to give her a head rest. She needed comfort. And what a wonderful travel companion she was!!
Eric - 2 months later

I do not have any pictures of Eric as he was a mess. He had mange, was itchy, stinky and omg so skinny. I knew ahead of time that he had mange and got some gloves for my car. I took him out at a rest area about 40 mins outside of Nashville for potty stop and thanks to the gloves was able to give him the rubs and love he wanted so badly.

What I DO have is an "after" picture of Eric 2 months later... how beautiful is he??

Upon arriving home I got a call - "we have a dog in boarding undergoing heart worm treatment, that is not good with other dogs, is "ok" with cats (ahahah), and needs a fenced in yard" - "oh and I pushed your foster application thru so can you meet me at the vets on Wednesday to meet him and bring him home?"

Meet my first Foster - Koda

Big Fluffy Dog Rescue Foster Dog Summer 2014

Koda’s Story…

Koda came into the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue family as the result of an emergency pull at Memphis Animal Shelter when an outbreak of Parvo was detected. Andrea Adams of Big Fluffy Dog Rescue - Memphis & John Tower of Memphis Animal Clinic spotted this healthy looking dog with “cool” command training (sit, lay down, shake/paw, etc) and pulled him for his skills as well as good looks (I think. ;)) It was reported to BFDR that “Koda belonged to the sister of one of the shelter workers. Koda had been very neglected as far as upkeep on his beautiful coat and medical upkeep. According to the shelter worker he made his sister give up Koda because he was not getting the attention that he needed.”

DO NOT let this expression
fool you! OK yeah - he is
a gooba!!
I was informed that Koda is an Aussie mix and an absolute tennis ball hussy. He LOVES his tennis ball and will do anything to have you throw it. He would be an excellent agility dog or fly ball dog. Koda is 5 years old and HW+. That he isn’t great with other dogs and needs a fenced yard (which is why he came to me… new foster w/ no dogs + 6’ wooden fenced in back yard = place for Koda) and is “ok” with cats. (::grin:: let’s change that to ok w/ Van Morrison the cat.) 

Koda came to “Paradise” (as I call my humble abode) direct from boarding with heartworm meds, huge “freaked out dog eyes” (big eyes, whites showing all around… gotta admit as a first time foster and first time having a dog in the house in over 30 years – I was a bit freaked myself especially by his look of being freaked out), a tennis ball that never left his mouth or side, food guarding issues, warning not to “slap pat” him (thump pat vs stroke pat not ok) and was greeted by a feline household. Yep I have CATS. Plural... Four. OH… and he was afraid. Raise your voice (in this instance cheering for show on TV) and he would cower. There have been many, many times that I cursed the “sub-humans” as I have come to term them – that caused him to react like that.

This pic was taken about 3
weeks into his stay here -
note: NO Freaked out eyes!
FIRST I want to address the tennis ball… we had made a stop at Hollywood Feed in Cordova – BLESS THOSE GIRLS! They had hooked me up with a big honkin’ crate, a bed for it, food bowls, food, and balls… we got more balls. WHO THE HECK CAME UP WITH THE BRILLIANT IDEA TO PUT SQUEEKER IN A TENNIS BALL??? Probably a cat owner! <>

Thank goodness for that ball. I have since learned that the ball to Koda is like the blanket to Linus. When Koda was new here he had it all the time. We did not go ANYWHERE with out it. Potty (him or me), meal time, car rides… down the hall to my office (did I mention I work from home?) and the Studio (I make jewelry as therapy from the office job). EVERYWHERE there was the ball – a ball after all buy 5 for $5 and you got yourself a nice even half dozen w/ combined with the one he came with. Eventually we have gotten to the point where “I” have to remember to bring it with us if he’s going to the vets for shots. He doesn’t use it now unless it is to play with OR if he’s worried/stressed. In the early days I am CONVINCED that ball saved a kitty head once or twice. ;)

Cats... yep got a few! The Supervisor, The Apprentice, The Nanny, and The Diva. 

They all had to check out the crate and bed when it arrived.
The biggest open space in the house is in the middle of the Studio. 

The house was gated off – give him space, give them space with the ability to move into his area and back if desired. Koda was greeted by #1 resident feline who I firmly believe in another life was a dog.
Supervising Koda.

Nubbles (11lb grey/mix gorgeous boy) likes to ride in cars (pick up keys he runs to door to go), loves dog slobba (when friends dog comes over for doggy sleep over he is first to roll all over her just chewed on toys to get at the slobba), loves people (runs to meet newcomers at the door and hey if you don’t talk to him and tell him how gorgeous he is, he will stand up w/ his paws on your leg and make sure you give him attention). He truly believes he is a dog. WELLL… Nubbles was first on the scene. Walked right up to Koda and 11lb eyeball to 50lb eyeball he stared him down - or rather, he ATTEMPTED to. Hissed, cussed, caused quite the scene. I firmly believe that if Koda was accepted into a home with cats that DO NOT believe they are dogs… he would be fine. ;) First few weeks on Paradise were a trial for canine, feline and HUMAN.

Update - 9/18...

WOW it's almost the end of the month and that means it's just about time for Koda to head north for to find a "furever" home.

This is what I posted on my facebook page about him..

Folks I'm a little freaked out here. Koda is possibly getting on next Friday's transport list to head North now that his meds are done and he's good-to-go and he doesn't have a home to land in. I'm really worried and as much as he doesn't like my cats I feel guilty sending him North without a home!!!
What do you need to know?? besides what a beauty he is?
  • He has dog issues - as far as food and ball resource guarding issues make it worrisome to have him to be with another dog that has a love of balls.
  • He has cat issues - I have 4 and the last hold out who was actually trying to make friends with him was lunged at from both of them in laying down (not sleeping position but "down" position) approx 6" away from each other. She did not get hurt thank god but boy did she spray because of being afraid and did my house stink. A house WITHOUT CATS that want to be a part of every aspect of your life OR a house with DOG SAVVY cats would be good. (The only dog mine have been around is a choc lab that ignores them and they think all dogs will do that and go about their normal life when she visits.)


If you don't have another dog (or perhaps a dog that doesn't like toys and to fetch - maybe like a Great Pyr I hear they aren't much into plebeian activities) and if you do NOT have cats (or at least cats not wanting to be a part of your daily life activities like mind do) here is YOUR DOG. SPECIALLY if you like to run - something tells me he'd be a great jogging dog. But honestly I like him so much that between cat spats I was tempted to consider keeping him then I came to my senses again w/ the next spat.

He walks GREAT on leash, loves to play although it's been limited here due to hw+ treatment. He's gorgeous. He's WICKED smart - you can literally see the wheels turning in his head. He has a gait like a show dog in a ring. He loves car rides, loves walks, would PROBABLY LOVE TO RUN w/ someone. He grins at you w/ that creepy "gonna eat you" grin when he's being petted and it actually means he likes it (make sure you know the difference! LOL!!) he "growls" a low "mmmmm" like sound when you draw your fingernails down the top of his head.

And he loves treats (including Brown Paw Bakery cookies & trainers as well as apples, cherry tomatoes, blueberrys and froze raspberries). He sits, lays down, shakes his paw and will show you his belly. He could do much more but I'm a bad foster and worked on getting him healthy and giving him treats vs training.
He is a GOOBA dog.
He is not a lap dog but he is trying to be - god he's like 50ish lbs and to me that's a big lap full of dog - I know to most of you that's tiny! He loves to be with you. Gets sad when he's gated out of a room and will lay peering underneath while he is. He sleeps in a crate at night (for his, mine and the cats peace of mind) but would PREFER to lay by the bed. He hardly barks - unless it's fireworks (doesn't like), gun fire (can sometimes hear it from the police range and he doesn't like it), or creepy guys in a white van making noise across the street - OH and thunderstorms are not his fav thing either but the last one was far less of an issue ... it seems maybe as his comfort level in his surrounding increases the thunder issue decreases.
He uses his ball like we use a stress ball. He use to carry it everywhere he went because he was afraid and stressed and worried. NOW he only uses it to play with or in real high stress moments. If a cat comes into the room and he's "worried" he gets the ball. IF he see's something outside (across the street) and he doesn't feel it's right he runs and gets the ball and goes back to watch. It really is to him ... his stress ball and his toy. God how he loves to run for that ball. Here he has only been allowed 3 tosses when we go out due to restrictions but omg he could go on and on. I tried a frisbee - and I got a "flyer" but it didn't have a hole and he struggled to grab it (so he shredded it it's got a hole now!). BUT I got one of those Kong round frisbee thingies w/ the hole in it and THAT he can pick up but give him the choice... ball or frisbee... ball all the way!

OH and did I mention that he can amuse himself? 
He will stuff balls under the couch and then try and get them out. I introduced him to a small pink throw rug and he will put the ball on it and then dig and work like crazy to hide it and then he digs and pulls and finds it! over and over and over! (The rug can go north if needed! Along w/ 5 balls, a kong frisbee... treats. ;0) )

Tell me and then someone fall in love and omg. ::sigh::

OH OH... he smiles!
Well actually it's called a "grin" and it's kinda freaky til you get use to you. Honestly you think he's gonna take your darn hand off but nooo if you stop doing what you wree doing (petting him) he will pause then butt you with his nose to continue!