I had a tough day today. I am overtired from walking two dogs 2-3 times a day and stressed about finding Delaynie a perfect forever home. But that’s not what made it tough. I found out that a rescue pup I met a few weeks ago was needlessly put down after it didn’t work out with his foster home.
I first met Rexxy when he was being fostered at Camp Bow Wow. It was before Jim and I had decided to foster and we were on the look out for a second pup to add to our family. Jill, the owner, had me meet him. He was a big, block-headed, sweety of a pit bull. I wasn’t convinced I wanted two dogs, and CBW was so good at finding forever homes, that I didn’t pursue it anymore. Shortly after our meeting, it was discovered he wasn’t great at backing down when a dog challenged him, so he couldn’t be fostered at camp anymore,and he had to be moved. The ‘rescue organization’ that was responsible for him was not adequately prepared to deal with placing a dog with aggression issues. They put out desperate, horrible, pleas to foster him on Facebook threatening to have him euthanized if no one stepped up. Someone finally did, and adopted Rex, but he was returned shortly after because he chased the resident cat. Many people wanted to help, but his issues with other dogs severely limited the places he could go. So, this is when things get a little fuzzy. Apparently the ‘rescue’ released him to a lady who was going to work with him on his issues. We were all relieved and happy that he got another chance at life. And then Camp Bow Wow broke the news that after what they heard was an ‘incident’ with the foster’s other dog, he was euthanized.
I can’t accurately put into words how this makes me feel. A flood of emotions came over me. Obviously the first and most powerful was sadness. How could this happen to such a great dog? Why couldn’t he get a fair chance at life? Then it went to guilt. Could I have done more to help save him? Then it was anger. How could a ‘rescue’ release him to someone who could make a decision to kill him like that? Aren’t these people supposed to be looking out for the best interest of the dog? Would he have had the same fate if he was a Lab or Golden Retriever and not a Pit Bull? I know that rescues and shelters are faced with decisions like that all the time, but the fact that I met this dog and was unable to do anything to help him is just so heartbreaking. I also know that it is impossible to save every dog, but why does it always seem to be pit bull type dogs that suffer the most? Sometimes I think my passionate love for dogs and intense need to help them is a curse. If I didn’t care so much then I wouldn’t spend hours crying over situations like this. I know this is irrational, and the world needs more people to foster and care about animals, but it is not an easy thing to do!
Now that I am the one responsible for the future of a rescued pit bull , I feel the pressure and responsibility to make the right decision about finding her a home. Delaynie’s entire life lays in my hands. I can’t let her end up like Rex.
RIP sweet Rex. You'll be in my heart forever. Enjoy heaven lovely boy.
It’s been exactly one week since Laynie came into our lives. While it hasn’t exactly been easy, it’s been so worth it. We’re all settling in to a bit of a routine. Laynie seems to be thriving in a (semi)calm household environment with lots of love. Even Nola seems to be getting used to the new house guest. I wouldn’t say she is in love with Laynie, but she is tolerating her. I have even caught them snuggling a few times. However, the snuggles have been started by Laynie and just put up with, not quite enjoyed, by Nola.
Laynie trying to sneak in a cuddle.
Laynie is trying really hard here, notice her paw over Nola's leg.
The girls side by side. Laynie is actually laying on Nola's leg.
"Maybe if I roll into her, she won't notice and she'll stay for a while."
"I'll let Nola be the little spoon."
Although in a perfect world Nola would reciprocate the snuggling, her tolerance for Laynie is awesome and we are so lucky to have TWO amazing dogs in the house at once. I think we could all learn a thing or two from Nola about raising our tolerance levels for the good of someone in need.
Delaynie had her spay surgery on Thursday. We knew she had her puppies in November, so we were nervous that she would go into heat again before we could get the surgery done. But, Dr. Mike squeezed her in and now Laynie will only be a momma once! Yay to no more puppies!
I dropped her off that morning, and it was sad leaving her in the kennel and walking away. I was afraid she would think I left her forever! She’s had it so rough, it broke my heart thinking she would be sad and alone. But, I had to remember that dogs live in the present and the surgery had to be done for her health.
I picked her up later in the day. She did great! Dr. Mike did a full work up, blood test, heart worm test, and even a back x-ray. Everything looked good. She does have tapeworms, so we will be treating that. She was drowsy coming out of the office and we spent 20 minutes in the driveway once we got home because she DID NOT want to jump out of the car. Eventually we made it in and Laynie took her place on the couch to rest.
Nola was very concerned about Foster Sis’. She had to make sure Laynie was ok.
Laynie was pretty restless all night. She vomited once before she settled in all curled up in her bed.
She bounced back so fast and was completely fine the next day. We have had to try to keep her calm to make sure she doesn’t pull the stitches or anything. I was concerned when I saw some discoloring above the incision, so Jim and I took Laynie to the vet again for a quick check up on Saturday.
Everything looked fine, it was just some bruising, and she was even cleared for some short walks! I was relieved because keeping her quiet for 4+ days with another pup in the house was going to be tough! Laynie is a trooper and will now be able to live the rest of her life without the risk of having more puppies. It’s so important to have your pet spayed or neutered! Laynie’s pregnancy would have been prevented and 4 less pups would be in foster homes if this simple surgery was done earlier!
I’ve been writing a lot about Laynie, our new foster pup, lately so I think it’s time to write more about our resident pup Nola.
Jim was the one who actually picked Nola. The listing on Petfinder was a picture of 5 puppies from a litter labeled ‘boxer mix’. I let Jim pick which one he wanted, and he chose Camilla. Part of the adoption process was to call the foster mom and ask about the pup’s personality to make sure she was a good fit. In Camilla’s case, the foster mom told us we had chosen the ‘pick of the litter.’ She said Camilla was always the one who was exploring, she was outgoing and lovable. She also said she thought she was part pit bull. At the time this didn’t have much significance, but looking back it was the beginning of our advocacy for the bully-type breeds.
Nola is the one on the right, too busy exploring to look at the camera.
Nola, then called Camilla.
Anyway, both Jim and I agreed the name had to go. I wanted a name that meant something to the both of is. Not just Boston or Fenway or any other trendy name that people choose up here in the Northeast. So I thought about it and suggested we call her Nola. NOLA is the nickname for New Orleans Louisiana. I have gone there each December for the past 4 years for work. The first year I went, Jim came down to surprise me with a ring and a marriage proposal (and tickets to the New Orleans Saints vs. New England Patriots Monday Night Football game).
The night we got engaged, tailgating at the Saints Pats game.
Of course I said yes, and from then on New Orleans had a special place in our hearts. Now, Nola now has one too.
Since Delaynie is such an avid chewer (of toys, she hasn’t shown any interest in chewing unapproved household items), I decided to give her what I can only imagine is her first bully stick. At first she was unsure.
I was still tired and a little overwhelmed so I decided to take yet another day off from work to be with the two pups. Michelle came over again. This time, she brought a chain martingale collar for Delaynie. The buckle collar just wasn’t working with her pulling, so we decided to try this. The four of us went on another walk. This time we went down to the Portland Trail at the end of the street. At first we let Nola off (she has great recall) and left Delaynie on leash. Both Michelle and I were itching to let her off, as we are both of the school that off leash runs/walks burn more energy than on leash. But, realizing Delaynie technically isn’t my dog, I was cautious. We got to a point on the trail where there was no one around and really nowhere for Delaynie to run to, so we tried it. And this is what we got:
Delaynie was great. She followed Nola everywhere. When we called Nola, Delaynie would happily trot along. It gave me hope we can let her run around off leash eventually. At the end of the walk we had two tired pups. My motto is ‘A tired puppy is a happy puppy.’
Dinner time was also better. We designated the dining room as Delaynie’s room to eat and Nola got to stay in the kitchen where she always eats. We put a baby gate up to separate the two rooms and we leashed Delaynie as a precaution. Things went seamlessly. Delaynie was great at sitting and waiting for her food after only a couple of tries!
After yet another ‘pack walk’ later that night, Jim, Delaynie, Nola and I went to bed. Day 3 was even better than day 2 and my doubts about fostering were fading.
I took the day after we picked up Delaynie off from work so I could spend some quality time with her. Nola went to daycare so she could have a break as well. Delaynie and I went for a walk around Back Bay and I realized she is going to need some work to learn how to walk on a leash. She is so strong and loves to pull. But, she was very respectful when I corrected her and she just seemed happy to be out exploring.
Exploring the Bay.
Then, Delaynie got her first visitor, our family’s Dog Whisperer, my aunt Michelle. She came over to help me introduce the two pups again. Jim brought Nola home from daycare and we let the two pups meet a little more in the kitchen. It didn’t go too well, Nola still seemed unsure of this new dog, but it was better than the night before. We decided to go for another pack walk and then try the house again. It took a bit of mouthy/rough play, and some corrections, but the pups finally managed to settle down. Michelle was such a big help.
Tired from walking and playing. Tolerating each other for now.
At dinner time we had a bit of an incident where Delaynie got out of the room we designated as her feeding place and tried to eat Nola’s food. She was not aggressive or mean, she just wanted to see what Nola was eating! Nola did not appreciate that at all. The incident upset me and was the tipping point of a very stressful day. I had never seen our happy, loving little puppy go after another dog like that. It broke my heart. It really made me reconsider this decision. Is fostering the best thing for our family? Is this going to work?
At bedtime we decided to move the crate into our bedroom. We hoped that Nola would settle in a little bit better if Delaynie was somewhere she could see her. We were right. Both pups settled right in and went to sleep. Delaynie was great in her crate. Thankfully Jim and I got some sleep as well. It was an overwhelming day, and I was nervous about how the next day would go.
It’s been a few days now and things are definitely better. It has been much harder than I imagined. The three of us were in such a routine that adding a fourth sent us all into a tailspin.
The first night we had Delaynie was tough. Nola was not sure what to do about this dog in her house. After a long walk together, a short sniff, and and even shorter intro in the backyard, Delaynie went downstairs with Jim while Nola and I stayed upstairs. Nola wouldn’t settle in, she kept going to the basement door sniffing every time she would hear commotion. Meanwhile, Delaynie had so much energy that Jim thought she would never stop.
At bedtime Delaynie went in her crate and Jim came upstairs. None of us slept much. Nola wouldn’t stay in bed with us. Delaynie cried to be let out. Jim and I were restless.
Thankfully I had the next day off so I could spend more time trying get everyone adjusted. Stay tuned for Part 2.
On Tuesday Jim and I took a giant leap into the world of fostering. Meet Delaynie, our first official foster pup.
I had been researching different rescue organizations and sending out applications for several weeks. One of my emails to B.U.R.N. (Bully Underground Rescue Network) was returned with a foster application and a plea to help an urgent pup. Once I saw that ugly cute smooshy face, I couldn’t say no. She needed our help and this was the push we needed to finally start fostering.
Delaynie has been so great in settling into our home and lifestyle. It’s only been 2 days and I can tell how wonderful this dog is. She is a sweetheart who is eager to please and just wants to be loved. Our resident pup, Nola however, is not handling the change that well. She does not appreciate the invasion of her space. More on that later.
Who is this dog and why is she in MY spot?
It’s been a tough couple of nights adjusting, and I can tell it’s going to be hard work, but it already feels so rewarding. Just look at that face.