Laynie is Adopted!

It’s official, Laynie is adopted! After interviewing a couple of applicants that weren’t right for one reason or another, we found Laynie a forever family. We actually found out last week, but I have been putting off writing this post because in my head if I don’t write about it, it’s not really happening, and I don’t have to think about saying goodbye to this face:

While we are so excited and happy for monkey, this adoption is bittersweet for Jim and I. Laynie was our very first foster and we have grown a special bond with her. We are so thrilled that she is going to a family that will love her as much as we do, but we just don’t want to say goodbye! The fact that she is sick again and we are going to keep her with us until she gets better, is making it even more tough! Everything we do from now until next Saturday when we bring her to her forever home, we think is ‘the last time we will do this with Laynie.’

But, we are also trying to think of the positives. Her new mom works teacher’s hours, so Laynie will have someone home with her all summer and during all school vacations. She will have a new four legged sister to annoy play with, as well as two legged human sister to take her on walks. Her new family is committed to helping her work on her house manners and walking on a leash. And, she will get to sleep on the bed, one of her favorite things ever! (We haven’t allowed her to sleep on the bed at night, not wanting to start a habit that a potential adopter might not like).

I plan to write more about the process we went through to get here and reflect on the whole fostering experience later next week. Also, I am sure there will be a teary post after we drop her off next Saturday. But until then, we will cherish these last couple weeks we have with the little monkey and cross our fingers that the kennel cough will finally go away for good so the transition to her forever home will be as easy as possible!

Nola Muffin Monday: Rattlesnake Adventure

This weekend I got a text from my boss (from here on she’ll be referred to as BL-boss lady) asking if we wanted to go up to her lake house and go for a hike. At first I wasn’t sure because we had planned to take the pups down to the river. But, Laynie’s kennel cough flared up again Saturday and we thought it was best if she rested Sunday. So Nola and I were off to hike Rattlesnake Mountain with BL and her kiddos.

Two of the kids had met Nola while she was at work with me one Friday and couldn’t stop talking about her to BL. One of the ways I like to introduce kids to Nola is to have them make her sit and then give her treats. It’s a good way to keep Nola calm as well as show the kids that the she won’t hurt them and that they are in charge. BL’s kiddos were so impressed at Nola’s high five trick that we knew we had to get them together again so it was nice that this trip worked out.

Nola and I drove up to Raymond and met at BL’s lake house. We packed up the kids and drove about a mile down the road to Rattlesnake Mountain I decided to keep Nola on leash hike because I wasn’t sure what the leash rule was there, and when we showed up there were a bunch of little kids. I was glad I did because we passed a couple that said they had just seen a moose! We didn’t see any, but I’m not sure what Nola would have done if she saw a huge moose. She thinks all 4 legged animals want to play, and ones that big with hooves could have spelled disaster.

Nola did great the whole way up, she didn’t pull at all. The kiddos took turn holding the leash on the parts that weren’t too steep. We made it all the way to the top and enjoyed the view of Panther pond and Crescent Lake.

When we got back to the lake house we all ate lunch and hung out on the dock. Nola took a swim and chased stick the kids threw for her. It was a great afternoon and I had one tired puppy when we got home.

Peanut Butter Faces

One of my all time favorite things is the face the pups make when they are licking peanut butter from a spoon. With all the medicines we’ve been dolling out lately because of the kennel cough, I’ve been getting my daily fix of this cuteness:

I don’t know exactly what it is that I love about the peanut butter faces. Maybe it’s the wrinkled noses, the big long tongues, or the way their ears flop as they lick the spoon. Whatever it is, it just seems like they are so happy and nothing makes me smile more than happy pups.

One Woman, Two Dogs, One Walk

I did it. I walked both dogs all by myself. It might not seem like a big deal, but it has been a struggle for the past six weeks and we’ve finally made progress. I can’t take full credit for it however, I have to say that the gentle leader has been a life saver when it comes to walking Laynie. One of the blogs I follow, That Touch of Pit, recently wrote about the benefits of the gentle leader. When we first got her we realized she probably had never been walked on leash before. Even if she had, she had absolutely no clue what is meant to have a loose leash. And man, is she strong. After the first couple of walks with her my arms, shoulders and back were sore. It was clear to us that we had to try something different.

With Nola, it was easy. She was a puppy learning from scratch and she was super food motivated. Put a piece of hotdog in front of her face and she will do whatever you ask. Laynie could care less if you were holding a Filet Mignon in front of her. She is going to pull you down the street if that is where she wants to go. The fist thing we tried with Laynie was a chain martingale. It gave us more control, but it never stayed in place and I always felt like I was hurting her. Then we tried an easy walk harness. We used this with Nola and it was a great tool.

But Laynie’s body is so short and stalky with an extra wide chest, that the harness didn’t fit properly and rubbed under her little armpits.

When the trainer we worked with suggested a gentle leader we were desperate and willing to try anything. Luckily I had one that a friend had given me for Nola that we never ended up using because of the accident. Laynie easily accepted us putting it on (it helped that we had some chicken and were in a low distraction area so she actually ate the treats), and our first walk using it was like we had just gotten a new dog. When she would usually cry and whine and obsess about every squirrel, cat or dog that we passed, with the gentle leader she barely seemed to care. We have more control over her head when we walk so she is not able to use her full body weight to pull. She realizes it’s uncomfortable to jerk her head around to see the squirrel or birds, so she just doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t immediate, we’ve still had bad days where she spends most of the walk rubbing on the ground trying to get it off, but for the most part it has been an invaluable tool.

It allowed me to do this:

“Wow foster sis, it’s nice walking next to you instead of staring at your butt the whole walk as you drag Mommy down the street.”

Walking two well behaved dogs with one hand made me feel so great. Here I am, a 5’3″ woman, walking two pit-bull type (who are inherently dangerous according to the Maryland Courts, but don’t get me started on that ridiculousness) all by myself. It was awesome. And now instead of dreading the walks alone with Laynie, I look forward to the time we spend together walking. I am telling her ‘good girl’ much more than ‘leave it’ and ‘this way’ and ‘too much’ and ‘hip’ like I used to. It also helps that she is so smart and just wants to please her people.

We still have a lot more work to do on her reactivity while on leash. We are taking advice from another one of my favorite blogs, Running with Squirrels because their foster forever (yay, congrats!) dog McMuffin has some of the same issues. But overall, walking is less stressful and much more enjoyable for everyone in the family!

If you’re interested in adopting Delaynie please fill out an application with BURN. If you would like more information about her, email me at: mrandmrsandnolakisses@gmail.com