Wordless Wednesday: Stuck Between a Couch Cushion and a Hard Place

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nol_stuckcouch

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Take Me to the Beach!

The beach is Nola’s absolute favorite place to go. One of the benefits of living in Portland (Maine) is that we have easy access to numerous beaches. In the tourist off-season especially (September 15-June 15), the beach is a wonderful place to bring Nola to let her run to her heart’s content. Through trial and error, we have discovered that our favorite beach is Ferry Beach in Scarborough, which is about 15 minutes from us. Although it’s not the largest, it seems to be the most private and the one that attracts the most dog friendly dogs, and people. We waited a little bit before taking Sarge there, just to make sure we had a handle on his recall skills and how he interacts with other dogs, both on and off leash. One night after work it was pretty warm and we thought the dogs would enjoy a romp in the water, so it was off to the beach for the four of us.
IMG_4139Turns out, just like everything else we’ve done with him, Sarge loved it! He seemed a little unsure of the sand at first, but once he discovered all the new things to smell he was so happy.
IMG_4172We also discovered that in addition to him not acting like he is 13 years old, he still has some puppy energy in him. When we took out Nola’s Frisbee he gave us the biggest play bow he could muster to show us he was ready to chase. We only threw the disc a little a head of us, but the Sarge-man leaped and bounded all the way and grabbed that disc like he was young again! It was the cutest thing ever.
IMG_4161 IMG_4162He spent most of the time up by the dunes, happily trotting along as Nola got out her zoomies chasing the disc down on the hard sand by the water.
IMG_4168 IMG_4148 IMG_4170Near the end, he got the courage to come closer to the water where Nola was bounding through the waves. He started by dipping a toe in, and then went all the way to his ankles. He is so adventurous!
IMG_4177 IMG_4180 IMG_4181 IMG_4183Sarge is a wonderful dog for so many reasons. We are so happy to have him as a temporary part of our family, but would love for him to find a forever family who will take him on more adventures and who will love his easy going personality as much as we do. He has proven to us that he is up for anything, especially if it involves a car ride and a walk, and he can hold his own with a dog ten years younger than him.

As we were leaving the beach, Sarge asked me to write this message to share with you all:
IMG_4171If you want to add a beach loving dog to your family, pleas fill out an application for Sarge here.

Sargent’s First Public Appearance

This weekend Ken Foster, author of “I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet” was in Portland at a local dog supply store signing his book. Jessica, of Notes from a Dog Walker and DINOS fame, invited me to bring Sarge to get him some exposure. I, of course, could not turn down an invitation to hang out with two celebrities AND get my foster out and about, so we gladly accepted.

image from: http://www.petside.com/article/pit-bull-book-review

First of all, the book is awesome. Even if you are just a dog lover, and not necessarily a pittie addict like me, you will enjoy the beautiful photographs and lovely stories. Ken was great to meet in person. He is from New Orleans, so I told him about our Nola and how she was named after the Crescent City. He took tons of photos of the Sarge-meister and signed my book!

Ken, Sarge and I

Ken, Sarge and I

Second of all, the title of Ken’s book summed up how the experience went with Sarge. He.was.awesome. Like amazingly awesome. It was hard for him to sit still in the store, there were just too many things to smell and look at.
IMG_4202This was especially true when he discovered the box full of 14 inch bully sticks- his FAVORITE thing ever. He was in heaven. I, not so much, as it took all my might and tons of cheese to get his face out of the box.
IMG_4204Since Sarge seemed to be too much of a shop-a-holic in the store, we spent a majority of the time outside of the store entrance on the sidewalk. The store is located on Commercial Street, one of the busiest streets in the city as it is the beginning of the Old Port Shopping district and the only street that runs parallel to the ocean. Being the day before Mother’s Day is seemed like the sidewalks were extra busy. And big ol’ Sarge, with his almost too small ‘adopt me’ vest on, attracted crowds like it was his job. I personally think it is the combination of his size XL white head, black eye-liner raccoon eyes, and his always wagging kinked tail. People came up from behind him, little kids put their hands in his face, and people bent down right at eye level to him, and through it all he was cool as a cucumber.

Sarge got some treats from a visitor.

Sarge got some treats from a visitor.

Team Sarge!

Team Sarge!

I gave him a bully at one point when the crowd was light and he happily chomped away on the sidewalk. Even when people came up to him while he was eating it, he didn’t mind at all. (I did end up taking it when people came up to him, I just didn’t want to risk any resource guarding since he loves his bullies.)
IMG_4195 IMG_4191Jessica stood outside with us and was awesome to talk to! It is so nice to have someone so knowledgeable as her to ask advice in person. She was so gracious about answering my 50,000 questions about fostering, rescue and how best to market Mr. Sarge to potential adopters. And as if I didn’t know it already, she could not stop saying how wonderful Sargent was. She reminded me that this was a hard environment to be in for any dog, with tons of distractions, strollers, cars, bikes you name it. My old guy was handling it like a pro.

We stayed about an hour and a half, and he probably could stayed longer, but I wanted to leave on a high note. I was so proud of the old guy, he handled himself like a distinguished gentleman. I gave out a bunch of cards with his info on them and talked about him a lot. I’m not sure we’ll get any serious inquiries, but it doesn’t matter. Just knowing that he does so well in these situations made the day worth it. It was a great event for Sarge, and selfishly, I was so happy to spend time with Jessica and to meet Ken. It was a win-win for both of us!
IMG_4207Oh, and Sarge was exhausted after. He was asleep 2.5 second after we got back to the car.

If you want to add a cool, calm and collected pup to your family, Sarge is your man! Fill out an adoption application with BURN or check out his Pet Finder profile.

Squishy, Tuggy and Flirty

No, those aren’t the names of three more dwarfs. These are the words that describe our new found love of Squishy Face Studio’s Flirt Pole and Super Tug toy. We won the Flirt Pole and Super Tug bundle a couple months ago during And Foster Makes Five’s giveaway. Since this winter has been particularly snowy, even for Maine, we haven’t had a chance to use our prizes until now!
DSC_0611And the verdict is, Nola loves them! I wish we could use the flirt pole to have Nola jump more vertically, but since her ACL injury we have to keep the jumping to a minimum. Even so, she loves chasing things, so just going around the back yard tires her out.
DSC_0631 DSC_0628Nola has ‘drop it’ down to a science, so playing this game with her is so much fun. She has to sit before she can chase and then I let her catch it and she drops it. Occasionally she keeps her foot on the fleece part, just to prove to me that she got it.

DSC_0625It took her a bit longer to get the feel for the Super Tug toy. I had to demonstrate what to do and then entice her to grab the end. But once she got the hang of it, she loved it too!
DSC_0664 DSC_0660 DSC_0651 DSC_0643The way she sticks her little bum up in the air and wags her nubby tail as she pulls makes me giggle every time.
DSC_0654(I tried to play with Sarge too, but he wasn’t interested. He tends to leave the chasing and tugging to the youngin’ while he enjoys eating his bully stick.)
DSC_0488Squishy Face Studio’s toys are super durable and great quality. The flirt pols is one million times better than anything I could make on my own! I love that it has a bungee cord instead of a rope. It helps prevent the feeling of a sudden snap when Nola grabbed the fleece. The handle is nicely lined with a non slip grip that was easy to hold on to. Nola liked chasing the braided Fleece Toss lure because it had floppy ends, but they also have the option of getting one with Zanies Bungee Gecko with squeakers, or you can even use your dog’s favorite toy!
flirtThe ‘marine grade’ bungee cord and metal fasteners on the Super Tug toy seem like they will hold up against even the strongest pullers (man, if only I had found about these toys when we had Anna!) It was easy to install and the strap was plenty big enough to fit around the trees in our yard.
tugNola and I love both of these products and would highly recommend them to anyone who’s dog loves to chase and/or play tug! They are a great option to change up your dog’s exercise routine and keep them mentally and physically stimulated (and exhausted).
DSC_0670

The Definition of Food Motivated

If you look up “food motivated dog” in the dictionary on Google, the first thing you should see is a picture of Sarge. He is epitomizes the phrase “will work for food.”DSC_0562The phrase I would use to describe Sarge is that the way to his heart is through his stomach. He is the happiest when he is eating or chewing something.
DSC_0490Half of the pictures I have taken of him have a Kong in them.
DSC_0381DSC_0574Whether it’s a treat dispensing toy, just plain old cheese, or a scoop of peanut butter this dog will do ANYTHING for a morsel.
DSC_0442You know what Sarge would do even with no food? LOVE YOU. If you are interested in adopting this amazing elderbull, please fill out an application with BURN.

Sarge and the Ottoman Empire

The biggest problem most problematic quirk that we have found with Sargent is he needs to sleep with someone at all times. Not in the same room, but actually physically next to you. We originally tried setting up the crate at the end of our bed, so he could still be with us and see us while he is sleeping. This is the set up we’ve used for all of our past fosters because we allow Nola to sleep in our bed with us and want her to have her own space. But, after hours of crying and whining we felt bad and gave up.
DSC_0531Our temporary solution was to have the Mr. sleep with him downstairs in the finished basement on the couch. But, due to a lot of ‘what else can we do?’ and ‘I have to get up early, let’s just do what works’ our temporary solution turned into two weeks of all of us sleeping separately. When this past weekend rolled around and the Mr. didn’t have to work at all, we decided now was the time for a better fix for the sleeping arrangements.

Our first plan was to try a tie down. We would buy Sarge a big comfy bed, put it right next to our bed, but hook him up to a tie down so he couldn’t go anywhere. Obviously we would do some training with him during the day, putting him there for short periods of time, and give him yummy treats like bully sticks and kongs while he is on his bed. But, after we bought all the supplies at Home Depot we got cold feet. Sarge is just so old, we want to make him happy and can’t stand hearing him in distress.

So we brainstormed some more. We knew that Sarge likes to be near us, and he likes to be on furniture, so what could we do to accomplish these two things? Then it came to me: an ottoman. We should try and put a big ottoman right next to the bed. He would be up off the floor and be close enough to us that it would ALMOST be like sleeping in the actual bed. We went to ‘The Pit’ (the place where they sell all the mismatched furniture at a discount) at Bob’s Discount Furniture and picked up a big brown leather ottoman for $90. It’s a bit expensive, especially with their policy of no returns, if it doesn’t work, but we figured it would cost us at least that much for another dog bed anyway. DSC_0527I decided on one that has storage underneath for blankets and pillows. (Hey, if we have to add another piece of furniture to our tiny bedroom at least make it functional, right?)
DSC_0548We brought it home and set it up. We put his ‘baby’ (the penguin we gave to him the first night with us, that he sleeps with), a pillow and blanket on it to make it extra comfy. We asked him to jump up and gave him cookies while he was on it.
DSC_0544DSC_0539During the afternoon I folded laundry on the bed while he snoozed on his ottoman. We gave him lots of praise and lots of cookies when he was laying there and told him ‘no’ when he would try to go on the bed.
DSC_0540He seemed to be getting it, but the real test was later that night. He climbed right up when we were all ready for bed (which was at 8pm just in case it took a while for him to settle). We kept the light on and watched TV for a bit while he settled in. A couple hours later he was snoozing away and we shut off the lights. He did really well! He got up a few times, and tried to walk around to my side and get up, but we said ‘no’ and he went back to his ottoman. It’s been 4 more nights since that first night and he’s slept all the way through!
DSC_0537We’re still keeping our fingers crossed, but it seems as though Sarge has conquered the Ottoman Empire and we all get to sleep as a family again!