Time

Time is a funny thing. It seems like there is never enough when you want it, but there are also times where there is just too much. In some cases a lot of time makes things easier, dealing with loss for example, but in other cases the passage of too much time makes it difficult to do the thing you have been putting off. A good example of the latter is this blog.  So much time has passed since I posted regularly that I don’t even know where to start with the blog again. So, instead of trying to go back and talk about everything that has happened in the time since I last posted, I will give you a snapshot of what is going on at the MMNK household at this particular moment in time.IMG_6104
We have two dogs, but not the same two as the last time I posted. Sarge has been gone for almost three months, and it is still very difficult to talk about. I am planning to write a lot more about that later. Laynie has been a permanent member of our family for two months. She is doing really well and she is adjusting to our lifestyle. Nola seems to like tolerate her, so things are going pretty smoothly.
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We have been in our new house about a year now. We love the area and the fact that we are no longer crammed in a small house with a small yard in the city. The wild turkeys that frequent our neighborhood are a bit challenging with the dogs, but our fenced-in yard is amazing! Side note: did you know turkeys CAN fly? I didn’t believe it until one scared the bejeezus out of me when it flew out of a tree during a walk in the woods.

I am starting a new job next week! I left my previous job at the end of December and have been able to be at home with the dogs for the past three months. Although the job search was stressful, I am so grateful I had the time to spend with Sarge during his last days, with Laynie during her first days, and with Nola while she adjusts to the changes with the dogs in her life. My main goal was to find a career that merged my skills in marketing with my passion for dogs, but that is a challenge in Maine because there is limited opportunity. I am very excited about my new position, but will continue to pursue my dream career and am confident it will happen eventually.
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So there you have it: a lot of time has passed, but we have been trying to enjoy every minute. Some of the time was hard, some was sad, most of it has been happy, and we are glad we’ve had it. We hope during our time off from blogging you all enjoyed the time you’ve had as well. Remember:

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey MacKay

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Rescue Bucket List

I realized when I got back from vacation that I had forgotten that the Mr. and I just passed a couple of big milestones. The first was the one year anniversary of when we got our very first foster, Laynie. It was one year ago that I drove home after being in Boston for five days for work, picked up the Mr., and then drove another 45 minutes north to get Laynie. When we met her she was bouncing off the walls and the Mr. and I were afraid of what we got ourselves into. It took some adjustment time (read about it here, here and here) but soon we fell in love with Laynie and with fostering.
IMG_1681The other milestone was that I started this blog right around the same time as Laynie came into our lives. I originally just wanted a place to write about and share photos of Nola, but soon discovered that it was a wonderful resource to write about fosters to help get them adopted. Through this blog, I have ‘met’ so many wonderful people and I have learned so much about the world of rescue, fostering, and dogs in general. The network that I have uncovered over the past year has been invaluable. I am excited to keep learning, making more connections, and saving more dogs!
IMG_1606Looking back, and forward at the same time, I have begun a list of things I want to accomplish through rescue. With all the information I’ve gathered from reading other blogs, following rescues, and volunteering, I have started to realize the scope of the problems rescues are facing. Shelters are full, some are still euthanizing perfectly healthy dogs, strays run rampant in some parts of the country, and BSL is threatening to make things worse. As I get deeper and deeper into the world of rescue sometimes I feel like ignorance was bliss, but then again, I am glad I know what I know now so I can help. I know I can not save them all, which believe it or not was a hard realization to come to, but there are certain types of dogs that I have been thinking that I want to rescue for one reason or another. So, without further adieu, here is my rescue bucket list:

  1. Rescue a dog directly from a shelter- literally walk the dog out of the shelter and into my home (and heart!).
  2. Foster, rescue or adopt a senior dog who can live out the rest of his or her golden years in a loving environment.
  3. Rescue/foster a momma AND her puppies.
  4. Foster a little dog (30 pounds or under).
  5. Become a foster failure!

The last one might seem like a strange goal to some of you in the fostering world. But to me, fostering first and really being able to see how another dog fits into our lives would be the best thing for us. Nola is very tolerant of other dogs in her home, but to officially add another four legged member to our family I would need her approval first. I love EVERY dog and want to keep them all. But, it’s the ‘queen of the castle’ that needs to make the decision for us.
IMG_1352 What do you think of my list? Do you have a ‘to-do’ list having to do with dogs or rescue?

2012 Year in Review

2012 was a big year for us. It was the year we started this blog, and the year we started fostering, and thus the year we became pit bull advocates. Before this year, the Mr. and I didn’t know much about the pit bull stereotypes and negativity around the ‘breed’ (heck, I didn’t even know pit bull wasn’t a breed!). After I started following a few blogs, I quickly learned how much of a problem it was and it made me want to take action. Since Nola is such an easygoing dog, we decided that we would help become advocates by fostering pit bulls in need. Although fostering was tough at times, on both the Mr. and I and Nola, we found it to be extremely rewarding, especially since both of our fosters have been placed in great homes.

Laynie_daisy_fourthLaynie is getting along great with her sister Dasiy. She loves that her mom works a school schedule and is home with her during the summer, on holiday and especially recently, on snow days. Laynie’s mom even started fostering pit bulls herself! Here is Laynie with her sister Daisy and her foster sis’ Calada (who is still up for adoption). How cute are they?laynie caladaAnd Anna, sweet Banana. We recently got an email from her Dads saying that she is doing really well and that they love her very much. They have realized some of her ‘issues’ but are willing to keep working on them with her. Doesn’t she look so happy in her forever home?

anna_update1 anna_update2 anna_update3 anna_update4All in all, 2012 brought a lot of happiness and joy to our lives. We will continue fostering in 2013, but for now, we are enjoying some quality time with Nola Muffin. We hope you all had a happy and healthy 2012 and hope 2013 brings you more of the same!
DSC_0004P.S. In case you’re interested, here are some stats about the blog from 2012.

In 2012, there were 106 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 666 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2 GB. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

People from 47 countries visited the blog in 2012.

The post that got the most views was: Guest Post: Third Time’s a Charm: Angus

Click here to see the complete report.

Laynie, in the Plush

Right after the final stop on Laynie’s farewell tour at the end of May, the Mr. and I were missing her so much that we decided we wanted a memento to remember her by. Not that we don’t have enough memories, but we wanted something physical. I remembered seeing these cute Sock Dogs way back when Handsome Dan’s Rescue was doing a fundraising auction, and we both really liked them. We decided that we wanted our very own Laynie. After months of anticipation she finally arrived!
There she was, tooth and all! Stacey was amazing to work with, adding all sorts of details that I asked for, like her tooth and pink tag! And, the package even included a card and a little description of Laynie.

Here are more views of our custom Laynie Sock Dog.

I know everyone remembers their previous dogs, whether foster or forever, in different ways. It may seem a bit childish to have a stuffed animal as our memento, but we love her and it has definitely helped quell the feelings of missing Laynie Monkey and replaced them with all the happiness she brought to our lives.

Pitties on Parade!

Guess who we got to see Saturday? Laynie! I was SO excited to see her in person. I have been seeing lots of update posts from her family on Facebook, but it has been two months since we brought her to her forever home and I really miss her. The occasion was the Old Hallowell Day Parade. BURN is based near Hallowell (for all you non-Mainers, it’s about an hour from Portland, near Augusta, the state capital), so they invited us to walk with them.

Photo courtesy of P, Laynie’s forever mom

Nola, the Mr. and I were the first ones to arrive in the meeting place. We found a shady spot and waited. I could hardly contain my excitement. I could not wait to see Monkey! It was worth the wait, when she arrived she looked great! She was so happy and she even had her pre-baby body back! Nola was not as excited as I was, she gave Laynie a bit of a “no way in hell you’re coming home with us again” warning growl when Laynie got too excited and in her face. Once they both settled down a bit, and I reassured Nola that Laynie had a new family and would not be coming with us, they were fine.

Look at that svelte body!

Monkey looking all pretty in her BURN bandana.

Exploring together, just like the old days.

As if seeing Laynie Monkey wasn’t enough, we also got to meet one of her puppies, Hazzard, who is still up for adoption. He is 7 months old now and such a sweetie! He’s got Laynie’s petite body, but is much taller and has a MASSIVE head and paws. I think he’s going to be a big guy. He also reminds me of Nola Muffin. He has her coloring and her eyes. It was hard to tell them apart in some of these pictures!

Look at that handsome mug!

Nola, Laynie and Hazzard. If it weren’t for her yellow harness it would have been tough to tell Nola and Hazzard apart!

Hazzard is such a sweet boy.

I always wonder if mom dogs recognize their puppies after they are separated. It was hard to tell with Laynie. She didn’t seem overly exited to see him, but she didn’t completely ignore him either. All I know is that I was as giddy as a school girl to see both of them!

Me loving on Hazzard and Laynie.

The parade itself was not that great. It was just too hot for the pups. We were 24th in the line, and we kept stopping. A 1/2 mile parade took an over an hour to walk.

Hazzard lead the way.

Nola and Laynie brought up the rear of the group.

The pups were panting pretty heavily and we were doing our best to keep them cool with water and wet bandanas. Nola and the Mr. turned around half way through because we were nervous about doing too much walking for her leg if we went to the end of the parade and then had to walk all the way back to the car. I continued with Laynie and her mom and sister. She was a trooper, but she needed shade and more water by the end.

I miss that face!

On the car ride home it was a mix of emotions. The most overwhelming feeling was that of happiness and love. Laynie looked great and seemed wicked happy. She has come so far from when she came into our lives that night in March. It is amazing what love, patience, and attention can do for a dog. I was also happy that she seemed to remembered me. At one point I was sitting in the shade and she came right over and laid next to me. It was sweet. I was hoping she would, because I know I will never forget her. I was also a little sad. I miss her, a lot. I miss her snuggles and her grunts and her toothy grin. I miss her tail wagging a mile a minute all the time. And most of all I miss that monkey face. But, I know that she is loved and happy and that’s all that matters. I made plans with her mom to meet up again for a hike when Nola’s leg is better. I am so glad we got to see her and I already can’t wait to see her again!

So Far, So Good! Laynie Update

I’ve had a tough time keeping up with the blog this week. I have so many ideas for posts, but not enough hours in the day to spend writing them. It’s hard to work all day and then spend more time sitting in front of a computer when I get home. And, now that the weather is FINALLY nice (in Maine that doesn’t happen for very long) I want to take advantage and spend every free second outside with Nola and the Mr.

In all the craziness this week, I did receive an update from Laynie’s Forever Mom, that I wanted to share. It made me so happy that she took the time to update me with an email and even some photos! I hadn’t heard anything in a while, but I didn’t want to intrude on their bonding time asking for updates. It sounds like everything is going really well, which makes the Mr. and extremely happy. We miss the little monkey, but it’s easier knowing she is happy and her Mom P, sister A and fur sister Daisy are happy with her!

This is what P said:

I figured it was about time I send you a little update. Laynie is like a baby to me and all moms like to talk about their babies, so don’t feel as though you are bugging me if you want to check in on her. Laynie is still doing well. She and Daisy do really well eating together, I have not see any food aggression or stealing issues.

Laynie and her Fur Sis Daisy

Laynie takes turns sleeping with me and A. I think it depends on who has spent more time with her that day, is who she chooses to sleep with. The weather has been really crappy so we have had short quick walks and not a lot of outside time, so I am hoping this weekend to take her out on one of the trails and really do some running around and get some good exercise in.

Laynie has learned to shake paws and we are going to work on rolling over next. She is doing really good with her recall and twice now she has been out in the front of the yard with me (off leash) and stays right on the porch like she is told. I have been working on introducing her to the cat. She is getting better, but we still have a ways to go. She actually was comfortable enough the other night that she laid on the couch with me, while the cat slept in the chair in the living room. I had a leash on her just in case, but I really didn’t need it because she ended up forgetting about him and falling asleep.
 
We are still working on not pulling while walking. I have tried a couple different collars and harnesses and I find the gentle lead that goes over her muzzle seems to work the best.  She was walking really good when she first came, but is now is back to pulling. I am not sure if it was the meds and her not feeling well, or if she just needed time to get used to us, but she is definitely a puller now. She is pretty easily redirected though if she sees other dogs or birds or whatever.  We go by one house that has 3 Alaskan Malamutes and they always charge the fence (chain link) barking away, but Laynie does awesome there, she just keeps walking. It’s the little min pin down the street and the birds that attract her attention most.

I have thought about signing Laynie up for obedience classes and am actually waiting on some contact information. A friend of mine brought her pit bull to a trainer in the Oxford Hills area. I guess she sort of individualizes the training to whatever you need. I am just waiting to be done work to schedule something. They also have a doggie play group over that way that I would like to get her involved with as well, so she can have some dogs her size and age that she can really play with.
 
I brought Laynie up to my parents to introduce her to them. They recently had to put their dog down, so they had a shopping bag full of toys ready for Laynie with a ton of treats. I think my dad really likes her 🙂  He got right down on the floor with her, it was sweet.
 
Laynie has also had the opportunity to spend some time around some kids. The first time, I was actually a little nervous because she kept barking at my friend’s little boy (he is 6), but once I had him give her a treat and we went outside so he could throw the ball for her, she was fine. Then she also spent time around my niece, who just turned 5, and they did excellent together right from the start. E kept trying to take Laynie’s ball and Laynie would just sit and look at her with a confused look like, “why aren’t you throwing my ball for me?”.  Eventually Laynie would go up to E all soft and gentle and barely put her teeth on the ball and try to steal it back. So, all in all I was glad that she did well around kids. I am not around little ones a whole lot, but just being out and about with her, it is a relief to know she is ok around kids.
 
So, that is Laynie in a nut shell. I hope all is going well with you and Jim and Nola.  I hope you had a good trip. I saw your blog about taking pics of all the animals. Sounds like something I would do. Like I said I will send you another update after she sees the vet.

Take care,
P

P.S. I am attaching some pics “the dog days of summer” and enjoying Frosty Paws ice cream.

I Love Mud

There is a singer named Rick Charette that came to my elementary school when I was a kid. I listened to him so much growing up, that I still have some of his songs memorized. Some of my favorites include “There’s an Alligator in the Elevator” and “Where Do My Sneakers Go At Night?” Well, he also has this song called “I Love Mud” and every time the dogs run and play in mud, I can’t help but remember the lyrics and think that’s what they are saying in their heads.

“Mud, mud, I love mud!”

“I’m absolutely, positively wild about mud.”

“I can’t go around it. I’ve got to go through it.”

“Beautiful, fabulous, super duper mud.”

Dear Foster Mom

My friend Kiersten sent me this the week before we brought Laynie to her forever home. At the time, I couldn’t read it, it made me too sad. Now, after writing my letter to Laynie, I think this is what she would write to me.

Dear Foster Mom
Author Unknown

There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love.
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug.

I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold.
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love it, you helped me to mend.
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.

And just when I thought you’d done all you could do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.

First you said, “Sweetheart, you’re ready to go.
I’ve done all I can, and you’ve learned all I know.”
Then you bundled me up with a blanket and a kiss.
Along came a new family, they even have kids!

They took me to their home, forever to stay.
At first I thought you sent me away.
Then that second lesson became perfectly clear.
No matter how far, you will always be near.

And so, Foster Mom, you know I’ve moved on.
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn.
But I’ll never forget what I leaned that first day.
You never really give your fosters away.

You gave me these thoughts to remember you by.
We many never meet again, and now I know why.
You’ll remember I lived with you for a time.
I may not be yours, but you’ll always be mine.

Love you Laynie. So glad you are doing well in your forever home!