First Snow!

Although the calendar still says it’s fall, we got a bit of a Nor’easter last night. The first snow in Maine unofficially signals winter is not too far away. So, this morning I got out my winter boots and my iPhone to capture the dogs in the first snow of the season. It is easy to make assumptions about fosters (they had a rough life, they’ve never known love, etc.), so I am hesitant to say this is Anna’s first time in snow, but being from Mississippi, it’s probably safe to say this is her first encounter with any real accumulation of snow.
At first she seemed hesitant, I’m sure it was cold on her ‘Southern’ paws. But then she discovered just how fun it really is and her and Nola had a quick play session.

I took both dogs for their own separate walks so they could have a bit more time to enjoy it.
Nola has always loved snow, in fact we have a nickname for her just for the winter: Snow-la!
On one hand, I hope we will be able to see Anna enjoying more snow, but on the other hand, I am hoping it’s her forever family that gets to discover the joy of watching her go crazy in the white fluffy stuff!
Have your dogs ever experienced snow? Do they like it?

If you or someone you know would like to make snow angles with Anna all winter, fill out an application through Almost Home Rescue.

The Anna Banana Song

I was looking for some inspiration for corny banana lines for a blog post about Anna, when I came across a song written by a young boy for the girl he loves, who just happens to share a moniker with our Anna Banana. I can’t get the song out of my head, and although it’s a love song, I think most of it applies to how we feel about our Banana too. Enjoy!

(Here are the lyrics in case you can’t quite understand everything he says)
Anna Banana by Derek Lorenzo

Anna ba-nana you’re my biggest crush
I don’t mean overweight
Means my heart turns to mush
A-nna ba-nana
You’re in my dreams
When I’m sleeping in class, your all I seen
A-nna ba-nana
Banana babe, I like you a lot.
A-nna ba-nana
Like a cute little plant in a big red pot.

[Chorus]
Anna Banana!
I love you a bunch!
I’ll dance like your monkey if we go out for lunch.
Anna Banana, baby
I love you a lot.
Not once, not twice, not thrice, it’s more than four!
You’re a fried banana baby
‘Coz you are so hot!!

[Rap]
A-nna Banana!
Said the voices in my head
We go together like jam goes on bread
A-nna Banana
I keep saying your name
You are in my brain it’s like I’m going insane.
Like the rain in Spain on a horse’s mane
Fly like a crane to escape the pain
and I ride the train, eat some grain
cootchie cootchie coo you got me smiling again!

[Chorus]
Anna Banana!
I love you a bunch.
I’ll dance like your monkey if we go out for lunch
Anna Banana, baby.
I love you a lot
Note once, not twice, not thrice
It’s more than four!
You’re a fried banana, baby
‘Coz you are so hot…
If you like our ‘Banana babe’ a lot, fill out an application for her through Almost Home Recuse.

Why Pit Bulls Rule

In honor of National Pit Bull Awareness Day tomorrow, I wanted to share a list of the top ten reasons why Pit Bulls rule (according to Petfinder) and therefore why you should adopt one. I just so happen to have a very adoptable pittie on my hands and she believes that every one of these reasons apply to her.
10. Pit Bulls are relatively healthy. It is true that any breed of dog (including mixed breed dogs) can inherit genetic issues.

9. Pit Bulls don’t require much grooming. Their short coat is very low maintenance and they can be bathed in very little time — not that they need to be bathed often. They do not need to be brushed (though most enjoy it) or get doggie haircuts, and their fur is not naturally odiferous.

8. Pit Bulls are very eager to please people. A Pit Bull will do almost anything his favorite people ask of him, just to hear their praise. These dogs crave our attention and approval, and are very social with humans. This devotion to people has contributed heavily to the bad reputation of Pit Bulls, because a bad person can use a Pit Bull’s eagerness to please to train the dog for nefarious or criminal purposes.

7. Pit Bulls are often very athletic. A Pit Bull will definitely motivate you to get daily exercise, whether you only want to walk around the block or train for a marathon. Pit Bulls also tend to excel at dog sports like agility. However, Pit Bulls are not obsessive about exercise, like some breeds.

6. Pit Bulls are super loyal. When you adopt a Pit Bull, you have a friend for life, through thick and thin.

5. Pit Bulls are usually not as reactive to pain as other breeds. While Pit Bulls do not have any special physical characteristics that make them more impervious to pain, as a breed they have a much higher tolerance for pain and rough handling. This characteristic is one reason why Pit Bulls are often so good with children, because they are able to patiently endure the pain that children may unintentionally inflict without reacting negatively. Note: All children should be taught how to interact with animals and should be supervised when playing with any animal.

4. Pit Bulls are hilarious. Just like people, all dogs are distinct individuals, but Pit Bulls are usually bursting with personality and they love to make us laugh by clowning around. They are fun and playful, even as they get older.

3. Pit Bulls love, love, love people. And Pit Bulls do not discriminate against humans for any reason. Even if a Pit Bull does not like other dogs, they typically love humans and are happiest when they are with us. They remind us of this by wiggling happily and kissing us often!

2. Pit Bulls love to cuddle. Even the most athletic Pit Bull will also have a sedentary side and crave being hugged and petted. Adopt a Pit Bull and you will have a constant companion keeping you warm in bed, on the couch, on your lap in your favorite chair. Did I mention that many Pit Bulls don’t realize they are too big to be lap dogs? For this reason and because they are so trainable, Pit Bulls can be excellent therapy dogs!

1. And the #1 reason why Pit Bulls rule? The Pit Bull smile. Pit Bulls are great for your mental health. If you are having a bad day, one look at your Pit Bull’s huge smile and lolling tongue will surely make you smile and their zest for life is infectious. Truly, happiness is a Pit Bull smile!
Here are some other great resources that talk about the awesomeness of Pit Bulls:
Bad Rap
Pit Bull Rescue Central
Stubby Dog
Animal Farm Foundation

Although Nola is not a Pit Bull, I can tell you that through fostering the Mr. and I have learned to love this breed. We are happy to be their voice and speak about against breed discrimination. We hope that someday the term ‘Pit Bull’ will no longer have the negative connotation in the general public that it does today. Educate, don’t discriminate! Pit Bulls are dogs too, and some of the best if I do say so myself! We hope that everyone does something to celebrate Pit Bull Awareness Day tomorrow. Small or big, every little bit counts!
Anna wants you to also be aware that she is still available for adoption. Fill out an application with Almost Home Rescue so you can add a pittie to your family!

‘Uncommonly’ Awesome

I neglected to buy Anna a new collar when he first came to stay with us. She wore our generic ‘rescued’ collar that I got for our temporary fosters at Target. When it was clear she was going to be here for the long haul, I started shopping around. I remembered seeing a beautiful display of collars from Uncommon Paws at Camp Bow Wow when I dropped Nola off at daycare. They are a local company, made right here in Portland, so I looked around on their website for weeks trying to decide if I should buy one for Anna. When I recently got a coupon for 20% off and free shipping I decided now was the time and not only got one for Anna, but for Nola too!

I chose the Paperweights pattern in the 1.5 inch size because it came in blue and brown, so Nola and Anna could match.
I got Nola a buckle because they require it at daycare. It is high quality and the nickel hardware makes it so beautiful! (Apparently Nola’s right side is her ‘good side’!)
Anna got a martingale because she can pull wiggle her way out of a regular buckle.
The blue looks great on Anna’s dark brown fur and the brown brings out the gold tones in Nola. I love that both collars have lots of purples and reds and although they are different, they look like they go together.
Because the company is local, the collars were hand delivered to my house in this beautiful packaging.
If you’re looking for new collars for your pups, I highly recommend Uncommon Paws. Their website has TONS of different patterns (many are Maine inspired, which I love) including holiday styles.There are also neckties for boy dogs! I can’t stress enough how beautiful these collars are. The colors are vibrant, the material and hardware is high quality and I think the dogs know how beautiful they make them look.
Anna would love to show you her new collar in person! If you are interested in adopting her, fill out an application with Almost Home Rescue.

What Makes Anna Banana So A-peel-ing

It’s easy to get caught up writing about the things that we are working on with Anna. But, it is also important to focus on all the things that will make Anna a great addition to the right family. There are many, so here are just a few:

First, she is an amazing snuggler. When she puts her head right on your shoulder and slides her body close to you it is hard not to fall in love.
Second, she snorts, a lot. I know I compared our last foster Laynie to a pig, but I think Anna might have some piggy in her to.
Third, she sits side saddle like a lady. It is so cute how she tucks her little legs off to one side and sits politely waiting for you to give her something.
Fourth, she is a wonderful watch dog. She loves to sit at the door or look out the window taking in all the sights and sounds. She barks occasionally, but is definitely not up to ‘neighborhood watch’ level, barking at EVERYTHING like Laynie did.

And lastly, she is so easy going. Although she has some reactivity to other dogs, when she is in the house just hanging out with us she is so easy. She wants nothing more than to be where you are, sitting right next to you, chewing a bully, or snuggling with Foster Sis’ Nola.
If you think Anna is sweeter than banana cream pie, fill out an adoption application through Almost Home Rescue.

Nola Muffin Monday: A sign from the Dog above

Well, the world is officially coming to an end. Mom and Dad brought home another foster sis’ for me. I keep telling them I am happy being an only pup but they don’t listen.

Another foster?

As if that were bad enough, when they brought a trainer over to the house to help her stop being annoying learn some manners, there was an earthquake! Mommy was scared because she had never felt the earth shake before, but I wasn’t. I was just hoping it would make Anna go away. I mean if that wasn’t a sign from the big dog in the sky to stop bringing other dogs home, I don’t know what is!

WTF, Mom?!

If you’d like to help Nola out and take Anna off her hands, please fill out an application with Almost Home Rescue!

Back to Basics

As sweet and wonderful as Anna’s personality is, it is clear that she has never been taught how to be a ‘house dog.’ She was found as a stray when she was brought to a shelter in Mississippi, so no one really knows what her story is. In order to help her more easily find her perfect forever home, the Mr. and I decided to enroll her in a basic obedience class ASAP.

While we are well equipped to handled teaching things like sit and down, it is the more complex behavioral habits Anna has accumulated throughout her life that we need to learn how to correct. For instance, any time we go near the front door Anna bolts to go out. We’ve taught her to sit before we open the door, but she has a harder time learning to wait while we open the door. She also gets SUPER worked up any time we grab her harness and leash to go for a walk. So much so that she is almost uncontrollable. And the other major thing we are working on is walking nicely. She is getting better, but just the sight of a cat or another dog sets her off into a whining, jumping, barking tornado of excitement.

The rescue organization recommended Shannan from Finish Forward Dogs, a trainer who has an obedience class, Good Bully!, specifically for bully breeds. I was so excited to read the class description and to find a teacher who knows the breed traits and characteristics and could help with some of the more ‘pushy’ aspects of her bully heritage. However, the class was full. So, we had to settle with a basic obedience. After speaking more with Shannan, she said I could come sit in on the Good Bully! class and that she would be happy to work with us and Anna.

So, last Friday I went to the Obedience I orientation. My first impression of Shannan was fantastic. She has three pitties of her own so I was so happy to hear she had the same problems with her dogs at some point. And, I loved the facility. I love that there are partitions between each dog and there are even hard walls that can be inserted if a dog needs a bit more privacy (like Anna).

After the hour long orientation, I sat in on the Bully Obedience class and LOVED it. I could see things that Anna does in every single one of those dogs. I also met an AHR adoptable, Atticus and his foster dad. Atticus was brought up from a shelter in the South and has had some issues around other dogs. He LOVES people, but has a hard time when other dogs are around. His foster dad was doing great playing the ‘name game’ and teaching Atticus to pay attention to him, not the other dogs.

Handsome boy Atticus watching his foster dad for directions.

I learned a lot from these two hours with Shannan and was re-energized to start training Anna with some professional help. Her first formal class was this past Friday. It went OK, but like the case with Atticus, most of it was spent trying to get her to pay attention to us, not the other dogs. We had to partition her off so she couldn’t see the other pups and we focused on mat work to get her to relax on her mat. It was a good to see how she does in a controlled environment with a professional. We haven’t taken her out and about as much as we normally do with our foster dogs because we don’t want to overwhelm her. Shannan is also coming to our house tonight to see first hand how Anna is at home and to give us some more tips about how to shape her behaviors into what we deem ‘acceptable household behavior.’ I will let you know how it goes!

If you are interested in helping sweet Anna Banana become a well trained member of the family, fill out an application with Almost Home Rescue.

Wordless Wednesday: Snuggle Montage

(I apologize for the quality of the photos, but sometimes an iPhone is the only way to capture the moment of cuteness before someone moves and it’s gone.)

If you are interested in adding some serious snuggle time to your life, fill out an application for Anna through Almost Home Rescue.