Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Puppy video and photos from Emma

This is Grover, one of the three in the litter we are fostering. We've been amazed at how they jump and turn and twist around and run. They are incredibly athletic little guys. Thank you to Emma for the videos and photos!

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Click on the arrow for more photos

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Friday, April 28, 2017

When a Cat Decides to Sleep with You

I stayed with our grandchildren last night. It was our sleepover party at their house because their parents are both out of town. Everything went well with the children. They know their routine so well, they probably could have done it themselves. I know their routine quite well by now, too. It works. All three children were asleep by 7:30 pm. There wasn't a sound from them until early morning.

I didn't know the routine of their inside pets: Mosie, a chocolate lab who barks when nervous; Clancy, a Jack Russell mix with the resulting agility and intelligence; and Enkidu, a large black cat. Honestly, beyond feeding them, I didn't think about them too much. It was enough to think about the children.

There's a tipping point when things start to happen. Being woken up a few times is annoying. Being woken up 5 or 6 times is maddening. After this, it just becomes comedy. Here is a recap of my night:

9:30 - went to bed (on the couch) thinking I'd get a little extra sleep
10:30 - got up because I had forgotten to get an extra blanket for Mattheus. He was asleep, but it was a cold night. I didn't want him to get cold.
10:45 - Clancy left Mattheus' bed and curled up on my feet.
11:30 - Heard Enkidu meowing loudly outside. I had forgotten to let him in. Got up, opened the  front door. No cat. Called. No cat. Opened the back door. No cat. Called. No cat.
12:25 - Enkidu meows again. This time I decide to ignore him.
1:15 - Enkidu meows seriously. I get up and open the front door. He's there. He comes in. I go back to the couch and find that Clancy has gotten tired of being disturbed and is back sleeping with Mattheus.
1:20 - Enkidu lands on me - 15 lbs of solid cat. I picked him up and plopped him on the floor, telling him, in no uncertain terms, he is not going to sleep with me.
2:30 - Mosie puts her cold wet nose on my cheek. She is wriggling around and desperate to go out and pee. I pull my legs out from under Enkidu and get up to let Mosie out. Then I come back to the couch. Enkidu jumps up and settles on my knees.
2:35 - Get up to let Mosie back in. Enkidu has abandoned the couch temporarily. I have a sneezing fit and stay up to blow my nose.
3:00 - Enkidu jumps up on my belly. I put him on the floor again, again letting him know I'm not going to put up with his nonsense. For the next half hour, Enkidu finds every little toy on the floor and bats them around. I hear something fall off a shelf. He is definitely pissed.
3:30 - Enkidu jumps onto my chest, starts purring loudly and kneads my chest with his claws. It's a warning. He is clearly letting me know if I give him the shove one more time, I will have a cat on my face. I let him stay.
4:30 - Rodrigo the rooster starts crowing.
5:00 - I hear Lucien calling "Papa, Papa". I go to him, letting him know Grandma is here to help.
He smiles and says, "Hi Grandma. It's just so dark in here." I turn on the small star lights for him and he smiles again, "that's better," curls up and pulls the blanket up around him.
5:45 - The children are all awake and ready to get dressed for school. I'm up for the day. It was almost a relief!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Going to the Dogs

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Some photos and a video from Emma's collection on Instagram (used with her permission)

Here is our new foster pup, Viv. She and Bennie are getting along beautifully!

Be sure and click on the arrow below to see the other photos in this fun series!

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Pee Pads are for Puppies

...at least this seems to be Bennie's impression. At seven months old, Bennie is the senior pup in the house and much wiser than those tiny bits of fluff and claws (and now teeth) we brought home two months ago. He knows if one is going to pee in the house, one chooses an out of the way corner of the good carpet or the blanket that was just washed and dried two hours ago.

He's actually doing fairly well with the house breaking. This morning, he even went out in the rain to do his business rather than lower himself to using the pee pad. It was the first time he's ever ventured outside while it was raining. 

When we raised Bennie and his brothers, it was like having quadruplets; the sibs all played together and developed at the same rate. This time, it's more like having a three-year-old and twin babies... twin babies who happen to be very different sizes. 

Bennie has been our helper from the beginning.

 He was the official face cleaner after every meal.

And very patiently cuddled with tiny Mei Mei when she was sleepy.


Raising Puppies - Round 2 ... and 3

A funny thought went through my head a few weeks ago. Now that I know how to take care of newborn pups, wouldn't it be cool to do it again while Bennie is still young? Sounds weird, I know. Bennie is a loving little dog and, well, it would be kind of like having siblings close together. Maybe this is just one of those maternal/menopausal feelings of ooh, babies again!

Obviously, I couldn't plan on having another orphan puppy, but oddly enough, just days after this thought went through my brain, I received a message from Life is Better Rescue asking if I would be willing to foster two week old chihuahua puppies. Cool! I went to the municipal shelter and picked up one little pup. The other one hadn't survived the night. We brought this one home and tucked her into a warm bed.

Bennie was interested. He was right by us all day, trying to see, sniff, and lick the puppy. LIBR named her Maple, a name I am growing to like more and more. We have called her Mei Mei, which is Mandarin for Little Sister. It fits as a decent nickname for Maple, too.

Mei Mei settled in nicely, ate well, pooped every day (until you have orphaned pups that don't, you cannot truly appreciate this) and slept soundly. When she woke up, she wouldn't make a sound, but find her paw and start sucking on it. I had to wake her every two hours and make sure she ate. She is tiny, really, really tiny. This time, I do believe we have a pure long haired chihuahua. At 3 weeks old, she now weighs just under 8 ounces. To compare with our last litter, the smallest, Franklin, was over 12 ounces at the same age. That's a huge difference when they are so tiny.
And just as we were settling in, another call came. There was another pup needing to be bottle fed.
Since I had planned on two, would I be willing to take this one? That afternoon, I brought home a little pup whom Emma immediately named Florence. Why did I assume it would be another chihuahua? Florence is a pit bull mix and, at 2 weeks, weighs over 2 pounds, four times the weight of her foster sister.

I have to admit, it is nice to have one pup that is more substantial and doesn't look like some tiny wild creature you might find in a fairy forest. It wouldn't have surprised us if Mei Mei suddenly sprouted wings and flown around the room, or disappeared into a mouse hole.

Bennie wasn't sure what to make of everything. He definitely wants to get in on the action. He insists on washing their faces after they eat... or sometimes while they eat. Tonight he gently nudged Mei Mei back onto the pee pad whenever she wandered off. It was a challenging task as Mei Mei was headed toward Emma's lap for her after dinner nap, but Bennie stuck to it, returning her over and over again.

We chose to "sponge" feed the puppies this time because it gives them an experience closer to nursing. It also helps prevent them from aspirating formula into their lungs or sinuses, and prevents overeating and bloating, which was Bennie's big challenge. Mei Mei is a delicate eater and very patient. Florence is hungry and never seems to get enough. Bennie is right there to help out.

The two puppies sleep together and help keep each other warm. It's good.

My family and friends think I'm nuts and roll their eyes at me. Why would anyone in their right mind do something like this? True, I haven't slept well in the last two weeks and my last clean pair of jeans got peed on this morning... and one of the pups pooped in the bed last night and they both had to have baths this morning because they were covered in smelly ick. 

During one early morning feeding, I watched as Mei Mei sleepily sucked on the sponge till her eyes closed and she feel asleep in my hand. I sat and stared at her for the longest time, in awe of something so tiny and so perfect. As we all know, babies grow up quickly and puppies grow up amazingly fast. What a privilege it is to have this short time with them and witness this miracle.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

End of a Journey

Our last little puppy was adopted today. Hammie, aka Alvin, was given a spot on the local news channel's "Pet of the Week" segment. We cleaned him up, trimmed his toenails, and dressed him in a bow tie. It was probably the bow tie that did it. When the family came to pick him up, their 11 year old dog was also wearing a bow tie.

It's quiet around here... at least for the moment. Bennie will have to get used to being an only dog. He has never slept alone in his kennel. There was about 5 minutes of whining and howling before he dropped off to sleep tonight.

His new family promised to keep in touch. We've been so lucky! All the adoptive families have kept in touch. The couple who adopted Bertie - now Cooper - have sent photos from their camping trip and filled us in on how he is doing. Franklin - now Leroy - comes to visit now and then.

The woman who adopted Hammie has a 9-year-old daughter who is very excited to meet her new puppy.

And what happens next? I'm helping out now and then, cleaning cat cages at Life is Better Rescue. I suspect we'll foster other dogs, too, though right now we'll let Bennie figure out he's the one who's going to stay put.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dog Days of Summer - 2016

Two of the three puppies have been adopted. Hammie is still waiting for his forever home. I wanted to make a photo book as a birthday present to Emma to remember our journey. The link below is to the book. You can click to make it full screen.

Dog Days of Summer

It's much quieter around here! We had to pick up a couple of small dog dishes because it really didn't make sense to feed them with the larger communal dish anymore. And what happened? Neither puppy would touch his food last night. I forget, they don't like change.

Still, it seems Bertie and Franklin are adapting well to their new homes. Franklin (now called Leroy) is the one with the cleft paw, a major birth defect that doesn't seem to hamper his movements at all. In fact, when they visited yesterday, Leroy was running around the house so fast, Emma said she was waiting for him to stop suddenly and go "BEEP BEEP" before zooming off again. And while all the puppies sound rather ferocious when they play, add Leroy to the mix and all we can think of is the Tasmanian devil from the old cartoons - a force to be reckoned with.

Bertie (now called Cooper) is still new in his home, but from the photos, we know he's quite taken with the other two dogs in the household. His people are wonderful and we know he's got the best home we could possibly have wanted for him.

During the month the grandkids were away, Bennie suddenly turned into a dachshund, at least mostly. He's a chihuahua mix and now it's obvious what the mix is.

Hammie (aka Alvin) will be adopted before too long, I'm sure. Just in case you're looking for a great small dog, here he is on his adoption page:


Alvin is a 2.5 month old chihuahua mix puppy that was saved as a day old newborn after he had been found under a dumpster. He and his siblings were bottle fed and have been hand raised by a wonderful foster family. As such, they have experience with kids, rabbits, chickens, and are all the way around very outgoing and don't act or think like chihuahuas. Alvin is neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and has been dewormed. He is working on crate and house training, but has had pretty amazing start and has been loved so completely that he is ready to start a great forever with a family! Alvin is $300 to adopt.

Hammie (Alvin) looks more chihuahua than dachshund. He's curious and loves to explore. He's been working on making friends with our rabbits and the chickens. The latter don't quite know what to do about it, but he keeps on trying.

Then we'll be a one dog household and my job as the chihuahua mama will be officially over. Yeah, we'll still have Bennie. He'll just be our dog. This has been quite an adventure. Amazing, really. It wasn't easy, but compared to raising human children, it was a breeze. Three months and 5 days after they came into our care they're old enough to leave home.

I'm glad humans can take their time to grow up. Of course, the puppies aren't really grown up, they're more like 4-year-olds. This means it's time to teach some manners.

The best things in life are rescued. If you're looking for a wonderful addition to your family, pet-wise, check out your local rescue organizations. They do amazing work. You're also getting a bargain. I did a price comparison on the services which are provided for these puppies by the rescue group and found if you take your dog to a low-cost veterinary clinic, these services would have cost a minimum of $170. A more upscale clinic would run well over $300 for the spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, deworming, and microchip.

Definitely a win for everyone!