Happy New Year!

It’s been a long year with lots of changes.  Fostering dogs has added an interesting twist to life.

Kira has grown into a good match for me.  Almost a perfect match… always sick, distant, unaffectionate, and grumpy.  But, she is sweet and stays with me all the time.  She isn’t scared of the pool table and gets endless pleasure from chasing the frisbee.  She never has an accident in the house except for the occasional episode of wetting the bed while sleeping due to her infections.  So, there are some differences between her and me…  I don’t wet the bed, and I don’t chase the frisbee.  🙂  One of the best things about Kira is that she always stays close to you wherever you go.  When in the yard she stays within 10 feet at all times.  When walking on a trail, she never leaves your side.  And when you take her to the office or to a park, she shadows you all the time.  The most rewarding thing about Kira is that she is protective of me.  Although she never seems to want to be pet, when she and I are around other dogs or people, she gets between me and whatever else is there and she will growl and snap if they get close to me.  She doesn’t do this when they are just near her, but she is protective of me.  All I have to do is say “Kira, no” and she will back down and lay on the floor.  I think she likes me.

Bones is getting way up there in age.  He can’t see very well, can’t hear much at all, and he is getting feeble.  He falls down a lot on the hardwood floors and falls down on the front steps quite often.  But he still eats and wags his tail for Mike.  He is Mike’s companion and whenever Mike leaves the house, Bones camps out at the front door looking through the glass at the driveway for the entire time that Mike is gone.  Occasionally he howls and cries. 

Remy is just a mush dog.  He loves everyone equally and has no loyalty to anyone.  His loyalties are only in those that have food or are willing to pet him.  But, he is so affectionate and gentle that you cannot help but hug on him.  His fur is so thick that he is like hugging a plush teddy bear.  He is the most vocal of the dogs and will bark at you whenever he wants something, is happy, is frustrated, or is hurt.  Each bark is different, so we know how to interpret it.  He is the only dog that does a little dance every time he is about to get food.  It is so cute.  And he is very good at staying near the house when we are outside.  His only big weakness is that he won’t give the ball back when you play fetch.  I mean, he will not give it back.  You can try to pry it from his mouth and you will not succeed.  You get one throw and that is it.

The foster dogs have taught me a lot about doggy behavior and provided great reward when the dog readapts to human companionship.  Riley was out of control when we got him.  He was aggressive and almost unmanagable.  But, after Riley bit me and I learned that he responded to a firm voice and dog language (yea, I growled at him a lot and forced him on his back whenever he was bad).  In time, Riley turned around and became a wonderful little dog that loved to talk to you and wagged his tail so hard that he would bloody the tip.  He was still aggressive with other dogs and became protective of me.  He seemed to really take to me which didn’t make Mike all that happy.  After 3 months with Riley, he was adoptable and it was a matter of finding the right family.  Fortunately, the perfect family found him.  After 6 weeks in his new home I went to visit him and he was a completely different dog.  Playful, attentive, and not a bit aggressive.  He lives with a slightly older female that is about his size, and he seems really happy.  Seeing Riley like this makes fostering completely worthwhile.

And the open book in fostering is Foreman.  He is like “Santa’s Little Helper” from the Simpsons both in action and look.  He is a mix of Grey Hound and Labradore.  He has wonderful colors and markings and can run like the wind.  He is beautiful when he is running.  When walking, he looks goofy.  He has such muscular back legs that they dwarf the rest of his body.  When we took him in, he was so skittish that the wind blowing through the leaves scared him.  Really…the first time he was out in the back yard and the wind blew through the leaves, he tucked tail and ran back to the house and right into the glass door.  It has been about 3 months of fostering Foreman now and he is getting better.  Like Riley, he responded quickly to dog signals like barking, growling, and putting him on his back.  He favors me over anyone else but he also seems to recognize people.  When he is in a strange environment and recognizes someone, he immediately goes to them and seeks protection.  It doesn’t matter if the past experiences have had him hiding from them or not.  They are familiar in a sea of the unknown.  Foreman is not aggressive with people, but can be with other dogs when they come near me.  He is protective of me, and is actually the best watch dog in the house.  Kira and Remy hear a noise and just look, listen, and occasionally growl.  But, Foreman will hear a noise and sneak up to where it is, peek around the corner, and if there is something there, he starts barking this nasty growly bark that would scare most people away.  When someone invades the home and neither Mike or I are around, he will stand his ground and be nasty.  But, if they approach him, he runs for cover.  So, not quite the perfect watch dog.  Hopefully someone will recognize him as a good family pet and will take him in.  Till then, he will sleep under my desk and be scared of the wind.

Happy New Year to all.  I hope you are enjoying the stories of the dogs.

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