Friday, December 31, 2010

Out of the Burning Ring of Fire

Cash "helping" Kevin get lunch out of amazing white food box
     Do you dear reader, ever have an inclining that you just MUST do something?  Even if you ignore that inner voice, it keeps henpecking until you give in and do whatever it is that "self" is demanding?  I had one of those days yesterday.  One of the rescue groups I, and Moonsong, work with frequently is Waggin Tails Rescue.  I had not been in recent contact with our WTR contact, Christie, for some time.  All day I felt that I needed to write her and let her know the events of the last few weeks.  I started an email to her at 10ish, then deleted it.  I told myself I was being silly, that we would just wait for a Moonsong dog.  Well, inner self was a real pain and kept bothering me!  SO about an hour later I sent the email.  I wrote that our last foster was adopted, that we lost Zeus, and that our cat was gone now too.  I also told her we were just not ready for another foster, but to keep me in mind if any mals or mal-a-nuffs came across her radar.  Amazingly, minuets later I received a response about a husky/mal/sneaky neighbor dog X who was on his last day at the Paul Pound.  The staff at the Paul facility are nice people, but the building is outdated and makes for a "hellish" experience for the dogs.  I talked it over with Kevin and the MMR gang and we decided to pull this pup out of the fiery pit and into foster care. 

Did you know there is a DOG in that box that holds dishes?

What IS that little box?

Cash trying to get Miley's attention
     Kevin and I were able to both drive to Paul to pick up our newest foster.  He kept his tail tucked between his legs, smelled awful, but dashed for the door outside the minuet he spotted the sun-filled exit.  We think he came into the shelter as a stray on the 19th or 20th of December.  Despite the stress of living in the pound for over a week, he bounced back quickly.  He fussed some on the drive home, but once we arrived at our home his tail started wagging.  We let him acclimate to his surroundings some before we introduced him to our three female dogs.  With all three girls he displayed perfect puppy manners and invited them to play.  Having the girls around helped him become more comfortable and responsive to us, the humans. 
Cash playing with Lilo & Sassy

     After watching "little Red" (he looks just like a mini-me version of Minadoka Red a mal rescue from the same shelter) play we decide to name him Cash, after Johnny Cash.  Anyone interested in Cash will need to be prepared for a large PUPPY.  He is curious about everything, which means is into everything.  Cash just growled at his own reflection in our patio door & keeps pawing at the "puppy" in the dishwasher reflection:).  He is super fun, but will need guidance to mature into his full potential.  While Cash has lots to learn about being a house dog, he is smart and attentive, and should progress quickly.  We will be vetting & neutering Cash next week and he will be ready soon for a forever home!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Endings and New Beginnings

  The past two weeks have flown by!  This update is late, but with family obligations and the holidays I ran out of time.  Orson, now Shasta, has been adopted by a wonderful family from WA area.  They flew into Idaho on the 18th and met Orson/Shasta that evening.  Jeff and his daughter, Kaya, visited with our family for several hours that evening.  We had a wonderful time meeting such warm, kind people.  Both Kevin and I felt Shasta would have a wonderful life with his new family.  It was a feeling of peace that washed over both of us to have such dedicated adopters pick "our" malamute.  We spent one last evening with Shasta while Jeff and Kaya shopped for puppy supplies and caught some Z's.
     The next morning they came with a fully-equipped dog-mobile and we said our good-by's to everyone.  It was such a joy to watch the excitement of everyone involved!!   Shasta loaded easily onto his new bed and the family headed home, to Shasta's forever home. Jeff has updated me on a regular basis, and Shasta is doing very well.  He gets along with all their four-legged creatures and loves Kaya!
Kaya & Shasta on the road home

Shasta snoozing in his fav place, by a tree!
     This is a great beginning for one lucky malamute.  
    Sadly, after Shasta left our Zeus seemed to let go.  His limp increased to the point he was only toe-touching and even dragging the toes.  We increased his pain medication to 3 pills, 3 times a day, but it did little to alleviate his suffering.  We had long ago decided that when we could not manage the pain it would be time to send him home; to help him cross the rainbow bridge.  On Monday we called and made an appointment for Thursday, December 23rd at 5 pm.  Kevin and I spent the next few days alternating between joyful memories, hugging Zeus, and crying.  Zeus was a special dog.  I know a lot of owners say this, or think this about their dogs in retrospect, but we always knew he was the dog of a life time.  Zeus was always a happy, gentle, serious dog.  He was an old soul, even as a puppy. 
"Baby" Zeus, around 8-9 weeks
     He was well behaved and yet, very fun.  On his last day we bought him a DQ soft serve ice cream cone, which he devoured with great joy.  We loaded the 3 girls and Zeus into the Jeep and made the drive to Magic Valley Vet.  Several of the vet tecs who have known Zeus since he was 4 weeks old, stayed to give the big guy one last hug, kiss, and told him what a "best dog ever" he was.

     Michelle offered to hold Zeus for the procedure.  We went into a room where the staff had placed a quilt for Zeus to rest upon.  He immediately curled up on the warm, fuzzy blanket. Dr. L came in and with in minutes it was over.  Both the vet and our tec cried with us; what a beautiful gift that Zeus was well loved by others, enough that they too shed tears for him.  We brought the girls in so they could smell him to know he was gone.  Shania, Zeus' bonded girl, was upset, but it was the right decision.  In the following days they have not waited for him to return, which I believe is because they know he is gone from this world.  They have mourned him, as we have. 
Zeus with 9 week old Miley

Kevin & Zeus
     Several people have asked when we will get another dog.  My answer is that I do not know.  We will continue to foster, and wait.  All of our pets have come to us, each in their own way, and we "knew" they would be staying.  

    Run free dear friend....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nollaig Shona Duit! (Merry Christmas to you!)

     Christmas is a season of traditions, practicing old and creating new.  One of those traditions is displaying a Christmas tree decorated with lights, garland, and ornaments.  This tradition comes from Germany and was made popular in English culture by Queen Victoria.  Exchanging Christmas cards originated in England.  Clement Clark Moore gave us our modern version of Santa Clause in his famous poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas."  In 1863 Nast, a cartoonist for Harpers Weekly, drew the modern image of Santa, he was a robber baron in reverse. (both versions are based on St. Nicholas traditions, a bishop in the 4th century). 
Kevin, Zeus, and the tree
     We visited our local "tree dealer" yesterday and found a great 6' "Charlie Brown" pine.  We live about an hour away from the South Hills where you can purchase a $5 permit and cut your own tree, but this year with school obligations we decided not to harvest our own (that and when your out int he woods a 10' tree seems small until you get it home!).  The dogs were all excited to have the tree arrive!  I can not imagine what sort of wonderful smells cling to the trees boughs, but they must tell an engaging tale. 
What is it?  A tree? For me?
     Orson has decided that Christmas must actually be a celebration for him.  As exciting as as watching the neighbors put up their lights, the delivery of the tree was even better!  The tree is Orson's own personal tree (or so he thinks).  He adores it.  He climbed into it when we first brought it into the house and has done so several times since then.  It makes me wonder if this is his first "real" tree.  All aspects of decorating were interesting and he supervised ornament placement. 
Investigation 1

Does anyone else know how cool this thing is?

Investigation 2

Investigation 3

Thanks for the tree!

Trying to dig Orson out of the tree while we put lights on, Investigation 4

Diving in again, just in case something changed overnight

I  Love Christmas!
     Kevin and I laughed as we placed balls on the tree as we remembered trees from years previous.  Last year our foster Mowgli, liked to gently steal balls off the tree, then dash outside and stomp on them.  Savina, our ACD, spent her first Christmas at the doggy ER after eating 9' of bead garland and half of the glass balls and a few lights.  Fast-forward to her 2nd Christmas (man we were dumb) and we had a repeat of her first Christmas.  Needless to say we did not have a tree the next year, or throughout Zeus' puppy years. Miley's first Christmas was at my in-laws.  She ate several bows and destroyed several gift packages (I think that was the same year she ran off with part of the turkey, too). Wow!  I can't believe WE survived Christmas with puppies.   
Miley resting in the lights, "helping

     On another good note, Orson is able to walk all the way around the block now!!!  He had to have a couple of rest breaks, but that is huge progress from the dog we first met. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miley & Orson playing

Of course as soon as I pulled the camera out, they quit wrestling, but you can still see them playing!  Our cat is sitting on the couch (his throne) watching them with disdain!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Griswold Christmas

Kevin & Orson in the waiting room at MVVH
    I am one proud foster momma!  Orson visited Magic Valley Vet last Friday for a weigh in and T4 blood workup.  Orson has lost almost 20lbs; he is at 164 lbs.  We rechecked his blood work since he is losing weight to see if we needed to adjust his thyroid medication dosage.  Orson did need to have his med dose lowered, so he is on 1.4 mg of his Hypothyroid medication.  During Orson's first blood draw he hardly cared that the vet shaved his leg and drew blood.  This time he was a pill, which  is actually great news.  He wrestled with the vet tec, Brandy, when she put a tourniquet on his leg and smacked her with his paw. The vet was even excited by this behavior, since it means he is feeling much better.

    It is Christmas season on Pierce Street, which brings with it the "Griswold" lights across the street. I think the Target/Walmart/Costco fairy visits in the middle of the night. Every year our neighbors decorate every surface of their yard and house with lights, moving deer, a giant 7 foot Santa (who peeps in my bathroom window~really!).  That said, Orson has been fascinated by the light set up process.  He spends hours watching the men string lights between branches.  He especially likes to watch the men ride the lift around the trees.  I can't wait to see what he thinks of our indoor tree!
Orson on the edge of his bed, ready to tip over!
Hanging out together
     One last personality quirk, Orson falls off round beds.  He likes to lay along the very edge of his square bed and tries this technique on the round ones, which usually results in him tipping off the edge.  It is very comical.  
Winter afternoon naps
     This Christmas season, I hope we all remember not just the "Griswold" beauty, but also to share the joy of family and friends (2 and 4 footed) with others.