Not Good

He’s back…

I got a call from Isaac’s new mom last Thursday night that he had growled at an elderly lady on one of their walks yesterday and it shook his mom up. I wasn’t there so I don’t know the details; Isaac never actually physically touched or harmed the woman and while it was made to seem unprovoked, most dogs don’t get that angry over nothing. What may have appeared unprovoked to a human may have been very provoked in the mind of a dog. Again, I have no real idea what happened so I’m not going to waste time creating scenarios in my head that either excuse or blame Isaac. I do know it was dark which could easily have been at least a partial explanation.

What is fact, though, is that Isaac will not be staying in what was supposed to be his forever home; he is going to be removed and put back in foster care.

The obvious assumption is that he’s coming back to live with us. And he is. But contrary to popular belief, that is not how I wanted this to play out.

At least one of us is happy.

At least one of us is happy.

Let me say this flat out – Lucy is my number one priority. Since Isaac has been gone, her personality has been night and day. I had forgotten how energetic, active and mobile she really is. With Isaac around, she was either stuck on the couch or fearful of spending too long on the floor for fear that the hump monster would attack. I’m fully aware it seems like a minor and lighthearted problem, but it’s absolutely not. My dad even said he didn’t think the humping could have possibly been that big of an issue until he saw Isaac in action and Lucy’s fear of Isaac. Isaac is persistent and not to be stopped, no matter the punishment (timeout, a water bottle spritzed in the face, a swat on the bum, etc.).

In short, this sucks. This really, really sucks. I’m not sure if I can adequately express how much stress this has caused me. I’m tired and irritable 24/7. It’s been really fun for Marty.

I know it is not Isaac’s fault that he needs to return to foster care but it also isn’t Lucy’s fault, either, and I don’t feel as if she should have to deal with Isaac again. But Isaac has to go somewhere; his owner wanted him out ASAP and there literally aren’t any other choices since no other dog-free foster homes are available or want to take Isaac. And of course I love Isaac; selfishly I want him back but it simply isn’t fair to Lucy.

"I most definitely was not consulted on this decision."

“I most definitely was not consulted on this decision.”

Hopefully we find him his real forever home soon.

Life

This blog has been quiet the past few days and that’s because life has been very busy but uneventful. I lost my full-time assistant maybe a month ago? Five, six weeks ago? Anyway, I am currently a one-man shop covering 23 varsity sports during crossover season (i.e. the end of the winter season and the beginning of the spring season when those seasons overlap by a few weeks).

Stressful and busy don’t being to describe work right now and combined with some outside work issues, life is stressful. I’m tired all the time, super irritable and have limited patience. But one day at a time, right? I should have a new assistant within the next few weeks and a few weeks gets me that much closer to summer. :-)

Lucy can't wait until summer either.

Lucy can’t wait until summer either.

I’m still trying to be a relatively functioning adult which means doing adult things instead of crawling into bed like I want to. One of those adult things was giving Lucy a LONG overdue bath. Fun times for both of us.

Rub-a-dub-dub, Lucy in the tub!

Rub-a-dub-dub, Lucy in the tub!

The minute her collar comes off she knows it’s bath time but she never moves fast enough to get away from me. I lugged all 42, 43, 44 (God, I hope she doesn’t weight that much or the vet will kill me) pounds of her upstairs and plopped her in the tub. She actually wasn’t bad this time. Normally she tries to escape but this time she just stood there, resigned to her fate, slightly shaking.
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Her birthday is in just six days (!!). But with birthdays come annual checkups and I have a sneaking suspicion she needs to drop some weight. Unfortunately, the weather has been beyond horrible so we’re not getting out for walks, not that she walks anyway. So we’ve been playing fetch inside and I’ve been swapping out some of her treats with carrots which she appears to like as much as regular treats. Weird dog.

So Very Quiet

(A quick preface before I continue: I am in NO way saying that I wish Lucy were different because I absolutely do not; but she and Isaac were so dissimilar that it makes life without Isaac a drastic change).

So life without Isaac is…different. And quiet. That’s stating the obvious, I know. But he and Lucy were/are very different dogs. Isaac displayed unbridled joy the minute you walked in the door, no matter how long you’d been gone. Lucy? She doesn’t even lift her head up when I come home for lunch and only sort of acknowledges me when I come home from work and that’s only because she knows my arrival means it’s almost dinner time.

I will gain approximately 10 pounds now that I'm not walking Isaac three times a day.

I will gain approximately 10 pounds now that I’m not walking Isaac three times a day.

Like I began this post by saying, in no way do I wish Lucy was different. Lucy is awesome and I love, love, love her little quirks. It’s just a culture shock to come home at lunch or after work to a relatively calm and quiet apartment. There was nothing calm or quiet about Isaac so it’s just a change, that’s all.

Last night I kept waiting for a head on my lap while I ate dinner and I had this constant feeling of “something’s missing” when I went to bed because Isaac usually followed me there, at least for the last few weeks we had him. I came home from CrossFit this morning and…just sat there having coffee. No Isaac to take right out for a walk.

I miss this face.

I miss this face.

But, Lucy definitely has some of her spark back. She is a lot more playful and can now run free in the apartment without worrying about Mr. Humpy attacking her. And that’s really, really good to see.
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Lucy turns three (!!) early next month and with just one dog now, it means I have more time to force help Lucy to drop a few much-needed pounds so that I don’t get yelled at by the vet at her yearly check-up!

Isaac Found His Forever Home

After nearly seven months of fostering, Isaac has found his perfect forever home. It happened very quickly; the adoption was approved late Friday night and by this afternoon he was in his forever home. I didn’t have a lot of time to mentally prepare, which is maybe a good thing, maybe not.

Oh, I love him.

Oh, I love him.

I found out Friday night the adoption was approved and then spent most of Saturday at work so the adoption didn’t really have time to sink in but no doubt about it now – he’s gone. I’m not doing well; I spent the majority of the car ride home fighting back tears (and losing).

If you have any dog for 6 1/2 months there is obviously an attachment that forms. But I fell in love with him. Head over heels in love. There were so many things I love(d) about him. His eyes. His nubbin and how it shook when he was happy. His energy. The way he’d rest his head on your lap so you would pay attention to him. The way he’d flip his bed upside down to lay in it. The way he’d “run it in” on the last stretch of our daily walks. The way he’d wiggle his butt and grab a toy the minute you walked in the door. The way he barreled down the stairs, almost head-first into the front door. The perfect brown spot right over his rump. His fascination obsession with cars. The way, for the last two weeks, he’s slept in our bed at night. And how he placed his butt directly on Marty’s pillow every night :-)

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Probably my favorite memory from the past few months is from Christmas morning. We were at my parents’ house and I was the first one awake. So I got up, fed the dogs and took Isaac for his daily after-breakfast walk. It was still early and there wasn’t a soul outside but all the outdoor Christmas lights were on, Christmas trees were lit and you could tell which families had little kids because those were the only homes with lights on inside. It was so peaceful and quiet…just the most perfect morning.

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His new home is just so perfect, though. He is so, so loved already. And his adoption is going to be so good for everyone (except me!). His new mom could not be happier, Isaac could not be going to a better home and Lucy will finally get some peace! But oh man, I miss him. So very much.

Isaac and his new mommy.

Isaac and his new mommy.

And now some more of my favorite pics from the past six-plus months:

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Utter sweetness.

Utter sweetness.

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Happy Birthday From Afar

Today is Cindy’s (Nellie’s) ninth birthday!!

Cindy's first-ever birthday party.

Cindy’s first-ever birthday party.

I cannot tell you happy it makes me every year that she is able to celebrate her birthday! And unlike Snowy, we know exactly when her birthday is, according to the papers she came with.

For those new to the blog, Cindy was my first-ever foster and as such, holds a very, very special spot in my heart. She holds that special spot for so many more reasons than just being my first foster, though. Cindy was a puppy mill mama and over the six months that I had her, I learned how rewarding it is to see a dog learn how to be a pet. It sounds so silly – learn how to be a pet? – but she had NO idea what being a family dog meant.

First time playing with a toy!

First time playing with a toy!

Cindy spent the first seven years of her life in a puppy mill; we don’t know exactly what it was like but she was likely kept in a wire cage, saw little to no significant time outside that cage, was forced to produce litter after litter and never received proper veterinary care. Her c-sections were likely done in horrendously unsafe conditions as evidenced by the fact that when her forever family had her spayed, it was a very complicated surgery as they had to essentially dig through layers of scar tissue. Her paws were splayed (due to the wire cage, I’m positive) and her joints? Horrible. Her shoulders were/are bowed and I’ll never forget when our vet sort of pushed her shoulders up and in to show me where the joints should be. Her back was/is swayed and she was both heartworm and lyme positive when we got her.

But she was not only an absolute trooper through all the medical treatments she had to endure but also a true sweetheart. Every single day she amazed me by her ability to be so sweet after being so abused for so long.

She LOVED pillows.

She LOVED pillows.

And she had so many cute little idiosyncrasies. For example, her jowls would puff out and flap every time she exhaled particularly hard. It was so cute. And the way she would take minutes to adjust the couch pillows just so until she was happy enough to settle down on them (see above!). I’ll never forget the first time she ran or how, before she began heartworm treatment, she would slowly trail behind Lucy and me on our walks around the block, no leash needed. She was A: too slow and B: just wanted to be with us – it never seemed to cross her mind that running away (not that she ran fast enough to get away…) was an option.

Cindy’s adoption process was a tough one; twice we thought she had found her forever home only to have the homes fall through. But it was all for a reason as Cindy found the absolute best home ever. Truly. She is loved beyond belief.

Here are a few more of my favorites photos of the birthday girl.

Smiles

Smiles

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Paws crossed.

Paws crossed.

After heartworm treatment.

After heartworm treatment.

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Sweet Cindy waiting at the vet.

Sweet Cindy waiting at the vet.

Cindy's double bed setup.

Cindy’s double bed setup.

How can she look so sad in sparkles??

How can she look so sad in sparkles??

So addictively cute

So addictively cute

Like Snowy, I miss this squish every single day. It’s because of her and my wonderful experience with being her foster mom that I continue to foster. Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

One-Year Adoptiversary

Guess what happened one year ago today? Snowy (now Violet) was adopted!
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I simply cannot believe it’s been one year! Some days it seems like just yesterday she and Lucy were snuggling on the couch and in other ways it’s sometimes hard to remember the specifics of day-to-day life with Snowy. I do know for sure that she was one of our most fun and sweet fosters and I miss her every single day.

I mean, come on, does it get any sweeter?

I mean, come on, does it get any sweeter?

Snowy/Violet and Cindy (now Nellie), our first foster, were both puppy mill dogs. Snowy was a few years younger than Cindy but still had had more than a handful of litters. Unlike Cindy, though, she was in much better physical shape. Her eyes were not good, her skin needed some TLC and she had entropian surgery several months after I got her, but for the most part everything was fixable (and thank goodness her cancer scare was just that – a scare!). Her joints were really good for a bulldog, she had no breathing issues and had (and still has, I’m sure) energy to spare, at least for a bulldog.

She loved being outside.

She loved being outside.

In contrast to Cindy:

Those joints and that back sway always looked so painful.

Those joints and that back sway always looked so painful.

Of all our fosters, Lucy was definitely closest to Snowy. Cindy tended to get a bit cantankerous with Lucy from time to time (don’t get me wrong, they snuggled and got along 99% of the time but Cindy had no issues letting Lucy know when she wanted to be left alone :-) ) and while Buddy and Lucy were great together, I think sometimes Buddy’s energy got to Lucy. Snowy, though? There were never two better buddies.

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They loved each other so much.

They loved each other so much.

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People always ask me how I can stand to give up my fosters. I’ve written about this on more than one occasion but there are several reasons, the first being money. SNORT features all short-nosed dogs (hence the name, Short-Nosed Only Rescue Team) and more often than not, short-nosed dogs have health concerns and/or are high-maintenance starting at a young age. In short (no pun intended), they are expensive dogs to own and neither Marty nor I are in lucrative careers.

The second reason is that I love fostering. If we owned a larger house and had more regular schedules (and a larger income), perhaps we could have more than two dogs at a time which would allow us to adopt another dog and still continue fostering. Unfortunately, our apartment is not big and two dogs are our limit; therefore, if we kept any of our fosters, we’d have no means to continue fostering and that is something I definitely want to continue doing.

That doesn’t mean that seeing a foster adopted isn’t hard; it is really hard. All of our fosters have been with us for a minimum of three months so we obviously get really attached. And for the most part Lucy gets attached, too, with the exception of Isaac (she is SO done with him!). Therefore, it’s very emotionally difficult and draining to see them go. But every single foster we’ve had has gone onto the most perfect of forever homes. Honestly, these dogs are far better off in the long run in their current forever homes and that’s the whole point of fostering.

Thus, it’s comforting on anniversaries like this to look back on our time with each foster while also being so thankful they moved onto perfect forever homes. We miss you, Violet!

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Valentine’s Day 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day!
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I posted this on my Facebook page. Just change “cat” to “dog” and “horror movies” to “wedding dress shows/HGTV” and that’s me!

Like most Valentine’s Day weekends, Marty and I aren’t really celebrating. He’s hosting a track meet essentially all day and I have a ton of work to do. I can fortunately do most of that work from home this weekend since most of our athletic teams are on the road. So, these guys are my Valentine’s Day dates for most of the day!
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Best Part of My Day

I kind of like a routine. Family and friends who are reading this are laughing because there has never been a truer statement written. My like love of a routine is what makes my job so difficult for me; there is no routine. Every day is different and while that has its advantages, for someone like me it can be emotionally difficult to manage at times.

Anyway, I’m usually able to hit a nice routine in the winter. The only home games we have during the winter sports season are on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons. This means that for the first time since August, I know I’ll be home most nights. In just a few weeks, that goes out the window when we host our first home men’s lacrosse game on a Sunday afternoon; from that point until May, there is no routine so I’m trying to savor it while I can.

All day yesterday I was thinking about getting home, taking the dogs out, feeding them, taking Isaac for a walk and then sitting on the couch with the dogs and a glass of wine. And that is the best part of my day. It’s often not as idyllic as it sounds; Isaac’s usually humping Lucy, I find myself sitting in a drool spot on the couch, etc. But that sort of doesn’t matter because it’s the thought of such a perfect coming-home routine that keeps me going during the days.

She usually makes room for me on the couch.

She usually makes room for me on the couch.

PS – Exactly one month from today, this little nugget turns THREE!

Hoppy!

Hoppy!

Six Months of Isaac

We officially hit the six-month mark of fostering Isaac!

The very first picture I took of Isaac - on our way home!

The very first picture I took of Isaac – on our way home!

Actually, we hit the six-month mark on Feb. 2 but I was in the midst of the flu, a sinus infection and thrush. I’ve only just begun feeling human; the past couple days have been rough, to say the least. Honestly, I really never get sick beyond a cold or two a year and so to get hit by a virus and double ear infection two weeks ago and then the flu and a sinus infection this past week…I’m physically drained, to say the least.

Anyway, Isaac’s six-month anniversary didn’t escape my notice, I was just too sick to write about it! I thought I’d do a mini recap/highlight reel of the past six months.

August 4, 2014: Isaac Goes to the Vet
As is standard with all fosters, I took Isaac to the vet the first chance I got. He essentially had zero health concerns, the first time that’s ever happened with a foster! He was (and still is) missing large chunks of fur but the lack of hair was not deemed to be caused by anything serious; likely a case of unexplained alopecia.

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

One of the first photos I ever took of him. And still one of my favorites.

August 7, 2014: Isaac Goes back to School
Isaac didn’t, and still doesn’t, know how to play with Lucy, let alone other dogs. So was this training session a waste of money? Absolutely not. He learned a lot of basic obedience commands we still use. He just is never going to be a dog that plays well or gets along with other dogs.

The (not-so) model student.

The (not-so) model student.

Oct. 26, 2014: Isaac Goes to Crusader Carvings
His first real outing and he did great! He had an absolute blast and was very well-behaved with all the people.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

Yeah, he liked the attention just a little bit.

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Oct. 31, 2014: Isaac Runs Away
He took years off my life. He had a blast.

"I'd do it all over again, too!"

“I’d do it all over again, too!”

Thanksgiving, 2014
We took Lucy and Isaac on their first extended road trip together. It was stressful, but we survived, thanks in large part to nice weather and a lot of walks!
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December 22, 2014: Isaac’s First Christmas With Us
We went low-key this year, but Isaac didn’t know any better!

He was just as happy to watch us open gifts as to get his own!

He was just as happy to watch us open gifts as to get his own!

Christmas, 2014
All four of us survived our second road trip in a month. Again, not exactly stress-free but we all made it out alive!
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And now here we are at six months! Nothing of note has really happened since the holidays; we haven’t traveled anywhere, Isaac hasn’t run away again, etc. He’s been hit or miss in regards to his behavior around Lucy; he’ll go days where he won’t bother her too much and then we have a morning like today where they haven’t even gotten out the door to do their business and he’s already humped her. So, the norm.

It’s not like you exactly celebrate six months of fostering because you’d like all foster dogs to be adopted ASAP but it’s still been a fun six months to look back on. He’ll definitely stand as our longest foster to date; I checked on Cindy’s stay with us and it was six months and five days and we’re just about there already with Isaac. But he’s so fun and sweet. Last night he curled up in bed with me again until my coughing drove him back downstairs :-) And this morning on our way in from our morning walk, he grabbed just one more chunk of snow to chew on (he clearly doesn’t understand this snow isn’t going anywhere soon!). He never fails to make me laugh.

He makes himself laugh, too.

He makes himself laugh, too.

Another Survey

Here in Central PA we were saved from the massive snowstorm that slammed (and is currently slamming) the East Coast. We got snow but maybe 5-6 inches total. It was definitely enough to make taking the dogs out a process but totally manageable.

No updates to share, minus Lucy’s perpetual boycotting of doing her business in the snow, so here is another survey I found on one of the many blogs I stalk.

Household chore I actually enjoy:
Dishes. I love warm water so doing dishes is right up my alley.

Biggest house disaster:
Our guest room. We couldn’t put a guest in there if we wanted to. We’re missing support slats on our bed, the guest room has my dresser in it because there’s no room for it in our main bedroom, we hang our sweaty clothes in there to dry. I could go on and on.

Before company arrives, I hide:
Clutter. I try to put everything in piles and quickly toss all the crap I’ve been meaning to toss for weeks.

Most recent music download:
I’ve been big into podcasts lately after I got hooked on Serial so the last thing I downloaded was a few episodes of the Criminal podcast. Nowhere near as good as Serial but it sort of fills the void.
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The last thing I bought online:
Protein powder. I’m getting more and more into heavy and Olympic weight lifting and I know I wasn’t refueling quickly enough or properly after my workouts, so I’m going to try protein powder.

I hate to shop for:
Pants. I’m 5’2” and nothing ever fits. If the length is good, the waist is too small. If the waist fits, the pants are too long. I love summer because that means skirts and shorts.

Favorite family ritual:
Lately Marty and I have started cooking together on Sundays. We got a Crockpot so every Sunday we alternate whose turn it is to cook a new recipe.
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Honestly, the above picture isn’t that far off from what ours looks like!

I sleep in:
Not much. Take that how you will – in regards to how late I sleep in or what I wear to sleep :-)

I have a style crush on:
The mannequins at Ann Taylor. And Sofia Vergara, but that’s actually more of a body crush. If I looked like her it wouldn’t much matter what I wore.
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I’m currently reading:
Bittersweet. Took me a while to get into it and it’s definitely stranger than I was expecting (in a good way…I think?) but it still sucked me in. Since grad school ended, I’ve been able to read for pleasure a lot more and I have a whole list of books I want to get to. Maybe that’s another post (or series of posts) – book reviews!

How did I ever live without:
My dogs. I know, I know. I’m probably supposed to pick something related to making my life easier (and lord knows my life isn’t easier with two dogs) but having Lucy and our foster dogs make life a million times better!
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