Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups

Helping dogs on the road to forever, forever finding ourselves as we walk that road with them.


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Sharing the Luck: Adam Puppy Seeks Adopter

After my wonderful experience earlier this week with dear, sweet Mary, who is not my foster but captured my heart, I was inspired to take an opportunity to help share the luck for some other Lucky Dogs who may need it. So, periodically, we’ll take a step away from what we’re doing at our own foster homestead to try and “Share the Luck” for another Lucky Dog seeking a home. A Lucky Dog who, like Balton, has been in foster care for a little longer than other Lucky Dogs , maybe has a few extra needs, and who really could use some extra love sprinkled down their path to adoption.

One such Lucky Dog was featured in last week’s edition of ARLNow’s Arlington Pet of the Week  – so what better opportunity to ride on the coattails of his recent rise to fame, and tell you a little more about Adam Puppy, a 1 year old Catahoula Leopard/Dachsund Mix?

First – a bit of clarification on the name. You may well ask, “why the heck is a 1 year old dog named Adam Puppy?” A very good question, as a matter of fact. When Adam first came to Lucky Dog last January from the shelter, he actually was a puppy… a really ridiculously super cute and teeny one at 10 weeks, as a matter of fact.

adam 4 weeks (1 of 1)Adam Puppy, as a puppy.

Adam and his sister Abby were adopted to two different families. Both had the importance of puppy socialization explained to them, and went through Lucky Dog’s screening interview and home visit. Abby is still in her forever home, but after about 8 months, Adam came back to Lucky Dog.

One of my all time favorite blogs, Love and a Six Foot Leash, addresses the frustrating reality of the rescue return. Author Aleks sums up what we often feel on the rescue side of things when one of these returns happens, but also a practical and pragmatic reflection on those returns:

“Finding the perfect fit with imperfect information is a really hard task. Often we know the dog really well, and as hard as we try to screen the applicant, some critical information slips through the cracks. Other times we get a really good understanding of the adopter, but the dog is new to us or the adopter’s environment brings out behavior that we hadn’t seen before. Still other times, mismatches allow potential adopters to learn things about themselves that they hadn’t anticipated in the application process. As much as we’d all prefer a perfect match each time, returns can almost be a blessing in disguise: they allow us a more perfect match the next time around.”

In Balton’s case, the adopter’s environment brought out behavior that we hadn’t seen before. And it stuck with him, so now we are working through it with all our heart and resources that we can to help him not be defined by those behaviors, and also to learn how to give him better feelings and strategies towards them.

In Adam’s case, he was only recently out of the shelter when adopted, and still learning and growing as a puppy. There are many factors that come into play when socializing a puppy, and many critical points that can affect that puppy in his growth and development. Truthfully, it’s not really worth dwelling on what training or socialization was or was not done in his first adoptive home. He came back to us about 8 months after adoption, fearful of new situations and encounters. So, we need to make sure his new family is aware of, and prepared for, what that means in adopting Adam. Fortunately, he is incredibly cute, tenacious, and smart,  all of which definitely work to his advantage.

He has been in the care of his most recent foster since late October, and although his fear of new situations and people makes adoption events a little too stressful for him, Adam is described as a total love bug and little shadow at home by his foster. He also loves to snuggle with his doggie foster sibling, Jelli. Adam will need an experienced and patient adopter, and would prefer to go to a home without young children, but is incredibly affectionate with his people, and a skilled toy de-squeaker.  People who come visit are met with a bit of barking at first, but as long as they give Adam his space and allow him to greet on his terms, he is unbothered by guests.  As you can see, he is also a really beautiful guy with very unique markings on his sleek and speckled grey/brown/white coat.

For more information on adorable Adam, and to help him find his right fit forever home, check out his bio at http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/21924826 and email info@luckydoganimalrescue.org


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Balton Discovers His Inner Pele

It’s no real secret that Balton loves to run and play with his doggy friends at the dog park. But toss an odd stray tennis ball and Balton may give you one or two rounds of fetch, if you’re lucky (though, it’s still a marked improvement over Ollie’s idea of fetch – which typically involves running after a tossed ball, checking to make sure it landed, and triumphantly returning with the good news that the ball is dead and not going anywhere on his watch).

Enter the dog park soccer ball. Some kind soul had left it behind, and we stumbled on it during our most recent dog park excursion. Nick and I gave a few swift kicks of the ball back and forth to see how the boys would respond to it, and Balton swiftly decided he wanted in.

It took some time for Balton to figure out that soccer typically involves a bit of back and forth play, as is evidenced through our dog park video journal, which illustrates our dear boy doing little more than parading around with the ball in his mouth like a trophy he had earned.

After some effort in encouraging Balton to drop the ball (and also learning to make a point not to teach him that, no, we will not tug the soccer ball out of his mouth if he wants to keep playing), he caught on pretty quick and chased that ball over and over and over again across the dog park, until he was so tired that he couldn’t do it anymore. We also practiced a little impulse control with sits and waits. In channeling his inner Pele and discovering how much more fun fetch is with a soccer ball, it was really enjoyable to see Balton (and Nick, too) enthusiastically engaging in this game of surprise dog park fun.  He still doesn’t really get that soccer is a “hands free” game, but we’ll work on coaching his dribbling next time.

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If Balton was aiming to earn himself a new toy out of this experience, he succeeded. Thanks to Big Lots having them for $10 – Balton now has a soccer ball to call his own, which we will be happy to pass along with him to his forever family. 🙂

For more information on adopting your own canine version of David Beckham, email lynnh@luckydoganimalrescue.org or visit http://www.luckydoganimalrescue.org/adopt/adoptable-dogs


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Fearful Dog Fails

We get quite a good bit of insight from Debbie Jacobs’ Fearful Dog Blog. Debbie’s recent post on Fearful Dog Fails helped me reassess some of our own Fearful Dog Foster Fails.

There is something to be gained from milestone moments, and moments when you feel like you have miles and miles to go. So here’s to making the most of each moment, and continuing to learn together, leash in hand.

– Lynn

Fearfuldogs' Blog

One of the reasons I go on like a broken record about the importance of using reward based training methods that have been designed based on the evidence available garnered through the study of animal behavior and research is because working with fearful dogs can be so darn challenging. So challenging that if you don’t start seeing improvements soon you might become frustrated and disillusioned and the dog’s behavior can continue to degrade.

It’s the same reason I repeatedly remind people about behavioral medications that can help the process of changing how a dog feels about things that scare them. The risks of putting a dog on an approved behavioral medication for a few months, following the protocol recommended by a veterinarian, may be fewer than the risks we take by continuing to expose a dog to triggers without them. We can add more fears to a dog’s list of…

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There’s Something About Mary…

Today’s edition of Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups interrupts its own regular programming to bring your attention to one of Lucky Dog’s other pups, who I had the extreme pleasure of spending some time with yesterday afternoon. Mary is a 2 year old American Bulldog/Boxer mix (or at least that’s what we think) who is pretty much the cutest little short n’ stocky sweetie pie ever to grace this earth. If it isn’t already blatantly obvious, I fell in love with her in just a few hours, and seriously contemplated stealing her and moving her in with me…even selfishly doing a secret foster swap and sending Balton to Wagtime Too, where Mary is staying, and hoping no one would really know the difference. But, since they look and act nothing like each other, I quickly determined this plan would fail, so decided instead to make the most of our Sunday afternoon together before bringing her back to boarding. And then decided to tell you all about our time together and how absolutely wonderful she is.

Mary and I went out to represent Lucky Dog Animal Rescue yesterday while talking to an incredible group of kids (and their parents!) at Kidserve in Gaithersburg, MD. We were invited to speak to Kidserve about what Animal Rescue does and how people can show their support by fostering or volunteering. Mary was a great little Lucky Dog ambassador for this activity because she loves children, and she was happy to accompany me because she got to leave yesterday’s adoption event an hour early. She was getting a little toasty on the sidewalk trying to compete with 60 other Lucky Dogs for attention, including our new arrivals from shelter partner the Florence Area Humane Society.

ImageStaying cool in 70 degree weather and this pretty dark chocolate coat is not easy!

So, off Mary and I went to the Kentlands Clubhouse, where she and I beat the heat and got to hang into the Air Conditioning for a little while and give our presentation. Image

Mary told the kids how she gave birth to her litter of 10 puppies in a South Carolina shelter, and all her puppies had since been adopted. We talked about how Lucky Dog has boarding partners like Wagtime, the doggy daycare place where she was staying. We also talked about how people can foster full time or overnight/short-term, so it’s a volunteer commitment that can work with just about any schedule (our friend, and fellow Lucky Dog Blogger, Katie, explains the difference quite nicely in her blog Of Barks and Bones). Finally, we talked about how Mary herself would love to move from her boarding situation to a foster home while she looks for her ultimate landing pad of a forever home.

Mary was a big hit among the kids, and dutifully met her all her speaking engagement obligations by giving each of them tail waggles when they came to say hi to her, soaking up rays on the terrace, and graciously allowing each of them the opportunity to give her belly rubs.

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On our way home, we stopped for a short walk so she could get some “me time” (and I could get some “Mary and me time”). While out, we stopped to take in the afternoon sunshine and cooling breeze, sniff some flowers, sit in some grass, and so Mary could go potty. Then, I taught her how to drive a car. Or, at least sit in the drivers seat and pose adorably.

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Mary is super low key and remarkably well behaved in busy settings, and on leash. While out on our walk, she came nose to nose with a giant Newfoundland and was exceptionally polite. And, after our short walk, she was definitely ready to curl up and snooze in the car for the rest of the ride back to DC. If you’re looking for a dog who doesn’t need tons and tons of exercise, she is your girl. Mary is, well, an absolutely delightful little lamb, if you will. I would love nothing more than to see this puppy crossed with potbelly pig (I mean that with all the love in my heart!) go to a home that will allow her to be the super snuggle buddy and happy love bug that she is. And so I can stop pining over her and wishing I could adopt her myself.

For more information on adopting or fostering Mare Bear, check out her bio at http://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/25238779 or email my friend (and Mary’s Adoption Coordinator) Holly at hollyc@luckydoganimalrescue.org

Case of the Mondays

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Following a busy holiday weekend with our friends and fellow fosters Duane and Rudy, Balton was no more ready to start the work week than we were after our weekend trip to New Jersey. So to all of you still not quite woken up by the cup of coffee you had hours ago, feeling the need to pull a George Costanza and sleep under your desk, Beebop feels for you.

Adopt Balton by emailing lynnh@luckydoganimalrescue.org

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