Friday, October 16, 2009

Still working on pictures and a goodbye...

Well, we still haven't quite got the camera set up to this computer yet, so I don't have the final pictures.

Yes, the FINAL pictures. We ended up having to bring the puppies and Maida back a little early because I threw out my back and knew I wouldn't be able to continue caring for them their last two weeks.

It was hard, but they were getting very close to adoption time and I'm sure that they ended up in another great foster home for their last two weeks!

In fact, they are already up on the Humane Society website!! To check them out, click here.

We appreciate all of you who followed us in our fostering experience. We appreciated being able to help out this family of dogs, and we might even consider fostering again in the future. :) Our animals have settled back into their routines, though it did take them a few days to figure out that the foster dogs were no longer here. I think our own dog, Finley, appreciated being the only one again though. So perhaps next time we'll try fostering kittens and a mama cat.

We'd love to have you share your foster experiences with us! If you send them to us we can post them here on the blog. Just drop us a line at this link.

Thanks! And good luck Maida, Senga and Sorley!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Everyone's ready for Pre-Adoption!

The puppies went in for their vaccinations, and are now available for Pre-Adoption! That's right, Senga and Sorley can now start being considered for their forever homes! Maida is also able to be considered, and is doing better every week!

To find out more information about adopting one of the puppies or Maida, please contact Kara, the foster care coordinator at the Nebraska Humane Society. You can email her at or call her at 402-444-7800 ext. 264.

Sorley and Senga turned 5 weeks old on Friday. They are almost completely weaned and enjoy eating Maida's "grown up" food. They enjoy playing with each other and with humans, though Senga is still the more outgoing of the two for the most part. They got their first experience outside this week and had a lot of fun once they got over their fright of having collars on and a leash attached (not for walking, just for making sure they didn't leave a safe area). Sorley will probably outgrow his leash sometime later this week, he is growing so fast! Senga still has some time to fill hers out before switching to a larger collar.

We only have them for two more weeks before they all head back to the Humane Society! If you are thinking of adopting one of them, contact Kara and then we can try to work out a time for you to meet them.

Also, we are still looking for some guest bloggers to take over during the holidays! Just leave us a comment here or send us a message at our online store,

Thanks! I'll add pictures later, as we are in the process of moving our camera software over to a different computer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

4 weeks old! Only 3 weeks to go!

The puppies turned 4 weeks old last Friday! They have really become adventurous and playful, although they still stop suddenly for the much needed nap in between games. :)

Sorley is still the bigger of the two, and his fur has become quite thick and a little wavy! We have no doubt he'll have similar fur to his mom Maida, if not a little thicker. As most people have commented when they meet him, he really looks like a fat little panda bear right now - super cute!

Senga has become the outgoing one, and she loves to play with humans! She even gives kisses already, and has started demanding belly rubs just like a big dog. She is still about half the size of Sorley but still at the right size for her age. Her red and white fur is still shorter except for around her mane, which is starting to get a bit longer.

Maida is progressing well - we now get at least one or two tail wags from her each day!! She started going to the bathroom on her walk last week (that's a big first step!) and enjoys going out into the yard now. After one adventurous leap over the fence, though, she has decided not to stray too far from the side door (I think she could tell how panicked I was that she had gotten out of our yard and was playing around in the field behind our yard). She still isn't too keen on men, and has a habit of assuming that every hand that comes toward her has food in it and when it doesn't she isn't terribly interested in being petted. She is a quiet dog for the most part, and has only barked once when we forgot to feed her (so she had every right!). We worry the most about her, because even though puppies can learn quickly, a dog like her that came from such a primitive situation has a hard time learning to be a good housepet.

Overall, it has been quite the experience for us! My husband has made me promise that we won't foster another dog again, though I really think it is more the messy puppies that has turned him off. Boy do they stink up a room fast!! They are still too little for housetraining or we'd give it a try. Then again, he has developed quite the attachment to little Senga because of how attached she is to him... so that could be part of it, too... I think he is going to hate seeing her go!

I think this has taught us quite a few things, and we are now a little over halfway through our first foster experience!

If you currently foster dogs, and would like to do a guest post here, please let us know! We will probably not have another foster experience until after the holidays (we want to be able to reclaim the guest room for people), so I'd like to have submissions from other foster families to help keep this blog going! I think that the more education there is out there about what fostering a dog is like, the more people may consider trying it themselves. Just leave a comment here, or you can email us through our online store: , go to the "Contact Us" page and fill out the form. Thanks!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another "pupdate"

First, these are a few photos from when the pups were about 16 or 17 days old.

The puppies turned 3 weeks old on Friday! Boy have they grown! Sorley is now the more quiet and shy one, though he is usually more amiable to being held by humans. Senga is now the louder, more adventurous one! She loves to yip and run around the room, and is very interested in exploring outside of her room... well, at least out into the hallway so far. She doesn't like to be held as much and usually starts wailing for her mom. Thankfully Maida seems to understand that we aren't hurting her, just holding her.

Sorley has grown more into his body, but is still about twice the size of Senga. It could be because he's a bit more lazy, though! And he is looking cuter every day. Senga has developed a fun playfulness and loves to run and wag her tail. The two pups love to play with each other, especially playing "pounce" and biting each other's tails!! They are currently exploring with their teeth more than anything else, as puppies are prone to do.

Both are also eagerly "trying" their mama's food!! They can't chew it yet, but they like to lick it and pick it up in their mouths and then drop it on the floor outside the bowl.

Maida is also making great progress - smiling more, enjoying being petted, and even wagging her tail! She is still very jumpy and doesn't like fast movements or loud noises. She has quite a bit of curiosity towards the cats but hasn't shown any aggression towards them which is good. She has decided that if Finley, our resident dog, does something then she can too. So he has helped her learn more about going out into the yard to play and go potty, and how to get in and out of the car (we're still working on that one). She shows a bit of a herding instinct, though, so we do make sure to keep an eye on her as she tends to try to "herd" Finley (and he, being quite the submissive one, goes right along with it). She had her first shots on Friday, and did very well considering the long drive to the Humane Society (they are across town from us, about a 30-40 minute drive or so).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Big step forward...

No pictures in this update, but wanted to brag a little more on our latest accomplishment. Maida is such a sweet dog but you can tell she came from a rough spot. She is making small steps forward - responding to her name, eating her food - but now she has also made a big step of going potty outside two days in a row!! She was just holding it in so much the first week, and even most of last week, but now we seem to be getting her relaxed enough that she is doing what she needs to do!!

We are sure she will make an excellent pet by the time she leaves us to go back to the Humane Society. :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Even for puppies, S*&t happens

lol, ok I didn't want to put the actually word into the title, but you'll definitely catch my drift once you see the picture. This picture was taken when the puppies were 11 days old. Little Senga decided she was going to crawl over her brother's head to get to her mama, and apparently on the way over decided she'd leave him a little "gift". Chris and I were both in the room that time cleaning, so we saw it right away and just burst out laughing! The funniest part was poor little Sorley didn't even realize he had a head full of poo until his mama started cleaning him, and then he awoke and began screaming his little puppy scream louder than we had ever heard! Poor thing! ;) Senga didn't seem to care one bit, she was already having her dinner during the bathing process.

As gross as it is to see Maida licking poo off her pups (and anywhere else they leave it at this point), I think we were both a little relieved that we wouldn't have to figure out a way to clean him up.

On another note, our dog Finley was seeming to do fine with the fosters, until right before this. We had FINALLY gotten Maida to go potty outside (she'd been holding in the #2's and peed twice in the house already), and Fin decided he needed to roll around in it. A day after we had given him his bath, of course. So we gave him his bath and headed to bed that evening, and around 2am Fin woke me up begging to go outside. Now, for most dogs that's probably normal, but Fin NEVER begs to go out at night. I let him out and let Chris know what was going on. After a bit we called him to come back in, which he did. But then 3:30am hit and the next thing we hear is Fin vomiting everywhere in the bedroom! :( And the SMELL... this was no ordinary vomit, this was full on "Poomit".... apparently, he had not only rolled in Maida's poo but also eaten it for some reason! Super nasty!! He vomited several more times over the next 24 hours before he got it all out of his system, and we made sure to get outside and clean the little bit that was left of her poo.

Now we are trying to get her to go again, but once again she is holding it in (it would have been soooo much more helpful if Fin hadn't gotten into her poo, because then she'd be more likely to go in that same spot knowing it was hers). We are also taking her to a different portion of the yard where Fin doesn't have priveleges, in case we can get her to go again, so she gets used to going outside in her "spot" without him being able to get into it.

Who knew fostering would be this crazy!?!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More Pictures, at 9 days old

Here are pictures from day 3 of fostering, when the puppies hit 9 days old! :) Already Maida was showing improvement and relaxing more. She began eating a little more, and my brother even got her to go to the bathroom outside in our yard which was a huge first for her! The pups were getting more adventurous and started showing signs of leaving the baby pool, too.

Just a reminder: The little brown pup is the female, Senga, and the little black pup is the male, Sorley.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Foster Dogs: Maida, Sorley and Senga

We picked up our first foster mama dog and her two pups on Thursday Sept 3, right before the holiday weekend. The NE Humane Society had been calling the mama dog "Neemo" but it didn't seem to fit, so they said we could change her name if we liked while we were naming the puppies.

Before we could name them, though, we had to determine their sex. As funny as it sounds, we just weren't sure since we had never had 1 week old puppies before! Once we determined which was the boy and which was the girl, we observed them for a day before naming them to get an idea of what their personalities were like. The male pup was constantly moving around and exploring, yipping a lot, and quite chunky. The female pup was slender and a little more quiet. And mama dog was super super shy and unsure.

Since the local Border Collie rescue chooses Scottish names for their dogs (because Border Collies are a Scottish breed), we started searching for some good Scottish names. We didn't quite find one we liked for mama dog, so I chose a Greek name for her instead. Her name is Maida, which means "Shy girl". Very fitting! She has a beautiful long coat, black with hints of red, and a nice blaze on her forehead. She has three "socks" and then one paw that is primarily white. That is her "posing paw" for when she is interested in something. She has a broader snout/forehead than most of the Border Collies we've seen, and she's also shorter, so we think she is a Border Collie mix.

The male puppy we decided to name Sorley, which means "summer wanderer" in Scottish, since he was the more adventurous of the two. He also is quite a bit larger than his sister! He tends to feed a little too much, but we're sure once he starts to walk he'll slim down. He has a mostly black body, with two little white spots on each side of his rear. He has a white collar, and a partially white face. The other portion of his face is black, and he also has a "patch" over his right eye that makes him look like he is wearing a mask.

Last but not least, the female puppy we named Senga. Her name means "Slender" in Scottish, and is also Agnes backwards. She has a beautiful red coat, with a nice white collar. Her paws are mostly white, and her face is mostly red with what appears to be the start of a white blaze like her mother. She has become much more vocal and adventurous since her first night here, but is still the much thinner of the two.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

An Introduction

Before we get into the foster dogs, we thought it was only appropriate that you meet our resident pets first. It has been a long and interesting journey together, and each time we've added a pet they've become an important part of our lives.

First is our cat Kayla. She is the cat in the profile picture, and the cat shown below. At 11 years old, she is our oldest pet but still sometimes acts like a kitten. I rescued her my third year of college, after struggling to cope with the simultaneous deaths of my remaining pets from my childhood home (first one cat, then the rabbit, then the other cat and the dog, all within two months). She was a FAT girl at the time, and 6 years old. I was drawn to her almost immediately, and the shelter staff was very willing to let me spend time with her. When one staff member mentioned that if Kayla didn't get adopted soon, she'd be put down, I knew I had to adopt her. Now she is literally half the weight, and twice as happy!
Next came Rocco. It wasn't my intention to have more than one cat while finishing college. But then one day I was eating my lunch and catching the local news when they ran a story on a recent raid in which they had found 148 cats in a resident's 11 by 14 basement!! Not only that, but the "owners" (if you can call them that) had originally only started with FOUR! Many had to be put down, and the rest were being offered up for FREE by the local humane society, along with a free cat carrier and some food, if you signed a waiver stating you understood that they were not very healthy and that you would absorb all medical costs. Any cats not adopted by the end of the weekend would be put down since there were just too many of them. Of course, I couldn't let that happen, so I went out to get one. Rocco was the first I saw, even though the cages in the room were full. I asked to take him out, and though he was just a tiny, poop-covered pile of skin and bones, he had these big blue eyes and he just looked at me, butted his head against my hand, and let me know I was his person.
I filled out the paperwork, took him over to Petco (where they proceeded to give him a free bath due to his pathetic state, and then threw in some free food for good measure when they saw just how bony he was), and then took him home. Kayla didn't much care for him at first, probably because he reeked of many many other cats. And he really didn't look like much of a cat at first. But after I took him to his first vet appointment a few days later, then had to leave him there for a week while he underwent several procedures, she decided maybe he wasn't so bad. He arrived home, he got out of the carrier, Kayla went right up, gave him a lick on the head, and they never had a problem again!
He never developed properly - when I got him, he was an estimated two years old but only two pounds. He was able to gain weight and become more healthy, but he kinda grew longer as opposed to taller. To this day, at 7 years old, he is only the height of a 4-5 month old kitten, but about as long as a "normal" cat. This is why, when both of our "girls" play with him, they are much more gentle with him than they are with each other!
He also still has many little "quirks". He has to go a certain way to his food, a certain way to his litter box, pretty much everywhere! He rotates three times before laying down. He must be pet before he will eat. The list goes on. But at least now he isn't quite as frightened of everything as when I first got him. It took him two months to get used to the tv (he'd hide in the corner or another room if it was on), about a year to even go near windows (and if you took him out in the sun, he'd get very upset, as that basement he grew up in was so dark that he just didn't know what to do), and funny enough, but a good two years to accept my husband into his life. ;)

Gypsy was our last cat addition. She is the only one we adopted as a kitten. Chris had just finished his Army career, and we had decided to move to Wichita, KS which we felt was along the way "home" to Omaha but still far enough away to be a little different. We were having a VERY difficult time there - we had settled for a very inexpensive, but also very dilapadated, apartment that was surrounded by literally PILES of unhealthy pigeon poop (we were on the upper level of a transformed home, so outside every window was tons and tons of poop!), and neither of us was able to get a job for over a month (actually, it took me two). We were barely making ends meet, but then we both were finally able to get jobs and get back on our feet! Around that time, Rocco began coming so much out of his shell that he had developed a "stairs game". It was his first time being somewhere with indoor stairs, and he decided he very much liked to hop up and down them. He was constantly howling for Kayla to join him, but she really wasn't interested at all. So, we decided to celebrate both of us getting jobs, and because Chris hadn't had a chance to pick one of our pets yet, that we would go get a third cat.
Our intention was to get an adult cat, and we literally spent time with every adult cat they had. We really liked one, who happened to be Gypy's mom, but she just wasn't people friendly and hissed every time another animal walked by. In the course of walking around to go from cage to cage meeting with the adult cats, we kept passing by a cage with two small kittens in it. One of them, (the one we later adopted and named Gypsy) kept reaching out her paws and meowing piteously at us each time we passed. And each time, we slowed a little more to look at her, until finally Chris said "I really want to meet with that one." I was very much against it- I knew a kitten would have a better chance of getting a home, plus they were a ton of work - but I couldn't resist his "puppy eyes" anymore and finally caved.
She immediately claimed Chris, climbing onto his lap between bouts of playing with the toys in the room. I still wasn't convinced, and asked if we could meet with at least one more cat. But as we went to put her back in the cage, she began making this terrible sad crying noise, and I knew I'd never win this one. So we took her home, where she promptly laid on top of Kayla and fell asleep. And surprisingly, Kayla didn't do a thing! Rocco came up and gave her a little kiss, so we knew she would be ok. Of course, it was a nightmare how many things she shredded in her youth, and she was very expensive between spaying and declawing, but overall a fun addition to our home. Rocco had a playmate (who, after only living with us for a month, already became taller than Rocco), and Kayla didn't mind having another cat around to jump onto the kitchen counters with. ;)

Finally, there's Finley, our Border Collie. At various points throughout our marriage, we had discussed getting a dog. And each time one or the other of us was against it while the other was for it. We traded sides every time, and never had the right timing. Finally, I told him once we got a house, we could get a dog. That seemed fair, but then sooner than we thought we had our own house! Then the back and forth began happening again, with each of us flip-flopping back and forth on the issue. Meanwhile, my health had been getting steadily worse, and I found myself at a point where it seemed that working outside of the home may not be a great option anymore. I was able to get a job from home, albeit a very crummy inbound telemarketing job.
And the more time I spent there, alone, the more I thought about how nice it would be to have a canine companion. The cats couldn't be in the office while I worked, as they all were very "talkative". Plus, it couldn't be just any dog, for it wouldn't do to get fired because my dog started barking.
I had previously owned a husky as a child, but as much as I loved her, I knew a husky wouldn't work. I was always enamored by Australian Shepherds, and while checking every shelter website to see if anyone had one (I always maintain that a shelter pet is much better than a pet store pet), I found a similar looking dog at the humane society called a Border Collie. My mother in law mentioned that Border Collies were a similar breed and she had found a site that was a local Border Collie rescue. I checked it out, and his was the first profile I was drawn to! There was something about his eyes that drew me in, and I knew I had to meet them. Then I also picked out a few as "backups", just in case he was already spoken for. I called and set up an appointment to meet him, and despite his shyness and standoffishness, we could tell that he was something special, and different than other dogs. We then went through the rather nerveracking experience of adopting from the rescue (it is truly a wonderful system that involves background checks, background history, foster visits and home visits before you are completely accepted - but hard for two impatient people like my husband and I) before he came home with us! It was only a week, but it felt like so much longer!
Kayla was his best friend from the beginning, a far cry from being an only cat to start with! Gypsy took about two weeks to stop puffing up and hissing before she decided he was ok, and that his tail was fun to play with. Rocco is still taking his special Rocco time to warm up to him. He has discovered, however, that even with his tiny pint sized self, if he walks up to Fin and hisses at him, he meets absolutely no resistance and Fin even backs down! So we're sure that soon enough, they'll be friends.
Finley had his own hurdles to get through, like not wanting to go potty in our yard at first (it took three weeks - otherwise, he just pooped on his morning and evening walks!), and not wanting to eat unless it was junk food or had gravy all over it. He would only stay out in the completely fenced yard if we tied him out at first, though now he is a yard pro! He loves to run and play by jumping over sticks in the yard or weaving through our bushes (we're still trying to get him to stop that, as he gets covered in cockleburrs!). He is also sweet to any other dog or cat he meets, though he has decided squirrels have no right in our yard. He graduated from basic obedience training, though he is still stubborn about being consistent at this point.
And those are our pets! They are all truly individual and fun to have around. Next up, I'll introduce you to our fosters!

Hello and Welcome!

Originally, my husband and I were strictly pet people. We refused to consider the option that we should foster animals because we figured we'd get too attached (and therefore not want to give the foster animal(s) back) or that we'd be terrible at it since we are already pretty busy.

We came up with many excuses, but in the end we were told a great motto by a wonderful gal named Cordi, who was the foster mother to our dog Finley prior to adoption:

"If you adopt a dog, you save one life. If you foster dogs, you save many."

It was like a lightbulb went off. Truly. And the more we thought about it, and talked about it with other foster families, the more we thought "yeah, maybe we COULD do that!"

Of course, we didn't actively pursue it, because even thinking that we could didn't mean we actually did. ;) Until the day we received an email from a wonderful gal named Karen, who runs the Nebraska Border Collie Rescue, stating that they had gotten another batch of rescue dogs from a particular facility in Oklahoma at the local Humane Society, and there too many that were pregnant so they needed foster families!!

Now, we weren't exactly planning on starting out with a mama dog AND puppies. In fact, at first my husband was adamantly against it. I couldn't blame him... I was a little hesitant myself. But then I figured it'd be ok just to say that we'd never done it before, but if they really needed it and could provide us with what we would need, we'd be willing to do it.

We didn't hear back at first, leading Chris to believe we were off the hook (and I think it also gave him some peace of mind). But a couple of weeks later, I got the call from the Nebraska Humane Society, asking if we could take in a mama dog and her two puppies.

Since it was only two puppies, it was a little easier to say yes. ;)

And now here we are, 3 days later. I finally was able to get the pictures uploaded onto my Facebook account, and with the many funny capers we've already run into, I thought "hey, I could probably blog about this!"

This is that blog! I hope that it inspires some of you out there to give fostering a try if you are able.

First up after this post - an intro to the dogs, as well as their pictures!