Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Year of the Dog

For most of 2007, we were a three dog household. That's borderline Crazy Dog People territory, especially considering how small our house is. It all boils down to us being huge suckers. Last year around this time, someone from Last Hope (the rescue group that found Maggie and saved her) sent out an email about a beagle that was on death row. I said that we would take her if no one else did. They ignored the last part and immediately started the paperwork to get her out of the shelter.

Bailee came to our house right after Christmas. She's the second cutest beagle I've ever seen and definitely the sweetest. Her owner (whom I usually refer to as a word that rhymes with "bunt" [but not in this blog because if the f-bomb is banned, the c-bomb probably is, too] and is reserved for a select group of heinous bitches, including Ann Coulter [who is actually a dude] and Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey's Anatomy [but not Katherine Heigl. She seems like a perfectly delightful actress and person]) bred her for several years and brought her to Animal Control when she was getting too old to have puppies, even after Animal Control warned her that Bailee would probably get put to sleep because of her age and the time of year. Josh and I fell in love with her immediately. She got comfortable right away and really loved all of us, even Maggie, who at least tolerated her.

We had Bailee for about three months. My favorite thing about her was the way she burrows under covers. One morning I was freaking out because I couldn't find her. After I called her, I saw a crumpled up blanket on the couch stand up and she eventually squirmed her way out. A lot of times, a nose or a paw sticking out from under a comforter would be the only evidence that we had another beagle in the house.

I really wanted to keep her because she was such a great girl. The only downside was that she ate her own poop. I never witnessed it, but Josh swears she tried a few times. A really sweet family from Central City saw her on Petfinder and contacted us. We had second thoughts at first because the younger kids were pretty spastic when we met them and Bailee seemed scared. It was also really tough because another woman had also contacted us very soon after. She had a four-year-old that printed out Bailee's picture and kept it by her bed. I still feel bad about that, but I think we found the best possible home for her.

Less than a week after Bailee was adopted out, we got hit up again. This was Colby, a blue heeler that had been returned to the group after he nipped a kid that snuck up on him and grabbed him around the neck.
Colby was ridiculously hyper but really smart. He and Brownie played for hours the first week. He loved playing Frisbee and could jump higher than any dog I've ever seen before. The problem was, the little f'er never got tired. Brownie would get sick of playing after a while. They'd both be sopping wet with the other's drool by the end. It was f'ing nasty.

Maggie hated Colby, of course. She would go after him and snap at him when he was playing too much or if he got too close to her. Colby mostly tolerated it, until Easter when he decided that it would be a good idea to try to kill her. I wasn't home at the time (I was seeing The Reaping, a horrible movie about the Antichrist or something. I mostly blocked it out. We just thought it would be a funny thing to see on Easter) but Josh said it was pretty bad. He had to actually pull Colby off Maggie's neck.

We kept them separated after that, but one day they got on each other again. I tried to pull them off each other and got a fang to the finger for my troubles. I probably needed stitches, because there was a huge chunk of skin hanging from my pinky. It didn't really heal right so you can still see it. It's wicked cool. Since then, I've learned that the best way to break up a dog fight is with kicking and magazine beatings, but I'll get to that in a few paragraphs.

A family that already had 4 other dogs talked us into letting them adopt Colby. We were just relieved to get him out of our house. We could tell right away that the wife totally did not want another dog and that Colby was going to double the chaos level in their house. Sure enough, about a month later, they called and said that Colby was too much for them. Fortunately, we already had another dog so Last Hope couldn't try to get us to take him back.

After seeing our beagle get her ass kicked, we changed our fostering policy. We said we only wanted dogs that were smaller and mellow. Just a few days after we dropped Colby off, the Last Hope director called and told us about a dog who was about to be homeless because one owner had died and the other was on her way to an assisted living home. Chico came to us on a Sunday, totally bummed out. He hung out on my lap all day and followed me around the house.

Chico totally came out of his shell after a few days. He is the coolest dog I have ever met. He was less than 15 pounds but could have totally taken on a Rottweiler if we had let him. He and Brownie were totally buddies. They used to play and wrestle all the time. My favorite thing about Chico was the way he walks on his front legs when he's peeing. He starts by lifting one leg, but then the other comes up and he walks around on two legs like one of those damn circus poodles.

No one that met Chico had lukewarm feelings about him. You either had to love him or hate him. He bit my mom the first time he met her because she grabbed his face and got too close. He growled every time he saw our friend Derek, who had tried (and failed) to pull some Dog Whisperer crap on him. He snapped at our friend Josh a few times for trying to pick him up when he wasn't in the mood. Plus, he hated Ruby, Josh's Boston Terrier. Once, just to prove to Chico that Ruby wasn't so bad, I made a big show of petting her and calling her a good dog. Chico pissed on the coffee table while looking me straight in the eye.

No picture does him justice. He has the build and the mentality of a state champion wrestler. I think he was a chihuahua/terrier/min-pin mix. I really wanted to keep him. We were really attached to each other. I would take him out to Last Hope events and he wouldn't leave my side. If I even went to the bathroom, he would just stare until I came back. After about three months, we found a really good home. He's such a ladies' man, I knew he would totally bond with the lady as soon as I saw them together. Plus, she was home all day so he would never have to be alone. They have like four sons so he gets all the attention he needs.

I still bawled for like an hour after I set up the time to drop him off there. I was a fricking mess. I got myself all cleaned up and un-sobby to go to a JDRF meeting, but as soon as someone said, "Oh, your eyes are all red! Is it allergies?" I lost it again. Then when we dropped him off, the kids had made all these signs and pictures of Chico and hung them on the door, so of course I was a blubbering ass once again.

I thought it was really sweet when someone from Last Hope called to see if I was okay because she knew how much I loved Chico, but it turned out that she really just wanted to see if we were ready for another dog. She said that Jefferson's foster mom was going back to school full time and didn't have time for him, so they needed another home immediately. I contacted the foster mom (we'll just call her Lying Whore for the sake of her anonymity), who said he was housetrained, mellow, and great with other dogs. She said that she was about to be working full time while taking night classes and just didn't have time for him.

I don't even have a picture of this little asshole. We only had him for a week before we gave up. He ruined two pairs of my shoes, he terrorized Maggie, he humped Brownie (and Josh, and chairs, and the coffee table, and the air) nonstop, and he pissed all over the house. He would pee in the house within just a few minutes of being outside. Once, in a single pee, he managed to pee in every room of the house besides the bathroom. He started peeing in the music room, wandered into the bedroom, down the steps, through the living room, and into the kitchen, peeing the whole time.

This was all happening as we were getting ready to put our house on the market, so we didn't really have the patience or time for Jefferson. Had Lying Whore told us that he was going to try to mount poor Brownie every five minutes, I would've said no immediately without even having to find out about the peeing and the chewing. Brownie was once the nicest dog in the world, but now he's a grouchy old bastard that won't even let dogs anywhere near his tail.

Lying Whore had been really attached to Jefferson. She emailed me every day to see how he was doing and to tell me about how she had seen his picture and "the tears just started flowing." I'm not even kidding. When I told her about him chewing my shoes, she was like, "Oh, did we not tell you about that?" I got the same reaction when I told her about the humping. After the week, I emailed her and told her that she needed to take him back. Her response was, "That's okay, I forgot that I'm only taking one class and not going back full time." As if that's something that a person "forgets." Stupid lying whore.

Anyway, there's a happy ending. Lying Whore needed that week without "Jeffy" (like the f'ing kid from Family Circus) to realize she couldn't live without him, so she adopted him. Good riddance to both of them.

Anson was found by one of the Last Hope directors trotting down the highway, covered in dirt, fleas, and ticks. He is a Schipperke, which I hadn't heard of before he came along. He looks like part fox, part Tasmanian devil, part Wolverine, and part uppity British royalty. When my sister Ann met him, she immediately renamed him Charles. Our friend Josh renamed him "Christmas Tree." We don't have very good pictures of him, but he is really kind of puffy and has these little skinny legs. Then everything goes to a point at those ears.
We had Anson for about three months. I was absolutely crazy about him. He was really quiet and sweet, but he'd get bursts of energy and play once in a while. He would prance around and pounce on things while making this weird hoarse growly sound. He wasn't exactly housetrained, though. He shit (can I say shit in this blog? I guess I'll find out after Josh reads this) on the couch once. We figured out that he needed to go outside right after he ate, so that helped with the poo, but he still peed all over the place.

When we had to leave Anson with a dogsitter over our anniversary, he had a seizure. They think it was just some sort of freak thing, but I still felt terrible about it. In the picture, you can see where they had to shave his poor little leg to put the IV in. After that, I really wanted to keep him. I felt more strongly about it than I did with Bailee and Chico. I loved him so much to begin with, and I wanted to always know that he was okay.

The people that adopted Anson have two other Schipperkes. They are really nice people (kinda seemed like hippies) that had rescued the other two and liked the fact that the breed is fairly needy and wants constant attention. Darcy, one of their dogs, is only like half of Anson's size. It was super cute to see three Schipperkes running around the backyard. The people said that Anson is doing really well and that Darcy is totally in love with them. He has peed in the house a few times, and each time was when he was mad at them. We thought a few times that Anson was peeing out of spite, but we never could prove it. Once, we kicked all the dogs out of the bedroom so we could... um... you know.... and when we came out sixty seconds later (just kidding, Josh!) he had peed on my flip-flops. The lady says Anson pees while glaring at them. Then their other male dog will go up to the pee spots, sniff them, and growl.

We were going to take a longer break after Anson, but there was a dog that really needed to get out of his home. The people were trashy and probably at least a little abusive. They bought a naughty little puppy on a whim, didn't train it, and were shocked when it grew into a naughty big dog. They kept him tied outside on a three foot chain or locked in a kennel most of the day. When they finally let him inside or off his chain, he would run around and be all wound up. They didn't even try to train him or exercise him. F'ers.
We noticed a difference in Rocky within just a few days of having him. He is a smart boy and learned things quickly. If we took him for walks or let him play outside, he would be totally calm when we let him inside.

Rocky's asshole owners swear that he's a beagle and that they had seen his parents, but I've never seen a beagle that size. He is at least 45 pounds and looks more like a fox hound. It was tough to take a good picture of Rocky. I took about twenty pictures of him in one day. None of them worked out. I got this one right after he was napping on Josh. All the others only have little pieces of the squirmy dog. I have a few good ones of his tail.

With the weather being so f'ing freezing in December, none of the dogs wanted to go outside. Rocky tried to play with Brownie ALL the time. Brownie would put up with it for a while, but then get crabby and put a stop to it. Most of the time he would growl and snap at Rocky, who would back off. After a couple weeks, Rocky started fighting back. It would usually end quickly, but a few times it got pretty ugly. Once it happened when I was right next to them. They would make horrible noises. It sounded like they were going to kill each other. I didn't know what to do, but I knew I didn't want another finger bitten off. I grabbed magazines and started flailing and yelling while trying to get my legs between them. The whole time, Josh was in the bathroom, ineffectively yelling for them to knock it off. They probably would've stopped anyway, but I like to think that I saved both of their lives with my quick thinking.
Rocky got into a home right before Christmas. We weren't sure about the people at first, because they had two little kids and we were worried that Rocky would jump on them or knock them down. The woman kept at us and seemed to be totally in love with Rocky, so we gave in. She says he's doing really well and that the kids love him, so we're really relieved.

We're taking a break from fostering dogs for right now, but we're such suckers so we'll probably end up with another one soon. We just don't want our house smelling like pee while we're trying to sell it. Plus, Maggie seems really happy to be back to normal, but I think she'd be even happier if Brownie and I just went away, leaving her with Josh.


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