Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I am master procrastinator!

The lag between my posts is getting wayyyy too long.  I promise to try harder to update!  Especially since the fosters are arriving & leaving at record speed in 2012!

Since the last post, Pippa, the wonder pup, was adopted by a family that fell in love with her at the IKC dog show.  She is loving life with her german shepherd sister, Grace!

Things didn't work out for Lily & Grandma. But we soon found a new home for Lily, now renamed Ripley. She is living the yuppy-puppy life in Bucktown & working diligently on her doggy manners. Check out Ripley's rocking mohawk!

Back in March, a story  hit the news of 2 puppies that were confiscated in Humboldt Park.  The female puppy was dragged on leash for blocks when she refused to walk, leaving a trail of blood to the owner's apartment.  Once I heard this story, I immediately asked to make this pup our next foster.  The poor pup struggled in the shelter with her various wounds, in addition to having parvo.  We patiently waited & once she was in the clear, we brought her home.  Within a few days, the other half said we must return & rescue her brother, too.  That was a stellar call!  These pups were a complete joy to have.  Thanks to our X-men loving nephew, we came up with super-hero names for the dynamic duo.  Storm(y) for the girl & Havok for the boy.  Definitely more unique & fun than the names we usually come up with.  They were an instant hit at the dog park & we have gained so much support from our fellow dog lovers there in our mission.

Havok was adopted very quickly due to his easy going demeanor & beautiful markings.  He is living in a home with 2 human brothers & a 90lb. american bulldog brother named Dozer. 

We were lucky to attend 2 adoption events with sweet Storm, as she continued her search for her forever home. The wonderful woman who expressed the most interest in Storm ended up adopting her. Storm now lives with 2 human sister siblings whom she adores. It has been reported that Storm has just graduated from puppy training!  She is no longer the puppy being forcibly dragged... she is now a happy & willing jogging partner! 

  Storm continues to be a superstar that dazzles the cameras anytime she gets the chance.  See her most recent appearance here

More to follow tomorrow... we have 3 more pups to introduce!!

'There is no faith which has never been broken, except that of a faithful dog...'

Sunday, February 26, 2012

One Moment in Time

Yes, that is a tacky reference to one of the deceased Whitney Houston's greatest hits.  But there is something about the title that applies here, especially to my life.  You know how you can hear a song & it immediately reminds you of someone, or a 'moment in time'?  In the past 2 years, each foster dog we have had brings me memories of whatever may have been happening at the time we had him or her.  This time is no different.

'Hot Mess' Lily
A couple of months ago, my grandma mentioned she would like a dog!  That was a surprise, since she has only had a cat for as long as I can remember.  Her requirements were female & under 10lbs.  Knowing that we foster pit bull type dogs, none have been less that 50lbs., this was going to be interesting.  After about 2 months, I came across an ad on craigslist for the re-homing of a 6.5 lb, 2 year old, shih tzu mix.  All of the perfect qualities... housebroken, calm, gentle, spayed, etc.  I went to meet this little girl & discovered a HOT MESS.  She had never been groomed, so her mohawk hair was grown out, knotted in places & in her poor eyes.  When I took her into my car, I was gagging at the smell of cigarette smoke & cheap perfume.  Lily was a perfect guest in my car.  Once we got home was another story.

 For about 3 hours, she wouldn't come near me & if I tried to pet her, she snapped.  I tried to contact the owner to return her but didn't get a response.  I am so glad that I did not... by the next morning, I realized what a true gem Lily was.  I called the vet that allegedly did her shots & spay & found that I had been scammed via craigslist!!!  Am I surprised? Not really.  This poor dog had never been to the vet & wasn't spayed.  Luckily she landed in the right home & became our own personal rescue.  We immediately got her vetted & she went straight to the doggie spa for a makeover.  Did I mention she never had an issue with my other half? Never snapped at him upon their first meeting.  Figures. 

'After' Lily
Lily spent the next week with us to make sure her housebreaking was perfect & to observe her other behaviors & habits.  Sweet Lily is very loyal & well behaved.  We were concerned that 60lb. Pippa would tear her to shreds & boy, were we wrong.  They became fast friends.  And Ms. Lily was most definately the boss.  Lily has now been in grandma's home for the past 4 nights & they are inseperable.  Grandma says Lily is a pleasure & even feels her blood pressure has decreased a couple of points.  Another match made in heaven!  We can't wait to dog-sit Lily in a couple of weeks...we surprisingly enjoyed having a small dog here!

Lily's time here will always represent something bigger to us.  I was 7 weeks pregnant, unexpectedly.  We actually believed this was 'that' time, when we least expected it to happen, as things were going better than they ever had.  Hormone levels were through the roof, pregnancy symptoms were prominent & awful, & we had finally seen a heartbeat!  The day after we got Lily, we had an appointment & found that the heartbeat had stopped.  Devastation is an understatement.  It's been a very rough week & a half, but I thank Lily for the distraction & so she will always represent this time in our lives.

This year was the very first time Friends of Animal Care & Control were invited to participate in the International Kennel Club Dog Show at McCormick Place.  We volunteered for a 3 hour slot yesterday afternoon to showcase our Pippa!  We had an absolute blast.  All of the other vendors & demonstrations were great.  Being able to see dogs of every breed imaginable was amazing.  And best of all, Pippa was a ROCKSTAR!  With her adopt-me vest (thought it looks more like a bra!) & her pretty pink polka dotted daisy accessory (thanks Mom!), hoards of people were waiting to meet her, take pictures with her & hear her story.  Some people were even shocked to find out that she was a PIT BULL & even moreso, that she loves other dogs!  We definitely changed a few minds about the stereotype of the breed... even if it's just one person, we are effectively carrying out our personal mission.  Today Pip will be rewarded for her stellar behavior with a nice, long visit to her favorite dog park.

Pippa & her many fans!

The hubby got valuable info on turfing our backyard (not for football purposes... but for the dogs! ha ha) & I found a necklace I absolutely have to have.  If you're a dog lover like me, check out Lisa Welch Designs.  The paw print pendant has my name on it!

It's also 'that time of year'... traveling to a new ski destination in 2012... Crested Butte, Colorado!  Can't wait & definitely need to get away.

'Pitbulls are... beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man, without his vices...'

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I went SKY DIVING!!!

Ok, so I am terrible with keeping up with my blog. So much has happened in such a short time.
First off, as stated in my title, I went sky diving. Call it my leap of faith after 2 failed IVF attempts in 2011. It was the scariest but most freeing experience I have ever had. My brave ex-partner went with me & our crazy instructors couldn't imagine why we needed an adrenaline rush considering we are paid to run toward gunfire. We felt the same about their professions. We have amazing & hysterical photos of this experience & look forward to doing it again in the summer months... when it's warm enough to not have to wear the hideous jumpsuits & winter hats.

As for Clyde... Adoption #2 fell through, again through no fault of his own. Clyde's stay with us has been the longest since we have started fostering. 8 months total! As you can imagine, he became quite a comfortable part of our family. But all is well that ends well & at the New Year of 2012, Clyde has found his final & forever home. Clyde is living with a single guy on the lakefront & accompanies his new dad to his martial arts classes where he watches & waits patiently to play with his dad's classmates when the session is over. What a lucky boy!

In September 2011, our beautiful boy Samson (now Sam) was adopted to a lovely family. With a dad, a work from home mom & their adult son, Sam is relished in affection & playtime all day, every day. They have recently begun therapy training with Sam, whom we know will put smiles on many, many faces once he has been certified & begins his work in hospitals.

And now we have Ms. Pippa. Or 'Hippa' as my 2 year old niece loves to call her. Pippa was previously named Starlet and is from the Safe Humane Court Case Program.  Pippa was confiscated in a search warrant where a convicted felon had 5 unspayed female pit bulls... obviously used for breeding. When I saw her cute mug on facebook, I couldn't resist & immediately brought the beagles to meet her. Pip has been thriving in our home, completely comfortable with the pack order... her being on the bottom! Her stereotypical badass 'look' makes her yet another true ambassador to the breed. Each & every dog she meets, her standard greeting is a kiss (lick) with her helicopter-style tail wag. We have hesitantly put her ad on Petfinder to see if the perfect adopter comes courting. As always, we feel Pippa may be 'THE ONE'. Our first foster failure???!!!! Stay tuned... only time will tell.

I received the wonderful gift of a really nice camera for Christmas & am hoping to take a class soon to improve my non-existent photography skills.  I look forward to getting some GREAT pictures to market all of our future fosters in 2012.

'God, give me by your grace, what you give to dogs by nature'...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Still riding that roller coaster called life!

Okay, so this has been my longest 'break' in between blogs so far.  Yikes!  So I will just pick up where I left off.

After a few days of just us & the beagles, I returned to the shelter for a new foster.  I looked at several & chose this little guy, at the time named Rusty.  He appeared to be a white & brindle pitty, 4 month old puppy, but after visits to the vet for his shots & nueter surgery, it was determined he was older, maybe 7 months, as all his adult teeth had already come in.  He was immediately a joy in our house & renamed Clyde for his clydesdale-like walk.  Nearly house broken, not too phased by his crate & intensely curious about these 2 strange beagles that were not interested in playing much!

After a week or 2, I happened to recognize a dog on CACC Rescue's facebook page (if you befriend them, beware that you will get teary eyed often...).  I had to visit the shelter for myself to confirm... bad idea.  There I saw the big cow-looking pitty that I had taken from being chained outside an abandoned apartment & to the shelter before our trip to Vegas.  He had lost a considerable amount of weight, but was still sweet as ever.  After bringing the beagles up to make sure he was okay with them, my wonderful husband left it up to me whether or not we would take him home to foster as dog #4.  A few days later, when I picked Samson up from the shelter, I was told that he was on the euthanization list.  A couple of hours with him & I could not, for the life of me, figure out why.  It must have been for space constraints.  His first visit was, of course, to Animal Care Chicago to be checked out, nuetered & vaccinated. The staff there sang Samson's praises & I would soon find that this sweet pup was as close to perfect as we have ever known.  Samson impresses everyone he meets with his perfect temperament!  He is often called 'Petey' from the Little Rascals.

Samson & Clyde became fast friends.  They love to rough house & tumble & have been thick as thieves for 2 months.  Clyde did a 1 week stint with friends of friends & that didn't work out.  Clyde's personality is much larger than his slight 33 lbs. & they were incapable of handling him.  He is a great pup & was adopted today by a lovely, local family that happened to see him wearing his hound gear 'adopt me' vest on a walk a few weeks ago.  He will love his new life with his human mom & dad & 2 human sisters. Samson has been a little down & out today wondering where his best friend has gone to.

Our first round of IVF was unsuccessful.  I can't help but feeling discouraged & disappointed.  But in usual fashion, we jumped right back onto the horse & went straight into round two.  Injections twice daily have become routine, the bloating & discomfort has not.  Yesterday, the doctor retrieved 6 eggs.  Today we were notified that 2 successfully fertilized.  Now we wait until tomorrow to hear if they survive before transferring them back to me on Monday or Wednesday.  Then comes the dreaded 2 week wait for the blood test to confirm or deny a pregnancy.  I hope our time has come. I'm really tired of being patient.  I've already vowed to go sky-diving for the first time if this attempt is unsuccessful.  And I'm not sure that I am ready to cash in on that one!!!

In the meantime, life is good.  Vegas trip 2011 #2 is fastly approaching & we are onto our next phase of enjoying our sweet & special Samson.  He holds a special place in my heart as a dog that I rescued from start to finish.  Every month, I still bring confiscated, abandoned or stray dogs into the shelter & never see them again.  Samson came into my life for unknown reasons & for now, he will be here to stay for at least a little while, when I need him most.

'He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world...When all other friends desert, he remains.'

Sunday, May 29, 2011

9 Dogs in 1 year!

A lot has happened in the past month!  As we knew would happen, Mocha (now renamed Luna) was basically adopted within 2 weeks.  Our quickest yet!  We did savor her for an additional week, as we wanted to make sure she progressed with use of her broken hind leg. 

Before we left for Vegas, there was some interest in Rocky, but nothing solid as of yet.  He was lucky enough to board at Animal Care Center in the west loop where he played beautifully with the big dogs!  The little ones, not so much. 

Also, before Vegas, we were finally approved for IVF by the insurance review board!  It's funny, we were so stressed & focused for so long about not getting approved, now that we have been, it's almost anti-climactic.  I know I say that now, but of course, the end result will all be worth it.  In the meantime, we keep scheduling that '1 more vacation' before life as we know it changes forever.

Vacation got off to a bad start (missed flight), but the minute we checked in, it became the best Vegas vacation either of us have had to date.  Even a decent win on our last day!  It was so amazing, we are already booking our next one in October.  I may be a couple spins away from Gambler's anonymous (that wheel of fortune machine sucks me in every time!!!).

Upon our return, we met someone that was a perfect fit for our sweet Rocky.  Like Stella, he stayed with us for the longest period, 2 months.  He went to live with his new human dad today, where he will get to sleep in the big bed every night.  I am certain he already likes his new home!  He has also been renamed Winky.  I giggle every time I say it, but it is definitely a fitting name.  I look forward to hearing about progress with his medical needs & about his new adventures as part of a forever family.

Strangely, I am sitting here in a quiet, clean house.  We cannot remember the last time there has only been us & the 2 beagles.  I will enjoy the moment, because we know it won't last long!

This past week marked the 1 year anniversary of our 1st foster, Meaty's adoption.  May 25, 2010.  We look back on our first year of fostering & are proud of our accomplishments.  9 dogs in 1 year.  We have learned a lot about each other, and even more about the will & resilience of shelter dogs.  All 9 dogs have a place in our hearts & keep us motivated to move forward in our efforts.  I hope we can increase our number each year!
I looked at all the caged animals in the shelter...the cast-offs of human society.

I saw in their eyes love and hope, fear and dread, sadness, and betrayal. And I was angry.

"God," I said, "this is terrible! Why don't you do something?"

God was silent for a moment, and then He spoke softly, "I have done something," he replied. "I created you."

-- Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I may have bitten off more than I can chew...

I have been behind on posting & for very good reason.

Rocky is doing fabulous! His one tumor-looking growth is nearly undetectable. His obscured eye seems to be getting better, too! No interest on him yet, but we are scheduled to bring him to 2 events where he will get some great exposure (thanks to his Hound Gear vest). Saturday, April 30th is the Pawz for Japan fundraiser & Saturday, May 7th is the annual Anti-Cruelty Bark in the Park. I'm very excited about both!

Last Thursday, I attended a special informational session at Chicago Animal Care & Control about Safe Humane's Court Case program & volunteering at the shelter. I made the mistake of taking the 'tour' of one of the court case pavilions. Pavilion F & G are where court case dogs go & remain until a rescue pulls them. I saw this BEAUTIFUL, 6 month old, indescribably colored, young female pittie with a bandage on her hind leg. Her coloring, we now know, is called blue fawn. A divider separated her small space from her pure blue brother. This sweet girl was limping around in her excrement & the look in her eyes was that of looming depression. Her cage card said that she & her brother were abandoned in an apartment. They shouldn't even have been 'court case dogs' because there was no one charged! Of course, I went home that night & could think of nothing else, so I planned to visit her the next day & get her out of her cage for some fresh air & human contact. 

Scary car ride!
When I returned on Friday, I was saddened to see she was in the exact same filth that she was in the day before. I took her out of her cage on Friday, April 22nd & never looked back. She spent a little time at work with me where she was a big hit & then we headed home.    
Chillin' under the desk on some BDUs

A puppy is alot of work. 2 puppies is INSANE! Maybe 2 puppies that are super young & fit in the palm of your hand are easier. But these 2 lugs at about 30 lbs a piece... not so much.

Mocha's 1st night home
                                        There have been a few 'explosive' potty training accidents & a bit of chaos for the first few days, & even a few domestics. But at the end of every night, when we are all cuddled up on the couch, the look of love & gratitude in Mocha & Rocky's eyes are worth all of it. These 2 cuddle up several times a day & my heart swells. Their ability to love & forgive is amazing. Our few days of annoyance or aggravation equals a future & a lifetime of love for these deserving babies. 
Ying & Yang

Mocha's injury is minor. We are getting a splint for the leg this week & she should heal without a problem. Rocky gets neutered tomorrow & Mocha gets spayed next week. We are already meeting a potential adopter for Mocha tomorrow (fingers crossed). She will move into her forever home quickly as her different coloring makes her unique. People love the unique ones! Rocky met a man on a walk the other day who recognized his value despite his odd look & expressed interest in adopting... I am anxiously hoping he gives us a call!

                                    "The Rescuer's Creed"

I promise I will take your unwanted animals.
I will heal their wounds, their diseases, their broken bones.
I will give them the medical attention they need and deserve.
I will nurture their starvation, and give them a warm place to sleep.
I will spay and neuter them, vaccinate them against the diseases that can harm them.
I will treat them and honor them.
I will buy them toys, blankets, balls, and teach them to play.
I will speak softly to them.
I will try to teach them not to fear, not to cry, and not to hate.
I will whisper sweet, kind, gentle words into their ears, while gently trying to stroke their fear, their pain, and their scars away.
I will face their emotional scars and give them time to overcome them.
I will socialize them, potty train them, teach them to be obedient, show them dignity, and hold their paws, and stroke their ears if they have endured too much and walk them over the Rainbow Bridge,
BUT most of all I will teach them Love.
~Author unknown

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The face of a fighter & heart of a lover.

Hubby made the mistake of saying 'dogs are like kids. The biggest adjustment is going from 1 to 2. Anything after 2 is all the same.' The very next day I went to the shelter.

First, I viewed a female puppy that was so terrified, she cowered in the corner & wouldn't even look at us. It broke my heart. The next was another female pup that had eaten poison in her front yard & the owners didn't want to spend the money for a vet to treat her, so they relinquished her. The last was a boy pup in medical. This was my first time back in the medical section of the shelter. I can almost appreciate a shelter dog being stuck in the medical section. It's a smaller room with closer quarters & much more human interaction & attention for the obvious reasons. This boy was a 5 month old, male, white & brindle pit with the most distorted looking face I had ever seen. I knew immediately that out of the 3 I had seen, he was the one who needed out of the shelter the most! He had been there for 2 months after coming in as a stray with extensive, fresh injuries to his head. For 2 months, he was only made comfortable & given antibiotics. This boy needed medical treatment beyond that & wouldn't receive it until a rescue funded it.
I went back & picked him up to bring him home 3 hours later. After the obligatory vomiting on the car ride home & a much needed bath at Canine Corral, he was finally in foster. We were given some great ideas for names (Nikao, Popeye & Elwood, just to name a few), but decided on Rocky after Rocky Balboa because he face appeared so beat up. It is heart wrenching to look at, but his spirit & personality tell such a different story (pictures forthcoming...).

Rocky's 1st night home

The next day, we both took off of work to take Rocky to the specialist in Fox Lake. We were sad to find out there is nothing to be done. It is only a guess that he was bitten by a large dog at some point. The puncture on one side caused his eye socket to shatter & so he is barely able, if at all, to see out of his left eye. The puncture on the right side appears to have gotten infected then healed into an abscess so there is a large tumor looking thing on his right side. There is a chance as he gets older, that both issues will diminish.  He is not in any pain or anything, so onward we move!

Rocky is an absolute doll & I think I say that about ALL of our fosters! He likes to play rough with his foster sister, Stella. They recognize that they are the same breed, so when they play, it is ON. He has become very attached to the both of us. He cries when one of us leaves the room. We are working on housebreaking, which will be easier starting this weekend once we have full use of the fenced in yard again. He is a grazer when he eats... that is very rare in our house. All of our dogs eat like it's their last meal. He walks AWESOME on his leash & is working alot off leash, as well. He prances very proudly when he walks & has no idea that his looks are a bit different. When it is just us & him, he just loves to snuggle. He will actually lay his snout over your face or snuggle in the crook of your neck. Words can't describe how sweet Rocky is. His uniqueness will hopefully attract the perfect home for his adoption!

In other fabulous news, Stella is going to her forever home this Sunday!!! A couple (friend of a friend) met her over the weekend & fell in love.  They don't have any young children & Stella's future mom doesn't work, so Stella will be lavished in the love & attention she deserves all day long!  Although we previously thought her last 2 adopters were 'perfect', I am certain that for Stella, the 3rd time is the charm.  As the only dog in the house, Stella will behave perfectly & not be distracted by other dogs.

Lastly in updates, my fertility doctor came back from vacation & decided to proceed with the methatrexate.  She said there was a pregnancy, but it wasn't developing properly & they could not determine where it was located (uterus or fallopian tube).  I won't go into detail about the injections, but if I have to give myself DAILY shots in the muscles above my butt for IVF, I am in trouble!  As always, if insurance cooperates (& they should after 4 failed pregnancies), IVF will begin in June or July. 

In the meantime, a new garage, a new dining set, a new pup to train & adopt, plus an upcoming trip to Vegas... I can't complain :-)

'Nothing in the world that's worth having comes easy.'