Friday, June 10, 2011

AARCS - Long Overdue Update

I am an Animal Rescuer. I am not a crazy dog lady (maybe), even though I have been given that title on occasion, even by my dad. I am head over heels in love with every furry critter that I am blessed to call my own for as long as I have them.

I'll start with Opie because she is ours. She has an on going love affair with stuffies. We name them Dead Fred, Dead Ned or Dead Daisy. Opie loves killing them dead dead and pulling their innards to make outards all over the carpet until there are no innards left. It's so funny when she gets excited that she starts snorting INSIDE the half dead stuffie...

and then we know she is about to fall asleep with her nose deep inside the dead stuffie. I can't even describe how she sounds when she falls asleep with her nose pressed tight against a stuffie or a chair leg, or the floor. It's just to odd and it's not a normal dog sound since a hearing dog would wake from the sound and stop. Opie is a joy!!!

Opie is training like a dream and will be coming with me to a reservation school so she can help me with teaching grade school kids about dog safety. She doesn't go missing in the house anymore since much of the day she is firmly parked on my foot.

We have had 3 litters since Opie's litter, which is to say we have had 26 fosters since the end of February. First, mom Clover and her Shakespeare litter came to stay.


Clover had 11 pups and tried her best to take care of them all. She wasn't getting enough food herself from the family caring for her on the reserve, although everyone was doing their best with what they had. By the time the litter was 3 weeks old, 4 of the puppies were nearly dead. Clover kept removing the 4 smallest puppies and hiding them, to let them die. She just couldn't care for all 11 pups. The family they were with went and found they pups when Clover hid them and returned them to the litter and put a box over the litter. While this kept the pups together, they would forget to remove the box so Clover could feed them. 

Clover and her litter we surrendered when the pups were almost 4 weeks old. Despite getting enough food and water once in foster care, Clover continued with the behaviours she established early with this litter, but now she was only hiding 2 of the pups. Then, I got the call that I needed to take Clover and her litter because she wouldn't be able to hide anyone, and since I am home most every day, I could keep a better eye on this little family.

This is a picture of Desdamona. She and King Lear were the largest pups in the litter and they both had bold personality to spare. We had to bath them every few days until they were 8 weeks old to keep their lice population in check. Prior to 8 weeks of age, the medication they needed could have done neurological damage to the quickly developing brains in these little guys.

This is Juliet. We watched the life light go very dim in her eyes, and I must tell you that it is a very alarming thing to see a puppy so close to death. We bottle fed the entire litter to help Clover, but we fed Juliet every 2 hours to try to bring her back from the edge. In fairly short order, I determined she was incredibly dehydrated despite force feeding her and she needed medical care. After receiving subcutaneous fluids (fluids needle injected into her back which absorbed into her system) she made a full recovery and is such a little gem!

She loved being bundled and cuddled after every bath, and would promptly snuggle down to sleep.

I'm going to list their names with links if you want to see their beautiful little faces. I was so busy caring for this litter that I just didn't get many pictures of them and since so many were black, we needed sunlight to get good pictures of them and it was painfully cold during the time I had them.

Juliet, Portia, Rosencrantz, Gildenstern, Hamlet, Romeo, Mercurio, Desdamona, King Lear, Ophelia (still available for adoption), Othello

My Shakespeare litter was moved when they were 9 weeks old to new foster homes so I could accept my Little gods litter (this picture is how they looked when they were given to me). They came from a reserve south of Calgary and were surrendered at a Spay/Neuter Clinic. The family they came from kept the mom and 3 other boys from the litter.

After Clover's litter, it was quite wonderful to get some fat, healthy pups. This litter was amazing. They free fed, meaning that they only ate until they were full and never gorged themselves until they were sick. They didn't fight, ever. EVER! They still make my heart pitty pat when I think of them because they were easily the best litter we've ever had.

They were wonderful with gardening and helped us all spring;

My feet were never cold because Hera was usually sitting on them;

Opie tried really hard to help with the puppies, but she couldn't hear their squeaks, so she didn't know when she was being too rough. We ended up only letting her with the puppies once they were a little older. They loved Opie to bits though and regularly chased her and rolled over for her when they were in the yard together.

The little god litter grew very quickly and I would say too quickly! And they kept right on helping us get our garden in shape!

This is Persephone. She was the little girl in the group, but none were dangerously small as we have seen in the past. This entire litter knew their names by the time they were 7 weeks old and had personality to spare! Persephone would come into the garage when called and sit just inside the door facing a quarter turn away from me. The little flirt would look over her shoulder at me and give her tail a little flip. I'd tell her to 'Come!' and she doing the flirty look again. As soon as I called her by name she came bounding to me and jumped into my arms. {don't cry...don't cry...}

This is the beauty in the bunch, Aphrodite. Her coat was smoother than the rest of her litter mates and her face had sweeter proportions. She was sniffing around and all I could get were bum shots until I called her name and then I couldn't get her to stop from running at me. She was a gentle little lady and I do miss her dearly.

This is Athena and just before I took this shot, she was laying on her back so my daughter could throw the weeds on her tummy. These are the things we shouldn't admit in public that we do with and to our foster dogs!

The day before my fosters left for new foster homes, they were helping clean out the garage. It was hard work and later in the afternoon, they were exhausted! True to their nature, they stuck together and slept in a puppy pile in the yard.

2 days after they were moved, I had to take my new foster mom to the vet to check out her cherry eye (protruding tear glands) and there was a dog in the back that got progressively louder while I was there. The vet left our examination room to get the antibiotic ointment I needed for my new foster and, when he returned, I asked about the dog in the back. I said I think I recognize the bark. He doubted it, but maybe I knew the dog since it was from my foster organization. It was Athena!!! Every time I spoke she could hear me and was barking at me. The vet and I are both certain of this since she was quiet the rest of the day while she was there waiting for her spay surgery. I went into the back to see her, and she was so happy to see me and all I could do was cry. She knew me and recognized my voice. It was hard leaving her there and the vet felt so sorry for me, but to rescue more I must let them go.

I really miss Aphrodite, Hera, Apollo, Athena, Persephone and Demeter. While things were stressful with our attic, I would let everyone out and just sit in the yard watching and playing with them and my stress would flow away. I think I just might get more from my fosters than they get from me.

And yes, I am a crazy dog lady. I really am.


Tammy E. said...

I could never foster children or dogs. I would get far too attached to them. God bless you for helping these animals! They are all beautiful.

telfa said...

I wonder if you would care to explain to my boss why I am late for work - because its because of you. I couln't stop reading (and crying). You do a fabulous job - thank you and your family.

Conniecrafter said...

I can't imagine how hard it is to let them go, being at the Vets and knowing that bark and realizing they hear your voice and remember is so touching.

Olga said...

I totally loved your story, thanks, now I'm sitting here in my office crying for little sweet pups I don't even know LOL. Thank God for you and others like you. It just breaks my heart to think anyone could harm or hurt anything so loving. I have been known to get out of bed and sleep on the sofa because Bandit took over my pillow LOl, but we love our children.....

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