Monday, April 19, 2010

No Longer A Foster Dog

Well, Sparky is no longer my foster dog. Yes, that's right, I failed fostering 101 again and adopted him.

It would be so easy to keep every dog you foster because there is no way you don't get attached to them when they're in your house day in and day out, but you want to be sure there is something special about them before you think of keeping them forever. Sparky is a great little dog. He's 5 1/2 years old so past the potty training stage, he knows the doggy door which is a plus, and he has a good personality which makes it easy for him to get along with Charlie.

Sparky is funny because when he's vocal he growls! Not in an aggressive manner at all, but if he wants you to get his toy and throw it he will growl, growl, growl! So tough! He is actually a real sweetie. He likes nothing more than to be sleeping in your lap. At night he can't get close enough when he sleeps. He would be a champion snuggler!
The photo I posted above of Sparky is from his session at Strain Photography. Charlie won the best pet category of their recent photo contest so I decided to use it on Sparky and of course the shots turned out wonderfully.

So, welcome to the family little Sparky man!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Perfect Dog - Fozzy Bear

He wasn't a Bichon, but he was perfect. His name was Fozzy Bear and he was a white Toy Poodle who I had had since he was 8 months old. I saw an ad on the classifieds ad at my work with a heading that said "Used Dog For Sale". His former owners were out of town alot on the weekends and didn't feel it was fair to him to have to stay crated while they were gone so they decided to find him another home. I went to see him and he was like a wild child! One of the most hyper dogs I had ever seen. But he was so friendly and happy how could I not decide to take him!
Fozzy came home with me and on his first night when it was bedtime I put him in his crate and he began to cry. I tried to ignore him hoping he would settle down, but he didn't. Needless to say, his nights of sleeping in the crate were over and the slept on the big bed the rest of his life!

Fozzy was such a good boy, never getting into anything he shouldn't or bothering things. The one he did love was to play! Oh, and how he loved his toys. The soft plush ones were his favorites but he did have one plastic Santa ball that I threw for him until the paint came off! After a few years I got him a little plush slipper that was actually a puppy toy but he loved it. He loved it so much the stuffing eventually came out and he got into the habit of of sticking his nose where the foot should go and then flipping it up and catching it. I always called it "flipping his slipper". He was so smart that I could tell him to get his slipper and flip it and he would! He was too funny.

Eventually I got into Bichon Rescue and he tolerated the dogs I fostered. He had a problem with the Bichons because they were such a happy breed, just looking for a good time and he was so smart you could just see that he had NO patience for them! He always looked at me as if he were asking, "Now when is their checkout date???"
Throughout his years, Fozzy had surgery for Bladder stones and a round or two of pancreatitis. In February of 2009 he was acting very lethargic and wobbly so I immediately took him into the vet thinking he was probably having another bout of Pancreatitis. They did blood work and found that his blood sugar was through the roof. So in addition, he now had diabetes. I hated the thought of him (and I) having to deal with this but I was, of course, prepared to do whatever I needed to to keep him healthy and with me as long as possible. This all happened on Monday and he was one sick little boy. I check on him by phone Tuesday with plans to see him on Wednesday. They said he was stable so I wasn't too worried about him, but of course concerned. Wednesday morning I had gotten to work and had just gotten my day started when Dr. Shaddox called. He said he had some bad news...Fozzy had passed away during the night. I seriously couldn't believe what I was hearing. Dr. Shaddox seemed to be surprised as well as he had seen him on Tuesday evening and said he was alert. Apparently everything that was going on was just too much for his body to recover from and he passed away in his sleep. I felt so bad that I didn't see him on Tuesday. That has always bothered me and still does if I stop and think about it. Fozzy was 11 years old.
I fully expect that at some point I'll again have a Poodle but they won't be perfect. I've already had one of those and his name was Fozzy Bear.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My latest foster dog Sparky

Sparky needed the help of Small Paws Rescue after he found himself without a home and a couple of failed attempts of getting a home through no fault of his own. He is housetrained, minds pretty well, but has trouble resisting a perfectly good looking roll of toilet paper! His favorite thing to do is curl up either by you or on you with being on you his preference. Sparky will be going up for adoption soon and I have no doubt he won't be around long. What a sweetheart!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Well, I started off with good intentions but that's about as far as it went. It's 2010 and I'm going to get back on track.

Charlie. I started fostering Charlie for Small Paws a couple of months after Humphrey died in 2006. He had been surrendered by a family in Northwest Arkansas because of accidents in the house. Once in rescue we determined he had a bad bladder infection so no wonder he was pottying in the house! He couldn't help it! I wish owners would always rule out a medical issue before automatically assuming it's a behavioral issue. Might keep some dogs in their homes but I digress. Charlie was up for adoption and someone was interested in him but when it came right down to it I could not let him go. Needless to say, I failed fostering 101 again!!! He is the absolute sweetest thing there ever was. He has never met a stranger (man or dog) and loves everyone. All he wants is to be close to his person. It's hard to believe he is going to be 9 years old this July as he acts as though he's about three!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Humphrey's story was the same as so many others that had been surrendered by their families for various reasons and found themselves needing a new home. Thank goodness there is a Small Paws Rescue for these dogs as the alternative could have been much less appealing.

When Humphrey came into rescue, he was 39 pounds! I always referred to him as a little tank because he was just as solid as a tank! After a couple of trips to the vet we discovered Humphrey had a thyroid problem and started him on medication to help take care of that and he eventually got down to a much healthier 30 pounds. Humphrey settled in well in my home and shortly after was placed for adoption through our website. A couple of months after coming into rescue, Humphrey was adopted. He went to live in his new home in Ohio. Unfortunately, after several weeks his new owner decided it wasn't a good fit and surrendered Humphrey back to Small Paws Rescue. I was the logical choice to foster him again as he was comfortable with me and my Poodle Fozzy Bear. Once Humphrey was back in Arkansas it wasn't long before my friends began telling me they were quite sure Humphrey had found his forever home, and they were right.

At Small Paws Rescue when you adopt your foster dog its affectionately called "failing fostering 101"! I always told everyone I was happy to be a failure! Humphrey was almost 10 years old when I adopted him but as anyone with a Bichon knows, their age has little if anything to do with how they act or feel. Humphrey was full of life and everything was fine as long as he got his way.

Fast forward a couple of years to 2006. Our life rocked along at an easy pace until the spring of that year when I noticed it seemed like Humphrey had been coughing quite a bit, more than would normally be expected. I decided to run him into the vet to have it checked out never expecting that our lives would change like they did. Dr. Smith, one of the wonderful vets at Chestnut Small Animal Clinic called and said he sounded a little raspy in his lungs and wanted to do a chest x-ray to see how things were. I stopped in at the end of the day to talk to Dr. Smith and pick up Humphrey when I found out just what was going on. Humphrey's heart was enlarged and pushing on his trachea. In short, he had congestive heart failure. Needless to say, I was stunned. When I asked about his life expectancy she said she found they typically lasted 1-6 months. I really couldn't comprehend what I was hearing. Could it really be that this seemingly otherwise healthy dog only had six months to live?? We left armed with enough meds to start a small pharmacy. After going home and having a small pity party at the thought of losing one of my precious pets, I decided we were going to enjoy whatever time we had left.

Humphrey was diagnosed in June 2006 and after a real scare the very week he had been diagnosed, he did pretty well the better part of the summer. There were several trips to the vet whenever I felt he was coughing too much or maybe I thought his breathing was labored, but all in all he did really well. That was until August 29, 2006. I had taken him into the vet because he wasn't feeling well and his tummy seemed really tight. It was decided he had an upset tummy and was given some meds to relieve it. I had gone over to a friends home that evening only to come home to find that Humphrey was struggling to breathe. Dr. Smith had told me what to look for to know they were having difficulty breathing. The outstretched neck as they tried in vain to get more oxygen was the most obvious sign. I came home to find him, neck outstretched, unable to relax. My first thought was, "Ok, this is just another momentary setback. I'll get him into the vet the first thing in the morning and he will be fine". But as it turned out, he wasn't fine. Unable to breathe, he couldn't relax and paced around all night. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. to find him beside my bed. I got down in the floor with him, sat for awhile and hugged him and told him it would be ok. I went back to sleep and woke up the next morning just before 6:30 a.m. and immediately looked for him. I found him in the doorway leading from the living room into the small hallway that goes to my room. I said his name and he didn't move. I touched his foot and it was sort of stiff and I knew he was gone.

I called my parents and cried into the phone that Humphrey was gone. I almost couldn't say it, it was just so hard to believe that after not quite even three months he was gone. I called a good friend of mine who came and took us to the vet clinic. I had to decide, did I want his ashes? I frankly didn't know what I wanted. I soon decided that the ashes weren't who Humphrey was, he was the little white furry tank I remembered and loved and so I chose to just have him cremated. I know this is a very personal decision and its different for everyone but this is what worked for me.

Three weeks prior to when he died he had gone to see Miss Janice for his monthly grooming. When I made that appointment I called a local photography studio to see if they did pets as I had many snapshots of Hump but I wanted something more formal and lasting. Luckily, they had an opening on the day he was groomed so I took him in not knowing that three weeks later he would be gone. Wouldn't you know it, they called me the day Hump died to tell me his proofs were ready. They were wonderful. Humphrey wouldn't sit still, but the photographer, Brandy Strain, was able to get some goods shots. One shot in particular was just stunning. I have no idea when it was taken, but it was obviously at some point when he looked up at me as I was trying to get him to pose. I know this post has been very long, but anyone who knew Humphrey knew he was worthy of such a wordy post! This is the photo at the end of each Small Paws newsletter and at the top of this post. To this day I still get wonderful comments from people about his picture.

Humphrey...what a good boy he was.

Where It All Began

For awhile now I've been reading others blogs and have found them so interesting. Over time as I've been reading it has made me want to do one of my own. But where to began was the question. It seems the question was easily answered when I looked down and saw my precious Bichon Frise Charlie and my current foster dog Bailey.

It all started back in 2002 when I found the website for Small Paws Rescue. I found myself going back to the website more and more often to see what was going on, and then I decided to sign up for the newsletter to find out even MORE about what was going on! It wasn't long after I began reading the newsletters that I decided I could help and signed up to be a volunteer. Shortly after that I got the chance to foster my first dog for Small Paws. His name was Jake and what a precious boy he was. He was adopted shortly after I began fostering and I was hooked! After fostering Jake I fostered Colette a sweet little puppy mill dog. Looking back, I now know how unprepared I was to foster an unsocialized dog but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. While fostering Colette I was informed about a dog in my area needing to be surrendered by his family. Due to a number considerations we decided another volunteer would foster Colette and I would foster the new dog coming in. His name was Humphrey and this is where my journey with Small Paws really began.