Monday, September 30, 2013

Heading for Dry Land with Mesquite

Sweet little Mesquite headed east yesterday to his new home in eastern Washington where he'll get to enjoy a much bigger quantity of blue skies than he would get in Western Washington. We set out on one of the wettest, stormiest September days in recorded history to cross over the Cascade Mountains and meet Skeeter's new mom, Shelli, near Vantage Washington.

There was rain, rain and more rain on the west side of them mountains which made for not-so-fun driving but also made for beautiful, ethereal misty clouds floating around us and gushing waterfalls down the sides of the mountains.

As per usual, as we crossed to the eastern side the rain let up, the clouds cleared (as did the green and the trees) and we enjoyed an hour or so of what could be our last bit of blue sky for several months.

At the rest area where we met Mesquite's new mom, he danced around, excited to be out of the car and still not getting the hang of what a leash is for, other than getting tangled in. He didn't bark at his new mom or grandma once (a rare thing for Skeet since he can get a bit nervous meeting new people) but instead covered them with puppy kisses. So it was a happy hand off and he got to have a good chewy and some more play time before they finished the last 3 hours of his drive home.

I have no doubt he'll have a happy life filled with tons of love and attention.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mesquite's Adopted!

Little Mesquite has found his home! He'll be living in Eastern Washington where he'll have some great neighbor doggie friends as well as parents that can't wait to welcome him into their home. They will be getting a great little dog who is incredibly sweet and will be an amazing addition to their family.

Good love sweet Skeeter! We will miss you!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Big Boy 'Skeeter

Mesquite is sure growing up. After potty breaks he loves his time tearing around with the big dogs although the feeling is not really reciprocated. Yesterday he tried to get Frodo to play but Frodo was having none of it.
Bored, bored, bored

Mesquite: "PLEEEEEASE play with me?!"

Frodo inspects the spaz

Frodo: "Make it go away"

Bored, bored, bored

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fun times at the Rat Terrier Meetup

The foster dogs and I greeted autumn with a meetup event at one of the Robinswood Park off leash areas in Bellevue. There was a great turn out of dogs and I saw many former New Rattitude dogs attending - June, Corwin, Rain, Maddie - as well as many new pals too who we hadn't met at meetup events before. Along with Chima, Salinas and Mesquite, New Rattitude foster dog Annie was there too.
Everyone had a great time

Corwin and Rain have a conversation

Mesquite attempting to get a dog to play with him. She wasn't so sure about the little masked hooligan.

Mesquite was busy practicing polite greetings with other dogs, jumping up for loves from people, fetching tennis balls and pretty much non stop tearing around.

(Mesquite, Annie and Chima) Annie gets a bit nervous around new dogs and tends to want to meet face to face. Here Chima is looking away to diffuse things. The longer Annie was at the park though, the more playful and at ease she became.

Salinas and Chima did wonderful and kept busy following around people with treat bags, sniffing lots of people, and then more searching for some sucker who would feed them. While they were a little stressed with so many new humans milling around, they did great and as per usual showed their great dog to dog social skills which is helpful to dogs who are working on bettering their skills.

Chima and Sal, on the move

The weather ended up being great - mild and dry - and didn't start pouring until the drive home so we all kept dry. Once we were home all three dogs took a quick potty break and then immediately crashed, worn out from their big adventure.

Thanks to all who helped me manage my motley crew when we changed sides of the dog park and helping make sure no one escaped when new dogs arrived at the park. There was a schnauzer meetup and since the last time the events coincided a few of the schnauzers were constantly trying to pick fights we just moved to the other fenced half of the park. I have to say I was quite proud of all the attending terriers and their parents. The dogs got along and dog parents were attentive and made sure to help keep all the interactions positive. Great time!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rolling Around

I sure love seeing puppies discover the joys of all things dog. On Thursday Mesquite learned the deep happiness that can be found in a good roll in the grass when a nice stinky spot is found.

Mesquite spied Salinas rolling around in the grass

So he figured that he'd give it a try

Salinas went back to sniffing but Skeeter was having so much fun he just kept rolling around

He rolled so much that the girls were wondering if he had found a good stinky spot that they might have missed

Friday, September 20, 2013

Solo Wrestling, the Mesquite Way

After Tilly made it quite clear to Mesquite that 12 year old dogs do NOT like to play with 4 month old puppies, Mesquite decided that he was okay with checking out the bed across the room from hers.

He thought it was quite fun as a wrestling arena and tossed and tumbled in it.

Later he brought a bone into it for a good chew.

And then he was a typical puppy, bored and ready to move on to his next adventure.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chima and Salinas: Ultimate Couch Potatoes

When Langley was here as a foster dog that meant we had to do a lot of "crate and rotate" with the foster dogs - meaning that while Langley was out, Chima and Sal were crated and vice versa. It's an important management technique when you have a fear reactive dog in the house like Langley and keeps things safe as well as helping make sure that Langley could effectively work on his counter conditioning. I needed to make sure that being around other dogs was a great experience for him.

However, it's not a fun state of affairs for anyone. The dogs don't get as much free time as they want, the humans have the extra work to make sure that everyone is getting a fair amount of time and attention and exercise, and there is also just an underlying stress of worrying that I might mess up and let an interaction happen that wouldn't end in a postitive way.

Happily, now that Langley is adopted and an only dog he is doing great and actually is much better able to play happily with other dogs in small doses. It's the 24/7 of living with them that was just too much.

The other great news though, is that Salinas and Chima are getting to be uncrated during the day while I am home with them. This has made for dramatic changes in how they interact with Troy and I and we couldn't be more pleased.

Before they got all this free time they would bark at Troy anytime he came in a room. Since he wasn't around as much, they found him scary and this has given them a better chance to hang out with Troy at their own comfort level rather than seeing him as the scary guy who entered a room while they were stuck in a crate. The result? During the recent thunderstorm when I was at work Salinas sought out Troy for comfort and put her head on his lap for pets. When he stopped she nosed his hand letting him know that she wouldn't say no to a little more petting.

Chima, closer but still keeping her distance

Most exciting for me has been Chima's new found desire for couch time. In the past if she wanted to kick back it was always on a dog bed on the floor. This gave her some comfort but also some distance from the humans. But now that she's had more time to watch me and follow me around, she's decided that hanging out on the couch with Frodo and Salinas and I while I work on the laptop is mighty enjoyable. Since I do a lot of my rescue correspondence and paperwork stuff on my laptop - it gives us plenty of time to hang out in a way that Chima finds safe and rewarding. At first she was always at the far end of the couch from me (and Salinas was as close to me as possible.) Now though, Chima often chooses to curl up next to my legs or even lay across the top of my legs/feet. This is huge for a girl who initially hated any kind of physical contact.

Chima, deciding it's safe to be the dog closest to me on the couch

Chima, somehow finding it comfortable to lie on top of my feet
One of these days people will take a chance on these very special girls. It will take someone who is willing to be patient and let them adapt at their own pace, but that patience will be repaid tenfold.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ear Wars

First it started with Juniper. A couple days before she went home her left ear popped up.

On Sunday it was Mesquite's turn and up went his right ear.

Looks like our pups are growing up!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hangin' with the grown ups

Since Juniper has moved to her new home, Mesquite is the only puppy in the house. He's actually taking it much better than I expected he might, keeping himself busy with toys and chews. But since one puppy is much less obnoxious for the adult dogs to deal with than 3 puppies, he's been getting to spend more time with the grown up doggies.

Just hanging out and keeping tabs on what's going on in the kitchen

As long as interaction is carefully supervised, I don't think there can be any better learning experience for a young puppy than to hang out with some adult dogs who have a good dog to dog social skills. While Chima and Salinas are quite leery of new humans, their social skills with other dogs are pretty great. Of course, everyone has a limit to their patience so I try to make sure they get plenty of puppy-free time.

Muzzle licks are Mesquite's specialty

Mesquite does a pretty good job and will eventually listen to Sal and Chima, but sometimes the girls will have to ramp it up to a growl or even a pin if he's not listening to them tell him to take it down a notch. These are great lessons for our little puppy boy and he is good at showing them he heard them loud and clear by giving them a muzzle lick or at times rolling on his back or crouching down low.

"I come in puppy peace!"

He's a great little puppy though, and learns quickly. He's going to be a spectacular furry friend.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Juniper has been adopted!

Sweet Juniper has been such a joy to foster. I really love her somewhat clingy and snuggly brother, however, the best thing about Junie is her strong, independent terrier spirit. She may be one of the tiniest pups of the litter, but she doesn't let that slow her down. When all the other dogs are ready to come inside and kick back for awhile, Juniper is still fine with being out on her own (with me watching of course) exploring and hunting. She is all terrier - not really finding a need to check in with me because she's pretty sure that she can handle things on her own.

Because of her very independent and opinionated personality I am happy to say she has been adopted by a retired couple who have lots of experience with terriers and love them best for their big attitude in a small package. Juniper definitely has a double dose of terrier 'tude so I think they will really enjoy her personality.

So congratulations to Juniper (now called Junebug) and the Phillips! Enjoy your life together as a family and may you have many wonderful adventures together.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Rescue Railroad: Two new foster dogs in our WA foster homes!

It's that time again! We've got two new foster dogs who are arriving tomorrow night and I'm excited to introduce them.
First we have Eddie. Eddie was found wandering the streets by animal control in Lassen County, California. This good looking teenage dog was in the shelter for awhile and had run out of time. The alert went out that his time was up and he was about to be euthanized and New Rattitude stepped up to take him. He's about 10-12 months old and best guess for weight is 15 pounds. Welcome to the pack, Eddie! So glad you're safe. Eddie will be fostered in Marysville, Washington.

Our second dog is sweet and shy Annie. She's about 1.5 to 2 years and was surrendered to New Rattitude when her mom moved and couldn't take her dogs with her. Annie is a purebred Teddy Roosevelt Terrier (type B rat terrier) and weighs about 13 pounds. She'll be fostered in Monroe, Washington by our newest set of foster parents. Welcome Annie!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Spay day!

It's spay and neuter day for Juniper, Mesquite and their visiting sister, Bailey. We had them at the vet at 8 am for their drop off and Bailey and Mesquite had a LOT to say about the Springer Spaniel and 2 cats who were in line to be checked in in front of them. So much to say in fact, that everyone decided to bump me to the front of the line so we could get them out of the waiting area and have some peace. This is a high volume, affordable veterinary clinic so it is saying a lot that they those two were loud enough to get people to give up their spots in line.

While they were having their surgeries, Chima, Salinas and Frodo joined me on the couch for some glorious quiet time. I'm pretty excited that Chima is now relaxed enough with being around humans that she'll share the couch with me. In fact last night she slept next to me while I was watching TV - still 12" away from me, but this is big progress for my big terrier girl. Chima, we are proud of you!

Chima and Salinas, taking it easy while the puppies are at the vets
Anyhow, the pups came home pretty stoned on anesthesia and pain medication. Poor Mesquite was not only neutered, he had an undescended testicle they had to dig around for AND he had an umbilical hernia repaired. On top of the surgeries they also had their rabies vaccinations so they had a nice quiet evening of recovery.
Mesquite, a bit stunned

Juniper, standing in one place at last, and Frodo impersonating a gargoyle

Something only possible when pups are drugged: three puppies fully in one photo frame and all somewhat in focus

Today I'm sure they will think they are ready for full speed so I'll be busy keeping them calm, coned, and separated - no easy task with three puppies who have the energy to wrestle and play for hours at a time.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back at home

We had a fun vacation full of sightseeing, hiking and delicious green chile. The foster dogs had their own vacations but seemed happy to see us when we went to pick them up. We also picked up one of Juniper and Mesquite's siblings, Bailey, who is staying with us for the week while her foster parents are on vacation. 

Salinas, excited and a bit overwhelmed while we gather her and her things to head home
Bailey, Mesquite and Juniper wondering what is going on
Chima - home at last - and conked out on her favorite bed
But now things are back to business so today the three puppies headed to the vet for their spays and neuter. Mesquite will also have his umbilical hernia repaired and all of them will get their final vaccination, needed prior to their adoptions being finalized. It's a big day and I have a feeling they are going to be glad when today's adventure is all over with.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Other Foster "Places": Chimayo and Taos

Our current foster dog Chima is a beautiful gal and so is the town she was named after.

Chimayo is a small town North of Santa Fe comprised of several different plazas that homes and businesses are set around. It lies along the scenic byway called the "High Road to Taos" and like all the towns along the byway is full of artists and galleries. But Chimayo is most famous for its pilgrimage site, El Santuaria de Chimayo. Here's info about the site from Wikipedia:
The Potrero plaza of Chimayó is known internationally for a Catholic chapel, the Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas, commonly known as El Santuario de Chimayó. A private individual built it by 1816 so that local people could worship Jesus as depicted as Esquipulas; preservationists bought it and handed it over to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1929. The chapel is now managed by the Archdiocese as a Catholic church. For its reputation as a healing site (believers claim that dirt from a back room of the church can heal physical and spiritual ills), it has become known as the "Lourdes of America," and attracts close to 300,000 visitors a year.
El Santuario de Chimayo and plaza

Looking straight at the church. We went inside but not to the "miracle dirt" area.

One of the many galleries in the town of Chimayo

Our final destination on the byway was of course the famous Taos Pueblo and one of our first fosters of the year was named for Taos.

Like the Pueblo atop Acoma, the ancient structures still currently in use as housing were fascinating, amazing and beautiful. Taos Pueblo was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you ever visit New Mexico I highly recommend both a visit to Acoma and to Taos if you want to better understand the native culture of the region.
One of the Pueblo structures seen from across the creek

Close up of an entrance - originally there were no doors in the structure for defensibility and all entrances were on rooftops, accessed by ladders that could be pulled up

The Pueblo church