Thursday, December 11, 2008

About me and my fosters

For anyone new to the blog, here's a quick review:

My name is Laurie, I'm married to Dave, I have a step-daughter named Rachael who lives with her mom in Alabama and visits during holidays and summers, and we have a dog named Remi. Remi is 3 years old, and he's a Harlequin (black and white) Great Dane, 150 lbs, and a big baby. I also have a lot of extended family who get to listen to me talk about my foster animals every time they see me. At least so far they've avoided adopting any of my fosters from me - but someday I'm going to change that!

I foster dogs and cats for Heartland Humane Society in O'Fallon, Missouri. I started fostering a year ago (October 2007) when I decided that Remi needed a friend, and found that it was fun and rewarding to provide a revolving door of various friends for him to play with until they found their own homes.

Here are my current foster dogs:

Noelle - terrier mix (maybe bull terrier or Staffordshire terrier mix), 6 months old, very sweet. Noelle is wonderful - we have seriously considered adopting her ourselves several times, but have decided not to, since it would take up the space of another foster dog, and there are so many dogs who need foster homes to help prepare them for adoption. Noelle is one of the most loving, affectionate dogs I've ever had. She has been going to obedience classes and is learning many different sign language commands, because she is deaf. She is a very laid back, low energy dog, and loves to cuddle.

Duncan - Chocolate Lab mix - 3 months old, very smart. Duncan is a happy energetic puppy. He hasn't grasped the concept of house training or crate training yet, so that's a constant work in progress. He loves to play with Noelle, and he loves to be around people.

Tulsa - Australian Cattle Dog (aka Blue Heeler). Tulsa is 1 year old. She is already house-trained (HUGE bonus for foster parents) and loves to be petted. She is a high energy dog - her breed was originally created to herd cattle, which required a high energy dog that could run for hours. Tulsa loves to run and play, and will nip at the other dogs and play tag with them for as long as they can keep up with her. Tulsa is deaf, and some people think that deaf dogs don't bark, but Tulsa would be happy to prove you wrong. Many times when she plays with the other dogs, she begins to bark, and when I ask her to be quiet, she just looks at me like "why would you ask me that?" As a friend of mine said recently - "She can’t help it mom, she just doesn’t know how loud she really is… :-) "

And my current foster cats:

Doobie - Good news - Doobie has a new foster home! He is such a loving affectionate cat, and he was scared of Tulsa so he spent most of his time lately hiding. Another foster home offered to take him, and since they don't have any scary dogs, he was very happy to go.

Bugsy - I haven't introduced Bugsy yet, because I'm waiting to get a picture. I will tell you more about him in a future post.

It's quite interesting to live in a house with two deaf dogs. I know several people do it, and I didn't really expect it to change anything when Tulsa came to my house, since I was already used to having one deaf dog. So I was surprised to find it did make a small difference to have two deaf dogs. The difference is when two of my dogs are playing, I can usually just say something to the hearing dog and thereby get both of their attention. If Remi and Noelle are playing and they're getting a bit too enthusiastic, I'll just say "Hey, easy" and Remi will stop and look at me, then Noelle will stop and look at me (at which point she sees me looking at her and she usually comes running to me) and then they'll settle down. But if Tulsa and Noelle are playing, there's no way to get their attention short of moving into their line of vision or touching them to get them to notice me. Other than that though, there's not a lot of difference. It's so cool to hold a treat, and give the sign for sit (without saying a word) and watch all four dogs (even Duncan!) sit for a treat. I guess if nothing else, I've taught them to beg rather well. :-)

I'm hoping for a good adoption day at PetSmart this week. Duncan still needs another vaccination, so he won't be able to go, but Noelle and Tulsa will be there. I'll also help bring some dogs from another foster home to PetSmart for the day. Kermit will be there!! Please pray he gets a home for Christmas - he's been waiting such a long time. If you don't know about Kermit, visit Kermit's Page. We'll have several puppies there also, and hopefully many will find homes again this week.

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