Friday, March 9, 2012

And Then There Were Ten

Ten Adult Dogs.  All living here.  With me.  In this house.  At the same time.  Along with six cats.  Yesterday there were only six dogs here, and life was easy.  Now there are ten, and life is a little bit crazy right now.  Happy, fulfilling, even fun.  But also crazy.

It helps that several of the dogs and cats are short-term fosters.  Three of the cats are going back to their regular foster home by the end of the weekend.  And one of the dogs is pending adoption and should be gone in another week.  Another of the dogs is only staying through this weekend - I hope.  But in the meantime, my life involves a lot of rotating dogs in and out, and even rotating cats.  Here's what happened:

I was down to only six dogs, and all six were doing well.  I received the many e-mails that I always receive, with pictures and bios of dogs that are scheduled to be euthanized.  So I picked out one dog and offered to save her.  Then, I received a good application on Lindsay.  I figured she'd be adopted, and I could save another one, so I offered to take two of the eleven dogs on the e-mail.  I couldn't save them all, but I could save two.  This is how I ended up with Amber and Sox.

This is Amber.  She is a one year old Pointer mix.  She is house-trained and good with everyone.

And this is Sox.  She is also a year old, a Border Collie mix, and the happiest, most playful dog!

After agreeing to take these two, a friend told me about a Boxer mix at the local shelter.  He had been there for several months and since he wasn't yet adopted, he was scheduled to be euthanized.  My friend was upset because she really liked this dog.  I wanted so much to help her, but I was up to seven fosters (eight until Lindsay went to her new home).  I couldn't take another one - especially another large male dog who didn't have very good manners with other dogs.  So I talked to the shelter and offered to take the dog for just a few days to do a home evaluation.  This would give me a good idea of what he was like in a home, and help to network him to find a rescue or a foster home for him.  They were happy with this idea and this is why after picking up Amber and Sox from the volunteer who transported them from their animal control facility, I went to the shelter and picked up Sarge.
Sarge is a very large Boxer mix, who was turned in by his original owners because he was too big.  He's very sweet and lovable, and he's already house-trained.  He's okay with other dogs, but he does have some poor manners with them and tends to annoy them because he doesn't know how to interact properly.  He also seems to want to eat the cats.  I think with some training, and a home with no cats, he'll be a great dog. I'm hoping we can find someone willing to foster him or a rescue to take him so he doesn't have to go back to the shelter in a few days and then be euthanized.  If you're interested in helping, please spread the word - interested rescues or foster homes (foster homes must be local but rescues can be anywhere) can contact me at for more information.

So at this point I've picked up three new dogs and I take Lindsay to her home visit with her potential adopters.  They want to adopt her, but need to wait another week before taking her.  So she comes back home with me and the three new dogs.  Back to the five other dogs waiting at home for me.  And then as I pull into the driveway and start unloading the car, this uninvited visitor showed up.

"I didn't know I needed an invitation!"
I've seen this dog hanging around for a couple of weeks, but he would never come to me before.  He waited until I filled up my house with new fosters and then decided it would be an excellent time to let me catch him.  So as I'm taking Lindsay out of the car and into the house, he walks right up to me and lets me pet him.  He was getting pretty skinny at this point and I didn't want to just turn him away, so he came in too.  I talked to the neighbors and they thought he'd been abandoned, and since he had no tags or microchip, that seems quite likely.  I live in an area with no animal control, so there was nowhere to take the dog even if I wanted to.  Dogs like him are often just left to starve or be killed by a car or a predator or sometimes they are shot by farmers and ranchers.  I am still looking for his owners, but chances are that this uninvited guest is staying for awhile.

"Can I live with you?"
Fortunately he's a sweet dog and gets along well with everyone.  I named him Oreo, and I've kind of already fallen in love with him.

Still, that puts me up to ten dogs, and lately I feel more like I'm living in a kennel than a home.  Some of the dogs can't be around each other so I have to do a lot of rotating outside for playtime and in their crates for meal-time/'sleeping.  Here's the list of "rules":

Chloe the pit bull can be out with anyone but must be supervised to make sure she keeps calm since she's undergoing heartworm treatment.
Jefferson the Shepherd mix can be out with anyone - he is very playful and gets along well with everyone
Lindsay the Aussie mix can be out with anyone except Ziggy and Sarge
Charlie the Terrier mix can be out with any girls or with Bogey or Jefferson.  He tries to push other dogs around so have to watch him around certain dogs.
Bogey the Shar-Pei mix can be out with anyone.
Ziggy the pit bull can be out with Jefferson, Bogey, or Chloe
Sox the Border Collie mix can be out with anyone except Ziggy - she's very playful and gets along well with everyone
Amber the Pointer mix can be out with anyone except Sarge, Oreo and Ziggy, but she's kind of shy so need to make sure she doesn't get overwhelmed by the other dogs.
Sarge the Boxer mix can be out with anyone except Ziggy and Charlie, but must be closely supervised to make sure he acts appropriately
Oreo the American Bulldog can be out with anyone except Amber because she's not spayed yet and he's not neutered yet.  Haven't tried him with Charlie or Ziggy because of potential conflict.

So as you can imagine, it's a bit of a challenge to keep everyone happy, and give them all the attention and play time that they want.  If the dog challenge isn't enough, I also have to rotate Murphy the cat out with Midnight and Merlin.  Murphy is being mean to the other cats, and I'm thinking he might need to be an only cat.  So in the meantime he has to stay in a separate room, or I have to make sure if he's out he can't get to Midnight or Merlin to attack them.  Hopefully he will find a permanent home soon, or even another foster home that has no other cats, and he'll get all the people attention that he wants.

At times like this, when I have so many fosters, I feel more like a "halfway house" than a foster home.  With the exception of Lindsay and Chloe who are never crated, the rest of the dogs are living a life where they get more attention and training and playtime than at a shelter, but less than they would in a regular foster home with just one or two fosters.  When I choose to save more, it comes at a price for the dogs I already have, and that is the tough choice.  If I didn't have these dogs though, they would be in a shelter or be euthanized, so I tell myself that they are all better off here even if I can't give them all the freedom they desire.  Still I want so much for them to go to an adoptive home or even a foster home where they can be totally spoiled.  Tomorrow is Adoption Day, so hopefully at least one of my fosters will find their forever home!


Sue said...

Now you know what my days are like! Amber is lovely.

volunteers4paws said...

whoa!! full house!

oreo is darling!!

HannahG said...

Oh gosh ... I am IN LOVE with Oreo! What a sweet face. Does Virginia count as local for fostering? ;)

Cupcake said...

You are just such a cool chick. You've got to be cool to handle all this. Amber is such a beauty, and, okay, well Oreo doesn't have the very best timing but he just had to make sure that you really love dogs and when he saw everything you are doing, it convinced him.

Thanks for taking care of all these wonderful babies.

Love, Cupcake

Lovable Lily said...

Now that's what I call a pawty! Thank you for loving all those precious little one's who so needed to be loved.

Lily Belle

Pibble said...

OMG! Do you do this all alone or do you have a small army of people living with you?!

You never cease to amaze me. They're all beautiful. I hope you can fit Sarge in or find him a foster. He certainly is beautiful... Not to mention Oreo...

Casey Jones' Mom said...

What a handful and you still found time to write the long, long update for us. Those poor animals are so blessed that God put you on earth.
P.S. Love the names you chose for Amber and Sox. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hoping Sarge doesn't have to go back to the shelter. I can't foster him but if there is anything else that can be done I'd be happy to help out.

Erin T said...

And you work too!? I don't know how you do it all!!

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Happened on your page while researching boxer mixes. Wow. what a kind person you must be. Be blessed.