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Shady Update

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I think our foster puppy Shady Shae might have found a home, and we haven’t even put her up for adoption yet. When we were driving up the Pacific Coast earlier this month, she stayed with Judy. Judy also fosters dogs for ICHBA. Like us, she recently lost an elderly pack member and another one isn’t far from the Rainbow Bridge.

In the five days I was away, Shady wormed her silly little self right into Miss Judy’s heart. Judy said having her around was like, “a breath of fresh air.” She asked me if I’d “mind” letting Shady live with her so our ear-licking, couch-pooping puppy can win over Judy’s husband. I told her that of course I minded. But I’m thrilled for Shady. I can’t imagine it’s going to take very long before we hear an official announcement. I’ll keep you posted.

Lucy’s Meet and Greet: Canceled

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Poor Lucy. I feel like the universe is sabotaging her. That dog can’t catch a break. She’s been rejected twice since a week ago Friday. First, a young woman named Miranda drove forty-plus miles to the Farnival just to meet her, but decided she wasn’t the right fit. Then, the family that wanted to adopt Lucy today canceled at the eleventh hour, long after her co-foster parent Geoff Reed had already grilled her a hotdog for a farewell dinner.

Taste of Country Update

ICHBA had a fantastic day at Taste of Country yesterday in Springfield, TN. The only bad part was the heat. It was wicked hot. I literally sweated out five pounds and Donna almost had a heat stroke, but as far as marketing we couldn’t have spent our time in a better place.

Donna, ICHBA’s head honcho, passed out so many cards she ran out and had to start writing her contact info on notebook paper. We signed up six people for ICHBA’s low-cost spay and neutering program. But, the best news of all: two families started the adoption process for Lucy and Percy. Y’all know Lucy. Click here for a refresher. Percy is some kind of cattle mutt living with another ICHBA foster family.

Our booth was swamped from the time we arrived until about an hour before closing time, so I didn’t get many pictures. But I did catch this special moment when Percy laid down next to a young disabled boy in a wheelchair.

Percy

Rosie, A Companion Dog

Rosie and Chris(Chris and Rosie)

I’ve been getting multiple updates per day from Chris, Rosie’s new pack leader. Thank you, Chris! 🙂 You’ll be happy to know she’s still snoring (and farting) like a horse. She’s also as loyal as ever. This is the latest text from Chris: “She is definitely attached to me. She has to be near me and I don’t dare leave the room without her. She is PERFECT. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.”

Chris is already making arrangements to have her qualified as a companion dog. I’ll find out exactly what that means and let you know.

Overcoming An Adoption Slump

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Adoptions have been extraordinarily slow for the past couple months. It’s not only Rosie that’s been at the Farnival too long, but Dawn has been here close to six months now. I’ve been told that every rescue agency goes through a slump. But it’s hard to be patient.

Normally, ICHBA posts ads on Craig’s List and Petfinders, and within a few weeks, months maybe, the dogs find homes. Up until December, it’s been a very successful way to rehome animals. Obviously, the game has changed. The good news is that ICHBA has decided to meet the current challenge head on by stepping up our marketing game. The agency has launched a Facebook page and is designing a website, which I’ll announce as soon as it’s finished.

Last week Donna and I took the dogs to the 2015 Springfield Art Walk, where we passed out cards and mingled with Chief of Police David Thompson. We’ve applied for a membership with PetSmart Charities, which means (if we get accepted) we’ll be able to set up camp with our pups at their store any day of the week. And lastly, on June 13th ICHBA will have a booth at Springfield’s Taste of Country, where people can meet the adoptable dogs or get a high-five from Meadow for a buck.

I’m totally excited about all the changes happening for ICHBA in 2015. I’ll keep you posted.

When Blossoming Turns Bad: Lucy Update

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(Lucy)

Whenever we take another foster dog into our home, there is an adjustment period, a period of time when they act particularly quiet and watch us with timid eyes, learning our routine and rules, as we mill around the house. I’ve also had dogs that were so freaked out when they first got here that they hid under cars, in the basement, behind an armchair for days before joining the party. The time it takes any animal to become comfortable varies. Sometimes it’s a day or a week or a month. I call this process blossoming, meaning when a dog becomes relaxed enough to show individual personality traits. I picked the word blossoming because until Lucy came here, the process had always seemed as pretty as watching a flower bloom.

Playing is one of the best indicators that a dog is blossoming. When a newbie roughhouses with the pack, I know they are going to be okay. Unfortunately, with Lucy this wasn’t the case. Last week every time Lucy started playing, it turned into a fight. The first dust-up was with Sara, the second with Floyd, and the third with Rosie, all on separate days and all increasingly severe.

The last time a fight broke out I was sitting at my desk pecking away at my computer. It was a hot, humid day, blaring sunshine, no breeze. Most of the dogs lounged inside near the air vents or sprawled out on the kitchen’s tile floor. As always, Rosie was right by my side, head hanging off the feet of my office chair, snoring away like she didn’t have a care in the world.

At some point, Rosie woke up, grew bored, and tried engaging Lucy – who napped next to the bookshelf – in some play. At first I supervised. But after seeing nothing but good-naturedly wrestling, I turned back to my computer.

Within minutes, it turned into an all-out brawl. I spun around and saw Lucy grab a hold of Rosie’s face, who returned the favor by lurching on top of Lucy. I yelled, but they were beyond hearing. They were nothing but snarling fangs. I grabbed Rosie, who’s fifteen pounds heavier than Lucy, by the ruff and yanked her back. She calmed down as soon as she felt my touch, but Lucy wouldn’t stop coming at her. She never tried to bite me, but she was hell bent on getting a good shot at Rosie.

Even though Lucy is overweight, she still felt light, especially when my adrenaline kicked into gear. I ended up having to pick her up, flip her over, and pin her down on her back, waiting until she calmed down before I let her move. I’ve only had to use this extreme tactic once before, when we were training Bentley. I hated it then, and I’m not thrilled about it now. Because, essentially, what I did was pin Lucy down to show domination.

Four days have passed since then, and there hasn’t been another fight since. Cross your fingers. After long discussions with Geoff Reed, Lucy’s first foster family, and Donna,  ICHBA‘s head honcho, we’ve determined that Lucy’s an alpha dog that needs a home without any other animals or a home with an older, smaller, submissive dog.