It may still be January, but it appears that spring has already sprung in DC. I’m trying to be optimistic that a dramatic shift in weather won’t ruin our tulips, daffodils and hydrangeas, but I’m guessing that the 60 degree days aren’t going to stick around for long and I don’t think tulips particularly like snow.
Last night our fourth foster dog — Christy (who names a dog Christy?) aka Bean aka The Queen — was adopted. We were sad to see her go because she was such a sweetie pie, but once again it was nice to see a dog go to a loving forever family. As they left, the new foster dad said “Thanks for taking care of our dog while we were gone.”
When we got Christy last Thursday evening, it was from her first adoptive family. Unfortunately, they already had a dog when they brought Christy home and despite some previous thought that she would be best in a house with another dog, Christy was not interested in sharing her humans. This made the original dog of the house not too happy and her adoptive parents weren’t able to keep Christy despite already bonding with her during their few days together. They’d even decided that Christy wasn’t an appropriate name (we’d certainly agree) and were trying to rename her “Bean.”
Bean arrived in the arms of her adoptive dad. She wasn’t too keen on leashes or going where you wanted her to go. When they brought her in, they put her on the couch (much to my chagrin) and said that was her favorite place. She was shivering in fear and I couldn’t bring myself to kick her off (at least she was on her own dog blanket). Bean spent the first 36 hours laying on her doggie bed in a tight little ball of black fur, too scared to move. We had to bring her food bowl to her, where she ate lying down from her fluffy dog bed. My husband also had to carry her outside to go to the bathroom (thankfully she is the smallest lab we’ve ever seen—around 40 pounds).
Throughout her stay with us it was clear that Bean had been terribly abused or traumatized because the poor girl was scared of everything. And when I say everything I mean everything. If I moved the wrong way or clanked some dishes or dropped my cell phone or made the floor squeak or I picked up a box or wore a heavy coat she’d skittishly run away and “hide” in a corner. Even trying to give her a treat was an ordeal and half the time she wouldn’t eat it.
However it wasn’t long before Miss Bean was coming out of her shell. She started running toward us, clambering up and down the stairs without (too much) coercing, showing a bit of interest in her toys, and best of all, wagging her tail (if only a little bit). Although she occasionally still wouldn’t eat and expected us to bring her food to her (ahem, she was The Queen after all), in the week we had her she got much better about eating her food in the kitchen where the dish belonged. She also got accustomed to not being on the couch or bed, despite attempting to do so. We acquiesced a bit and let her up on our futon in the basement if we were watching TV (it was black anyway and she loved to cuddle up so much). Interestingly, Bean seemed to like the Crunchy Treats with Apple (that look like a stale Cheerio, but do smell like apple) more than the Beggin Strips (which look and smell so much like bacon that I kind of wanted to eat them—don’t judge me).
It doesn’t seem to get easier to give up the dogs, but we know that fostering is an important step in the adoption process and hopefully will lead to the perfect pairing of dog and family. And it also helps us figure out what kind of dog we should eventually adopt, too.
With the start of 2012 my husband and I actually discussed setting a few new year’s resolutions for the first time in as long as I can remember. I’m sure our plan is nothing earth shattering — we want to be healthier in 2012 and are hoping that an increase in exercise along with better food choices will help us accomplish our goal.
So, very belatedly, here is my 2012 plan for success:
Exercise: For the past 4+ years I’ve taken jazzercise and been a class manager. While this has always been a fairly good incentive to get me to attend class, the fact that I share the role with another manager has left me taking too many nights off simply because I can. During 2012, my goal is to continue the trend I started last November when I made it to 16 of the 17 classes. No more skipping class to go out for drinks or dinner or stay home and be lazy. Although an unfortunate bout with the stomach flu threw a bit of a wrench in my plan for January, I am getting back to class and still could attend 14 of the 18 this month.
I also regularly walk with a friend a few mornings a week. In the past we’ve typically met twice a week, but this year we are attempting to walk three times a week. At least we schedule three walks and then see what happens. But it’s a step in the right direction!
Food: For the past 2 years, we participated in a community supported agriculture (CSA) which provided us with an assortment of veggies on a weekly basis between May and October. This situation encouraged (okay, forced) us to try new things like beets and leeks. While we’ve enjoyed the variety most of the time, both the price and the commitment of needing to pick up the box on a week night led us to change our plan for eating healthy in 2012.
First, this year we will increase our own organically-grown veggies thanks to having access to three raised garden beds in the backyard as opposed to the one garden bed we had at the community garden. What we are unable to grow, we will purchase from Eastern Market in order to continue supporting local farmers.
In addition we decided that it was important to get a few other things locally and/or organically when possible including meat and milk. Although the cost is higher, if it will be better for our health, it’s a smart move. Especially if we are able to reduce our grocery expenses in others ways (such as growing more produce). And if we have to spend extra money to get quality meat, chicken, sausage and fish, we’ll eat vegetarian options more often, which certainly won’t hurt us.
Don’t Obsess About Weight: Although I’ve had what I think is an ideal weight for me burned into my mind for many years, my hope for 2012 is that by increasing my exercise and focusing more on making our diet healthier, I will slim down slightly without caring about the number I see on the scale. We’ll see how this one goes…
Last week we brought home our first foster doggie of 2012 — Rigby. After the travails of Black Bart, I was nervous about driving across DC with an unfamiliar dog, but I had a plan and hoped (and prayed) that it would work out. I was even more worried about getting Rigby from the car to the house since getting Black Bart out of the car had been such an ordeal.
But Rigby was a real sweet guy who was just a bit nervous about this transition in his life. He was nearly full grown as a one-year-old and had thick fur that you could just sink your hands into. Once he was hooked in the car, I hopped in the backseat to calm him down before taking off. All he wanted to do was crawl into my lap. After a few minutes of reassuring cuddling and treats, I determined it was safe to head home. Rigby was a good boy and stayed in the back seat throughout the ride. He happily fogged up the car windows as we drove through DC.
When we got home, he didn’t leap from the car and go tearing down the street. Instead he waited for me to untether his leash and then, after some encouragement got out of the car. We made it into the house without incident and I headed for the basement so I could take him out back. Rigby put on the brakes. He was NOT going to go in the basement. No sir-ee. But I was worried he might need to go to the bathroom after his two long car rides, so I took him out the main level back door instead. He still wasn’t thrilled about the outside stairs, but he went down with a little gentle prodding.
After coming back in the house, we spent most of the day in the office where Rigby was content to be near me. Most of the time he laid on the floor. Occasionally he’d come over and put his head in my lap. Then he’d put a paw on my leg, and if I didn’t say anything, the other paw would come up and pretty soon I had a 60-pound lab who thought he was a tiny lapdog. Clearly this was an attempt to help me get some typing done.
All in all we spent a fun afternoon together, but before even a few hours had gone by I had gotten a call from a family who wanted to adopt him. After going back and forth about our schedule and theirs, it was decided that the best time for them to come and meet Rigby would be late that evening.
So Rigby and I spent our limited time together trying to work through his fear of going downstairs. Clearly he had a very bad experience in a basement at some point in his past, so all stairs seemed scary to him. He’d follow me upstairs happily, but when I went to the kitchen he’d sit at the top and whine for me to come back. In order to get him in his crate before I headed to jazzercise for the evening, I devised a lengthy plan of sitting on the stairs and encouraging him to follow me down with a treat on nearly every step. After about 30 minutes of this I got a call and my phone was on the main level of the house, so I got up to answer it and lo and behold, Rigby just bolted down the stairs surpassing the majority of the cookies!
I knew that attempting to get him into the basement was going to be more difficult, so I opened the door to the outside, took Rigby down from the main level like I had before and we entered the basement from the yard. That didn’t bother him one bit!
My husband got to have a little snuggling time with Rigby, too. Rigby fit in his lap a little better, and definitely just wanted to be close to his humans. My husband also got the pleasure of taking him for a walk in the freezing rain. I’m not sure that either of them really enjoyed that much.
When Rigby’s forever family came that evening, the dad and the two kids fell in love with this sweet boy instantly. The dad explained that they had had to give up their last dog because he had nipped at the kids—while he was being a good parent, this had put the dad in the doghouse for taking away his kids’ dog. Rigby was so gentle, though, he just wanted to cuddle up with each of them.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for my blog, which I thought was neat enough to share (mainly because it pulled in some of the really cute pictures from 2011). Here’s hoping that during 2012 I can get my blogging act together and write twice a week on average. Happy New Year!
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.