Chix-a-Lot Friday: Love me? Love my sweater!

Guys, you will never believe your luck. You know this gorgeous, haute couture sweater I modeled for the camera ahead of our exclusive fundraiser raffle?

Remember how many of you fainted at your desks, just from seeing me in all of my gorgeous, dog-model glory? And how many of you instantly felt an intense and primal need to get your hands not only on my stunning self but also on a sweater just like mine?

Well. You may never get your hands on this fine body of mine, but as of today, you can get your hands on one of these luxurious, handknit sweaters!

It gets even better: now, for a limited time only, our dear friend Emily is selling these fine, fine pieces to benefit the medical care of her own foster elderbull, Ginger Rogers! Ginger is having some pretty serious ear and dental issues that need to be cared for before she can be adopted, and Emily has cleverly decided to allow all of us dog-lovers to help Ginger and be fashionable and warm all winter long. I mean, seriously — a hand-knit sweater, custom made for any dog size, for $25-$30? And at the same time helping out that hottie Ginger Rogers with her ear and tooth issues? I’m in. Mama, get the checkbook please, I need a sweater to match every mood!

For more info, visit Emily’s blog, here!

XOXO, Sir Chicky

PS- mama said that even though Friday is MY day, I have to share with my stupid foster sister Zee, who is stealing all of my elderbull thunder. So here are some stupid photo of stupid Zee, with her stupid hand-knit sweater.

Foster Dad’s Take: Guard Dog

You’ve heard a lot from FosterMom about Zee’s beauty, her love of car rides, and her fine taste in furniture.  But I wanted to share one of my favorite things about our little lady: her utter incompetence as a guard dog.

Every evening when I walk in the door after a long day at work, Zee hears me fumble with the lock and lets out a staccato but somewhat hoarse woof.  It’s never more than a lone syllable, but it’s loud.  Next, however, she doesn’t come bounding over to the door to check me out.  Instead, I hear her slowly disentangle herself from the cozy jelly bean she’s formed at Foster Mom’s feet and saunter toward the door.  As she rounds the corner, coming within sight of the door, she pauses, head and ears cocked, her forehead wrinkled with curiosity.
When Zee sees it’s me, she romps over for a hearty back massage, leaning so far into me that she loses her balance and plops her butt down on the floor.
Good guard dog!

Little Zee, party animal

Our good buddies came over for drinks the other night, and Zee showed off her party animal side. Her favorite way to party is by sitting in the various laps that are made available to her, including our friend Amanda’s:

Although she is an equal-opportunity lap-sitter, she really is at her absolute happiest snuggled between a couple of guys. She loves women and kids, but she absolutely ADORES men (smart lady).

And miniature men may be even better. Here she is having a nice snuggle with our buddy Dexter, who has been a great friend and playmate to several of our foster dogs:

 

We think that Zee’s obvious comfort with and love for all different types of people is a big “adoptability factor” in her favor. Zee has never met a person she didn’t like, and has never found a lap that’s unsuitable for napping on.

Bouncing and Bumbling

We’ve written so much about Little Zee’s bouncing and bumbling ways — the very cute result of a neuro issue that has left her with slightly impaired balance and coordination — but until you have seen it, it’s really difficult to love.

Just a warning — we have bolstered our doors with extra locks to stave off all of the would-be dognappers who will be driving to our house as soon as they watch her charming ways:

no dogs on the sofa

. . . or so we thought.

After all, it’s a light colored sofa, and we do not suffer from a lack of dog-permissive furniture in our living room and den.

It’s not that our Little Zee sneaks up without permission. It’s that she’s so darn sweet and so good at finding the exact right spot to snuggle in, that you just can’t resist her pleading eyes.

One more dog rule, out the window.

Chix-a-Lot Friday: the Outdoorsman

Sir Chick wants everybody to know — he is getting really pumped for fall. Summer is cool and all, but he doesn’t like swimming nearly as much as his mama does, and it’s just so darn hot — especially when you have such a strong “sun-dar” that always leads you to the sunny spot, no matter how small it is, and no matter how hot it is outside.

Chick loves fall because he’s such an outdoorsman — you  might think he works at the Bass Pro Shop. He might work there, actually, if they allowed dogs and if he had opposable thumbs.

Fall is prime hiking and backpacking season in the Mid-Atlantic, and Chick loves him some hiking and backpacking. Sometimes when the weather is perfect, we head out past the Shenandoah Mountains — always crowded with DC tourists — and set foot into the wild hills of the George Washington National Forest.

Sometimes we go even when the weather is not perfect, but rather chilly or rainy — not too uncommon for the spring and fall in our area, but Chick never wants to miss an opportunity to do a two-night thru hike– nor does his mama, who loves little more than being outside in the great big world.

Back when we lived in Texas, we were pretty much guaranteed good weather when we went on excursions — it’s always warm and sunny in Central Texas.  Chick did some good camping and backpacking trips over New Years weekends, President’s Day weekends, and MLK weekends.

Chick’s measure of outdoorsy suitability is this: if there’s a tennis ball handy and you can roll around on your back having a mock battle with it until you fall tenderly asleep on the bare earth, it’s good enough for him.

Splish splash!

Last night was dog bath night at Casa Fosterfamily!  Dog bath night can go a lot of ways depending on who is being fostered — chasing a wet tiger-striped antelope of a Stevie Wonder around the living room after she manages to escape, needing four towels to mop the floor after pocket rocket Gonzo is through with his splashing antics,  or having to drag the bovine skeptic Lollie into the tub and keep her occupied with a heavy dose of peanut butter.

But last night, dog bath night was sweet and gentle, just like Little Zee — I carefully lured her into the bathroom with some liver treats — even though she was deeply suspicious as soon as she heard the water running — and she let me plop her right in the tub. She is such a good girl that she took the whole bath without so much as a complaint.

She was so resigned to the bath that she even sat down in the tub and stayed there while I soaped her up.

The closest she came to a protest was vigorously licking her face when I got it wet, as if to try to dry herself off and pretend the bath never happened:

We ended up with a clean, snuggly Zee, but her perfect cleanliness only lasted minutes — before we knew it, there she was, laying in classic Zee style, with her butt and tail on the dog bed, and the rest of her sprawled across the floor, dreaming of drier days.

Less adoptable? Who says?

Many of you have adopted pets in your lives. Have any of you adopted what is generally considered to be a “less adoptable” pet? If you have, what has that experience been like? If you have not, what has stopped you?

According to Petfinder, a less adoptable pet fits into one of the broad categories of animals that generally wait longer to find their families, and have worse luck at being adopted at all. These include senior animals, large black dogs of any breed, pit bulls or pit bull mixes, and special needs animals (including blind, deaf, or limited mobility pets).

Our Little Zee is “less adoptable” not only under one criteria, but under three different ones – she is eight years old, which makes her officially a “senior,” she is a pit bull type dog, and she needs a little bit of help getting around (up and down stairs especially), due to her neuro condition. But being the happy, optimistic, bumbly little charmer that she is, she has no idea that she is “less adoptable” in so many ways. She is perfectly happy in her own skin, and thinks that she is just perfect. That’s the Little Zee way.

And to be honest, we consider Little Zee to be our most adoptable foster dog yet. She is an absolute delight in the house, and needs very little care. She is quiet and snuggly, adores people, is so gentle on a leash, and is happy just to be with us, quickly curling up for a nap on the floor, wherever we are. She does not beg, does not chew or scratch, does not steal slippers, toys, or food, does not mind being handled, picked up, bumped into, or having her tail pulled. She has no anxious inclinations, and does not need to be babied with stuffed kongs or other activities when we leave. She does her outdoor business as soon as she steps outside, and does not have accidents in our house. She loves to go for walks, but is content with just a few 10 minute strolls a day if that’s all we can offer. She sleeps like a rock all through the night, and could easily keep sleeping well past the alarm clock, even if she has been snuggled in for 12+ hours. She is so happy and silly that everybody falls in love with her. She is small in size and goofy in personality, so she intimidates almost nobody. We could go on. So answer this—what about this description makes Zee so unadoptable?

In case you hadn’t heard, this week is officially “Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week” at Petfinder. All this week, Petfinder is featuring animals who fit the aforementioned criteria prominently on their website, in order to encourage potential adopters to think twice about these lovely animals who just don’t have as good of a shot otherwise. We are thrilled that Petfinder has chosen to do this, and have already scrolled through some of the dogs in the gallery and picked out a few dozen that we ourselves would love to adopt.

But we do think that calling these animals “less adoptable” may not be the best term of art, since it has a slightly negative connotation. Next year, what if Petfinder hosted “Adopt a Diamond-in-the-Rough Week” instead?

Not just a napper

Little Zee wants everybody to know that she is not just a cuddly little napper– she may be 7 or 8 years old, but she still loves to party.  While she doesn’t need a ton of exercise and can get by on a few 10-15 minute walks a day because she’s so chill, she is also always up for a longer adventure or a good tongue bath to her favorite people. See for yourselves!

We especially love her waggling tail and butt when she walks, and how great her leash manners are:

And we love how engaged she is when it’s time to have a good cuddle. As long as we want to keep petting her and playing with her, she is excited to launch ambush tongue attacks– both hilarious and sweet:

Little Zee’s vet visit

A little bit of rain did not deter us from making a visit to the vet’s office for a nice thorough exam, a full set of vaccinations, and some compliments on her cuteness. Zee is a bit of a sissy in the rain, but once she got Chick’s waterproof coat on, she hardly even noticed the rain drops that were falling on her head.

When I first met Zee at the shelter, she was 7 pounds overweight and had a bad case of conjunctivitis, some skin inflammation, upper respiratory infection, and a mysterious neurological condition. All we really knew was that she was a sweet girl, maybe eight years old, who would almost certainly be overlooked in the shelter for as long as she lived there. In a shelter full of beautiful, bouncy, happy dogs, it’s hard for a mellow older girl with special needs to compete– people tend to get stuck on her age and apparent depression and move on.

Zee had full bloodwork done when we had her spayed a few weeks ago, but she had not had a chance to bask in the glorious attention of a nice vet who would thoroughly check her vitals and answer all of our questions — until a few days ago. Not surprisingly, she did great, and the vet’s assessment was even better than we had hoped.

Zee’s weight is down to a perfectly healthy 44 pounds. Her ears, eyes, heart, and lungs are all in great shape, and her teeth are in remarkable condition for a dog her age, especially given the fact that she has likely never eaten high-quality food before. The vet was very impressed with her beautiful, thick coat that is as soft as velvet — so different than any of the other dogs we have fostered to date.  He also detected very little arthritis in her joints– so little that he did not even recommend a joint supplement, only a daily multivitamin. He thought that she may even be younger than the estimated 8 years old that the shelter had guessed — possibly 6 or 7. In other words, she is a perfect physical specimen!

The vet was also kind enough to spend some time investigating Zee’s neurological condition, which does not seem to cause her any pain or suffering, but does make her just a tad off balance — as though she were a little tipsy or walking on a boat sometimes. He did a few tests on her reflexes and coordination, watched her walk up and down stairs, and asked her to sit, stand, and follow him around the office in different directions and maneuver around corners.

The observation confirmed for our vet what we had already suspected, which is that Zee’s condition is likely the result of a trauma earlier in her life that has affected her balance and depth perception, and only very slightly her reflexes — it is essentially a form of brain damage. This type of condition comes on at once — at the time of the trauma — and tends to be stable afterward. For Zee, this means that her cute trot, her clumsy way of bumping into coffee tables, and her need to sit down when she sneezes are going to be lifelong traits, but are not likely to develop into more serious issues down the road. From the vet’s assessment, the way Zee bumbles happily through the day now is the same way she will bumble happily in five years.

 Zee left the vet’s office feeling a little off balance but with a belly full of treats and a body satisfied from pets and scratches, and we left feeling so hopeful about our little girl’s future.

 


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