Welcome to our foster dog chronicles!

Welcome to our foster dog chronicles!

This blog chronicles one foster family’s experience in what happens when you take a lonely dog with a sad past out of a shelter and offer it your love and a six-foot leash. For more on our most recent foster (now adopted!) Lollie Wonderdog, check out the Adopt Lollie page or scroll through our blog, below.

the fortune cookie mystery

We had no idea– until yesterday– that fortune cookies are the most coveted treat of all treats. Squealworthy treats. Droolworthy treats. 

Could she have known, somehow, that her very own fortune cookie would deliver a cryptic, but undoubtedly positive, message? 

There are two Great Mysteries to this adventure. The first Great Mystery: what is Lollie’s dearest dream? Does it involve squirrels? Toys? Becoming a celebrity spokesmodel for a very important product? Meeting her biological parents, Barbie and the Incredible Hulk? She didn’t reveal, despite our extensive begging and bribery.

The second Great Mystery: does the fortune still come true if you eat not only the fortune cookie, but the fortune itself? 

the foster home advantage

There are a couple of big advantages in adopting a dog from a foster home rather than a shelter. First, foster families are able to gather and share an enormous amount of information about the animal’s behavior, personality, and training. Even if well cared for, a dog in a shelter environment will act differently than after a few weeks settling in to a home, and there are certain things that are impossible to assess or predict in a shelter environment. With Lollie, it took about six weeks for what we consider her “real” personality to emerge (the one that celebrates the little things by doing head stands, and does a little bobble head move at a new sound).

Second, animals in foster care are more likely to be spayed / neutered and have had major and minor medical needs cared for. Lollie came to us unaltered, and we made arrangements for her spay a few weeks later. We monitored her as her surgery wound healed, gave her pills, applied ointments, shuttled her to follow-up visits at the vet, and kept her calm as she recovered. She also arrived with irritated, flaky skin and sores around her feet. We treated the pads and knuckles of her feet with soothing shampoo and carefully kept her clean and on soft bedding so she could heal. Many dogs go into foster care with more serious ailments, and by the time they are adopted, they have been treated and are “good as new.” These are all things that a foster dog’s future (where are you?) forever family will not have to deal with, making the transition that much easier.

Another advantage of foster animals is that in the right care, they are able to get a head start on the skills and habits that will make them a very good pet. We have crate trained Lollie carefully from the start, and because she is a very good sport who never complains, she has taken to it well. When we walk into the room and tell her “load up!” she trots in and sits to receive a snack or treat.

But it wasn’t until last night that– for the first time– she decided it was bedtime, teeter-tottered sleepily over her crate on her own, and curled up to go to sleep. They say that this is a very big step for a dog learning to crate train, and fosterdad and I quietly danced around in celebration.

For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.

Today is National Delurking Day!

Lollie Wonderdog just informed me that today is National Delurking Day.

So please, as you stop by Lollie the Wonderdog’s blog, leave a quick comment to say hello, and encourage a friend to do the same. We know you’re out there. We’d love to know who you are and what you think of us!

You will give both me and Lollie a big thrill, and who knows, you may even help her get adopted, somehow!

For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.

Adoptability factor 4: Magnetic Personality

This is the fourth in our regular series on what makes sweet Lollie Wonderdog so very adoptable. Sorry for missing a few weeks during the holidays, but we’re back with this popular series! Although there are endless adoptability factors we could list, we are limiting this to an occasional series so we don’t overwhelm you too much. 

Adoptability factor archive: 1: Snugglability 2: Trainability 3: Drop Dead Gorgeousness

You know those people that everybody just flocks to? You find yourself acting kind of goofy around them because for some reason you want to impress them? When you’re around them, it just makes you feel good? Babies trust them, the media loves them, they’re always perfectly nice and funny, they dress well, and they can craft a flawless vodka martini? Well, that person is Lollie Wonderdog.

In only 10 short weeks, she’s been in local online newspapers three times, been featured on the evening news once, and has received stacks and stacks of mail from her admirers and friends. When we take her for a weekend outing to a busy area, people huddle around her. They can’t help but touch her and hug her, and find themselves giggling uncontrollably at how they never thought they could feel this way about a pit bull. I don’t know how she does what she does, but she is positively irresistible. And it’s not just the media and regular street folk who love her.

Clean cut lawyers love her:

Guys with shaved heads and tattoos love her: 

Girl scouts love her:

Even Santa Claus loves her!

With this kind of magnetism and charm, how could anybody resist adopting her? Come to think of it, I’m thinking Lollie would make an excellent winglady for a single person . . . she would be a great chick magnet or guy magnet!

For more info on adopting Lollie Wonderdog, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.

the one in which we taught her how to down-stay

Is it possible to teach a dog how to down-stay in just one evening, you might ask?

Yes, we would tell you, it is possible. As long as that dog is Lollie the foster wonderdog.

On the recommendation of Vicktory dog Handsome Dan’s mom, I have been reading an incredible dog behavior book, Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. I don’t want to overstate the importance of this book to my perceived understanding of dog learning and behavior, so let’s just say it’s rocking my face off in a big way.

Inspired by yesterday’s segment, I decided it was time for Lollie to learn to not be under foot while I’m cooking dinner (a pit bull drooling over dinner prep in a vegan kitchen? seriously?). I had been avoiding the down-stay since the beginning because although Lollie is a total genius, she is also somewhat distractable (I have heard that this is very common in dogs who were understimulated early in life). But, I resolved, tonight is the night we begin. So I armed myself with a bowl of kibble and set to work. Within a couple of minutes, she was calmly laying down as long as I kept the treats coming. Over the course of 15 minutes, I was able to progress to 30 second intervals with the treats. After a few more minutes, I was able to briefly leave the kitchen and come back, and she would still be on the designated rug. I dropped a piece of kibble on the  floor, out of reach. No movement. I jumped up and down. Nothing. Incredible. The work is not done and hurdles lay ahead, but this is a much more solid start than I could have even hoped for.

Of course, we already knew that Lollie was a wicked-fast learner, and I’m sure that many, many other dogs are able to learn as quickly as her. But I really get blown away when I think about the larger context, and how in November when she came to us, she was full of fear, suspicion, and a complete inability to concentrate. We think her “wonderdog” title is very well deserved.

A few more photos of the wonderdog in her new down-stay are below.

For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.

gifts from a handsome suitor…

… or so Lollie would have you believe. Fostermom had the pleasure of photographing Vicktory dog Handsome Dan and his family a few days before Christmas Eve for StubbyDog, and as an incredibly sweet gesture, Dansome got a box of doggie Christmas cookies for Lol and Chick. Lollie has a big crush on Handsome Dan of course (what ladydog wouldn’t?) so she has been shamelessly pretending that the cookies were a gift of love (not friendship) and only for her (not also for Chick).

Here she is with their box of cookies, showing Dansome her most winning “come hither” look: 

Dansome is a real role model for dogs like Lollie, because he has overcome such cruelty and adversity and become a wonderful and gentle family member to Mark, Heather, and their two kids. Dansome is quite shy and wary of strangers– which is understandable after everything he went through at the Vick property– but he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body, and as time goes on, he is learning how to trust and love. He is worlds from where he was.

It was especially moving for me to meet Dansome because I had been following the Vick dogfighting drama from the start, and almost obsessively tracked the progress of the dogs at Best Friends and BAD RAP. I still remember the overwhelming emotion that washed over me each time I read a newspaper article or saw photos about the unfolding case or what was happening with the dogs. I remember seeing the Best Friends article about Dansome being adopted, and thinking how kind, gentle, and warm Heather, Mark, and their son Cam looked in the photos. I remember thinking how stark of a contrast his future life was going to be from his dark beginnings.

Well Heather, Mark, Cam, their new baby Josephine, and Handsome Dan himself all easily lived up to my imagination. Here are a few photos from our session:

good for your heart AND for your health

We at Casa Fosterfamily just love to brag about Lollie.  By now it should be no secret; she is adorable, well-behaved, and apparently irresistible to strangers (although why has she not been adopted yet?).

Last Friday, Lollie visited Montgomery General Hospital as part of the employee health and wellness expo, to show the positive benefits of (adopted!) pets for your health. According to a Washington Examiner Article about the event, “. . . hospital employees who visited the MCHS booth at the health expo were invited to experience the instantaneous mood benefits that meeting foster dogs Bella and Lollie and foster cat Macky could have for them.”

The hospital employees discovered what Lollie’s friends and fans have know all along– that she is an instantaneous mood lifter thanks to her affectionate nature…

… and her constant clownery: 

She is also a great role model for health, because she always eats her veggies:

She knows the importance of a good night’s sleep: 

She demonstrates good restraint when eating treats and snacks:

And she likes to do yoga:

Needless to say, she was a big hit. According to her friend Santa Dave who came to the event as her handler, “Lollie was a star and made us the most popular table.” Here are a few photos taken by MCHS staff of Lollie giving some of her famous love to the crowd.

For more info on adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.

winning smile

When fostermom was in middle school, she threw a great big hissy fit every time her parents brought up the idea of getting braces. With time, they backed down in exasperation. And so, she spent the next half decade developing and perfecting an awkward closed-lipped smile that wouldn’t reveal the gap between her two front teeth.

Some folks have asked us– why doesn’t Lollie ever smile in photos? We think it’s not a matter of tooth gappiness (her teeth are very cute and nicely aligned), but rather of good old middle school self confidence issues. When she came into our home, it took several days for her to look at us at all, and nearly a month for her to hold eye contact for more than a few seconds. After six weeks she was readily approaching us with her tail high and relaxed and her gait steady. Now–after two months–she confidently bounds over when called. A friend she met during her early shelter days came to visit over the weekend was amazed at the transformation– not only in her healthier body weight and her thicker shinier coat, but in the more self-assured way she carries herself and actively seeks out affection and play.

And the smile? It’s started to emerge too.

For more information about adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.

a cat-tastic video

Just when you thought you were maxed out on Lollie’s adorability, we have something new for you. For a little Friday fun, we caught a video of her watching a youtube video of talkative cats. Her little bobblehead is just over-the-top cute.

Check it out!

For more information about adopting Lollie, contact us at DCpetographer@gmail.com or 301-520-7123.

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