State of the State of Georgia Address

The state of the Georgia is strong.

Her reproductive capabilities have come to a standstill, but from this standstill will come the peace of knowing that no more accidental babies will be brought into this world by Georgia, and this sweet girl will never have to suffer the stress of motherhood again. Together with her future forever-family, she will form a bond based on mutual affection, trust, and companionship, and never again have to be the source of this bond for puppies. In her future life, she will be able to form — in the words of our forefathers — a more perfect union.

Georgia lives in an age of possibility. Three weeks ago, she was a skinny, frightened, gray-muzzled dog in a shelter with an uncertain today and an uncertain tomorrow. Two weeks ago, she had ear and lung infections so bad that her white blood cell levels were too irregular for safe anesthesia. She would not eat — not even the finest of canned foods rolled into gourmet meatballs hand fed by her foster mama. Georgia was rightly concerned for her stability, her safety, and her future.

But the era of concern is over for Georgia. Her finest advisors conducted a thorough audit, and determined that her governance and framework are sound. Her blood — once fighting severe infections — now flows healthy, vibrant and clean like a mighty river. Her skin — once plagued by dryness and flakes — is now on the mend. Her rough, calloused elbows — once deteriorating from a life spent sleeping on concrete — are now cushioned by soft pillows, dog beds, and grass wherever she lays down for a rest.

Still, Georgia cannot let her guard down. Georgia faces the challenge of aggression by rogue allergies. These allergies are nameless and faceless and hover in the shadows of Georgia’s society, too cowardly to show themselves in the light. Georgia looks to us and trusts us to help her seek the peace and freedom from these allergies, and we shall not retreat without striking them down. We are yet unsure of the borders of the war we face, but we have taken on wheat, grain, and poultry with isolationism, and a military of antihistamines that leaves Georgia stronger than ever before. If we address these threats today, Georgia will never have to suffer the consequences in all her tomorrows.

Last week we made a landmark decision about Georgia’s dental health. A tooth with a root exposed is no benefit to Georgia or to society. So just as we always seek to extract greed, violence, and hatred from our great nation, we extracted a tooth from Georgia’s mouth. We’ve created a mouth that makes it easier to eat, play, and chew with satisfaction. That’s something we should all be proud of, because just days ago, Georgia’s dental state was uncertain.

My fellow dog lovers, with our great society behind her, Georgia will rise to every occasion and meet every challenge. This age of possibility is not just for Georgia, but for all homeless dogs.

Our Georgia is and always has been a good dog. But the best is yet to come, if we all do our part.

Thank you, and God bless dog.


Curious Georgia wakes from a nap

Oh, hi . . . good morning . . . or is it afternoon? I’m a little disoriented . . . I was just . . . taking a nap. With my Chick. Under this here blanket. It was a really good nap . . . the kind where my nose goes twitchy-twitch and my feet go pitter-patter and my voice goes squeaky-muff.

In my dream we were running through a field together, soaking up the sunshine and chasing the shadows through the tall grass. When we’d get tired, we’d lay down and roll around on our backs with our mouths wide open in a big grin and our legs flailing about. Every once in a while, we’d turn around and run back to our people to make sure they were coming with us. But it wasn’t just my foster people who were there with me and Chick but some other people too. My people.

Then we both woke up, and we were under this here blanket, together.  And when it’s me and Chick under a nice warm blanket, there’s not much to complain about. But I’d still trade this handsome Chick of mine and my foster people for a forever family all my own.

In the meantime, I think we’ll snuggle back up under this here blanket and take another little nap.

For more info on adopting Curious Georgia, click here or contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com.

Chix-a-lot Friday: My review of Curious Georgia (so far)

I don’t know why mama keeps insisting on bringing girl dogs home. Doesn’t she know? Girl dogs are so pesky! Remember how Stevie was so in love with me that she was always staring at me and trying to make kissy face? I don’t know if it’s because of my devastating good looks or what, but the girl dogs are always obsessed with me.

The only dogs I have ever loved have been dudes. No girls. That’s just the way I roll. So when mama told me she was bringing another stupid girl home, I was pissed. Why couldn’t she bring me home another Gonzo — a cool little guy who would hang out with me but not stare at me all the time?

I first met Georgia on Sunday, after she was done with her meds for her ghirardhelli and her bordatelli (mama didn’t want me to get any of those “elli” diseases from her). We took a couple of co-walks and she kept trying to sniff sniff sniff my business end. Needless to say, I was not impressed. But because I’m such an experienced foster brother by now and I could tell that little Georgia girl didn’t mean me any harm, I stayed pretty relaxed, and mama was so impressed that we moved right to Georgia’s tiedown, skipping entirely over the whole week we normally spend with baby gates.

Mama kept calling it a “really big deal” and saying things about Georgia’s “sweet temperament” or “wonderful manners” or “mildness,” but I know that the real reason we moved so fast is that I decided to be extra awesome. And I had good motivation, too. Curious Georgia doesn’t eat much, so mama tends to leave her bowl laying around, hoping that Georgia will wander over now and then for a few bites of kibble. I knew this was a big opportunity for me, and the faster we got to free range status, the faster I would have a chance to inhale her dinner when mama forgot to hide it from me. That’s how clever I am!

But then something unexpected happened. I started to notice that even though I did find her staring and sniffing a little annoying, it got less and less annoying. By the end of the first tie-down day, Georgia had graduated to a drag line and I had graduated to sharing my bed with her. I even let her snuggle up a little closer than I normally let dogs get, just because she is kind of sweet and vulnerable and warm.

I still wasn’t entirely certain of what to think. All my life I had only liked dudes. How could it be that all of a sudden, a girl dog was giving me the warm and fuzzies? I kept pondering it over our first day or two of free-range, but then Curious Georgia did something that really sealed the deal and helped me realize that it was in fact love: she let me share her beloved octopus.

For more info on adopting Curious Georgia, click here or contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com.


Curious Georgia learns about tiedowns

Curious Georgia is not called “curious” for nothing. She is a very active sniffer, liking to get her nose right up close to anything and everything — to better understand the world. She doesn’t cause any trouble whatsoever, but she sure does like to sniff.

Sir Chick, our own wonderdog, is a bit of a grump with new dogs, so we can’t have Curious Georgia giving him a thorough sniffing anytime she pleases, or he may get fussy — which would most certainly frighten our delicate little flower. So what do we use? A tiedown.

It sure is lonely here on tiedown all by myself . . .

We have written about the glory of the tiedown before. We use it as a critical stage in integrating a new foster into our household. For us, a tiedown comes after baby gate socialization and before total free-range time. It helps dogs learn how to settle down and be still, keeps them out of trouble while allowing them to observe and be part of daily life, and allows resident animals to maintain their freedom without being bounced on or pounced on by new, rambunctious fosters dogs. Georgia is not a pouncer or a bouncer, but she is a sniffer.

Luckily Curious G took to the tiedown like a champ. She gets a little whimpery and barky when we leave the room and she is tied down, but after just a few days this behavior is beginning to extinguish and she is learning how to be cool even when we are gone. And Chick sure appreciates his independence, too.

I see that beautiful Chick but I cannot sniff him from here!

Maybe if I put on my saddest face, they'll let me resume my sniffing habit.

For more info on adopting Curious Georgia, click here or contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com.


Curious Georgia meets the boys

On one of her very first nights in her new environment, foster mom and dad had a party for Curious Georgia.

Ok, the party wasn’t for her, exactly, but luckily, Georgia will never know. As far as she’s concerned, she got to meet a bunch of new people and watch them swoon over her honey eyes and her perfect manners. “I can’t believe she’s only been here two days,” they said. “Yep, isn’t she something special?” we posed.

Everybody cooed over her mild manners, her quiet energy, and the fact that she would never dream on jumping up on a stranger in greeting. Instead, she prefers to gently rest her face against their leg, as if to say “Hi, I’m Georgia. I would like a hug, please.”

Her favorite guests, naturally, were our good friends Dexter and Caden, who live in the neighborhood and have made friends with our own Chick and several of our fosters. They were pleased with her huggability, and she was pleased with theirs.

I guess you could say she’s kid-friendly!

For more info on adopting Curious Georgia, click here or contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com.

Curious Georgia, mystery dog

Is Georgia your average Heinz 57 mixed-breed shelter dog, or is she a pit bull, or is she both? Or does it matter? Regardless of her true genetic makeup, her size, short fur, wrinkled forehead, and silly ears had her labeled a pit bull — a black one — and all but sealed her fate at the county shelter.

Five or six year old Georgia came in as a stray, severely underweight, with bad ear infections, terribly rough skin, and swollen, puffy paws from allergies or who knows what. As with many shelter dogs, nothing is known about her past. The big, prominent callouses on her elbows suggest a lot of time spent laying on concrete or another rough surface; her fear of doorways, stairs, and the sound of kitchen appliances suggest a non-domestic life prior; but her honey eyes and love of hugging suggest a heart of molten gold.

Like many black pit bulls do, Georgia sat at the shelter waiting for her perfect family to come along — for two and a half months. Much like Little Zee, Georgia was shy at the shelter, tending to linger in the back of her pen rather than bouncing and wiggling at the front soliciting attention. Lucky for her she caught the attention of a few shelter staff, and became a quick favorite — a status that eventually led her into our home and into our hearts.

Much of Curious Georgia’s personality is still a mystery, since she has only been with us a few short days. But certain things are starting to emerge. She is housebroken. Very mild. A little timid. Chases balls and bats them around, but won’t put them in her mouth. Gets to know people by sniffing every inch of their face with a wistful look in her eyes. Loves to hug. Desparately seeks love. Great with kids. Loves to lay down and roll around in sunny, grassy spots. Sleeps curled up into a little lima bean shape at night, with her nose tucked under her back leg. Dreams of a loving family of her very own.

Sound like your dream dog?


Introducing Curious Georgia!

So we knew it wouldn’t be long, but we were thinking it would be maybe two or three months — enough time to pack, move, and settle in to our new life — before our next foster. So how did it turn into two days?

Meet Georgia.

It’s been a tough couple of months at our county shelter. Everybody is working hard to push dogs out to rescue and foster, boost adoptions, and bring in donations to sustain the precious, fragile lives the county is responsible for. But it’s been the kind of spell that gives shelter workers nightmares. Adoptions are down because of the great adoption specials that neighboring jurisdictions are offering, and the dogs keep coming in. Two and three and four at a time. Kennel space is rare, and sometimes nonexistent. From time to time, heartbreaking decisions have to be made.

Curious Georgia was about to be on the receiving end of one of those heartbreaking decisions — a last call — when her personal angel showed up. A woman who works at the shelter and can’t have a dog but pulled her anyway because she just couldn’t bear to lose this girl’s honey eyes and disposition to match. She thought maybe if she could just hold on to sweet Georgia for just a few days, the stars would align and this tender little life would be saved.

So we stepped up. Two minutes after I met Georgia, she was wistfully sniffing every inch of my face. Ten minutes after I met her, she was curled up in a tight ball in my lap, and my heart was already making room.  Two days later, she was snoozing peacefully under our dining room table. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m sure glad it did. Come along for the ride– you’ll be glad you did, too.

The great upheaval

For months now, we’ve known the time would come when we had to stop fostering for a while. We have dreaded it for a few reasons, the biggest of which is that it has become one of the truest sources of beauty and satisfaction in our lives, and it nourishes our spirits daily.

Over the past year, six foster dogs have hung up their hats and rested their weary heads in our home for a while, taking time to relax, rebuild, learn to trust, and find the strength to carry on. We have loved each one. And when the time has come, we have sent each one off to its very own new life. We hate to see this journey end, even for a short while.

But, the time has come. We left a big piece of our hearts in Austin a few years back, and we’re heading back to retrieve it. In a few weeks, we will be making Texas our home again.

Chick is already hard at work packing up his pearl snap shirts and cowdog boots. He loves the endless supply of sunshine and year-round swimming opportunities down in Central Texas. He doesn’t like to admit it lest you think less of him, but he is even happy to have a temporary reprieve from his foster brothering duties.

Inevitably, there will be some fostering downtime while we pack, move, take a little time to travel, and get set up in our new community. But we can’t imagine letting our blog world go. We may cut back on posts to a few per week until we’re ready to ramp back up again, but we don’t plan to stray far from this blog community that we have grown to love so much.

Some of you might have thoughts about topics we could write about during our fostering sabbatical. If you do, please let us know in the comments or in an email (DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com).  We would love to hear your ideas. Will you share them?

So as you can imagine, saying goodbye to Zee was extra emotional for us. At just three weeks until our move, we were not only sending a dear dog love off to a new home, but we were also closing the fostering book for a while.

Even we are not so crazy that we’d pull another dog with our move looming so close.

Or are we?

A letter to Little Zee in her new home

Dear Little Zee,

Gosh, you’re really gone. It’s amazing and numbing and wonderful and heartbreaking and joyful and astounding all at once. When we met you in August, you were an eight-year-old pit bull with goopy eyes and a physical disability in a large shelter. You had either a dark future or a long road ahead of you, we thought. But when we said goodbye to you just a few short weeks later, you were a shining star. A celebri-dog. An elder-belle. An internet sensation, a remarkable fundraiser, and a snuggle-bear with fur like velvet and eyes that can melt even the most hardened of souls.

But your new family does not have hardened souls. Zee, you were happily napping and drooling on the couch when I had this conversation, but I took a liking to your new mama as soon as we talked on the phone that first time. I loved that she was not put off by your age or your disability, but in fact drawn in by it. I loved that she and her hunny — your new daddy — had been waiting for the right time to adopt their first dog and thought carefully about what type of dog would be the best fit for their current and future family. When they came over to meet you, I loved how they loved you. How they kept remarking at how sweet, social, and soft you are. How you don’t mind being picked up and held. I loved thinking about how you would teach them so much about the purity and sweetness of a good dog’s love, and their lives will be forever changed by you.

Zee, you have bolstered our faith and pride in humanity. You have showed us how much compassion and love there can be for a tiny underdog in this world. That although puppies and young dogs will always be in the spotlight, there is enough space on the stage for a humble, lovable, older gal like yourself to bathe in the warm glow too. The amount of support we received while you were in our care — in the form of donations, quick emails, and long, emotional letters — really blew us away. We cried often while you were with us, but our tears were not tears of frustration or sadness, but rather tears that spilled over when our hearts were so full from the love of our community that we couldn’t fit any more thankfulness inside ourselves. We will always be grateful for the way you wiggled your way not only into our lives, but into the lives of hundreds of others who know you through photos and stories alone. Thank you, Little Zee.

With love, longing, and tenderness,

Foster mom, foster dad, and Sir Chick (who is so proud to share his Elderbull title with you)

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