Gonzo: big dog magnet

Big dogs — and big dog owners — love Gonzo. Especially pit bull types and their people. We think it’s because he is so pocket-sized but at the same time has the general look and feel of a bigger pit bull. He’s small but sturdy, adorable but tough. Fosterdad calls him a cinder block covered in fur.

Our hypothesis — and this is not very tested — is that many people own a big dog and would like another, but can’t quite picture their lives with two 60 or 80 pound pooches. These same good people sometimes cringe at the thought of a delicate little thing, seeing images of their big burly dog bowling their new adoptee over the first time they try to play. Enter Gonzo, the solution to both of these problems.

We have written much on Gonzo’s merits. He is an excellent picnic companion, a great car passenger, a superlative kitchen helper, and an ambassador for bunny-eared dogs far and wide. But we had not until recently calculated that he is the perfect small/large dog package, and therefore the perfect companion for a bigger pit bull type dog.

Gonzo has made several friends/possible siblings in his time with us. Each has been a pit bull type, and not one of them has weighed less than 55 pounds. Amazing? We think so.

Check them out, in order from smallest to biggest — from our very own darling 50-pound Chick, to beautiful 90-pound Laila, who is so big that she doesn’t even fit into the frame.

But wait! Could one of these gentle giants turn out to be Gonzo’s forever-sibling? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

Gonzo’s favorite things: big brothers

In case it hasn’t been totally clear from reading our blog over the past few weeks, Gonzo absolutely adores his big brother. He follows Chick around everywhere and is always trying to play with him and snuggle on him. He hits Chick over the head with toys trying to entice him to play chase, and regularly sits down directly on top of a sleeping Chick as though it were the only seat in the house, even when it’s super hot and snuggling makes no sense. Lately, he has taken to imitation as his favorite way to flatter his big foster brother. Sometimes we come into a room to find them sleeping in the exact same pose, like this.

The way in which little Mr. Ears has bonded with Chick has made us pretty sure that whoever adopts him will have to have another dog to keep him company, or at least a few kids in the 6+ age range. He really thrives off company more than your average dog.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

ISO companionship for Junior

When Gonzo Bunny-Ears first came into our home, it seemed to us that he was very mellow, very flexible, and could fit well into any number of forever-home situations. This is still true. But, as time goes on, we are gaining some more insights into the kind of family that would make Mr. Ears happiest.

What is so clear, and yet we didn’t notice it before, is that Gonzo really thrives on companionship. Really thrives. All dogs are social animals, yes,  but Gonzo seems to need companionship more than others. For example. When he is with our dear Chick, he is a totally different dog than when he is alone. He is more mellow, more affectionate, more obedient, and seemingly happier. When Chick is not around, Gonzo is always on the move, looking for an activity. Very industrious. It’s adorable, but sometimes we wonder if he is feeling stressed. Once Chick enters the picture, Gonzo’s nervous energy dissolves, and he becomes like putty.

We don’t know where his forever-home will be or what his future family will be like, but we sure hope that he gets to enjoy the company of another critter, or at least a home-a-lot human.

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

a playdate

Well, Gonzo had his first playdate last night, and everyone agrees it was a big success. It was awesome not only because Gonzo is tiny and white while his playmate is big and black, but also because they are both wicked-cute, and because his playmate’s mom is one of our favorite pit bull lovers around!

I first met Sarah through the StubbyDog project, when I did a photo session of her and her adorable pup Blackie for the cause:

Not only are Sarah and Blackie the cutest human-dog combo I’ve ever met, but they are also wonderful pit bull advocates and keep a great blog, iLove-A-Bull.

Sarah and Blackie came over for dinner last night, and Blackie and Gonzo had a blast zooming back and forth and wrestling around on our deck and yard. As you probably know, Gonzo’s superstar foster brother Chick is a great mentor in good behavior and cuddling, but his days of playing with youngsters have passed. Not so for Gonzo. Nor for Blackie.

I would like to say that the evening was a lot like this:

But in reality, it was a lot more like this:

 

is your shutter super slow, or are those dogs bouncing at the speed of light? actually, both are the case here.

 

 

is Blackie launching an air-tackle of Gonzo? yes, he sure is.

 

is Gonzo retaliating with the biggest play-nip his mouth is capable of? why yes, he sure is.

Gonzo fell asleep swiftly tonight, after all this fun and excitement. Thanks for the visit, Blackie. We hope to see you again soon!

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

 

 

gonzo and chick, sitting in a tree

Gonzo and Chick, sitting in a tree.

t-o-l-e-r-a-t-i-n-g!

As long-term blog-readers know, our own loverboy Chick is a patient, wise, and gentle soul, but he does not like fostering as much as we humans do. Still, he puts up with it and the other dogs we bring into the house.

On the other hand, Gonzo’s attitude couldn’t be more different. He looks at the world with an attitude that says “Let’s Party!” He is always trying to play with Chick or at least be near him, and while Chick is reluctant, he is starting to warm up a little, as you can see below.

So we ask of you: what kind of narrative is going on between these two in the following series?

For more info about adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com or through Partnership for Animal Welfare.

Chick’s position on fostering: still not impressed

Fostermom and dad enjoy fostering for the reasons we have already explained and the reasons we will explain next time we have the time to sit down and write about them, but as for Mr. Chick, our own loverboy, he is not so sure.

Of course, he has dog friends. He even has dog kindred spirits, like his uncle Tex the lab, and his old Texas pal Pancho the mexican bandito. But for the most part, Chick’s attitude toward other four-leggers of the canine variety is one of reluctant tolerance. He will leave them in peace, and ask the same in return.

You can tell by his utterly unimpressed and squinty expression in this sorry excuse for a portrait of him and Mr. Gonzo Bunny-Ears:

The only good thing in the photo is that it gives you a little bit of a sense of how very small Mr. Ears is, when compared to the very normal-sized Mr. Chick. Note how Chick has his legs all the way down on the step below,  and he’s just as tall as an upright Mr. Ears.

Chick’s real complaint with fostering Mr. Ears in particular is that Gonzo is full of boundless energy and is constantly running up to Chick, bodyslamming his tiny body against Chick’s, and saying (with his body language) “hey bro, wanna play? huh? huh? huh?” To this, Chick squints his eyes unamusedly, sighs, and saunters off to another room.

Gonzo has also learned that Chick’s back is the perfect height for putting your paws up on, especially if you are trying to reach, with your tongue, a cooking utensil in your foster mom’s hand. Chick does not find this entirely entertaining, but bears it stoically.

Not that Chick doesn’t like fun. It’s just that Chick takes his energy in small, very enthusiastic bursts, and when he’s not in a burst, he prefers to have fun by reading the paper and sipping a cup of joe. And he’d prefer if you would refrain from wrinkling his paper or spilling his coffee, thank you very much.

double the dog = double the fun?

Since we welcomed Lollie into our home as our first foster dog, we get a lot of questions about whether it’s a lot more work taking care of two dogs than one.

This is a hard question and will depend a lot on the personalities, needs, and chemistry of the two dogs you are caring for. If your two dogs are best friends (like Mr B and Miss M of Two Pitties in the City), it is less work than if your two dogs have more individual needs, as do our own doglove Chick and our foster wonderdog Lollie.

People ask, is it no more work? A little more? Twice as much?

In truth, for us, it’s somewhere in between. It’s double the food and double the poop, but still the same number of outfits (our darling Chick kindly shares his sweaters and jackets with his foster sister, who is thankfully the same size). Double the vet visits and double the monthly preventive meds, but not much more cost (when fostering dogs, the sponsoring shelter or rescue generally pays for all vet care, so we just buy food and treats). Double the enrichment and double the training, but hardly any more walks (we usually walk them together). Double the dog beds and double the leashes, but only a few more toys (we rotate toys among them so nobody ever gets bored). When we go out of town, two dogs means double the boarding, but when we’re in town we get double the cuteness and double the attention (“hey, are those two brothers?”).

Most important of all, it’s double the snuggly little dogs all curled up in their snuggly little dog beds, double the silly moments that make you burst out laughing, and double the earnest, wet little doggie kisses that we wouldn’t trade for all the world’s treasures and all the world’s gold.

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

Lollie the carpenter

At the risk of pointing out the obvious: resident dog + foster dog = twice as many dogs as we had before.

And at Casa Fosterfamily, clutter is always lurking in a dark corner, waiting for us to stop paying attention so it can leap out into the open and take over everything. In its presence, we are so weak. It’s much easier to turn a blind eye and just bake a pan of brownies than it is to deal with the evil clutter monster. But, we try to combat it in small ways whenever we can.

Over the weekend, Lollie helped get the Dog Walk Station under control. We have this nifty vintage mail sorter by our side door, and when Chick was our one and only we used it to store dog walk related things: his leash, a spare key, poop bags, sunglasses, and gloves. With two dogs, though, it was getting a little unwieldy. Leashes, harnesses, collars, hats, and gloves were hung all over the poor thing, like some sort of ill-conceived, industrial holiday decoration.

So Lollie the brainiac helped us come up with a simple solution to keep things tidy. We went to a home restore and found some vintage brass cup hooks, took some simple measurements, and fastened them to the underside of our mail sorter.

Here is Lollie conceptualizing the project . . .

And figuring out the specs . . .

Just a few minutes later, voila! A two-dog solution! Nothing fancy, but it’s these little things that keep us sane while sharing our home with an extra dog.

baby [gate] steps

You may recall that we are slowly getting the wonderdogs used to each other using a combination of leashes and baby gates. Until this weekend, we were using a 4′ baby gate that was essentially a complete physical barrier. Lolita’s enthusiastic tongue could sneak through to lick my fingers or Chick’s unsuspecting face, but nothing more.

This weekend we decided to move to a much more modest gate, so the wonderdogs could sniff and greet over or under the gate in addition to observing each other through.

Lollie interpreted the new gate as a fun game / challenge. She never did weasel her way through it thanks to her big muscular shoulders, but she sure did try:

two steps forward, two steps back

At the risk of confusing metaphors, you know that saying about a stitch in time saves nine? Well, yesterday we got a stitch. In the arm. Specifically, our resident wonderdog Chick got one.

Although they are clearly on the road to being soulmates, it’s going to take a little more time.

The other day, Lollie and Chick went out for a romp in the yard after being pent up all day in separate rooms. In the excitement of burning off their energy doing crazy laps around the yard and frolicking, a playful interlude escalated into a little spat. Their disagreement ended as quickly as it started, but Chick ended up with some scratches and a cut on his arm. A trip to the vet earned him a stitch, some drowse-enducing meds, and the dreaded–but well-deserved– Cone of Shame. Lollie barely had a scratch.

While we wish it hadn’t happened, we are thankful for the early and relatively minor reminder that, borrowing the advice of BAD RAP, “we can’t go too slow” when introducing a new dog into the household. So for now, we’re back to the baby gates, and have learned an important lesson: while your new dog is new, burn off each dog’s energy solo before letting them hang together!

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