a few words about separation anxiety. and photos, too.

is that a little snout i spy?

Well it looks like we typed too soon about how mellow little Mr. Bunny-Ears is. Turns out our little pocket pittie has a bit of separation anxiety. Don’t get us wrong– it seems minor at this point– but it is something we will need to work on.

The first few days he was with us, he didn’t pay much mind to our comings and goings, but the other day it was like a switch flipped. All of a sudden little Gonzo was whining, crying, and scratching frantically at the floor in his room when I closed his door on my way out in the morning. It’s no wonder, really, considering that the little dearling was abandoned by his people at the animal shelter in November.

The next day, I discovered that the issue seems to be worst when he can hear us still in the house, but he is closed in his room. We do a lot of rotating of Gonzo Bunny-Ears and Chick so that each dog gets his own special time with the Humans Who Dole Out Treats, and Mr. Ears is not happy with the half of the arrangement where he is in his room with his toys, alone. He whines and scratches, and finally just lays with his face smooshed up against the door. Pardon the blur in this photo, I snapped it from outside on our deck through the window and mesh screen:

sad little Mr. Ears...

We did some serious training with our own loverboy Chick when he was younger on separation anxiety. It seems that when I first adopted him, I made the fatal mistake of taking him with me everywhere, so he was almost never alone. Together, we did my shifts at the wonderful little emergency shelter for immigrants in Austin where I worked at the time, ran my errands (back then Home Depot and REI both allowed dogs inside), and went swimming. Apparently constant togetherness is the best way to give a dog a separation anxiety issue. We learned this the hard way, but we overcame with glory.

Through intensive training which transitioned to a crazy routine of stuffed and frozen kongs upon leaving, we eliminated Chick’s separation issue.  It is more challenging with Gonzo because he is a little bit less food-motivated than Chick, so if I hand him a yummy snack/puzzle and head for the door, he follows me rather than diving into his culinary challenge. Thankfully his coping mechanisms are not too destructive (he does not hurt himself or destroy things), but still.

We plan to dig out our old notes from Chick’s behaviorist, but in the meantime, this anxious-faced little nugget wants to know: anybody have suggestions for how to get back on the right track?

help me be worry-free!For more info on adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, click here or email us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com.

dog bath night

Well, it was that dreaded night again in the Fosterfamily household . . . dog bath night!

mr. bunny-ears really is that small.

What we have learned about Gonzo Bunny-Ears is that unlike his foster brother Chick and our last foster Lollie Wonderdog, both of whom just regular hate bath time, Gonzo really hates bath time. In the bath, he spends 36 percent of his effort scrambling his legs around, 5 percent giving me the stinkeye, and 59 percent trying (sometimes successfully) to leap out of the tub.

i'm so sad, even my ears are deflated.

On six occasions, I had to pick up all 35 pounds of him (maybe 36 pounds soaking wet) and plop him back in there. By the end of the bath, we were both soaked.

the great escape

For more info on adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, click here or email us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com.

the art of settling in

You know how some people just have a knack for certain things? They pick up languages in what seems like just minutes, they have perfect pitch when singing, or they can memorize useless information, like the value of Pi, out to 150 decimal places (3.1415926535897932…)? My hunny Ben, for example, has this knack for the guitar. It’s hard to explain, but he can just play.

Little Gonzo Bunny-Ears has a special talent too. When he arrived at our house on Saturday, he spent about 30 minutes playing with great vigor and ferocity (and I mean that in the least aggressive way possible, unless you are coming from the perspective of the sticks and leaves in our yard), then he came inside, grabbed a kong from the floor, and just plopped down on a dog bed. He was done. It was almost as though he had already lived with us for months, knew where everything was, and there was no need to investigate. The rest of the weekend was smooth sailing, with him somehow reading our minds and already knowing the routine before we even told it to him. No anxiety, no drama.

How does a dog get to be such an incredibly mellow fellow?

For more info on adopting Gonzo Bunny-Ears, contact us at DCpetographer [at] gmail [dot] com, or click here.

everything is illuminated

The other night we were sitting around in the den, like we often do, and Lollie was checking out some of our books, like she often does, trying to decide what to read. When she is extra-concentrating, she likes to go into an intellectual play-bow while she thinks.

First she contemplated the blue books . . .Hmm, some Poe? Maybe some Murakami? Perhaps my friend MMB’s short story?

Then she contemplated the orange and red books . . .Ooh, I do like that Michael Chabon, and I heard the new McCann is good too . . .

But then she surprised herself, and selected a book — a favorite of her foster mom and dad’s — that she hadn’t even planned on reading: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated.Smells like a good read to me . . .

She is pretty enthralled with the story of Shapka, Jonathan, and Sammy Davis Junior-Junior (the seeing-eye bitch), but promises that once she’s done reading this book — tomorrow — she will return her attention to her fans, and share the next chapter in her foster adventure.


Adoptable Lollie Wonderdog came home from “camp” tonight and almost immediately scurried off to the nearest dog bed to fall deeply and profoundly asleep. We had been away over the weekend, so she spent four nights at her vet’s kennel. The facility is no fancy digs, but everybody there seems to love our sweet girl, and every time she comes home she is freshly washed and completely exhausted.

Stay tuned tomorrow, for the one in which everything is illuminated.

you’ve come a long way, sweet girl

I love rifling through old pictures, so last night I spent a little time looking back on my archive of Lollie Wonderdog’s photos. I missed her 100 day anniversary with us (today is day 106), but better late than never, right?

I got a little emotional when I found this photo of sad little Lollie on her first week with us. Look at the sores and irritation on her arms. All the thin and missing fur. Look at her brownish yellow tail (this was after a thorough bath at our house and at least six at the shelter). Her pink, irritated nipples. Her red, irritated eyes. Notice her uncertain, defeated expression.

That was day five for Lollie at Casa Fosterfamily, and the following picture was taken 100 days later, last night. I think the photo speaks for itself.

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

our very own CAFO

I don’t often joke about factory farming because it is not at all funny, but last night was just too ripe with opportunity.

Lollie Wonderdog has become quite the stern farmkeeper in her time with us, never afraid to put a stuffed animal in its place or zing it with her teeth for falling out of line. (As an aside, this is a big change from her first days with us, when the mere sight of a stuffed animal would send her into a fearful tremble.) And when its use has expired but it is still taking up valuable floorspace, selfishly breathing our air and soaking up our dust? She finishes it off at the end of its usefulness and sends it to the trash pile.

Last night was a prime example. We had a slaughter, and the victim was poor Mr. Piggy. Lollie was doing a concentrated animal feeding operation on Mr. Piggy’s extremities. Those are the tastiest bits after all, just ask a hotdog lover. I turned around a minute later, and poor Mr. Piggy had lost an ear.

Lollie as not always been such a heartless farmer (she is normally very sweet with stuffed animals), and truth be told, she seemed to regret her harsh punishment afterward, snuggling up with Mr Piggy and asking for forgiveness. Fosterdad and I are hoping that she learns from this experience and becomes an anti farm animal cruelty spokesmodel.

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

the prettiest eyes you ever did see

Remember when we blogged about how gorgeous Lollie Wonderdog is (not that you didn’t notice on your own), and about her magnetic personality? And when we showed you how her older fosterbrother Chick was teaching her his famous puppy dog look?

What we haven’t highlighted specifically– but you may have noticed through Lollie’s photos– is that each of these qualities is greatly augmented by her stunning, expressive, artfully-shaped, rich caramel-colored eyes.

We’re clearly not biased, because she’s not our dog. But just in case, judge for yourself.

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

the game of clue

Lol and I took a self-portrait the other day while driving home* from an adoption show with Bully Paws (a fantastic pit bull rescue organization in Virginia), and while it’s simple, we think it offers many important clues about Lollie and about fostermom.

Among them:

  1. Lollie is a good car rider, sitting calmly at the center of the back seat so she can see everthing, but not climbing over into the front seat, which is both dangerous and against The Rules.
  2. Lollie has a very cute smile and very sparkly eyes.
  3. Foster mom is a Safety Girl and always wears her seatbelt.
  4. Foster mom sometimes ignores the 24-hour rule and neglects to shower on Sunday morning, thus mandating a clever hat.
  5. Lollie and foster mom have been together too long; they are starting to resemble each other—the same twinkle in the eye, and the same color t-shirt.
  6. Foster mom’s best friend is a pit bull (you would be able to tell this if the picture hadn’t been cut off due to poor camera handling skills. Foster mom is wearing this t-shirt in the photo.)

*Come on people, the self-portrait was taken at a light. We are not so reckless as to take a portrait while the vehicle is actually moving!

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

riding in cars with dogs

Lollie loves riding in cars so much that if ever, on a walk, I ask her to stop and sit in the mere vicinity of a car, she assumes we are going to get into that car, and starts scooting a very excited and wiggly butt toward the back door, looking expectantly at the door handle. In her first days with us she would jump up on the car to see inside and indicate her interest in going for a ride, but we have since convinced her that this is not so cool.

We are a two-car family (left over from our days in Texas, where it’s almost impossible to not have one car per driver), and one of our cars is a sedan, while the other is an old two-door SUV. Lollie does not discriminate in which car she likes to joyride in, but we have discovered that she hates jumping in through the back of the SUV. If you’ve seen any photos of Lollie, you know that while she is quite skinny, she is hardly a waif. In fact, she is quite athletic and loaded with muscle, and generally a good climber and jumper.

So why, then, does she act like a helpless little prima donna when it comes time to load up in the truck?

Maybe she just likes the extra hugs and attention from her foster dad.

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

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