Thursday, December 20, 2012

Furry Comfort

In the wake of the horrific Newton, Conn. school shooting, this video brings a little sunshine.

I am a huge proponent of the comfort that our four-legged friends can bring to us in times of trouble.  This past Friday, my parents had to put down our 9-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, Amber, after a short but swift illness.  She provided all of us with warm, furry hugs in many times of need over the years, and she leaves a big hole in all of our hearts and lives.  

While on the phone with my parents, my two dogs, Hannah and Titan, clung to me like glue through the whole ordeal.  They knew something was up, and Titan sat in my lap while Hannah licked my face.  Life brings trials and tribulations of all shapes and sizes but dogs are loving, non-judgmental, and accept anyone who has love to give.  So take a minute and hug your dog (or cat, or horse, or rabbit or whatever) today.  I promise it will help to dissolve any troubles in your way.

Me, Ely and Amber on the Potomac River a few years ago.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Simba Finds a Home

Last Saturday, a wonderful family from Boulder adopted Simba.  They have a 5 year old girl and a 10 year old boy.  We had many great applicants for Simba, but this family stood out and are good friends with another one of the Mountain Dog Rescue volunteers. 

Simba from Mountain Dog Rescue
Simba enjoying the good life.  
Simba was a hard one to let go, and at one point Fritz actually wanted to keep him.  Three dogs would be tough, and it would definitely prohibit us from fostering much.  Maybe someday when we have some land and a giant fenced in yard we can have a pack running around!

We have had several lovely emails already about how much they love Simba, and he seems to be warming up and trusting them after being a little depressed right off the bat. We were even lucky enough to get a picture of Simba with his new boy on the car ride home.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and made us feel so happy that Simba found his home for Christmas!
Simba and Titan from Mountain Dog Rescue
Simba and Titan.  Both came from death row at BARC in Houston, Texas.
Both are now safely in their forever homes! Titan is our dog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meet Simba

 Meet Simba, our new foster dog!  We picked him up in Denver on Saturday, and he has fit into our house amazingly well.  He has the funniest kind-of scrunched face, and really shows his sweet soul when he looks into your eyes.  This guy is 8 months old, about 30 pounds and came from the BARC shelter in Houston (same place as Titan) to explore wonderful Colorado.  He has lots of puppy energy and loves playing with bones and toys, but settles down at night to snuggle with us and the dogs.  

He is a really quick learner - and is already starting to understand "go potty" to go outside, and "sit" and "go to bed."  After only 5 days he is already sticking close off-leash and LOVES to play with Hannah and Titan outside in the snow.  I think he must be part herding dog, because of the way he crouches down and stalks Hannah when playing outside. He has the softest fur, and doesnt seem to shed much at all so far.

This guy is already stealing our hearts...I know he will make someone an amazing dog when he finds his forever home!  

Check him out on Petfinder.

Sweet Simba 

Stalking Hannah on the golf course.

Play time with Hannah!

Simba, taking a break from the action.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Inside of a Dog

On a recent trip I picked up Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz at the airport book store. Something about buying a book and holding it in my hands still makes me so happy!

Horowitz explores the science of dog perception and cognition, while referencing experiences with her own dog's behavior.  Describing the way our pets see, smell, and know in a way the average person can understand provides some much needed insight into why our dogs behave the way they do.  Growing up with all kinds of pets and having a vested interest in animals since a young age, I feel like some of the pieces are old news to me.  But the average pet owner who hasn't sought this information previously would do well to read this book.  I can guarantee that anyone who thinks they know their furry companion well, will walk away with a much better understanding of this wonderful species.

Waiting out a delayed flight in Denver International Airport.

I am only half way through the book right now, and will have a few plane rides this weekend to read some more.  Full report to come once I finish!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Before and After

This week we had a dog returned to us by his former adoptive family.  Sandy and the cat could just not get along, so he made his way from The Pacific Northwest back to Colorado.  

We quickly realized that in order to get Sandy adopted, he needed some better pictures, and since the photographer who usually donates some time is on the Front Range...I started reaching out.  A local photographer ended up volunteering his time to help us out...and look at the difference!  Sandy is a very sweet dog, and was so polite and well-mannered at the park during his photo shoot.  A little dog threatened him with some menacing barks but he totally ignored him. 

I am always amazed at how the pieces of the puzzle all come together for these dogs...bit by bit, getting one step closer to their forever homes with each caring person.  A special thanks goes out to everyone involved with helping Sandy so far, and especially our photographer.  Hopefully he finds the perfect home soon!  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Forest is Home

This weekend my foster dog, Forest/Summit, went to his forever home.  An amazing teacher who lives in a great part of Denver adopted him and picked him up Saturday morning.  I really, really like her and know that she will provide Forest with an amazing life and so much love.

Forest and his 2 week stay with us.
I expected that letting this foster go would be a bit easier...but it wasn't.  Even though he was a handful, he is one of the sweetest dogs I have ever met.  A lot of dogs avoid looking right at humans, but Forest looks directly into your eyes in a very loving and non-defiant way.  He wiggled his way into many hearts on his way from death row in Texas to a wonderful home in Colorado.  I cried when he left, but I am so happy for him and where he has ended up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rainy Morning Rant

For whatever reason this turned out to be one of those days where I am utterly overwhelmed by what's wrong in the world, and how little it sometimes feels like I am doing to help it.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, about four million adoptable dogs and cats are put to sleep every year.  I am most reminded of this startling statistic when I have a foster dog.  Right now I have Forest, and although I don't know whether he was officially saved from death row, just being in the over-crowded shelter put him at risk of euthanasia.  Sierra was going to be put down in Arkansas, and so was Lassiter (who is now in a different foster home since I have Forest).  It blows my mind that these wonderful, affectionate, and happy dogs would be dead.  Sierra was adopted and has made an older couple and their dog very happy, Forest is well on his way to an awesome home, and Lassiter already has multiple applicants who would love to take him home.  These wonderful dogs were SO close to their death, but instead are one step away from amazing  forever homes.  

Mountain Dog  Rescue dogsSometimes I am kept up at night thinking about the millions of amazing animals, like these three that I have known, who are put to sleep instead of getting the happy ending that they deserve.  Some are strays who were dumped, or never looked for.  Some are the victims of bad economic times, a divorce, or their "families" changing their mind about wanting a dog after they had an accident, or chewed up a shoe.  And even purebred dogs can come into these circumstances every day.  Almost every breed of dog has a rescue out there to adopt from.  Many of these dogs are put to sleep because there is not enough space in a shelter, or enough money to treat their ailments when sometimes all it takes is a shot, or an antibiotic.  

There is not one thing to blame, but many changes that need to be made for this problem to be overcome.  Pets need to be spayed and neutered.  People need to adopt pets for life, know the commitment they are getting into, and honor it.  When possible, pets should be adopted through humane societies and rescue groups, and NEVER bought in pet stores.  And people need to help, volunteer, foster, adopt, donate, or simply share the message.

One of my favorite awareness ads.
In no way do I expect everyone to care about what I care about.  But we all have to help in the best way we can and through what touches us the most.  For some people that may be feeding the hungry in Africa, or aiding in disease prevention, or saving the rain forest.  And others may help without ever seeing or touching the cause they care about, but by donating money to that end.  Anything, even sharing a Facebook post can make a world of difference and takes so little time. I need to do more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Going with the Flow

My new foster dog Lassiter was supposed to be coming to stay with me this Saturday, Sept. 15th.  On Sunday, I received an email that a foster dog in Eagle (just a little ways down valley from us) needed a new place to go.  Forest had been picked up from transport on Saturday, and while he had been good with cats in Texas, for some reason he HATED the cat in his new foster home.  So, since I was nearby and have no cats we offered to take him in!  Depending on how long we have him, we will probably have to find a Plan B for Lassiter.  Pictures below are of Forest, who is great with dogs and a real sweetie.  He already has a few potential adopters and whoever ends up with him will be very lucky.  Check him out on Petfinder here:

With animals, it always helps to be a patient and flexible person...and I don't always manage to be those things.  They can be unpredictable and I have learned this lesson many, many times throughout my life.  I can't say its a terrible lesson to learn.  Animals remind us that the world doesn't always go the way we want, and that patience and empathy for others (even non-humans) can get you farther than stress and aggravation.  In my horse-showing days, my horse went lame just before the season-end Championship show and I had to watch from the sidelines while my biggest competiton won.  And Hannah somehow manages to rack up a large vet bill just when my bank account is running extra low.  But no matter what, any trouble they cause is worth the unconditional love that they never fail to give back.   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My New Foster Dog - Lassiter

In a week or two I will be getting my new foster dog, Lassiter.  He is coming from the Little Rock Animal Village in Little Rock, Arkansas, which is the same location that Sierra (my first ever foster) came from back in May.  Lassiter's time was running out at LRAC and a wonderful volunteer there reached out to Mountain Dog Rescue to see if we had space.   He is a happy, healthy, and goofy guy who just wants a loving home and someone to play with!  I am so excited for him to play with Hannah and Titan, and hang out with us until he finds his forever home.  Check him out on Mountain Dog Rescue's petfinder page here.

Just look at those ears!  I think he may need a new name once he gets up here to the mountains.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Travelling with Dogs

Our Mid-West Tour

We just returned from a 10 day road-trip through the Midwest.  Fritz, Hannah, Titan and I all packed into my Ford Escape to make the trek from Colorado to Rochester, Minnesota.  We then headed up to Northern Wisconsin to my family's cabin, down to Madison, Wisconsin to visit my grandparents, and then east to Northern Michigan to see Fritz's family and hang out at his lake house for a wedding.

All in all, it turned out to be a great trip.  Hannah and Titan are such good travelers (with one exception) and petting a dog can really help pass the time when driving through corn country.  Below are a few pictures from along the way, and a list of my official doggie road-trip must-haves!

Clockwise from top left:  Hannah taking a short break after swimming across the lake. / "MOM, are we THERE yet??" / Titan contemplating how one year has taken him from the euthanasia list in Houston, to Colorado, and then to doggie heaven in Wisconsin  / Fritz and Titan sharing the dog bed while Hannah helps co-pilot.

Dog Travel Must-Haves

  • Collapsible dog bowls - They save room compared to big plastic bowls and for some reason I think they are really fun.  I have Mountainsmith brand bowls and they have lasted for years and years.
  • Gentle Leader - Hannah pulls terribly on the leash when there is anything exciting going on or when we are anywhere new...which is pretty much at every stop we make.  This alternative to a collar is extremely effective.
  • Flat dog bed - Comfortable dogs are quiet dogs.  On past trips I have made the mistake of forgetting to bring anything soft for them to lay on.  Since my seats are very hard when folded down they tend to squirm and become restless when they have nothing to lay on.  It also brings a little bit of familiarity along on the ride.
  • Dog Treats - To bribe the dogs with of course.  Zukes are my favorite - all natural and healthy.
  • Dog Toys - After multiple hours in the car, dogs get bored.  A frisbee to throw at a rest stop (check rules!) or a bone to chew in the car can make all the difference!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wild Raspberries

This video is of Hannah eating wild raspberries during our hike this past Sunday on Cross Creek Trail our of Minturn, CO.  Summer is full of wild raspberries up here in the mountains and Hannah absolutely loves them.  Fritz will hold out the branches for her and she picks them off with her little front teeth.  I find it hilarious how she gets so excited when she sees them and I swear her energy level ramps back up after she eats them!  Makes me laugh every time.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

(Lack of) Fostering

Lately life has gotten CRAZY.  I have barely had time to exercise and grocery shop much less foster any new dogs.  When I started out fostering I knew it wouldn't be something I could do constantly, for several reasons.  As much of a sport as Fritz is, he does take on a lot of the dog care, especially when I am busy.  It isn't fair to throw another dog on him (although he would never say no) when he is going to be doing most of the work and is busy himself.  Hannah loves having multiple dogs around, but Titan gets a little sad and jealous when we have to spread ourselves out.

This summer has been filled with house guests, dogs that we are dog-sitting, work events, other events, and trips out-of-town. I cant complain - it has been a great summer so far.  There just are moments when I lie awake at night thinking about what I haven't been doing to help.

Hopefully I can help out Mountain Dog Rescue after our August road-trip through the Mid-West by fostering another dog.  In the meantime, if anyone out there wants to foster please visit and check out all the amazing dogs who need help and temporary homes.  It truly is one of the most gratifying things I have done in my life, and I cannot wait to be able to help out again.

Dogs that currently need fosters:

Hank - needs a foster in CO

Lake - sweet girl in CO
St. Bernard girl who was saved just before being euthanized in Idaho.
Hopefully making her way to CO very soon!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Weekend with Ernie Banks

This weekend we dog-sat for our friends Mandi and Cory.  They went on an awesome camping trip at a mountain reservoir and we offered to watch Chester and Ernie Banks.  
Ernie Banks acting cute.

Ernie Banks is a spitfire little chihuahua/corgi/dachshund mix of some sort.  Your guess is as good as ours!  He thinks he weighs a hundred pounds, not ten, and is constantly challenging the other dogs to some sort of doggie battle.  He is named after a famous Chicago Cubs player and definitely thinks he rules the world.

Chester trying to ignore Ernie Banks.
Chester is laid-back and has a pointer personality altough he is half pointer and half setter.  He thinks that he is above all the nonsense of the other dogs, and tries his best to ignore all the commotion.

We had a fun relaxing day with all the dogs despite the rainy weather.  Needless to say they all had a great time together.   I took a few pictures, and wanted to share.  I hope you enjoy!  

Would you have 4 dogs for a weekend?

Bird's Eye view of all the chaos.

Funny faces.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

So Fresh and So Clean

With family coming into town tomorrow, and all the hiking and swimming the dogs have done lately Hannah and Titan are LONG overdue for a bath! 

Hannah shaking it off.
Sunday is my "get shit done" day and since it was already almost 80 degrees by 11:00am, it was a perfect time to give the dogs a bath. Our hose water is freeeezing up here in the mountains and I usually feel a little bad about soaking the dogs in it, but I think they actually (almost) enjoyed it today.  Both Hannah and Titan waited patiently while I scrubbed them clean and rid them of dirt and shedding hair.  

Titan, with his favorite Shea Pet Shea Butter shampoo.
My favorite pet shampoo is Shea Butter Shampoo by Shea Pet.  It smells great, leaves my dogs' hair shiny and soft, and is great for their skin.  Both Hannah and Titan get really dry skin in the summer from daily swimming trips to the dog pond and the extremely arid climate.  I have been dying to try Shea Pet's Skin Repair and Dander Care product but cant find it anywhere up here!

After their baths are done, my dogs run around like complete fools.  Hannah felt so good, she even ran out on to the golf course behind our house and stole a ball from some guy!  The cold water must make them frisky.  It's hilarious!

Do your dogs love baths, or hate them? 

Titan all frisky, and rolling in the grass after his bath.

Happy boy.  So fresh and so clean!

Monday, June 25, 2012

World's Best Dog Toy

West Paw Design: Dog Toy Product Review

Hannah and Titan playing with their Hurley toys.
  Almost three months ago, Hannah impaled herself in the mouth while playing outside with a large stick.  The stick stuck in the ground while she was running with it and it caught her mouth, creating a laceration under her tongue a few inches long.  Multiple stitches later she was recovering, but we realized that we needed to step up our game when it came to dog toys.  Clearly we live in the mountains and keeping our dogs away from sticks is impossible, but we thought that if we had a great toy it would be easier to distract her from the sticks of death.  I didnt have much hope as we have bought every kind of dog toy and NONE of them have lasted more than a week.  Literally...whether it is stuffed, or rubber, or rope or whatever, Hannah finds a way to mutilate and destroy each one within days. 

Foster puppy Sitka trying to figure out the Hurley.

Once my mom had heard what happened to Hannah she immediately knew what to do, and sent us three Hurley toys from West Paw Design.  They didnt look much different from other toys that have since passed through our house and on to doggie toy heaven, but my skepticism was soon squelched!   Hannah and Titan LOVE the Hurley from West Paw Design, and two months later there isn't so much as one tooth mark in it.  I don't understand how they work, but these toys are amazing.  They have lived through one foster dog, two foster puppies, and most importantly Hannah the toy destroyer!  I love that they are also extremely affordable and considering they have lasted this long, I would be willing to pay twice as much!  As if I hadn't given you enough reasons already, everything from West Paw Design is made in the USA, eco-friendly and they fully guarantee their products.  

Check out the full selection of toy and pet products, including the Hurley, from West Paw Design.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Venice Beach Dog Drama

I told myself when I started this blog that I would include both good experiences and bad. While it can be easy to gloss over the negative, this would not be an accurate account of my life with animals if I did not include everything...both good and bad.

We spent this past weekend with Fritz's family in a modern condo nestled between Venice and Marina Del Rey, California.  Fritz's sister (Amy) lives a little east of there and we were fortunate enough to spend a long weekend enjoying the beach and all the crazy people on Venice Boardwalk (I think I will post later in the week about the homeless population and their dogs).  Amy has an adorable 25-ish pound Cavapoo (poodle and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix), named Gibson who is a total sweetheart.

We were walking along the Venice Canals Sunday morning.  It is an amazing place and very dog-friendly.  We must have walked by 20 dogs within our hour-long stroll.  We turned off of the canal sidewalks and onto a side street.  I was walking towards the front when I heard snarling, barking, growling - it is hard to describe the noises a dog makes when it goes after something, but my stomach dropped as I instantly recognized the sounds of a dog fight.  A boxer had run out from some shadowy bushes and latched onto Gibson.  The ensuing noises that came from the little dog made his terror and pain pretty clear.

I have been around quite a few stressful and chaotic situations involving animals before, and for whatever reason something clicks in my brain.  I realize what needs to be done and try to do it.  The boxer had a pretty firm grip on Gibson, and what was probably seconds seemed like minutes as I looked for a break to separate the two.  I barely noticed a woman in the background screaming and crying for help.  Luckily Fritz and his Dad were able to muscle the boxer off as I grabbed one of Gibson's tiny legs and hauled him away.  

This was when I realized that the lady who was screaming was really a small girl, with tears streaming down her face and a haunted look on her face.    We soon realized that Gibson was OK, at least at first glance and that this little girl did not live at the house she was playing next to.  She was so upset that she couldn't even remember where she was or how to get home.  We tried calling her house phone but no one answered, and resorted to putting her address into one of our IPhones and following the directions until she recognized where she was and how to get home.  We split up our group, a few of us going a separate direction with Gibson, and Fritz, his Dad and I walking the girl back to her house to speak with her parents.  They paced ahead, and I walked behind with the girl, and walked the boxer.  I tried to calm her down telling her it wasn't her fault, and that her dog isn't a mean dog but that it was scared.  It soon surfaced that they had only rescued it two weeks earlier and they had a pretty good idea that it wasn't friendly toward other dogs.  She was clearly the most upset over the fact that "her" dog had been mean.  I told her that sometimes we don't know what happened to dogs before we bring them home, and that you have to be careful, but not to think of her dog as a mean dog.  

The parents were shocked, and sorry to say the least.  They had already begun classes with her to work on her reactions to other dogs.  The boxer turned out to be a very sweet dog, and put its head in my lap when we were inside.  As I looked into her eyes I saw sadness and realized that she too could have been spared from this situation if her owners had used a little more common sense.

Gibson will be ok, but had to have several stitches and draining tubes from a puncture wound on the top of his neck.  We are all thankful that it did not turn out much worse.  The saddest part is that the situation could have been so easily avoided. No 10 year old girl should be walking a big dog on her own, much less one that is known to have adverse reactions to other dogs.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lazy Saturday

The Perfect Saturday

I had a totally lazy weekend and I feel great about it!  Fritz had to work two 14 hour days because of an event at Beaver Creek and the dogs and I had the house and backyard all to ourselves.  We were dog-sitting a wonderful Lab named Zuma, who was recently adopted through Mountain Dog Rescue and needed a place to hang while her family went on vacation.  She was a breeze to take care of, and got along with Hannah and Titan famously. 

After a decently long run, we all retreated to the sun-drenched backyard and decidedly fell asleep for a few hours.  There is nothing quite as content as a tired dog sun-bathing!  The fact that it is now Monday, has me day-dreaming of my lazy Saturday.  Only 4 more days to the weekend, everybody :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dock Dogs

Hannah Does Dock Dogs

This past weekend was the Summer Teva Mountain Games, at Vail Mountain.  Hands down Teva Games is always my favorite weekend of the year.  The town is buzzing after the quiet off-season, the weather is gorgeous and the multitude of sporting events make for an exciting array of spectating choices.

Ever since we got Hannah (going on two year's ago) I have wanted to try Dock Dogs with her.  She pretty much flies off of any available platform into the water, and I thought it would be fun to see how she compared to the pros.  We signed up on Friday, got two practice jumps in, and were slotted for the 11:00am Wave in the Big Air competition on Sunday.  I ended up making Fritz take her up there and do it.  For one, if she was going to choke I wanted it to be him and not me.  Second, I hate attention and being in front of lots of people makes me nervous.  Third, I wanted to take some pictures and take some notes for a work assignment, which would easier as a spectator.  Fritz probably would have rather I done it, but he was a saint and put up with it none-the-less.  

After posting a video on Facebook of her practice round, the news spread and several friends planned on coming to watch.  It turned out to be a "hurry up and wait" kind of a day, with delays and lots of sitting around.  You are put into groups (amateur, semi-pro, and pro) based on how far the dog jumps, and the jump is measured by where the base of the tail enters the water.

Her first round went well, but she jumped kind of sideways and was recorded at around 15 feet (cant remember how many inches).  Her second jump was better, and recorded at 16 feet 1 inch.  We were pretty impressed with how far she ended up going, and a couple different people came up to ask if it was really our first time.  Turns out Hannah was only a few inches away from making it to the finals.  While we were guiltily relieved that we didn't have to wait around any longer, we were pretty impressed with her skills!  

There is another Dock Dogs competition scheduled for early August at the Mountain Dog Canine Carnival in Eagle, CO.  I think with a little strategy and some more practice, we just might be in the running for the finals!

Hannah's first jump in Dock Dogs.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dog (less) Days

"The dogs are fine.  They went swimming this morning, and had elk and eggs for breakfast."

Even leaving our dogs for a few days is hard.  Luckily, my bff in the mountains, Mandi, rivals my love for animals and usually watches our two black mutts for us.  She has two of her own and her and her boyfriend are such troopers when it comes time to tolerate four dogs for a week.  We watch their dogs also, and while it is always fun, it is always chaotic.  Ernie Banks, a chihuahua mix and Chester, an English pointer get along famously with our dogs.  EB and Hannah could play all day long if you let them.

Honestly, I was more worried about the sanity of Mandi and her boyfriend Cory when we left our dogs with them, but it is still always so diffucult to leave our two mutts for very long.  When Mandi texted me this weekend (a few days into our trip) that the dogs had already been swimming at the dog park, were given elk and eggs for breakfast, and were now sleeping on the couch all my irrational fears switched from Hannah and Titan missing us to a worry that they might never want to come home!  All elk aside, they were so excited to see us when we picked them up last night.  Vacation was amazing and so-so-needed but I am so happy to be back at home in the Vail Valley with our dogs!

Hannah, Titan, Ernie Bank and Chester
All four dogs, and all four humans enjoying the Fat Tuesday parade and concert in Vail this winter.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Puppy Fostering

I have not had puppies for a long time.  The last puppy I had in my own care for an extended amount of time 10th grade when my parents brought a Bernese Mountain Dog home.  My mom had wanted a Berner ever since she lived in Vail, but we always ended up with strays and rescues.  When our older dog died in my early High School years, they decided to compromise by getting a rescue (older BC mix) and a puppy Berner.

This brother and sister pair, named Bramble and Sitka, were coming from Texas on a transport with a wonderful man by the name of Doug.  He has an air conditioned Stock trailer, and this time around he had 40+ dogs.  There was a family from down-valley who was ready to foster-to-adopt these two, but at the last minute they decided they really wanted to see them before committing so I got asked to pick them up.  Two puppies, and only for a few easy and fun it sounded!

Doug was supposed to arrive in Denver around 4, and be up to the Vail Valley around 6.  Over the course of the drive, he got delayed having to walk so many dogs and did not end up arriving until 11:30 at night.  Doug was so tired he could barely talk, and I had to turn on my headlights on to shine some light on the trailer and make sure I had the right dogs!  I verified the names on their collars, but was still a little unsure if they were really puppies or tiny goats as they smelled EXACTLY like a petting zoo.  Fritz woke up a little bewildered at the racket that bathing two small, furry and unwilling creatures can create.  By 12:40 AM both puppies were clean, put to bed in a crate next to my bed, and I was exhausted.

The next day the family came over to the house to meet the duo.  They have a college-aged son who is home for the summer, and is so excited to help take care of them.  Bramble and Sitka put on quite the show, climbing in their laps and playing with a ripped-up tennis ball.  They did great just hanging around in the yard, chasing after my two dogs.  It ended up being a blast but everything I had been saying to Fritz all these years about how much work puppies were was totally confirmed!  They ended up taking them home that night!  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Foster Dog #1

I can't imagine a foster being much easier than Sierra.  Maybe she knew she was our first, and went easy on us.  Sierra, or Victoria as she was previously known came from a animal shelter in Little Rock, Arkansas and was the Director's favorite.  When adoptions got pretty slow, they decided to send her out to Colorado through Mountain Dog Rescue!  

I picked her up in Denver off transport with two Sprinter vans full of dogs.  When the guy in charge handed her to me, she instantly melted into my arms leaving me covered in huge patches of soft blonde fur.    After a tangle with the dog brush in the parking lot, and a romp in the Boulder Foothills dog park with friends Patty and Kyle we headed back to the mountains to settle in.....

Which took about 5 minutes.    She slept through the night, was a total sweetheart and played famously with our two dogs.  

One week later she went to a lovely couple who live at 10,000 feet with another husky mix in need of a play-mate.  They came over to meet her, took her to a park for a little bit, and when I came back outside had her loaded up in to the car already.  I not surprisingly shed a few tears, and I think Fritz was sad too.  After a few days with her they decided to make it permanent, and renamed her Katy.  My first foster and first success couldn't have made me happier!

Sierra at home, in the backyard, and playing with Hannah and Titan.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Two Black Mutts

Animals have been a way of life in my family.  Cats, dogs, horses, and even a rabbit somehow weaseled their way into our lives and never left, and strategically at that.  I think at some point word on the street got out that living at the Buse house was a pretty sweet gig.  My mom has always been this way, and whether through genetics or environment has passed this insatiable desire to help animals on to me.  It followed me to college (stories for another time), and eventually to Vail where I adopted my first dog

Every single animal that shared our home
 was given love, shelter and stability until the day that they died.  Even the evil rabbit, who drew blood from my ankles on several occasions, died with a two-story cage and a lengthy vet bill from trying to save him.

My wonderful fiance, Fritz, has accepted his fate with a life full of animals.  We now have two black mutts, who are goofy, loving, and of course trying at times.  Hannah, the first picture is some sort of setter/retriever mix.  She is a bit too smart for her own good and crazy athletic.  Titan, the second picture, kind of reminds me of a panda bear.  Not the brightest crayon in the box, but you wont find a more affectionate dog on the planet. The four of us live as much of life outside as possible from hiking, to biking, camping, and swimming.  Every day is an adventure in one way or another!

Monday, May 14, 2012

One post down.

I have decided to start a blog.  This my first blog post.  

Whether many people read this or no eyes see it but my own I came to the conclusion to start blogging for a couple of reasons:
  • I want to document the many notable moments that happen in relation to my life with animals (at least moments I find notable).
  • Helping animals is one of my biggest passions.  Life of late has provided more opportunities to exercise this passion, which leaves more thoughts in my head than I know what to do with.
  • My writing muscles are out of shape and they need a work-out.

I conclude with an image of myself, my dogs and one of my favorite places in the Vail Valley - Beaver Lake.