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Katrina rescues: New homes on the horizon

In addition to starting her "Snowball Effect" campaign, Phyllis DeGioia has taken two Katrina foster dogs into her home. In this report, Clint goes shopping, and the dogs both meet their futures in what may be their forever homes.

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Someone has applied to adopt Bella. She's not available until Oct. 22, and the potential adopters know that, and they know her owners might yet find her. The rescue group doesn't want to have 70 animals become available on the same day, so they're starting the process early. That way when Oct. 22 arrives, many animals can go to their new homes without waiting to start the process.

Bella, her three puppies and Clint were all listed as being strays. I find it hard to believe that Clint could stray anywhere, so they must have used a pretty broad definition of "stray." The manly man is doing well, twirling with higher speed as he feels better. Watching him twirl for too long makes me a bit dizzy. He finished his pain meds this morning but has another week of antibiotics.

Clint_twirling I feel so protective of him. We'll never know what really happened to the manly man, or what he's been through, and I don't know how far he can get past his current seemingly senile state. But he is warm and safe and now pain-free, although undoubtedly a bit arthritic, and he is happy. He wags his tail for food, for me, and for being petted. He makes almost a perfect dog, if you think about it: no barking to annoy the neighbors, no upsetting the letter carrier, no chasing cats, no fighting with other dogs, no need to exercise outside the house (twirling does it), he's not finicky about food, and the best part of his day is to sit on a lap and snuggle up.

I still can't get his poop schedule right. He seems to save it all up for a couple of days and then let it go over the course of the morning. A very nice guy from the company that makes AtmosKlear sent me some bottles as a press evaluation sample, and that stuff has just been great in reducing "pet odors" (I love that phrase -- like we don't know what that means!). In a few weeks they're coming out with a "pet and urine" specific version and he's going to send some of that. Woo hoo!

Today I'm contemplating taking Clint for his first outing. I need to pick up some sale yarn, and my friend at the store has not yet met Clint and wants to. I'm going to try taking him in with me, as I have a dog carrier that looks like a purse. Next week I'll take Bella to the dog park for the first time. I want to make sure she's not too skittish before we go.

Friday, Sept. 30

Our little road trip went fairly well. I have a purse-like dog carrier left over from a product comparison article and Clint barely fit in there. Ten pounds is heavier than you think when the weight is on your shoulder. He trembled all the way to the fabric and yarn store, and I wondered if I'd made a mistake in bringing him. Being airborne isn't every dog's cup of tea.

While inside the store lots of people petted him up and fussed over him. It was inventory day and the regional director was there so I couldn't let him out to show off his twirling skills (but I did get some ribbon yarn on sale). By the time I was finishing up in the store (it takes quite a while when everyone asks to see the dog in the purse) Clint was getting into it and poking his head out. It's very odd to have your purse tickle your armpit. I'm sure having women ooh and ahh over him did wonders for his self-esteem. Walking out of the mall, I talked to my purse.

I never thought I'd be one of those women who walks around with a poodle in her purse.

Then I stopped for Chinese carry out and placed it on the passenger seat. His carrier was on the floor of the front seat to avoid the air bags. The little runt started to crawl out of his bag to smell the Chinese food. Good luck chomping cabbage with two teeth!

After we got home, he celebrated his road trip with a good long twirling session in the living room.

Tuesday October 4

Bella_stretch Yesterday Bella met some potential adopters, a mom and teenage daughter who fell in love with her pretty little face. They have lots of experience with pets, and Bella and the teenager fell in love on sight. Bella glommed onto this pretty young woman. As far as the teenager was concerned, it was a done deal in 15 seconds. She wanted to bring Bella home last night, which we really couldn't do. However, in view of the circumstances, we're looking into seeing if they could foster her for the remainder of the time before she is allowed to be adopted on Oct. 22. We'll see what happens.

Bella sensed that something was going on. I'd come home and let her out of the crate, and instead of shooting out, she skulked out, as though she'd been caught chewing my knitting again (which she hasn't because I have appropriately put it away). She sat still in the car on our way to the appointment, which isn't like her at all. She could benefit from a car restraint.

Clint has found his permanent home -- with me, of course. Yes, I'm a failed foster mom. Someone should make pins that say "failed foster mom" and "failed foster dad" as a fund-raiser.

It started out that Clint was just supposed to hang out here until he died, which wasn't expected to be far off. Then the veterinarian said his blood work was good, and in better shape than we thought. That changed things a bit: I had to decide if I wanted to take care of this guy for what could be two months or several years. That was unnerving. As far as he's come, Clint will always be a special needs dog. But I didn't decide to keep him because I felt sorry for him, or because he was unadoptable; as a matter of fact, both the woman who handles adoptions at Shelter from the Storm said she'd take him, and the family who looked at Bella yesterday said they'd decided they'd take the most unadoptable dog that no one else wanted, so they originally wanted Clint. So now I have started saying "keep your hands off my poodle" to keep this unadoptable poodle in my own lap.

I don't even particularly like miniature poodles -- I dislike the frou frou connotations, that overdone silly show coat, rhinestone collars and nail polish. But the reality is that I fell in love with this worried little guy. I am determined to make his remaining time wonderful to make up for appears to have been an unappealing life stuck in a crate.

Whatever he needs, he'll get. We should all be so lucky. -- Phyllis DeGioia, editor, VeterinaryPartner.com

October 5, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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Comments

Just wanted to say I am really enjoying these tales of your fostering experiences.

My grandfather has had miniature poodles since before I was born! While they're not my breed of preference, I have enjoyed their constant presence growing up. If I recall correctly, he's had 4 overall. Of his current two, one is bowlegged (always has been and it is so funny to watch!) and the other was for my young cousin, who was too violent for a dog to be around and thus it returned to live at grandpa's house. My grandfather is getting on in age, and my grandmother worries that no-one will be able to get to him if she ever has to call 911 because those dogs won't let anyone in the bedroom! One blocks the door and barks, the other stands on the bed and barks! She has to stand in the hallway and holler every a.m. in order to wake him up!

So, you have a good dog there in Clint. Just wanted to share my thoughts.

Posted by: KCC | Oct 7, 2005 7:36:49 AM

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