Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Burke is Back!

So Burke went to his new home on Saturday afternoon. We picked up our new foster dog, Jaime, on Sunday afternoon. Then we got a call on Monday morning that Burke's new family was returning him. This was no small decision, obviously, since they would only be getting half of the adoption fee back. Apparently he was fine, but their dog, Olive, went nuts with him there. I was disappointed they didn't try to make it work for a few more days, but whatever.

So the rescue organization asked us to take Burke back. We agreed as long as they would work on finding Jaime a new foster home. They are searching, but for a few days we have three dogs. That's right, three. But there was no way I was going to tell them they had to send Burke to yet another temporary home while they try to find him a permanent one.

Kristin and Jehn went to pick him up this evening, and I was thrilled to see my little gentle giant again. I am seriously in love with him and feel super protective of him now. The next family who wants him better have the perfect setup or I might have to turn into a mama bear. :)

Burke's Stats
Weight: 42 pounds
Age: 5 months, 3 weeks

Weight: 45 pounds
Age: 6 months

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jamers, Jamison, James, Jaime

Today we got our second foster dog, Jaime. So far she has done fairly well. She and Ellie seem to get along okay, and while she seems to have an interest in the cats, she hasn't gone after them yet. She had her first bath tonight and was TERRIFIED but was such a good girl! While she seems to think the living room rug is her personal potty ground, I don't think it will take too long for her to get house trained. She is a total snuggler and is all about being a people pleaser which should make training easier as well.

Here are her stats:

Name: Jaime
Breed: Jack Russell Terrier Mix
Weight: 21 pounds
Age: Approximately 6 months

I will continue to update this post while she is with us (rather doing a bunch of little updates).

Today we worked hard on potty training. I think everyone was a little stressed out because Jaime refused to go to the bathroom for most of the day, but finally this afternoon she went outside and I think the guy across the street thought I had lost my mind I was so excited :) She is definitely a dog who will do anything for praise and is so sweet. She had her first visit to the dog park this morning. She and Ellie were the only dogs there, but they still had fun wandering around without leashes on.

Today Jaime went to her new foster home in Minnetonka. While she had crazy energy she was a sweet girl, and I hope she is able to find a forever home with lots of kids to wear her out. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Unspoken Rules

Dog parks are interesting places. We've been taking Ellie to the Roseville Dog Park for several months now. They have a small fenced area and then a larger area that's not completely fenced. She never goes very far from us, so we typically take her to the bigger area, but since we've been fostering Burke we've been sticking to the smaller fenced area since he doesn't respond to his name most of the time.

While there are usually other people at the larger park, the area is big enough that typically people don't just stand around together. In the smaller park, though, the human visitors tend to sit or stand around in a circle near the chairs and picnic table. We have noticed that the culture within this small area is unique. A good friend, Jehn, even compared her first visit to visiting a foreign country and trying to figure out the cultural norms.

Here are just a few of the unspoken rules for dog parks in which humans are confined to a small area:

1. Upon entering the park you must acknowledge each and every dog who comes up to you. Use a cheerful voice and tell each of them how cute they are. Even if they're not.
2. Once you stake your claim to a space (sitting or standing) you must remember NOT to talk to the other humans visiting the park. Do not acknowledge them by saying hello. You may speak to the dogs however. In fact, it is quite acceptable to ask any dog a question and expect a response from the dog's human friend. For example, if you want to know what breed a certain dog is you would say "what kind are you?" If a human doesn't answer simply repeat the question in a louder voice until someone answers. The answer will come from the human who will attempt to imitate the dog's voice "I'm a golden retriever," (imagine this being said with the voice of Goofy) for example.
2a. If you MUST talk to other humans at the park, make sure you only talk about the dogs or the weather. Avoid making conversation about anything else at all costs.
3. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT look at other humans. Your eyes should be kept on the dogs or at some point in the distance at all times.
4. If you attempt to go to the dog park during small dog hours your dog MUST be at least 15 pounds under the 35-pound maximum. If you attempt to take your 30 pound dog into the park during the small dog hours you will be asked to leave by the fanatical human owners of 5-pound dogs.
5. Dote on the dogs constantly. This can include petting them or saying "good puppy!" Whenever you talk to the dogs you should use a baby voice. This is the only acceptable way to speak to any canine friend while within the park boundaries.
6. You should always laugh at the dogs. Even if they're just laying there. Laugh your head off. This will not only alleviate the weird silence that seems to hang over the group of humans, but it will also make the dogs even more hyper, thus wearing them out faster.
7. When your dog is sufficiently worn out, ask the dog if he/she is ready to leave. This can be done by asking "are you all tuckered out?" or "ready to go?" When the dog indicates that he/she is indeed ready to leave, guide the dog to the gate, leash him/her and leave. DO NOT say goodbye to the other humans. If you feel awkward leaving without saying goodbye, address your goodbyes to the other dogs.

Following these simple rules should make your visit to a small-space dog park more comfortable. We, on the other hand, are hoping our next foster dog knows his/her name better, and we are able to skip the smaller dog park altogether. :)

Burkle, Burkasaurus, Burkey, Burke

Several weeks ago we decided (well, Kristin decided and then convinced me) to foster a dog. We decided to foster through Midwest Animal Rescue (MARS) and filled out the application. After a home visit we were approved!

Burke arrived on June 27. We had asked for a small- to medium-sized dog, and they told us he was 25 pounds ad 6 months old. When we picked him up, however, we found out that he was actually 35 pounds (a little bigger than I had initially wanted) and 5 months old. The first couple of days were a little crazy, and I think we both, at times, wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. But he quickly shoved himself into our hearts.

Burke and Ellie seemed to get along great from the very beginning. Ellie has been a great big sister, sharing her toys from the very beginning. Sharing the humans was hard for her at first, but she has adjusted well.

In the two and a half weeks that he's been with us, Burke has learned his name, how to sit, and become house trained. He's super sweet and loves kids. He also ignores the cats, which is nice.

Since he arrived I have said that Burke is the perfect dog...for someone who wants him. Our house and yard are just too small for such a big guy, or we may have ended up keeping him! And it looks like he may have found a new home! The family already has a border collie mix and is looking for another one. They have been approved, and now we'll just go to the meet and greet on Saturday to introduce them! If all goes well there, we'll be heading home alone. While I will be sad to see him go, I know he'll be happy with a family with another dog and a big yard to play in...and we'll be getting another foster dog on Sunday. Whoever he or she is has some big paws to fill :)

Name: Burke
Breed: Border Collie Mix
Weight on Arrival: 35 pounds
Age on Arrival: 5 months

UPDATE: 7/17/10 - Burke went to his new family today! His new mom, Lindsay, was at the MARS office to meet him and brought along his new big sister, Olive, a border collie. While they didn't seem to love each other, they didn't fight (basically just ignored each other), so that's good. Lindsay seemed very nice and Olive was very well trained. I think Burke is going to like being a part of their family!