Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day to Foster Parents

This is a slightly updated version of a BRAT Blog entry from 2009.  Foster parents are priceless, and I felt it was time to thank them once again.

I have the greatest admiration for foster parents. I can only imagine how difficult it is to send a dog you’ve cared for and nurtured off to a new home.

We are pathetic marshmallows. Years ago, sweet little Leo, the 13-year-old basenji BRAT found in a kill shelter, was supposed to stay in our house overnight on his way to a foster home. He stayed with us until his death, eight short months later, and he still hasn’t left our hearts. Thank heavens there are BRAT folks made of sterner stuff who can actually look ahead and see that sending fosters off to forever homes frees up space for still more troubled little curly tails in need of a second chance.

I think foster parents deserve a parade, because it takes enormous amounts of patience, determination, wisdom, perseverance, and courage to nurture sad and frightened little dogs, prepare them for their forever homes, and then say goodbye.  When these little guys arrive at their foster homes they are often confused, worried, fearful, and dragging along more baggage than one small dog should have to carry. By the time they leave their foster homes, they have unloaded a lot of this baggage and blossomed under the TLC administered by their foster parents. They’ve benefited from a predictable routine and reassuring humans who helped them get rid of some bad habits and acquire some positive new ones.

We will always be grateful to Ivan, Dasa, Tiegan, and Miles' foster parents for taking such good care of our babies and then carefully handing them over to us. We so admire them for being able to give up these wonderful little dogs, and we do our best to live up to their trust in us. This is a small attempt to convey how appreciative we are, how much we love our babies, and how much richer our lives are because we shared them with Ivan and Dasa. and now with the amazing and magical Tiegan and Miles.

From the bottom of my joy-filled, doting mommy heart, thank you to all the foster parents who help these little dogs along to their forever homes.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tiegan & Miles, December 2016

Tiegan and Miles are now busy, active two-year-olds. They are so full of energy and enthusiasm for everything. When they are inside and spot a squirrel in the back yard, they immediately run a lap through the house before scratching at the back door. There seems to be a very definite rule that our excited puppies cannot simply go straight to the door but must first run a lap. That gives me time to open the door as they round the corner from the piano room and fling themselves out into the back yard.  

    Our vet and the animal hospital staff knew how devastated we were when we lost Dasa and then Ivan eight months later. They were delighted that we were once again basenji parents. When we went in for Miles’ wellness exam our vet wrote on our paperwork that Miles was a good brave boy and thank you for bringing Tiegan along, they always love seeing her. One of our friends said, what that really meant was “Peggy and Eric have two new dogs; we can add on another wing.” 
     They are little tornadoes who run through our house, leaving chaos and laughter everywhere. Tiegan has efficiently dispatched a record number of pens, tubes of lip balm, shoes laces, and handles on all sorts of tote bags, purses, and lap top cases. She greets me with her front feet in the air, waving and dancing when I come home.
      Miles discovered the hair dryer blows warm air, and thinks it is a wonderful thing indeed. When he hears the hair dryer, he promptly sits with his back to me so I can run it up and down his back and sides. I only do this for a few seconds so I don’t dry out his skin, but he is just blissful and basks in the warmth.
     Both babies are extremely helpful with laundry. They love to grab a sock and race off, knowing I will chase them and trade a treat for the sock. If the laundry room door is open for the teeniest sliver of time, they materialize, both grasping the same piece of clothing, happily pulling on their ends until I save the endangered item.
     They love to kill stuffed animals. Miles is especially skilled at this, and our house often looks as though we’ve had a blizzard in our living room, with fluffies from destuffed animals and the occasional small dog bed festooning the floor, the rugs, the couch, the chairs….

    We had little horse blanket coats made for them because this is the only type Miles does not pull over Tiegan’s head and wave around. He is also much happier about wearing these than regular sweaters. 
    I cross-stitched their names on stockings that we’ve hung from the ceiling with care, so Tiegan and Miles are ready for Santa. They are, of course, both on the Nice list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cute Dogs Who Eat Frogs

     Although the high casualty rate has lessened considerably with the cooler fall weather, the mortality rate among frogs in our neighborhood was shocking during the summer months. Quite frequently, poor frogs became flattened frog jerky on our streets. Tiegan and Miles thought this was the best. They lunged for the former frogs with enthusiasm one might find among ravenous beasts tucking into their first meal in weeks. It could not possibly be good for my children to eat frog jerky. The good news is that both Tiegan and Miles allow me to thrust my hand in their mouths to grab and fling away the offending amphibians. We stop and wave whenever a car goes by, so I would find myself flinging a flat pliable frog and then straightening up to wave and smile at my neighbors driving past.
     Starving orphan dogs

    This frog inhalation occurred on our morning and evening walks, and Tiegan and Miles never seemed to hold a grudge or be dissuaded from gobbling up the next frog they happened upon. One August morning shortly after school started, a backpack laden young boy met us and remarked how cute our dogs are. We thanked him and minutes later had to stop so I could retrieve a frog from a doggy mouth. “Yes,” we mumbled to each other, “cute dogs who eat frogs.”  Some of the people driving by stop to remark on how pretty/handsome/beautiful Tiegan and Miles are. Miles has a lovely gait and prances down the street and Tiegan is the most delightful little pixie so we are proud parents indeed. We are grateful, however, that no one has stopped while I’m pulling frogs from my dogs’ mouths. 
    And for our next trick....