Top Ten!

One of my favorite things about being a Foster Mom is learning fun and wonderful things about my foster dog, and then sharing them with potential adopters!  Each foster dog is different with special quirks, likes, and dislikes.  One of the huge benefits of adopting a dog from a rescue rather than a shelter is that we (or any decent rescue) are able to give you SO much information about your potential new family member.  Imagine knowing what you’re getting yourself into, how well trained this dog is, if she has separation anxiety, if she is picky about her food; all before bringing her home!  The reality is that shelters can not always gather solid information about a dog because of the high stress environment.  But alas!  In a foster home, we can get a true read of an individual dog and assess what home he or she would do best in!  So here are the top ten reasons to adopt Tofu 🙂

1.  Happy!-  Tofu is seriously a joyful dog.  I spent ten solid minutes laughing at her yesterday when I picked up a bandanna.  The joy on her face was amazing!  Tofu gets antlers, nylabones, rope toys, balls ect.  None of these excite her in that special “happy dog” way.  But something ridiculous goes through her mind when she sees a bandanna, leash, collar, or scarf.  The wiggling!  Oh the wiggling.  I have no words.  We experience a similar reaction every morning when she is let out of her crate.  Every morning there are smiles, wiggles, happy dancing, joy, more wiggles.  She is a “morning person”.  But more than that, she’s a “life person”.

2. Genuine–  I wrote about Tofu’s past, how she got here, and what her life was like pre-rescue.  But I’ve come to realize that her past has given her a special gift.  She is genuine.  She lets you know how she is feelings and wants to express it to the world.  This is often experienced through tail wags, lap sitting, kisses on your face, and cuddle sessions.  However, she also was genuine about her initial feelings towards Leroy, and will politely know when he’s making her uncomfortable.  Way back when we were crate/rotating, she showed us her snarl teeth and said, “Hey, I’m not sure about him just yet.  Give me time.”  So we gave her time.  But Tofu is especially genuine in her reactions towards other people.  She wears her heart on her sleeve.  When it’s time to have a love fest- you’ll know it.  She’ll be whole-heatedly loving you to pieces.

3. Special–  Well of course, she’s deaf and has slight vision impairment in one eye.  But that’s not what I mean.  Tofu is special.  Something about her just makes you feel like you can accomplish more, dream more, give more.  Tofu makes you feel like the world is in your reach, and your only decision is to decide what you want to achieve.  She is inspiring.  She looks at you and her eyes say, “Just go for it.  I have faith in you.”

4. Home Ready– Most dogs who are living in a foster home will have this in common.  But none the less, it’s worth saying.  Tofu is ready for you.  She is crate trained, housebroken, knows basic commands, knows how to wait for her dinner in her crate, knows how to cuddle with her humans.  She gets it.  I thought it would take longer, since she was living outside, but she’s smart and ready for this life.

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5. Mature–  Dogs typically become “mature” around three years old.  Some of the issue’s I’m having with Leroy seem to have escalated in the past year,  but he is simply coming into his maturity.  Tofu however, is a ripe three years old.  She has likely reached her maturity, so “what you see is what you get”.  There will be little change down the road.  Of course none of this is a guarantee.  But her personality and core self is thought to be pretty set at this age.

6. Perfect Energy Level–  It may seem hard to define the “perfect energy level”.  However, I have a feeling that Tofu falls in the ideal category.  If you want to run, or hike, or even do some agility work, she will be ready with bells on!  If you want to walk or stroll casually, she would be happy to join you.  If you want to play with a toy, oh what fun!  And if you want to cuddle, well as long as there is room by your side.  I do think that Tofu would be a good agility dog.  I don’t know anything  much about this, but she has some serious jump in her step.  So I’d bet she’d figure the rest out 😉  But no matter how spunky your home is,  I would bet she’d do just fine.

7. Cute– Seriously, she’s cute as a button.  Better than that, she’s a Tofutti Cuttie! (Tofu is not endorsed by Tofutti in any way.  It would be cool though.)  But I mean her face!  Have you seen her?  Just look.  Ok.  This one is on you- look at the cute!

I iz cute!

I iz cute!

8. Cuddly– This is something that is very important to me.  Although it confuses me, I understand that not everyone wants a dog that will lick their face, sit on their lap, cuddle during nap time, and be all around cuddly.  But Tofu, she likes those things.  She can hang out independently or nap with Leroy at times.  But she loves being a cuddle bug.  And I would want her future family to love that about her.

9. Good– Tofu is a good dog.  She is not a perfect dog.  But she is learning and she tries very hard.  She wants do the right thing to make her humans happy.  She wants to please.  She wants to kiss you when you’re sad and sit politely while you’re on the phone.  She wants to wait for her dinner, no matter how hard and exciting it is.  She tries not to eat her toys, because I tell her “No” (but they taste so delicious!).  She wants to help you eat your dinner and do all the good things she can to make you happy.  She wants to be a good girl.

10. Adoptable!–  The best thing about Tofu is that she’s looking for you- her forever family!  She is waiting and ready for that right person to fall in love and say those special words.- “You will be with me for the rest of your days.  Your troubles are now my troubles.  I will be here for you, and never leave you.  I promise- I will never leave you.  You are not ‘homeless’ anymore.  You are mine.  And I am yours.”

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If you have any questions about Tofu, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

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People Pleaser with Excellent Manners!

Tofu has an amazing quality that I would like to share with everyone!  She is a people-pleaser 🙂  She seems to adore every person that she meets at an excited and genuine level of “omg uu iz mai bef friend evaaa!”  This is dog-speak for, “Are you my forever family?? I LOVE you.”  My family of course gets to meet all of these dogs and they form opinions on them.  Our brother Robert came by recently to say  “Hi” to the pups.  While Leroy was a bit overrun with excitement, Tofu did a much better job of keeping her ‘four on the floor’.  He said, “She seems pretty cool”.  Which is a very good compliment coming from brother Robert 😉

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Tofu and her new friend, Steven

My brother Steven was hanging out with Tofu tonight and he said, “I would adopt a dog like her”.  Now that is a compliment! 🙂  We then talked about her inherent manners and what a good, sweet, girl she is.  In taking a chained, throw-away, breeder dog, I was expecting a lot more work when it came to household manners and daily activities.  She has picked everything up super quickly!  (She does fall up the steps sometimes from sheer excitement though lol)

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Tofu has some serious jump in her step, especially when she seems some type interesting prey.  She can probably scale a 5 foot fence and might really excellent at agility training.  So she may let out one big Tigger jump when she’s super excited.  But she almost never puts her paws on anyone, and she will quickly regroup to her happy dancing and wiggling on the floor.  My mom was also very impressed at her good greeting manners.  She is very happy to meet anyone who will pay attention to her, but she shows her love and excitement through tail whippings, butt wigglings, and smiles. 🙂

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Tofu was also happy to practice her Sits for some yummy biscuits! She did very well ‘listening’ to hand signals from a new friend.  All in all, I’ve been very impressed with her home-ready manners and enthusiasm for strangers.  Now all she needs is the home! ❤

"Sit" hand signal

“Sit” hand signal

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If you have any questions about Tofu, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

Vet Appointment! – The Good

Well yesterday I shared some potentially not so good news about Tofu’s eye.  However, today I want to share how great she was at her vet appointment!  Everyone just loved her to pieces.  She had a special bond with the vet tech who also happens to have a deaf and vision impaired dog.  What a coincidence!  She wowed the vet with kisses and cuddles, and tail wags.  LOTS of tail wags. 🙂  Tofu was a very well behaved angel and I was a proud foster mamma.

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Tofu has a great smile 🙂

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Oh and of course, we were sporting LCPO’s “Adopt Me” vest so that everyone knew she was looking for a home!  Her forever family hasn’t found her yet, but they’re out there ❤

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

Sponsor me here: All donations are tax deducible and benefit the rescue dogs of LCPO

Vet Appointment! – The Bad

Well poor little Tofu has been having some skin irritation, she also needed to get another vaccination, and we wanted to check on her lazy eye- So, we scheduled a vet appointment! As a foster parent, I do not pay for Tofu’s vet care.  I provide her with food, toys, training, socialization,  love, structure, and confidence.  However, vet care is something that I cannot cover (as a student with big loans looming over my head).  I wish I could, and I hope to be able to in the future.  But for now, we thank LCPO for being so amazing and providing wonderful care for their puppies.

In case you didn’t know, Tofu is deaf!  But please don’t tell her, we don’t want her to be self conscious.  We’ve also realized that she has a lazy eye that may be resulting in vision impairment.  So sure, she’s a little “special”.

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You can see her droopy eye on the left.  She doesn’t seem to mind in the slightest!  But we wanted to make sure it was OK and that there was nothing we could do to help her.

Well sadly, the vet said that it did not appear to be a regular cataract.  She wasn’t sure what was wrong so she suggested we look into an eye specialist for our girl.  It could potentially be anything from a different type of cataract to a tumor 😦  And the best solution may be removing the eye.  We are going to watch it carefully and have it looked at it again in the future.  My poor foster girl has a few issues going on!  However, neither of us notice them very much.  Especially when there is cuddling or kissing involved. 🙂

Ok, you can notice a little during cuddling :)

Ok, you can notice a little during cuddling 🙂

Please send her some good, happy vibes to help her keep her eye and find an adoptive family. ❤  She is truly a doll!

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

Sponsor me here: All donations are tax deducible and benefit the rescue dogs of LCPO

Out on the town!

Tofu and I recently did some socialization and I am proud to report that she did great! She is a happy girl and she certainly enjoys to be around people.  We walked right across Broad Street in Philadelphia and around Temple campus on a busy Friday night.  While understandably a bit shocked by all the cars, people, lights, noises, humans, bikes ect., she was a champ!  We made a few friends and was a star student. 🙂

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Ma, where are we?

We of course had to do a little photo shoot while our brother, Steven was retrieving our dinner from the pizza shop 🙂

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It smells like food here. Do I get some?

I sadly was not quick and multi handed enough to snap any pictures while Tofu was making friends.  But trust me, kisses were involved 🙂

This was fun!

This was fun!

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com

Sponsor me here: All donations are tax deducible and benefit the rescue dogs of LCPO

Wordless Wednesday- Tofu Smiles

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My favorite shot of the bunch :)

My favorite shot of the bunch 🙂

Thank you to Christine Ann Photography for these great pictures of my happy foster girl!  🙂

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com 

Visit http://www.lcpoinc.org for more information on our organization! 

Getting to know Tofu

I’ve had Tofu for a few days now, so I thought it was time to share some things I’ve learned about her.

First of all, she was estimated to be around three years old.  But she is a spunky girl 🙂  She like to play the tag and run game, though it does make her a little nippy and jumpy.  She also likes to play with a big rope toy and tug on that.

Tofu will run around with a great deal of joy, especially now that she doesn’t panic and think she’s going to be left outside for good.  The most heartbreaking part of her first few days was that every time we went outside, she got upset.  I actually had to put her on leash, push or drag her out a few times.  Happy encouragement was not cutting it.  She would just sit as far away from the door as she could get.  😦  Then when we finally did get outside, she would just linger by the door, hoping that I wouldn’t forget about her.  I did a lot of running around my backyard this week and standing in the cold, to show her that she would not be abandoned.  She was so used to her life outside, that when she was finally in a home, she just wanted to bad to preserve that.

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But now Tofu is more trusting and understands that I will always let her come back inside.  She has not had even one accident in the house.  So it’s safe to say that she’s housebroken.  However, she does something which blew my mind.  She lifted her leg to pee!  Not always.. but it happened.  And I made sure it happened twice before I told anyone, because I thought I had gone crazy.  But this female dog does certainly mark it like a man.  However, normally she just does her business the squatting  regular female ladylike way.

The other things I’ve learned about Tofu is that she’s smart!  I’ve only had her for a few days, but we’ve already been working on training.  And she is doing great! Here she is in action- Tofu training!   (since then her down has gotten much better, plus we’re working on stay and paw!)  She also has good basic manners.  So while she loves getting up on the bed to take a little nap, she is not jumpy when she’s meeting new people.  Although she does get very happy and wants to smother them in kisses 🙂

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And while I’m spending the time to get to know Tofu and prepare her for her adoptive home, she’s also getting to know herself;  In the mirror 🙂

So enjoy and stay tuned for more!

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com 

Visit http://www.lcpoinc.org for more information on our organization! 

Introducing- Tofu!

Tofu is a 3 year old pit bull that was saved from a life of neglect. LCPO worked with Almost Home Animal Rescue out of Long Island NY to save this sweetheart from less than desirable conditions. Tofu was living outside of a halfway home, regularly passed from breeder to breeder, and almost sold as a bait dog. She is now spayed and loving being indoors. Tofu is sweet and happy. She is thrilled to be surrounded by loving people who take care of her. Tofu is crate trained, house broken, and she will go to her adoptive home knowing sign language! Tofu is deaf so she will be learning all her commands with hand signals. She has already made herself right at home and proven to be no more difficult than any foster who can hear me 🙂 You can learn more about deaf dogs at http://deafdogsrock.com/. I will also be happy to do training sessions with her adoptive family to make sure that everyone knows and understand how to communicate with her. Please feel free to ask me any questions about fostering, deaf dogs, or Tofu!

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Tofu and Leroy and participating in the “crate/rotate” method until they are both more comfortable with each other.  This involves keeping the dogs separate for any amount of time; a few days to three weeks or more!  Through this process, I allow the dogs to feel comfortable in my home.  I let them learn how to trust me and each other through minimal exposure.  The foster dog become familiar with our routine and environment, and is able to de-stress from whatever experience they had before coming to me.  Tofu seems to be a little bit uncomfortable when Leroy is too close to her crate. She has made the snarl teeth at him a few times for getting too close.  But she does better when she is out and approaching him in his crate.  Neither dog likes to share food, not even a little.  This is a polite way of saying that they would probably fight over a crumb, or something that looks like a crumb, or a crumb that fell and was cleaned up a few minutes ago.  As always, I will feed them separately and even crate them for a little while after their food bowls are removed from the environment.  Leroy was showing off in front of Tofu and trying to engage her a little bit, and she did wag her tail and playfully bark in her crate.  I think they will be good friends with some patience and trust.  More about Tofu to come as I get to know her wonderful personality.  All I can say so far is that she’s had no accidents, and she is a happy girl who loves to kiss! 🙂

For adoption information or more about our rescue program, you can visit www.lcpoinc.org 🙂 Please share for this wonderful girl and feel free to ask any questions about her or the adoption process!

Tofu?!

We have some exciting news to announce!  LCPO was asked to help a dog that was tied up and living outside in the cold.  An outreach volunteer has been advocating for her and begging the facebook world to help her out in some way.  Here is a little segment from this volunteer.-

“Mama is in desperate need of a loving home to call her own. She has lived her entire young life outdoors being passed breeder to breeder. We met Mama back in August pregnant. At 5 weeks old her puppies were taken from her and she continued to live her life neglected outdoors. Her owners will not bring her indoors. Mama is deaf and is extremely vulnerable living outdoors on a busy corner. Now her owner is moving and will give her to ANYONE in a neighborhood where animal abuse and dog fighting is prevalent. She is a sweet, active girl who deserves a loving family of her own. Mama is a 3 year old, Female, Spayed, Deaf, American Pit Bull Terrier.”
So drum roll please…..

This sweet girl will be boarding with Leroy and Company!  We will continue to look for a long term foster and forever home but in the mean time, we will get her socialized, build her confidence, and work on some training.  Her new name is Tofu and she will be transported here very soon.  I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for deaf dogs so I’m excited to know that her life of neglect will end and become a life of love and attention.  Here are two pictures of her from her yard in NY and with the wonderful outreach volunteer that helped to save her life.

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In preparing for her arrival, Leroy and I decided to research some training methods for deaf dogs.  Luckily for us, Leroy already knows most of his regular commands by both a voice command and a hand signal.  We worked briefly on a few extras such as Good Boy (thumbs up), Finished/ Release/ OK (shaking out hands), and Here (bringing a finger towards yourself).  Good Boy is used as a form of clicker training and positive reinforcement to let your dog know when they’re doing something right.  A Release is always useful to let your dog know when they’re done with a Stay or Leave it, or finished with a training session all together.  And Here is very important for any dog to know, but it’s especially challenging for a deaf dog because you need to have their eye contact before they can listen.

So we put together a video of Leroy pretending to be deaf and me getting ready to train Tofu.  🙂  We did pretty good for first timers!    Now we just need to wait for our new guest to arrive and let her settle in a bit before we start working!

If you have any questions about Tofu, Jora or the adoption process, you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com  Visit http://www.lcpoinc.org for more information on our organization!