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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Happy Tears and New Beginnings

Jora  was a very special foster dog.  The last time I saw her I was sad weepy nostalgic pathetic emotional a complete wreck.  I had to admit to myself, I adore this dog.  She wiggled into my home despite my “no puppies allowed” rule.  And truly, she grew up with me.  Jora had more meet and greets than any other dog, yet none ever panned out into the right fit for her. She was looked over since she was a scrappy pup of only four months old.  After a handful of meet and greets, a two hour adoption, and a trial adoptive home that decided not to keep her; I was stunned time and time again that these people did not see what I saw.  I was heartbroken that she didn’t have ‘her people’- the ones that would love her as much as I do, but more.  I knew she would find them, but I was becoming impatient, confused, torn, and sad for her.  I wanted to yell to the world, “This dog is amazing and you’re missing out!  It’s your LOSS!”  But I kept it in and tried to be patient.  The hardest part, was loving her so much.  I wanted her to feel the difference between foster love, and forever love.  I wanted someone to look into her eyes and say, “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.”   And sometimes, I wanted to be the one to say that to her.

This is the lifelong struggle of a foster mom.  I battle with this every time I allow a dog to feel love, often times their first love, but I call it temporary.  Sometimes it hurts more than others.  And with Jora, I just felt that she was so deserving and ready.  I wanted her to be home.

My dad was quite smitten by her as well.  To paraphrase very accurately quote him, “Jora, we’re not allowing any more living things in this house.  None!  But if we were, I would let you stay.”  Leroy and Jora had an amazing bond as well.  She followed him around, played, snuggled, learned, and loved.  And for as amazingly tolerant as Leroy was with all of her puppy antics and instance on playing for 10 hours every day, he really loved her right back.

We lub when mom stays home from skool to write da tesis papers.

cuddles

But as it always happens with patience and a deserving dog, we got an email for Jora.  And this one was the one. ❤  Yes, I am happy to announce that Jora has finally found her forever home.  One of the most special dogs that I’ve ever known is officially adopted.  And on top of that, I think that she finally found the most perfect home that will love and appreciate her for all she has to offer.  When you have an adoption where everything just clicks, it’s as if the two souls were just waiting to find each other until the right moment in time.

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First family photo 🙂

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Jora, now Bella ❤

Congratulations Jora, you finally got your turn. I will love you forever my little Peanut ♥

Foster Mom’s *$^%# Panic

The thing about fostering is that people don’t like to talk about the mistakes.  We know the proper steps, the protocol, the right ways to do things; so when we do something wrong… well we have to blame ourselves!  But I don’t like to admit that I did something wrong!  OH MY GOSH.  I didn’t do it!  It’s Tofu’s fault!  GAAAAAAAAAA.

 

Anyway 🙂  It’s almost been two weeks since Tofu’s arrival and I’ve been trying to strictly follow a de-stress period for my new house guest.  Since we know that she was living outdoors and let’s say “roughin’ it” before coming here, I wanted to take things slow.  I felt a little out of the game because my last two fosters were puppies.  They were happy to be thrown right into the party as quickly as Leroy would say, “Let’s play!”  So I knew I needed to be a bit more patient and understanding with our girl Tofu.

Leroy and Tofu have been saying “Hi” through their crates, getting comfortable with each other’s presence while on tethers, and having a few brief meets- generally while Tofu was tethered and Leroy was leashed.  Leroy was being playful yet cautious while he got used to this new friend that I brought home for him.  However, we had a little incident that had me very panicked upset frustrated worried about these two white fluff balls ever getting along.  Basically this ‘incident’ was that Tofu reacted very poorly to Leroy trying to play with her.  Considering this and her past history (outside, chained, breeder dog), my heart sunk and I spiraled into all of these tragic thoughts (she’s aggressive, she’s never going to get adopted, she doesn’t like Leroy, I’ve ruined the chance for them to be friends, I took things too fast, I set them up for failure).

Now the reality is that some of those thoughts were true.  I pushed a little too hard.   It is a common, although potentially dangerous and very risky, mistake that fosters do.  We want to skip to the part where they play and cuddle and frolic.  I’m a full time Grad student and I have a part time job (and I volunteer a lot).  So I’ll admit it- I hate to follow the crate/ rotate.  I feel bad for the poor dogs, pathetically watching each other through wire.  Being crated for 8 hours, then again during dinner, then again while I shower, and again at night.  GOSH that’s hard.  Well the thing is, it’s harder for me than it is for them.  The dogs are adjusting during this period.  And that it something that you should not rush.  A few extra hours in a crate can make all the difference!

So as I said, I rushed them.  I rushed and I panicked because I made things more difficult for myself, for Tofu, and for Leroy.  And because of that, I certainly can admit that I was wrong and I made a mistake.  I was carefully supervising and it wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen to a foster; but it was a mistake.

So after another week of panic/ rotation/ tethering/ muzzling/ stress, I decided that they were ready to try again.  My conclusion is that Tofu has never had a canine “friend”.  She is Ok to be around Leroy, she is even pretty comfortable around him, she is not openly fearful or aggressive in any way.  However, she doesn’t know how to play.  This is really sad because it makes me assume that all she’s ever known is being mounted, used, and abused.  So when Leroy wanted to play, she didn’t understand how or why or what he was doing!  We will continue to take things slow.  Any type of excitement or play will cause panic be very closely monitored.  But for now, we’re doing a pretty good job of just hanging out.  🙂

Mom, I don’t know how I feel about this.

If you know a lot about dog body language, you can see that they are not completely relaxed.  Leroy is alert and very aware of his Tofutti friend to his right.  Tofu is actually a little more relaxed because Leroy is being very calm and not trying to play with her.  However, she is still aware and watching him.

I guess maybe she's OK.

I guess maybe she’s OK.

The two are a little more comfortable here.  Leroy is still alert but not as stressed about sharing his space.  Tofu is pretty relaxed because Leroy was calmly tip toeing around the bed.

If I don't look, she might go away.

If I don’t look, she might go away.

Leroy and Tofu decided to look at the same ‘noise’.  Well, Leroy heard a noise outside and then Tofu tried to find what he was looking at 🙂

This is exhausting.  Let's nap.

This is exhausting. Let’s nap.

Leroy and Tofu participated in their first nap together 🙂  Leroy was trying to sleep with one eye open for a little bit.  But he continued to get closer to Tofu and he is now happily sleeping.  So he did decided that he could trust her (and me) that it was Ok to let his guard down for a bit.  Tofu is doing great with Leroy mostly on, near, or up her butt.  She is currently snoozing as well.

So the point is that mistakes happen.  But with time, patience, perseverance and close observation, I was able to (mostly) repair the damage.  However, this will be a lesson to myself for next time.  Take things slow and do it right the first time! SERIOUSLY 🙂

 

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! 

 

 

 

 

 

Black and White

Nothing is cuter than a black dog and a white dog in black and white photographs.  🙂  And I’m just gonna put this one out there- I am obsessed with pictures of dogs cuddling.  So here are two of my favorites.  Jora is a very big cuddle bug, both with me and Leroy, but the minute I start to creep across the room with a camera, she jumps up to say HI to me.  So she’s been a challenge to get the “cute-sleepy-good-puppy” pictures of.  I will keep trying!

We lub when mom stays home from skool to write da tesis papers.

Just a day in the life of Leroy

This one is not truly a cuddling picture.  But don’t lie, it’s adorable 😉  Jora kept hitting Leroy in the face because she wanted him to play.  But he was already tucked under the covers and ready for bed.  He’s pretty lazy for a 2 year old pup.  At least he’s tolerant 🙂

 

Any questions about Jora or the adoption process can emailed to me (Casey, aka Leroy’s mom!) at Casey@caseyheyen.com.  Please share her story with anyone looking for the perfect family companion!

 

Salt and Pepper- Cuddle Time

Leroy and Jora have proven to be pretty difficult to photograph together.  Granted, I am only using an iPhone, but my salt and pepper dogs are a challenge!  They say that the dogs with black fur have lower adoption rates at shelters because they don’t photograph well and can look dark and scary in the kennels.  But I’m doing my best with my girl and trying to take pictures outside as much as possible.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of the salt n’ peppa combo.

Jora loves everything and everyone!  I am still unsure who she loves more- her foster brother or her human companions.  She certainly does love having a playmate though.  I think Jora would do great in a home with another active dog who she could run and wrestle and play tug-of-war with (and cuddle and nap with).  Jora knows when it’s time to have fun and when it’s time to sleep it off.  She is quite excellent at both.  🙂

Any questions about Jora or the adoption process can emailed to me (Casey, aka Leroy’s mom!) at Casey@caseyheyen.com.  Please share her story with anyone looking for the perfect family companion!