Progress!

 

 

 

 

So if you read my letter to Leroy or noticed my lack of blogging, you may have gathered that I’ve been a little bit busy.  But I’m back!  This month I received my MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  (WOOT! If you’re interested in the other half of my life, you can check that out)  I will be busy and working to figure life out, as always.   But I promise to start providing more regular updates on Leroy’s progress!  However, it was a good time to take a blogging break, because Leroy is officially on Prozac (it takes 6 weeks to see any noticeable changes).  So I am ready and able to say that we are making progress!  But I am 100% certain that this progress is a combination of Prozac and very diligent training.  The Prozac is helping Leroy to stay under threshold more easily, and the training is giving him something active and productive to do when he becomes stressed out or overwhelmed.  It had been a great combination!  Not without mistakes, meltdowns, or errors of course.  But the overall trend has been progress.

Leroy is more capable of coping with a slowly moving cat in the distance, or even a very still cat a few feet away!  He uses his new favorite command, “Look at that”, to find something that is exciting and chase-worthy.  When he sees the exciting kitty, he has a moment.  Maybe we’ll call it a mental freak out.  He sees the cat and he wants to chase it!  That’s what he knows- that’s what he does!  But then he remembers- If he sees something exciting and he looks up at mom, he gets treats!  Good boy Leroy, good boy 🙂

We are still struggling with skateboards.  Those buggers are a challenge.  But we had a nice moment yesterday with a boy walking past us who was holding a skateboard.  Leroy didn’t quite go over threshold, but he was crying and worked up about it.  On the one hand, I could have been upset.  He wasn’t even riding the skateboard, he was just carrying it!  But on the other hand, I knew what to do!  And guess what?! Leroy knew what to do!  I waited Leroy out while he had a minor freak out… and then he gave me a very nice look away.  YES!  Good boy Leroy, Michaela would be proud.  🙂  Leroy got a nice reward and we left!

I goez for nap nao

I goez for nap nao.

 

Sorry for the delay in posting.  Please comment if you have any questions, post suggestions or anything at all!

 

Sponsor us here– 5k Race to Rescue

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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

Sponsor me here- Donate

Indestructible Toys

As a Pit Bull mommy, I’ve been on a search to find the perfect indestructible toys.  You may be able to guess that this has provided quite the challenge!  Here is the rundown of toys we’ve tried.

1.  The Unbreakoball.  I would have liked to show an action shot of my pack playing with this- but they don’t.  It is still in wonderful shape, most likely collecting dust under my bed.  Leroy will give it about one second of attention.  Then he’ll realize he can’t pick it up, it’s not squishy or exciting enough, and he’ll go get something else.  I’ll give this toy an 7/10.  Indestructible- potentially.  But mine haven’t given it much of a chance.

2.  Jolly Ball- “Teaser Ball“.  Leroy likes this toy for short periods of time.  It will not hold his attention for longer than 5 minutes.  But I do feel that it’s pretty indestructible.  He can’t get a good grip on the edge of the ball, and the shape of it makes it hard for him to cause any damage.  We’ll say, 8/10.  Not a bad purchase!

Jora liked the Teaser Ball too. :)

Jora liked the Teaser Ball too. 🙂

3. Jolly Ball- “Tug-n-Toss“.  Leroy had the pleasure of playing with this toy while he stayed with Leigh at Opportunity Barks during my vacation.  He doesn’t even have one yet!  But his birthday is coming- SHH, don’t tell him 🙂  However, this toy was pretty great, puncture proof, easy to carry, chase, and fetch.  I’m looking forward to buying it and only slightly worried for my house!  I think this one deserves a 9/10, but as I said, I haven’t purchased it yet.

Sweet Spot Farm!

Sweet Spot Farm! 

4. Good ol’ plastic bottles.  (No link required)  Leroy loves chomping on any type of plastic.  My preferences are the more heavy duty kind, think Tropicana orange juice bottles.  We do a 2x recycle and there was no extra cost involved.  I drink whatever may be inside, Leroy flattens the bottle, we recycle it.  Not indestructible by any means, but cheap and worth tossing to your pooch! (that is unless they eat things whole).  I give it a 6/10 because recycling is easy and cheap 🙂

Picnik collage

5. Nylabones. Solid plastic?  We’ll take it!  Jora had a nylabone in her mouth, basically at all times.  Leroy enjoys them in phases.  Tofu isn’t so into them.  But they last!  They are not soft or squeaky or exciting, but I trust leaving them in the crates when I’m not home.  And they’re good for a nice munch on every now and then.  I give a 8/10 for these, but it has to be the “Powerful chewer” style.

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(These two pictures are especially terrible- I apologize)

6. Tuffy Toys.  First of all, it has to be the Tuffy Toy level 10.  And I am sad to report that our long lasting Tuffy Toy was recently demolished.  Tofu did most of the damage, and Leroy finished it off.  However, I am still going to give it a 9/10.  It lasted a long time.  And got the most play because it was soft and easy to pick up.  I will be buying more of these in the future.  Well done Tuffy!  Also, I don’t think Leroy would have killed it without Tofu’s help 🙂

Going

Going

Going

Going

Gone

Gone

If you have any great toy suggestions, please comment and let us know!

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

Race to Rescue

The group that I volunteer for (the group that saved Leroy and Jora), is holding our second annual 5k Race to Rescue!  I will be running the 5k, volunteering, and probably sporting an LCPO foster dog at the event.  The goal of the event is to raise awareness of the abuse and neglect of pit bull type dogs and the effort we go through every day to save, rehabilitate, and rehome them.  We also use this event as one of our main fundraisers to help with vet bills and boarding costs for the dogs we have in the rescue program.  We generally have around 20 dogs available for adoption and most come with serious vet needs.  We’ve saved many dogs with mange (like Jora), dogs that are heartworm positive, dogs with broken bones, troubled pasts, neurological problems and more.

So this is your official invitation to join us for this great event!  It will be held on June 8th, 2013 at Kirby Park in Kingston, PA.  You have plenty of notice to clear your schedule and plan a drive to PA.  And I’m expecting everyone reading this within a two-three hour drive to be there! 🙂  Here is some more information about the event

And if you’d like to support this wonderful cause, you can help out by making a donation to my fundraising page or sharing it with your friends and family.  I really would love to see some of you there.  🙂

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race to rescue; because every dog deserves love.

Jora’s Story

Resilient-  Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

Jora was found running around Luzerne County as a stray.  She was only 4 months old.  She was covered in Demodex Mange.  Demodex mange is caused by mites which we cannot see.  All dogs and even humans have these mites.  However, they can cause the Demodex disease when an abnormal immune system allows their numbers to get out of control. This occurs primarily in puppies and in adult dogs with lowered immunity.  Poor living conditions, stress, and lack of treatment can make this problem much worse.  This is what Jora looked like when she entered the rescue program-

  

Mange causes itching, irritation, loss of fur, secondary skin infections, swelling, a particular “mange” smell, and a general “un-cuteness”.  Jora was just a little baby lab mix, but no one wanted her because of the way she looked.  Jora’s original foster home had to move suddenly and was not able to continue fostering.  SO at that time, I offered to take in this little peanut.  Jora has been with me since she was about 6 months old.  She looks much better now, but she is still battling mange.

Now Jora is 11 months old.  And while all rescue dogs have a sad story, I feel especially sad that she’s never had a “real” family at any point in her life.  I also am wondering why she keeps being overlooked and has been up for adoption for her whole puppy hood.

Despite all of the moving and instability and trips to the vet and medication and itching; Jora is resilient.  She might not have kicked her mange yet, but she is a joy to be around every single day.  She is happy when she wakes up.  She’s never stressed or upset.  She loves exploring new places, she adores new people.  And she’s a sweet, confident girl.


If you have any suggestions on getting the word out about Jora, I would love to hear them!    I am truly puzzled at how she’s still with me.  More information about mange can be found here- Demodex Mange.  Information about out Jora’s rescue group and how to donate to her vet care can be found here- LCPO

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!