Friday, January 27, 2012

Good Morning.

As a princess, I have many social obligations. Sometimes my weekend duties begin early. On Thursday evening, for example, I had a dinner invitation. I took Foster Mommy along because she likes to get out of the house. Then we got back a little late but Uncle Chris needed some company, so I stayed up even later with him after FM went to bed.

So Friday morning I thought I would get to sleep in just a bit. But FM decided it was a great day for an early morning walk. I tried to decline politely by pretending I was not awake. She is not always good at taking subtle hints, however. Even though I kept my eyes closed tight, she put my leash on and tried to persuade me to leave my throne.

Um, FM, I don't think opening the door to show me that it is RAINING is a good way to persuade me to go outside. I'm a princess, remember? We don't get our feet wet. Please go away and come back when the weather is better.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Case Your Foster Dog Is Not Perfect.

I am special. Everyone says so. This was very helpful for my Foster Mommy, since she did not have any Canine Experience before, except for sometimes walking with some of Foster Auntie's dogs. FA says that I am a perfect "First Dog," because I have such good manners in the house and on a leash and I am friendly with everyone I meet. FA says Queen Tozi was like this, too. She says we are naturally Resilient and Polite. I guess it's the Royal Blood. But most Foster Dogs do not have this advantage and so it takes them longer to learn how to live in a home with a family. That's why Foster Parents have to be patient and they also need a lot of support and advice. Rescue Organizations usually have people like FA who love to help people get used to dogs and vice-versa. They are so happy that someone is giving a temporary home to a dog that they will do almost anything to make it easy and fun. Just ask!

Here are some things you might encounter if you have a Foster Dog who is not quite perfect yet. I will use Boomer as the example of an Imperfect Foster Dog.

First, your foster dog may not have lived in a house before and may not understand all the rules involved in Inside Living. In fact, I did not know about houses until I got to the Little Blue House. But since I am naturally Resilient and Polite, I explored very carefully and then went up the steps one by one without making a Big Stink about it. And once I was inside I did not make messes or chew on Forbidden Objects. But when Boomer first lived in a house, he peed and chewed and made messes everywhere and he even howled sometimes.

This is Boomer when he first came to FA's house. He did not look very good. He was skinny and he had the sniffles and his coat was not shiny.

Fortunately Foster Auntie has lived with many dogs, including many foster dogs, and she had a Plan. She taught him to pee outside only and she gave him Appropriate Chewing Objects and eventually he learned most of the rules. He still likes to eat footwear, but FA says that dogs do that and people need to learn not to leave tasty chewable items on the floor. Boomer still stays in a crate when no one is home because he is not Fool Proof yet.

Second, your foster dog may not get along with your other animals. FA has a dog named Thunder who does not always like new dogs, especially boy dogs. So he and Boomer had to get used to each other very slowly. At first they only met each other when Boomer was in a crate and Thunder walked past. They stayed in separate parts of the house for several weeks and Thunder gradually got used to the idea of a new boy dog in the house. When he completely ignored Boomer in his crate or on the other side of a door, FA let them meet each other on leashes. When that went well, they got to have Supervised Time Together. Now they are good friends and even take naps together sometimes.

FA says slow and steady is best. Same goes for cats, if you have those. But we leave the details to the Cat Experts, like my friend Crazy Cat Woman.

Third, some dogs have had a hard time before arriving in their foster homes and do not trust everyone they meet. This is not the case for me, because I like everyone and I am sure everyone I meet will like me.

This is me meeting the Little Boy for the First Time:

Not all dogs are as brave and sociable as I am. Boomer likes kids but he is not always brave with grownups. He is scared of many people, especially when they have sticks or make loud noises or stare at him. FA has learned about what bothers him and tries to help him get used to new people and feel safe. He is still not as Happy-Go-Lucky as me, but he is not scared of as many things as before.

Since Boomer had so many Issues he required an Advanced Foster Home. Since I am perfect I am an Advanced Foster Dog and can be in a Beginner Foster Home. That is why I was just right for my FM.

FM is very fond of me and says I cannot stay at your house to teach you about fostering In Person. That is why I have a Blog to tell you about it from the comfort of my own Throne. You may not get a dog who is quite as perfect as me. We are not Common. Obviously. But don't worry. There are lots of imperfect but very nice dogs who need foster homes. There is a dog who is right for every kind of foster family, if you are patient and make sure to ask for help from the Crazy Dog Women that you know.

Then you will find your own special foster dog who will be "That Dog" for you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

10,000 Reasons.

My Foster Mommy wrote about 10,000 Reasons to Foster a Pit Bull.

#1 Save a life! Many VERY nice dogs, and especially pit bulls, at euthanized every week. By fostering one of these dogs, you buy them the extra time they need to find a new, loving home.

(Boomer used to be a foster dog, too. My Foster Auntie used to be his Foster Mom but now she is just his Mom. He was saved by the bell, just like me. Phew. I'm so glad we both found foster moms to keep us safe.)

#2 Try dog ownership- risk-free! If you have never owned a dog before, fostering is the PERFECT way to see if owning a dog is right for you.

#3 All the fun with less commitment! You get all the joy of having a canine companion, without having to commit to taking care of a dog for many years. Some fosters are only for a couple of weeks, while others are more open ended- you can choose what works for you!

#4 Meet great people. Pit bull rescue volunteers are WONDERFUL people who will gladly help you in many ways to make the foster experience enjoyable for you and your foster dog.

#5 Be happier! Nothing brightens your day like the uninhibited joy of your foster pit bull when you get home.

#6 Never watch TV alone. Nobody wants to watch that show that you love? Your foster dog will!

#7 You can afford it! All expenses for a foster dog (food, vet care, etc.) are covered by a rescue organization- you provide a warm space, friendly words, and loving care!

#8 Laugh more! Dogs get hiccups and sometimes snore/snort when they sleep- both are very amusing.

(Obviously this is not true in my case. It would not be very princessly to snore or snort. I have no idea where she got this information.)

#9 Get great dates (if you are single)! Attractive people will approach you to inquire about your beautiful dog.

#10 Feel safe. Want to take a walk in the evening? No problem with a lovely Pit bull by your side.

#11 Get fit! Daily walks get you in great shape.

#12 Be admired! Strangers will ask you about the ‘blood-line’ of your awesome dog. (And you can have fun making something up.)

#13 You don’t HAVE to say good-bye! In most cases, if you fall in love with your foster dog… You don’t have to say good-bye. You can be a “foster failure” and adopt your dog permanently.

(I wonder if FM is thinking about this. I think she and I suit each other pretty well.)

#14-10,000 See #1

Boomer and Me.

Boomer is my best friend. He is blue and I am red, so together we are purple.

I first met him soon after I came to live with Foster Mommy. I greeted him from atop my Outdoor Throne in My Park.

Boomer lives with Foster Auntie and The Little Boy and Tozi and Libby and Thunder and some other humans. Tozi is the Queen and I know better than to do anything she does not want. I am a good Princess in that respect. And every other respect.

Boomer and I like to go for walks in different places, like the woods.

We also like to play in the backyard of the House of Tozi. Sometimes we run and run and he cannot catch me unless I slow down for him a little. And then when we have had enough running, we wrestle. I make lots of noise and sometimes have to remind him just Who is the Princess around here anyway.

Boomer is very handsome but he is not very royal. For example, he does not mind puddles or mud at all. In fact, he likes to splash around in the pond in his back yard. Then we have to wait until he is dry before we can go in.

How My True Nature Came To Be Known

At first, my royal character was not well known. I was like Princess Anastasia, living among ordinary folks while hiding my princessly identity. To start with, I gave subtle clues. I walked nicely on my leash and never pulled. I never made a mess in the house. I never barked. I greeted all my new friends with lots of friendly enthusiasm. I was perfect. My Foster Mommy and all others who met me noticed this. My Uncle Chris, who is my FM's housemate, said "There is nothing wrong with this dog!"

However, FM and my other friends did not make the perfection-royalty connection at first, so I had to be a little more obvious. I showed signs of Princess-like delicacy. For example, I refused to step in puddles. Ever. They thought that was very cute, but still did not put two + two together. Then I showed them that instead of sleeping inside a den, I preferred to sit atop my throne.

Finally FM put two and two together. Hazel is a Princess Among Us! That is why she is so perfect, so refined, so dainty. She told Foster Auntie that I am a princess, and FA got me a t-shirt to celebrate my identity. Then FM and The Little Boy painted my toenails blue.

The t-shirt says "Pit Bull Princess," even though you can't tell in the picture. And that's what I am. So now you know.

All About Me.

My name is Princess Hazel, and I am a Foster Dog Extraordinaire. I am here to tell you all about fostering and All About Me.

First, how it started. My royal character was not always appreciated. I used to live in a place in South Florida where there were a lot of bugs and I did not get to live inside, but I had my brothers and cousins and I didn't know any better.

Then my cousins Reuben and Ritz and I were all left at a place called a shelter in a place called Clewiston. It was hard and bare and there were still bugs.

Fortunately, my specialness showed itself and the First Nice Lady noticed me. She said I was a really nice dog and that she did not want anything bad to happen to me. So FNL showed the pictures of me and my cousins to another nice lady, the Crazy Cat Woman.

Crazy Cat Woman said "That is not a cat!"

But she decided to help us anyway. She found some crazy dog women to do all sorts of things for us, and before I knew it I met CCW and she put me in her car and we were having a Road Trip to Gainesville!

When I got to Gainesville I met my Foster Mommy. She had never lived with a dog before, but she knew a crazy dog woman who is really my Foster Auntie, and FM had been thinking that maybe she should try living with a dog to see how it was. Lucky for her, she got ME -- the Perfect Princess of Foster Dogs.

So that is how I came to live in Gainesville in a little blue house with my own throne and bones and toys in it, and a park just across the street, and lots of friends who come to play with me and invite me over to their house. (Oh, and Reuben and Ritz also came to Gainesville and have their own special Foster Mom. Phew.)