But first … my Foster Fail.
No, not THAT kind of foster fail. Lordhavemercy, don’t ya’ll think I have enough dogs already??
Last Thursday I zipped out to Chilliwack Animal Control to pick up Skip, a red and white sorta smooth coat male border collie that was waiting for me. Or maybe for a tennis ball. Whatever.
He looked like my kinda dog – he’s red, always a good choice for me; he’s small, like Piper sized (but with more bulk, being male); he likes playing Dumbball, definitely a popular activity on the Food Lady Farm. All in all, he was looking like a mighty fine foster candidate. Then Trina mentioned he’d growled at another intact male passing its kennel and I thought “Aww, man!” The last thing I wanted was to bring home a walking pissing contest with Dexter, so I selfishly decided to pass on fostering him. I dropped him off at the vet clinic on my way home, and he was retrieved and sent off to his foster home the following day. He’s in Victoria now, and will be available for adoption in a couple of weeks or so – he’s a super dog, someone is going to be real lucky to have him! Many thanks to Robyn for picking him up and over-nighting him, and then bringing him to the ferry terminal and to Tia, his foster mum, who walked on the ferry and came over to collect him!
I wanted an easy-transition foster, someone who would come in, be completely unobtrusive, and eventually meander off to a real home. So when Kamloops Animal Control told us about “Blue” a senior border collie X Corgi, I thought this would be a fantastic alternative to an intact growling male trying out-leg-lift my puppy all over my house. And you know me, I love me some old dog!
On the AC intake form, his previous owner claimed that Blue is 22 years old. I thought that was ridiculous … NO dog is 22 years old! Obviously, Blue is 12, not 22. Then Blue arrived, courtesy of Claudine of Laughing Dingo Studios who drove him from Kamloops to Hope, and to the *other* Blue’s (now called Skye) mum Christine, for picking him up in Hope and bringing him to me. Thanks ladies! And by that I mean, thanks for nothing! Harumph.
Anyway, Old Blue arrived and I had to immediately revise my opinion about his age. For starters, he’s pretty much totally blind and I’m pretty certain he is completely deaf. He’s as rickety as an old foot stool, and shaped like one too. And just about as easy to knock over too. Of course, none of that stops him from biting you when you touch his seriously arthritic hind end, and for a creature that seems to have been born when the world was created, he can sure whip his head around real fast!
As an added bonus, he arrived sporting a belly band because – and this is fantastical, magic, SO TYPICAL OF MY LIFE ironic – he’s a chronic leg lifter and will coat the whole house in a delicate spray of urine. Oh yes he will.
Lastly, because this story would not be complete without the cherry on top … he’s intact. He’s intact and he HATES OTHER INTACT MALE DOGS. Lucky for me, I had my only intact male in the car with me when I had to drive him home. So while Blue went from Claudine’s house to Christine’s house, merrily showing oodles of affection and tolerance for their dogs, he shuffled into my life and took out a hit on Dexter’s life. We eventually had to shove him in a too-small crate (not super fun, what with the whole “touch me and I’ll bite you” business) and I drove home as fast as I could with him growling and snarling at Dexter (who was hiding on the floor) the whole way.
Once we got home, I took everyone for a short walk on the property and Blue spent the whole walk trying to air scent for Dex and … kill him. Poor Dex didn’t even want to come in the house afterward, and cowered on the porch until I had secured Blue in an XPen. Fortunately Blue went right to sleep and slept for 13 hours straight. Being murderous takes a toll on an old fella!
I suspect that whatever deity oversees dog rescuers has it in for me for some reason.
Stop whining! *I’m* the target of the hit!
So I passed up a perfectly nice dog for all the reasons that Blue brought with him, in a crotchety old package. Super. It really makes me miss Faith (even though I’m still pulling scabs off Dexter from all the places she grabbed him whenever he tried to run). And by the way, if you miss Faith too, you can visit her at her new dad’s blog.
The question is … what to do with Blue? He’s at the vet right now, recovering from his neuter, but he has 22 years (apparently) of practicing at being an asshole to other intact males (of course, if I’d spent 22 years in someone’s backyard and then got dumped at AC, I’d be an asshole too) so surgery isn’t going to magically cure him. And Dex is still intact, at least until the 29th of this month (insert *GULP* here). So he just can’t live here with us.
I feel like a right shitheel, but I sent a sucky, pleading email to Carol of SAINTS and whined about all my …well, whines. I’m not a big fan of rescues passing dogs off to one another when they’re a problem, but I’m between a bellyband and a scared puppy here … I’m not going to make Dex live a life of terror, and I’m not going to make Blue live the rest of his life in an XPen either. What kind of asshole would *I* be if I did?
Carol kindly agreed to take Blue, basically saying that one more bitey, pissing, creaky old dog wasn’t going to make a big difference ’round them parts. Either she’s really tolerant, or she just wants me to promote the new book about SAINTS, coming soon to an online sale near you! Of course, I would’ve promoted it anyway, and not just because a bunch of the photos in it are mine (*pops collar*), but because I think SAINTS does terrific things for old dogs and by golly, they deserve all the PR they can get.
Now I just have to get Blue out to Mission during what is one of the busiest weeks I’ve had in forever, of course. Anyone feel like driving him out there? I have fewer “days off” this week because of physio appointments and an interview at another shelter and – AND – Dex’s first trial! Woohoo! Did you think I had forgotten?
Yesterday Dex and I played at the All Star Agility annual Fun Match. It was Dex’s first “trial” – I say “trial” in quotes because a Fun Match is not a sanctioned trial and is not included in the AAC titling stream. Fun Matches are great places for newbies to the sport to get their feet wet in a trial atmosphere without the pressure of big competition. Plus, you can bring food or toys in the ring with you, and even run your dog on a leash if necessary. As I am in no big hurry to start trialing Dexter, I wanted him to get the feel of running somewhere other than our practice barn or my agility yard where I could still reward his performances mid-run.
We had a blast! He showed me what areas we need to work on, but he also showed me where we have excelled too, and it was great! I was super happy with his performance. He got a 1st place and a Q in Standard, a first place and a Q in Gamblers (my boy likes to work at a distance) and then it all went to hell ;-) We almost Q’d Jumpers but for a single refusal that was all my fault, and then we crashed and burned the last Jumpers for a whole variety of reasons, but we did execute a rather complicated sequence with something approaching grace, and that made me super happy. All in all, he did real well and I am very proud of him!
And because I know you all wish you could have seen him in his inaugural trial, I even got video of all 4 runs! Alas, I have not had the chance to get them off the video camera yet. This requires software that I do not possess, so I’m going to download it at my parents tonight so I can post it for you. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow.
But because I love you, I set up a few photos today to recreate some of the trial feel for you.
This is what I see when I lead out and look back at the start line where I’ve left him:
And here he is weaving like a pro:
And here’s what Piper looks like when I get home from a trial I didn’t bring her to:
And then I got distracted by the adorable tableau of Wootie and TWooie standing on the enormous pile of woodchips that we are using to help cut down on some of the mud in places like the chicken coop. They love this pile of woodchips because they can scan their whole kingdom from up there.
There are no photos of Tweed because he’s now on 24/7 crate rest. Strict leash walks alone have not seemed to help, so now we’re trying the penultimate cure of no exercise at all. The ultimate cure, which I am trying desperately to avoid, is surgery for what my vet thinks might be a torn bicep. Boohoo :( I may have nobody to run at Regionals this year except Piper, which is kind of the same as having nobody to run at all. Wah.