Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Enjoy this beautiful Leap Day weather and get outside with your pups!

If you can't get outside, check out some photos from Alfred & Bruce Wayne's first ever SociaBulls walk in historic Humboldt Park.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Goldifur and the Three Scares

Once upon a time, there was a dog named Goldifur.

After Goldifur had his neuter surgery and was up-to-date on all his vaccines (thanks to American Animal Rescue Society!), he was ready to look for a new home.  Many people fell in love with his big, handsome face through his online photo album, and scheduled an appointment to meet handsome Goldifur.  

The first potential home was of two firemen who were looking for a companion to wrestle and play with.  Goldifur greeted them with wagging tail, but when they bent down to pet his face he grabbed one arm with his mouth and wouldn't let go.  "This family is too big!" Goldifur exclaimed as I pried his jaws off of the firman's forearm who, fortunately, was just fine after that brief, scary moment.  The two men stuck around for a bit to watch him run and play, but it was clear that this was not the family for Goldifur.  

The second potential home was with Auntie B, who loved that big stupid face from the day he was found.  B had never owned a dog of her own, but lived in an apartment with two cats and a roommate and was willing to give Goldifur a try.  He came over to meet the cats and thought they were so interesting!  While one cat hid in the bedroom, the other wasn't about to be caught playing with a dog and smacked him right on the nose, leaving a single red streak of blood.  Goldifur was shocked, and kept a safe distance from then on.  Note to self: cats are pointy!  Things were going well enough and B decided she would keep Goldifur for the weekend while M and I were gone for a wedding.  Things were looking up for Goldifur!  

However, at this point, the tawny scrawny dog that we once knew had become quite a bit stronger and heavier, weighing in only about 25 lbs. lighter than B herself. They had been out for a walk when Goldifur began to have one of his now-infamous "leash meltdowns," grabbing the leash with his mouth and pulling backward with all of his might.  Luckily B was able to wrap the leash around a nearby neighbor's fence until he dropped the leash, but when I received a phone call from B retelling the story through giant sobs I knew that this would not be the right family for Goldifur either...this family was too small.

And so, the search continued and none of the families were just right for poor Goldifur. Where were we ever going to find a family with enough dog handling experience who didn't already have dogs of their own and had the time to give Goldifur the training and attention he needed?  How could we find him a home with a canine brother who tolerated loved him and a mom and dad who couldn't live with themselves if he were put down would do anything for him?  Though we still weren't ready to admit we loved the big idiot, we were starting to realize that maybe our family was the family that was "just right." 


Friday, February 24, 2012

Dog vs. Dog

January 1, 2012

Clearly we ended up keeping Alfred, but M and I didn't come to that decision right at the start.  There were a lot of factors to take into account before we could agree to let the big beasty become a part of our clan: one of the most important being whether or not he and Bruce Wayne could get along.  Alfred had come back from the vet with a relatively clean bill of health, and it was confirmed that he was free of any contagious diseases that might be threatening to other dogs.  Still, I was nervous about their first meeting and worried we'd be forced back into the position of bringing the poor lug down to Animal Care and Control where he wouldn't have a second chance.  He didn't have a strong reaction to neighbor F's two smaller dogs, so that was promising, but his resource guarding and mouthiness with humans was concerning...there was nothing to do but wait and see how their first meeting would go.

After all of my nervousness and worrying I had expected something big to happen. Either they were going to love each other and instantly be the best of friends, or they would get into a huge fight and I would feel terrible for ever putting Bruce in danger.  Instead, the first meeting was fairly uneventful.  First they sniffed through the fence and said hello.  Then we let them both out in the back yard to run around and play.  They were like two boys on the school playground and everything was going fine.  Alfred was showing signs of submission toward Bruce and I was beginning to calm down a little bit.  Bruce seemed to enjoy playing in the yard, and we had ourselves a foster dog.

Bruce wasn't convinced at first (he still might not be 100% sure) that he liked having a foster brother.  The play in the back yard was all well and good, but now the big meat head is going to come inside?  He's getting all of the attention from mom and dad while I'm stuck out in the living room by myself?  Why is he getting so many treats just for letting you pet his head??  I didn't sign up for this!

Bruce had gone from being a spoiled only child to playing the part of older brother, and nobody even asked his opinion on the matter.  Although Bruce could handle Alfred's rough style of play, it didn't really stop once we were inside so the house was often divided in two.  Instead of spending time taking Bruce to the dog park and bringing him with me on errands, I was consumed with working on Alfred's behavior and taking him back and forth to the vet.  Was it really worth losing all of the time and attention with mom and dad to gain a backyard playmate?

Bruce Wayne sure put up a stink about it, but I think at the end of the day he's glad to have another dog in the house.  To all the other multiple-pet families: do your pets always get along, or do you think they ever have secret plots against each other?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Liebster!

I'm super honored to make my third-ever post an announcement of our nomination for the "Liebster Award" by fellow Chicago animal blogger, Two Kitties One Pittie! The "Liebster Award" originated in Germany and means "dearest, beloved, favorite." This is an award for new blogs with 200 followers or less. The requirement is that I post this award, mention those who honored me, and then pass it on to a few of my favorite blogs.

Being relatively new to the Blogging world (and not really sure how to figure out how many readers other blogs have..?), I don't have a ton of nominations to pass on, but here goes...

1) In Black & White
A blog about the exploits of rescue dog, Billy (moonlighting as the handsome logo for Chicago dog rescue, One Tail at a Time), his friends, foster siblings and occasional tales of the humans in his life. Also occasional vacation home for Bruce Wayne and Alfred...keep an eye out for their guest appearances! 

2) For Inchoiring Minds
When I'm not spending time with the pooches, I do quite a bit of volunteering with local musical organization, Wicker Park Choral Singers. Their blog helps educate people about the choral arts and provides updates to FREE choral performances in Chicago. 

3) Carafe Catchup
A pair of coffee-obsessed musicians searching for the greatest cup o'joe and the next greatest melody, Candance and Cody live in Omaha and recently opened up Accelerando Coffee Shop: a place for delicious coffee, great performances and unique happenings. 

Thanks again to Two Kitties One Pittie for the award! Please share the love and read these wonderful blogs!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life Before Alfred

Life before Alfred was exactly what I thought I'd always wanted.  I was actively involved in the Chicago arts community,  living with a wonderful man, with whom I'd adopted an adorable puppy, and working on a flexible schedule leaving plenty of time for exploring the city and spending lots time with the love of my life:

My soul mate.

Yep, that's the one.  I knew it the moment he heaved his goofy, big-eared, cone head onto my chest and looked into my eyes with a satisfied sigh. Officially introducing my best friend and soul mate: Bruce Wayne.  (love you too, M!)

M and I both grew up with dogs at home and to say we "like" dogs would be a gross understatement (especially for me).  At age 14 I began my first job working weekends at a local veterinary clinic and continued to work there as much as possible over the next 8 years.  After graduating and moving to the city I couldn't afford to take care of a dog of my own, so I worked at a doggie daycare and as a dog walker to get my fix.  I would jog down to the dog beach and just sit and smile as dogs of all shapes and sizes blissfully splashed in the water and rolled around in the sand.  People on the street would be lucky to make it past me without at least a 5 minute detour of OMG, what a cuuuuuuuuute dog-type behavior, and I am not ashamed.  Not even a little.

Lucky for me, when M and I moved in together in the summer of 2009 I had LOTS of free time on my hands AND a dog-friendly lease (yippee!). We lasted approximately 1 month in the new place before heading to PAWS Chicago and bringing home a dog to call our very own.  He was everything I had ever dreamed of.  Adorable, cuddly, and super smart: he graduated top of his puppy class and went everywhere with me that he possibly could. We were one,  happy, picture-perfect family.


We'd talked about getting another dog someday, but were in no rush.  As far as M and I were concerned, we had everything we ever thought we wanted in life; we were on Cloud 9 and nothing could bring us down.  Then Alfred showed up.  The world works in mysterious ways...   

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meet Alfred

This is Alfred:

Alfred is a seventy-pounds-of-pure-muscle, blocky-headed, slobber factory who loves long walks in the park, playing with his canine brother, and snuggling on the couch with his mom and dad.  But Alfred wasn't always all smiles and snuggles. When I first met him, he was tied up out front of our neighbor's house, in the rain and covered in mud, at 7am on Wednesday, August 4, 2010.  My then-boyfriend, M, was with me as we got in the car so I could drop him off at work, and we both knew that this scene just wasn't right.  I looked to M and said "if that dog is still there when I get back, I have to do something about it," and, sure enough, half an hour later he was still there looking as sad as ever and so I slowly approached him and untied the leash, then brought him up to our back porch and out of the rain.

Thank you! *wag, wag, wag*

Here I was with an emaciated, muddy, strange dog tied to my back stairs looking at me with those big, sad eyes and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  M was stuck at work all day and our other dog was staying with Grandma and Grandpa all week since we had plans to travel out of town the upcoming weekend.  I gave the poor guy a bowl of food and he scarfed it down in an instant.  I tried giving him a bone to chew on and learned that he had some serious guarding tendencies.  He had obviously been through a lot before arriving on my doorstep and so I just let him rest out on the porch while I made phone call after phone call trying to figure out what on earth one does with a dog you pick up off the street.  

The rain finally let up, so I took the beastie man out for a walk around the block to clear my head.  I'd have to take him to Animal Care and Control: the responsible, safe thing to do.  Safe for me anyway.  I didn't want to think about what might happen to the sickly-looking, resource-guarding pit bull once I'd dropped him off, but all I knew was there was no way he could stay here.  Not with M and myself leaving town in a couple of days and returning with our own dog and back to our normal lives. It just didn't seem possible.  I had to drop him off.

We got back from our walk and I called my friend B for some help getting him to the shelter.  I figured he might have a better shot there if he at least wasn't covered in mud, so I hosed him down in the back yard.  He stood patiently and licked my face, looking at me as if he knew his fate.  

Please just hurry up and get this over with, I thought to myself, waiting for B to arrive.  There's no way we can keep this dog.  He needs to be somebody else's problem, not mine.  Not now.  My mind was made up.

Are you sure??

finally pulled up after what seemed like forever and we made our way out the back door.  Just then, my neighbor F was pulling up and stopped us to ask about the dog.  I shared our morning's activities with him and told him we were on our way to the pound...that's when he reaffirmed all of the fears that had been swimming in my head about the fate of this unlucky pup.  He offered to accompany me to (and pay for) a vet visit.  He even offered to watch him over the weekend until M and I got back.  Anything to keep him from taking that final trip: how could I say no?

And so the adventure continued, and Life with Alfred began.  Why 'Alfred,' you ask? Well, M and I had promised our other dog that our next pet would double as his assistant and confidant, and we never break a promise...

"Everything's impossible until somebody does it."