I was in the process of organizing old photos today and came across some of a few of the dogs, but by no means all, that we have fostered over the years for Northeast Ohio Shetland Sheepdog Rescue. I thought you would like to see them too.
More pictures of foster dogs will be shared in a future post. They all went on to wonderful homes.
Some of you might wonder why I would want to keep a dog like Zekie when we foster so many “nice” dogs. Not dogs like Zeke who do things like stress chew their bowls until, as one person put it, the bowl looks like it was mangled in an airplane crash. Well this photo right here sums it up. True love. (Or for you Princess Bride fans To Blave) No one loves you like an intense, crazy dog. And hey look, there’s a lampshade on my head, so life is a party with Zekie!
Let’s be honest, my life isn’t complete unless I have a crazy dog, or so I’ve been told. I have to agree with that assessment. Anybody can handle life with a calm, normal dog. And I’m always up for a challenge. Normalcy is boring. I prefer a dog smart enough to watch tv and figure out how to open the kitchen doors to counter surf.
Or like my heart dog Duncan. Smart enough to learn how to use the latches on the crates so he can let the foster dogs out and eat all their food.
May you be fortunate enough to have such a dog. And survive it.
It’s always good to catch up with old friends. This is a picture of an old friend. Sky (formerly known as Skylar) spent the past week with us while his humans were away. He was our foster dog for a number of months about three years ago. Fortunately, his humans are also friends of ours so he gets to stay with us every once in a while.
Sky got to spend some time with us on the patio on the one nice day we had. This was a treat because it wasn’t totally fenced in back when he lived with us.
At first he just watched everyone else play. See him peeking from behind the plant?
But then he remembered how things work around here and started to join in.
By the end of the afternoon, Sky was tired and ready for a rest.
He is back home with his own family now but it sure was nice to spend some time with him.
It’s always nice to hear about a former foster dog. This is Sweetie. We fostered her three years ago. She was a favorite. Definitely in the top five of any fosters who have come through here.
Sweetie is our kind of dog. A big sheltie with lots of energy and attitude and smarts. Luckily she went to an amazing couple who keeps in touch.
Sweetie is living the good life. Her new (at least three years ago she was new) mom works from home. Sweetie gets to go camping and hiking. The perfect life for her. And she gets all the attention. She doesn’t have to share with a pack.
As you can see from the video, life is definitely good! This is what makes it all worthwhile.
This is Zeke, aka Zekie. He is my pit bull. You don’t think he looks like a pit bull? Well, he’s not exactly a pit bull.
You see, I really wanted to get a pit bull. My plan was to get one and train it to use for my therapy dog work. I wanted to help improve their image and also show that they were a member of our family of dogs and cats. I hadn’t quite convinced everyone in the family to proceed with this idea but I was wearing them down.
Then along came Zekie. He was transported from a local shelter to our house for fostering and was supposed to be a sheltie. Not only is he not a pit bull, he’s not a sheltie either.
Just what is he? He’s my type of dog, that’s what. He has separation anxiety. He has no fangs left, having broken the last two off on his crate since he’s been here. That was on Prozac twice a day. I’m weaning him off of that since it doesn’t help much and he’s not going anywhere. He is leash reactive, barking and lunging at other walkers. I have purchased an Easy Walk harness to see how that goes. He jumps up, mauling us when we return home. Still working on this.
Despite these behaviors, Zeke is my type of dog. He is loving and thinks he is a lap dog. Ironically, he loves everyone who comes in our house. It’s only people he meets while out walking that bring out his nasty side. He is fairly obedient. He loves to give kisses. He is grateful for any and all attention.
So although Zekie is not actually a pit bull, he came into my life and I love him so he is here to stay. The pit bull will have to wait until another time in the future. I foresee Zeke keeping me busy for the next couple of years. You will just have to humor me as I refer to my pit bull Zeke!
Do you buy Christmas presents for your dogs? We never used to but it brings them such joy to be included that we do now. Cassius knows he heard a squeaker somewhere! He was running around looking for the squeaky toy when this photo was taken.
Cassius also got a new jolly ball for Christmas. They are actually sold for horses but when you find a toy that might hold up to the jaws of steel, you go for it.
Cassius is a good sport so let’s Zeke have a turn with his new toy.
Baxter got, what else? A new Frisbee!
Shelby, never one to lay down on the job, supervises all the holiday proceedings and goings on.
Nikki mostly stays out of the way. When the big dogs are excited, things can get crazy. A petite girl could get run over!
And Zeke the wonder dog is happy to be a part of it all. He is a very nice dog. He joins in playing and chasing toys with our crew and barely bats an eye. No snarling or altercations, just smiles all around.
We are learning more about Zeke as time goes by. Such as, he loves spending time outside as long as he is with the other dogs and knows we are nearby. He especially loves the snow, burying his nose in it and snuffling for what I don’t know. Maybe for the sheer joy of it.
We have also learned that he is not above stealing food from the counter and eating all of it. But only when we are not around. For this the fault lies with us for allowing the opportunity.
Zeke continues to move his crate across the room when there are no humans at home. And drool. The weather has not been conducive to walking so no updates on that front.
Even so, we are enjoying our time with Zeke. He is a fine dog.
It’s time for an update on our foster dog, Zeke. I have had people inquire about how he is doing which is encouraging for me. Although I can’t say Zeke is over his issues and acting like a normal dog, I can report that he is showing improvement. To what do I attribute this? Two things. Number one, time and consistency. Number two, drugs! The vet prescribed Prozac and occasional Valium for him.
The Valium seems to have little effect so I have only used it twice. Both times he still “drove” his crate across the dining room. When in his crate and we both go away he apparently flings himself against it so hard trying to get out that it moves across the room. We find it up against a piece of furniture or the wall where it was impossible to go any farther. If you’ll remember, he also drools buckets in the crate with standing puddles of it inside the crate and some flung out while we are gone. One time he cracked off part of a fang. He only had two fangs when we got him and now we know why. The Valium has no effect on these episodes so I probably won’t give him any more. Luckily for Zeke, the times when my husband and I are both gone at the same time are rare.
By the way, Zeke is fine in his crate when we are home. We feed the dogs in their crates and then they have a rest time in the crate right afterward for a short time. Zeke also sleeps in a crate and is fine. It’s the being alone that’s the problem. I felt the need to crate him when we leave the house though because I suspect that he would jump through a window to come look for us. The first three weeks I would crate him when I left for work because my husband was still upstairs in bed. (I leave at 6:00 am so who could blame him.) Zeke would do some minor barking and lots of drooling. So, I got brave and left him loose in the house because my husband was still home, just upstairs. Zeke has been good as gold. He has not tried to jump through the window and has been laying down and being good as gold at these times. Someday I may get brave enough to let him loose in the house when we both go away. Not anytime soon though. Because he has been known to knock pans and containers off the kitchen counters and stove. We also need to make sure there will be no incidents between him and the other animals. They get along fine but there is always the possibility of a misunderstanding occurring and the results of that could be disastrous.
Zeke was barking in his crate at night at random at first. Nothing hysterical, just attention seeking. We moved his crate beside our bed and now he doesn’t make a peep. Usually I would not allow the dog to control us like this but these are extenuating circumstances. Zeke needs to gain confidence and calmness to overcome his various problems.
Luckily Zeke is easy to love. He is affectionate and loving. He likes to snuggle and sit on your lap. You better have a big lap because he probably weighs about 45 lbs. now! He has a pleasant temperament and is fairly obedient when given commands. He listens when you talk to him and seems to understand a great deal, given his reactions to conversations.
Zeke went to see the vet on Monday. We were concerned about him because when released from his crate, he makes a beeline for the water bowl and drinks like he just crossed a desert. You can’t get his attention to get him outside until he is done.
The vet found nothing wrong. He is apparently just getting so thirsty because he becomes so distraught when we leave, that he drools himself into dehydration. There is literally standing drool in his crate so deep when I come back that I need paper towels to mop it up. And the entire front of him is drenched.
Between this and all his other antics, such as trying to attack people on bikes, and joggers, we opted to put Zeke on Prozac for a destress and retraining period.
So far it is helping slightly. And this is early, the medicine can take several weeks to build to full potential. The amount of time that he spends frantically jumping on me when I return home from work is less. The crazed look in his eye is less. This morning I didn’t hear him barking when I closed the door for work.
I am also going to try something else my vet recommended. Puppy popsicles! Apparently licking is more calming than chewing, thus the popsicles. Take water or broth, low sodium of course, and put things in it like hot dog shavings, very tiny bits of cheese or peanut butter, etc. and freeze in ice cube trays or muffin tins. Give one in a metal bowl (plastic bowls may get eaten) when you go away. Give one once in a while too when you’re home so there isn’t always a stressful event associated with it.
Zeke’s metal bowl is chewed full of holes all around the top and bent nearly in half. We straighten it from time to time. I don’t know of any thing to feed him in that would be safer though.
The weather was lovely on Saturday so we decided to take dogs for a walk. Shelby also went along but was too busy sniffing things to be present in this photo.
After my last walk with Zeke the Foster Dog, I expected it to be a work out. I was not disappointed. We leashed everybody up in the parking lot at Towners Woods. And the fun began right away. Another lady walking her dog was also in the parking lot. For whatever reason, her dog began barking at us. This set Zeke off and he became a barking, lunging, slavering beast. I was not able to break his focus from the other dog and he became quite ferocious acting. I finally had to pick him up and flip him over on his back and hold him down. After a few seconds of this he calmed enough to get up and quietly stare bullets at the backside of the lady and her dog as they scurried away.
Although my dog put on the better (read, more embarrassing, show), at least mine was now quiet and her’s was still barking as they hurried off into the distance. All of our own dogs seemed to be thinking, well let’s get this show on the road, we’re here to hike! So off we went with Zeke now behaving like just one of the pack.
Zeke did growl and jump at some other hikers but his heart didn’t seem to be in it except for the couple who had a Rottweiler and a Boxer. Them, he barked ferociously at. Umm, Zeke, you only weigh 42 lbs. But all in all we had a nice afternoon.
Shelby even took time to pose for a photo. And since the sun finally came out, we saw some beautiful scenery.
Infact I was so absorbed looking at the beauty of the foliage that I tripped on some tree roots and fell down. I fell down without catching myself because I twisted so I wouldn’t land on Zeke and hurt him. Although there were some minor pains the biggest hit was taken by my ego. Always save the dog!
Although I often share Zeke’s more troublesome antics, rest assured that he is a wonderful dog. The quiet times just don’t make as good of a story. Zeke is affectionate, loving, and good company. He gets along well with other dogs and cats at home. He is always happy to see you. Once he has settled into a permanent home, I have no doubt that he will blossom even more.