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First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who responded to my post yesterday about Turk biting Ginger. It was very hard to write that post and I feared that we might be the only one with a dog who doesn’t like his foster sibling. But you all shared your fostering experiences and it turns out, I am definitely not alone! So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your stories and offering me your words of advice. You have no idea how much I appreciate it!
Okay, now on to the fun stuff…a year in review, by the numbers!
Number of posts: 129 (compared to 78 for all of September 2009-December 2010)
Number of hits: 21,604 (and counting)
Most comments on a post: 21 (Tie between Turk’s Takeover: My Shameful Secret, A Letter to Ginger Rogers and yesterday’s post Ouchies)
Most hits in one day: 347 (the day we announced the start of the Sweater Sale)
Guest posts: 2 (here and here)
Blog friends met in real life: 7
Blog dogs met in real life: 6
Blog friends I haven’t met in person yet but want to: Too many to count!
Forever dogs: 2 (just Turk and Rufus)
Times Turk has “taken over” the blog: 8
Foster dogs: 1 (Our first, Ginger Rogers)
Times Ginger has been adopted and returned: 2 (Fail #1/Fail #2)
Months Ginger has spent with us: 5
Vet visits for Ginger: 9
Sirius Republic collars: 2 (both Ginger’s)
Custom Sweaters my mom has knitted since her shop opened: 33
Goals completed: 14
Semesters completed towards goal of getting a masters degree: 3
GPA thus far: 4.0
Goal attempted but failed horribly: Garden
Favorite lifestyle goal completed: Taking in our first foster dog
Favorite home improvement goal completed: Tie between the dining room table and the mantle
Favorite travel goal completed: Trip to the Pacific Northwest
Alright, now that I’ve shared some of my stats from this year, I want to know what YOU want to know about me, Daniel, our relationship, the dogs, our house, our blog….whatever*! I’ll answer your questions throughout next weeks’ giveaway-a-day posts! Also, please feel free to tell me what you’d like to see more (or less) of on the blog in 2012. I’m looking forward to hearing your questions and can’t wait to share a little more of myself with you!
* Within reason…if you want to know what I ate for breakfast or what my nickname was in elementary school, I’ll totally share that…but there are some questions that I might say “nunya business” to. Not many, but some….
I contemplated whether or not I even wanted to do this post. I don’t want to reinforce any negative stereotypes about pit bulls and I’m certainly not keen to share something that makes me seem like the kind of dog owner who doesn’t have complete control over my pets. But after much consideration, I decided to share because I know that other people have experienced this and I made a commitment to share both the ups and the downs of fostering. So, here it goes…
Our best friends Nate & Deanna came over for cookie decorating and a Christmas movie (Elf…my favorite) on Saturday night. Around 10:30, the evening was winding down and Daniel was showing them some of Ginger’s tricks. Turk had been sitting nearby. Suddenly, Turk jumped on Ginger and started biting…hard. Daniel pulled them apart quickly, but it was apparent something was wrong. I checked Ginger for wounds (she didn’t fight back), and noticed she was bleeding pretty badly from her ear. Turk had bitten a hole in the thin flap of her ear. Immediately, we got Ginger into the car and rushed her to the nearest emergency vet clinic. 2 hours and $300 later, Ginger emerged with six stitches in her ear and a staple in her neck from a wound I didn’t notice until we got in the car.
The next day, Turk seemed desperate to be sweet with us and to inspect Ginger in the new contraption surrounding her head (e-collar). It seemed as if he knew we were mad at him because of what he did to Ginger. Honestly, I was mad at him, but more angry at myself because I know that Turk didn’t just jump on Ginger for no reason. There is a reason, and it is probably our fault. Daniel knew better than to have treats out when having Ginger perform tricks. We have known that is a trigger and have been very careful to eliminate treats and toys when both dogs are out, just as a precaution. So the only thing I can figure is that Turk’s trigger is….us. I don’t think he likes it when Ginger is the recipient of our attention instead of him. This is strange because Turk doesn’t seem to have issues with our friend’s dogs or Rufus (although they did get into it a couple times when we first brought Turk home). I guess what I am trying to say is, Turk isn’t an inherently aggressive dog…he’s just aggressive with Ginger when it comes to us. This is bad because I want Ginger to live in a safe environment and I want to continue fostering, so aggressiveness on Turk’s part just isn’t going to fly. Kate from Twenty-Six to Life mentioned checking out Nothing in Life is Free, so we’re going to try that for awhile to see how it works. I also think it might be a good idea to try the tiedown method that Aleks mentioned awhile back – maybe Turk’s issue is that Ginger has free reign of the house? I don’t know. Does anyone else have any suggestions of things to try to work on Turk’s aggression towards Ginger?
I guess the upside to this incident is that we are finally going to address Turk’s issues so he can be a better foster brother in the future…and…Ginger’s antics with her e-collar have been pretty funny. We bought her a Comfy Cone on Sunday because her staple is right along her collar line, so the plastic e-collar was irritating it.
Very quickly, she figured out how to use her cone to her advantage…she figured out how to slam doors with it, how to use it as a built-in pillow, and most interestingly, she figured out that she could scare the crap out of her foster mama. She used the cone to completely envelop my face while I was napping, so I woke up to total darkness except for Ginger’s wet nose and piercing eyes. She’s done it to me twice now, both times were equally terrifying! And I swear, I saw her smile after!
So, Ginger is fine. Her stitches will be out in a week and she doesn’t seem emotionally scarred from the whole thing (that’s more Daniel and I who are), and we’re taking it as a wake-up call to be more careful and to really address Turk’s issues with Ginger. Am I the only one who has a dog who doesn’t want to a good foster brother/sister? Suggestions? I’m all ears!
I saw an old friend yesterday whose dog is seriously ill… my heart broke to hear what she’s been going through, and it got me thinking of how quickly time flies when you have a dog…which got me thinking… I can’t believe that Rufus is almost seven years old! It seems like only yesterday I was holding him for the first time…this little 8 week old chihuahua who fit in the palm of my hand.
He was the first dog that was 100% mine. I got him my junior year after a traumatic breakup. I thought getting a dog would help me feel better. I mean, how could this face not make someone feel better?
Rufus turned out to be a huge learning experience…I learned about the doggy doorbell after constantly cleaning up pee on the carpet the first week he lived with me. I learned that dogs can get separation anxiety (and met several of my neighbors in the process when they complained about the constant howling). I learned that Rufus does not like sleeping in a crate (or a cardboard box), and it was a terrible idea to let Rufus sleep in bed with me (since nearly seven years later, he still does).
Most of all, I learned what “dog is man’s best friend” means. Rufus was my best bud…he went with me to school and slept in my purse while I was in class. He snuggled with me on the couch while I watched TV. He charmed every single person he met. Most of all, he taught me how to be a responsible adult and helped to mend my broken heart.
Sometimes I spend so much time focusing on the day-to-day stuff that I forget to just stop and enjoy the here-and-now. I forget to live in the moment. I forget to just stop and cuddle Rufus…and Turk…and Ginger. I am going to make it my goal, as of today, to really enjoy the time I have with my dogs…because time flies, and before you know it your 8 week old puppy is a seven year old pooch…and that is totally okay.
Well, maybe not remodel…but Daniel did work hard on that bathroom over the last month. Re-tiling the floor, painting the walls, and replacing a cracked toilet tank. With the help of his dad, Daniel was able to take our bathroom from this when we first moved in:
We are really happy with how the bathroom turned out! Daniel was a superstar with the tiling and painting…he’ll be posting soon to explain how he did the tiling and to give you a budget breakdown. Oh, and we’re also thrilled to cross another item off our Goals list!
What remodel projects have you been up to lately?