Epilogue: Going home again

Annie had been a part of our family for exactly 8 months and we decided to visit her foster family.

I had been wrestling with this decision since we set the date.  I was very concerned about how Annie would respond to being there again.  I didn’t want her to think we were returning her but I  know that when she was there she felt safe and loved.  In addition, she had proven to me that as long as I was by her side, she was willing to try new places so I decided we should go ahead and visit them.  If it was too scary for her or she didn’t respond well, we would cut it short and return home.

When we pulled into their driveway we were instantly greeted by Tracy, her foster dad. Annie hopped out of the car, and followed us straight through the front door with no hesitation.  This was a big deal for all of us because when she lived here she didn’t like doorways and there was only one door in the house that she was comfortable using. She sniffed around, wandering throughout the house.  She went into the kennel and said hello to the other dogs and then came back into the house.  She was approached by Rio, their big Landseer that I have always suspected was Annie’s favorite.  They kissed each other and then flopped down like no time had passed at all.   She was completely at ease and made herself comfortable without any signs of concern!img_3049

They had recently had a big change in their house with arrival of their first litter of puppies.  The puppies were 5 weeks old and Mama Briar was in the kennel having a break from her little ones.  We all went outside.  It was a beautiful day and the puppies were outside in their play area. I was invited to come into their area and Annie was watching from the other side of the fence.  I couldn’t tell what she was thinking, but she did wander over and gave a couple of them a gentle sniff.  She really didn’t show any other interest.  She had done her time producing litters and had no intention of dealing with little puppy teeth again! img_2959To see these sweet puppies, that have been carefully bred and are so well cared for, made me wonder how poor Annie and her puppies had survived. I’m sure many of them didn’t and we continue to manage her health conditions that are a direct result of poor breeding and years of neglect. It was almost too much to consider and I kept reminding myself, that time is over.  Annie is safe, Annie is loved and Annie will never be neglected again. I have no way of knowing how many puppies she had, or where they all are now, I just hope they are living happy, healthy lives.

Throughout the rest of our visit, Annie interacted with their other dogs, made hersimg_3077elf comfortable inside and out and approached both Connie and Tracy to get their attention. When it was time for bed, she followed us upstairs (another thing she didn’t do when she lived here) and settled in for the night.  Before we left the next morning we went for a walk around the property and Annie  wanted to walk along side Rio.  It was so sweet that she still had such a bond with this boy.

This visit was so much more than I ever expected.  Annie had brought us all together and at this point, I feel like we all have a long-term connection.  We have a lot in common and have an easy time being together. Most importantly, we love this breed and the way they enrich our lives. Connie and Tracy genuinely love Annie and they trusted us to take care of her which has turned out so well. I know our time with Annie is limited but when we are ready for our next dog we will return to them, either for a puppy or for one of their fosters since I’m sure they will continue to do that when they can.

Our departure was completely different from the last one.  This time we were not tearing Annie away from a home that she loved. After a good-bye picture, Annie happily hopped into the car on her own.  I think we were all remembering the difficulty we had getting her in the car and Connie exclaimed “she just got in the car…without pooping!”. She was so terrified the first time that she pooped as she was being lifted into the car.  She had made her body into dead weight and it took a great effort from all of us to get her in the car and positioned so that we could close the hatch.  This time, all of the tears were happy tears.  Annie was calm and relaxed as she received good-bye hugs and kisses.  She was ready to go home, to our home. Returning to this home had been good for all of us and now we were going home again.

Discover Challenge: Animal


Weekly photo challenge: Nostalgia

I have so many happy memories from the years before my children were school age.  Several times a week we would pack a lunch and head to the park.  Sometimes we would meet friends, sometimes it would be just the 3 of us.  To this day, whenever I drive past a park a get a little pang in my chest as memories flash by. It was a time before schedules and places to be.  We could decide each morning what we wanted to do.  My daughter loved go places and my son loved a “stay at home day” so I did my best to accommodate both their wishes.

I decided to take Maisie and Annie for a stroll down memory lane and we went back to some of the parks where the kids and I spent so much time. Obviously we didn’t have fun on the swings or slides and I was careful to keep the dogs away from areas where little ones were playing, but I did enjoy making some new memories with the dogs and remembering those fun times when the kids were little. And yes, I still had pangs of nostalgia.

‘Tis the season….for skunks!


This image popped up on my Facebook memories yesterday and I must admit, my heart skipped a beat.  We’ve been smelling a skunk for the last couple of weeks and I saw one scurry into a pipe in the alley. It’s time for full alert and preparation! Our current protocols include lights, bells and stomping on the deck before the dogs enter the yard.

Picture this, you’ve gone upstairs at the end of a long day to brush your teeth and get ready for bed.  Dear husband has offered to let the dog out one last time and lock up.  Over the sound of the running water you hear some God awful bellowing coming from downstairs.  What emergency could possibly be going on in a matter of mere minutes?  You run downstairs because you are obviously needed for something and then you get bowled over by the most horrific smell in the world.  It burns your eyes, your nose and it is now in the house!  Dog and husband are nowhere to be found, apparently they have rushed into the basement and are in the shower together rinsing her eyes.

It’s clear what has happened and I start running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Find laptop, look up de-skunking recipe.  Find the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, where is the bottle of Dawn?  For that matter, where is the damn mop bucket?  Why is it never where I want it to be?  Get rubber gloves, race downstairs like a mad women and begin mixing potion.  Slop potion all over dog and let it soak in, all while your eyes are burning and both you and husband and most of the house now also smell like skunk.

In an effort to never re-live this chaotic scene again, I immediately stocked the basement  with all of the supplies needed so that next time (please oh please, don’t let there be a next time) I will be prepared and can remain calm.

If you should ever find yourself in this terrible position, here are the action steps you should take immediately:

  1. Time is of the essence. The longer you wait to begin the process, the harder it will be to remove the stink. If possible, keep the dog outside but if that’s not an option because its too dark, too cold or any other logical reason put them in the bathroom as quickly as possible and open a window for your own comfort.
  2. Put on some rubber gloves and check your dog for any signs of injury.  Their eyes will probably be red so rinse them with cold water or a sterile saline eye wash to relieve the discomfort.  If redness and irritation continue, or if you see any signs of scratches or bites, contact your vet immediately.
  3. Don’t soak the dog before you put the solution on, and it is a good idea to try to absorb as much of the skunk oil as possible with dry paper towels.
  4. In a plastic bucket mix together:
    • 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide (available at any pharmacy)
    • 1/4 cup baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap. Dawn is the best de-greaser on the market, so use Dawn.
  5. Wearing rubber gloves, wash your dog with this solution immediately after they’ve been sprayed. DO NOT get the solution in their eyes.Caution: Do NOT store this mixture or make it ahead of time, as the mixture could explode if left in a bottle.
  6.  Rub the mixture through their fur, but don’t leave it on too long (peroxide can bleach fur). Rinse them thoroughly.
  7. Wash them with dog shampoo and dry them as you normally do.
  8. You will probably want to de-stink your clothes so wash them with detergent and 1/2 cup baking soda.

Don’t be surprised if the smell reappears in a few days or when they get wet.  We had to wash Maisie several days in a row, and the peroxide mixture did make the fluffy fur under her neck dry and frizzy which is why I also bought the Nature’s Miracle. I think they both work equally as well and they both required several applications for Maisie.  Maybe because she has so much fur and is double-coated, maybe her size, but most likely, it just takes a while to get rid of the stink.

I love Maisie’s thick mane under her neck and it took me months to admit that I needed toimg_2802 trim it way back to get it back to its normal texture.  If she gets sprayed again, I will just trim/shave it down so that hopefully she won’t need so many applications to remove the stink.  That is the area that held the smell the longest and I think that’s where she’s most likely to take a direct hit of skunk oil.

I also felt like I could still smell skunk days later.  I would be at work and would catch a whiff.  I was completely paranoid that I smelled but I was assured numerous times that I didn’t.  I think the smell embedded in my nose and it took a while for it to go away.

If your house gets sprayed, call the professionals!  I think skunk odor damage is similar to smoke damage and your walls, carpets, curtains, furniture and every stitch of clothing in the affected rooms will need to be deodorized. Smelling a skunk outside your window and having your house sprayed are two different things and I’ve known people who have had to spend big bucks to deodorize their home.

Here’s a couple of skunk fun-facts:

Skunks are most active at dawn and dusk, and in a full moon.  They like the dim lighting associated with those times.  When it’s pitch dark, they are likely to be more defensive.

They give birth in the Spring, anywhere from 1-7 babies, so by Fall they are all really active and running around.

WARNING: I am NOT cute

Their defensive posture is to stomp their feet and raise their tail.  It’s no wonder dogs mistake this for play posture and when they go in for a sniff, they get shot in the face.

Their predators include coyote, fox and owls. We live in an urban area and don’t have many of these predators so our skunk population is quickly getting out of control.

We should all thank Paul Krebaum.  He is a chemist who in 1993 came up with this recipe of house hold items to get rid of skunk odor.  It does a better job than the old methods of tomato juice, vinegar or Masengill douche.

This video is amazing, but terrifying!

And then there’s this brave guy!


a shared life with our very large dogs

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