One year

Casey

One year ago today we brought home our first rescue dog, Casey.  She had a rough start in her young life.  She was fortunate to have a mother that managed to find the right people to save them all.  Casey came from a litter of two sisters (Ella and Dallas) and one brother (Finn).  Their mother was Bree.

Shortly after being rescued Casey and Dallas became very ill.  From what I was told it was touch and go for both of them.  I am thankful there were professionals out there willing to do what it takes to save two stray pups!

Casey was considered a shy/timid dog.  Take note I used the word “was”!  I swear when she came home we spent at least the first two months on the floor.  She needed you down low.  She did not like to have her head touched.  Still not crazy about it from someone she does not know.  Noises, people, cars etc. would cause her to become scared.  To the point of shaking, with her tail tucked and sometimes she even whimpered.  Her crate became her safe place.  You could see her whole body relax every time she walked in her crate.  We left the door open for her so she had access anytime she felt anxious.  We would stay sitting on the floor in the living room but often she would go to her crate.  She would come and look at us to make sure we were still there before retreating to her safe place.  The only time she uses her crate now is when we are not home!

Waiting for a treat

Waiting for a treat

Casey had a hard time bonding with my husband because of his travel schedule.  Typically he is gone Monday thru Friday.  He had only a few days a week to attempt to win her over.  I thought he was going to cry, after about 6 to 8 weeks, she actually laid in the living room floor with him and watched TV for the night.  It was a beautiful thing.

Playing with a toy

Playing with a toy

The key to bringing Casey out of her shell was truly nothing more than patience.  There were days it felt like we had digressed.  We were like new parents with each new milestone!  She did not run to her crate when Brian came home…CELEBRATE.  She let us touch and actually pet her head…WAHOO.  Her tail has not been tucked for several weeks…PARTAY!    Eventually she joined a party of about 25 people and did not run when they acknowledged her…okay already having a party so…YAH!  She stands at the top of the stairs and stares down delivery people instead of hiding in the dining room…YES!  We are still celebrating milestones a year later!  She went out in the front yard without a leash and came to us when we called!  That was an OMG moment! LOL

I can not begin to thank the foster family and organization that saved our Casey and our Dallas!  Crystal, Chris and Alex went above and beyond to care for the litter and their mother.  First by Chris and Crystal knowing that they had to bring them home instead of taking them to a shelter!  Then by caring for them when they were so sick.  The time it took to teach them their manners, basic commands, crate training and house training.  My family and I will always be grateful for Crystal, Chris and Alex.  After all they saved two of our family members!

Taken last week. Using her sister Dallas as a pillow.

Taken last week. Using her sister Dallas as a pillow.

 

Then there were two

I have been MIA from my blog in part because of Casey.  If you remember we adopted Casey in April of 2013.  She had a bad knee and required surgery.  She was down from July until September.  If you think it is difficult keeping a sick toddler calm try doing it with a dog!  Poor girl had a rough summer!  No walking, running or climbing stairs for 2 months!  Crate or confined to a very small area in the house.  She was allowed to go outside on a leash to go to the bathroom and that was it.

She was a champ and did well.  For the most part!  Naturally she was antsy and a bit confused as to why she suddenly had so many restrictions.  But, we got through.  Then she started having a bit of a problem with the pin that had been put in her knee.  That required a second surgery to remove the pin!  She could not catch a break.

The other reason I have been  MIA is because once Casey was healed we brought home her sister (same litter), Dallas!  We had talked about a second dog but were not sure we could handle a second one.  I called to see if Dallas was still available.  She was.  Their foster Mom was thrilled that we were considering bringing Dallas home.  I went and saw Dallas alone just to make sure she was still the sweet girl we remembered.  The second time I brought Casey.  Just to make sure they still remembered each other.  They did!!  Both were very happy to see the other.  It was so cute!

Dallas

Dallas is home!

Stretching those long legs

Stretching those long legs

Dallas came home five months and one day after Casey!  They behave like typical sisters.  They fight, play, explore, jockey for attention and love! One minute they will be wrestling for a ball and the next they will be all curled up together taking a nap.

Nap time!

Nap time!

The dynamic of our home has changed so much over the last 10 months.  We always laughed but we laugh so much more.  All three of us humans are calmer and more relaxed.  My husband says no matter how bad a day he has had when he walks in the house and these two come running…nothing else matters!

Dallas and Casey...look at those faces!

Dallas and Casey…look at those faces!

Rescue

I thought I might tell you all a little bit about how we  decided to adopt a rescue dog.  From previous post you know I had been wanting a dog for some time.  I spent a great deal of time online looking at different websites.  I started with our county animal shelter.  They have a web site that lists the dogs available for adoption.  Just basic information is given on the animal.  Mostly because that is all they have!  They are not able to tell you about the personality of the animal.  Nor do they know about any training the dog may have.  This made me a bit hesitant to adopt from the county shelter.  Being a first time adult dog owner I needed as much information about the dog as possible.

One thing that I do love about our animal shelter is the have a wonderful program for some of the dogs.  It is called Operation Second Chance  and is a jail dog program.

This program is designed to save the lives of dogs destined for death in our local shelter. Once here, the dogs reside with the inmates chosen to work with them and those inmates will train them in basic obedience. The inmates will also learn to groom and care for the animals. Not only is the dog getting a second chance, but the inmates are learning valuable social and vocational skills that will help them become more productive citizens once they are released from jail. Hopefully, those inmates involved in the program will not return to jail again once they are released.

The program is at no cost to the taxpayers of Gwinnett County. The care, food, training and vet services for the dogs are all being provided through volunteers and the Society of Humane Friends. Society of Humane Friends is responsible for all adoptions through this program. Please contact the organization if you are interested in giving one of these very deserving dogs a forever home.

I was checking Operation Second Chance web site often.  The site is very basic.  Very few photos of the dogs.  Descriptions are minimal but they get the information across.  If a dog that would have fit our household had been available we would have adopted a jailhouse dog in a heartbeat!

I spent some time at PetFinder.com.  I like that you can truly narrow your search down to what you want.  Most animals have a decent description.  They also list the rescue agencies that have the animals.  So you can go to their web sites.  Providing they have one.  I did find this site a little overwhelming at the magnitude, even after I narrowed my search, of dogs needing homes!  If you are not an advocate for spaying or neutering your pet go to Pet Finder!  You will be once you leave the site!

Searching Pet Finder did eventually lead me to Humane League of Lake Lanier.  They have pictures and descriptions of the animals they foster.  Each description let me know if the dog was house trained, was good with kids, other dogs or cats.  There were a couple dogs that stood out.  Dallas and Casey.

I filled out the application, faxed it to them and waited to hear back.  Later in the week I received a phone call from the foster mom of Dallas and Casey.  After talking about what we wanted in a dog Dallas was ruled out.  She needed to be around other dogs.  We were only looking for one pet.  So we turned our attention to Casey.  The foster mom was very honest about Casey being a shy, timid dog which would bring special challenges.  She expressed a concern about our not having any experience with shy, timid animals.  But, she agreed to do a meeting.

My son and I met Casey for the first time at a local Pet Smart.  We walked around the store for a bit allowing her to get use to us before going to a private room.  She did not really pay us any attention.  She did take treats from us.  She did sniff us from what seemed head to toe!  This first meeting was not just to see if Casey would take to us.  It was also so the foster mom could check us out as well.  Understandable!  The next day my husband and I went to have another meeting with Casey.  After having met all the people in the household we got the thumbs up.

The last thing that happened before we were able to call Casey ours was the home visit.  The foster mom came and checked the yard, house and neighborhood.  She let us know what problem areas she saw…knick knacks to low, things that could and would be chewed, a couple areas of fencing that needed repair etc..  We filled out the paperwork, wrote the check and Casey became a part of our family!

I hope this gives anyone thinking about adopting a rescue dog an idea of the process.  I am sure it is different with each rescue or shelter.  However, the basics should be fairly universal.

New Addition

Back in January I did a post about having “doggy blues”.  Since then I have been checking the shelter site almost daily looking at the dogs.  I also started looking at dog rescues.  I found one that I kept going back to…on a daily basis.  It just seemed different from the others I had briefly looked at.  The name of the rescue is, Lake Lanier Humane League.  They had great descriptions of the animals available.  It really gave you and idea of the dogs personalities.  There were three dogs that caught my attention.  I decided to fill out an application.  What could it hurt.  Not like I had to actually adopt a dog.  However, it is always nice to be prepared.  At least this is what I told my husband as I sat filling out the paperwork! 😉

I received a phone call from the foster mom of two of the dogs I was interested in.  The third dog had been adopted.  I spoke with Crystal, the foster mom, for almost an hour.  I decided on one dog I really felt I needed to meet.  On Friday, April 5th my son and I headed to a local Pet Smart.  There we met with the  foster family and the dog.  The dogs name is Casey.  She is just under a year old.  She is a boxer mix, a good ole Heinz 57 dog.  Casey is a timid dog.  We were warned about this while talking to Crystal.  Casey did not jump up on us wagging her tail in greeting.  She did however sniff our legs and did not act like we were a threat.  For a timid dog these are all good signs.

On Saturday, April 6th my husband and I went to the adoption the Lake Lanier Humane League was having at the Pet Smart.  We spent time with Casey in the adoption room.  Once again there was no jumping all over us licking our face in glee.  But, she took treats from my husband, did not get upset when he held on to her leash and eventually laid down next to him and slept.  All good signs.  My slightly reluctant husband was no longer slightly reluctant!  He walked away from the adoption wanting to bring home a total of 4 dogs!

Tuesday, April 9th we had the home visit.  With Casey being a timid dog we were told there would be two home visits.  We were okay with that.  If she was going to become part of our family we wanted her to be comfortable and happy with us.  We got a wonderful surprise and were told that if she reacted the same way she had during the other times we had met her we would be allowed to go ahead with the adoption!

Let me introduce Ms. Casey!

Casey