The McKinley Tales

Life moves on. McKinley misses Scarlett, but with some variations in scheduling old routines get altered and expectations change.

I found the Rose Rudman Trail and we go there for walks, weather and time permitting. We could never have taken any of the fosters without problems. Scarlett would have been hysterical. Merlin was just a puppy. Mr. Sam was hard to manage. So it’s the two of us.  “Just the two of us, We can make it if we try, Just the two of us…just you and I.” (A nod to Bill Withers & Grover Washington)

The trail is something entirely new to McKinley. No traces of dogs she’s known. We will have months of new experiences to get her mind back to focusing on “just the two of us.” Note to self: New dose of flea and tick killer is due. She does to go under trees and bushes – prime tick territory.

Today was a stormy day, so no long walk. In fact, after this fullsizeoutput_a05photo was taken we had a thunder boomers, lighting flashes, torrential rain, and hail about half the size of ping-pong balls. Miss McKinley was doing her “Oh, my God, we’re all going to die!” dance of distress.  I did note that she got over the trauma/drama at the same time the birds outside announced the story was over by tweeting loudly .

She is sleeping the sleep of the just tonight, having put in hours of pacing and panting today, doing her best to warn us of impending danger. Poor girl.

No, thunder shirts don’t help. Bach flowers essence Rescue Remedy? Not that either. I’ve got a box of expensive herbal and odor remedies that are useless. I ordered a dog sling and assuming there’s another storm (there’s ALWAYS) another storm, I’ll put her in the sling and see if that helps.

Scarlett (and Sam for that matter) were not bothered by storms. They had other issues. McKinley hates storms. We all gotta have a quirk.

In a month or so, when we’ve had time to set our lives to right then it will be time to IMG_6246foster again. In between we have new memories to make. New trails to walk. I’m thinking Galveston. Because, why not? WLD loves to travel. There are beaches and things to do.


The McKinley Tales

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

Scarlett is back with SPCA for further evaluation and a new placement that better suits her needs.

While she was a joyous little gal with a heart of gold, this was not the right location for her. I’m in a densely populated area with many strangers and dogs that come and go. No matter how hard she tried, Scarlett just could not let go of fear and feral behaviors. It was unfair to her to keep pushing past her breaking point just to get through the day.

The good news is:

  • She learned her name
  • She learned to walk on a leash
  • She learned to play with toys
  • She decided inside is MUCH better than outside
  • She has every intention of being someone’s best friend for life
  • She became friends with McKinley
  • She got a professional grooming
  • She learned to bark (a little) to get attention
  • She’s 95% house and crate trained
  • She has learned to love blankets, dog beds, and pillows

What I’m hoping she can find is:

  • A home with a fenced back yard and a dog door so she can go in and out as she needs
  • That fenced back yard can provide her with more security when she’s out of doors – which means severely limiting her interactions with strange people and dogs
  • An adult who needs a boon companion all the time
  • One other small and non-agressive dog to play with
  • Lots of stuffed and rawhide chew toys

Scarlett was understandably unhappy to go back to the animal rescuer who first picked her up. BUT, she does need to learn how to be with people other than Dog Mommy.  And they can do a health and behavioral check to make sure she’s healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

It seems oddly quiet here with just Wee Little Doggie and me. No brain surgery ongoing with a stuffed bear. IMG_3197

I find myself wanting to call and ask how she is doing. That will only prolong the feelings of loss. She had a safe landing with me, and she’s in the arms of love with Keri at SPCA. It will be okay. Trusting the process.

We’re going to kick back for a few weeks before taking on a new foster. I have some walking to do with the WLD. 🙂

McKinley seems to be taking Scarlett’s leaving okay. She is, after all, the queen of my heart.


Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

Spring ahead…fall back

Scarlett has had a mixed time of it lately. She’s started to open up somewhat with my sister, but she’s regressed a lot in other regards.

I suppose dogs can have PTSD just like humans do. She has had meltdowns repeatedly on walks in the complex, with people she has met before, at pet stores she’s been to before, loud noises she’s not familiar with, and over seeing my shadow. She even got into a spatimg_3286 with McKinley, which is very unusual – it happened once before not long after she got here. She’s flipped out and run between my legs, almost causing me to fall. There is no such thing as a relaxing walk with this girl. 😦

Someone suggested a split lead, but I’m afraid she’d end up harming McKinley during a freakout because of her struggles. She is younger, larger, and stronger. So they remain on two leads.

A dog loving neighbor has offered to be a part of the team to help Scarlett be less fearful. The last time we went to her place, Scarlett had a meltdown and cowered behind me next to the door – terrified of the extremely passive little poodle who is the omega dog of the complex – except for Scarlett.

I do believe she is hard of hearing, but not deaf. It could be part of the reason she is so hyper vigilant. She is now responding to her name, but only if it is said loudly and clearly.

There are times she’d just as soon stay on the couch in her safe spot all day and all night. I can’t let her simply shut down for long periods of time. There are days she does better. Sometimes I think we are making one breakthrough after another – the spring forward. Then there is disheartening fall back. She has made progress, but not enough (yet) to be a comfortable companion for someone who isn’t dog savvy and endlessly patient.

She won’t walk with my sister, who regularly takes McKinley on walks. Not only that, I don’t want her to hurt someone who isn’t used to her freak outs and meltdowns that are back. Now I need to find someone who is used to dogs to walk with her. Because how can she go into adoption if she won’t work with her new Dog Mom/Dad?

Expectations: I need to give them up. She is going to continue to struggle for awhile.

Answers: I wish I had them.



Spring ahead…fall back

Scarlett’s spa day

Normally when you see Scarlett her coat is now fully in, but it looks dull. She’s had a rough life and her coat has reflected it. 

Today, for the first time in her life, she got a day at the dog spa. The groomers gave her a medicated bath and they scrubbed her up good. And then they brushed her out well. And because they know that she is an SPCA dog and that I wanted some really nice pictures taken after words, they use show dog grooming spray to make her coat shiny

I don’t have a professional photographer on hand to set her up to take beautiful pictures with her. But she’s such a compliant girl that she let me put her on some grass about as high as my head so that I could get a good shot of her and she was very good about staying. 

The pet groomers said of her behavior that she was “perfect” which is nothing less than what I expected.

She is now seeing the vet every other week instead of every week so we are making progress with her anal gland issues. And she is really very much at home now and fully settled in. 

Here is Scarlett right before the storm today. Not the best light because there’s clouds, not sun. I still believe that you can tell her coat is looking really good. She looks relaxed and attentive rather than terrified. It’s all good. 

Scarlett’s spa day

Fear Testing

Scarlett has come a long way in her recovery from abuse and neglect. Understandably, she isn’t used to things that vibrate, make noise and flap. Some of them even make McKinley nervous – like those weird inflating/deflating figures used for advertising.

We walk regularly at an outdoor mall called The Village. Since they’ve started doing extensive work building new stores, it has been harder to take our regular walk from the fountain to the playground and back because of earth moving equipment, construction workers, and – horror of horrors – caution tape.

I keep taking her back to the scene of the crime, often on days without workers or moving equipment, but the tape does her in. Not that her adoptive home will have caution tape, but it is a way to help her become more confident.

Today we made it almost all the way down to the playground. The wind was blowing hard. The caution tape, had it been wider, would have taken off for Dallas like a wind sail. It flapped and strained and the wind made a howling noise. Scarlett gave it a few worried glances, but since McKinley and I were ignoring it, she scuttled along, tail at half mast, and made it through the walk. Had they not been spraying for bugs (or something equally toxic) by the playground we’d have finished it. I was the one who made the executive decision to take a detour.

She walked. She did not bolt. She took some time to sniff grass with McKinley. She did not obsess about where the car was because she knows she’s not being dumped.

I’m so proud of her!fullsizeoutput_786

Scarlett is still doing a little bit with the vets at SPCA but soon she will be released for adoption.

She’s a good, good girl. She needs structure in her days (and nights), but she is a very loving girl for the right home. We all need structure, right? And hugs, kisses, blankets, pillows and happy licks?

You can learn more about her through the SPCA of East Texas.

Fear Testing

Scarlett plays

Yes, I know, all dogs play. But Scarlett didn’t used to play when she first came here. She had to learn how to play. She had to learn about toys. And she had to learn that she was safe around human beings and her foster sister. She’s come so far. Watch her go!

Scarlett and McKinley playing
It was chilly out this morning too so I took them out in their matching sweaters. 

Scarlett plays

Depending Upon the Kindness of Strangers

To paraphrase Blanche Du Bois in A Streetcar Named Desire,  “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

During our socialization walk today we ran across two black gentleman and a young fellow about 12 or so. I try to have Scarlett exposed to all ethnicities and genders to better socialize her. She froze, despite the fact all they were doing was standing on the sidewalk chatting. I calmed her and they noticed us then and inquired about her. I explained she’s fullsizeoutput_786my foster, was abused, and she’s still convinced most humans are going to hurt her.

Kinder people I have never met. They were gentle and encouraging and inquired about what kind of cross-breed I thought she was. All in all, we visited about ten minutes with McKinley soaking up all the attention possible while looking at Scarlett as if to say, “Come on over here and get petted.” The adults noticed that McKinley was showing Scarlett the way. And she did get a couple of pats in before scooting away.

They inquired about her being available for adoption and I said I hoped soon, but thought she needed a little more work. The young fellow was absolutely precious with her. “Nobody going to hurt you, baby girl.” They know to contact the SPCA of East Texas if they are interested. They said she’s beautiful and I agreed. I told them she would not hurt a fly in and the right home she’d be a wonderful companion dog.

I thanked them for helping her get on the road to recovery by being willing to encourage her to come over for petting. Scarlett, like Blanche, depends upon the kindness of strangers in her recovery. I could not work with her on socialization skills without people with kind hearts being there to help her learn there is kindness in the world.

Lest you think she’s entirely out of the woods, when we left I moved too fast and she cringed away from me. She’s come a long, long way. We need more kind strangers to get her the rest of the way.




Depending Upon the Kindness of Strangers