Figure out the breed

As of late, my sister and I have been trying to figure out Scarlett’s breed contributors. It got started when I found out her collar was tearing up the hair on her neck – in fact, it left scabs. No more collar – just her harness. And now it will be at least two weeks – until all the scabs are healed – before she can get groomed.

Scarlett has a smooth coat. It is mostly brindle black/brown with a small bit of enlight1white. Her hair is wiry around the nape of the neck, but there’s not much of it. When we had Sam, the Dachshund in him was obvious. His coat was a lot like Scarlett’s only his was sturdier. McKinley, on the other hand, has a plush double coat that is velvety.

McKinley has what I call a “fox face” with a pointed muzzle and prick ears. Scarlett has more of the block face of a bully breed. I did a little looking around and there are, apparently, miniature pit bulls. She’s also got a wider stance than delicate McKinley who has the gracile features of a Jack Russell. Scarlett has a wider stance like a bully breed, and with her “block head” it’s quite likely she has some of that type of genetic contribution. She’s also a bit long in the body for her legs so there is probably some Doxie in there.

She’s got a curly tail that completely flips in a circle. While I was looking for bulldog type breeds I came across pugs. My daughter has a Puggle (Pug/Beagle) and I remember that both of those breeds have a smooth, slick coat. The pug has a curly tail.

Our best guess is that Scarlett is a mix with some Doxie, some sort of bulldog that isn’t very large, or some other square bodied dog like a pug, and possibly a bit of miniature pit bull.

Whatever her origins, she’s our delicate flower. The people at the Snippet Clinic have seen her so often with her various problems (heartworm and anal gland causing the most trips) that my repeatedly bringing her out for care caused them to say, “Who knew she was such a delicate flower? She was running with the big boys in a  dog pack.” Of course, that’s easy enough to answer – no one would have known she had a sensitive stomach, or was suffering from badly inflamed anal glands, or had heart worm. She was alone. Abandoned. Living off what she could scavenge. Her pain was her own.

We still have more trips to the vet to wind up her anal gland treatment. But no impending surgery – just dogged determination to get her system working right.

No matter whether she’s a breed of space alien or part wilting violet, she’s a sweet girl. She’s so happy and so eager to please. She even sometimes responds to her name. She always responds to a warm and welcoming voice.

Scarlett is now good friends with McKinley. They walk so sweetly together (see the video) and play with toys or wrestle on the floor. They will even share a treat from the same dish. She’s available for adoption from the SPCA of East Texas.



Figure out the breed

Merlin 2

Merlin has had a rough time of it until about noon today. Poor boy is an omega with all the submissive behaviors that entails. He could have had the genetics for it or simply been the runt of the litter.

When a dog in the complex barked he ran for cover. If McKinley barked he sometimes peed himself in submission. Toys were scary. Squeaking toys were death on it’s way to claim him. Kibble? What’s that? Not for me, right? Leash? Can we say: trout on the line? He is a very anxious little dog.

Today I finally found a worn out old vest with a D ring on it that WLD used to wear. It is two sizes too big for Merlin, but with a few extra wraps I got it to stay  on. We have now managed to have three walks (short, but long enough to toilet) with Merlin today. And when other dogs bark as we walk by he is now taking his cue from the alpha bitch and trying to ignore it rather than freaking out totally. Oh, and he is over his fear of grass. This was an inside dog!

He found out that he can play with a toy and not be attacked by it. At one point most of the toys were out of the img_2402basket and around the living room. (score one for Merlin). And squeaks are just noises, not the sound of death arriving. He still shivers and shakes at times, but it is all nerves. He hates wearing his blanket coat and fights to get it off (it is off now), but will cuddle up in a blanket.

I’m about to rename him Hobo because he begs constantly and will steal anything he can get to he thinks is food – including an apple core. He’s worse than Sam in that regard. He will pick up dead worms on the walkway as crunchy snacks. “Leave it, Merlin.” as I pry it out of his jaws.

He still is very intimidated if someone walks up to us outside. Men more than women (they’re bigger). He’s pretty good if I hold him, but if he is not in my arms then he’s pretty fearful of anyone including a Cat Mom who lives nearby. Big things. Fast things. Loud things. They are all really, really scary. He doesn’t have much exposure to the wider world.

He is working on “no-bite” and “gently” because like any puppy his teeth are like highly sharpened Damascus steel and he has no idea of proportion with a human’s skin. McKinley has started censuring him for being annoying (trying to hump her to see if he can figure out his place in the pack) and he says, “Well, gee, okay. I was just checking, right?

He prefers it if I sit on the couch so he can be right up next to me (or crawling up my back) “Off, Merlin.” The crawling up the back does not work for me.

He is coming along, but a lot of work for McKinley and me. We have to be on him all the time as he will get into anything and everything. He gets on the coffee table. He tries to crawl onto a chair to get on the dining room table. He has no stealth capacity so I catch him all the time and he’s hearing “Off, Merlin!” after which he cringes and slinks away.

Sam came in like a lion, almost alpha, very self assured. Merlin came in like a very frightened lamb. He is so omega that the omega in the complex is now one of the lower-echelon pack dogs.

He and WLD both enjoy hanging out on the porch and it is chicken wired up safe and sound so they can’t get out. He has even started following WLD’s lead and making a little “Woof…if that’s okay with everyone” noise when she is barking at her friends going by.

There is a foster home opening up next week that is used to working with puppies and we will gladly see him in a place that meets his needs and  nature. Sweet as he is, he’s a handful for WLD and me.

I do hope that they find his Mom and Dad soon. He is someone’s spoiled little dog. He wants to live his life being fed tidbits from the table and sipping sweet drinks from a cup held by a human hand.

img_4048In body build he reminds me very much of sweet little Cha-Cha, the Mexican street dog I loved so much and still mourn the loss of. Every rescue I take is in her memory.

Cha-Cha, baby, here’s another one for you. ;'( Miss ya, gal.

Merlin 2

Mr. Sam Goes Home – Forever!


I had hopes. I had dreams. I had a feeling. I had an opportunity for some great head shots this morning. Memories.

Mr. Sam was adopted by a wonderful family at 4 p.m. today! He will have everything I dreamed of for him. I got to be there (I was there to pick him up when the news came in). I met his Mom and hugged her and thanked her and teared up a little and told her that he was just the best dog and I knew they were going to love him. I met one of the daughters and hugged her too. They are a family who has adopted from SPCA before – so he will have animal siblings.

It was family decision. They spent most of the day with him. They decided together. He’s got a dream family and a dream house and… I am so happy for Sam. I am so happy for his new family. This is just the best news!

The Book of Sam in foster care ends here. Now the Book of Sam for the rest of his life takes over. His new family has The Book of Sam now. Maybe they will add to it.

Good dog, Sam! Good dog! You’ll have a wonderful life from here on out, Sam! Home at last. Forever. (happy sniffles)

Thanks to Grove of the Golden Leaves in New Hampshire for doing energy work for him to find his home during their celebration of Mean Foghamar (Mabon) Autumn Harvest. It took a week. It worked. You’re awesome!

Mr. Sam Goes Home – Forever!

Sam on Saturday

Woo hoo! Sam got the nod to go back to the SPCA adoption center this Saturday (day after IMG_1879tomorrow). I am excited for him!

We have the East Texas Fair in Tyler starting tomorrow. I’m hoping there will be more people in town and maybe one will think to drop by the SPCA and find their best friend for life!

Sam is still looking for his home. He’s at the door. Waiting. Hoping.

Mom? Dad? Where are you?

Sam on Saturday

Not Adopted (sad face)

The first time Sam went to an adoption event was just a couple days after he got here. He was so used to being a homeless shelter dog that it didn’t phase him at all.

When he went today he’d been here for a month. He’s settled in. He’s got cushy dog beds, and a cushy couch with pillows. Going to the adoption center was not on his agenda. He doesn’t need adoption. He’s home, right?

He was very nervous after skipping breakfast (they ask we do not feed in the morning so as not to have accidents) and then going into a crate in a room with other dogs. Why am I here again? What did I do wrong? I’m a good dog! Don’t leave me again! 

I had to calm and center him, telling him that if his forever Mom and Dad didn’t come for him today that I’d be back. He didn’t understand the words, but he did know I wasn’t just dumping him. Dogs are like two year olds without much in the line of language skills. The volunteers there are very good with the dogs, loving on them all day long.

The wee little doggie and I went home and played like we can’t play when Sam is around. He does not understand that WLD and I have our own routine that he is not a part of and although we like him he is disruptive to the way we have lived for years. We cannot play with Sam around – he wants to play with her, of course.

I cleaned the wood floors to a high shine, vacuumed, and went through the house with Febreeze because it is too hot and humid to air the place out. WLD and I went shopping together at Bed Bath and Beyond. I can’t take Sam because, although he’s much better, he’s still pretty much a barbarian compared to McKinley. After we got home we played again. She was all tuckered out by then and took a dog nap.

About 3 p.m. I figured Sam didn’t get selected. How do I know? They’re supposed to call me. I had to get him at 4 so I finished up chores and the WLD and I took off for the adoption center.

I went to where I’d left Sam and there was no Sam. Well, that was confusing, since they didn’t call to say, “Woo hoo! He’s been adopted!

We  found him. He’d been moved to a smaller crate on a table in another room. Sam didn’t make the cut after all. 😥

A volunteer named John helped me out with him and said everyone there loved The Book of Sam, that they’d never seen anything like it before. I told him Sam is on a blog, Facebook, and Twitter because I want Sam to get a good home.

He said Sam is popular and everyone there just loves him. This begs the question of why an adopter doesn’t love him enough to take him home forever.

Our Sam was ecstatic to get back because there was food! And chew toys. And familiar things. It is a pretty nice place as far as dog homes go.

I notice that there’s a new dusting of red dog hair on the dark wood floors. IMG_1941I’ll Swiffer it tomorrow. (Interesting how a trade name is now becoming a verb.)

Sam is relaxed now with lots of water and food in his tummy. He’s had a relaxing time in a dog bed and on the couch. He feels safe.

The longer he is here the harder it will be for him when he leaves. I do not want him to be afraid to be at the center. I do not want him to bond so tightly here the it is a major loss for him when he goes. He deserves a good home for a very gentle, loving, lovable dog.

I still think with some work he would be a bang-up therapy dog. I wonder if I can get financing for training for him.


Not Adopted (sad face)

Adoption Events on Saturday

In towns and cities across America tomorrow there will be pet adoption events. Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and probably gerbils.

If you have a place in your heart for an animal who needs a good home, I encourage you to go online, find the shelters or SPCAs in your area and go check out the animals who need a place to live. Sometimes there are adoption events at PetCo as well. There are also specific rescues including parrot or other types of bird rescue.

If you cannot afford to adopt, but can foster an animal of one kind or another, shelters are always looking for homes for short-term and long-term fostering. Sam was supposed to be a short-term foster (he got stuck here on his way to a larger placement center) and turned into a longer-term foster because I figured out his back got hurt. He’s improved enough now to go to an adoption event.

SPCA will cover vet care and give you food for your foster. So will most rescues. If you are worried you cannot adopt because of medical costs, but love animals, you could sign up to be a long-term foster. This might be ideal for an older person, although the animals you care for will change over time other than being a forever placement. You could help an animal and they could help fill an empty spot in your heart you did not know you have.

If you cannot adopt or foster, but can volunteer, shelters need people to help with the dogs and cats doing everything from cleaning to cuddling, from answering the phone to doing filing. You could walk the dog around the grounds, or if they have larger critters you might be feeding a horse. Horses, donkeys, and burros end up at rescues around the country. Think broadly.

It isn’t just Sam looking for a home.     Adopt, don’t Shop!
Adoption Events on Saturday

Sam’s New Trick

If I were totally deaf it would have been easier for him. I’m Hard of Hearing (HoH) so that means I get some things and miss some things.

That means Sam probably used a lot of oral means to get my attention that I missed. Just could not hear it. McKinley, on the other hand, knows that to get my attention she physically needs to get my attention. Her tiny little paws and twig-like legs are not an issue if she bounces off my leg or puts her feet up beside me on couch or chair or even if she crawls onto me to say: Pay attention to me, now!

Sam is not that kinda boy. I suspect when he wants to go out or wants somethingimg_2064
he probably whines. A lot of good that does him here. It is why I’m always eagle-eyeing him to see what’s going on with him. My obsessive watching him trying to pay attention to his needs may be why he did not pick up the fact that most of the time I cannot hear him.

Today, bless his pea-pickin’ little heart, he trotted up, bounced against my leg, walked toward the door, looked over his shoulder to see I was watching him and then sat by the door. When I didn’t get up right way he cantered over, put his paws on the side of my chair, looked into my eyes, put a paw on my leg, then cantered back over to the door, looking over at me again.

Good boy Sam! Sam got an unscheduled walk. Yea, Sam!



Sam’s New Trick