Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Buffy's Back!

Not too happy after my bath
Buffy again!  I am going to be taking over this blog for awhile.  I realized I enjoy writing, and it's probably best for everyone to get my viewpoint as opposed to my foster mom's.  (My foster mom says no one ever wants her viewpoint.)

Last weekend was busy!  I got a bath on Saturday.  I didn't like it too much.  It was a two person job because I kept wanting to escape the tub.  I thought I was very good considering the circumstances.  I got lots of treats afterward so that was nice.  My coat is super silky and soft.  My foster mom put on lots of leave-in conditioner and now can't stop hugging me.  I like hugs so I guess it wasn't all bad. She doesn't like to hug me much when I'm stinky.

My foster parents went to the annual Almost Heaven fundraiser Saturday evening.  It is hosted every year by some very nice people who love dogs.  I wish the world had more people like them!  They help my rescue get much needed funds so more dogs like me can be saved.  Well, no one is exactly like me.  I am an original!  Anyway, I heard it was a good time and that they raised a lot of money.  Never enough, though.  If you didn't attend, but still want to help support the rescue you can adopt me!  Or you can give a donation! Here is their latest chipin.

On Sunday we had a couple of visitors to the house for dinner.  I was a bit nervous at first and barked at them, but I realized pretty quickly they were nice and liked to give pets so I made sure to stay by their sides as much as I could all night.  I wanted to be a good hostess! 

I'm smizing.

The other day on my walk a woman stopped her car in the middle of the street to say how pretty I was!  This is not the first time this has happened.  Maybe I will get discovered by Tyra Banks and become America's next top model!  Except I would have to do plus-sized modeling.  No way I am giving up my snacks. 

Dreading the upcoming heatwave
It's supposed to be very hot this weekend.  Heat index up to 110F!  I am not looking forward to it.  I am hoping to convince my foster mom to make me peanut butter pupsicles.  Very easy. 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup creamy peanut butter.  Mix.  Spoon into ice cube trays and freeze.  I think she should be able to handle that.  I'll even volunteer for cleanup!

Oh.  I am now tweeting.  Follow me to see what my thoughts are on a daily basis.  It's some pretty exciting stuff.  @Buffy_Tweets

Fill out an application if you think I may be your four legged soul mate.

To see all of the available dogs at Almost Heaven, check out their page on petfinder.  They have more than just golden retrievers!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guest Blogger

How can you resist this cuteness?
Hi everyone!  It's Buffy!  I am writing this post since my foster mom has been slacking at updating the blog.  (Who would've thought these giant paws could type on a computer?)  I think she got a little discouraged when she discovered it would be harder to find me a forever home than she originally thought.  (You'd think she'd post more, not less to help me find my forever home.)  It's not that I am bad or have many issues, I just need lots of time to settle into a strange environment and some people don't understand that.  But can you blame me?  I was dumped at a high kill shelter in West Virginia.  I was there for a bit.  (I don't remember how long.)  Almost Heaven rescued me from the shelter, but then they found out I was heartworm positive.  I had to go through a rough treatment to make me better.  (I'm better!)  I lived at the rescue for around eight months before I came to my foster home.  That's a lot of change for a young gal like me.  (My foster mom likes to tell people I am around 3-4 years old, but I am a lady so will never reveal my true age.)  Anyway, I promise I will be worth any short time effort to get me acclimated to my new surroundings!  I really do love people.

I have a lot of positives.  I am house-trained.  I walk well on a leash.  (Everyone always compliments me on this.)  I do my business right away (unlike my foster brother, Ollie, who takes FOREVER to do his business.  Boys.)  I know sit and high five (most of the time) and am working on other commands.  I get stay and come mixed up as I tend to stay when I hear "come", and I come when I hear "stay".  Those two are hard!  My foster mom says I am very gentle.  I don't jump, and I like to give nuzzles with my snout.  (I look so cute that she can't resist petting me.)  I can stay home alone with Ollie all day and don't do any damage to the house or have any accidents.  I do sometimes find socks that people left out and like to chew on those, though.  Apparently I am not supposed to do this, but they are so tasty!  My foster mom doesn't understand why I follow her everywhere, even from one room to the next, but I am just looking out for her best interest.  What if she suddenly wants to pet someone and no one is there?  Or maybe she finds a treat in her pocket and needs to get rid of it?  I am only trying to make her happy by constantly being by her side in case she needs me.

Me with my hamburger
My main issue is that I can get a bit growly in strange situations and sometimes protective of my toys.  Some people get scared of my growly noises, but I do it because I am nervous, not because I am mean.  Once I realize I shouldn't be doing this, I roll over on my back for belly rubs.  I know I'm supposed to share my toys, but occasionally I forget.  I am learning that if I do get growly, whatever I have will be taken away for a long time.  My favorite toy is this thing my foster mom calls a hamburger.  There is food inside and if I move it the right way it will let a piece out!  I love food.  It's the best!  My hamburger gets taken away sometimes if Ollie gets too close to me.  Even though I love it the most, my foster parents can take it away easily, even directly out of my mouth.  It makes me sad, but I don't make growly noises at them.  I would never do that to the alphas of the house!  They can also take my food up while I am eating, and I know I need to sit and wait patiently to get it back.

Look at me with my foster cousin!

My biggest accomplishment so far is that I now get along with my foster dog cousin! At first I didn't like him very much.  Well, it's not really that I didn't like him, I just didn't know how I fit into his pack.  Again, I got a little growly which no one liked, but I couldn't help it, I was unsure of my place!  After a few visits we now are friends!  I can even lie next to him on my back and am not scared anymore. 

I hope there is someone out there who will give me a chance.  I really do have a lot of love to give.  I would do best in a quiet household as I get a little frightened when there is too much going on.  Fill out an application if you are willing to give me that chance and take the time it needs to make me feel comfortable.  (It really shouldn't take that long, but maybe a few days.)  I promise to love you forever!

To see all of the available dogs at Almost Heaven, check out their page on petfinder.  They have more than just golden retrievers!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Still Looking

Unfortunately, Buffy's potential adopter did not work out.  She got along fine at the meet and greet, but it has been determined that Buffy would do best in a quiet home with no kids.  A lot of commotion seems to stress her out, and she needs every human in the household to be able to give her strong direction and clear guidelines on her place in the pack. 
Buffy is always smiling
She needs both encouragement when she is good and swift correction when she steps out of line.  The correction does not have to be harsh as she listens very well (a firm “NO!” usually works) and is submissive when you show your disapproval.

So, Buffy is still looking for her two legged soul mate.  Fill out an application if you think you may be the one!

To see all of the available dogs at Almost Heaven, check out their page on petfinder.  They have more than just golden retrievers!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Buffy's Big Day

Buffy likes to nap
Buffy has mellowed out some since being here.  It's not that she is high energy, but she initially bothered Ollie a lot trying to determine her place in the pack.  He didn't care for this much as he is a grumpy old man and likes to be left alone.  (He often yells "get off my lawn" to the neighborhood children.)  This needling went on several times each day for around a week, yet over the past few days it has happened maybe once or twice a day.  She is definitely submissive as anytime I felt things were getting a bit too heated, it broke up easily with her falling down onto her back.  Now, while there is the occasional wrestling bout, they mostly just relax, gnaw on bones, and take naps.  (Replace "gnaw on bones" with "sipping pina coladas" and that sounds like paradise!) 

Making a friend at the dog park
Friday we went to the dog park.  She pranced around like a little princess on the mulch.  I imagine a lot of things are new (or distant memories) for her as she does the same thing on wet grass.  She sniffed some of the other dogs but mostly kept to herself, except when there were people nearby.  (Have I mentioned she loves people? Your hand may get tired from petting her.)

On Saturday, Buffy had a spa day at Bark 'n Bubbles.  She was there for over seven hours!  To be fair, the entire time was not spent on her. While she did great in the bath, she was not too fond of the dryer so had to air dry with fans. 
Happy after her spa treatment
I wish I took a picture of all the fur they took off of her.  It was quite remarkable.  She did well for nail clipping although was a little skittish when her front nails were cut.  It was a two person job, but no one seemed to mind as everyone loved her (how could you not?)  One of the groomers loved her so much, in fact, that she is considering her as a four legged soul mate!  (A groomer!)  There needs to be a meet and greet with the current dog which will happen this weekend, but if all goes well Buffy may have found her forever home!  Paws crossed! 

Dreaming of her forever home

To see all of the available dogs at Almost Heaven, check out their page on petfinder.  They have more than just golden retrievers! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fluffy Buffy

Buffy is a very sweet girl.  She is around 4-5 years old and came to Almost Heaven unspayed and heartworm positive.  Fortunately, she is now fixed and free of heartworms!  The latter has no lasting effects once it is treated (except for a few "thin" spots on her back) so don't let that deter you from considering her as your four legged soul mate.

Buffy enjoying a bone and a bed at the same time
Buffy is on heartworm preventative once a month, but every dog should be, so that makes her no different than anyone else.  What does make her somewhat different is her mix.  She is most likely a combination of golden retriever and chow chow.  Even though her temperament is more golden than chow, she should not be in a home with birds. 


In the two days Buffy has been here, I’ve learned the following:
Buffy mastered the magnetic screen door
  1. She rides well in the car.
  2. She seems to be housetrained.
  3. She is excellent on a leash.
  4. She loves dog beds.  (A minimum of one dog bed will be a requirement for adoption, but one per floor would be ideal.)
  5. She loves treats.
  6. She has a great appetite.
  7. Due to numbers 5 and 6, she is on a diet.
  8. She likes to gnaw on bones.
  9. She enjoys being furminated
  10. She snores.
  11. She gets along fine with other dogs.  (But I've only seen her with large dogs, not small ones.)
  12. She LOVES people.  (Her golden retriever part is definitely of the velcro variety.)

Buffy and Ollie are already friends
Her worst habit is that she likes to take shoes, slippers, socks, blankets, towels, etc to her bed.  Apparently in addition to being part golden and part chow, she is also part packrat. 

She has an appointment to be groomed on Saturday and will probably look like an entirely different dog.  She only weighs 68 pounds (if the scale at PetSmart is accurate) but looks like she weighs about 90 thanks to her many coats of fur.  Imagine how big she'd look if she wore horizontal stripes!  Regular grooming will be a must for this girl.

Buffy is available for adoption through Almost Heaven.  Fill out an application if you think she may be your four legged soul mate! 

To see all of the available dogs at Almost Heaven, check out their page on petfinder.  They have more than just golden retrievers!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A four legged soul mate named Ollie

I am new to fostering.  I’ve wanted to do it for as long as I can remember but circumstances always got in the way.  Finally, things fell into place and the opportunity presented itself to foster.  That foster’s name is Buffy.  But before I get to Buffy’s story, I should probably tell a little bit about my own four legged soulmate.  His name is Ollie.

The day I met Ollie
I adopted Ollie just over five years ago from Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary.  I grew up with golden retrievers and knew when it came time to have a dog of my own that’s what I would adopt.  I also knew I wanted to name him Ollie (full name Detective Oliver T. Pickles).  I used Petfinder to search for golden retrievers near me.  This is how I came across Almost Heaven.  I was browsing through all of their pictures when one stuck out.  I fell in love immediately.  I looked at his name, and it was Ollie.

His backstory is unknown.  He came from a rural shelter in southern Virginia where he didn’t have a chance of being adopted.  Fortunately, Almost Heaven found out about him and saved him from certain death.

I met him two weeks after seeing his profile and knew I was not leaving the rescue without him.  We got home and he didn’t know what to do with himself, but not in a good way.  He didn’t want anything to do with the basketful of toys he had waiting for him.  He didn’t want anything to do with food or snacks.  He didn’t want anything to do with me.  He just wanted to hide in the basement and be left alone.  I started to wonder if maybe I had made a mistake.  Perhaps this was not my four legged soul mate after all.

I gave Ollie his space but let him know he was in a safe, loving environment.  He went to the vet a few days later for a wellness check, and I got devastating news.  The vet thought he had a mass on his spleen that could rupture at any time.  They couldn’t know for sure without opening him up, but if it was a mass there was nothing they could do.  He probably wouldn’t live more than six months.  I was heartbroken as I realized how much I already loved him and wanted him to be with me for as long as possible.

Ollie at work
Ollie slowly started coming around.  He stopped spending so much time in the basement.  The day I knew he realized he was home and not going anywhere was the day I caught him sleeping on the living room couch.  It was about two weeks after I brought him home.  (The magical two weeks ... which I will discuss at a later time.)  Now he is a mama’s boy and rarely leaves my side.  He has even been dubbed my company's unofficial mascot and goes into the office about once a week.  The mass on his spleen?  Apparently it was something else as five years later he is alive and kicking (literally!  He loves to kick.)  He still has no interest in toys and takes treats on a case by case basis.  He makes me laugh every day with his silly antics whether it’s by sleeping on his back or moaning while scratching his rear-end on a bush.  I can’t imagine my life without him.
Ollie on his 5 year adoptiversary

He is also most likely not golden retriever at all but instead Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.  Perhaps that story will be told at another time, though, as I am not here to talk about Ollie (although I could all day and night).  I am here to tell you about Buffy.  Hopefully her two legged soul mate is reading this right now.  Her story is up next.

To see all of the available dogs at Almost Heaven, check out their page on petfinder.  They have more than just golden retrievers!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Melia Found Her Forever Home

I have great news!  Melia's new family drove 7 hours, round trip, today to come meet Melia!  They brought Melia's new brother, Max.  Max is a tall, lanky, 3-year old golden rescue.  He didn't pay much attention to Melia and she didn't pay much attention to him.  Instead they were both very interested in getting our attention, but not in a competitive or aggressive manner.   There were plenty of pets, scratches and belly rubs going around! 

As with Doji, it was a bittersweet moment watching Melia leave.  We had Melia for almost 5 weeks and, frankly, I got used to having her around.  But, Melia's adoption means that's one more dog that we'll be able to foster next and one more dog that Almost Heaven will be able to rescue from an untimely and unnecessary death.  AND.... one more family that will eventually find their four legged soul mate.

For the next few weeks I'll be traveling for work.  When I get back, Kirk and I are hosting a fund-raiser for Almost Heaven on Saturday May 5.  We have a one-acre, fenced in back yard and all well-behaved people and their dogs are invited to a cookout and a leash-free romp-n-play.  Jeanne Taylor, pet photographer, will be on hand to take pet portraits and if we get a large enough collection of Almost Heaven dogs-- perhaps we can discuss putting a calendar together for another fund-raiser.  We're asking each family for a $25 donation.  Food, beverage and the portrait sitting will be provided.  If you're interested, please let me know and I'll send you more details.

Until our next foster arrives... I'll provide updates for Doji and Melia and how they're fitting into their new homes! 

If you have any questions about what it takes to be a foster parent for a furkid, please let me know.  It has been a very rewarding experience.  Someone asked me how I can do this and not get attached.  I do get attached.  I get very attached, but when I brought Doji and Melia home, I knew being in my home would increase their chances of getting adopted.  I provided them plenty of hugs and pets, warm beds to sleep on and people to love.  Most of all, though, I hope I provided them with a little security.  And I had a goal-- to find each of them the perfect home.  So far, I'm 2 for 2.  :-)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Melia is pooped!  We took her to the downtown Silver Spring Farmer's Market and she charmed people with her "Adopt Me" Vest and her sweet, complacent manner.  At one point, I was sitting in the middle of the road with my legs stretched straight in front of me.  Melia was rolled out on her back.  The back of her head was propped up on my belly and she was looking up at me as I scratched her belly and nuzzled her head.  That was a show stopper!  We had people stopping to take pictures of the docile creature that was so trusting she would lounge, in your lap, on her back.  We handed out Melia's contact information (the blog address) to about 5 people-- maybe you met Melia today and you're reading this blog for the first time today... you might be her her 2-legged-soul-mate?!?!

We stopped by Living Ruff, a pet store boutique, in downtown Silver Spring to get some seasonal cookies (a frosted purple Easter egg for Melia and a gender-neutral-yellow flower for Toby).  We also got a couple meaty bones to chew on.  She enjoyed listening to the different squeaky toys and I tried to interest her in a tennis ball, but she was too interested in all of the people and the other dog-- a black standard poodle puppy-- in the store.

One of my most proud moments for her was when we were in front of the kettle corn stand.  There was an adorable 4 month old German Shorthaired Pointer puppy, Molly, who was sniffing out any pieces of fallen popcorn.  Molly was adorable and picturesque for a puppy, but Melia stole the show!  People gathered around Melia to comment on how sweet and calm she was!     

The trip completely tuckered them out!  Both dogs came home and took a pretty good nap.    I've been trying to get a video of Melia snoring for a few days now, but every time I hit the record button, she stops snoring.  I have more than one adorable photo of a quiet snoozing puppy! 

If you're interested in adopting Melia, please find adoption information at Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Melia's Fashion Statement

Melia has been sporting her "Adopt Me" vest during walks and outings.  On Monday, a woman named Liz pulled over and asked about her and my hopes soared that she might find her forever home. 

Melia loves to go for walks.  She hasn't learned the word "walk" yet, but when I get out the leash she gets super excited.  She's not much of a jumper, but she runs around your legs in excited circles, so it's hard to pin her down to get the leash hooked.  It's easy for me to walk both Toby and Melia at the same time.  Melia sticks to one side of me, doesn't pull on the leash and keeps pace with the group. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Melia's People

After knowing Melia for a few weeks, I've gotten a pretty good grip on her personality.

Every dog (and human) prioritizes things differently.  Some dogs clearly put food before all else.  Other dogs put play above all else.  There are not usually Goldens!  Melia has a golden heart.  She values her people above all else in this world. 

When we first picked Melia up, Carol said she wasn't that motivate by food.  At the gas station in Winchester where we met Carol, Melia took no interest in the cookies I brought for her.  The first night with us, she needed coaxing to eat her food-- a dry dog food for "sensitive stomachs" (she was finishing a course of antibiotics) and a little yogurt mixed in.  She has changed her tune when it comes to food! 

Nowadays, she gets a mixture of homemade food, her sensitive stomach dry food and a little yogurt or cottage cheese.  She starts anticipating food as soon as she sees us vertical in the morning or when we walk in the door in the evening.  Her "position" is to sprawl on the floor in the spot where she gets her food.  Once she's sprawled, her eyes follow your every movement in the kitchen as if you are her prey!  If we don't progress to feeding her soon enough, she'll let out a few whimpers to remind us she's there.  As soon as you move to fill the bowl-- a soop of that, a little of this and a spoonful of that... she gets super-excited.  This morning, she reared up on her hind legs with excitement and stood there like a little biped.  Her tail wags out of control and as soon as we start to put her bowl down, her nose is there to greet it.  I call her "Mommy's Little Piggy" because it reminds me of the scene in "A Christmas Story" when the brother of Ralphie eats his mashed potatoes and meatloaf.  Her whole snout is involved with every meal!  On more than one occasion, she's come to us afterward with a few curds of cottage cheese on her nose. 

So, naturally, I thought Melia was a foodie and valued food above all else.  Until this morning.

I was reading in bed this morning when Melia came to the side of my bed for a few pets.  How can I possibly read a book with those super soft ears and those soulful eyes looking up at me.  So, I scoot to the edge of the bed and have one arm wrapped around her back, scratching her belly and the other hand is caressing her soft ears and scratching her chin.  She is in heaven and slowly slumps to the floor in a pile of limp puppy as I continue to pet and scratch her.

From the kitchen, I hear Kirk dishing up her breakfast.  She hears too...  I see her eyebrows flicker a little and she strains her head slightly to the kitchen for a moment.  But she doesn't move.  If anything, she inches a little bit closer to the edge of the bed and looks up at me with adoring eyes, as if to say-- "I choose you."  We snuggled for a few minutes longer before I encouraged her to go get her breakfast before the other beast, Toby, beat her to it.   

Clearly, the Golden Retriever genes dominate.  She values her people above food and all else.  In Melia's world of priorities, food is a distant second, followed by other dogs (Toby) and toys. 

If you're interested in adopting Melia, please complete an adoption application at Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Melia's Adoration

Melia loves me.  She loves Kirk.  She loves Toby and she would certainly love you.  There's no question about it.  At this moment, she is curled in a ball at my feet.  Her head is actually resting on my feet as she curled up next to me.  A tell-"tail" sign that she loves you is that her tail thumps wildly until the moment you touch her.  Then her tail rests.  But if you stop-- thump, thump, thump.  It's a strong tail, but feathered like a golden's tail.

Last night, I woke to a steady rumble in the middle of the night.  It was Melia snoring at the foot of the bed!   

So far the only thing Melia seems to fear is Kirk or I being mad at her.  She passed the thunderstorm test and can face the crackle of the fireplace with bravado.  The other night some wicked thunderstorms rolled over the house.  Toby snuggled in closer to me and slept in the crook behind my knees.  He whined a little and was only settled when I reached down to pet him.  Melia, on the other hand was dead to the world.  Her whining didn't start until we started slapping the snooze button.  And on cold evenings (the few we've had lately) we have a fire in the fireplace.  Toby hides from the crackles and pops in the bedroom, but the pops don't seem to phase Melia.  However, if I give her a sharp "no, Melia" when she puts her nose in Toby's food bowl, she'll immediately retreat or come to my feet with the most pathetic and remorseful look a puppy can have!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Melia with kids

These are photos of Melia in action chasing Toby around the yard.  She's not the most graceful creature on the run, but she's darn cute.  We were curious when our friends came over last weekend for a little outdoor cookout.  Our friends have three daughters:  9 years, 6 years and almost 2 years.  The girls have grown up with Toby in their lives.  Before they came over, we warned them that we didn't know what Melia's history with children was, but she's a little skittish with new people.  We made sure they understood that she maybe be very playful with Toby, but she may not want to play with them.  I was very curious to see how Melia would react to the kids...

She started off the day by hanging close to us.  It took her a few minutes to warm up to the new group of people.  It wasn't long before she was submissively throwing herself at the kids' feet and happily being petted.  True to herself, she wasn't very playful with the kids.  She wandered amongst us and found found a spot on the ground not to far from the fire pit to be near enough to us to know she wasn't missing out on any fun.  After awhile she trotted back in the house and took her spot on a snuggle bed.  I think the activity (we're a pretty mellow group-- including the kids) was a bit much for her and she just needed to excuse herself to find a quiet spot.  The kids would go in and check on her on occasion and she would follow them out to the yard-- as if her curiosity (or the smell of hot dogs) would overwhelm her insecurity and she just HAD to see what was going on.  

All in all, it was a great day.  Melia got along well with everyone and happily received pets from everyone in spite of their age or size.  She showed no sign of aggression with the kids, and her tail thumped wildly when, at the end of the day, I found the two older daughters and their mom snuggled up with Melia in her dog bed.  They were scheming on how to convince Dad to let them bring her home!   

Although Melia passed the kid test with flying colors and no aggression, she may be best suited in a smaller household that is settled into a routine.  I think she would be happiest with a small number of people (and dogs) who show consistent and predictable behavior towards her.  She loves having Toby to keep her company and to play with, and she's fascinated by the miniature schnauzer that lives next door.  They meet at the fence, nose to nose, and I can tell Melia is just dying to play with her.  However, there's another dog on the other side of the house that barks wildly and aggressively at her and she'll cower at my side even with the safety of the fence to divide them. 

If you're interested in adopting Melia, please contact Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary at

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Melia's Gaining Confidence

We've let Melia roam free during the day and overnight this week.  So far... no issues!  At night, she's been sleeping on the dog bed in the bedroom.  When we start moving around in the morning, Melia will start circling around the bed, letting out her signature whimper with a mighty strong tail thump.  On a couple occasions she has jumped up on the bed, but we've been nipping that one in the bud.  I think she's learning that beds are off limits.

We've also started obedience training.  She is so eager to please that she sits automatically, without any command, at your feet.  She eagerly takes her cookie, but will walk a few feet away to eat it in private-- thus, the treat consumption probably isn't associated with the command.  I'll have to work on this... maybe smaller, better, easier to chew treats.

Also, I learned today that Melia LOVES to be brushed.  I started brushing her and she stopped, dead in her tracks, mid-stride and stood there until I finished.  Her coat is kind of like a lab's coat--it's a little more coarse than Toby's and not nearly as much hair as a typical Golden.  The good thing is, she's not much of a shedder. 

She's also gaining a little independence.  She's still a velcro dog that is eager to please who is looking for her two legged soul mate.  If you're interested in adopting Melia, please complete an adoption application at

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tripper has a forever home!!!!!

          Tripper has a forever home. He looked so at home on our front porch that we have decided he will spend his retirement with us. While I will have to suspend fostering for a while, I am very happy to have Tripper as part of our family now. I hope all that have followed his blog will keep in mind how rewarding fostering can be and it gives a dog a better chance of being adopted. I have probably fostered about 15 dogs in the past few years and they are all very special in my heart. I have become friends with many of their adopted families.

God bless Almost Heaven for all the dogs they have rescued over the years.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Learning the Ropes

Since we're new at fostering, we can't help but draw comparisons between Doji and Melia-- our only two foster dogs so far.  Doji was a more mature golden who was convalescing from surgery and had a long-time injury to her hip.  It was apparent that she had been quite loved in a home at one point in time.  Doji loved attention, but was secure enough to just hang out with you.  Melia, as we're finding out, is much more puppy-ish and insecure about affection. 

Melia is quite playful.  As each day passes, we see more and more of this.  She does the nip and flop with Toby whenever the mood strikes.  She also will self-entertain with his plush toys and has to be monitored. Melia has yet to destroy a toy, but I can see the glimmer of joy in her eye as she starts to pluck the toy's "fur".  She hasn't performed any of the typical puppy-isms-- like destroy furniture, have accidents in the house or be mischievous (yet). 

The difference between her interaction with Toby and us is severe.  With Toby, she throws puppy caution to the wind and plays to her heart's content (or Toby's tolerance).  With us, there's no playing.  She has real security issues with people.  If I move suddenly to play with her-- like you would with most puppies, she immediately lays down (flops) in a submissive state.  She much prefers to keep our relationship one of affection.  Whereas Doji would wag her tail and insist on affection, Melia really begs for it in a very submissive and unassuming way.  It's hard to explain, but if she's contently laying in her snuggle bed and you say something that she interprets to be directed towards her (usually with a soothing voice), she'll hop up, immediately walk over to you, perhaps rest her head on your knee, give a little whimper and hope that you'll pet her lovely ears or scratch her chin.  If I'm on the floor giving Toby pets, she'll nose her way in between, and even lay down on Toby if he's in the way of her getting some affection.  At one point yesterday, she was resting her head on my leg, Toby was resting his head on her chest and I was petting If you stop petting her for a second, she'll either give a little whimper to remind you she's there or nose at your hand a little.  When you get up and walk away... she'll follow you just in case you change her mind.  She is so willing to please you for affection-- a great trait when it comes to her obedience training.  Now that she's almost sure she has a name and that it's Melia, she eagerly comes when she's called (or when she's not called and you just mention her name or look in her direction).  

It breaks my heart to think of how her interaction with people has made her so submissive.   

We left her to roam free in the house last night to see what she would do.  She came into my room a couple times, but I think she slept in her open crate.  No signs of getting into trouble this morning!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Good Life

It's obvious to us that Melia hasn't spent a heck of a lot of time as a family dog.  She doesn't know commands (sit, shake, stay) or language (no, bath, walk, run, out) yet, but she's getting better responding to her name, "come" and "out", and she seems to be pretty well crate-trained.  We've found her hanging out in her crate during the day (as if on cue, she just gave up a bone in the snuggle bed and trotted into to her crate for a little snooze).  On Monday, her first day in the house alone with Toby, we put her in the crate when we left for work.  I came home early to check on her and she had managed to get out of the crate.  But strangely enough, there was a little rug wadded up in her crate.  It's a mystery.  I figure she managed to get the crate open, explored the house, got her toenail caught on one of the little kitchen rugs and drug it back into her crate.  Her toenail wasn't damaged or bleeding, but there were some snags on the rug.

The next day, I used a clip to make sure she couldn't get out of the crate.

Even though she doesn't mind the crate, she's a bit of a 4 year old when it comes time for bed.  Her favorite spot in the evening is the snuggle bed-- which is in the living room where all of our evening action takes place.  I think she knows when we're getting ready for bed and she plays dead in the snuggle bed.  No amount of coaxing, bribery or commands can get her up out of that snuggle bed and into the crate independently.  Now, I'm no doggie psychologist, but my best guess here is that she wants to be with us and when we go to bed, she gets locked in her crate while Toby gets to snuggle up in bed.  I think it's pure manipulation on her part!

Don't get me wrong... she's not a conniving little pup.  She is a real love bug.  The back yard is an acre, fenced in.  After work today, I walked back with the dogs to monitor any digestive issues she might be having with the change of scenery and the antibiotics she's taking.  I saw nothing because she wouldn't leave my side.  This is a dog that simply wants to be with me.  She doesn't follow me room to room, like Doji did.  But she keeps an eye on me.  She wants to be with one of us.  She's content being in her crate if she can see/hear us.  If we go out of the house, she wants to be out of the house.  If we're out and we go in, she wants to be in.  This was quite annoying this afternoon as I went in and out a few times while grilling dinner.  I actually stepped on her!  Instead of getting out of the way, she plays her only move-- flop down and play dead at your feet.

I'm not the only one she flops down one.  She plays with Toby quite a bit.  Toby doesn't necessarily play back.  Yesterday, she would nip at his feet and then immediately flop over on her back to show Toby her belly.  I called it her WWF (world wrestling federation) move.  She nipped and flopped, nipped and flopped, nipped and flopped.  Toby just kind of looked at her with an expression that said, "what do you want me to do?".  Eventually, he wandered away during a flop.  Her energy level is increasing with each day and I'm almost on the verge of saying she's a puppy!  She certainly plays like one.  Maybe she just had such a miserable and loveless puppyhood, that her true puppy is coming out now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Introducing.... Melia!

We met Carol from Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary on Sunday and picked up Melia.  Melia has been in the "system" since October.  She was fostered and sheltered, and was so grateful for a little peace, quiet and personal attention.  For the trek home, she started out in a frightened ball in the very back of the station wagon, but an hour later she had hopped over the back seat, with confidence, to snuggle up with Toby and be closer to the conversation.  If she'd had her way, she would have been in our laps!

When I got home I realized she had gotten sick in the very back.  Even though there was a HUGE blanket back there, she has managed to throw up her breakfast in the one tiny spot where it trickled down under the back seat.  Uck.  While I cleaned the tight crevices of my car, Melia romped and explored in the back yard.  Carol had mentioned that she wasn't too playful.  She liked other dogs, but was really shy and submissive.  We weren't expecting her to be playful with Toby at first.... but we were wrong.  Once out of the car and romping in the fenced in back yard, she pawed at Toby, got him to chase her in circles and explored with grand independence.  She came when we called her, but was comfortable enough to explore on her own.

She doesn't know how to play with people.  We tried "catch me, catch me, if you can" and we tried "I'm gonna chase you" and we tried "chase the toy".  Nothing.  Instead of playing with us, she would run up to us and just play dead.  Literally, she would roll over or crouch down very submissively. 

From the best we can tell, Melia is half golden retriever and half love bug mutt.  We keep hypothesizing what the other half is... she's about 50 pounds and "short" for a golden, but her body is kind of long and her paws are pretty big and webbed--more so than Toby's.  She has these amazingly expressive ears.  They're a little beefier than most Golden Retriever ears, but they're oh-so-soft! And she melts at your feet if you reach down to pet them.

Melia's age seems to be as much of a mystery as her DNA.  One vet that assessed her thought she was about 1 year old.  Another vet thought maybe 8 years old.  Carol thinks she's in between.  Maybe a sprightly 5 years old?  She shows no sign of being a senior dog and yet she's way too mellow to be a puppy, in spite of her small statue and puppy-ish expressions.

We've only had her for about a day... more to come! 

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting Melia, please contact Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary  (

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tripper’s Transformation

                                                        Tripper’s Transformation

Sorry for not updating the blog recently. We had to leave town suddenly due to a family member’s illness. My Mother-in Law passed away and we spent a week in Florida with her during her long battle with Alzheimer, from which she succumbed to. It was a sad and trying time for all of us, but enough about me and on to Tripper.
Tripper has been un-kennelized! The first week, he was really timid and didn’t know how to interact with the parade of animals we have living with us. That has changed and he loves our cat Sammy and loves to sleep near her when he can. He is also playing with our Dog Zeus now, and while Zeus does not like to share his toys, he is enjoying playing tug of war with Tripper now. The two of them like to wrestle and Tripper is shorter than Zeus so he just plows under Zeus’s belly when Zeus is winning the wrestling match.

Tripper is enjoying home life now. He loves lying by my feet while I am typing this. He also likes to be around where all the action is, so he drags his dog bed to whenever everyone is hanging out at that time.   I bought him a second dog bed so he wouldn’t have to drag his around all over the house. So it now has one in our mud room, which is the one he drags to the kitchen and dining area and his second one is in our family room near the fireplace.

Tripper love getting toys from our toy bin. Our dog Zeus is always taking a toy from Tripper, since Zeus thinks all toys belong to him. Tripper, being the good sport that he is, just goes back to the toy bin and takes another one. Zeus eventually gives up and lets Tripper keep a toy. Tripper is so gentle you can take anything out of his mouth and he doesn’t seem to mind. Tripper just rolls with the punches.

Tripper has been without a home for over 4 years and has spent more than half his life at the Rescue. He is not a handsome dog, but he is cute and quirky. I think people have over-looked him at the rescue before due to him being a mix and not a beautiful young Golden that everyone wants to adopt. If we were all beautiful and young, life would be prefect for everyone, wouldn’t it?  Tripper deserves a forever home with a family who will love his quirks and who will be loved back unconditionally in return. He is a gentle soul who has had a very rough life. However, he doesn’t seem to dwell on his past experiences and loves living life to the fullest. I hope one day, a family will fall in love with him and gives him the life he deserves.
If you are interested in giving Tripper a forever home, please contact Almost heaven rescue.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tripper’s Story

  Almost Heaven asked us to foster Tripper after Stacey was adopted last week. Tripper has been at the rescue longer than the other dogs there and they wanted to give him a chance at being adopted. Tripper has been at the rescue for over 4 years. He was rescued from a shelter 4 years ago when he was 3 years old and had heart worms. He was treated but had a terrible reaction to the treatment, which they have never had before or since. It took Tripper about a year or more to recover. He has some muscle weakness in his hind legs which he has pretty much recovered from.

Tripper is not pure bread Golden retriever, which may be why people have never inquired about him. I don’t understand this about mixes, that people don’t want a mix breed usually when they look into rescues. People aren’t pedigrees, so why pass over a wonderful dog when they are not. Thanks goodness that Almost Heaven Golden retriever rescue tries to save as many dogs as possible regardless if they are a pure bred Golden or not.

When we picked up Tripper last Saturday and brought him home, he wasn’t sure about how to relate to living in a house. He is completely housebroken so that was not an issue. He was just un-use to living in an un-confined area. He would find a corner and just back himself into it and watch everyone. He was not interacting with the other dogs or us. They only time he got excited was when he saw one of our cats walk by. Then he would run and whine at them until he got close enough for him to be able to sniff them. He loves cats…in a good way.
Tripper has really improved over the past week. We thought at first he was “kennelized”, kind of like “Brooksie” in the movie Shaw Shank Redemption. He couldn’t function in the real world since he spent so most of his life behind bars. However, that has changed. Tripper now loves to be petted. He is lying at my feet while I type his story. He loves playing with the other dogs now and has a toy in his mouth all the time. He loves dog beds. If his dog bed is in a spot and he wants to lie somewhere else, then he grabs his bed and drags it to where he wants to lay and then lays in it.
Tripper does seem to have a problem with his hearing. He can hear but not low noises. This has caused us an issue with our electric dog fence. He can’t hear the soft beeping noise when he gets too close to where the boundary of the fence it. So I am taking him for many walks during the day around the perimeter of our property so he learns where he can and cannot go. He walks very easily on a lease. He will actually pick up his lease and drag it over to me when he wants to go out.
Tripper had a lot of hair when we got him last week. Most of it was matted so we took him to the groomer and they shaved him. The only part of him that was not shaved was his head and tail. He is a deep red color, but since he was shaved he is a light buff color except for his head and paws are still a deep red. He is a little over weight from lack of exercise, but that is pretty easy to fix since he is so much more active now.
I will post weekly updates on Tripper, which we have nick named Yogi Bear, since he just seems likeable like Yogi was and has a big bear like head.
 If you are interested in giving Tripper a forever home, please contact Almost heaven rescue.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stacey was Adopted!!!!

Here is a picture of Stacey in her new home surrounded by her new toys. Look how happy she looks. My heart is happy but has a sad after taste since I will really miss her. My family all got teary eyed when we had to say goodbye. She is now in her forever home and will never be un-loved again. She was adopted by a wonderful couple who have adopted from Almost heaven before. Fostering is a very rewarding experience. By Fostering, it allows the Rescue to take in more dogs. Also dogs that are fostered are more likely to get adopted since people can see how they do in a real life situation. So if you have never considered fostering ,please do, it can make all the difference in giving a forever home to a loney dog .For now, I am so happy about Stacey, it makes it all worth while.

Also we decided to foster Tripper, who is another long termer at Almost Heaven. I will update the Blog next week with his story.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Stacey  enjoyed the warmer weather this past weekend. We took her for a two mile hike on Sunday with our dog Zeus and she loved every minute of it. The nice thing is that she doesn't need a lease when you go hiking, since she likes to alway stay about 10-15 feet from you during the walk. She walks great on a lease but I love that she will not run off when we take her off the lease for a longer hike. She trots slightly ahead and then is always looking back to make sure you are keeping up. She stops when we stop and just enjoys being with the group. Here is a picture of her and Zeus as we hold up the leases knowing they are going for a walk.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

                                  Stacey is Blossoming

Stacey is glowing with health and vitality these days. In the 3 weeks she has been with us, she has lost three pounds due to just having free roam of the house and outside. She has gained a lot of strength in her hind legs that at first were an issue when we picked her up. She goes up and down the stairs without hesitation now. We have all hard wood or tile floors and she might occasionally slip when she is in a hurry but the chance of that has greatly diminished in the past few weeks.

Stacey has a lot of energy. She loves to play with her ball all the time. Unfortunately, our dog Zeus is a toy hoarder and claims all toys as his own and whenever Stacey gets a toy or ball it is his life’s mission to take it from her. She tolerates the situation extremely well and allows him to take the ball from her mouth.  I think one of the reason she likes the outside so much when someone is out there with her is because Zeus has other activities when he is outside so she can stake a claim to the ball more.

Stacey loves people. I am not sure of her history before she came to the rescue but one thing is for sure, it did not stop her from idolizing people. When we were at the vets, a couple with children came in and Stacey’s eye lit up and she was so excited to see children. The kids thought she was great and I had to drag her away when our time came to go into the vet’s exam room.
So Stacey loves people, toys and attention. She likes being around other dogs and tolerates our cats and doesn’t really paid them any attention. She is housebroken and doesn’t have to be crated. She lies down and doesn’t bother you when you are eating dinner.
Things we have to on:
1.       She is extremely insecure and follows you and won’t let you out of her sight. She needs to be able to trust again that she will not be left.
2.       If you have snacks on the coffee table during the game, don’t turn your back or she will eat them, much like my husband J
3.       She knows the word sit, but not the word Stay. I think it is too close to her name, so when you say Stay, she thinks you mean Stacey. Trying the word halt now…
4.       She wants a family who will love her for the rest of her life.

So she will make someone a wonderful addition to their family and she is available for adoption. If you want to be her forever family, please contract;

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Doji found her Forever Home!

It is with very mixed emotions that I tell you Doji has found her forever home!  On one hand, I'm in jubilation that Doji was adopted, but on the other hand... I miss her dearly already.  Her new mom, Tracey, and doggie sister, Jill, took her home today.  I was very sad to see her drive away, but I know she will have a fabulous and very spoiled life with her new family and I am thankful that I could play a small role in delivering her to such a great home.  There's an empty snuggle bed beside me and a little hole in my heart.  I'll miss reaching over the chair to pet her or having her nose magically find my hand whenever it's not occupied. 

But, Doji's adoption means there's room in my house and my heart for another foster dog.  It may take a few weeks before I can get up to West Virginia to pick up the next dog...   in the meantime, keep checking the blog.  More stories of Stacey and other Almost Heaven foster dogs will be shared! 

And while I have your attention, please take a moment to vote for "Almost Heaven" in West Virginia at
 If Almost Heaven receives the highest amount of votes for West Virginia or overall-- they'll receive a grant that will be used to help rescue dogs like Doji and provide for their medical care.  You can also help more directly by donating  through the chipin site at:

This is Stacey on the left. She and our dog Zeus are tired from playing in the snow. She has more energy than Zeus who is two years younger than her. She is loving being around other dogs. She enjoys playing with balls, games of tug of war and just hanging out with people and dogs alike. When she first came to us, she had a hard time getting up and down the stairs and since we only have tile and hard wood floors, she slipped a lot. Now she marches up and down the stairs, and has really gained strength in her hind legs. She also seems to have lost a little weight since we got her due to all the exercise. She has come so far in just two weeks. She is available for adoption though Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue. She is one of the easier Foster dogs we have had here.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Unexpected Issue with Doji

As I've mentioned, baths for dogs are a very regular weekly event around here.  This morning, I had help lifting Doji into the tub.  I didn't need to draw the curtain to "contain" her. She never tried to get out.  Eventually, she just laid down.  This was great except for the fact that I couldn't wash her underside and once I finally gave up, she wouldn't get up.  I drained the water and she still wouldn't get up. Getting up from a laying position isn't really easy for her when she's in her snuggle bed, let alone in a wet bath tub-- even if it does have a non-slip mat.  After a few minutes of trying to encourage her to stand up, I tried bribing her with food.  No luck.  Finally, we had to lift her out of the tub in a laying position!

I've mentioned that she loves her stuffed hedgehog.  Perhaps I was understating it.  She really LOVES this hedgehog.  She takes it into her crate with her.  She tries to take it outside (we have a strict, "no good toys outside" rule).  She takes it to her dinner bowl, and as I sit here now-- it's a few inches from her face as she's curled up in her snuggle bed.  I'm confident that this hedgehog will be by her side for many years to come.  This morning, she woke up around 6:42 (to be exact).  She moved around the room a bit, but I was totally insistent on sleeping in (I realized this week that she just wants me up to pet her, not necessarily has to go out).  I stood my ground, but by 7:20, she realized she could force the issue.  She used her hedgehog... I heard a cacophony of "honks" (or "moo's" as we call them).  It suddenly occurred to me how obnoxious a teenager with a drum set could be!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doji Does....

  • LOVES her bone
  • LOVES her hedgehog toy even more 
  • LOVES to be petted, especially a belly scratch
  • is a total foodie (but not aggressive with us or Toby when we're near her food)
  • gently and eagerly takes fish oil 4x a day (have I mentioned she LOVES it-- it only took one pill to get her hooked on this doggie crack and now she hobbles into the kitchen at the sound of the bottle opening)
  • snores
  • follows me from room to room
  • sleeps on the floor in my bedroom
  • investigates my dinner plate (I eat in the living room), but never takes a taste
  • comes when she's called
  • has a hard time getting up after she's been sitting awhile and is wobbly on her legs when she just gets up
  • gets playful and mouths you (from the lounging position only)
  • wags her tail every time you say her name
  • happily goes into her crate at the suggestion (often brings the bone OR the hedgehog with her)
  • likes to amble around the backyard exploring
  • goes "out" three times a day and comes to the door when she's done to be let in (and be with you)
  • can usually be found in whatever room you're in
  • is a very happy dog
  • can't wait to find her furever home and be treated like she deserves:)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Doji's "does not" list

Day 10-- no accidents, no counter surfing, no garbage eating, no barking, no whining, no anxiety, no aggression, no running away, no destruction, no jumping on furniture, no disobeying orders (sit, come, no), no fear of the crackling fireplace, howling wind or beeps.

AND this lovely lady is available for adoption!  She could be your four legged soul mate for many years to come! 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Spa Day for Doji, too!

Doji had surgery to repair her ACL on January 2, so she couldn't have a bath until today.  Phew-- that's a long time for a dog to go bathless in my house!  Toby gets weekly baths to help manage his lion-like mane of golden retriever hair with a Chow Chow undercoat.  That dog can shed!  Doji, on the other hand, really doesn't have that much hair.  I've brushed her a few times and can barely pull any hair off of her.  I brushed her again before her bath today and still not much hair... then it was bath time!  Toby tolerates his bath.  He'll hide under the table at the mention of "bath time"-- so much so that we've abbreviated it to getting his "b" and sometimes just say "spa day" or "shower" to throw him off.  But, he'll hop in the tub and take it like a man.  I was afraid Doji might really NOT like the bath and hurt herself trying to scramble out of the tub.  Why was I worried?!?!  This is Doji we're talking about.  We had to pick her up to put her in the tub, but there was no struggle.  In fact, she didn't move a muscle during the entire bath (shampoo/rinse/conditioner/rinse).  No whining, no shaking, and no attempt at escape.  Post-bath, she LOVED the towel dry and was in quite a good mood! 

I took a trip to Target and Petsmart today.  At Target, I got a few no-slip rugs to provide more "islands" of carpet for her.  She's learning that it's safer and more comfortable to stay on a rug.  At Petsmart, I picked up a few femur bones.  Doji is a bone girl, which probably explains why her teeth are so shiny and white.  Toby's interest in chewing on bones comes and goes.  So much so, that Doji whittled down one of his bones to the point it was flaking off in a week.  I haven't bought him a bone in years-- so that tells you how old that bone is.  After letting her chew on the new bone for an hour, I took it away to save it for another day (probably tomorrow).