Weim lives matter!

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016: A Review of Our Year in Rescue

     As we started 2016 with only one dog in our house, Rigby, our sweet, loving princess, it made sense that, if needed, we could once again become a foster home for some TSWR dogs.  Dan and I both enjoy fostering and we get so much satisfaction seeing the dogs who pass through our home find love with their new forever families.

Our non-rescue Weim Rigby
     In late January I learned about a Weim in the area who needed a new home.  His family learned the hard way that a Weim with a high prey drive is not a good fit in a home with small kittens, and Harely ended up losing his home.

     I was amazed to read on the intake form that this almost 3-year-old Weim weighed 123 pounds.  Dan and I took a ramp with us to pick him up, worried about getting him into our SUV without having to lift him up.  Months younger than our Rigby, Harley looked much older and his labored breathing while sleeping worried me for his health.

Harley was quite a big boy when he came into rescue, weighing in at 123 pounds.

     Harley was started on a diet -- but, not happy with the choice of foods we offered, he barely ate for the first week.  He finally figured out that we weren't going to cave in and give him junk food, that he had to eat what he was offered, and our program of tough love and "Woof Watchers" began to make a difference in his weight.  He was also started on a regular exercise program, just short walks at first, in an effort to build his stamina.

     It was obvious that Harley had never been taught boundries and he was pushy and overbearing.  He was also encouraged to jump on people in his previous home, and this had to be corrected immediately, as he was a very big boy.

     Harley and Rigby got along well, although we had to be careful when they played because Harley outweighed Rigby by so much and if he hit her too hard he sent her flying into the couch.

Harley loved his foster sister, Rigby.

     We kept Harley till April, when he was sent on his way to go to what would hopefully be his new home. We thought it was best to not keep him, as he was used to a fenced yard, which we did not have, and we really were happy being a one-dog home.  The good news for Harley was that he left us 20 pounds lighter than when he had arrived.

Harley about 20 pounds lighter than when he came into rescue.

     Shortly after Harley left, I got a call from the Humane Society that they had a 5-year-old female Weimaraner who had been turned in to them.  TSWR made arrangements for Pearl to come into rescue and I went to pick her up.

     As I waited for Pearl to be brought out to me I read the paperwork from the people who turned her in and saw several mentions that she urinated in the house multiple times.  I was not excited about bringing an adult dog that was not house trained into our home.

     Then I met Pearl.  What a sweet dog.  I took her out to the SUV and we sat for a while in the parking lot of the Humane Society getting to know one another before we left.  It was hard for me to believe that this dog was as she was advertised.  She seemed to be a calm, well-trained dog.  At home my hunch proved out and Pearl never had an accident in our home.  

Pearl curled up in my office and stayed close to me while I worked.

     Pearl was a bit bewildered by Rigby's efforts at play, she must have been an only dog.  But she and Rigby became friendly and got along well.  Pearl was easy to live with and we enjoyed her stay, but it wasn't long till she was on her way to her forever home and we were happy that she would be well taken care of and in a loving home.

Pearl came to enjoy Rigby's company and rested with her on the couch.

     Then in May I heard from a local veterinarian and friend about a blue Weimaraner who was in danger of being listed for sale on Craig's List or in the local paper.  His young owner had moved from his father's home to an apartment, leaving Troy behind.  The boy's father had never intended to own a dog and didn't have the time to give a young Weim the attention, exercise and training he needed.

     Working with some local Weim owners, we were able to make contact with the father and he agreed to give Troy up to TSWR in an effort to find him a proper home.  When I went to pick him up, accompanied by my friend Renee, both the father and son met us with Troy and they said their good-byes and Troy was on his way to a new life.

Troy, a very handsome blue Weimaraner

     Troy and Rigby hit it off immediately and became fast friends and it was nice to have a playmate for Troy to expend some of his extra energy.  Troy was filled with nervous energy and that energy, combined with his anxiety from the changes in his life, resulted in him almost constantly pacing.  I'd actually crate Troy to get him to relax and lay down at first, but as he settled in he began to relax more and more out of the crate and to feel more secure.

Troy was just a very happy boy.

     Troy had a great personality, full of fun and he loved to run and play.  When he ran in the field he was the picture of joy.

    Unlike most dogs we foster, we knew who Troy's new owners would be even before we picked him up. Our time with Troy was short, he just needed a safe haven until it was time to move on to a home that was excitedly awaiting his arrival.  Troy and I made the trip to meet his new owner and make the transfer that would change his life forever.  I have so enjoyed watching on Facebook as Troy has become a treasured member of his new family. 

     Then the unthinkable happened.  We heard that Harley still did not have a home.  He had been tried out in two homes and things did not go well and he was still in foster care, looking for his forever home. 

     Dan and I were worried about Harley and didn't want him to languish in rescue, knowing how tough it can be on Weims to be transitioned from one place to another, not having people or a home to call their own.  After a lot of consideration and talking it over, I contacted TSWR and asked if Harley could come back to us permanently.  The rescue agreed to allow us to adopt him and we made plans to get Harley back to our home.

When Harley returned, he and Rigby still enjoyed their naps together on the couch.

     At times I've felt guilty that we didn't just keep Harley originally -- we loved him and thought he was a really neat dog -- but we truly thought we couldn't give him everything he needed or wanted.  In hindsight, I've realized that if we had not let Harley go for a few months, we wouldn't have been able to foster Pearl and Troy and help them on their way.  It seems that things do happen for a reason and, in the end, work out for the best.

When Harley became part of our family I started him in tracking and
he's proven to be a very enthusiastic and talented tracking dog.

     So now we're back to being a two-dog family and won't be fostering for a while, but we'll be here to pick up and hold dogs and help them get on their way to a foster or new home. We're happy to have a rescue dog as a family member again and are so glad to have Harley with us.

Harley in front of our Christmas tree 2016.
To date Harley has lost 43 pounds.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

From The Archives: Saving Indigo

     I found some articles I wrote years ago, before I started this blog, when I first started doing rescue work.  I'm going to reprint them here as new blog entries so those stories are not lost and those dogs are remembered.

     This second article is from the March 2010 issue of the Steel Ghost Gazette, the newsletter for the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh.

     She was known as No. 74 at the Mahoning County Dog Pound and she was scheduled to be euthanized Wednesday, February 3, 2010.

     Emails started flying across the Internet as more and more people heard about the young, blue Weimaraner that had been given a death sentence, through no fault of her own.

     I received the email from Judy Thompson on Monday, February 1st and immediately forwarded it to Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue (TSWR) to see if we could help this dog.

     I heard back on Tuesday that there was a waiting list of people to adopt the pup and that the dog pound had TSWR's phone number and knew we would take her if it became necessary.

     Wednesday I received an email from TSWR looking for someone to pick up the dog from the dog pound, so I emailed that my schedule on Thursday might allow me to make the drive to Ohio to pick her up.

     My schedule on Thursday worked out perfectly and I gladly left for Ohio to pick up No. 74.

Indigo, the blue pup from the kill shelter in Youngstown, Ohio.

     I was surprised when, after I told the pound workers that I was there for the Weim puppy, that they just told me to "head on back and get her."  No papers to sign, no checks of any kind, just take the dog and go.

     As soon as I walked her out of the door of the dog pound I knew she was sick, I could hear the coughing and the wheezing.  She jumped into my car and, as I began to drive, she settled in for a nap in the front passenger seat.

She was the cutest little blue Weim ever!
     The puppy needed a name, I couldn't call her No. 74.  On the drive over I had thought about names and, because of her blue coat, the name Indigo came to my mind.  I thought Indy would make a very nice nickname for her, and so it was that she got her name.

     Before going home I stopped at my vet to have Indy checked out and she was supposed to get a rabies shot.  The diagnosis of kennel cough was made and, because of a high fever, the rabies shot was put on hold and Indy was put on antibiotics.

     Friday morning I took Indy for a long walk and she was behaving well and staying in the crate for the most part, so as not to expose my dogs to her illness.  Then came the big snow storm and the temperatures turned much colder.

This photo shows how little snow was on the ground when I brought Indy home.
And, yes, she has a full tail.

The day after Indy came to our house the big snow storm hit.

This is what the driveway looked like after the snow storm!
     By Saturday afternoon, Indy was not feeling well at all, she was shaking and coughing more and more.  Dan and I put her on the couch and covered her with blankets, trying to make her comfortable.  That night Indy slept in bed with me.

     Sunday Indy was no better and by the time we offered her dinner she had decided not to eat anymore.  I notified TSWR that she was not doing well and it was decided to wait till Monday to see if she would improve or if she needed another visit to the vet.  Indy spent another night in bed with me to make sure she stayed warm.

Indy came to us a very sickly pup.
     Monday morning she was not better and, possibly, worse, so I called to make an afternoon appointment with my vet.  The vet agreed that she was worse and felt that she needed supportive care to help her fight through her illness, so we were went to the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialy and Emergency Center (PVSEC).

     The vet at PVSEC decided that Indy needed to be admitted for at least a night and thta she would need to stay until they could get her eating again.  The diagnosis was pneumonia.

     I received word on Tuesday that Indy could come home and I picked her up, wrapped her in a blanket and we headed for home.  He cough seemed better, but Indy was still very quiet and only wanted to lay on the couch.

    As Indy started eating the rice and boiled chicken I made for her she began gaining her strength back.  The medicines seemed to be helping her out and hour by hour we started to see her improve.

     A new home had been found for Indy and plans were made to transfer her to her new owners.  I said I'd help transport her on Saturday, February 11th, as long as she continued to improve in health until then, which, of course, she did.

     Saturday morning Indy and I headed out fo our trip to Blairsville, PA, where we met her new owners who are from the Tyrone, PA area.  It was hard to say goodbye to Indy, as I had become rather attached to her during her stay, but I knew she was going to a good home and would have a wonderful life.

     Indy is a very sweet pup and her future looks bright, thanks to the care she received while TSWR had her in their possession.  In the week she was in our home TSWR paid out more than $1,000.00 to ensure that Indy got the medical care that she needed.

     WAGP members should be very proud that our club is associated with a rescue group that works very hard to give Weims a second chance for a good home and a healthy, happy live.

     ADDENDUM:  One part of this story I never told till now is that when I picked Indy up from the vet after a night of IV treatment to help build her up, I parked the car right beside the door so that she would not get too chilled in the transfer to the car.  I never thought about all the fluids Indy had taken in all night or that she wouldn't have relieved herself in her crate at the vet's.  I put Indy in the driver's seat of my car and she promptly emptied her bladder right there, not able to wait any longer for a chance to pee!  So I had to clean up my seat before we could head home -- another lesson learned, the hard way!!

Indy and her family (she's in the middle).

     UPDATE:  Indy's owner, Jane, and I are friends on FaceBook and I have enjoyed watching her grow up through the many photos posted on Jane's page.  Indy has a two doggie siblings, a Weim and a rescued pit-type dog and she lives the wonderful life I knew she would!

From the Archives: Jack: Lessons From A Foster Weimaraner

     I found some articles I wrote years ago, before I started this blog, when I first started doing rescue work.  I'm going to reprint them here as new blog entries so those stories are not lost and those dogs are remembered.

     This first article is from the February 2008 issue of the Steel Ghost Gazette, the newsletter for the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh.

     Volunteering with Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue (TSWR) as the Weimaraner Association of Greater Pittsburgh's liason with the rescue group was easy for me, I didn't mind evaluating a dog coming into rescue or interviewing prospective adoptive families over the phone.  No problem, not too time consuming and they even provided forms with all the questions to ask, making it very simple.

     As the emails came in asking for foster homes and emergency placements for dogs, I felt safe, all the dogs were in Eastern Pennsylvania, hours away from me and it was just not feasible for me to help out.  Besides, our house is pretty full, two Weims and a lab mix, no room for any other dogs.

     Then a couple days after Christmas it happened, the email said there was a young Weim in McKeesport that was going to be taken to a shelter if a foster home wasn't found for him.  His name was Jack and he was an 11-month-old, intact male.

     I couldn't imagine one of my Weims being in a shelter and the thought of a young Weim stuck in a cage, alone, without his special people was just too much for me.  I emailed TSWR and said I wanted to help Jack, that I'd go get him and let him stay with us.  Then I went and broke the news to my husband, Dan, that we needed to make room for one more dog.

     We picked Jack up on Saturday, December 29th, 2007.  His description had said that he didn't travel well in cars, so I had Dan accompany me so he could help control the dog while I drove.  

     Jack was so cute, full grown, very thin, but also very friendly.  He jumped in the car and rode in the back seat as if he'd ridden in cars all the time.

     On the way home I fell in love with Jack and I cried as I drove, so upset that his original owner had starved and then abandoned such a sweet, young dog.

     Next came the introduction to our pack.  We brought our dogs outside to the driveway, one at a time, and let them meet Jack and check him out.  Everything was going well -- at least for the first week.

     As we got to know Jack we became impressed by his personality and it was very obvious that he was a smart dog who learned very quickly.  He didn't get upset easily and was actually quite calm.  We began to think we'd like to keep Jack and adopt him ourselves.

     I enrolled Jack in a basic obedience class and we worked with him daily, teaching him the rules of our home.  He slept with me at night and I enjoyed taking him on walks, where it seemed that almost everything he saw was new to him.  I was really excited about the idea of having such a young dog to train, a rescue Weim who didn't seem to have a lot of baggage from his past.

     The one concern I had had when I said we'd take Jack in to foster was that our Rocky is an intact male.  The general thought was that Jack was young enough that having two intact males wouldn't matter in this situation.  But Rocky had other thoughts on the subject and, in time, he made it clear that Jack was not welcome in his house.  This was a surprise for me, as I thought Rocky would be thrilled to have someone to play with.

     I was even more surprised when it turned out that my 8-year-old rescue Weim Frankie, a dog I thought didn't know how to play with other dogs, became Jack's playmate and buddy.

     The situation with Rocky and Jack got to the point that we knew the best thing for Jack was to go to another home.  It was a hard decision to make, but one that we knew was best for all involved.

     Once I informed Julie Potthoff, of TSWR, that we would not be able to keep Jack, she did a wonderful thing for me, she asked me to interview a family that she thought might be a good fit for Jack.

     The interviews are done by phone, so the fact that the adoptive family lived in New Jersey was not a problem.

     After spending 45 minutes on the phone with Debbie, the prospective adopter, I knew that Jack would have a great home.  Debbie's family had lost Timber, their 12-year-old Weim a year ago, to cancer, and they were now ready to get a new dog.  Their Weim had been such a big part of their family that he went everywhere with them and was even included in a photo with their son on his bar mitzvah invitations.

     Being allowed to help in finding Jack a home and knowing he was going to a great family made me feel much better about my decision not to adopt Jack.

     Debbie and I became email friends as I sent her some photos of Jack and then emailed her every couple of days to let her know how Jack was progressing in his training and his vet visits.  Even though I loved the little dog, I became anxious to get him to his new home, because I knew he was going to be one loved and spoiled dog, and I also knew our Rocky would be much happier once our house was back to normal.

     Thursday, January 24th, Jack went to the vet to have his neutering surgery.  Debbie and I made plans to meet the next day at the Carlisle Exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where I would give Jack over to his new owner.

     The transfer was bittersweet for me.  Jack has left a mark on my heart that will be there for a long time, but I truly learned that doing what is best for the dog is the most important thing.  Jack will be the center of attention in his new home and will be showered with love for years to come.  From the pictures I've received so far from Debbie, Jack looks contented and well adjusted.

     I learned some other valuable lessons from my first fostering experience, including gaining new insight into dog behavior and interaction.  I learned that I really want a puppy the next time around, even though I also learned that it's going to be a lot of work to have a youngster in the house.  I also learned that three dogs are really enough for us, but that there's always room for one more, at least temporarily.

     UPDATE:  Over the years Debbie has stayed in touch with me, letting me know how Jack is doing.  Although he's had some health problems, Jack remains happy.  They adopted a second Weim and Jack has his own buddy to pal around with.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Revolving Door At Our House Continues

On Saturday, April 30, Ms. Pearl moved on to her new home, having only stayed with us about 10 days.

We hear that her new family loves her and are quite happy with her -- no surprise to us, as she is such a sweet girl and easy to live with.

While Pearl was with us, I was notified of a blue Weimaraner who was in need of a new home.  I heard he was home alone a lot, as the man he was living with never meant to own a dog, let alone a Weim.  The dog actually belonged to his son, who had moved out into his own place, unable to bring a dog with him.

Arrangements were made to pick Troy up on Saturday, May 7th, and, thankfully, my friend Renee agreed to ride along to keep me company and help in the transfer.  When we arrived at the parking lot of the Mountain View Inn we not only met the man who was turning Troy over to rescue, but also his son, who was there to say goodbye to his dog.  The transfer went well and Troy was a pretty good passenger for the ride home.

When I got him home, Dan and I did our usual ritual of introducing the new dog to Rigby and the house.  Troy was happy to meet Rigby and, although he's a bit thin, he's almost as tall as she is, so they make a good match as playmates.  Rigby let him know his place and made sure he understood who is in charge and who wears the crown in her home.

Troy is 2.5 years old, a neutered male who is full of energy.  I think there's a Border Collie hiding inside this Weimarner's body!  He did a lot of pacing the first few days and I found the only way to get him to take a rest was to put him in the crate, where he'd finally settle and lay down.


When we bring a new dog into the house we put all the dog toys away until we have a chance to see how the dogs are interacting together and then we introduce toys carefully, watching for resource guarding and trying to make sure that playtime is fun for all. 

When we brought out the toys Rigby immediately grabbed up one of her favorite Nylabones.  Troy went for a ball.  Troy found a couple rubber balls that he could chew and play with, and play he did.  We found that the one thing that could really stop Troy's continual pacing was playing fetch.  

Even before I picked Troy up I knew that the rescue had a home lined up for him, so we knew he wouldn't be staying with us too long.  We're making the most of his time with us and so far we've been able clip his nails twice, give him a bath and we're trying to put a bit of weight on him.  We've reintroduced him to the crate, playing some games to encourage him to go in the crate on command and feeding him his meals in the crate.

Troy has loved his trips to run in the field.  He runs with abandon and loves to be outside, experiencing a bit of freedom.  He was introduced to the stream and was ready to jump in.

Almost ready for liftoff with those ears!

Troy meets the stream

The tracks for the local trolley museum run alongside
 the field and Troy got a close-up look at the 
maintenance trolley that came through.

One of the things I enjoy about having a variety of Weims in our home is to see all the different personalties that they each have.  Troy will be very memorable for us, as he's been one of the most energetic Weims we've hosted.  Troy is a happy dog, so full of enthusiasm for everything!  Like Pearl, he wants to be with his chosen person and he's jumped gates to be with me when we're separated.  Also like Pearl, he sleeps in my office while I work.

Rigby and Troy take a nap with Dan on the couch.

Sleeping in my office while I work.

We're looking forward to spending a few more days with Troy before he heads out to his forever home where he'll have plenty of love and room to run.

Troy is a very happy boy!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pearl -- A Gem of a Weimaraner!

Our foster Harley left for his new foster home a couple weeks ago.  Dan and I were going out of state for a long weekend trip and so he moved on to allow us to keep our plans to visit Wisconsin.  He went to a great foster with lots of knowledge about Weims and he left 23 pounds lighter than when he arrived, more confident and in better physical shape.  We wish him all the best as Tri State Weim Rescue (TSWR) looks to find the perfect forever home for him.  We love Harley and truly miss his presence in our home.

Tuesday of last week, the day after we got home from Wisconsin, I got an e-mail from TSWR about a Weimaraner who had been turned in to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.  A four-year-old Weim, this time a female.  With changes in food and environment and, I'm sure, a bit of stress, this young Weim was suffering some stomach problems and so we waited a couple days until the vets at the WPaHS cleared her to be released.

Thursday I was working downtown and when my job didn't end till 4:00 I decided I wouldn't take the time to run home and change clothes, but, instead, would go straight to the shelter to pick up the abandoned dog and get her out of the shelter and into a safe haven.

This is how I met Pearl.  

Pretty Ms. Pearl

As I waited for the shelter worker to bring Pearl out to the adoption area I read over her intake papers and cringed a bit at what I saw.  First, under, Breed, it said, "don't no how to spell."  Under, Where did you get this dog from?, it said, "Facebook."  In answer to, How long have you had this dog?, "5 months".

I also noted another word popping up, "urination" or "urinating" and that the dog had "accidents" in the house and peed on a bed.  Oh, boy, not my favorite thing, cleaning up after a dog who is not housebroken.

From the first moment I met her, Pearl has been a very classy Weim, not the type to make messes in the house, much more the type of dog who has lead me to call her Ms. Pearl, not just Pearl.

At times she has a sad demeanor about her, you can see it in her eyes.  At one time this dog was very loved and very spoiled by someone, we think a woman, who took her on walks and rides in the car.  Perhaps it's true what I heard from someone, that her first owner died and that's how Ms. Pearl lost her first home.

Pearl seems to be in pretty good health, although she is a bit overweight and it appears that she was heavier and has lost some weight recently.  Her coat is a bit rough and her nails were quite long.  We've put her on a good dog food, trimmed her nails and, in time, will give her an oatmeal bath to try to help her coat.  She's getting some canned salmon and the oils in the salmon might also help her coat.

The best news about Pearl is that she has not had an accident in our home since she arrived four days ago.  She has full run of the house and she appears to me to be fully housebroken and a dog who knows not to pee or poop in the house.  

Pearl loves taking walks and when we get the harness out she literally tries to jump into it, so anxious to get outside and see the world.  I think she was walkIed in a harness in the past, because she really seemed to know what it was and that it meant going out.  

Bonus Note:  I'll share with you all now that my favorite harness is made by Softouch Concepts and is the SENSE-ible harness, a no-pull, front-fastening harness that I use with my Weim.  It's a good alternative to some of the collars that many people use on their Weims in an effort to control the strong pulling for which many Weims are known.  I purchase the medium/large 1-inch width harness for my dogs.

Now, back to Ms. Pearl.

Ms. Pearl's worst trait seems to be that she is not crate trained and she has made it clear that she does not like to be confined in a crate.  The crate in the car is fine and she readily jumps in to take a ride and relaxes and lays down.  Put her in the same size crate in the house and she starts to drool and bite at the crate.  We are feeding Pearl her meals and treats in a crate, leaving the door open, but encouraging her to spend a bit of time in the crate and trying to get her to relate pleasant things with being in the crate.

The saving grace for Pearl about her aversion to crates is that she is good in the house, hasn't offered to chew anything and seems happy to rest on the couch when she has a chance.

Pearl contemplating her future.

Ms. Pearl also loves her people and does not like to be separated from them.  When I tried to keep her out of my office by putting up a gate, she easily jumped the gate.  When I tried to keep her out of my bedroom at night, putting the gate up higher, she just pushed the gate down, jumped on the bed and curled up next me, as if to say, this is where I belong.  She is a true shadow Weim, following me wherever I go in the house.

Ms. Pearl curled up in a corner of my office while I worked.

It's obvious that Pearl was an only dog and her dog-playing skills are rather rusty.  She was afraid of my girl, Rigby, when she first met her and, although they seem to like each other, their attempts at play have not been real successful  -- until tonight.  There were plenty of play bows and tail wags, but when the real play started Pearl would run away, just too afraid to really engage.  Rigby and Pearl will lay side by side on the couch and seem to appreciate each other's company, but Pearl just wasn't ready to play.  It seems she is loosening up and the playful dog in her is starting to come out.

Rigby and Pearl hanging out together and enjoying some quiet time.

We don't know how long Ms. Pearl will be with us, but she should be available for adoption through Tri State Weimaraner Rescue in the near future.  We'll put her on a diet in a few days and take her on longer walks and try to get her in better physical shape for her new life, but all in all, Ms. Pearl is a good Weim who just needs that special person in her life once more, someone to love her and give her all the attention she craves.  She is a sensible dog, calm, sweet and very cute.  We're all enjoying her visit with us, and hoping she finds that perfect home very soon.

Five-Week Update on Harley

It's been just over five weeks since Harley came to live with us.  We've truly enjoyed watching him lose weight and begin his transformation to a healthier dog.  His energy level is increasing and his confidence continues to grow.  He and Rigby are best of friends and their play sessions are fun to watch.

After not being very interested in food the first couple of weeks we had him, Harley is now eating well and enjoying the pumpkin and salmon supplements he gets.  He has also decided that green beans aren't that bad and we're starting to use them as a filler with his meals.  I truly believe he was so stuffed with junk food when he came to us that he really didn't need to eat, and now his body is at a point where he needs food and he's actually hungry.

A diet of decent dog food and a basic exercise routine is really working for Harley.  We took him to the vet on Friday for a weigh-in and found that he's lost 15 pounds in 5 weeks and he's down to 108.7 pounds.  I measured his girth and found that he's lost 2.5 inches and his waist is 5 inches smaller.  He's starting to look more like a Weimaraner and less like a stuffed sausage.

Harley is now able to jump into our SUV and no longer uses a ramp.  He enjoys long walks in the fields on a 40-foot line that allows him to run, play and hunt.  He always looks so happy when he's out for a walk.

We don't know for sure how much longer Harley will be staying with us, but we will continue his diet and exercise and try to send him to his new home in even better shape than he is in today.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Harley: An Update on the Life of a Foster Dog

Harley has been with us a little over two weeks now and he's settled in and made himself at home -- or so he thinks!  As I write this he is sleeping on the dog bed on the floor and Rigby is resting beside me on the couch.  

Harley is in a "tough love" program at our house, learning that there are boundaries and rules and that those rules are set by the people, not the dog.  Don't fret for Harley, though, he's getting plenty of hugs and pats and words of affection.  Harley is a very loving dog, he loves to be petted, he loves to have his belly rubbed, he loves to be close to his people, he loves any and all attention he can get.

Never before have we not allowed a dog on our couch, but Harley's pushiness made it necessary that he learn that he can rest on his own without sitting on top of the people in the house.  He also spent a lot of time in his crate the first ten days, once again letting him know that he can spend time in a room away from the people in the house.  When he goes to his new home he'll need to be with people who will be leaders for him, who will show him the way, or he will take over the house in his overbearing, yet pleasant way -- he's not a brute at all, he has a sweet nature, he just needs to be kept in line.

The tough love program also involves his eating habits, as it seems that Harley doesn't really love eating dog food.  Most mornings he turns his nose up at the dog food offered to him -- the same dog food he was eating before he came to live with us.  We've supplemented his diet with pumpkin, yogurt and some salmon and these nutricious treats help to get him to eat his food.  We're working on getting him to eat only dog food, and tonight he ate his dinner, dog food only, with no extra supplements to entice him to eat. 

Harley's diet will be ongoing for quite some time.  He has lost 7 pounds in the first two weeks.  As the weather gets warmer and I can get him out more for exercise I'm hoping he'll start taking weight off a bit quicker.  I'll start taking him out to the fields to give him some good cardio workouts, slowly working him up to longer and longer jaunts.

Harley is proving to be a good Weim and will make someone a great pet.  Both at the vet's office and on  a trip to PetSmart he did a great job meeting strangers and handling himself well in new situations.  He is a quick learner and very much wants to please his handler.

The Rescue Dog Performs a Rescue!

Harley showed his very good side the first Saturday night he was with us, when my husband took him outside for one last chance to do his business before heading to bed.  

I was back in the bedroom when they went out and after a short time I heard Harley barking.  At first I didn't think too much about it (except that it was quite late to have a dog barking outside).  When the barking continued for several minutes, I went to check on what was going on.  I opened the front door and was surprised to see Harley standing at the bottom of our front porch steps all alone, no Dan anywhere in sight.  I called out for Dan and heard him reply from the side yard, where he had slipped and fallen down the hillside and was unable to get up.  

I got Harley in the house and went back out to help Dan up and into the house.  Dan was unhurt and just needed to clean up from all the mud on his jeans and coat, thank goodness.  

I called this Harley's "Timmy's in the well moment" as he chose to alert me to a problem in the yard rather than run away, a good trait in any dog -- and outstanding in a dog who has only been in his new home 3 days!

If you're thinking about adding a Weim to your family, Harley would be a nice dog to consider.  I think he'd love to have a sister to play with and he loves kids.  Contact Tri State Weim Rescue if you'd like to learn more about Harley or the other dogs who need forever homes!