Dexter: Our First Foster Fail

I can’t help it. I’ve become the person whose Instagram gallery is filled to the brim with puppy photos. We have fostered two dogs since we came back from our honeymoon. The first was a 10-week-old shepherd mix named Gina who found a home within 24 hours.

We haven’t been thrilled with our experiences fostering at several local shelters, so we decided to go breed specific and apply to the Dachshund Rescue of Bucks County. We are really happy with their organization and how much they value their fosters. We went through foster training, and a week later, we were introduced to our first foster.

Meet the newest addition to the family.

Dexter

That’s right, we’re totally keeping him. My blog header is in need of a redesign since we’ve gained a dog and lost a rabbit since it was created.

And now for the little guy’s back story. He was rescued from a kill-shelter in Baltimore, Maryland, where a kind man picked him up and hauled him a few hours to the Dachshund Rescue in Pennsylvania. The guy who saved him named him Dexter, so we’re probably going to keep the name out of respect for his awesomeness (plus I love me some Dexter Morgan). When the man asked the shelter what was going to happen to Dexter, the shelter informed him that the 10-month-old dachshund would have to be euthanized because there simply wasn’t enough room. This is all too common.

We couldn’t be happier to make room in our home for him — he’s still a bit malnourished, but we’ve switched him to a healthy diet and consistent schedule. He curls up under the covers in bed with us every night and seems to have hit it off with Betty White (although she’s not one for cuddling).

We’ll continue to foster dachshunds through the rescue, but our permanent zoo is at maximum capacity. I look forward to finding more of these snugglers happy homes and I’ll be sure to update my blog along the way.

In Memory of Cadbury: A TMI Packed Tribute

This morning I had to take one of our pet rabbits (one of three) to be euthanized. Cadbury was no doubt the bitchiest of all of our bunnies, but we went through a lot together, so I was smitten with the old bat despite her faults (e.g. grunting and trying to smack the shit out of you when you feed her food).

A little over two weeks ago, Pete and I noticed Cadbury wasn’t eating as much food as usual. I took her to the vet and after a few xrays, they told me she had gastrointestinal status, which is the worst news for a bunny owner. This is definitely TMI, but basically it slows down intestinal movement until the critter can’t eat or drink anymore since everything is lodged up with…well, poop.

She went from five pounds to under three pounds during this time, so the hardest part was having to syringe-feed her food, water, and antibiotics every 12 hours in an attempt to treat her back to health. Pete was a huge help when we were told to try needle injections (ack) to help get things moving again.

At this point you must think I’m totally a crazy pet fanatic. Watching her turn pale this morning (it still astounds me that bunnies can turn pale) was all I needed this morning to take her to the vet to make sure she wasn’t suffering during her final hours. Although it was awkward when the nurse at the vet had her pre-teen daughter with her for “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” (which was totally yesterday!). Trying not to turn into a blubbery mess in front of an 11-year-old when the vet is starting to cry-talk while talking about the process of euthanasia is not an easy feat. I totally blubbered three tissues worth of tears, but I assured the pre-teen girl that I would not ugly cry in front of her.

In less morose ramblings, we wouldn’t have our bunny Applesauce without Cadbury. When I adopted Cadbury from the PSPCA, the shelter told me she was a male rabbit. I didn’t see any male bits, so I took her to a vet (that apparently wasn’t well-versed in exotic pet knowledge), and they confirmed that she was male. I questioned her manhood a bit during that car ride home, but I figured vets are paid to be smarter than me.

A few weeks later, I woke up in the early hours to the sight of five moving turds on my kitchen floor. Or what I thought were Betty White poops (lord knows she was always pooping inside then since I had recently adopted her from the shelter). Turns out they were baby bunnies, which confirmed that my intuition was correct. Cadbury did, in fact, have a vagina.

Unfortunately she was the worst. mom. ever. and tried to kill the babies, which is also not uncommon for traumatized rabbits that have been bunny-raped at the shelter. She quickly succeeded in injuring one of the five, and the little guy/girl ended up passing away soon after. I was at work during this time and didn’t realize rabbits could become aggressive with their kits due to nerves, so when I came home I put the four remaining babies in their own box and nursed them individually with her from then on. It was an incredibly stressful situation, and my new vet was telling me not to expect the kit to survive since I was handling them so much (not recommended). Luckily, all four grew up to be completely adorable little fluff balls and I ended up keeping the runt of the litter (Applesauce) and finding the rest of them homes.

Cadbury had a lot of health issues over the past year and successfully defeated the onset of head tilt (don’t Google that, I repeat, do not Google that) since she was a pro at taking injectable antibiotics. She also had this neurological thing where her eye wouldn’t close for like a week, but she survived that as well, which is why I thought this would just be another medical condition to add to her growing list.

Alas, it was not, but she lived to be at least 7-years-old (I don’t know how old she was when I adopted her) and she had an enjoyable life filled with lots of veggie treats and hump-filled evenings with her stuffed candy corn toy. I’ll miss you Cadbury, you were the sweetest, most bitchiest bunny ever.

Remember That Time Easter Happened?

I know Easter was forever ago, but I wanted to share some photos, just in case you didn’t get your fill of pastels and candy.

One of my favorite holiday memories is drawing white crayon designs on eggs and dyeing them as obnoxiously bright as possible. Pete and I still keep the tradition alive, taking turns using the bendy wire egg holder to decorate a half dozen each.

This Easter was a special one for me, since my parents and Grandma (and their dog Whiskey) decided to visit us from Delaware. My family is big on surprises, so when my parents asked if they thought my brother (Ken) and his wife (Stacey) could also visit from NYC, I said they were busy that weekend (lies!). Ken and I knew we wanted to surprise them with their visit, so we planned a big scheme upon our parents’ arrival.

We hid 50 plastic eggs all around the house in preparation of their visit. The plan was for us to welcome my parents and Grandma inside, while Ken and Stacey hid upstairs. Pete and I planned to distract my parents with an outdoor Easter egg hunt, while Ken and Stacey would sneak back downstairs to hide in the sunroom. This plan also involved them wrapping pink lights around each other, to make it extra festive. Because Ken just happens to own pink Easter lights.

There were a few kinks in our plan, one of them being my family arriving with a car sick dog that needed a bath immediately. We also didn’t fully consider the fact that Ken and Stacey would have to haul ass past a very startled Grandma, who was watching our parents search for eggs outside through the kitchen window. Needless to say, she didn’t have a heart attack, but she was very, very surprised/terrified to see Ken and Stacey stampeding through the kitchen to head for the front sunroom.

Little did Ken realize that they didn’t have to rush, since Pete and I led my parents on a search for plastic eggs outside for a good 10 minutes. When my parents finally opened the front door to search for more eggs inside, they were completely shocked and turned into blubbery messes. It was awesome.

Of course it wouldn’t be Easter without my dad insting on having an Easter egg hunt of his own, so he had all of us kids search for metallic, money-filled eggs in the backyard. Stacey was a total champ and knew all of the typical hiding spots, like under the grill cover.

Ken decided to take it upon himself to climb the tree and do his best impression of a demented Easter bunny. Yet another shining example of how I just might be the normal one in my family.

Lets pretend like this family photo isn’t totally awful (it was taken under our green patio umbrella, so everyone looks slightly seasick, and by everyone I mean me).

There were an abundance of unfortunate bunny face photos taken that day, all of which will hopefully be framed at my parents’ house in the near future.

In non-bunny news, our foster dog Donald Sutherland has been happy in his new home for a couple of weeks now. I’ll admit, I miss the little wart-butt a ton. He’s been visiting fellow seniors like himself during the day since his new mom is an activities director in a nursing home.

I’m going to attempt to be a bit more timely about my upcoming posts, since this one was uber belated. I’ve just been swamped between work, weekend shoots, wedding planning, yard work and nursing a very sick bunny. What’s new with you guys?

Introducing Our New Foster Dog: Donald Sutherland

Meet Donald Sutherland the dog. Last night we decided to give fostering another go (our second time ever), so we went to the PSPCA in search of “Buster,” who we saw listed on their website as being shy, old and blind. After waiting two long hours, we finally met this little wiry haired guy, who has the body of a Dachshund and the combover-esque hair of a terrier.

We fell in love and scooped him up and now he and Betty White are in cahoots (and by “cahoots” I mean he sniffs her and she  runs away and escapes to higher ground). We’ll see how well he and Betty end up getting along before I consider hiding him in my pocket and keeping him for good.

We’ve renamed him Donald Sutherland because we think the resemblance is pretty uncanny, but maybe you have to meet him to see it.

Likes: Rubbing his face on our shaggy rug. Romping around in the backyard. Artfully peeing without lifting his leg. Being mistaken for a member of the Sutherland family. Devouring Beggin’ Littles. Trying to get Betty White’s attention by playfully barking at her in a guttural tone.

Dislikes: Being returned to the shelter for “not being very playful” after just one day of readjusting to a new home. Not being tall and limber enough to jump on the couch. Being mislabeled as “blind” when he really has nuclear sclerosis (which in his case, doesn’t affect vision).

He isn’t doing a ton of smiling in these photos, but I’m sure that will change once he’s grown more comfortable here. We get attacked with tail wags and kisses whenever he’s not sleeping, so we think he’s pretty happy (even though we I dress him in a sweater sometimes).

I’m looking forward to sharing more about Donald Sutherland as we get to know him better. Do you think we picked an appropriate celebrity to name him after or would you have gone with a different long-haired gent?

As Requested: Chinchilla Lovin’

Yesterday I asked my Twitter friends for some requested topics for my blog since I’ve been lacking ideas (apart from wedding related geekiness, which I am sure no one finds particularly interesting except for our moms). Jenn Hall asked for “more chinchillas,” so ask and ye shall receive!

Meet Maude, who I got six years ago during college…she was my top secret, on-campus mascot. Maude had a snuggle buddy named Ethel for four years, but unfortunately she passed away (sad face). Even though Ethel isn’t around anymore, Maude still tries her best to befriend a very terrified Betty White.

A clueless Betty White contemplates whether or not the wind will blow our roof off. *As a side note, I realize I should make the bed more often.

She had no idea Maude was pining for her from afar.

A sneaky Maude tip toes up toward Betty White’s brown feet.

(Still clueless.)

This is her “MOM WTF WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME MAUDE WAS RIGHT NEXT TO ME!” face.

This is her “seriously, this chinchilla needs to get a grip” face.

Not really sure what face this is, but I thought it was cute.

Um, they are totally besties.

Hopefully that’s enough chinchilla love to hold you guys over for a little bit. In case you may have forgotten, we have five pets (yes, we’re those people).

Cadbury is a major beyotch, but I still love her. I rescued her from the SPCA, where they told me she was a he. I also took her to a vet which confirmed she was in fact a he. I was concerned about why her testicles were invisible, but figured the vet knew better than me. Needless to say, I got a new vet when I found five baby bunnies on my kitchen floor. I thought Betty had pooped and that her turds were running across the floor because it was 6am and I was delirious.

I was told by several vets and a handful of message boards not to be surprised if none of the babies made it because Cadbury was incredibly aggressive with them, which meant I had to feed them on my own. One ended up passing away, but the others were healthy and given happy homes.

I kept the runt of the litter, Applesauce. He looks nothing like his mom and if he had a Match.com account, one of his “likes” would be running around his cage with a stuffed apple in his mouth. I heart him, even though he poops at an inconceivable rate.

Here’s Willie Nelson and his boyfriend Eeyore:

Sometimes Willie Nelson likes to do bad things to Eeyore, but I guess you could say he’s just hugging him really hard.

Thanks to Jenn for requesting more chinchilla stuff on the blog, I hope our freckle-eared chinchilla hit the spot! To everyone else out there, I’d love suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover on here! I’ll be sure to write posts covering the ideas my Twitter pals suggested (including a Betty White separation anxiety update and some photography tips).

Foster Update: Charley & Family

Today I had the pleasure of handing Charsi Charley off to her new family, Karl and Dawn (and Pebbles). We met at the shelter, signed some paperwork and before I knew it, Charley was on her way home with her forever family. I am so excited that Charley lucked out with such amazing adoptive parents. They are seriously the nicest people on the planet and it’s been a blast rambling back and forth with them via emails and texts. I look forward to keeping up with their pooch happenings on Facebook, but for starters, here are some photos they took today during their first official day together.

Oh my goodness, I love that Pebbles and Charley are getting along swimmingly. Something tells me they’re going to be BFFs for life.

Looks like she’s made herself at home already!

This is just further proof that Charley’s new parents are the sweetest ever. They gifted us with this lovely engagement basket of goodies, including craft beer for Pete and Fiji for me since they know I’m a waterholic. Their basket presentation was super adorable, but I couldn’t resist opening it up and playing around with everything (ahem, thus ruining the packaging and bow).

Thanks so much to Karl and Dawn (and Pebbles)! I never imagined being able to make friends out of this experience, but I can say with certainty that you guys are keepers. Knowing there are awesome pet owners like you who are opening your home up to a shelter pooch definitely warms my heart. I hope Charley brings you lots of love…be sure to give her a few butt scritches from us!

{So Happy} Charsi’s Forever Family is Here

For those of you who have been following our adventures as a first time foster dog family since late September (here and here), we have exciting news! Charsi has found a forever family, and they seriously couldn’t be any nicer. We met up with the lovely couple and their cute dog, Pebbles, today at Cooper River Dog Park. I got uber lost because my GPS and iPhone refused to believe me when I told them the intersections in Pennsauken, NJ. Thanks to the help of Charsi’s new parents (!!), I managed to finally find my way to the pooch park after driving in circles and cursing Jersey’s crazy U-turns for far too long.

Seriously, how cute is Pebbles? Charsi has loads of energy, but she hit it off really well with Pebbles, who is full of adorable sass. The family has decided to rename Charsi (originally named Mariah from the shelter) “Charlie,” which I think is a great name for a girl, plus it makes me think of my favorite character from Lost, so it’s a win-win.

I’m going to look past the Charlie Sheen connection, since I was absolutely obsessed with him after I was an extra in Major League II. Below is surprisingly the least embarrassing photo of Charlie and I during the course of my days as an extra. I may or may not have several t-shirts/sweatshirts with iron-on transfers of these photos that say “Shannon Loves Charlie” (if you want proof, comment below and I might be convinced to pose in a photo while wearing the t-shirt I still have). I also may or may not have refused to wash my hand after he kissed it. For weeks. I even knew he kissed prostitutes with the same mouth, but I still loved him anyway, and my entire fourth grade class knew it. Unfortunately, he’s no longer “winning” in my book, but we’ll always have 1994.

Anyway. Enough about Charlie Sheen and more about puppies, please.

I like catching Charsi Charlie in the most unflattering poses, thus a picture of her scritching herself.

I am so so excited to send Charsi off to her happy home early next week. I’ve grown quite attached to her (she totally spooned me in bed this morning after Pete left), but I’m really looking forward to sending her off to such a friendly family. I can definitely tell they will spoil her with lots of love and she seemed to fit in perfectly with them during our doggy date in the park.

Has anyone else fostered pets before? How many families did it take to find the right fit for your foster friend?