Archive for August, 2011

Puppy cuteness. And Edisto’s bad note.

August 30, 2011

Chesters A-H squared are rolling, tumbling pups now. They started climbing out of their whelping box, so I bought a $10 plastic pool from Wal-Mart, and put them in it. They promptly climbed out of it too.

Lucky for them, they’re cute. Really cute. See Exhibit A, Chester Fairfax:

And Exhibit B, Chesters Bradley, Cayce Truman, and Hilda:

Yes, Bradley has the cutest puppy cheeks ever. But Cayce Truman, below, is showcasing his best feature: a guitar-shaped white mark on his face. He is destined to be a rock star.

And Exhibit C, Chesters Elloree and Duncan:

But perhaps the best example of puppy cuteness is Chester Fairfax, below, who is tired of his foster mother’s attempts to document puppy cuteness:

And now for the “Edisto” part of the post. As many of you know, our daughter, Arina, does not mix well with second grade. 12 days of school thus far. 8 notes for “too much talking” or “not listening.”

Edisto may have one-upped her, though. We hired our first pet-sitter from a professional pet-sitting service this past weekend. Edisto’s first pet-sitter. We came home to Edisto’s first “bad” note: “E. was too scared to eat . . . Had to carry E. to bed.” Etc.

Oh, Edisto.

Kincaid, on the other hand, ate all of his food and caught every toy the pet-sitter threw his way.

And, although she didn’t say, I’m sure Kincaid licked the pet-sitter affectionately. — because he licks everything and everyone affectionately. He actually walked into Scott’s shop, thankfully while I was there and able to hold Chester Abbie Faith back. He went up to her pups, licked each one, and walked out.

He’s a dunderhead, but a lovable dunderhead. And so photogenic:

(BTW: Scott just scolded me for calling Kincaid a dunderhead, because he’s a “GREAT dog,” and S. said I was “selling him short.” So to qualify: K. is not a dunderhead, although I think we can all agree that licking the pups was a dunderheaded thing to do).

Kincaid is photogenic, but Edisto has perfected the “Yes, I know I’m a Goober and that I’m busted” look.

No note from the pet-sitter about pretty foster Isla, because she’s so easy and so transportable that we took her on our weekend trip to Charleston. She was a hit with Scott’s family and even charmed Mr. Fisk into sharing his bed. She slipped into his room in the middle of the night, while we were sleeping, and put her paws up on his side of the bed. How can you say no to such a cute pooch, with a crippled leg to boot?

Still no takers, though, on Chesters Edisto, Kincaid or Isla. — no takers as far as adopting them, but also feel free to contact me to if you’d be interested in fostering them. That would open space for me to pull another; and, I would take fosters back or swap them out as needed.

Yesterday, one of the rescue organizations I work with asked me if I could foster a senior Beagle from the Marlboro County Animal Shelter. This is the first time, I think, that I’ve had to say “no.” Well, I didn’t say no, because I don’t know how. Scott said no, and my friend at the rescue did too when she realized how many dogs we have right now. “You have your hands FULL,” she said, “Let me contact this other rescue group.”

STILL, I remembered an article I read in the Post and Courier on Sunday, about how people should consider adopting/fostering Senior dogs:

I have never fostered a senior dog, nor really considered doing so for that matter. So, it seemed providential to get a request about fostering a senior the following morning!

Plus, I dreamed last night that Jack and I took the bus, realized that we didn’t have any money for the bus, and confessed to the bus driver, who subsequently dropped us off in Bennettsville, at the Marlboro County Shelter! So, of course, we had to go in and get the senior Beagle.

Thankfully, I woke up before the “getting home and telling Scott” part of the dream. Or the part of the dream where I’m busted for hoarding dogs.

Current fosters (as of 8-26-2011)

August 26, 2011

Well, Scott found the dog I hid in the backyard. — not because he saw or heard Chester Kincaid. He snuck up behind me while I was writing Kincaid’s blog post and said, “Where’s that dog?!” I just looked at him. He said, “Oh. In the backyard.” Then he asked if I cared if he “vegged out” for a bit. “I got a new dog,” I reminded him. “That’s right!” he said. “I’m going to veg out for a bit.”

So, Scott took it amazingly well as always. He got more upset about the cheap pencils my mother got Arina from the Dollar Store, because they kept breaking when he was trying to help A. with her homework. As soon as A. walked away, S. issued a string of curses, broke all the pencils in half, looked up “The World’s Best Pencil” and bought a bunch of them from Amazon. Seriously. They’re called “The World’s Best Pencil,” and he’s so ridiculously excited that he’s told me about them five times.

He gets stressed over pencils. Not dogs. And that’s why I married him.

He did say, though, that we’re at the “we have to find homes for our dog pack” part of dog rescuing. So, here are our current available fosters. Please email me at if you’re interested in any of them.

Foster 5) Edisto. 2 years. Fully vetted and neutered.

Poor Ed is the only foster out of my first 26 who hasn’t been rescued or adopted. “What’s wrong with him?” I’ve had people ask. And I don’t really know what to say. There is much that is right about Edisto: he’s a young, healthy, neutered and microchipped Beagle. He doesn’t bark unless provoked (he’s not the initiating type), and he’s great with children and other dogs.

But, he’s afraid of butterflies, and he urine marks when he’s anxious. When is Edisto anxious? On the 4th of July and whenever his dog friends disappear from our house. Ed thinks we send dogs “to the farm” and is always worried both about the ones who leave, and about himself. This makes Edisto not the best foster dog for us but probably a great dog for anyone who could offer him a more stable environment.

Warning, though: Edisto will try to charm any female dog in your house. In the photo, below, he is trying to give pretty Isla a toy rabbit but somehow manages to fall asleep in the process. Because he’s also a Goober.

Update! Rescued! Friday October 21, 2011 by Last Chance Animal Rescue

27-33) Chesters A-H, squared. Chester A. is 2 years, and her pups are 2 weeks.

Technically, Chesters Abbie Faith and her pups Bradley, Cayce (who has an adoption commitment), Duncan, Elloree, Fairfax, Gaffney, and Hilda have a rescue commitment. — the life-saving Last Chance Animal Rescue. BUT, going to a forever home is better than going to a rescue, and I know my friend Whitney would appreciate having less dogs to find homes for, so that she can rescue others. — because she’s like the superwoman of dog rescue.

I tried to get a good photo of Abbie Faith, but the puppies are getting bigger by the day, which means they’re also getting hungrier and more mobile. She looks tired.

“You look tired, Abbie Faith!” I said. “Let’s try again.”

Then, I gave up taking photos of Chester Abbie Faith and gave her a nice, relaxing bath instead. She enjoyed it very much.

Here are some close-ups of some of the pups:

Duncan, below, was the first to open his eyes. Yay for Duncan!

And here’s my current favorite, Fairfax. I think he’s striking in appearance now that his eyes are open.

Below is Elloree, who wins the distinction: chubbiest in the litter.

And, because the previous photo is so flattering, here’s another of her with sister, Gaffney, so that you can appreciate how chubby Elloree really is:

Now, granted, Gaffney is TOO skinny. She’s the runt, and my next door neighbor, Miriam, told me that she read puppies 1/2 the size of their litter mates should be removed from the mother and hand raised. And then Miriam found someone willing to hand raise Gaffney for me. Because I have the most awesome neighbors ever. Here is sweet Gaffney swaddled in a washcloth.

And here’s another of Gaffney, with a full belly at last.

Miriam’s friends report that she loves her bottle and is thriving. Today, she opened one eye! — so she looks a little like a pirate but will hopefully open the other one soon.

Having a petite daughter who is always behind on the growth charts means I’m not as anxious as I should be about too-little pups. “She’s just petite!” I thought. “Like Arina!” Or, at one point, I thought, “I’ve heard that a mother can have a litter sired by different fathers. Maybe Gaffney’s father was a mini dachshund.” And I just tried to make sure she was able to nurse unmolested by siblings while I was around.

So, in short, a special yay for Miriam and friends, who were better able to tell the difference between “petite” and “in trouble.” Gaffney’s foster parents, Sandra and Mark, are the best. Mark lets Gaffney sleep around his neck and sets his alarm to feed her a bottle every few hours. So, yes, it’s like having a newborn in the house. — except for the sleeping around the neck part.

Update on Abbie Faith, Duncan, Fairfax and Hilda: Rescued! Friday October 21, 2011 by Dog Tags

Update on Bradley: Adopted! Wednesday October 5, 2011 by Bryan Germann and Catherine Eisner

Update on Cayce: Adopted! Sunday October 2, 2011 by Lauren Eyler and Dawn Perry

Update on Elloree: Rescued! Friday October 21, 2011 by Last Chance Animal Rescue

34) Chester I, squared. 6 years. Fully vetted and spayed.

I adore Isla. I’ve loved all my fosters, but there’s something about Isla. I think part of it has to do with the fact that I was so horrified by her leg when I first met her. I knew that she had a hurt leg, but I just assumed it could be fixed. I didn’t know that it was an old break, past the point of fixing.

I didn’t know that she’d look like Sophia from the Golden Girls and that she would hobble, rather than walk, with one front leg flopping about uselessly. One of my neighbors said that she’d be more adoptable with an amputated leg. 3-legged dogs are common enough, and charming to boot. As Isla is now, she makes most people, including me when I first saw her, want to look away.

But amputations are traumatic, and her leg doesn’t seem to bother her, only others.

And, now, as Henry Higgins would say, “I’ve grown accustomed to her look . . . accustomed to her face,” and I wouldn’t have her any other way.

What’s so special about Isla? She’s so smart, and so eager to please that the dog has yet to do a single thing amiss. — not that I wouldn’t love her if she did, but it’s uncanny. She’s like the doggie version of Jesus.

She hasn’t had a single bathroom accident. She doesn’t bark or whine. She doesn’t run away.

We’ve let her outside before and have forgotten about her, since we’re so used to our spoiled mini dachshunds screeching whenever they want to come inside. (Someone on the phone once asked me if I had a parrot; yes, Emma’s bark is that shrill.) Isla, on the other hand, sits patiently at the door until we remember her.

She expects nothing and is grateful for everything.

And, most admirably, she doesn’t let her disability get her down. She’s not handicapped; she’s “handi-capable.” Thank you, Sue Sylvester. Example: she clearly wanted to walk with me to pick up Arina from the bus stop, and I wondered: Will it be too far of a walk? Will it be too much for me to have to carry Isla and A.’s bookbag? Isla seemed to sense that I hesitated, and as if she was proving her worth, she lifted her useless leg as high as she could manage and hopped not beside me, but, at times, in front of me. When A. got off the bus, Isla outstripped me in her eagerness to greet her.

I LOVE listening for her distinctive footsteps every morning, because the first thing she wants to do when she wakes up is to come and see me.

Best. dog. ever.

Update: Adopted! Saturday September 3, 2011 by Krystal Branch

Renamed Lucy.

36) Chester J, squared. 2 years. Fully vetted and neutered.

Because I have a house full, I rescued Chester James and then took him to John, who was suffering from empty nest syndrome now that Chester PaXville is adopted.

John decided that James looks like a Mickey, as in Mickey Goldmill, as in Burgess Meredith. So, Mickey it is. And now I have to watch the Rocky movies.

I’m assuming, though, that Mickey must be a scrappy little guy. — like Chester J. squared. When I dropped him off at John’s he had a busted lip and a scratched ear, because he tried to challenge Chester Abbie Faith, even though we told him that lesson #1 at the Fisk house right now, and in life, is: Do NOT mess with any Mama Dog. Mr. Knightley, Emma, Isla, Edisto, and new foster Kincaid understand this well. But, after winning a puppy wrestling match with Edisto, Mickey thought he had progressed to Round 2 with Big Mama. That’s so not how it works, Mick.

Needless to say, Mickey’s better off at John’s until Chester Abbie Faith goes to rescue.

You can tell that Mickey is a bundle of energy, because I literally had to hold his head to get a not-blurry shot.

And, then, I managed to get another. I’ve since trimmed his beard, so he won’t become a canine mop for dust and dirt after he drinks water. And, I’ve also trimmed his bangs. But, I love his straight-from-the-shelter shaggy dog look too.

John’s discovered that, like Mickey Goldmill, Mickey the Chester dog has a soft side too. He loves to nap on John’s chest nearly as much as he loves walks and puppy-against-John wrestling. And if John is ever too tired to walk him or to wrestle with him, he just imagines him saying, “Get up you SOB ’cause Mickey loves you.”

And then, he gets up.

Update: Adopted! Friday September 9, 2011 by Amy Bolger

Renamed Murphy.

37) Chester K, squared. 1 year. Fully vetted and neutered.

My friend, Lillian, described Chester Kincaid well when she said that “he’s the best mix unimaginable.” He is part Pit Bull Terrier (the head part), part Basset Hound (the body part), and part tiger (the striped part).

We think Kincaid would be perfect for a Clemson fan, since he was born to be a tiger mascot. We have to say, though, that he also fits in well with what is obviously a Gamecock household. — mainly b/c he flops over on his back and licks Abbie Faith’s feet whenever she takes a break from her pups.

He’s spent the past two days playing with Edisto, charming the kids, and trying to make friends with the small dogs who turn their noses up at him. — especially when he tries to lick them affectionately.

His zest for life is contagious, most notably in Edisto, who is always smiling when Kincaid is around. But E. may also be smiling, because K. is so darn funny-looking. Maybe Ed’s laughing on the inside, because he thinks we’ll have a harder time placing K. than we’ve had placing E. After all, at least E. looks like a dog. Welcome to the Island of Misfit Pups, Kincaid.

Update: Rescued! Saturday October 15, 2011 by Nuts for Mutts

Now: If you’ve made it through this entire post, you MUST have seen a dog that you, or someone you know, wants to adopt!

Update to A-Z: Where are they now?

August 26, 2011

In early August, I wrote a post entitled “A-Z: Where are they now?” for my first trip through the alphabet with my first 26 fosters:

And here’s the Cliff Notes version:

Chester A: Adopted by Sabra Smith; Chester B: Adopted by Federica Clementi and Chris Holcomb; Chester C: Adopted by Jenny Rhoad; Chester D: Passed away from distemper; Chester E: Oh, Edisto; Chester F: Adopted by Sue and Wayne Crow; Chester G&H: Adopted by Peggy Sudol; Chesters I-W: Rescued by Save-A-Litter; Chester X: See update below; Chester Y: Adopted by Lisa Bailey; Chester Z: See update below!

I’m happy to update the previous post by saying that Chesters X and Z have been adopted. So, yes, that means that the only foster left from the first trip through the alphabet is Edisto. SIGH.

24) Chester PaXville. Renamed Max. Adopted by Jim Summey.

Chester X spent some time with us before moving to a second foster home with my colleague and friend, John Muckelbauer. In the photos, below, PaXville is lounging on John’s perfectly loungable couch . . .

. . . and getting acquainted with John’s friends, like super-smart cutie, Brooke Rollins.

John changed Chester PaXville’s name to Maximus Noggin, which suits him! He also told me that Max needed to be adopted into a home with a big yard (J was taking M on four walks a day to tire him out!) and with other dogs. Enter Mr. Summey.

Mr. Summey lives across from Lisa Bailey, which is great for me, because I can visit Chesters Y and X at the same time. He has a large fenced-in yard, with two neighbor dogs, one beside and one behind. Max has made fast friends with them, and they “talk” to each other through the chainlink fence and race along the side.

He has dog houses and shade and toys and food and drink. Plus, Mr. Summey will let Max inside to lounge with his human pack now and then. But, Max loves being outside in “his” yard! And, as soon as he learns to stop chewing the cover on Mr. Summey’s town car (!), Mr. Summey says he’ll be the PERFECT dog.

26) Chester Z. Renamed Cassie. Adopted by Kathy Schrum Peck.

Chester Z, renamed Cassie, is fitting in well with her new family, the Pecks. In the photo, above, she is being loved by new Mom, Kathy. And, in the photo, below, she is being loved by new Dad, John.

Someone asked John how Cassie’s feline siblings are handling the new arrival. John replied in the way that countless parents have replied to the same question, whether asked about fur baby siblings or human ones:

“They don’t care for her, but they’ll get over it.”

And, after shared experiences like birthday parties . . .

and outdoor play . . .

and baths and indoor play . . .

the cats will be “in the same vicinity” as Cassie, as the following photo caption reads.

Success! I imagine that, with cats, being in the same vicinity is often as good as it gets. Well done, Cass.

Upcoming post will feature current fosters!

Chester Kincaid

August 25, 2011

Pulled: Thursday August 25, 2011 from City of Columbia Animal Shelter

Rescue commitment: Saturday October 15, 2011 by Nuts for Mutts

Meet Chester K squared:

Chester Kincaid is a 1 year old Basset Hound/Bull Terrier mix, and is arguably the biggest lovable baby to date. I’ve never been kissed so much on the drive home from the animal shelter.

I rescued Kincaid today, because fantastic friend Ashley Smith donated $37 for me to do just that! And, yes, I know that I can’t rescue a dog every time someone donates money to Fisk Fosters, but I think that one new adoption per first donation is doable. So, Ashley, when you donate in September, I’m buying dog food with the money. But, with your first donation, I bought a Basset Hound/Bull Terrier. And named him Kincaid, per your brilliant suggestion. Kincaid isn’t a town/city/county in SC (the process by which I’ve been naming), but George Kincaid WAS a Charlestonian, who has a street named after him.

Howard, my friend at the local animal shelter, was relieved to see Kincaid rescued. Apparently, he’s a shelter favorite but unlucky with prospective adoptive parents. He’s been adopted and returned to the shelter THREE times.

Everyone who has adopted him admits that he’s a love with people of all shapes and sizes, and with other dogs. BUT, he’s a dog, they say, who needs a yard. The Basset side of Kincaid makes him look like a smaller/medium-sized dog. He’s short compared to most of his kennel mates. He has big dog energy and personality, though!

He and Edisto have hit it off. Here’s a photo of them, smiling at each other:

I’ll post again soon with a list of all available fosters. And, no, they’re not all at my house. I’m outsourcing my fostering now. — though I’m thinking that I’ll keep Kincaid here, since we have a large yard. Maybe Scott won’t notice.

Chester James

August 23, 2011

Pulled: Tuesday August 23, 2011 from City of Columbia Animal Shelter

Adoption commitment: Friday September 9, 2011

Meet Chester J, squared:

Chester James is listed as a 2 year old Cairn Terrior/Shih Tzu mix. And, yes: He’s a crazy cute little guy. I really shouldn’t have rescued another dog today. I’ve far exceeded Scott’s one foster at a time rule. I’m also pushing it by naming this one after another island; Scott said that naming dogs after SC islands is bad luck for us, since we still have Edisto and Isla (Isle of Palms).

But, he looks like a James to me. And, I reasoned that in one sense I have no fosters at all currently. True, I have Chester Abbie Faith and her seven; BUT, they’ll be going to a rescue as soon as the pups are weaned and Abbie Faith gets her heartworm treatment. — unless any of you would like to adopt any (or all) of them. Thanks to Lauren and Dawn for already committing to Chester Cayce. And, look Lauren and Dawn: he opened his eyes today! Yay for Cayce, renamed Truman.

So, Abbie Faith and her seven shouldn’t really count as my fosters.

True, I have Chesters Edisto and Isla. BUT, John Muckelbauer is back in town and has offered to foster TWO dogs for me. Because he’s awesome. I don’t think I could send him Edisto and Isla, because imagine trying to walk a dog with PTSD (who goes belly down, legs out whenever he gets scared) AND a dog with a broken leg. But, still he offered to foster two, so Edisto and Isla shouldn’t really count as my fosters either.

In a way, I have . . . like . . . zero fosters. And we can’t have that.

PLUS, I received my first donation via web site today! A couple of people had asked me to put up a “donate” button, so that they can contribute to the cause. I was so excited to get $50. — from someone in West Virginia who I don’t even know but who I believe is the most fabulous person ever. So, I pulled Chester James in her honor!

The City of Columbia Animal Shelter is having a special during the month of August: only $37 to pull adult dogs, all of whom are heartworm negative, up-to-date on shots, spayed or neutered, and micro-chipped.

Since I have some money left over, I’m off to Target to buy some dog bowls. — b/c the dogs have been eating out of our saucers. Don’t tell my great-grandmother, who would have a heart attack. But, really, who uses saucers? Still, one day we may want to have tea, with cups and saucers, so I’m getting dog bowls, with much gratitude for my W.VA friend. No more dog food spilling out of those tiny saucers, getting stuck between the cracks in our deck, and driving the dogs insane.

Chester James is a curious, happy tail-wagger. He loves to follow Jack around the yard, because Jack always has a toy in hand. James thinks this is very impressive.

And we think James is impressive. Here is Edisto meeting James. E. looks freaked out, as always, and seems to be saying, “New dog: please don’t kill me.”

James is so friendly that he didn’t even growl, though he did challenge E. to a game of puppy wrestling.

And won, of course. Alas, poor Ed.

Email me if you’re interested in adopting Chester James. Or Edisto, Isla, Abbie Faith, or pups Bradley, Duncan, Elloree, Gaffney, or Hilda.

I’ll close with a photo of Hilda, just because she’s cute. She reminds me of Chester Z.; one half of her face is white, the other half red.

And, FYI: if this pup doesn’t move you, there is a super cute mini dachshund mix at the City of Columbia Animal Shelter. If S. gets mad at me, I’ll just tell him he’s lucky. — that I very nearly came home with two.

Adopted by: Amy Bolger

Renamed: Murphy

Fisk Fosters as of 8/20/2011: Edisto, Isla, and the Island of Misfit Puppies

August 20, 2011

Pulled: Thursday June 2, 2011 from a local rescue (Edisto), and Thursday August 18, 2011 from Vance County Animal Shelter/Middle Mutts (Isla)

Adoption commitments: Friday October 21 2011 by Last Chance Animal Rescue (Edisto), and Saturday September 3, 2011 by Krystal Branch (Isla)

Scott and I have had a revelation about Chester Edisto, the Wonder Dog. Those of you who are fans know what an . . . um . . . interesting foster he’s been. At first, he seemed perfectly house-trained. For weeks, we let him have free reign of the Fisk house with no upsets. Then . . . he began marking his territory and having to be carried outside. We resorted to buying him a male wrap, and, well, carrying him outside.

We assumed that Edisto’s traumatic past as an abused hunting dog was coming back to haunt him. Now, we’re considering that his anxiety isn’t anxiety at all; rather, it’s depression after being dumped by his girlfriends.

Our troubles with Chester E. started after foster Chester Florence, who E. adored, went to her new home. Edisto, not understanding such an unceremonious and unwarranted breakup, began acting out. Then, he finally allowed himself to love again when foster Chester PelZer, the Peck family’s super cute redhead, entered the scene. She went to her new home this past Sunday. Yay for Chester Z., but heartbreak #2 for Chester E.!

And, now, enter Chester Isla. I’ve watched Edisto interact with her. Just like a preteen boy yawns, stretches, and slips his arm around his girlfriend, Edisto yawned, stretched, and moved his paw in Isla’s direction (see photo, above). Smoothly done, Edisto. The paw touch then led to this:

Score for Edisto!

Clearly, Isla’s Golden Girls’ style hairdo, crooked leg, and limp do not bother Edisto in the least. All he sees is a slightly older lady (Isla is 5-6 to Edisto’s 2-3) and A LOT of potential.

And, since Edisto is probably the first dog to look Isla’s way since her leg break, she’s responding pretty favorably, I’d say.

So, currently as Fisk Fosters we have a not-very-attractive-to-anyone-but-Edisto poodle and a lovesick beagle who pees on himself and has to be carried everywhere when he endures a breakup. (Incidentally, Casey and I imagine USC colleague Matt Simmons would behave the same way if his longtime love of a wife Meredith was ever zapped to another dimension. So would Scott, though he’d never admit it.)

We’re on, according to S., the Island of Misfit Puppies.

But, as Rudolph reminds us: “We’re all misfits too.” — in one way or another.

Personally, I like how the Island of Misfit Toys is described, and I think it would be pretty cool to be King Moonracer, slightly revised. Who is King Moonracer? Here’s my revision:

She rules here. Every night she searches the entire earth. When she finds a misfit pup, one that no little girl or boy loves, she brings it here to live on her island until someone wants it.”


Chester Isla

August 19, 2011

Pulled: Thursday August 18, 2011 from Vance County Animal Shelter/Middle Mutts

Adoption commitment: Saturday September 3, 2011

Meet Chester Isla, before:

Meet Chester Isla, after:

In the first photo, she looks like she’s weeping clods of dirt. Who knew that she’d clean up so nicely? And have such pretty eyes?

My friend Whitney, from Last Chance Animal Rescue, sent me her photo last week. I misread the comments and thought she had been rescued. “I’m so glad!” I messaged Whitney, “she reminds me of Chesters Gilbert and Hampton.”

“She hasn’t been rescued,” Whitney wrote back. “That’s why I tagged you.”

Me: “Well, I’ll take her, of course.”

Whitney: “LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!SUCKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Me: “And now I will delete our conversation on facebook and break the news to Scott gently.”

Scott was on board with this one almost immediately, though, since she is the true definition of “dog in need of rescue.” Plus, A. had announced that she preferred getting another foster dog to the “something fun” we had promised her for her birthday, so that was that.

Whitney arranged transport from Vance County to Chesterfield for me, but, once Chester Isla arrived at Chesterfield, all involved decided that she needed to be sent straight to the vet. One of her front legs was very clearly broken.

I picked her up from the vet today. — sadly, nothing can be done about her leg, since it’s an old break, never attended to. But, happily, she’s a resourceful girl and has learned to “make it work,” as Tim Gunn would say.

Still, she has an incredibly awkward gait, and one of the first things Scott said was, “Uh oh. This one isn’t getting adopted. Welcome to The Island of Misfit Puppies. Isla, meet Edisto.” (I named Isla after Isle of Palms, but Scott has banned any future naming after islands, since he’s decided that all island names are jinxed).

I think Scott just hasn’t been won over by Isla’s charms. I’m sure that when her hair grows out, she’ll be irresistible. But, like Chester Hampton, Isla’s hair was so matted that she had to be shaved to her skin. — only, since Isla is such a lady, the groomer decided to leave her some “poof” around her head and tail.

She seems to think this makes her look ridiculous, as do we. — though we appreciate the groomer’s sentiment very much. She looks much older than she is, due to the hairdo and the gait. In reality, she’s 5-6, our Mr. Knightley’s age. She’s spayed, up-to-date on shots, and heartworm negative. So, I’m sure that with some much needed TLC, she’ll soon be acting like the young girl she is.

And, you know: if I remember correctly, all of the toys on The Island of Misfit Toys find homes eventually. So there, Scott.

Adopted by: Krystal Branch

Renamed: Lucy

Chesters B-H squared: Puppy close ups

August 14, 2011

I’m happy to report that Chester Abbie Faith and brood seem to be thriving. The pups seem to be getting fatter and more mobile much more quickly than Iva’s pups. They were only born on Wednesday, but at four days old, they are squirming, squeaking bundles of cuteness.

And here are close-ups of Abbie’s pups, with their temporary names. And, yes, this is what I’m using as an alphabet primer for Jack.

Bradley (boy):

Cayce (boy):

Duncan (boy):

Elloree (girl):

Fairfax (boy):

Gaffney (girl):

Hilda (girl):

Last Chance Animal Rescue (a truly awesome rescue organization) is willing to take Chesters A-H, squared and to find homes for them, but I will probably have them until they’re weaned. Abbie Faith has heartworms, and it will be so much less expensive to treat her here than in New York, where the rescue is located. So . . . if anyone would like to adopt Abbie Faith or a puppy, let me know! For every dog for whom I’m able to find a home, the rescuers at Last Chance will be able to take another in need.

But, yes, we’ll have 8+ dogs for several more weeks. When I broke the news to Scott, I spun it as “Well, at least you’ll get to see them with their eyes open!” He bemoaned the fact that Iva’s pups went to rescue before the eye-opening event.

He had a breakthrough last night, though. Scott’s #1 complaint about all the craziness I bring into his life is that he likes his life to be EASY. He would love to come home after work, play Battlefield 2, or watch Top Gear.

He admitted, though, that when he’s an old man, he won’t remember those game-playing or television episodes. He’ll remember, instead, a pack full of dogs running around while a 6-year and almost 2-year old pretend to be dogs too. — and the two of us trying to bring order to the chaos of it all and finally embracing it and each other.

And, by that point, he *may* even remember it fondly.

Or, he may be crazy and running around like a pretend dog himself.

Update on Bradley: Adopted! Wednesday October 5, 2011 by Bryan Germann and Catherine Eisner

Update on Cayce: Adopted! Sunday October 2, 2011 by Lauren Eyler and Dawn Perry

Update on Elloree: Rescued! Friday October 21, 2011 by Last Chance Animal Rescue

Chesters A-H, squared

August 11, 2011

Pulled: Wednesday August 10, 2011 from the Marlboro County Animal Shelter

Rescue Commitments for Abbie Faith, Duncan, Fairfax and Hilda: Friday October 21, 2011 by Dog Tags; for Elloree: Friday October 21, 2011 by Last Chance Animal Rescue

Adoption Commitments for Bradley: Wednesday October 5, 2011 by Bryan Germann and Catherine Eisner; for Cayce (renamed Truman): Sunday October 2, 2011 by Lauren Eyler and Dawn Perry

Meet my Chester A, squared. She’s my 27th foster, which means that I’ve worked my way through the alphabet once. And here we go again. This is my Chester Abbeville (Abbie), Middle Mutt’s Faith. So we shall call her Chester Abbie Faith.

I got an email from my friend in rescue, Whitney, asking if I would be willing to take a sweet bull terrier mix that was delivering pups “as we speak.” I said, “Of course!” Whitney’s fabulous rescue organization, Last Chance Animal Rescue, will be taking Chester A. and her seven gorgeous pups after we’ve cared for them awhile. — unless, of course, I can manage to find them good homes here, thus freeing up space for Whitney to rescue others!

I have tons of work this week, since classes at USC start next week, but I just grabbed one of my Assistant Directors (Casey, who has become my Assistant Director in both First-Year English Program world and in life) and said “Road Trip!” Luckily, we work well in the car together. — better, sometimes, in fact, since we can’t escape. And Casey’s friend (and my new friend), Kat, came along as well, making us take breaks from shop talk to discuss television shows. So, yay for Kat!

One of Abbie Faith’s guardian angels, Kenny from Marlboro County, met us halfway with her. Huge thanks to Kenny for caring so much about Abbie Faith and pups to be willing to make the drive! Here’s our first glimpse of the newest Fisk fosters:

Since I was literally driving past the vet I use in Bishopville, I stopped to see if Dr. Currie could give Abbie Faith an exam, since she hadn’t been vetted. He kindly agreed to fit us in, and I’m glad he did. Poor Abbie Faith has hookworms and heartworms. The latter is serious, though treatable. However, we’ll have to wait until her pups are weaned to do so, since she’ll have to spend three days away from them, at the animal hospital. Then, she’ll have to take it easy for a month afterward. If ever a dog deserved to take it easy a month, it’s Chester A.

She is young (2 years at the most), underweight, and her ears seem to have been recently cropped. Dr. Currie had to pull out the stitches and said that whoever did so must not have had the proper equipment, since the cuts are jagged. She was such a good tolerant girl during the entire exam, only whining once or twice, because she wanted off the table to check on her pups. The nurses and Dr. Currie were all taken with her. But, how could you not be?

I mean really. Look at those eyes:

And, of course, it’s easy to be taken by a dog surrounded by puppy cuteness. Exhibit A:

And Exhibit B: ohmygoodnesssoadorable

We have seven, four boys and three girls: Chesters Bradley (boy); Cayce (boy, after Casey Carroll!); Duncan (boy); Elloree (girl); Fairfax (boy); Gaffney (girl); and Hilda (girl). More photos of the pups to come.

Middle Mutts has set up a chip-in for Abbie Faith and pups, since vetting care will no doubt be expensive:

And, yes, the first seven donors giving $20 or more will have an opportunity to name a pup! I have to go ahead and assign names, because I have a crazy thing for names. BUT I love people who are willing to foster for me (yes, you John Muckelbauer), and who are willing to donate funds so that I can foster more (wish I could do a heroes list here, Stephen Colbert style). So if you foster for me or donate funds, I will call any dog whatever you want me too. 😉

And: how is Scott taking this? His response after seeing Chester Z was “I love it when you get new dogs, because I can get away with doing whatever I want. I think I’m going to play Battlefield 2 now.”

Well, truthfully, his first response was, “What the hell is that?” because Casey and I thought it would be funny to see how long it would be before he noticed Chester Z, who was napping under a chair, on his own. It was a full 10 minutes at least, which enabled me to say: “What?! You didn’t even know she was here! She’ll be no trouble at all!”

(I think it’s appropriate to slip in a photo of fosters Z and E. Chester Edisto is in heaven, since the red-haired girl he adores has finally consented to nap beside him.)

For all his blustering, Scott Fisk is a big mush when it comes to dogs. I thought Abbie Faith needed to sleep in his outside shop, so she’d have access to the fenced in back yard; she has an upset stomach b/c of her hookworms. Scott thought it would be too hot, so he bought a window unit for his shop. — something he was never willing to spend the money on for himself.

And then he made her a whelping box out of the window unit packaging. So, Scott Fisk: no more of this “my wife is fostering dogs” business. WE are fostering dogs, Sweetheart. We are.

A-Z: Where are they now?

August 7, 2011

1) Chester, the First or Chester Andrews. Renamed Jethro. Adopted by Sabra Smith.

Chester A. remained local, which is lucky for me, because I get to pet-sit occasionally. Sabra was Julia McKinney’s friend first; Julia told Sabra that she should meet me and adopt my foster dog; and, Sabra did just that. And now I have a new friend. Here are photos of Sabra and Jethro, romping around in our backyard. I’m actually in the background of one, holding Edisto, who kept trying to get into the photo, Goober that he is. And Goober that I am, I didn’t move far enough away, so he still got in it. — though I’ve since managed to crop us out. Only my legs and feet remain.

Chester A.’s days are full of kisses and belly rubs. He’s a happy, happy dog.

2) Chester Berkeley. Renamed Chester Bark. Adopted by Federica Clementi and Chris Holcomb.

Chester B. continues to live the good life with parents, Federica and Chris. He’s also local, so I’ve told F&C that we’ll dog-sit whenever they need us. But, Chester B. is so easily transportable that he’s spent much of his summer at the beach, loving every minute of it.

Although: I don’t think it really matters to Chester B. if he’s in Columbia or Beaufort, as long as he has a lap to sit it.

And, if that’s your goal, then you’re a lucky dog, Chester B.!

3) Chester Clover. Renamed Carley. Adopted by Jenny Rhoad.

Chester C. isn’t as local as Chesters A. and B., but she lives in McBee, SC, the small town where I grew up. She’s enjoying her life in the county with her mother, Jenny, who is also her best friend forever. Chester C. wants to go nearly everywhere with Jenny and will follow her to the bathroom and sit at the door impatiently until J. comes out again. The only place she does not want to follow her: the garden. She’d much rather sit in the air conditioned house and watch from the window while Jenny works in the sweltering SC heat.

Chester C. is a princess indeed.

4) Chester Dillon. Passed away from distemper.

Anglophile that I am, I’ll type for Dillon the epitaph Queen Victoria wrote for her spaniel, since these are qualities I’m sure Chester D. would have had, had he lived to show them:

“Here lies DASH, the Favourite Spaniel of Queen Victoria By whose command this Memorial was erected. He died on the 20 December, 1840 in his 9th year. His attachment was without selfishness, His playfulness without malice, His fidelity without deceit. READER, if you would live beloved and die regretted, profit by the example of DASH.”

5) Chester Edisto. Still available. Want to adopt? See the following link, for all posts featuring Chester E. the Wonder Dog. And there’s a lot of them.

Update: Rescued! Friday October 21, 2011 by Last Chance Animal Rescue

6) Chester Florence. Renamed Molly. Adopted by Sue and Wayne Crow.

Chester F. is living in Aiken, SC. It was rough going for awhile, because she loved her parents, Sue and Wayne, so much that she would hurt either the house or herself if they left her alone for a few hours. She would chew the door frame. When kenneled so that she wouldn’t chew the door frame, she’d try to chew her way out of the kennel, making her gums bleed.

But, finally, life is calmer at the Crows’ house. — after bitter apple spray for the doors and lots of positive reinforcement for Chester F.

Here’s Chester F., sporting a pony tail and playing with . . . something that looks like a mustard bottle. Hopefully it’s a squeak toy and not the real thing.

Correction: Sue just wrote to tell me that Chester F. is guarding her squeak toy cell phone. So much more fitting than a bottle of mustard for my miss priss of a Chester!

7 and 8 ) Chesters Gilbert and Hampton. Renamed Cooper and Romeo. Adopted by: Peggy and Mike Sudol.

Chesters G. and H. are living where Scott and I lived for a few years after we were married: on Johns Island. They share a lovely home with their parents, Peggy and Mike, who will occasionally give them control of the remote.

They are still terrified of the vet’s office, but Peggy was smart enough to take Mike as reinforcement when she took them for their first visit. And Chester G. and H.’s vet is sympathetic enough, after hearing their sad shelter dog story, to not take their seemingly irrational fear/dislike of her too personally.

9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23) Chesters Iva, Jefferson, Kline, Lydia, Marion, New Ellenton, Oates, Patrick, Quinby, Ruby, Sumter, Taylors, Ulmer, Vaucluse and Williams. Rescued by Save-A-Litter.

Iva and her remaining pups are thriving in Logansville, Georgia. We lost a couple of pups before the transport, and the new foster mother, Carolyn, has lost a couple more since. — to be expected, I suppose, with such a huge litter. Rather than saying they died, I’ll continue being an Anglophile and say, instead, that “God’s finger touched [them], and [they] slept.” — Tennyson.

And the ones that aren’t “sleeping” are romping around with open eyes (that were still closed when I said my goodbyes) and with lots of puppy cuteness. And, I get the most hilarious updates from Carolyn about Iva. The latest? Iva has been trying to take over Carolyn and hubby’s bed. When they get in it at night, Carolyn says, they find squirming puppies behind their pillows and in their sheets. — along with their stinky presents.

They moved Iva and pups behind a baby gate. Iva broke out. Then they put Iva and pups in a crate. Iva somehow managed to pry the bottom bars up and slip out with her brood.

So, the battle to find the perfect place to nest continues. Fortunately, Carolyn says she and her family are in love with Chesters I-W.

24) Chester PaXville. Still available. Want to adopt? See the following link, for all posts featuring Chester X:

And here’s a recent photo of the big baby. He’s found a cool place (under our wood deck) to enjoy the summer day:

And, here’s Chester E., who always manages to look like he just got caught doing something very bad. /sigh.

25) Chester York. Renamed Pepper. Adopted by Lisa Bailey.

Chester Y. has found his home here in Columbia. Here in the Columbia, SC USC English department family, no less. (I know you’ve moved to the business school, Lisa, but you’ll always be part of the English department to us).

I’m especially happy about this, because Chester Y. is the sweetest little guy, and I’m looking forward to seeing him often. I’ve always had a fondness for squirrels . . . and . . . well, Chester Y. looks and acts like a slightly overgrown one. He’s a gray ball of timidity and playfulness and mischievousness (just a little bit of the latter).

He’s currently recovering from heartworm treatment. New mom reports that he’s doing well and following doctor’s orders to take it easy (see below). Good boy, Chester Y.!

26) Chester PelZer. Still available. Want to adopt? See the following link, for the post introducing Chester Z.

And here’s Chester Z., saying “Love me, please. You know you want to.”

At 20 lbs full grown, this 11 month old is probably the most unusual looking and photogenic dog we’ve ever had. And she’s in the running for the sweetest too.

We don’t really think PelZer fits Chester Z. We’ve been calling her “PelZ Belz” instead, but we aren’t sure about that either. Casey thinks she looks like Raggedy Ann and Andy’s dog, Rags. So, maybe we’ll try RagZ.

The problem with the name isn’t really a problem at all, though, because she follows us around everywhere, whether we call her or not.

Update: Adopted! August 2011 by Kathy Schrum Peck