Happy Holidays from Fisk Fosters! And a Merry Christmas Memorable Mishap . . .

I’m back to blogging after a much needed Holiday break! Here is my attempt to recap the month of December, in list form. But, before I do that, I’d like to post photos of Christmas Craftiness 2011, Nicole style.

For each person fostering for me (or donating regularly to the cause), I printed and arranged photos of their foster/s.

For Sandra Keller (featuring Chester Lexington) and John Muckelbauer (featuring Chesters PaXville, James, and McBee):

For foster-in-crime Trina Shealy (featuring Chesters Duncan, Fairfax, Chance, Williston and DalZell):

And for Ashley Smith, whose $50 monthly donation keeps Fisk fosters fed and entertained with squeak toys (the latter has to be replenished as often as the former, since Morven can destroy anything):

This frame features some of Ashley’s favorites: Chesters Hilda, Kincaid, and Quinby.

And, last but not least, for Scott, the reluctant spouse:

I told Scott he should hang the frames in his shop, which has weathered (along with Scott) puppy pee, poop and vomit.

And the best part? All the puppy gifts came from the The Animal Rescue site. So, a portion of the profit was donated to shelter dogs.

Yay for me! Seriously. I am *NOT* a crafty person, so I’m ridiculously proud of myself. And, now, for the recap:

1) At the beginning of the month, I brought home Fisk fosters Edwards and Forest. And, I still have Fisk fosters Edwards and Forest. Edwards is currently sleeping at my feet; Forest is currently sleeping at Scott’s feet.

Edwards, renamed Frankie by his adoptive parent, will be going to his new home this weekend. Penny Pickrell fell for Frankie as soon as she met him, but she needed several weeks to pet proof her house and to get home from Holiday travels.

I’m glad I’ve had the extra time with Frankie, though, since he taught me two important lessons in the meantime — well, I should say that he reminded me of a couple of things I already knew:

Lesson, the first: do not put two unaltered male dogs in the same space and expect them to get along. Frankie and Forest, before their neuter surgery, did not get along.

Because Forest is the smaller dog, he was allowed in, and poor Frankie was kept out (in the fenced-in yard, with Scott’s heated shop as his apartment). Frankie was fine with this arrangement at first. But, then, we had a cold spell. I hate cold weather. So, I’d dash outside to tend to Frankie and rush back inside, not giving him the attention I normally would.

Frankie stopped eating. I couldn’t figure out why at first. I finally, despite the cold, sat down outside with him. I petted him. I put his food beside him. While I continued to pet him, he devoured his food, as though he had been starving.

Lesson, the second: Dogs, like humans, need to have their basic needs met, but they need more than that too. They need kindness. If not, life doesn’t seem to be worth the living. Needless to say, now that Frankie and Forest have been neutered, they’re both inside getting the necessary attention.

2) I falsely assumed that I would be able to place more Fisk Fosters over the Holidays. Instead, I had more trouble — especially drumming up any interest in Forest. So, we decided to take Forest with us on our Holiday travels, to McBee and to Charleston, and to try to get photos of him along the way. Maybe, we thought, we should be creative with our photography. See, below, a photograph that emphasizes Forest’s eyes . . .

. . . and another that emphasizes his fabulous whiskers.

You can see, below, that Forest enjoyed himself very much. Here he is in McBee, trotting around . . .

. . . and here he is, in the best shot of the day:

I’m happy to say that the handsome boy has a date with a prospective adoptive parent tomorrow! And she hasn’t even seen the photos yet.

3) Special thanks to friend, Rebecca Pomeroy Shores, whose generous Christmas donation enabled us to travel as usual over the Holidays. We used part of the money from Rebecca to hire a pet-sitter for Frankie and Roo (John Mucklebauer’s foster). Because pet-sitters charge by dog, though, we took Emma, Mr. Knightley, Forest, AND Morven with us.

Yes. We still have Morven. See him below, at the Fisk’s in Charleston:

And here he is, with his pal Forest:

Thank you SO much, Rebecca. We couldn’t have done Christmas this year without you. Even with four dogs in tow, Mom said I was “pushing it” with the overnight visits. And, I even have some money left over for what will be Chester G, cubed. Shh. Don’t tell Scott.

4) The merriest Christmas news is that sweet Chester Lexington has been adopted! Hurrah for Lexi! Foster Mom Sandra sent me the following message on Christmas Day:

“My parents would like to adopt Lexi! She’s been so good and loveable that she won them over. 🙂  She has been very sweet here, playful with the family and gentle with my grandmother. She would be an inside dog, but they do have a fenced-in backyard where she can chase squirrels to her heart’s content.”

Best Christmas present ever. Thanks to Urs and Kathleen Keller for falling for this sweet girl, and thanks to Sandra who fell for her first.

Sandra: let me know if you get lonely without Lexi. As Casey said, my glass is always half full of puppies, and I’m happy to introduce you to a new four-legged friend.

5) And now for the Merry Christmas memorable mishap: I may have pleasantly surprised myself with my Christmas craftiness, but I’ve proven to be a complete disaster with my new scheme to save money for Fisk fosters: couponing.

For Christmas, my parents gave us a $50 gift certificate to Earthfare. I got a book of coupons, complete with discounts on dog food and carpet cleaner, which we need, unfortunately, because of the dogs. I spent an hour, at least, in the grocery store. The total: $200!

Me: “I just don’t understand, Scott. I used COUPONS.”

Scott, pulling out a pack of Izze Sparkling Apple naturally flavored juice beverages: “What the heck is this?”

Me: “I don’t know, but I had a coupon for it.”

Scott: “You don’t get stuff we don’t need just because you have a coupon for it.”

Me: “But maybe we’ll like it.”

Scott, pulling out Sarabeth’s Legendary Spreadable Fruit: “What the heck is this?”

Me: “Jam. I had a coupon for it.”

Scott, rolling his eyes: “You don’t buy the $10 jam with the $1.00 coupon. You buy the $4.00 Earthfare brand jam.”

Me: “Oh.” (What can I say? I lost my ability to do math — and to pay attention to anything related to it — long ago). “But, this jam is legendary.”

Scott: “You’re dumb.”

He spent the rest of the night pulling food out of the bags (and I got a lot of food — and two different kinds of hand lotion), and saying sarcastic things like, “Goat tongue! Just what we needed! So glad you had a COUPON!”

So, Scott was not impressed with the hour I spent at Earthfare, going through the coupon book like I was on a scavenger hunt. He was even less impressed when I told him that I got really upset when I couldn’t find the food item advertised in the coupon (“WHERE are the darn Blue Horizon Wild crab bites?”); or that I dashed around even during checkout, when the cashier pointed out that some of the coupons were buy 2 (not 1). And, no, he was not impressed with the Earthfare dog food. I’m not allowed to go couponing any more — unless Casey, competent member of the Nicole Support Staff, goes with me.

Whatever. Morven, Forest and Frankie LOVE their Earthfare dog food. Also, I’ve already had to use the discounted (though apparently still expensive) carpet cleaner on the rug.

And it is nothing less than bottled up magic.

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