Archive for the ‘Memorable Mishaps’ Category

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

December 30, 2011

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.

A Big Fat Veteran’s Day Disappointment and unfortunately memorable mishap.

November 12, 2011

Those of you who have been reading this blog know how proud we were to send Abbie Faith, Duncan, Fairfax and Hilda to Dog Tags In Virginia, a 501 nonprofit organization that trains service dogs for Veterans suffering from PTSD and other disabilities.

Well, we’re sorry to say that Whitney from Last Chance Animal Rescue/Middle Mutts is in Virginia now to pick them up, as I type. And it’s not because Abbie Faith and the pups couldn’t cut it. It’s because animal control has closed down the organization Dog Tags, because the founders have gotten in over their heads.


Whitney has visited Dog Tags twice and has communicated often with their board of directors. Those who work at the McGuire VA animal hospital praise their work, and their 14 certified service dogs.

BUT, because of a series of unfortunate events (losing some foster homes; illness; etc.), the primary board member/foster parent was busted for having too many dogs in too small a space. From what I understand, she was in the process of constructing several 10×10 roofed pens for the dogs to stay in while completing their training, after which point they would live with their veterans.

Note to Dog Tags: Next time, construct the pens BEFORE you get 60+ new service dogs in training. Also, next time, admit your limitations and ask for help.

Scott: “This is a cautionary tale, Nicole.”

Me: “If I ever have 60+ fosters, please commit me.”

That said, I do understand how easy it is to get in over your head. After all, 18 dogs at one time was a lot. — now, granted, I had no way of knowing that Chester Iva would have SIXTEEN puppies.

Currently, I have five, although that’s not counting the three that friends are fostering for me.

Scott: “What happens when your friends go home for the holidays.”


So, tomorrow, we’ll have an updated list of Fisk fosters for everyone to share. The goal: to find homes for them all before Christmas. Otherwise, they’ll be handed out as Christmas presents to friends and family. Let me know if you want to be on my Christmas list. Or not.

Isn’t the above painting fabulous? Kudos to Chester Z’s talented mother, Kathy Schrum Peck.

In the meantime, a special thanks to Whitney Knowlton for driving from New York to Virginia to get our Abbie Faith and pups. Foster-in-crime, Trina, and I are especially thankful, since we were <this close> to making plans to drive up to Virginia ourselves.

I, of course, had my sight set on the girls, Abbie Faith (above) and Hilda (below):

Trina had her sight set on “the boys” as she affectionately refers to Duncan and Fairfax:

Well, she also refers to them as Yin and Yang.

Wonder woman that Whitney is, she’s offered to take ALL the dogs from Dog Tags, and to find homes and rescues for them. This means that she’s paying $6500 in fees (since the dogs are being kenneled until they can be transported).

Please consider donating to Last Chance Animal Rescue, to help with the expense:

PO Box 1661
Southampton, NY 11968

And send your best thoughts and wishes to Abbie Faith and pups! High hopes that they’ll be adopted at the next LCAR adoption event. And that we’ll get photos of each of them in their new homes as cute as this one:

Or this one:

Or, this one. See, below, one of the most recent photos of Cassie, Fisk Foster Z. (Remember: Kathy, artist of the fabulous Christmas present painting, is Cassie’s mother).

May all dogs be so loved that they get to dress as their favorite animal for Halloween.

Chesters Yemassee and Dalzell, and a costly memorable mishap

October 30, 2011

Pulled: Friday October 28th, 2011 from Richmond County Animal Shelter/Middle Mutts

Adoption commitments: Rescued and adopted! Zeus was adopted by fabulous Foster Mom, Trina Shealy

Meet Chester Y, my Chester Yemassee and Middle Mutts’ Yabby. I think the name Yabby suits better than Yemassee (her sister’s name is Gabby and is in foster already). Yabby is 1 year, a Hound mix, spayed, up-to-date on vaccinations, and heartworm negative. She’s an energetic, sweet dog.

And meet Chester Z, a stray named Turbo. I’ve renamed Turbo. — twice. To keep with my system of naming fosters (Chester + SC town/city/county), I named him DalZell, which is the second of only two SC towns/cities/counties that even has a letter Z. But Dalzell is a truly horrible name. Casey says that it makes him sound like a drag queen.

So, I’ve been calling him Zeus instead. It starts with Z, and I love naming such a little squirrel of a guy after the King of the Gods. Zeus is 2 years, a Yorkie mix, up-to-date on vaccinations, and heartworm negative. I’ll schedule his neuter surgery this week.

On Friday after work, Jack and I took Chesters Salley and Union Chance to Rockingham, so that they could take the LCAR van to fabulous homes in New York. Chance has a home waiting for him already, and Whitney said that she’ll find a home for Salley in two seconds. After all, Salley looks like a Park Avenue purse dog.

I told my friends at the shelter that I could take either four more puppy fosters (since 2 puppies = 1 medium sized dog) or two medium-sized/small adults. Tessie, one of the many ladies we love at RCAS, showed me two of the dogs she most wanted to see out of there: Yabby and Turbo. So, I’ll foster Yabby, since she needs a backyard to run in, and I’ll send Zeus to foster-in-crime Trina.

I left satisfied, thinking that it will be nice to have a break from puppies, since they tend to get underfoot and nip at ankles. But, I quickly learned that the good thing about puppies is that they are much more transportable. Before I was out of NC, Yabby had torn a hole in my brand new custom made dog kennel and she and Zeus were wrecking havoc on my brand new dog-friendly 2011 Honda Element.

SIGH. Remember how excited I was about my car? I introduced it here:

By the time I got to McBee to pick up Jack, who I had left with Nana and Pop, Yabby had not only chewed through the kennel, but also both harness straps on the car seats and (very nearly) one of the backseat shoulder straps. I would post a photo of the shoulder strap, which is hanging on by a thread, but it’s too depressing. And there’s a hole in one of the back seat covers.

To top it all off? I was so anxious to get them out of my freaking car, that I sped up to pull into my parents’ garage. I figured that I needed to be in the garage, so that I could put the doors down. My parents’ yard isn’t fenced, and I didn’t want the dogs to bolt. I pulled in . . . and forgot that the luggage box was on top of the car. Result: a ruined luggage box and a banged up garage for Mom and Dad.

We’ve figured it up, and the grand total is about $1000 worth of damage.

Luggage box=$600; kennel=$100; replacement carseat harnesses (which we have to buy asap)=$120 ($60×2); replacement shoulder strap (which we have to buy asap)=$70; car seat covers=$250.

I had a couple of strategies for breaking the news to Scott.

Strategy, the first: “Well, I saw a car flipped over on the side of the road on the way back. Perspective! Now we have it!” He wasn’t going to argue with that, of course, but he still looked gloomy.

Strategy, the second: “Well, we got the dog friendly car, so maybe the tears just give it character. — kind of like what Kincaid did to the doggy welcome mat.”

Scott’s response: “I would have preferred to make at least one car payment before giving it ‘character.'”

“Maybe we can do a chip-in link for the car?” I ventured. Scott rolled his eyes at me.

So, I gave up, drank three glasses of wine, and went to bed.

Lessons learned:

1) A car labeled “dog friendly” is not “dog proof.” Dog friendly means that it’s a good car for friendly, well-behaved dogs. Henceforth, I will only transport rescue dogs of destructive chewing ability in a plastic kennel with metal bars.

2) That I am, as Casey often tells me, “a hot mess.” And by hot, he doesn’t mean attractive. He means “capable of burning.”

Arina, at least, was delighted to see the new fosters. See, below, Arina with Yabby, the chewing fiend:

And, below, Arina with Zeus, Yabby’s happy  accomplice:

Message me if you’re interested in Yabby or Zeus. Yabby comes in a plastic/metal kennel.

Chester Morven, the Nanny Dog; and a memorable mishap

October 29, 2011

Pulled: Friday October 21, 2011 from Richmond County Animal Shelter

Adoption commitment: None, still available

With Morven, I may be a foster failure. I’ve been trying to talk Scott into making him a permanent member of my support staff. Why? Because Morven is an excellent nanny dog.

We’ve decided that he’s a Sheltidoodle or a Shepadoodle. — a cross between either a Shetland or Old English Sheepdog and a Poodle. I think he’s a Sheltidoodle, since the following description of the Shetland Sheepdog fits him perfectly:

“Very intelligent, lively and trainable, the Shetland Sheepdog is one of the smartest breeds. With intelligence comes the need to occupy their minds. They like to be kept busy. The Sheltie is above all an intelligent herder, capable both of commanding large cattle and holding small sheep in check.”

According to the information I’ve read, these particular sheepdogs need a job. If they aren’t given a job herding sheep or cattle, they’ll find their own job. Morven has decided that his job is Jack.

I first noticed this when I put Jack atop our very tall bed to change his diaper. I went to throw away the diaper, at which point Morven started barking, as though scolding me. The next thing I knew, he was up on the bed with Jack, bouncing from left to right, right to left, until he had herded Jack to the middle of the bed, so that he was in no danger of falling off.

Since then, they’ve been inseparable. Jack’s favorite activity is running from room to room while pushing his toy airplane walker.

Morven follows behind him, tail wagging, while carrying one of Jack’s toys or blankets in his mouth. See, below, Morven with Jack’s toy dog:

He also insists on sleeping in Jack’s room at night. He sleeps atop Jack’s chest of drawers, on the changing pad, so that he can literally watch over him.

The shelter director, Allison, told me that Morven was owner-surrendered, because he was “too protective” of the owner’s son. And, indeed, Morven takes his job very seriously. If I pick up Jack to tote him around on my hip, Morven barks. — because Jack should be on the floor with him, where it’s safer.

And Morven and my mother are constantly at odds. Mom thinks Morven should be an outside dog, since he doesn’t have the house-training thing down completely, but when she tried to pick him up and put him out, he bit her hand. I tried to explain to Mom that she was taking him away from his job, and that he can’t be separated from Jack, but to no avail. When Mom babysits, Morven goes outside and spends his day trying to gnaw his way back inside to his charge. So, Mom is Morven’s public enemy #1.

Scott is Morven’s public enemy #2, because he is similarly annoyed by Morven’s urine marking and agrees with Mom about the outside dog thing. Yes, Edisto’s old male wrap is in the washing machine as I type and is about to become Morven’s male wrap.

Poor Morven. — although I’m very sorry about your hand, Mom, and I had a serious talk with Morven. I told him that you’re the alpha Nana, not him. I think he gets it.

I find it interesting that the quality that would cause one mother to relinquish Morven is the very one that makes me want to keep him. I suppose career mothers, or those to whom mothering comes more naturally, would be annoyed by a dog that claims to know more about caring for children than they do. I, on the other hand, appreciate the advice and the help.

Morven: frantic barking

Me: “Oh! Yes, you’re right, Morven. Jack probably shouldn’t be on the kitchen counter.”

See Morven below, calling for assistance. Jack is unable to reach a toy in his toy box, and Morven is sounding the SOS.

And, now, for my favorite memorable mishap featuring Morven:

On Thursday, we were already late for school; then, on our way out the door, Morven slipped by us and starting running through Hamptonwood East. I took off after him, and was quite the sight in my pajama pants, fuzzy socks, rain boots, tank top and fancy corduroy jacket. (I count on remaining in the car and unseen when dropping off A. in the mornings.)

I chased him for ten minutes before realizing that all I have to do is put Jack in the middle of the street. (FYI: we live on a very quiet dead-end street. Trust me. There are kids in the street all the time.)

But, as it turns out, I only had to open the car door. As soon as Morven saw Jack, he jumped right in and took station by his car seat.

Good dog, Morven.

I think it’s appropriate to close with the scene from Peter Pan that introduces Nana, the nursemaid dog. This is perfect on a variety of levels, not the least of which is Mr. Darling as Scott.

Poor Nana.

Another Memorable Mishap: Jack Feeds the “Pup Pups”

October 2, 2011

I decided to post a more cheerful memorable mishap than the last. My last lesson learned: just because dogs are good with other cat-sized dogs does NOT mean that they are equally good with cat-sized . . . cats. *sigh*

This happier memorable mishap involves Jack; foster dog Harley, Emma and Mr. Knightley; and stinky wet dog food.

I was sitting at my work desk, happily typing, and thankful that Jack was entertaining himself and not interrupting me. Then I smelled something stinky.

See Jack, with the stinkiest wet dog food we could find; if you remember, we were following Whitney’s instructions: stinky wet dog food + sick pup = sick pup eating. I had spooned out a bit for Fairfax and had forgotten to put away the can with the leftovers. I left it on the counter. Jack had apparently grown an inch taller overnight and was able to reach it.

He had left a breadcrumb trail of wet dog food on the floor. He had smeared it into the kiddie table. Clearly, he knows in this photo that he’s busted.

After I got the shot, I tried to coax the dog food and spoon out of his hand: “Come on, Jack,” I said sweetly, “just give me the pup pup food.” He squealed, ran to the kitchen, and plopped down on the floor.

Enter Mr. Knightley, and Harley:

This causes Jack to declare triumphantly that, yes, he WILL feed the pup pups, who are clearly hungry.

So, I thought “what the hell?” and snapped away. Jack took his job very seriously.

Below: He takes inventory and sees that he has more pups to feed than dog food left in the can. — too bad that he had already fed most of it to the kiddie table. Still he does what he can.

One scoop for Harley:

Uh oh. An empty can and more pups to feed . . .

So, Jack decides to let Emma lick the can:

And, then, of course, Knightley must get a lick too:

The results of this memorable mishap: a tabletop mess for me to clean (thankfully, the dogs took care of the wet dog food trail on the floor), a house that smells stinky, overly stuffed dogs, and a very satisfied-with-himself toddler.

Lessons learned: Make sure to put the stinky wet dog food out of the growing toddler’s reach.

Also: Life is messy. Life is fun.

Abbie Faith, Edisto and Kincaid: New York Bound! and an unfortunately memorable mishap

October 1, 2011

Yes! Chester Edisto the Wonder Dog will be hitting the Big Apple. I’m making an effort, at least, to honor my part of the “I’ll-get-you-a-car-if-you-start-fostering-like-a-normal-person” bargain with Scott.

So, the fabulous Last Chance Animal Rescue has agreed to feature Edisto and Kincaid, in addition to the dogs I was fostering for them (Abbie Faith and the pups) at their weekend adoption event on October 8th and 9th. My LCAR friend, Whitney, thinks that Edisto will be adopted immediately, because apparently people in NY are “crazy about Beagles.” It must be a Snoopy thing.

But anyone who is not adopted will be taken to a foster home in NY until the next weekend adoption event. And, yes, these adoption events are every week.

So, I have a week to get the pups spayed or neutered and to teach E. how not to be such a Goober.

As for Abbie Faith and Kincaid . . . well, they got out of the fence. We were surprised, since E. has always broken them out before. Because of the invisible fence, and E.’s shock collar that is connected to it, he’s been uninterested in all things fence related. All was well, for about a week.

Then, either Abbie Faith or Kincaid took matters into their own paws, and broke themselves out, without Edisto. They came back, so we were annoyed, but not worried. Scott repaired the fence. He put the shock collar on Kincaid, instead of Edisto.

“Kincaid, I’m going to light up your ass,” he said, and then pointed at Abbie Faith: “And you’re next.”

We went inside, we went outside . . . and they were gone again! Kincaid was shocked BUT KEPT ON GOING.

This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if they were just running around in the also fenced-in 11-acre walking trail behind us (we share a fence with the walking trail, so they SHOULD get out of our fence, only to be in another fence), or visiting with our neighbors who are fond of them, like we *thought* they were doing. True, one time Abbie Faith came back into our yard, pushing in a bag of trash she had stolen. But, well, we didn’t think the owners would miss it much.

But, on Thursday, we found out from people in Yorkshire, the next neighborhood over, that they had been terrorizing the neighborhood CATS! — and not just any cats, but two neighboring Senior cats: one, a deaf and blind 15-year-old named SAD FACE for God’s sake. (I suppose younger cats are too fast and too nimble for them).


We were shocked and upset, since I always tell the rescue and shelter coordinators that I can only foster dogs that are good with kids and small animals. — and by small animals, I mean not only my cat-sized mini-dachshunds but also cats and guinea pigs and anything else small that you can think of, since I never discount the possibility that I may come across something non-canine that needs Fisk fostering.

Seriously, the following guinea pig was featured on Middle Mutts recently, and I was <this> close. Scott said “NO!” Luckily, she was rescued by someone else:

I called Whitney in a panic, and she is paying to board Abbie Faith and Kincaid until they’re NY ready. So, I dropped them off at a boarding kennel yesterday. Abbie Faith was thrilled to be away from the pups. Kincaid tried to lick all the dogs in the neighboring kennels. And we (along with our incredibly patient and generous Yorkshire friends, and all the sweet Yorkshire cats) are relieved that we no longer have to worry about canine fence-capades.

I assured my new friends in Yorkshire that my goal is to do good, not harm, that I will NOT save one animal to harm another, and that unless we get a new fence made out of Kryptonite, I will hence forth only foster small dogs.  — dogs who, if brought face-to-face with a cat, will come out worse for it. (Example: Quincy the Wonder Cat vs. Emma the Mini-Dachshund = a squealing Emma with a scratched face.)

Or crippled dogs, whose “worst” would be running over a foot or tail:

As penance, I told Abbie Faith and Kincaid that they must chip-in to Middle Mutts: Operation Feline Freedom, which saves shelter cats from euthanasia.


I also thought of fostering cats from the local kill shelter, but, since I’m allergic, Mr. Davenport (Sad Face’s owner) told me not to do that.

So, I’ll close with a note to the misbehaving duo:

Dear Abbie Faith and Kincaid,

It’s been real. Best of luck in NY. And, PLEASE, be nice to the cats. — ESPECIALLY the Seniors, who are especially delicate. You need to respect your elders, damn-it (and not just the canine/human ones).


Your Foster Mom

Memorable Mishaps, continued: The Return Of Kincaid. And Edisto Learns His Lesson. knock on wood. fingers crossed.

September 24, 2011

Hurrah! Kincaid is back!

For those of you following my blog, you’ll remember that foster Edisto the Wonder Dog keeps breaking out of our backyard fence, and taking friends/sidekicks Abbie Faith and Kincaid with him on adventures. Kincaid is a bit of a dunderhead, though. He’s like the dog in UP, constantly distracted by squirrels, and once separated from his friends, was unable to find his way back.

Luckily, he’s microchipped.

On Wednesday, my friend Howard, from the City of Columbia Animal Shelter, called to tell me that Kincaid had been . . . um . . . apprehended by Animal Control. This was poor Kincaid’s FOURTH time in the slammer, since he had been adopted and returned three times before I pulled him. Needless to say, he was VERY happy to see me.

And the pups were very happy to see him. See Fairfax, climbing in bed with Uncle Kincaid, and napping contently beside him. Hilda (not pictured) was running in circles.

Those of you following my blog will also remember that I was contacted by someone in local rescue, demanding that I return Edisto. Edisto was pulled from a local rescue rather than a kill shelter, and they keep strict tabs on their dogs. After someone in the neighborhood called to report Edisto roaming (b/c I stupidly left the tag with the rescue organization’s # on him), they said that I could not have one of “their dogs.”

There was a public outcry among my friends. My favorite email was from Casey, who often pup sits for me. Casey was the first person to dub Edisto a Goober, and he subsequently has a soft spot for him.

I’ve roped Casey into countless dog-rescuing adventures. During the summer, I was trying to talk Scott into buying me some land, building Casey a tiny house (see below), and letting him live there rent free if he agreed to feed all of my dogs. I thought the idea was brilliant. Both Scott and Casey rolled their eyes at me.

Casey’s email: “I JUST READ YOUR BLOG!!!!!  IS THE RESCUE TAKING BACK EDISTO!?!?!  WHAT THE HELL!?!?!   Fine.  I agree.  Get me a tiny f**king house and a parcel of land.  He can sleep on my tiny f**king bed.”

I decided to take my mother’s advice and tell them to come and get him, rather than return him myself. Knowing Edisto, he would curl up and die if put in another kennel. Or break out.

Surprisingly, I haven’t heard from them in over a week! Scott thinks they found my blog and read all about Edisto and have decided that they’d “prefer not to,” to quote Bartleby.

So, our problem became: how do we keep Edisto from breaking out of the fence? A friend of mine came up with the solution. She offered to donate an invisible fence. I hesitated at the idea of shocking Edisto, but Scott was delighted. He installed the fence, put the collar on Edisto that administers the shock, and said, “Edisto, I’m going to light up your ass!”

Note: I only agreed to this, because I realized that getting shocked is better than getting hit by a car. And Edisto was putting not only himself in danger, but Abbie Faith and Kincaid as well. Scott held the collar and touched the fence, before putting it on Edisto, to make sure that the voltage (shudder) was perfect.

Poor Ed.

The next morning, Scott and I watched Edisto and Abbie Faith and Kincaid from the breakfast table. As soon as we let them out, they took off for the fence, Abbie Faith and Kincaid sitting beside it and waiting patiently for E. to work his magic.

As soon as E. touched it, he ran away. Then, he stood and stared at it, with his tail sticking out straight behind him.

Score 1 for the fence.

Abbie Faith and Kincaid looked back at him like he was crazy, so Edisto went to the fence again. And, then, he ran all the way to our wood deck, jumped up on our picnic table, and stared straight at the fence for a full twenty minutes, trying to figure out what happened. We think he thinks he’s being attacked by invisible bees.

Score 2 for the fence.

Scott, of course, was laughing like a crazy person. E. hasn’t ventured out of the backyard again, but the fence has become his new nemesis, and he’ll spend hours a day watching it from atop our picnic table.

Abbie Faith and Kincaid have finally given up on outside-the-fence escapades, since Edisto now refuses to break them out. The result: Kincaid looks for things to amuse him inside the fence, and, being an 8 month old, that mostly involves tearing things up. See my new doormat below:

Welcome back, Kincaid! *sigh*

“Give [them] hell from us, [Edisto].”

September 16, 2011

Oh, Edisto. You’ve really done it this time. See below:

Those of you who have been reading my blog know that Scott and Edisto have been battling for control of the backyard fence. Scott says Edisto must stay in and fortifies the fence accordingly; Edisto says he must get out and destroys Scott’s fortification. Every time.

I’ve cut and pasted my record of previous battles:

Battle, the first: E. dug under the chain link fence. S. stacked rocks under the fence. E. moved them. — who knows how. He’s a Wonder Dog, after all.

Battle, the second: S. attached chicken wire to the bottom of the chain link fence, stapling the wire to a buried piece of wood. E. pulled out the staples with his teeth.

Battle, the third: S. attached chicken wire to the bottom of the chain link fence, NAILING the wire to a buried piece of wood. E. stretched the chicken wire with his teeth and squeezed through.

And here are the recent editions:

Battle, the fourth: I enter the fray, stacking  3 planks of wood longways between wooden stakes S. put in the ground. The fit is super tight. I actually had to jump on the planks to get them wedged between the stakes. Success! — for a week!

Today, Edisto stretched another section of chicken wire with his teeth and slipped out.

Battle, the fifth: I mend the hole in the chicken wire and plan to have S. drive in more wooden stakes when he gets home.

E. makes quick work of my temporary fix, escaping again.

Battle, the sixth: Scott mends the hole in the chicken wire fence and sets to work burying the fencing more deeply into the ground. — a foot and a half deep.

While he takes a break, E. stretches another section of chicken wire and escapes again. Yes. Three times in one day.


As if escaping isn’t bad enough, E. takes pals Abbie Faith and Kincaid with him. Abbie Faith is a smart girl and always comes back with Edisto . . . but Kincaid is a dunderhead. I don’t care what S. says. K. is a dunderhead. I had to pick him up after someone found and dropped him at a local vet today.

The poor guy was thrilled to see me and licked me the entire way home. “Kincaid, you can’t listen to Edisto,” I said, “He’ll get you into trouble. Every time.” And, no, K. still hasn’t made it back from the latest escape. I only hope that he’ll slip in the yard during the night, or that someone will let him crash at their place and give me a call tomorrow. He’s micro-chipped, thank goodness.

Little Hilda is beside herself, though, since Kincaid’s tail is her security blanket and she needs it to sleep.

As if all this isn’t bad enough . . . I received a call from someone at the local rescue, where we got E. Normally, I pull my own fosters from kill shelters throughout SC, and sometimes from NC. However, Edisto was pulled from a rescue, because Mr. Boise (a potential adoptive parent) wanted a Beagle; the Beagle I pulled from the kill shelter passed away from distemper; and a local rescue happened to have one in need of a home. I paid $150 to pull Edisto from them, but they maintain the right to reclaim their animals if they feel they aren’t being cared for.

I answered the phone.

Lady: “This is _____, from _____.”

Me: “Oh. Hi. How are you?”

Lady, in a snappy voice: “NOT well. Where’s Willie?” (Edisto’s name before he became Edisto).

Me: “Here.”

Lady, surprised: “Oh. Well, we received a call from a woman who was very upset and says that she has seen Willie running around off leash and unattended several times.”

Me: [explaining Battles 1-6]

Lady: “You cannot have a dog from us. What if he gets hit by a car?”

Me: [beating my head against a wall]

So, basically, Edisto is being rescued from us, the rescuers. And Kincaid is MIA. Here they are, in happier times of puppy wrestling.

And here’s another, this time with Hilda joining in and Edisto escaping the frame.

Hilda loves her uncles.

Scott says that he will win the fence battle and that I should fight to keep Edisto. Mom says that I should get his microchip with the rescue’s information removed and a new one put in.

I’ve thought many things. — about making them stay inside, even though they love to go out. I used to make Edisto and Kincaid at least sleep in the house at night, until they started whining to go out to Scott’s shop with Abbie Faith and the pups. And, then, once they made that move, I have to admit that I embraced it, since it allowed me to rescue more: a pack inside and a pack outside.

But, I realize now that I’d be terrified to adopt out E. anyway, for fear of an Ellen DeGeneres style snafu:

The rescue group did call me once before to find out how E. was doing with Mr. Boise. I told them that E. was difficult for Mr. Boise to handle but talked excitedly about the possibility of my parents taking him. — something that they were considering before we realized that E. would have a mini heart attack every time the hail cannons went off in the nearby peach orchards.

Lady: “You can’t do that.”

Me: “Oh?”

Lady: “If your Mom and Dad adopt Willie, you’ll have to bring him back to us, and they’ll have to pay another $150 pull fee.”

Me: “I’ll just keep him then,” while planning to give him to Mom and Dad anyway.

So, after the call today, I’m thinking it’s too risky to find him a home myself.

My consolation is that the rescue wants him back, because they think that I’m not the best parent. And while I admit I’m not perfect (ideally, I believe that all dogs should be “inside” dogs), I trust that this rescue will have him under surveillance. Forever. And, for Edisto, that’s not a bad idea.

Still, I question their decision to take back Edisto, who is being cared for to the best of our ability, rather than give his spot to an animal literally on death row.

And, I have to admit that I read a part from Harry Potter to Ed tonight. — the part from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Fred and George leave Hogwarts. And I made the following revision:

Rather than “Give her hell from us, Peeves,” I said, “Give them hell from us, Edisto,” and I hope that Edisto gives them at least a taste of his very best Wonder Dog behavior.

And, I’m sure that Edisto, “whom [we] [have] never seen take an order . . . before,” would sweep off his belled hat if he had one and would spring to a salute if he could.

I imagine him doing it now, although after such an adventurous day, he’s WAY too tired to really do so.

Chester Fairfax Pulls Through. And Edisto Apologizes to the Neighbors.

September 16, 2011

On Tuesday evening, around 6:30, I went outside to feed the pups. All seemed to be doing well . . .


and Cayce Truman:

and Duncan:

and Elloree, who was doing so well that I didn’t get a photo. (Remember, Elloree is the go-getter of the group and is always going and getting. She reminds me of Edisto, since she is able to break out of the pen I’ve set up in Scott’s shop for the pups. None of the others have figured it out and will complain loudly every time Elloree is out running with the big dogs while they’re stuck at the proverbial kids’ table).

and Hilda:

But one pup, Fairfax, was missing in action. I finally found him in Arina’s playhouse. He had green and yellow snot running out of his nose and was breathing rapidly. He saw me and began to whine. Alarmed, I took him inside, wiped him off, and tried to give him food and water. He refused to eat or drink. So, I bundled him up and set off for the emergency vet.

The vet took xrays of his lungs and saw that they were full of fluid. She said that she suspected canine pneumonia and put him on oxygen immediately. “But he was fine this morning,” I wailed, “even this afternoon, when I checked on them before going to work.” “Canine pneumonia can develop rapidly,” she said, and she recommended aggressive treatment with antibiotics, fluid, and an overnight stay.

I called Whitney, from Last Chance Animal Rescue in New York, since I’m fostering mom Abbie Faith and the pups for her. When I told her how much the recommended treatment would be ($700+), she verbalized what I was thinking: “OMG, those are New York prices.”

“Exactly,” I said.

“What if the other pups get sick?” Whitney said. “We can’t afford that for all of them!”

“Exactly,” I said.

We decided to ask for two bags of fluid, a shot of antibiotics, and any other at-home care they’d help me provide (we were hoping nebulizer, but that didn’t happen).

And even that was $300+. The vet made me sign an AMA (against medical advice) before she let me leave with Fairfax, and told me that he may not make it through the night.

I gave him a pep talk on the way home.

It must have worked, because the next morning he was breathing much more easily, and he was famished. I was prepared to force feed him with a syringe. Whitney had told me that the most important thing was to get him to drink/eat. “I don’t care if you have to feed him the stinkiest wet cat food you can find,” she said “I’d rather him get SOME nutrients and an upset stomach than nothing.”  (Apparently, dogs refuse to eat if they can’t smell the food; enter stinky wet cat food.)

But, see below, Chester Fairfax the Wonder Pup eating dog food like it’s going out of style:

And look who’s feeding him:

Why, hello Mr. My-wife-fosters-dogs-while-I-roll-my-eyes-at-her.

Fairfax drank. And ate. And drank. And ate. And then he peed on my kitchen table, which I’m counting as Memorable Mishap #I don’t even know anymore b/c I’ve lost count.

We’ve all been amazed by Fairfax’s progress. Whitney had warned me that he had a 50/50 chance at best, that she’s lost entire litters to canine pneumonia. Knowing this, and watching Fairfax struggling to breathe, has confirmed two things for me: (1) that life is precious; and (2) that those who are doing it (“it” being the sometimes hard work that is living) deserve to live fully. I’m reminded of the 22+ dogs that were shot by Chesterfield county shelter workers and wonder how many of those healthy adult dogs were little Fairfaxes who had beaten the odds, only to be killed in a shelter.

So, yay for Fairfax! May he live a happy, full life. Let me know if you’d be interested in adopting the little trooper.

And, now, for the latest installment in The Adventures of Chester Edisto:

I woke up at 1:00 am on Thursday morning to frantic crying. — what sounded like puppy wails. I honestly thought it was Fairfax, who was sleeping in our 1/2 bathroom. Feeling better, Fairfax had been pestering us to let him rejoin his puppy pack, but we were insisting on extra days of rest and relaxation. “Go to bed, Fairfax,” I said, and closed our bedroom door. The closed door didn’t help. I put my pillow over my head and prepared myself for a sleepless night.

Then I realized something about the noise. It wasn’t coming from INSIDE, but from OUTSIDE.


I jumped out of bed. Abbie Faith and Kincaid were in their dog beds on our wood deck, the puppies were asleep in Scott’s shop, but I saw no sign of Edisto. “Edisto!” I whispered sharply. “Be quiet! Go to bed!”

The whining stopped; then, as I got back into bed, started again.

I know that keeping the neighbors happy is what will allow me to continue to foster. And, for that reason, I’m VERY sensitive to noise. I jumped out of bed again, got on my shoes, and went to find Edisto.

And find him I did. He had tried to sneak out and his collar was hung on the chain link fence. He couldn’t move and was panicking in true Edisto fashion. I don’t know how he did it, I was never able to free the collar, and I finally just unsnapped it from Edisto’s neck; yes, it’s still hanging on our fence.

Oh, Edisto.

I told him he must apologize to the neighbors. See below:

Dear residents of Hamptonwood East,

I’m sorry I’m a sh*t show.


Chester Edisto.

The Adventures of Edisto the Wonder Dog (i.e. his memorable mishaps). And Uncle Kincaid and the Pups

September 10, 2011

Chester Edisto

Pulled: Thursday June 2, 2011 from a local rescue

Adoption commitment: None; still available

We were worried about how Chester Edisto would react to losing pretty Chester Isla, renamed Lucy, who has found her forever home with Krystal Branch and family. E. has taken it surprisingly well, though, since lately he’s turned his attention to looking-better-by-the-day Chester Abbie Faith.

I watched them one morning. E. is an expert at breaking out of our backyard fence. There has been quite the battle in the Fisk household, between Edisto and Scott.

Battle, the first: E. dug under the chain link fence. S. stacked rocks under the fence. E. moved them. — who knows how. He’s a Wonder Dog, after all.

Battle, the second: S. attached chicken wire to the bottom of the chain link fence, stapling the wire to a buried piece of wood. E. pulled out the staples with his teeth.

Battle, the third: S. attached chicken wire to the bottom of the chain link fence, NAILING the wire to a buried piece of wood. E. stretched the chicken wire with his teeth and squeezed through.

Edisto seems to be breaking out to impress Abbie Faith. She always follows, and he always waits for her on the other side. But, she’s bigger than he is, and often has more trouble getting through. I’ve watched E. on the other side, digging to help her out, while she digs from inside the fence. As soon as she’s through, E.’s tail starts wagging and they’re off.

We’ve gotten several calls, thanks to E.’s “home again” tag, so S. has made several trips to pick them up at whichever house they decide to crash. One day, he had all three of them (Ed, Abbie, and Kincaid) in the bed of his pickup truck, when E. decided to try for the ultimate romantic expression. He jumped from the moving vehicle and waited on the side of the road for Abbie to follow. Smart girl that she is, she did not. So, E. is left with asphalt scratches on his knees and chin. And wounded pride.

Still, Scott admits it was quite the sight. — seeing, from the side view mirror, E. flying through the air, ears flapping in the wind.

Oh, Edisto. You’re such a Wonder Dog. And a Goober.

And, Chester Kincaid

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

Adoption commitment: None; still available

See Kincaid, above, sad because he got in trouble for pulling on and tearing a hole in S.’s hammock. We can’t stay mad at Kincaid, though, because he’s become everyone’s favorite uncle.

Now that Edisto and Abbie Faith have teamed up, Kincaid is left to tend to the pups. — a job he takes very seriously. See, below, his morning ritual of checking on and being mobbed by the youngest six Fisk fosters.

The pups LOVE Kincaid. He’s much more patient with them than their mother. They always seem to hope that he’s developed teats filled with milk during the middle of the night, and Kincaid always stands patiently until they figure out that, no, that did not happen.

Well, he stands patiently until one of them inevitably mistakes his . . . um . . . masculinity for a teat, and then he moves very quickly.

Poor Kincaid.

I always try to come to the rescue quickly with some puppy formula: 1 can of evaporated milk, 1 can of water, an egg, a dab of honey and wet puppy food.

Never being much of a cook, I’m proud of myself for being able to make something that someone seems to think is delicious. And, I’m saving  money in the process, since the puppy powder formula I was buying at the pet store was $25 a can and only lasted a few days.

So, Kincaid stays with the pups while I fix breakfast. Then, they eat. Then, they play and sleep for the rest of the day, with me or Kincaid or the kids or Emily (our fabulous neighbor from across the street), checking on them periodically.

Relieved to be off duty, Abbie Faith avoids them as much as possible and growls at them if they try to nurse . . . which makes Kincaid bark at her angrily . . . which makes E. dislike Kincaid. So, yes, lots of Fisk foster family drama.

Remember: Nearly the entire pack (Abbie Faith, Edisto, Kincaid and 5 of the 6 pups) are available for adoption. Scott says “Remember, PLEASE.” And so does pretty blue-eyed Hilda, below, who would love a forever home.

Upcoming post will feature other current fosters, Chesters Lexi and Mac.