Archive for the ‘Memorable Mishaps’ Category

Chester McBee. And a Memorable Mishap.

September 3, 2011

Pulled: Saturday September 3, 2011 from Melissa Ann McLaughlin-lein

Adoption commitment: Adopted, May 2012 by Foster Dad, John Mucklebauer

Meet Chester M squared:

I’ve decided to name M squared after my small SC hometown: McBee. Despite the spelling, McBee is pronounced Mac-Bee. So, we’ll call him Mac.

Chester Mac is a 4-month old Boston Terrier/Chihuahua mix. He’ll be 15 lbs. at the most full-grown. He’s timid at first, but he comes around quickly and is friendly to all once he feels safe.

He’s up-to-date on shots (I took him today), and he’ll be able to be neutered soon. I plan to schedule that in the next week or so.

I wasn’t planning on getting Mac. But, Chester Florence/Molly’s mother, Sue Crow, told me about Melissa, who will be moving to New York next week. Melissa is unable to take Mac with her, but she promised her kids that she’d find Mac a good home. She thought she had, but Mac chewed up a pair of expensive shoes (note: never leave expensive shoes on the floor when you have a 4-month old puppy) and found himself homeless.

Melissa took him back, and tried to find him another home. Time is running out, though. So, Sue sent me a facebook message.

“Sue!” I said, “I just got a dog today! Scott JUST found out about that one.”

“Well, that’s why I messaged you,” Sue said, “I figured that you’re already dead. What’s one more?”

The Scott/Lexi introduction did go well. It helps that Lexi instantly adored S. and wanted to follow him everywhere. It also helped that I was able to tell him that the other extra dog in our house is one that we’re puppy-sitting rather than fostering. See Harper below. She’s just spending the weekend with us! — and getting acquainted with her new brother Chester Cayce, renamed Truman.

So, I told Scott about Mac. And he told me to go get him. Because S. is a good man.

And we have the same number of dogs we had before. We lost two this weekend. Sadly, Gaffney passed away (see previous post); Happily, Isla was adopted! Yay for Isla! She went to her new home today. See her, below, waiting for her family. She’s all dolled up with pink nail polish and a bow that makes her look like a flapper.

Special thanks to Krystal, Gregg and Emily, who were able to look past a crippled leg and a Golden Girls hairdo, and see how special Isla is.

And welcome Lexi and Mac, new fosters to take Gaffney’s and Isla’s place. I’ve had a difficult time taking photos of Mac, because his ears are so big that I have tons of great photos with cut-off ears. — like the one above. Finally, though, I managed to get the entire dog:

He looks like the offspring of Chester Kincaid (also tiger-striped) and a bat. If you’re interested in adopting or fostering such a dog, send me a message!

And now for the memorable mishap:

I lost a pair of shoes. — my most comfortable flip flops. I lost them because of the dogs, but not because the dogs chewed them.

Edisto the Wonder Dog (aka Houdini) has figured out how to break out of our fenced backyard. And, always wanting to be the cool kid in town, he’s let Abbie Faith and Kincaid in on the secret.

Honestly, I don’t worry about it most of the time. We have a nature reserve (10 acres) complete with walking trail behind our house. Abbie Faith isn’t going to stray far from the pups, and more often than not, I see them all lounging just behind the fence. — which makes me think, “Really, Edisto, what’s the point?”

But, my mother was here, and I wanted to be responsible and prove that “no-all-these-foster-dogs-are-not-too-much-for-me-to-handle-thank-you-very-much.”

So, I found Edisto’s escape route and blocked it. Then, I found an opening in another part of the fence that separates us from the reserve and went to find the dogs and bring them back. The trail was more overgrown than I remembered it, and by the time I found Kincaid, I thought I’d try to find a shorter and easier way out. I got lost. Really lost. I tried to cross a stream, thought that I stepped on solid ground, and sunk to my calves in mud. I dragged myself out, losing my shoes in the process. Then, I had to walk over a field of gumballs in my bare feet. Treacherous. When I finally found the back of my house, I pushed down the barricade I had made and climbed under the fence the same way the dogs had.

And, yes, Abbie Faith and Edisto were waiting on me in the backyard. Kincaid looked at them as if to say, “Yeah. I would have been here sooner, but she got out of the fence! I had to get her and bring her back!”

To Kincaid’s credit, he stayed with me the whole time. That means he was stuck in mud too; and, because of his short Basset Hound legs, he sunk to his belly. Still, Kincaid didn’t judge. But Scott did. But, it’s sort of hard not to judge when I get home an hour later looking like this:

Scott: “I can’t believe you got lost. And I can’t believe you didn’t get your shoes out of the mud!”

Me: “That mud was like quicksand! When I pulled my legs out, the mud closed over the holes, and I couldn’t even tell where to dig. My shoes have been sucked down to the center of the earth by now!”

Scott: “You’re dumb.”

But, it looks like I’ll be getting a new pair of shoes now. Not so dumb after all.

2 dogs and 1 new pair of shoes. Best Labor Day weekend. Ever.

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.

Marlboro County Animal Shelter

August 4, 2011

After spending a fabulous few days on Hilton Head Island with Mom, Dad, and the kids, Scott and I decided to leave a few hours earlier than we had planned. Kerri, from Middle Mutts (the rescue organization I work with), had mentioned that they desperately need someone to visit the Marlboro County Animal Shelter to take photos of the shelter dogs there. A shelter dog’s best chance of being adopted is to be posted on and other adoption sites. A shelter dog’s best chance of being rescued is to have his/her photo and information shared with rescue organizations, or with individuals able and willing to foster.

So, Scott agreed, albeit somewhat reluctantly, to help me photograph and record information about the dogs at Marlboro County. Truthfully, I think he agreed to go with me because he didn’t trust me to come back without a car full of dogs otherwise.

Marlboro County is four hours from Hilton Head. We left around 10:00, never thinking to call. We assumed that the shelter would be open until 5:00. Imagine our horror when we showed up at 2:57 and found this:

So, I’m filing this as a “memorable mishap” blog post. Lesson learned: call any far away shelter with which you’re unfamiliar to ask about their hours. *sigh*

The fact that the shelter is only open 1.5 hours in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon, 5 days a week further complicates the animals’ chances of being adopted. The weekend is the most popular time to adopt a pet, and that’s when this shelter is closed. They lack the resources, I assume, to operate on a more regular schedule.

Despite the fact that I couldn’t get in to photograph and to talk to the shelter workers about the animals there, I was able to get a few photos through the fences that surround three side of the building. The faces are many and haunting.

These are good dogs, dealt a bad hand. One of them, a larger white one, barked at me in the beginning, but as soon as I let her smell me, she was kissing my hand through the chain-link fence, smiling and begging to be petted.

Another one who barked and then turned into a big baby is this guy. Scott says he must weigh 100 pounds at least. Most dogs play with tennis balls. The shelter workers put a BASKETBALL in the pen for Big Boy (our nickname for him), and he entertained us for about twenty minutes. Scott said he was trying to dribble. He’d knock it from wall to wall, and do it faster whenever I’d say, in my best Soccer Mom voice, “Get that ball! Get it!”

But, as you can see, there are dogs of all sizes and ages. We were heartbroken that we couldn’t do more while there. If anyone lives in or near to Bennettsville and is willing to help, please send me a message. All it takes is an hour or two, and it could quite literally save the life of someone’s future best friend.

And, if you don’t have the time or inclination to do that, please consider contributing to (one of) my current foster’s heartworm treatment. The less expenses I incur with a foster, the sooner I’m able to afford to pull another one.

Here’s the chip-in link for Finn, my Chester York:

And here’s a photo of the little guy:

Worms, worms, and more worms.

July 27, 2011

Chesters Pa(X)ville and York

Pulled: Wednesday July 20, 2011 from Dillon County Animal Shelter/Middle Mutts

Poor Chester York. The kids and I took both Pa(X)ville/Max and York to the vet on Friday. Both had hookworms (yuck), and York tested positive for the dreaded HEARTWORMS.

So, he’ll have to spend 3 days at the vet, getting expensive treatment. The rescue organization I work with, Middle Mutts, has set up a chip-in link to raise money for his treatment. Please consider chipping in at:

(And, yes, I changed Finn’s name to York, to continue with my Chester+SC towns/cities/counties system of naming.) We’ll just say that his full name is Chester Finn York, or Chester York Finn. Either suits him well, I think.

The good news is that Chester Y. seems to be in the early stage of heartworm disease, so I’m hoping for a quick and easy recovery. The medicine will cause the worms to die and to fall off the affected organ/s. From what I understand, the only thing we’ll have to do afterward is coddle him for about a month. We don’t want the little guy to overexert himself, thereby speeding up the whole worm eviction thing and risking a clot. But, Chester Y. is such a cutie that he makes coddling easy, whether required or not.

More good news: Once well, Chester Y. will have a home with Lisa Bailey; human sister, Hannah; and canine sister, Molly. Lisa will be renaming him “Pepper,” which suits him too. And what a lucky guy to be spoiled by a houseful of fabulous girls.

And, yes, I did freak out when I was reminded about the nasty, contagious parasites that are hookworms. They’re very common during the summer in the South, and shelter dogs are prime targets. Our family dogs and foster Chester E. should be fine, since they are all on heartworm preventative. — which also prevents hookworm infection.

However, humans can get hooksworms too! If you’re infected, you may see what looks like the worm beneath the surface of your skin. It’s called a “creeping eruption.” /shudder.

To prevent this: (1) pooper scoop your yard; and (2) wear shoes. To all of those who have teased me about rejecting my Southern roots by refusing to let my kids go barefoot: SCORE! for me.

ALTHOUGH: don’t think I haven’t convinced myself, at times, that I have hookworms anyway. I’m perfectly capable of imagining hookworms jumping onto the side of my foot that’s not protected by my flip flop. Chesters Y. and X. should be fine now, after having successfully endured 3-days worth of dewormer, but I still feel my feet itching occasionally all the same.

Chester PaXville: Adopted by Jim Summey; Renamed Max

Chester York: Adopted by Lisa Bailey; Renamed Pepper

Top Ten Memorable Mishaps: What I’ve Learned (so far) While Fostering Dogs

July 17, 2011

1) When washing a shelter dog, do not forget to wash his head. I learned this lesson early. When I brought home Chester, my first foster, to say that he “smelled like a dog” would be an understatement. But, then again, I do have a superhuman sense of smell.

One of my best friends, Tracy, and I set about washing him. Scott had given me permission to foster, as long as I would do all the work. “I like my life to be EASY,” he constantly reminds me.

When he got home, though, he said, “He stinks!”

“We know!” Tracy and I wailed. “But we don’t know WHY! We bathed him!”

“Did you bathe his head?” Scott asked.

Oops. No. We did not bathe his head. We couldn’t remember why. — either we didn’t want to get soap in his eyes or we just forgot.

“His head has fur too,” Scott said exasperated, and then gave him a proper bath while T. and I watched. Lesson learned.

2) Do not allow your children to lift dogs half their size. Or put them in situations where they’d think they might need to.

My very petite six-year-old wanted to walk our second foster dog, 22 pound Chester Berkeley. I said, “Sure.” She walks Emma, our miniature dachshund, often with no problem.

I did not predict Berkeley would pull away from her, or that he would take off immediately afterward. Or that Arina would chase him, screaming and crying, not having faith that he would come back to her or to our house. Or that, when she finally cornered him in a neighbor’s doorway, she would try to pick him up and carry him home.

Having heard her scream, I ran outside and watched as they both fell over, Berkeley’s long snout poking her in the eye.

The next morning, it was black and blue and swollen. I was convinced we were going to get a call from the school counselor, demanding to know who had given our first-grader a black eye. I was almost equally afraid of Arina’s explanation: that her mother brings new dogs into the house all the time and that one of them “bit” her, which would take the abusive charge to negligent.

I received no calls, thank goodness, although I wonder what her teacher thought when she read the following in A.’s school journal: “My eye is sowlean. My adopdedid dog bit me under the eye! I’m ok now. My mom put some metusen on it yesterday.”

3) Never promise a prospective adoptive parent that the dog is [fill in the blank here]. One of the selling points I used for Chester Berkeley is: fully potty-trained. And, indeed, he never had a potty accident inside our house. But, as soon as I used that as a selling point, he pooped on the floor in the first two potential homes he visited. Bad boy. And bad foster mother for jinxing it.

4) Dogs are not sheep.

Scott and I went to his parents’ house one weekend with Chester Edisto, with plans to build them a deck while they were away on vacation. Mrs. Fisk has a dog, but she does not let him jump on her furniture. Of course, the first thing that Chester E. did was jump on her couch.

“No, Chester Edisto,” I said pulling him down. “Here’s your bed.”

He jumped up again.

Repeat this at least twenty times.

Enter Scott. “Well,” he said, “Shepherds use crooks to herd their sheep.”

Me: “We don’t have a shepherd’s crook.”

Scott: “We have this,” getting a broom. “I’ll sweep the couch, on the opposite side from Chester E. I’m sure he’ll jump down. And he won’t jump back up b/c who knows when the couch will be swept again.”

I looked at him doubtfully. “It’s herding,” he said.

And Chester E. did, indeed, jump down as soon as Scott touched the couch with the broom. BUT, he jumped so far across the room that he very nearly overturned the Fisks’ new and probably very expensive LCD television.

And Edisto was so traumatized that we had to spend half an hour calming him down. He slept on the couch the entire weekend. Sorry, Mrs. Fisk.

5) Don’t fight in front of your children. Or your dogs.

Scott and I adore each other. We rarely fight, but, when we do, it’s of the Heathcliff/Catherine in Wuthering Heights variety. It’s . . . well . . . stormy.

We know not to have these blow-ups in front of the kids. But the kids were in bed, fast asleep. I don’t even remember what, exactly, we were fighting about. — only that it had something to do with Scott’s Battlefield Two computer game obsession. I always say that we have our fiercest to-dos over the game, because Scott’s adrenaline rush from playing seems to make him particularly volatile.

I probably asked him to stop playing to help me with some mundane chore. He probably told me “no” or that he wants to do what he wants to do. But he said it loudly, whatever it was.

Me: “Stop it. You’re being mean.”

Scott: Not stopping.

Me: “Stop it. You’re being mean.”

Scott: Not stopping.

Me: “Stop it. You’re being mean” as I aim a rotten tomato at his head. [yes, i know that i shouldn’t have done that, and who knew i’d have such perfect aim?]

Scott, with tomato juice dripping from the back of his head: VERBAL EXPLOSION of some sort, while breaking the pepper grinder against the floor.

Chesters Edisto and Florence: Both run upstairs to Jack’s nursery. Edisto jumps in the chair beside Jack’s crib. Florence hides beneath it.

Scott and I, shamefaced, spend the rest of the night (1) cleaning up the stairs, since one dog pooped on the way up them; and (2) explaining to Chesters E. and F. that foster mommy and daddy sometimes fight but that we love each other very much.

And there’s nothing like cleaning up dog poo and comforting fur babies to make you feel like a team again.

6) Do groom your dog. For some dogs, grooming and cleanliness are closely intertwined.

Only having short-haired dogs, I never thought about the importance of grooming until I brought home two very neglected poodle mixes that were recently rescued from the Marion County kill shelter.

Both were so frightened that they pooped when I picked them up. And their tangled mess of hair acted like a net for it. Laurie, who runs Sandy Crest Kennels (where the boys were being temporarily housed), tried to wipe Chester Gilbert before I put him in the car with me, but wiping only seemed to make it worse.

Chester, featured in #1 above, smelled like a dog. Gilbert (and later Hampton) smelled like a sewer. My mother, who was driving, sped home. I mentioned that she was going to get stopped for speeding, to which she replied, “Well, then, I’ll just tell the officer to stick his head in the window, and he’ll see why.”

Something I never thought I’d do: Cut days? weeks? months? worth of dried poop out of a dogs’ fur. I’ve done that now. Twice.

7) Never aim a syringe full of dewormer at the ceiling.

Really, enough said. The vet prescribed Gilbert and Hampton 3-days’ worth of dewormer in a syringe as a precaution. They were both so terrified during their vetting that he didn’t want to traumatize them further with a fecal exam.

The dewormer was of pepto bismol consistency, only white, and each syringe was capped with blue plastic, to keep it from leaking. The plastic cap was stuck. I thought that I would put the tiniest bit of pressure on the end of the syringe to pop it off. The result: Dewormer dripping from the bottom of my kitchen cabinets. Then, me, frantically trying to collect it, so that I could give it to the boys.

8 ) Do not underestimate a pregnant/nursing mother’s ability to get around.

While pregnant, Chester Iva was too big to be believed. Since giving birth, she looks too emaciated to be believed. Chester Iva, in both states, seemed/s like she should not be able to move quickly. But, if she spots Emma or Mr. Knightley or Chester Edisto near her pups, she will level her huge ears and charge towards them, like a bull. They scatter like bowling pins. Needless to say, E&K&E leave Iva’s pups alone, and Scott and I are more careful about assuring her when other dogs are around.

9) You may know the difference between male/female, but don’t assume that you can tell the difference with newborn pups.

I was sure that I would be able to pick up pups on the day they were born and sort them, male or female. I sat down, with a pencil and a sheet of paper, and started inspecting and recording. When I looked at my completed list, I was reminded of those times in grade school when I would throw in a different letter in “ABCD” choice questions for good measure, when it seemed time to see one.

So, I had to educate myself, Hermione Granger style, before I understood the secret to sexing puppies (i.e. boy part is right below the umbilical cord; girl part is between the legs).

Also, puppies are squirmy. But I’ve already written about that mishap:

10) Remember: Sometimes rescue commitments fall through.

After Chester Iva’s pups were born, I got an email from the rescuer in Philadelphia who was planning to take them all a week or two after the birth. She was no longer able to do so. PANIC. I was terrified to tell Scott. This had the potential to be more than a “mishap.” It would be a genuine crisis.

I didn’t tell Scott until I had emailed several rescue organizations, hoping to find another one willing to help. I tried to take a nap that day, but I kept waking up because of strange dreams/nightmares. In one, I secured a rescue, only to discover that Chester Iva had turned into a cat and all of her pups into kittens.

“I’m sorry,” the person who had committed to rescue said. “We’re a dog rescue, not a cat one.”

“But they were dogs this morning,” I wailed, before waking up.

Thankfully, there’s something else to remember; namely, that the world is full of good people. Special thanks to Jen at Save-A-Litter Pregnant Dog Rescue in Logansville, GA. Her organization will be taking Iva and her thirteen. She will find them forever homes and has secured a wonderful foster home for them until that happens.

I’ll be writing a special post for them when the time comes, but until then, look up Save-A-Litter Pregnant Dog Rescue on facebook and give them a big thumbs up, on Iva’s (and Jefferson’s, Kline’s, Lydia’s, Marion’s, New Ellenton’s, Oates’s, Patrick’s, Quinby’s, Ruby’s, Sumter’s, Taylor’s, Ulmer’s, and William’s) behalf.