In Praise of Chester Hazelle Hawthorne (aka Ella)

January 8, 2012

Pulled: Friday December 30 2011 from Richmond County Animal Shelter

Adoption commitment: Saturday December 31 2011 by the Headley Greenlaw family

I may have found my match, at least where my love of dogs is concerned: friend and neighbor, Emily Headley. When Emily heard that I came back from Richmond County Animal Shelter last Friday with two puppies in tow, she was outside my door on Saturday morning. She bonded at once with Chester Hazelle Hawthorne.

“What’s her name?” Emily asked. I explained that I named her Hazelle after a particularly strong though minor character in The Hunger Games series. Then, since I have a thing for shortening names (even Jack often becomes Ja), the name morphed to “Elle” and finally to “Ella,” just because she looks like an Ella to me. Emily agreed and took her off to meet June, Emily’s normally-not-so-crazy-about-dogs mother. Imagine my surprise when Emily said that June agreed to let Emily adopt her. Then, imagine my horror when, four days later, Ella vomited blood.

See, below, one of the sickest puppies ever:

The vet diagnosed Ella with the dreaded Parvo. I’ve never had a dog, family or foster, with Parvo before, but I’ve heard people speak of it — in a whisper, which always means it’s really bad. One of the newest, youngest arrivals at the shelter, Ella had not received her first set of shots. Richmond staff had been careful to keep her away from any sick dogs, but this is why it’s so important to get puppies out of shelter environments. With little to no immunity, their presence in a shelter is akin to  a newborn’s in the sick ward of a hospital.

The vet told June that treatment would be $500-800 and that Ella had about a 50% chance of surviving it. June’s response? “Well,” she said valiantly, “that’s what credit cards are for.” And, she told me that she would make sure that Ella survived if love and attention could do it. She vowed to spend hours with her in the quarantine room every day, if the vet would allow it. In short, she responded the way anyone who had fallen in love would. And how could you not fall in love with such a cute puppy, sporting — of all things — a heart-shaped nose?

At first, Ella showed little improvement, despite the anti-nausea meds and iv fluids. See  Ella, below, still being pathetic on Day 2:

See Ella, below, still being pathetic on Day 3:

Day 3, however, marked the first no-vomiting day, and June and I think it may be because Ella wanted so badly to impress a very special after school visitor:

One of June’s friends predicted, “If that doesn’t make her better, nothing will!” And, lo and behold, Day 4:

Yes! That’s Ella, lifting her head! — such a little head, I know, but for days she’s been too weak to lift it. She, of course, prefers to rest it on June, but we know, at least, that she can do it.

And here she is, one-upping herself by sitting up.

June decided this was Ella’s way of saying, “Take me home,” and she told the vet so. The vet said that Ella isn’t out of the woods yet, but that the four days June has spent in puppy quarantine with Ella is proof enough for him that she’s capable of continuing an at-home version of the treatment. We suspect that the vet is tired of having to push June out the door every day at 5:30 and arriving to find her on the doorstep the next morning.

But, hurrah, Ella is home! See Ella, below, with her welcome party: human sister Emily and canine brother Red:

Here’s to Ella’s continued improvement! And, if you haven’t already, please consider donating to the Ella fund. I asked the fabulous Middle Mutts (the 501(c) 3 organization that I so often work with) to set up a chip-in for Ella’s medical treatment. When I told Middle Mutts friend, Judith, that Ella has Parvo, she set the goal at $600. When June left with Ella today, she put $594.00 on her credit card. To say that Judith has been doing this awhile and that she knows her stuff is an understatement.

Let’s help June out with as much as we can, especially since she’ll still have the refill medication and follow up visits to pay for (and since Emily, sweet girl that she is, has already put in all that she’s been saving of her allowance):

Thanks in advance. And thanks to the Hedley Greenlaw family for proving that they’re made of the same stuff Hazelle Hawthorne/Ella is: a whole lot of heart and a whole lot of spirit — which equals an especially winning combination.

2011 in review

January 1, 2012

Thanks and Happy New Year to all my readers! Love from the Fisks and all the pups

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Chesters Gregor and Hazelle Hawthorne

December 31, 2011

Pulled: Friday December 30 2011 from Richmond County Animal Shelter

Adoption commitment for Gregor: Wednesday January 28 2012 by Jen Fowler and Kevin Richmond

Adoption commitment for Hazelle: Saturday December 31 2011 by the Headley Greenlaw family

Meet Chesters Gregor and Hazelle, fosters #59 and 60:

Chesters Edwards and Forest went to their new homes today! Hurrah! Conveniently, Edwards’s/Frankie’s new home is only twenty minutes from the Richmond County Animal Shelter, so I thought it only polite to pay Allison a visit. As soon as Allison saw me, she said that she had the perfect foster: a 3 month old Chihuahua/Feist  male pup. “Perfect!” I said. And, indeed, he is. See teeny tiny Gregor, below:

And, no, there aren’t any “G” towns/cities/counties in SC named Gregor. Naming fosters after towns/cities/counties is so 2011. With a new year comes a new system of naming fosters: I will go down an alphabet of literary characters. I told friend Rebecca Pomeroy to choose the name for my “G” foster, since I used her donation to pay his pull fee. She sent a list of truly fun and funky “G” names, but I fell in love with the name “Gregor” — probably because it made me thing of Suzanne Collins’s The Underland Chronicles, featuring none other than Gregor the Overlander as the young hero. Yay for literary associations! — although Grace Hagood: I promise to name a foster “Easley” at some point, just for you.

And, yes, Gregor is wearing a Christmas collar with a bell. You can just see the corner of it in the photo. Why did he come with bells on, literally? For the same reason that Daphne BordeauX had a bow on her head. Richmond County Animal Shelter employee Ashley always adorns her favorite shelter dogs.

Of course, I couldn’t pull only one puppy. A puppy needs a puppy friend — or he’ll cry at night and keep us awake. Enter Chester3 Hazelle. In the perfect literary world, Gregor would be paired with Luxa. But, I needed an “H” name, so I settled on a Suzanne Collins’s character from a different book: The Hunger Games. Hazelle Hawthorne is Gale’s mother in the series, and is a minor though resilient and therefore admirable character. And her namesake is resilient too:

You kind of have to be when you’re alone at 3 months in a shelter. Gregor and Hazelle aren’t from the same litter, though they look alike in some ways (small ears, short snout). Hazelle is listed as a Cocker Spaniel mix; still, at three months, she isn’t much bigger than Gregor. So, perhaps she’s a Spaniel mixed with a smaller dog, like a Chihuahua?

What I’ve noticed about the newest additions so far:

Gregor’s best feature: an underbite and a tail that curls above his back

Hazelle’s best feature: one eye with eyeliner, and one without

Gregor’s best personality trait: he’s feisty. Very. He barked at and chased my mother’s much older and larger dogs. And he won.

Hazelle’s best personality trait: she’s sweet. Very. Gregor would rather play, and Hazelle would rather cuddle; so each annoys the other. However, when Hazelle reaches her breaking point, she never fails to “pin” Gregor, Lion King style:

Good girl, Hazelle.

Contact me if you’d be interested in adopting Gregor or Hazelle!

And now for a memorable mishap:

This is an old memorable mishap, actually, but it’s appropriate since it involves both rescue dogs and Gregor the Overlander. Earlier in the year, I was coming back from the Dillon County Animal Shelter with some fosters (Paxville and York maybe?), and I was listening to an audiobook, as I often do on long trips. I was so engrossed in the story that I didn’t realize I was still driving in the left-hand lane on the interstate, and slowly at that. Someone who was wanting to pass honked angrily and then gesticulated wildly once I changed lanes and he was beside me.

My response? Like a dork, I pointed at the cd player and mouthed:


All that to say: Gregor, I think, is a very fitting name for my first literary-themed foster. Well chosen, Rebecca!

Edisto vs. the Zhu Zhu Pet

December 30, 2011

I love being facebook friends with Chester Edisto‘s Mom, because I get occasional updates about my favorite Wonder Dog.

The latest? Edisto has decided that Lindsey’s Zhu Zhu Pet is his new nemesis. See him, below, engaging the Zhu Zhu in a staring contest that he’s destined to lose. Poor Ed doesn’t understand WHY that damn rodent doesn’t blink. Obviously, it means that Zhu Zhus are pure evil.

One of Lindsey’s facebook friends predicts that, eventually, the toy “will just make an annoying noise” and Edisto will “run away.”

He knows Edisto well.

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.

Chesters Edwards and Forest

December 4, 2011

Pulled: Saturday and Sunday December 3 and 4, 2011 from Richmond County Animal Shelter

Rescue commitment for Edwards: Friday February 3, 2011 by Dog World Rescue

Adoption commitment for Forest: Friday December 30, 2011 by Ifae of Pet-Sitting by Denise

Meet Chester3 Edwards:

and Chester3 Forest:

Recently, I got two first-time donations: the first from Ashley Smith’s mother (thanks Mama Pam!) and the second from Sandra Kellers’s parents (thanks Mama Kathleen and Papa Urs Keller!). That meant I could pull two new fosters to replace Ariel and Beaufort, who both went to rescue!

My “E” foster is named Edwards, after Pam’s family from South Carolina. And I’m so glad that Pam had a name request, since poor Edwards was mistaken for a girl at the shelter and named “Shelley.” I can definitely identify with the mistake, since such a luxurious soft and shiny coat should belong to females only. I still slip up occasionally and refer to Edwards as “she,” which really confuses Scott.

Edwards is a 1-year old Collie mix with the most gorgeous golden eyes (Lexi like) and a spattering of freckles across his nose.

He’s a smart boy, having already mastered sitting and fetch, AND (knock on wood) he *seems* to be house-trained. Of course, I hesitate to declare a dog house-trained, after an early memorable mishap. Still, Edwards has surprisingly good inside manners for a 1-year old, only standing on his back legs occasionally to beg for a treat.

Other favorite things about Edwards? — his fabulous curly tail and the fact that he prances. Yes. Prances. Like a horse.

Edwards met a prospective adoptive parent today, and good boy that he is, they hit it off. So, in a couple of weeks, he’ll be going to live with new mother Penny Pickerell and two feline siblings. A red-head herself, Penny and Edwards (who will be renamed Frankie) will be quite the handsome pair!

Forest, the Kellers’ pull, is still available for adoption, however.

Poor Forest, 4 years old, was in such a state when he arrived at Richmond County Animal Shelter that they didn’t even know he was a Schnauzer. Allison said that he looked like a dirty grey mop. But what a difference a good groomer and a holiday kerchief make!

When I committed to Forest, I didn’t know whether he was heartworm positive or negative. Allison guessed negative. Her reasoning? Forest’s hair was so thick and matted that an infected mosquito wouldn’t have been able to get near enough to his skin to bite him. And . . . she was right. He was tested today: heartworm negative! Yay for being unkempt!

Favorite thing about Forest? He tap dances. Seriously. Video coming soon.

And Scott? He can’t say a word, since the donations from Pam and Kathleen and Urs funded this pull. And . . . he said that he was okay with three fosters at a time — although, really: I don’t know why we’re still calling my love “Marvolo,” who is sitting behind me in the kitchen chair while I type, a foster.

I AM considering a new haircut for Morven, though. I’m wondering if he wouldn’t be Forest’s twin, if cut by the right groomer . . .

Morven makeover pics coming soon.

Thanks for everything, Pam and Kathleen and Urs! I wish you could see how happy Edwards and Forest were to break out of the slammer. See Edwards, below. I was standing in the kennel behind him, trying to get him to  look at me and smile. Instead, he turned Pointer and stared at the kennel lock, as if to remind me that the goal was to get both of us OUT of the kennel. Silly human.

As for Forest, he was shaking so badly that I didn’t have the heart to make him pose for a photo. So, at the end of the weekend, we have two happy pups and a happy Allison, because two kennels are now free for more of her four-legged children! Merry Christmas, Allison! Love and thanks from Edwards and Forest. And from Morven!

Current Available Fosters, as of 11-20-2011; and some memorable mishaps

November 20, 2011

I promised this list a week ago, but I have been digging my way from underneath a mountain of freshmen essays. Morven tried to eat some of them, to help me out, I’m assuming; but, I did the responsible teacher thing and pried the essays out of his jaws.

And I’m still not completely caught up with my grading, but I’ve decided that I have to take a half hour to update my blog, since Scott went doggy-adventuring with me today (to drop off latest Chesters Carlyle and Dewee, who are going to rescue), and he would not let me pull any additional fosters from the Richmond County Shelter, even though Allison was up to her chin in dogs, as always.

See, below, Scott’s steely expression:

As soon as Scott turned his back, Allison said, “Oh my God, don’t bring him here again! Bring Casey next time.”

Allison and I asked Scott to take some photos for us, since we were sure he’d fall for the dogs we made him view for an extended period of time through a lens. First, we tried these Cocker Spaniel/Hound mixes:

But, of course, the one on the left tried to do her best Gremlin impression when she caught Scott’s eye. Scott shuddered. Then, we asked him to photograph a sweet Jack Russell girl:

Still no sell. I walked Scott around the entire shelter, and he constantly whispered in my ear the following phrases in perfect rotation:

1. “The holidays are coming up.”

2. “You are already at your 3 foster at a time limit.”

3. “You have papers to grade.”

So, alas, I made my first trip to Richmond without bringing any fosters home. But, I promised Allison that I’d try to find homes for my current fosters as quickly as possible, so that I can make up for it next time.

1) Chester2 Lexington

Pulled: Friday September 2, 2011 from City of Columbia Animal Shelter

Update: Chester Lexington has been adopted!

Lexi is a 1-year old Norfolk Terrier. See, below, Lexi with Jack right after we brought her home. Her foster mother, Sandra, reports that she is an energetic girl, who would be perfect for someone who likes a walking buddy, and who isn’t too committed to a peaceful environment for backyard squirrels. Actually, if you’re annoyed by squirrels, Lexi is your girl.

2) Chester2 McBee

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

Adoption commitment: None; still available.

McBee, renamed Roo by foster dad John, is a 6-month old Rat Terrier mix. John and I joke that he’s a ferret disguised as a dog, since his long legs and nimble body allow him to go just about anywhere he wants. I visited recently, and he can make it from my lap to around my shoulders with both ease and speed.

He played fetch with my then-foster Dewey. Actually, Dewey fetched and Roo jumped over him while he ran — left then right, right then left — as though Dewey were a cone on a race track obstacle course.

Here he is, below, with snuggie #1:

And, here he is with John, his snuggie #2:

3) Chester2 MorVen

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

Adoption commitment: None, still available

I adore Morven. — so much so that I will only be able to give him to someone who I know personally and who will grant me foster mother visitation rights. Maybe it’s because of the way he and I bonded that day in the animal shelter, when I stretched myself out on the floor in front of him. Maybe it’s because of the way he makes my life easier by his attentiveness to Jack. Maybe it’s because he has soft, curly hair, like a teddy bear’s.

Seriously: is it just me, or does he look like an angel with the sunlight shining behind him?

Whatever the reason, I am the ONLY person (besides the kids) in this family who likes Morven. He’s disliked to such a degree that Scott has given him nicknames reminiscent of none other than Lord Voldemort, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Half the time he’s Morfin (Voldy’s crazy uncle), half the time he’s Marvolo (Voldy’s crazy grandfather).

Scott’s reasons for not liking Morven? (1) Morven pees whenever Scott touches him, probably because he’s freaked by the guy who doesn’t know his name; and (2) Morven destroys things in the way that most 8-month-old puppies do.

See our window screen, below:

Of course, this wouldn’t have happened if Mom and Scott had let Morven inside. As a nanny dog, he has to be with Jack. Otherwise, he gets a little . . . upset.

The “last straw” for Scott was when Morven got one of his shoes. Of course, that wouldn’t have happened if Scott had picked up after himself.

That scene played out as follows:

Scott: Verbal explosion of some sort

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Scott: Throws shoe


Scott: “I was trying to hit YOU!”

Me, pacified: “Oh. Okay then.”

Apparently, Scott was madder at me for bringing Morven into the house than he was at Morven, for destroying his shoe. So, he went for the ultimate insult in the Arab world.

Since then, we’ve been trying to teach Morven the difference between acceptable and unacceptable chew toys. See an acceptable one in his mouth below:

Well done, Marvolo.

4) Chester2 DalZell

Despite the fact that the place name DalZell sounds feminine to me, Z2 (renamed Zeus) is a boy. He’s a 2-year-old Chorkie (Chihuahua/Yorkie mix). This cute little guy has a rescue that has committed to him on December 3rd, but if I find a home for him before then, the rescue coordinator will hopefully take another in need.

Foster mom, Trina, reports that Zeus is sweet with both people and other dogs. And that he is especially fond of blankets. Also, she reports that she is now able to put away the homemade male wrap (to prevent urine marking). Good boy, Zeus.

And, thank you, Trina, for being such a resourceful foster mom! If only I had met you sooner . . . the Trina-brand male wrap is MUCH less expensive than the two Simple Solution male wraps I bought for Edisto at the pet store.

5 and 6) Chester3 Ariel and Beaufort

Pulled: Friday November 4, 2011 from Richmond County Animal Shelter

Update: Chesters Ariel and Beaufort have been rescued!

Ariel “Penny” and Beaufort “Otis” are a Shepherd and Beagle mix, respectively, and both are less than a year old. See the two of them below, leaving their soft beds in Scott’s shop to enjoy the sunny day:

Otis is a sweetheart, and he has such interesting coloring: mostly brown on his head; white and black spots everywhere else.

And, like the character Flynn Rider in Disney’s Tangled . . .

Otis has nailed “the smoulder:”

How can you resist?

As for Otis’s best girl, Penny, you’ve never met a dog with nicer brows. She looks like she had a fight with black eyeliner but came out the better for it:

When I pulled Penny, she was terrified. She hid behind the car seat the entire ride to Columbia, trembling. She’s submissive, timid even, but she loves to be loved. I’ll hear her paws against the glass on our back door: her way of letting us know that she’s outside and needs petting.

Every day, she comes out of her shell a bit more. Today, she played fetch with me. She nailed both the retrieving and the relinquishing part. Here she is standing proud, below:

Let me know if you’d be interested in adopting or fostering any of these impressive dogs! As soon as you do, I’m off to pull a new one in Pam Murray’s honor. Pam, my friend Ashley Smith’s mother, donated to the Fisk Foster fund, and I was thinking of how to spend the money. Should I buy a new, taller baby gate for Morven, who has Edisto the Wonder Dog’s super jumping ability? Should I use the money to pay for Zeus’s neuter surgery (something I’ve been putting off b/c of cost)?

Nope. I’ll let Ashley’s donation go towards the baby gate and Zeus’s neuter surgery. I’m letting Pam’s go to future foster E cubed. E is such a great letter after all.

Chester Edisto the Wonder Dog: ADOPTED at last!

November 13, 2011

Pulled: Thursday June 2, 2011 from a local rescue

Rescue commitment: Saturday, November 5th by Lindsey Schick

Only Chester Edisto, Wonder Dog that he is, would thwart adoption since June only to be adopted as a kick-off to National Shelter Dog Appreciation Week.

Congrats, foster #5 out of 56. So many of us, no doubt, thought that we’d never see that beautiful red stamp.

And here are the Top 3 reasons that Lindsey, my new facebook friend by the way, is perfect for Sto:

3) She has one dog already, so Ed will have a buddy. Here he is, below, with his new brother, Ray.

2) She understands Edisto’s unique needs. One of the first things she told me about Edisto is that he’s easily scared. Well, actually, the phrase she used was “terrified, with a capital T. ”

Me: “Yep. Did you read the post about the butterfly?”

So, Lindsey has fashioned a safe place for Ed, where he can get away from loud noises and butterflies and anything thing else that he finds terrifying: her bedroom closet. See, him, below peeking out from behind her clothes.

1) I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lindsey knows Harry-freaking-Potter. We’ve always had Hollywood ambitions for Ed. Maybe Daniel will hook him up.

The only thing that seems to be missing is a girlfriend for Ed. But, seeing him below, so happy and content, makes me think that he’ll let Lindsey have that distinction.

All our love, Ed. You’re a good Goober of a dog.

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.

Chester3 Carlisle and Dewey (Dewees Island)

November 5, 2011

Pulled: Friday November 4, 2011 from Scotland County Humane Society

Rescue commitment for Carlisle: November 20th, 2011 by Dog World Rescue

Adoption commitment for Dewey: November 20th, 2011 by Kerri’s friend, Nina. Kerri works for Middle Mutts!

Meet Chester Carlisle, a 10 month old Corgi/Pomeranian mix. Carlisle is up-to-date on vaccinations and neutered. And, yes, he looks very much like a fox. And, yes, that’s how I plan to pass him off if any animal control officers come knocking on my door.

Carlisle is a friendly playful guy, who plays a mean game of fetch. He’s smart too. Foxy smart. When I stopped at my parents’ house on the way back to Columbia, I put the new fosters in the one area of fenced in yard — the family cemetery. Mom had given me strict instructions NOT to come home with any additional fosters, so I thought I’d just leave them, unseen, in the family cemetery until I was ready to go. I drove into my parents’ garage with an empty car.

All was well, until we saw Carlisle running around the front yard. Apparently, he had jumped onto a bench and then over the fence. He wasn’t interested in running off, though. He was interested in running into the nice, heated house.

Mom: “What’s that?”

Me: “I don’t know. It looks like a fox.”

Mom: “How many did you get?”

Busted. SIGH.

Ah well. We think the name Carlisle fits him perfectly. It’s a fancy name, for a fancy fox of a guy, with a curly tail.

And meet Chester Dewey, a 3 year old Pekingese/Border Terrier mix. Dewey is up-to-date on vaccinations and neutered. And, yes, he has a bit of an under-bite, which makes his smile a little crooked.

But, as you can see from the close-up, he’s still an adorable little guy. And I don’t know his story, but I’m sure he was cared for at some point. He seems completely trained. He walks well on a leash and sits on command. And he hasn’t had a potty accident yet, though past experience has taught me never to promise that an animal is house-trained. See #3 of the “Top Ten Memorable Mishaps” blog post for details.

He also plays a mean game of fetch.

If you’d be interested in adopting or fostering Carlisle and/or Dewey, send me a message!