Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ellen Contiuned....

I need to finish my story on Ellen:

So Katie and I work for a few days on introducing Ellen to our dogs. We get to the point where they can even all be in the same area without any problems. Life is good. One evening after work, Katie and I decide to enjoy the weather by grilling and eating outside. All three dogs are playing in the backyard together, the food is on the table, and we are feeling good about things. Katie runs into the house to grab some salad dressing as I sit down with my backs to the dogs. Literally within the first second I sat down I heard snarling and growling. I fly around to discover my two dogs having cornered Ellen. They have her backed against the fence and look like they are about to pounce on her at any second. Without thinking, I run over to them just as they begin to thrash and roll around. I grab Moose by his scruff to pull him out of the fight. As I move to grab Moose, Ellen latches onto my thigh. She bites down hard and holds it as she stares right into my face. I really don't think she ment to bite me but just bit whatever came at her which foolishly was my exposed leg. By this time Katie has come out of the house and is about as horrified as I am. After a few seconds, Ellen lets go of my leg and we grab our dogs and put them inside the house. I'm prety shocked and am hoping around as blood starts dripping from my leg.

To make a long story short, I ended up going to the doctor's office the next day to get the wound cleaned out. The doc also recommended that I take some antibiotics and get a tetnus shot.

I'll add the pics of my leg later tonight.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Ellen" the golden retriever

On August 16, 2008 we got a new dog from the Minneapolis Animal Control named Ellen. I immediately object to her name thinking that we are already hyping up the lesbian stereotype by having and fostering large dogs...we don't need one of them named after one of the most famous lesbians of our time. We can't think of anything better to call her so we keep her name.

Ellen is a golden retriever mix. She's very beautiful and very timid. Shannon tells us that she thinks Ellen had a pretty hard life and was likely abused by her previous owners. Katie and I decide to introduce our dogs to Ellen in the backyard. Within two seconds, Emma (our female dog) must have sensed that Ellen was nervous and basically tackles her to the ground in a mess of snarls and teeth. Sometimes Emma acts like a middle-school girl when it comes to female dogs. She gets along great with most dogs but if the other dog is a shy, female dog that is close to her in size, Emma pummels the shit out of the poor dog. 

Well great, Ellen is already afraid and suspicious and then we give her a great welcome home. Katie and I devise a plan to keep Moose and Emma away from Ellen so she can adjust to the house. For the next few days we never let the dogs meet eachother except when we go on walks in the evening. Everything is going really well. Sure it's a pain to keep the dogs apart but it seems to be paying off.

Our first foster dog(s)

On August 9, 2008 Katie and I met at Minneapolis Animal Control to pick out a foster dog. The director of Underdog Rescue met us there to point out a few dogs she thought might be a good fit in our home. Before Katie arrives, I have a chance to walk around and look at the dogs in their cages. I turn the corner and lay my eyes on a beautiful smooth-coated collie. He is giving me the look that says "Hey you! Get me out of place!" and I decide right there that I am going to do whatever I can to trick Katie into taking him home with us.

I can immediately tell that this dog is full of energy. He is franticly jumping up and down and seems excited that I stopped at his kennel and am now talking in a high-pitched voice to him. I can tell he is going to be a handful and that he is not the type of dog Katie wants but when I see that his shelter nametag says "Due Out" I don't care what Katie thinks. When a dog's nametag is stamped "Due Out" it basically means they could be euthanized any day. The collie was an owner surrender so he had only been in the shelter for a week before they stamped him.

Katie arrives to the shelter and I start working my trickery. I excitedly take her over to his kennel and say, "This is the one we should get. Look how awesome this dog is!" She scrunches her forehead which is something she does when she thinks I'm nuts. "Okay, let's look at the other dogs," I tell her. We walk around and see a very calm dog who also seems excited and happy that we stopped in front of her. Her tag also is stamped "Due Out" so she needs to be rescued ASAP. This dog is small (20lbs), calm, and seems like she will be a very easy dog to foster. This is the dog Katie wants to be our first foster dog. I can't help but think about the collie. I ask Katie if we can foster both dogs. She scrunches her forehead at me. Bad sign. Luckily, the director Shannon is standing nearby and hears us talking. She works some amazing trickery and somehow we manage driving home with both dogs. We decide to name the collie "Drake" and the small, calm dog, "Bella."

Katie was right, having 4 dogs was a little much. I felt like one of those crazy dog people that you make fun of at the dog park. Luckily, both Drake and Bella have found their forever homes with really great families!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How we got started

My girlfriend Katie and I are foster moms for Underdog Rescue of Minnesota, a non-profit, volunteer, foster-based dog/cat rescue. They are a great organization that seeks to place unwanted dogs and cats in their forever homes! If you want to check out their website go to http://www.underdogrescuemn.com/

We started fostering dogs because Katie has a conscience. She came home one day after work and told me that her life lacked meaning. Thinking this was going to be one of those talks that people in relationships dread, I shifted in my seat. She continued to tell me that she didn't feel fulfilled at her job and she wanted to be involved in things that "made a difference" in the world. She told me that she filled out a few applications to be a foster home to rescued dogs. I couldn't help but laugh a little at her need to "make a difference." Katie is a legal advocate for victims of domestic violence. She helps people after they've experienced a huge trauma and makes a concrete difference in their lives! She has a positive impact in other peoples' lives every day. How many people can say that? I thought maybe she was trying to earn her way into heaven and I agreed to be open to the idea of fostering dogs.

Shannon McKenzie, Underdog Rescue's director, gave Katie a call and came over for a home visit and informal interview. I guess we didn't show any obvious signs of mental unstability because she told us to meet her at Minneapolis Animal Control later that week to get our first dog.

A little background info on how Underdog Rescue gets their dogs:
Most of the dogs come from Minneapolis Animal Control, which is essentially a dog pound. Depending on how the animals arrived at the pound they have a certain amount of time before they are euthanized. If an animal is an owner surrender, meaning the owner of the dog or cat willingly brings the animal to the pound saying they can't take care of the pet or some other lame excuse...the animal could be euthanized within a week of arrive at animal control. If the dog is a stray and brought in by someone from the community or picked up by an Animal Control officer, then the dog has a little more time to live. It may sound horrible but many of the animals at local shelters are very close to death. If it were not for rescue groups like Underdog Rescue and others these dogs would be killed. Sometimes they are adult dogs but there are often unwanted litters and puppies at Minneapolis Animal Control.

Obviously we are animal crazy and I should mention that Katie and I have two dogs of our own. Emma is a 3 year old lab/collie/white shepard/boxer mutt and Moose is an 18-month old lab mystery mutt. Emma came from a local rescue and Moose came from the Golden Valley Humane Society. Pictured below is Emma enjoying the view after a summer swim and Moose (as a pup) snuggling with our friend Susan.