About The Foster Zoo

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We have decided to blog our adventures again. So much has changed since we last blogged. Bella and Shiloh both went to their forever homes and they are in wonderful families. June Bug got adopted. We quit fostering dogs after those adoptions because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. We quit doing therapy dog work because Tanker's epilepsy got bad. Tanker passed away June 9th, 2013. We adopted a senior border collie named Shania Tankerbelle in his memory. We still have our two cats, Sweet Pea and Little Bit. Wes has started rescuing pitiful bettas from Wal-Mart and we currently have seven. We have a camper. We camp. We have focused on giving our animals the best lives possible. We are The Foster Zoo Crew and we like to have fun.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spirituality keeps us going and puppies make us skinny.

Everybody in the Foster Zoo has lost weight since the puppies joined our pack.  My clothes are a little looser, Topher's harness is a little looser, and Wes' scale has gone down.  Our diets haven't changed.  We haven't joined a gym.  We just simply acquired puppies.

If you want to lose weight, ask to borrow us for the weekend.  Mom and Dad could use a break and we will keep you so busy running around that you may lose an inch or two in just a few days.  Call the Foster Zoo for details.  Reference the Puppy Weight Loss Plan.  Special rates if you ask to take Neo too.


The puppies really have been a joy to have.  They have kept me busy while Wes is at work and I have enjoyed training a puppy from scratch again.  Don't get me wrong, I still love to train Topher and Tanker, but the puppies have given me a new challenge.  Topher and Tanker are easy.  I already have that bond with them.  I have already gained their respect.  Shiloh and Bella are still learning who they are, what they are, and they are growing, both physically and mentally.  It's exciting to see them blossom into bigger and better dogs.  It's exciting when I reach a breakthrough with them.  Training a puppy is very rewarding.

What have the puppies learned in just the few short weeks they have been here:

1)  They have learned how to walk on a leash, and they do so very nicely.  They don't pull.  They don't chew on their leashes.  They are excellent on leash.

2)  They have learned their names.  Bella Bean and Shiloh Bug.  They individually know their names.  That took a little while, but they are paying attention more and more when I say their names now.

3)  They know sit.  Jocelyn worked on that with them some in Alabama, but they are really good at it now.  They know sit with both verbal command and hand signals.

4)  They come when called.  They don't know the command "come" yet, but they will run to me when I call their names.

5)  They know and are getting better at "wait."  Wait is a hit and miss command.  I am still working hard on that one.  If there is something they would rather have, they will break the wait. 

6)  They are almost fully crate trained.  They go into their crates when we say "go to your den."  They sleep comfortably in them most of the night.

7)  They are currently learning "leave it."  Like "wait", this one can be a hit or miss depending on what we are dealing with.  I just recently started working on this one, so I am not so worried that they are not perfect at it.

I do most of my training off leash.  I trained Topher and Tanker off leash.  I have no philosophy to this except that it's easier for me.  I have a hard time with coordination, so to pay attention to a dog, hold a leash, and mess with a treat bag is a lot at once.  No leash is just one less thing to worry about.  That's also the reason I don't do clicker training.  Don't get me wrong, I love Karen Pryor, but I just can't seem to coordinate the clicker in my hands while multitasking with other things.  I use a high pitched "YES" instead for a marker.  Karen Pryor is awesome though and I highly recommend clicker training for anyone who can multitask.

Today has been a down day.  I have been really tired.  Wes got home late, but had to get up early to go back to the doctor.  I went back to sleep until this afternoon.  I have taken Provigil and am drinking coffee, but I am still tired.  There's just a lot on my mind right now I guess.  I tend to stress myself out and worry about everything.  I guess that's the downside to caring about others so much.  When something bad happens, I stress a lot.

Wes' titer came back positive for Lyme Disease.  He is still on the 21-day course of doxycycline.  He seems to have gotten worse.  He has gotten better than when he initially was diagnosed, but his joint pain has gotten worse.  His hands, feet, knees, and elbows are all stiff.  His fatigue is bad too.  He sleeps from the time he gets home from work until the time he has to leave.  He drinks a lot of coffee at work to get through the evening.

His doctor said if he is still having as much joint pain as he has now when he is through the 21 days of doxycycline that he will refer Wes to an infectious disease doctor.  Wes also got a referral to pain management at Walter Reed for his back.  He has two bulging discs from an accident at work a couple of years ago.  He has been on pain meds and anti-inflammatories for over two years.  He has gone through physical therapy and a chiropractor.  Pain Management is the next step.  I imagine they will do an epidural injection on him.  I really hope it helps.  I just want him to be pain free for once.

My mom is having heart problems.  She currently has a holter monitor to wear to monitor an abnormal heart rhythm.  Cardiac problems run on her dad's side of the family.  Her father died in his 40s from heart problems.  Her grandfather died in his 40s from heart problems.  That's all we know about them.  My mom never knew her father.  I am, of course, worried about her.  My mom is without a doubt my best friend. 

How do I deal with stress?  If you know me and Wes, we are very spiritual people.  We stay as far away from religion as possible, but we are very in touch with our spiritual side.  God has always seen us through.  Deep in my heart I believe that nothing is bad.  Everything we encounter is just a milestone to our next phase in life.  Every life experience is to be used towards a bigger purpose.  Wes and I use our life experiences to help others.  Giving to others less fortunate than us is our way of using the lessons God has taught us though all our experiences.  Dog is a reflection of God, so they help us to help others.

Also, we live in a beautiful place.  All I have to do is walk outside to get in touch with my spiritual side.  We are blessed to live where we do.  I feel like it's a sanctuary.



This is our front yard.  Other than the sound of the dogs playing in the backyard, it is pretty peaceful.



This is our front and side yard.  It's a little overgrown because we haven't had time to do yardwork much this month.



I spend a lot of time outside.  I like to sit outside and read.  I like to sit outside and talk to God.  I am a little more careful of ticks than I used to be though. 

The dogs love to play outside.  Topher is having a blast with the puppies.  Tanker even gets in and plays sometimes too.  They are fun to watch.






Sometimes they play a little rough.  I have not had a fight break out though.  The two puppies have gotten into a fight with each other, but no fights since Topher started playing with them.  Also, the puppies have stopped mouthing us so much since Topher started playing.  He must be teaching them something. 


After outside play time, it's time to go in.




Where Little Bit waits for her playmates.




Shiloh usually cools off by laying on the vent in the breakfast room.



Or they all sprawl out in the living room and continue to play.





Then it's time for Tanker Meds.  Little Bit got first dibs today and ate the entire piece of ham when my back was turned. 



Bella says, "I can't believe Little Bit stole that entire piece of ham.  Look at us sitting here and waiting patiently and we haven't even gotten any yet."


Just when you think they should be ready to take a nap, they go at it again.





This is how we lose weight.  Puppies.  They are more effective than Weight Watchers, Curves, Golds Gym, or a personal trainer.  They keep us trained up on life, not just physically, but mentally too.  How can I not stay happy when I live in the Foster Zoo?

Now that I am finished writing this, the puppies have settled down for a nap.  Shiloh's new favorite place to sleep?  The fireplace hearth.  I guess she grew out of the side table.




Yes, that's still our little heater that I haven't packed up yet.  If it doesn't relate to Wes or puppies, it's no longer a priority at the moment.  It will get packed up eventually.

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