Monday, April 30, 2012


I’ll post about the rest of my weekend and deals later, but first I am eager to introduce you to someone… meet Knucklehead!!

He is our first foster with Chicago English Bulldog Rescue (CEBR).  I didn’t say anything last week because I was nervous I would jinx it (as you may recall, we applied to be fosters in Oct '11 so it's taken patience to get to this point), but last Monday Ben and I had a phone training to use CEBR’s website database; which essentially where all of the brains are.  As volunteers, we can see all bullies (past and present), that are in foster, waiting for foster, adoption, etc.  Each dog has a profile which includes their medical and family history, diet, characteristics, etc.  As a foster home, it’s our responsibility to update for our dog and our comments will help to determine which adopting home will be the best fit.

When we did the training, we updated our status as available to foster – after May 5th, due to the birthday party. Wednesday I got an email saying that they’d figured out who our foster would be (taking into consideration our home with stairs and Oscar). I responded back with our concern of the party and CEBR said they were worried if we didn’t take the dog this weekend, he’d disappear.  Thus, we resolved to have another volunteer pick him up from the owner and I would get him on my way back into town Sunday night.  For the party, we’ll schedule to have him go to the vet on Friday or Saturday and he’ll stay through Monday.

So, to tell you more about picking up him.  I agreed to meet the other foster at a gas station near his home.  He emailed me Sunday afternoon to confirm that he had picked up Knucklehead and things went well.  He said the family was really sad with the realization that they were really going to say bye (after all, the dog is 7.5 and they’ve had him since he was a pup).  They were giving him up to financial hardship. I got the call that the volunteer was on his way and my heart was racing.  Once the pulled up, this sweet little guy got out of the car and obediently got into my front seat. I got his kennel, blanket, dishes, food and “pool” (lol, he loves swimming like Oscar; it’s really just a small plastic bin) and the low-down on his schedule and we were off.
I greet (or is it greeted?) him with lots and lots of pets and Knucks didn’t do anything but smile and take it in.  When I stopped petting him to drive he tried to climb in my lap for more.  I blocked him with my right arm, which he proceeded to lick and kiss.  The poor guy is SO skinny; you can see the ridges of his spine and his ribcage.  He also has a lot of loose skin around his belly when he’s sitting (much more than Oscar).  His profile had listed him at 60 pounds, but after picking him up a few times, I really wonder if he even weighs in the 50’s. 

After some time of kisses, he eventually put his head on the armrest and starting doing what bullies do best, snoozing and snoring :O).  It was at this point that I called Ben to fill him in on how things were going and also to suggest that Oscar get a bath because Knucklehead was going to need one.  (Part of our integration plan to let Oscar know his is still our main squeeze is to let him do everything first; like eating, walks, bath, etc).  Ben and I are aware that if we don’t do a good job of cleaning the apartment, the dog smell can creep in.  Well, K’s items, including himself, all have a very very strong dog odor!  His kennel is filthy and also starting to rust (due in part that he was kept outside the majority of time for the past couple years). 

Once I got off the phone, I pet him some more while driving and he kept laying there sleeping.  I turned on the radio and Adele’s “Someone Like You” was playing.  I’m not sure why, but it made me tear up a bit while having this sweet and helpless animal next to me.  I changed the radio just in time to hear the chorus of Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home”.  I really can’t say why, but I think it was a mix of the rain, going to the visitation of a good friend’s young dad and having Knucklehead next to me, but I just started bawling.  There are so many things in life that we are blessed with and easily take for granted.  Not only are Ben and I lucky enough to afford a nice apartment in a big city that we love with a wonderful dog, but I do feel truly blessed that we’re in the situation to be able to help CEBR and other dogs who need it.  Plus, I thought of my dear friend and the loss of her father, who will not get to walk her down the aisle or even be there to see her get engaged.  Last night I just had this feeling of overwhelming emotion and I am SO glad that Ben and I are taking this opportunity to volunteer in this way together, and to make a difference.

Coming home, we followed CEBR’s guideline for introducing an adopted dog into a family with a home.  Ben took Oscar out for a walk and I passed by them with Knucks.  The dogs stopped and said hi with both tails wagging.  We kept moving and Ben took Osc inside to the bedroom.  Afterwards, K and I went in and I let him check out the place.  We got his kennel set up in the guest bedroom while Osc laid on the couch. I took Knucklehead into the bathroom for a bath and I was surprised how eager he was to get into the tub and even more so to see how happy he was while being bathed.  Afterwards, he went back to the guest room and Ben went into to introduce himself and play while I reassured Oscar that I still love him so so much.

Before bed I hopped on the desktop (in the guest room) to post on FB and update K’s CEBR profile (we’ll do this daily for these first couple of days). At first he came and sat by me for some pets and after a while he laid down right at my feet and started to sleep.  How sweet is that?!  Bedtime was hard for him.  Ben and I were unsure if we should kennel him or just let him have range of the guestroom (he doesn’t appear to know/be able to get up on the bed).  I opted for the kennel the first night (we’d given him a new blanket while he washed his stinky one; hopefully he didn’t miss it too much).   However, shortly after going into our room and reading, we began to hear him crying over the noise of our fan.  I thought maybe he was scared of the dark; so I opened the guest bed door, put up the baby gate, turned on the kitchen “nightlight” and left him in the kennel.  The crying continued.

Ben was convinced that he was sad because he was in the kennel so he went and let him out. Knucklehead cried once or twice and stopped.  A few moments later we heard some strange sounds and then paws on the wood floor – the guest bed has carpet… He had figured out how to plow down the baby gate! I went into the kitchen to find him just standing there.  As soon as he saw me, he wiggled over with a big smile on his face.  I coaxed him back into the kennel and put up the baby gate and left the door open.  He cried some, but not nearly as bad as before.  However, an hour after I turned off my reading light, he started really crying, like howling (I’d never heard a bully howl before!).  I ended up doing what we do for Oscar when he sleeps in the kennel; I put a blanket over the kennel.  I know it sounds kind of mean, but actually, it makes their kennel more like a “natural” den; so it’s supposed to be cozy and comforting and it worked!!  We all slept through the rest of the night!

This morning Oscar ate in the kitchen, like usual, while Knucklehead chowed down in the guest room.  Osc did his potty and went back to bed with Ben.  Knucklehead walked farther than Oscar usually needs to, but he did all of his business, which is a great sign (and it’d be wonderful for him to be on a similar schedule as Osc).  I’m excited to play with the guys more when I get home and also for farther introductions tonight!  I hope you don’t mind, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing more of these experiences as the days go on.

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