Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Frozen jello liver treat

Lily's new snack: liver pate, unflavored gelatin, oatmeal, parsley. Freeze it. It's a hit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Human prejudice

She has her own comfy chair,  two large orthopedic cushions, a Vari kennel, two quilts on the floor, and the bigger sofa, and Lily still prefers napping in that chewed up cardboard crate filled with rags. You make me look like an evil stepmother, CinderLilly.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Week 2: Wins!

1. I clipped her dew claws. Yay!

2. Lily snatched up a chicken bone on the street, and despite some head-turny avoidance, I could reach deep into her mouth and take it from her. Trust, yay!

3. The Doggy Ride and M.'s new bike are all set. We're going to the beach today.

Favorite things

The ikea back chair. Second only to floors.

Also, Lily likes rolling on earthworms. I don't know why.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Week 2: Personality Quirks

Now that she's settled in, Lily's funny personality quirks are showing up.

1) She's fascinated by water and boats. She stops and stares at the water when we're on a bridge or walking next to a canal, and yesterday, we ran next to a family going by in a boat before it got really weird.

2) She likes chasing birds. Chickens and ducks get her into a frenzy. It was cute at first, but now it seems to get her over-excited and all over the place on our jaunts out. We're starting a week of controlled even-paced jogging. I'll have to think about running her next to my bicycle.

3) She started barking sometimes over the weekend. I think she feels comfortable now, and knows this is HER house. So, we're going to start stop/re-direct training when she starts.

4) She marks like a boy. As in lifts one leg and tinkles over things she finds interesting, or (and this is funny) other dogs' poo in the street, as if to say, 'huh, you think you own this place? well, I'm marking your poo.' Good girl. I really hate it when people don't pick up after their dogs.

5) She has an issue with a mole on my shoulder. She thinks it's a bug crawling on Mommy and gnawed on it once. She tried to lick off a spot on my knee, too. Cutie.

Her Doggy Ride is arriving today. I've scoped out the nearest trails and beaches, yay.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Nap times or/ we used to be a poor dog... what?

Two large orthopedic cushions, her covered travel kennel with another orthopedic pillow inside, a fluffy donut bed, a double mattress on the floor, a quilt on the floor, and our shared sofa (covered in blankets), and Lily still prefers to nap on:

1) the wood floor or
2) inside a cardboard vegetable crate I filled with rags so she can bury her most special chewies.

Go figure.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Week 1: Hobos have the happiest dogs...?

Yesterday, as Lily couldn't/wouldn't go in the dog basket, I had to jog her to the vet. In the rain.
Of course we got lost, and cloud cover made it so that GPS was a joke.

Whew... We were 15 minutes late, but we made it.

Then, we got lost on the way back, and involuntarily took the dog poo non-scenic route around the entire Noordkwartier of Leiden. Man, people don't pick up after their dogs. :(((

I was lost, tired, demoralized, with M. giving me directions on the phone (from the computer at home), and through it all, Lily was such a trooper. To her, this was a roaming, wandering adventure.

As M. puts it, she handles like a Mercedes Benz. I could't deal with dog trotting, or her going off after a pigeon, and she knew it. She just loped peacefully next to me until we got to the meeting point with M. 2 hours, but we got home.


Then, this morning, she jumped in the duck pond. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Week 1: Lazy Sunday?

This is the face that blitzed through our one hour run, dug under hedges, jumped in a canal, and played power fetch.
I just live in my gym clothes now.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Week 1: Free run

One thing I said I wouldn't do for at least three months is a free run in the big field in the park. But this morning, during our hour-long morning jog, I figured, better find out how good her recall is in a manageable space.

It's away from immediate roads, and surrounded by woodsy park trails.

She ran, I ran, I ran in the other direction, called her, she stopped, came back. We did four to five sprints and recalls before I called a stop. A bit risky, but she was very good. It helps that every time she comes to me she gets love and praise. We're checking out a more secure free-run area for regular training.

Plus, this morning, she had half a boiled egg while we did breakfast training. This won't sort out her solid poo any time soon, but she's getting 20% of her meals in human grade food (chicken, eggs, ground beef, sardines), ultimately working up to 50% balanced real food diet (plus calcium etc).

The vet's closed over the weekend, so we're making an appointment on Monday.
[Tired dog is a happy dog: we brought the spare double mattress downstairs for her to plop down on]

Friday, July 17, 2015

Day3: some rhythm, some fail, mostly good

She escaped the higher barrier by squeezing through the cracks,  and jumping up to the chair.
I have to remember: Lily's a tough little survivor.
No accidents in the house,  though.

We started out this morning with a pee/poo, followed by a gentle  3.5k jog to siphon off her morning energy, then came home to a brushing session in the patio,  while she tried to figure out where the baby was. (4 stories up)

Then I shook out and beat all the cushions,  blankets, and throws, then vaccumed the house. She's okay with the vacuum cleaner,  but prefers to watch from the sofa.

We did a breakfast training session with Canagan kibble. She doesn't get Sit yet, unless I crouch down with food in my hand. (Confusing signals. She's probably associating different things, like motion with Sit.)

Now she's being super mellow while I have some coffee.  Such a perfect wonder dog.

[ETA] pre noon walk was 6km run (jog, sprint, chase, powerwalk) through the park and back. We're settling in for a quiet afternoon. She doesn't know it, but there's a frozen Kong with her name on it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 2: three escapes, I should be having heart attacks.

--But oddly enough, I'm a bit tougher this time around.

First mistake was taking her to the tiny free-roam island next to our building. It's for dogs, and they lope around and play. Lily wasn't much interested in wandering off by herself, for all that she's so excited on walks. Instead, after walking around for all of two minutes, she RAN BACK TO THE ENTRANCE, posed to flee. Luckily, I called her, she stopped--this time--waited until I caught up, put the leash back on her halter.

But she learns fast. Once she knows how to do one thing, she'll keep doing it.

Which led to my second mistake. I thought I'd dog -proofed our patio. Apparently, not well enough.
She slipped out through the window between the rose bush, and was wandering around two patios down before I figured out she'd gotten out. I had to climb over fences to get her back.

Then she did it again.

The cracks are all bricked up now.

The biggest challenge though, is for her to calm down. She's in a constant state of panting excitement, and then, every five minutes comes over to head-butt nudge me for affection. It's dog rude, and I should stop it. But I figure she really needs reassurance that this life is real now. That she's loved and safe, and this place isn't going away.

I don't mind a little nudging. We mastered jogging at her pace to stop pulling on walks. That's a huge win in my book.

Day 2: walks, jogs, baths, and chewies

And it's not even 10am.
Last night was tough. She's a seriously heavy shedder (despite the shelter's guestimate - they have a LOT of dogs to look after) and M's allergic. So sleeping downstairs has to be the rule.
Did I say she's a jumper too? Wow. From chair to kitchen table, easy peasy. She laughed at our fruit crate barrier.
I re-engineered the barrier and added the three shelf bookcase.  Then she cried.
Broke my heart. Luckily M was tough. (She so respects him more already.) She whined/keened three times, I stood at the door and said No. And we all went to bed. It worked out in the end.

She's smart and understands the rules, follows them when she's showed what they are. Being a softy and changing them on her because I have moments of weakness will only confuse her.

Oh, and by the way, she was instantly house-broken before we even entered the house. Going out every two hours on a puppy schedule set the pee/poo rules in place. This dog is a genius.
[Enjoying her vegident on the sofa, after a pee, poo, hour-long walk, bath, breakfast/ training]

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 1: She's home!

Lily: energetic,  smart, food-oriented, likes to play, can jump like a circus pooch. Huge shedder, but we want to see if human grade food and lots of brushing can counter this. 

Already, she sort of knows her name, come, sit, and no. Did a pee and poo outside on the first two walks (we had five total) so she's immediately 'house-trained.'  She's bossy for affection and snuggling, actively seeks me out,  and so far she's not afraid of anything. 

Here she is killing her white tiger.

Today's the day!

We're out the door to catch the train to the airport in 45 minutes--and counting.

The bag's packed: duplicate contract, poo-bags, water and dish, towels, paper towels, baby wipes, leash, collar, tags, and (they said no feeding, but) teeny tiny pieces of dried chicken to rub on my fingers. Just for a pleasant first greeting with smells. Not enough to make her throw up.

And the travel crate, lined with a large bath towel. We're taking a taxi back. I'm so excited I think I might throw up.

*soaks head*

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

We're going with dry food for now...

DIY BARF sounds alluring, but we've had reservations about it because of salmonella, etc. Same goes for local companies offering frozen BARF. One bad shipment, and you're out of luck.

Which is why I'm reading up on home cooking. They often call for a commercial supplement, though. More research needed for this, but I think this will be where we're going in the future.
I'm trying to eat less meat myself, so my 'meat ration,' so to speak, can go to Lily.

For now, I picked up a 2.5 kilo bag of Canagan, which is a premium dry kibble with a reassuring ingredients list. Real chicken, no corn or other grains, no weird stuff like beet pulp, and hopefully no weird 'other' bits. Plus, we can add in a chicken filet.
Some websites suggest cottage cheese as an 'easily digestible first meal', but the dairy puts me off.

She's arriving tomorrow!

Monday, July 13, 2015

How to stay calm counting down the hours before your dog arrives...

... got no clue.

Two days until Lily is here, and part of me is scared. Is this the right thing to do? Is she the right dog for us? Am I the right person for her?  And I'm full of doubt.

And another part of me knows that all I can do is give her a safe space where she can relax, eat, sleep, look around without fear. No demands, no expectations. I need to be strong so she can feel safe.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Last Free Weekend

... hahahah. M. says don't say that, but I think it's pretty funny. After Lily gets here, I'll be dog-shackled again, just the way I like it. (And they say dogs have separation anxiety.)

Saturday we picked up a new collar and a longer leash (1.8m) for indoors, engraved her tags with our phone number and address, checked out the offerings on premium dry dog food, and a choice of dry snacks (chicken strips, freeze dried duck liver) to help show her the ropes. Oh, and a spritz bottle of Urine-Off, for accidents.

I'm also reviewing all our dog books, which include Rescue Dog (Gwen Baily), Culture Clash (Jean Donaldson), and Good Owners, Great Dogs (Brian Kilcommons), as well as the extensive articles at (Understanding Dog Behavior).

Today I've cut up old bed sheets to line the bedding. Anything goes the first few days to a week. Best be prepared. And remember, Lily won't know what's happened, if she can trust us, if she's safe. Providing a quiet, calm, and safe environment, and letting her see for herself that it's okay, that's the way to start

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Preparing for Lily: the week before

I'm putting together old towels and old blankets, as inside accidents will occur, and I'll want to wash them out easily. We looked over our old crates and dog carry bags to see which will feel safer for the trip back from the airport.

After reading up Gwen Bailey, Brian Kilcommons, and Patricia McConnell on rescue dogs, am amassing a lot of helpful links:

Petfinder: Tips-for-first-30-days

Paw-rescue: Bringing your new dog home

Lucky Day Rescue: On the first few days of submissive behavior and lavish attention

Healthy Pets: Easing into the Transition

Patricia McConnell: Three days, Three Weeks, Three Months

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Flight is next week!

We got a thumbs up on the home visit last night, and this morning I took care of the adoption deposit. Then went to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for inspiration. Forgot my phone.

When I got back, I had 2 missed calls. So, I call back, cleared out all plans, and it looks like Lily is flying in NEXT WEDNESDAY. 


I'm so stunned with this unexpected boon that I still can't believe it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Home visit

Home visit went well, and pretty pleasantly. 

But you did get a sense of how off-base some potential adopters can be. 

Now we wait for Lily's turn on the plane.  (WHEEE!!!!!!)
Oh, I love her already.  shhhh...

Friday, July 3, 2015


We're riding out the heat wave this week, and hoping Lily is okay. Then I remember, she's in the south of Spain. This is nothing.

Or rather,  she's had 5years of this without me adjusting the fan in her direction and putting an ice cube in her water. She's had much worse.

She's earmarked as reserved,  but going through 12 pages of 'reserved' dogs, I realize she's the most recent.  Ergo, last in line. These other dogs are luckyducks who got chosen, too. They need to fly to their new homes, too.

I have my weather page set on Malaga, Spain. And we wait.

Lily (shelter name Nisa) with Fabienne, the lady who runs the rescue

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Preparations at home

1. I'm scoping out veterinarian candidates. Sadly, this crosses out our last vet: though they were very kind, they didn't catch Emily's illness until it was too late. Also, the flashbacks to that time are pretty horrible.

The vet before that was so laissez-faire that he didn't seem to care. So much so that we scoped out another one, who was kind of racist and more fascinated by us (OMG! Asian people!) than he was interested in examining our dog.

This leaves the next candidates rather far away. And I need to get there by bicycle too, so I've been checking out the bike-routes and times.

Man, you have to be pretty fit to be a dog-mommy. Running's not going to help me here. And after 8 years in Holland, I'm still pretty wonky on a bicycle.

2. Pet health insurance: Petplan, which we used for Emily, was pretty solid, and surprisingly kind when she passed away. They should do.

Everything's up in the air. Or it's all in progress. Either way, I feel like picking out a nice new collar for the dog, just to calm down myself.

Lots of e-mails

The adoption procedure is outlined on the ACE/SHIN website. This is how we found it:

Monday: initially poked ACE by e-mail. got rerouted to my regional coordinator.

Wednesday: reg. Coordinator contacted me with questionnaire.
(! Wow, that was fast. I expected this process to be slower,  with a lot more gentle nudging from me)

I filled out the questionnaire.  (I like doing these.) Cried over Bunny (twice). Sent it back with extra questions.

Our coordinator wrote back within the hour, plus answers to my own questions,  and now we're waiting to be on the home visit list. They're looking for an English speaker for us, as our Dutch is lost tourist/supermarket checkout level after many years of non use.

Meanwhile, Nisa, on the ACE website, has already been earmarked as 'reserved'.


I feel like holding onto my head, with the speed of things progressing.

Meanwhile, here's a short video the shelter made.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

the first step

We made our first steps toward welcoming a new dog to the family. She will be from a Dutch/Belgian rescue based in Spain called ACE/Shin. She is approximately 5 years old, a mix, and rescued from a pound in the south of Spain. We don't know if she ever had a person, or whether she just lived on the street.

Her shelter name is Nisa, but we're thinking of re-naming her Lily, for a fresh start.

 Here is what the rescue has to say about her:
"When this lady just entered here - after her experience in the killingstation, was she sitting very tough and very dangerous in a corner with the message 'Don't touch me!' ... But this was only a pretense, in self-defense, because actually the dog was so scared that she peed out of fear ... With a calm, nice talk and a little patience did she let herself go completely and gave herself to us, now with the question: 'Don't hurt me please ...' The first encounter with little Nisa has to be handled in a very serene way, sit down with her and reassure her by saying that it is all right ... and then it will certainly be okay because now, here with us, is she just a darling, nice and cheerful, kind and sociable with other dogs, really a good dog. She probably has had a very sad past and certainly had to bear a lot of beatings because she shrinks when you want to touch her too abruptly. Someone who wants a small, funny, pretty darling, must surely think of this treasure, it is a dog who will be eternally grateful and faithful ... Who takes care of Nisa and wants to welcome her home in an understanding and patient way, to see her develop into a truly wonderful dog ...?"