Sunday, 24 April 2011

dogs and family

A friend of mine has been involved with the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival for the past several rounds, and has encouraged me to participate, even though I am a new blogger. The topic for this Carnival is "reactions". I have decided to write about my family's reactions to my foster puppies. My family has always reacted negatively to my fosters, they think it is a lot of work and don't really understand the joy I get from fostering. I live on my own, but like to visit my parents every few months.  

When I brought home my first foster (Honey), she was a year and a half old and pretty much a terror. She stole food, would shove toys in their faces, and generally make a mess. She was definitely a work in progress, but for a dog that had been a rescue she was very loving and outgoing. After the first weekend I took her home, they decided that Honey could not come visit again. I was very disappointed that my family did not support my involvement in the program, and that they were not willing to make accomodations for my foster puppy.

Honey (fostered February - April, 2009)

My second foster followed shortly after Honey (who was disqualified for the reasons above). Ace was an adorable 9 week old puppy, and I was so happy when he was welcomed with open arms. Until he grew up. My parents would get upset when he would get excited and scratch the hardwood floors, pull sticks from the forest and leave them on the grass, and get hair all over the back of the car. When Ace was disqualified for having a health issue, I decided to keep him, so these issues continue today.

Ace (fostered June 2009-Feburary 2010,
then adoped)
When I told my family that I was going to get another foster puppy, they were very upset. Their comments went something like this: "you already have a dog, why do you need another one?" "You are wasting your life with these dogs" "Well it can't come home, so you'll have to think about that". To be honest, if they were not going to support my decision, I decided that I just was not going to come home. Fortunately I found out I was going to get Willow when she was only about 2 weeks old, so I had lots of time to prepare my family. In the 8 week period before I brought her home, they decided that maybe she could come to the cottage, and then maybe she can come home when my dad wasn't there, and finally "ok bring both dogs". Willow was allowed to come home with me from when she was 10 weeks until 10 months, and now my parents have decided that it is just too many dogs (what!?!) and that she cannot come.

Willow (fostered August 2010 - present)

I should mention that my family had a lab/shepherd cross when I was a kid, and currently has a small poodle cross, so overall they like animals. My mother was also an Educational Assistant (EA) for several years, and has a degree in Disability Studies. She is always promoting rights for the differently-abled, but cannot understand why I would want to spend my free time socializing a puppy to help children with autism. She supports service dogs, but just thinks someone other than me should raise them. This type of reaction has always baffled me, as I don't understand how you can support an end result without supporting the process.

Friday, 22 April 2011

the bird who could not fly

On Wednesday night, after returning from puppy class with Willow, I took Ace out for a pee in my backyard. He was wandering around a bit, excited to be off-leash, when all of a sudden something fluttered up between his feet. I called him off and went to see what he had found - a little bird that was unable to fly. I took Ace inside and thought about what I was going to do. Should I leave the bird and let nature take its course, or do I bring it inside and take responsibility for it? Since it didn't fly away from Ace, I was pretty sure it was already injured before he found it.
After calling a friend who occasionally rescues animals I decided to bring it in out of the cold. I put it in a paper box with a towel, some cedar leaves, and a bit of water in a dish, and called a bird-watcher friend. The bird-watcher came over and I convinced her to take the bird back to her house, since I was worried about keeping it safe from Archie and my roommate (who would not be keen on having a wild bird in the apartment).
The next morning the bird-watcher texted me to let me know that the bird was doing fine, fluttering around the floor of her room. It was decided that the bird was a Mourning Dove fledgeling. She called the KW Animal Control, who said that if it was a fledgeling it probably just fell out of the nest, and that we should put it back where it was found so the parents could look after it.
I picked the bird back up on my way home from work and took it to the place where Ace had found it. I tipped the box over on its side so the bird could leave when it was ready. I went back inside to wait and see what would happen. When I returned about 2 hours later, the box was tipped right side up, and the bird was underneath it, dead. I think it was just too cold (there had been flurries in the morning) and the bird had tried to find cover under the box.
Sometimes young birds will fall out of a nest, or try to leave before they are ready. Often there is nothing you can do for these birds who are too young to fly. Maybe if I had been able to take the bird to a rehabilitation place it would have survived.
Current standings:     Nature - 1        Kelly - 0

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Greetings, Blog Followers

Well, I guess I don't have any followers yet. But that's ok. Over the past few months I've been following several blogs, and have been inspired!

I am currently at a crossroads in my life (between my undergraduate and graduate degrees) and thought that it was a good time to record my thoughts, opinions, and adventures for the next phase of my life.

Expect to read about:

Ace -  my 2 year old labrador who is amazingly enthousiastic, often to the point of stupidity. Ace has elbow dysplasia, and his health and wellbeing is incredibly important to me.

Archie - my 7 year old cat who was adopted from the humane society. He is incredibly tolerant of my busy lifestyle and is super lazy, as a cat should be.

Willow - my current foster puppy with Autism Dog Services. Willow is a very gentle smooth collie who I share many adventures with, she accompanies me almost every time I leave my apartment.

Also, I am interested in environmental issues, books, and various genres of art.

I hope you will stay tuned to learn more about my beasties and our adventures!