Monday, March 18, 2013


On Saturday morning we collected foster dog #18: a sweet little Corgi mix named Foozie.

Foozie is about 18 months old and weighs approximately 30 pounds, which seems to be a healthy weight for her. In the three days she's lived with us, she has shown herself to be a quiet, affectionate, and playful little pup with a silly Corgi trot and a fondness for tummy rubs and neck scratches. She gets along fine with Dog Mob (which is to say that she plays wonderfully with Crookytail and mostly manages to avoid Pongu's wrath), stopped trying to herd the guinea pigs after the first day, and hasn't met a person she doesn't seem to love.

Best of all, she hasn't peed in my house yet!

While I'd hesitate to promise that Foozie is 100% completely "housebroken" (a word I've come to be slightly wary of during my time in rescue, as it means different things to different people and anyway almost every dog needs a refresher course upon moving to a new home), she does potty within 10-15 minutes of being taken outside for a walk and has made no mistakes indoors, so I will say that if she is not officially "potty trained," she's not far from it either.

Initially she pulled very hard on leash -- harder than any dog I've ever walked, at least proportional to her size (if not hardest in absolute terms, because she is just a little thing) -- but an EasyWalk harness and a couple of days' practice have gotten that down to a mostly acceptable level. She's not going to win any awards for precision heeling anytime soon, but you can walk her down the sidewalk without getting your arm yanked out of socket, she hasn't shown any reactivity to dogs or other common stimuli, and she doesn't try too hard to eat garbage or puddles of St. Paddy's Day puke. For most people, that's good enough.

She's mostly quiet in the crate. Sometimes she cries for a few minutes in a high-pitched tweetybird whine when she wants attention or to come out, but it never lasts more than five minutes, and she soon settles down for the night and when I leave for work. I've seen no signs of serious separation anxiety; the worst she does is that few minutes of not-very-loud whining.

Foozie doesn't seem to be familiar with toys and has shown no interest in balls, squeaky toys, or tugs thus far. She isn't big on treats, either; the first couple of days she wouldn't take any, and only in the last 24 hours has she decided that she wants in on the action when Dog Mob is getting treats in front of her. Because she's still finding her feet and is not relaxed enough to be interested in the usual motivators, we haven't started formal training yet, but it is my hope to begin that as soon as she's comfortable enough to participate.

As far as I can determine, she doesn't know any formal commands. No Sit, Down, Stay, etc. Recall is hard to assess because she naturally gravitates toward people anyway, so my guess is that she does not have a trained recall but it'd be pretty easy to teach one.

Most seriously, Foozie tested light positive for heartworm at the vet where she was boarded before coming to Philly. Because her test results were so mild, the vet recommended using a "low kill" treatment regimen instead of subjecting Foozie to the dangerous and expensive "high kill" treatment. This means that she has to take four pills a day (two in the morning with breakfast, two at night with dinner); after the first week, this will taper down to two a day. Additionally, she has to take Heartgard pills every month for a year -- but that's something I'd recommend for any newly adopted dog anyway, since it's always prudent to treat Southern shelter dogs for exposure to heartworm even if they don't test positive for harboring worms.

So right now, Foozie's on prednisone and doxycycline. The prednisone can be hidden in her food and she eats it without noticing, but the doxy is a little harder to administer. She's very good at sniffing those pills out of her food and spitting them to the side. I've had to resort to dropping the pills directly to the back of her tongue and massaging her throat until she swallows them involuntarily. It's a last-resort method, but Foozie won't let herself be fooled by hidden pills in food (and I have tried just about every variation of "hidden pills in food" there is, other than grinding the pills up and dispersing the powder, which I think would backfire given how unpleasant the dogs all seem to think doxycycline tastes), so here we are.

She's been a very easy houseguest, and I'll be sad to see her go. I don't think it'll take long at all to get Foozie adopted, though. I can't walk this dog down the street without two or three people stopping me to say how adorable she is and asking if they can pet her.

She'll find a home soon, and I'll do my best to ensure it's a good one.

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