Phoenix: Notes on a foster dog

Phoenix is so named because everyone who knows her believes that although she may have been found in the ashes of her life, she WILL rise again.

Last Updated: Jan 24, 2020

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Jan. 15, 2020
  • Breed: Shepherd mix
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: 34 Pounds at intake
  • Spayed/Neutered: Not Yet
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Sweet, calm, reserved
  • Departure date: Undetermined  Headed for A.R.N.N.E.


Phoenix was spotted running loose behind Food City West in Newport and Animal Control was called in to catch her.  She was scrawny, wormy, and extremely frightened, but not at all aggressive.  She spent 25 days at Animal Control before PMFC pulled her on behalf of ARNNE.  During that time she ate very little and was scared and depressed despite the NAC staff’s attempts to comfort her and provide an enticing diet.

Phoenix’s Progress Summary:

Detailed notes on this foster dog’s progress are posted below the summary.

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Yes
  • Preferred style of play:
  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: No Yes
    . Cats: Yes (no reaction to cats at NAC)
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: Yes

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters her crate: Yes
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty: Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: Not yet
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No Yes
  • Stays off people furniture: No Yes


  • Comes when called: Yes
  • Sits on command: No
  • Down / Off: N/A
  • Shake / Paw: No
  • Kennels on command: Yes


  • DA2PP: 12/23/19 (NAC)
    . Booster:
  • Bordatella: 01/16/2020 (PMFC)
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
    . 12/20/2019 Pyrantel 3 cc NAC
    . 01/14/2020 Proziquantel ?? NAC
    . 01/14-16/2020 Panacur 8 ml NAC/PMFC
  • Rabies: date (by)
  • Spay/Neuter: date (by)
  • Heartworm Test: 01/14/2020, Neg (Cedarwood)
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . 01/16/2020, Ivermectin solution, 0.4 ml
  • NOTES:


Does not care for kibble.  She’s eating 4health canned dog food, as much as she will eat, 4 times daily (she takes small meals).  She prefers the “stew” style food to the pate’.  She will eat the pate’ if I chunk it up and add chicken or beef broth to make it into stew.  She likes it better warmed up.  If it gets cold she won’t finish it.


A heavy shirt to help keep her warm

A custom made hoodie does even better.

Happily resting in her “room” indoors.

I’m so sexy …

… can’t touch this!

Wandering the yard now.

Progress Updates

Progress notes are listed below, in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Jan 18

I’ve let Phoenix settle in for the past few days.  She is well behaved.  Rarely barks at all.  She acts like she’s been a house dog before.  She’s scrawny, so it’s hard  to keep her warm in the January days, so we’ve gone through a couple of iterations of outer wear for her.  She loves her hoodie!

She sleeps inside in a crate at night and on the colder days.  When it’s warmer she has a futon with a thick felt blanket atop it to lounge on.  She needs to put on weight, but she eats so little that’s going to be hard.

Jan 24

Phoenix very much prefers to be indoors in her cushy crate where it is warm and dry and there is no wind.  Because she is SO thin, she does not tolerate cold at all.

When she does come outside, on nice afternoons: some have been up in the 50 degree range, she gets a futon as a bed and a warm wool blanket to lay on.  I hang a brood lamp above to provide warmth as well.

On those nice afternoons, Phoenix does like to wander the yard.  Now that her depression is dissipating she is eating better.  That gives her strength to go out walking around.

YUM, warm beef stew!

She is a picky eater.  She won’t touch kibble yet, and the canned food has to be stew.  In order to get her to eat the pate’ style dog food I have to chunk it up and add beef or chicken broth — effectively making it stew.  And it has to be warm, she won’t eat cold stew.  But then neither would I.  So I warm it before I take it out to her.

She’s up to 21 cans of stew per week.

When she first arrived, I was doing well to get her to eat one can a day.  She’s up to finishing three cans per day now.  It’s hard to tell if she’s gained any weight just by looking at her, I need to take her to Cedarwood and put her on a scale.  But her energy level is up and she’s developing a delightful, quirky personality.  She has quite the sense of humor. 

I have yet to hear her bark, but she is communicative through head tosses and mouth movements.  She lets me know when she needs to go out, and when she’s ready to go back in.  Her eye’s are brighter and she desires affection more now that she feeling better.  Starvation does tend to take the fun out of life.

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Why Parvo Virus Is Such A Resilient Killer

When I worked at the Humane Society of Jefferson County I was taught to be fanatical about not allowing visitors to touch the dogs, especially new arrivals.  We  earned many annoyed glares from people who could not understand why they couldn’t interact with the cute doggos.  Especially the puppies: who could resist poking your fingers into the crate and allowing them to lick you fingers?

We were frequently told, “I haven’t been around any sick dogs.”  to which a co-worker of mine developed the response, “Have you been to a grocery store or Wal-Mart?  If you pushed a shopping cart in there you may have picked up parvo virus from someone who pushed that cart before you did.  It is that easy to pick it up and bring it in here.  And if you do, that cute puppy could die a horrible death in a couple of days.  So, please, don’t touch the dogs.”  And she was right: it is that easy.

Even though we vaccinated all dogs against parvo, bordatella, and kennel cough upon entry to our facility, it takes 21 days for a vaccine to develop full immunity in its host.  Before then, especially early on, that dog is still susceptible.

Graphic attributed to

How Parvo Spreads Infographic

Parvo virus is a contact-spread disease, not air borne, but the virus is so resilient that it can live on surfaces, in dirt or concrete, or in carpeting and upholstery for very long periods.  It can withstand extreme temperatures.  It can be killed, but not by regular household cleaners.  (Cleaners that kill parvo)  And as mentioned above, you don’t have to have direct contact with an infected dog to pick it up and spread it around.

You could step in the feces or vomit of an infected dog and bring it into your home.  Your dog could contract the virus from a public water source shared by other dogs.  An infected dog could rub its nose or drool on a chair.  This may dry, but if you sit on that chair, you could still pick up the virus on the seat of your pants and transfer it to your car, and the furniture in your home.  Keeping the virus out of your home and away from your dog may be impossible.  So the best defense is to vaccinate your dog.

If your dog contracts parvo virus it has a good chance — 80% — of survival if it is caught and treated early.  The common form of parvo is the intestinal form, which is characterized by vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lack of appetite (anorexia). (More)  If untreated or let go too long, parvo has a 90% mortality rate.  If you see any of these indications in your dog, see your vet as soon as possible!

And if you go window shopping at a local kennel or shelter, please don’t get grumpy if the staff asks you, “Please don’t touch the dogs.”

Piney Mountain Foster Care, Inc. Earned a 2019 Gold Seal of Transparency

Piney Mountain Foster Care, Inc. just earned a 2019 Gold Seal by providing information on our Nonprofit Profile at GuideStar.  Now our community members as well as 10+ million GuideStar users can find in-depth information about our goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.  We’re shining a spotlight on the difference we help make in the world.

Plus, we’ve provided fresh information to 200+ charitable websites and applications that use GuideStar data, such as AmazonSmile, Facebook, and Network for Good.

What do you think?  Check out our profile at our Nonprofit Profile on GuideStar.  GuideStar is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.  Foundation Center and GuideStar have joined forces to become a new nonprofit called Candid.  Learn more at

Canine Decompression: What It Is and Why It’s Important

As of this writing (Sept 15,2019) my wife and I have fostered 95 dogs. Some were here for only a week, some for nearly a year.  Of those 95 dogs there have been 12 to 15 people who contacted me wanting to know why the dog they got from me is not behaving as advertised: getting aggressive, peeing in the house, and generally acting out.  Of the cases where I was able to ask questions of them – and got honest answers – I found that this family almost always did just what they should not do with a new dog.  This is to toss the new dog into the midst of the family and proceed to lavish love and permissiveness on them, thinking that this will make the dog feel welcomed and loved, so it will (of course) show it’s love for them by being well behaved and obedient. This almost never works.  There are several reasons for this:

  • Dogs are not short, furry people who walk on all fours.  Their psychology differs from ours in several key ways.
  • Entering a new home with new people and new dog siblings can be a scary proposition.  Your new family member needs a little time to get his bearings.
  • If arrival at your place was preceded by a many-hours-long rescue ride, she will probably be quite stressed and maybe a little nauseated.
  • Once she is settled, he will need to decide where he fits into the social order of your home.  It’s up to you to help him do that.

What Is Decompression?

Decompression is a combination of acclimatization and recovery. An uncomfortable experience: a rescue run or incarceration in a shelter, will take a little time to get over. Recovery refers more to physical well being.  It is a necessary step in helping your new family member (adopted or foster) settle successfully into your home.

How Is Decompression Done?

I strongly recommend using a crate in a quiet part of your home.  Not in isolation – unless that turns out to be needed, just not in the center of your traffic flow.

Some people view crating a dog as cruelty.  When done properly it is not.  When done properly a dog will view his crate as his “room”, his personal space and a safe place to go when he’s feeling stressed.  A crate should never be used as punishment.

By crating the newcomer, you can safely introduce the rest of your pack (four-legged and two legged) with reduced discomfort for the new dog and in perfect safety for you.

Make the crate as comfortable as possible with a cushion or blankets, add a couple of toys, and a bowl of water.  Make sure the crate is located for easy access to an exterior door for regular walking. And check on the newbie often, preferably not en masse. Do this gently and softly.  If she wants to come out and cuddle with you, fine.  If not, then sit on the floor a short distance away and talk to her.

Feed him in his crate to start with. He will feel safer in there.  Have ONE person do the feedings for the first week or so.  This helps to establish who the top dog is, even if it’s a person.  Whoever is going to be responsible for this dog needs to do these initial feedings, and needs to spend the most time with him.

Once you know all the other family pets will be tolerant of the newbie, she may come out to explore the house under supervision.

Like people, dogs have differing personalities.  How much time it takes to fit into a new home will vary from dog to dog, but generally speaking, give it at least a couple of days – longer if the new dog seems nervous or frightened.  The former home may have had dogs, cats, and children just like your home, but they were different dogs, cats, and children.  And a different home.  It’s a different lay-out, different smells and sounds.  Everything here is new to this dog.  Give her time to adjust and accept the changes.

The Worst Things You Can Do

Sudden Immersion Do not toss the new dog into the middle of your family without decompression time.  Imagine if you were abducted from your life, everyone you know and care about, and suddenly found yourself among strangers in a strange place who act as though you should be just fine with it all.  Even in a shelter, dogs form bonds with their caretakers.  They know the dogs in the kennels near them. They know the smells and sounds of the place, they may not like it, but it’s what they know.  Being swept away to a new life, even a life of luxury, is change and change takes time to adjust to.

Mobbed by Clowns  Keep initial “getting to know you” sessions short and positive.  Limit the number of visitors (human and otherwise).  Mobbing the newcomer, especially if you’re all giggling and squealing with delight, will most likely be frightening.

Alone and Ignored  On the other hand being lonely and ignored is counter productive.

Reward Bad Behavior  If you rush in and release the dog every time she paws on the crate door or cries, you are teaching her that these bad behaviors are the means to freedom.  If you think it likely that she needs to go out to potty, get her to calm down before you open the door.  Reward the good behavior.

Let Him Make the Rules  If you allow the new dog to set his own boundaries you are telling him that he is the boss and you are subservient.  That is a horrible idea, for this will lead to aggressive behavior as he tries to fill the roll of pack leader that you set up for him.  Establish your house pet rules then stick to them. Everyone in the house needs to adhere to the same rules.  If Dad says “No dogs on the sofa” but Mom lets the dog sit with her while dad is gone, she’s confusing the dog and setting him up for failure.  Your dog will be only as reliable as you are consistent with his training.

Award Unearned Privilege  You will not bribe a dog into good behavior by offering treats or privilege.  That’s one of the differences between dogs and people.  Provide your dog with treats and privilege only as it is earned through the choices they make.  When good choices yield a good thing (treat or privilege), good behavior is reinforced.  When bad behavior results in the same rewards, bad behavior is reinforced.


Give your new house guest a safe, comfortable place to stay while she adapts to her new environment.  Be patient, let her progress at her speed.  Reward only good behavior.  Be her new pack leader.  Do this and you will have a rewarding relationship with your new dog.

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Dogwood Days – Canines & Classics

We are in the planning stages of a fund raiser event to be held on the spacious grounds of Liberty Church of Cosby 3541 Cosby Hwy,

If you’re not familiar with Liberty, they are located sort of across the road from Carvers Orchard and have a large open, flat space (about 4 acres out front) of grassy field between the building and the road.  There is plenty of parking, and a handicapped accessible building.

What We Know

1957 Buick Roadmaster
  • Date and location Saturday, May 2nd, 2020, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
  • Cruise In: An informal car/motorcycle show, open to the public, no registration fee, there will be a Crowd Favorite award.  If you have a classic, a hot rod, a custom car, or snazzy motorcycle come join in the fun.  We would like you to register just so we know how many vehicles to plan on.  E-mail with your name and what you will be driving to the show.
  • Quilt show: No details yet, but we are resolute there will be one.
  • Smoked meat BBQ: Dennis and Stacey Dekker have agreed to provide their excellent smoked pork butt, pulled barbecue along with chips and a drink.  Food and seating will be under the portico on the south side of the building.
  • Adoption Event: The Friends Animal Shelter in Newport has accepted our invitation to do an adoption event/fund raiser.  Come meet these great folks and learn about what they do – and consider taking home a new family member.  I mean a dog or cat, not the staff.
  • Music: This could be live band, or a DJ, or a radio station remote broadcast, or an old man with a kazoo and a bull horn.  We don’t know how yet, but there will be music.
  • Movies: The Liberty Arts Fellowship will be showing the short films that have been produced by John Rush and his accomplices over the years.  Come grab some popcorn and enjoy the flicks.
  • Event Shirt: Donna Gregg is providing custom artwork for use on the front of an event tee shirt, which will have sponsor names on the back. Local businesses will be asked to be sponsors.
  • Related Vendors: The space between the car show and the parking lot will be offered to other local groups: preference will be given to local non-profits and to organizations and would be an opportunity to inform the public, recruit volunteers, do fund raising.  We do not intend to make this a craft fair, but vendors may sell items related to their services.  We are planning to rent one huge tent for all the vendors to be inside of, so just bring your tables and materials. There will be a minimal registration fee to help defray the cost of the tent.

PMFC’s fund raising will be in the form of tee shirt sales, vendor registration fees, and the popularity contest among the car show and the quilt show. We will exchange real money for play money that will be put in jars placed by each car and quilt to vote for that participant as the visitor’s favorite. People may vote as many times as they like. Prizes will be presented to the winners.

We will be needing volunteers to help set up, tear down, and to keep things rolling during the event.  This is expected to be done by three separate crews so no one has to be there all day.  If you are interested, comment below or e-mail Doug.  There will be perks!

The Canine Book Nook

Read any good dog books lately?  That could be a book about a dog, or a book about training dogs, or a book about cooking for your dog, or a book written by a dog.

If you’ve found a good dog related book, leave a recommendation below (as a reply).  Leaving a link to where you can buy the book is fine.  If you’d like to do a book review, we’d be happy to publish it.  We are particularly seeking dog related book reviews written by kids.

We’re working out some exciting things for the future of this page, so check back once in a while.

This page is sponsored by our friends at Our Place, 115 Cricket Hollow Rd, Cosby TN.  Be sure to check out their dog books corner.  And have a cup of their excellent coffee while you browse their bazillions of books as well as the eclectic mix of gifts and goodies.

Please Note: if you are new to our web site, our anti-spam guard dog will hold up posting of your very first comment.  Once you are given the thumbs up, all future comments will post right away.  You do not need to register to comment.

Why Foster Care?

Animal shelters and rescue programs desperately need the help of people who will provide in-home foster care for some of their animals.

What Is Animal Foster Care?

Foster Care saves lives
Belle – July 3013

Animal foster care is similar to human foster care in that you provide a loving, safe, temporary environment for animals in need. Programs vary from facility to facility, but generally The Shelter/Rescue provides the food and medications; you supply the place and the love.

Why Animal Foster Care?

Shelters and rescues need foster homes for several reasons:


Piney Mountain Foster Care is now registered with Amazon Smile.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s a program runs where it lets its shoppers decide where it will give their corporate charity donations.  To use it you go to and choose the charity you want to support.  To select PMFC, use this window:

and type in “Piney Mountain Foster Care” in the “Charity name or location” window.
Click/tap the [Search] button and it will pull up Piney Mountain Foster Care, Inc.

Once you’ve selected it, all Smile purchases will have 0.5% of the order total sent to PMFC.  I should point out that this money comes off AMAZON’S profit, it is not added to your total.  They do not inflate prices for Smile shoppers (I’ve tested this).  Amazon is simply letting you tell them where to donate the money they have already decided to give to charity.

The catch is that to make it work you need to enter through the Smile portal ( for your purchases to count.  I make this easy by saving this site to a tab on my browser navigation bar.  Click that link and I’m in and ready to shop.

Once you’ve used it a time or two will ask you, “Wouldn’t you rather be using the Smile portal?” and switch you over if you say “yes”.  But you have to get it right on your own a couple of times first.

The really cool thing is that you can support PMFC (or any other registered charity) just by shopping for things you were going to buy anyway!  It’s not just certain items, or at certain times: it’s everything, always.

So, if you use, please support PMFC each time you shop by using the Smile program.  And tell your friends!  Half a percent may not be a lot of money on a single purchase, but if a gang of folks are doing it regularly it adds up.  And we will gladly accept all the help we can get!

Want to help
save lives?

PMFC is a 501(c)(3) Charity
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Dog Bath Day: When and How to Wash Dogs

Originally published on Apr 16, 2014

dog bath time
If only it were this easy!

This was supposed to have been MEGA DOG BATH DAY here at Piney Mountain Foster Care. What I mean is that all 5 dogs, ranging from 50 pounds to 85 pounds, would be getting a trip through The Dog Wash. That being the bathtub I left in place when I converted the mobile home we once lived in into my workshop and office and now kennels. Having their own tub saves a lot of wear and tear on our bathroom at home.

But, it has turned chilly today (high 40’s) rainy (been raining steadily since 10:00 last night) and now becoming quite windy. It doesn’t seem fair to give them all baths on a day they won’t dry out. Maybe tomorrow – then I can include Smokey (due to arrive tomorrow) and have the whole crowd done and ready to receive their flea and tick treatments for the month.

And if you don’t hear from me for a while, it’ll be because I’ve strained every muscle in my body wrestling these dogs into the tub: it is amazing the way they can manipulate gravity at the sight of a bathtub! Cochise and Blondie can easily dial up their 85 pounds to what feels like 200!

Scout: Notes on a foster dog

Originally named “Gus” by the Friends Animal Shelter, details eventually came out as to who he was and why he is so scared of people.  You’d be scared too if someone shot you in the head!  Scout is here to find serenity and learn trust once again.

Last Updated: Jan. 19

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Jan. 14, 2020
  • Breed: Shepherd Mix
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: @ 55 Pounds
  • Spayed/Neutered: Unknown
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: SCARED!
  • Gets Along with: People, Dogs, Cats
  • Crate Trained: No
  • Housebroken: No
  • Departure date: Undetermined


Scout was part of a “pack” of dogs whose owner let them run loose in the neighborhood.  One neighbor took exception to that and shot Scout in the head.  He survived — physically — but is so scared of people now he won’t let most people anywhere near him.

Scout’s Progress Summary:

Detailed notes on this foster dog’s progress are posted below the summary.

Dog to Dog Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: No  Yes
  • Preferred style of play:

Dog to People Behavior

  • Is affectionate: No
  • Is good with:
    .   Men: No
    .   Women: No (except Autumn at FAS, he likes her.)
    .   Children: No
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: No – gator rolls

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters his crate: No
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: No  Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty: No  Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: No  Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No  Yes
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No  Yes
  • Stays off people furniture: No  Yes


  • Comes when called: No
  • Sits on command: No
  • Down / Off: No
  • Shake / Paw: No
  • Kennels on command: No


  • DA2PP: date (by)
    . Booster:
  • Bordatella: date (by)
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
  • Rabies: date (by)
  • Spay/Neuter: date (by)
  • Heartworm Test: date, result (by)
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . date, product, dose
  • NOTES:


4Health Salmon & Potato recipe, 1½ cups AM, 1¼ cups PM.


In chronological order, newest at the bottom. Some pictures are linked to a more detailed Doggy Tale about that update, click those to open the related story.

Your room is ready, sir.

Tarp in place to block that cold North wind.

Scouts hidey hole from the bitter cold.

Dog’s eye view

New ceiling from sheets of cardboard over warm room hold down the heat.

But he’s not having any part of that, so I hung a heat lamp over his bed outside.

Progress Updates

Progress notes are listed below, in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Jan 14

Today Scout bade farewell (for a while) to Autumn at Friends Animal Shelter.  She was the only staff member able to get inside Scout’s defenses (and his kennel).  She accomplished this with her gentle spirit — and bags of Krystal cheeseburgers.

I took her advice and showed up for my first “interview” with Scout with a bag of bribery in tow.  It worked, he let me come into his kennel and sit in one corner while he cowered in the opposite corner.  But he let me in!

Yesterday Marie bought a box of White Castle cheeseburgers at the grocery store — they’re pretty much the same, right?  Maybe not!  Today I held out a quarter of a White Castle to Scout, he sniffed it and turned up his nose, “That is NOT a Krystal cheeseburger!”  He wanted nothing to do with it — until we got him into the transport box and were on our way to PMFC, then he decided to pick out the meat and cheese, but stomped the bun into paste on the floor of his box.

Jan 19

It’s going to be COLD over the next few nights, down in the teens.  Yeah, yeah, the Wisconsinites scoff when I say that, “You call THAT cold?” Well, yeah, in Tennessee we DO call that cold.  And I’m concerned about Scout.  All the others will go inside at night — and in the day if it’s too cold, just come out for potty breaks.  But Scout isn’t having any part of wearing a collar yet, much less going for leash walks.

The plan has always been to have inside and outside areas for our kennels.  But the inside part has not come to pass yet.  But we decided to try to do something with it for Scout.

Dog’s eye view

The building is still full of lumber stacks.  There is an aisle between one stack and the kennel side wall.  We bought a couple of brood lamps to hang over that aisle, put a piece of carpet on the floor set a raised bed in there with blankets on it and a bed warmer under them, then blocked off the end of the aisle with a large live trap stood on end.  Then, I unblocked the door to the interior so he could get in there.  I put his water dish in there, and his food dish.  He went in to eat then came back out.  I went in to retrieve the dish and it was noticeably warmer so it should stay reasonably comfortable even when it gets down to the 20’s.

Want to help
save lives?


PMFC is a 501(c)(3) Charity

If you enjoy our pupdates, Doggy Tales, and educational articles consider subscribing for notices when new pieces are posted. It’s painless and you can unsubscribe any time you want. Your e-mail address is used ONLY to deliver these notices.  That’s a promise!

You can also support us at no cost to you with Amazon Smile.