Selma and Rebel Get 1st Play Time Together

Her new friend, Rebel, helping her settle in.

Since the moment Selma arrived here, Rebel has been enamored with her.  He sits by her crate to comfort her, he sleeps as close to her as he can get at night.  They chat and tease each other when in their kennels outside.  They REALLY want to play together.

But both are high energy dogs.  Sometimes Rebel doesn’t realize his own strength, so I supervise closely when he plays with the beagles, and then, only indoors.  Can Selma handle him?  There’s only one way to find out.  I put Rebel on a safety tether and let the two of them interact for a bit before I made my decision…

Back to Selma’s Summary Page
Back to Rebel’s Summary Page

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Foster Updates Jan 27th, 2019

First off, I got word today that Hudson has been adopted. The message posted was:
“Hudson Steele, a perfect southern gentleman who stole my heart – I mean look at the brindle beauty. His new parents arrived at Roxbury yesterday, just to look. They recently lost their beloved pet and weren’t sure they were ready. After talking to them for a little while and trying to help them realize that they weren’t replacing, they were helping another soul, they made Hudson, now Enzo their new family member. I was lucky that I was able to visit him today in his new home to drop off something we forgot to send home with him. I am thrilled to tell Jenifer Parry Steele and Doug Bittinger that the front of his new house overlooks a lake and he slept on their bed last night. He hit the lottery!!!!”

More on Hudson


Rebel continues to polish his house dog skills and learn self-control when playing with other dogs.  He is also quite taken with Selma.  He spends much of his time sitting or laying beside her crate in an effort to comfort her.  I do believe it’s working too.

Rebel is spending more and more time as a free-range house dog.  Giving him yogurt with his breakfast helps keep his innards working properly and he continues to gain weight.  He is ready for adoption.

Back to Rebel’s Summary Page


Selma is coming along. Her main issue is separation anxiety that turns violently destructive if she’s left alone. I’ve been working on that. Normally I keep her crate in whatever room I’ll be in — or Marie will be in, as long as one of us is in sight she’s okay.  Gradually we start leaving the room for short periods, then slightly longer periods.

Doing MUCH better with the separation anxiety.

Last night I put her crate in her spot in the bedroom before she came inside for the night. Then I spent the evening waving and speaking to her as I went from den to kitchen to living room, but not actually staying in the bedroom with her. She knew I was in the house, but could not see me most of the time.  She did well, even during extended absences. A great first step.

Selma is doing really well at night.  I take her out around 8:30 pm and she will sleep through the night, not needing to go out again until around 5:30 — when most of the dogs are beginning to stir as well.

And I no longer have to have her on a leash to go out, she reliably comes when called, and is not wont to stay out in the cold long anyway.

Go to Selma’s Summary Page


After 3 hours at Cedarwood with Lennon Thursday evening, the verdict was in: Demodex Mange and the head of his right femur is necrotic: probably the result of a previous injury. Since his knees are perfect, probably not hit by a car. Someone kicked him or hit him with something hard enough to dislocate his hip. when it popped back in part of the “ball” of his hip joint scraped away.  That has been decaying since.  It does cause him some pain. Short term, it can be treated with glucosamine condroitan and turmeric. Long term the femur head needs repair or the leg taken off.

We at Steele Away Home are working on a fund raiser and Dr. Sandra will send x-rays and talk to Dr. David T. Crouch at Western Carolina Veterinary Surgery (, who specializes in orthopedic surgeries, about giving us a reduced rate for Lennon so we can save his leg.

Failing that, Lennon would adjust to being a three legged dog, but we’d rather save it if we can.  The web addresses for the fund raisers are:


Go to Lennon’s Summary Page

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The Gate Escape

The “Outside Dogs” were in their kennels this morning after breakfast. I was in my den working on some stuff. I heard Selma chittering and working on the chain link of her kennel. I was not too concerned: she does that, until I heard a suspicious “clink” and got up to look out the window to see what she was doing. I saw per push her gate open and stroll out into the play yard.

I ran out to collect her.  When I got there, she was hunched up, making a pile.  “But DAD, I had to GO!”

She IS housebroken and has kept her kennel clean when she’s outside.

When I set up a new kennel I always replace the light duty gate latch that comes with it with a heavy duty latch, and I add a second latch down low because some dogs are powerful enough to grab the gate and just yank it into the kennel, spinning the one standard latch enough to pop the gate open and get out.  A second gate latch helps prevent that.

These latches are special kennel latches with a tab and slot arrangement that is supposed to prevent a dog from flipping the latch open with nose or paw, like they can a standard gate latch.  Its a nice plan, but it still doesn’t always work.

So I add a clip that snaps into a hole just above the pivot tab and locks the tab in the down position.  I do this on the lower latch.  And for those real powerhouses (of which I have had several) I attach the clip to the kennel with a length of sturdy chain that can wrap around the door post and door frame, then clip to the latch as extra, added insurance.  With this arrangement, I’ve been able to contain even the most determined escape artists.  Unless I forget to use the clip, which apparently I did this morning.  Selma is a clever girl and was able to flip both latches and open her gate to go out to poop.

Or unless they go through the roof.  A couple of them have done that.  I found ways to beat that too, but that’s another discussion for another time.

Go to Selma’s Summary Page

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Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Dogs, like people, get ear wax build up.  This alone can cause pain, decreased hearing, and dizziness.  But add to that the increased risk of a yeast infection, bacterial infection and even parasites in the ear and you can see that inspecting and maintaining your dog’s ears is important to their overall health.  This is especially important for dogs with floppy ears.

Ear Anatomy

A dog’s ear canal is L shaped with a vertical canal that connects to a horizontal canal deeper withing the skull.  Dirt, wax, and parasites such as ear mites can hide in the horizontal canal.  We cannot access that canal, so we need to use regular flushing to remove debris that may cause a blockage. We also don’t want to risk damaging the tympanum by poking implements such as Q-tips down there.

How Often?

Foster Updates for Jan 22nd


Who’s a pretty girl?

Selma arrived mid-day yesterday.  We were the solution to an emergency situation: for Selma comes with baggage and a reputation.  I don’t know much for sure, but it seems Selma came into rescue from what was probably a hoarding situation.  I know she has siblings that will be coming into the program and none of them have had any socialization or training.  Selma’s behavior shows she has (in the past) been abused or at least severely neglected.  She has had at least two fosters before coming here and they have housebroken her and worked through a lot of her issues — but not all her issues.  Her previous foster went on vacation and asked a friend to care for Selma.  Her friend works days.  Selma does not like being left alone and destroyed the house.  And it’s a rental!  The landlord insisted Selma leave immediately.  She ended up here.

Selma desperately wants attention, but is at the same time timid to the point of fearfulness.  When I approach to pet her, she drops to the floor, and rolls on her back to say, “I submit, here are my soft underparts: kill me if you want, but please don’t .”  If she’s like this now, I can only imagine what she was like when she first came into rescue!

Selma Steele

Selma arrives toting a reputation for being destructive and noisy due to separation anxiety.

Last updated: March 6, 2019

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Jan. 21, 2019
  • Breed: Mountain Cur?
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: Young, Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: @ 40 Pounds
  • Spayed: Yes
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Playful, needy.
  • Gets Along with Dogs: Yes
  • Gets Along with People: Yes
  • Housebroken/Crate Trained: Yes
  • Departure date: March 15, 2019



Progress Notes:

Detailed update notes on our foster dogs are posted regularly. For a listing of updates that include Selma [click here]. A summation is included below.

Dog to Dog Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs

Dog to People Behavior

  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: No

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters her crate: Yes (with a bribe)
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty
  • Alerts me of need to go outside
  • Is destructive of bedding
    Not if a toy is provided to destroy instead. She loves a plush rope.
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No
  • Stays off people furniture: No


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


  • DA2PP: date (by)
  • Bordatella: date (by)
  • Wormed: date, product: dose (by)
  • Rabies: date (by)
  • Spay/Neuter: date (by)
  • Heartworm Test/Treatment: dates – result (by)
  • Flea/Tick preventative: dates, product, dose
  • Heartworm prev.: (PMFC)
    Feb 9th, HeartGard +, 50#


In roughly chronological order, newest at the bottom. Click the thumbnails to enlarge. Some pictures are linked to a Doggy Tale or video about Selma, click those to open the related story or video.

*CAN* be calm in her crate if she’s not alone.

Who’s a pretty girl?

Her new friend, Rebel, helping her settle in.

Selma has an admirer (video)

Doing MUCH better with the separation anxiety.

Rebel & Selma’s 1st play time together (story/vid)

Being goofy with Rebel

Hello there, Mr. Beagle.

Selma and Separation Anxiety (notes page).

Free-range, but prefers her “room”

Even in 22° she prefers the outdoors – for a while.

What you’re doing is fascinating, but exhausting.
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Foster Updates for Jan 19, 2019


Hudson is unchanged.  Still gentle and affectionate with me, still playful and amiable with Blondie and Sable.  The only incident I’ve had with him was on Wednesday: I was carrying a bag of kibble from the bunkhouse to our house while Hudson was getting his play time.  He was running big lazy loops around the yard, as he likes to do.  As I came up the walkway behind our house Hudson went zooming past me and around the corner.  When I rounded the corner, I expected to see Hudson on the back porch sniffing at the door.  He wasn’t.  In fact he was no where in sight!

I found him up on the high yard on the other side of the retaining wall.  He had managed to zoom up the steps and leap over the wall!  He has become quite the jumper!

To his credit, he came to me when I called him and I got him back into his kennel without trouble.  But now that he knows he can do this, he will do it again.  Since he only has a couple of days left here, he will just stay in his kennel.

And I’ve added “Make the wall higher” to my To DO list.

Hudson left on the Friday (Jan 18) rescue run.

Go to Hudson’s Summary Page


Sable has become less interested in playing with Rebel now that he is filling out and getting stronger.  She still shows interest, but when I let her out and he starts wrestling with her, she wants back in.

OOPS: I have to rescind that statement.  I let Rebel out to play first today and Sable was bouncing and pawing in an obvious desire to get out and play with Rebel.  So I let her out and she did a respectable job of rough-housing with him.  When she got tired she worked her way back to me and gave me The Look: the one that says, “I’m done, please get him off me.”  But it all went very well.

She is till loving and gentle and obedient with me.  I *really* like Sable.

Sable was on the rescue run heading out January 18th.

Go to Sable’s Summary Page


Reb has been sleeping in the Room of Beds with the rest of us this week, and doing excellent.  He settles in by 10:00 pm (or earlier if he’s had a busy afternoon) generally sleeps through the night.  He is not bothered by my getting up at night to use the bathroom or let another dog out to pee.  We both wake up around 5:00 and are ready to get up.  I have been leaving him loose to follow me around as I go about my early morning routine, and he’s been well behaved.  The only issue we have is when other dogs get up and want to go out, he wants to beat them out the door and that intimidates them.  I have to secure Rebel when the rest begin their parade to the great outdoors.

Go to Rebel’s Summary Page


On Wednesday I picked-up Lennon from Newport Animal Control and took him to be neutered.  The vet also found mange (she thinks dermodectic but can’t be sure without a skin scraping) and signs of hip dysplasia, which can probably be treated with glucosamine.

His surgery went well and I equipped him with a cone when I took him back.  He will bunk at NAC until Monday the 21st when I’ll have open space for him.  I’ve made an appointment at Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital to have his mange checked and get a hip x-ray.

Go to Lennon’s Summary Page


Lucy is a stray found along side a road and brought to Cedarwood, who got in touch with me to see if I’d foster her.  I went to meet her.  She is young and energetic, but quite sweet and submissive in her behavior toward people.  I think she’ll do fine here.

I can’t bring her in until Rebel leaves.  When Sable and Hudson depart, Lennon and Max will be coming in to take their places.  Lucy has to wait for Rebel to depart and make room for her.


I have arranged to meet Stacy to pick up Max from his owners on Monday afternoon, after I go get Lennon.  I don’t know much about Max yet.  Look for details on him next week.

(UPDATE) Max will is not coming, Max’s owners have decided to keep him.

Instead I’ll be getting Tiny.  All I know about her is that she is not tiny and has been living in a 5’x 5′ kennel with another dog and the floor of the kennel is such a filthy mess that the dogs spend most of their time on top of their dog houses.  Stacy and I will pick her up Tuesday.

Tiny’s owners cancelled too … so I’m getting Selma

Upgrades for Kennel #3

Our third kennel was installed hastily on a sloping surface that was once a gravel driveway.  As I usually do, I built a foundation for it of pressure treated 4x4s.  I did not take my usual course of hauling in 1 1/2 tons of pea gravel to fill the foundation and provide a cleaner floor for the dog in that kennel.  The reason for that decision has to do with impending upgrades and a concrete slab, that when that time comes will require me to MOVE kennel 3 (and all that gravel).

Recent prolonged rains have made the floor of #3 a muddy mess and I need to address that somehow so I can keep the dog cleaner, as well as keeping the dog bed and deck and dog house cleaner.  Letting them out to run in the yard is bad enough, they don’t need a muddy kennel as well.

I decided to try the chipped pine that is used in horse stalls.  So Rebel and I made a run to Tractor Supply Co. in Newport and bought 4 bales (32 cubic feet) of the pine chips.  The bales are compressed, so when I opened them I used a rake to break up the bales and “fluff” the chips as I spread them out. If the rains continue, the chips will get wet, and stay wet, but hopefully will keep the dog out of the mud.  And since there are a dog house, a dog bed, and a deck to lie on and stay dry, having a wet floor should not be a big issue.  When the next upgrade takes place, I can haul the used wood chips out to my garden for composting.

This is an ideal time to do this because we just sent two foster dogs off on rescue and will be getting two new fosters next week.  So I spent the day scrubbing and sanitizing dog houses, dog beds, bowls, and decking.  I now have about 5″ of wood chips across the bottom of the kennel to help keep the new resident out of the mud.  That is providing that the new dog is not a digger who will just stir mud up from underneath.  This has been a problem with some dogs, even in the gravel floored kennels.

I put Roc-Kloth ™ down under the gravel to keep the rock from being driven down into the mud below when it rains.  That worked great until dogs started digging and tearing up the heavy fabric underliner.  Now the mud and rock are mixing again and the kennels are getting the dogs dirty.  It seems the only way to keep things clean is going to be a concrete slab.  So that’s next.  But until I can afford that, I’ll do the best I can with what we have to provide as healthy an environment as I can.

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Homemade Disinfectants for Animal Crates

Crate training a dog is an important part of housebreaking a dog.  But a crate can become unhealthy if it is not cleaned out regularly and disinfected occasionally.

You will start by laundering the bedding regularly — how often depends on how clean your dog stays, whether he eats in his crate, and if he leaks urine when he gets excited.  If he wets his bedding, wash it right away.  If he’s a messy eater, every few days.  If he’s a tidy boy and you just need to get the funky smell out, every 10 days to two weeks works well.

Be sure to launder plush toys too.  Hard toys can be washed in a sink of soapy water, add just a dash of bleach for better disinfecting.  Rinse thoroughly.

When it comes to the crate itself, here are some general purpose cleaners you can make up at home.

First Times for Rebel

At his former home, Rebel spent nearly all his time tied to a tree.  His Mom said they tried to bring him inside a couple of times during severe weather but he was miserable from the heat and they had to put him back outside.  I’m guessing this means he spent almost no time at all in their home.  House breaking will be a new experience for Rebel.

For a couple of months Rebel has needed close monitoring because of a medical issue he was having.  He has moved beyond that now, but he has become so accustomed to sleeping in the house at night that I can’t leave him outside at night because he cries and carries on something awful.  When his friends, Hudson and Sable are in their kennels too, he’s happy and quiet.  But those two strongly dislike being outside at night if it’s cold at all.  They’d much rather be in their snug warm beds in the bunkhouse.  But I couldn’t put Rebel in there with them because he needed monitoring and frequent trips outside.