How Lil Blue Came To Piney Mountain

I started Monday morning by loading up the truck with all the stuff I was going to need that morning, for I had an unusually busy day of running around ahead of me.  Once that was done I did a quickie-clean-up of the kennels.  I planned to do a thorough cleaning later in the day when I did not need to be watching the clock.  I needed to be at Animal Control, with Martin, at 10:00 and time does tend to slip by when I take my eyes of the clock.  So I took care of several short chores and watched that clock to be sure I got all the dogs who were not going with me secured, and Martin loaded in time for me to roll out with enough travel time to get there at (or before) the designated time.

When Martin and I arrived (just a few minutes early), Roxy was waiting on us and she had brought a leash.  Early AND prepared, I like that!  We finished up the adoption and Roxy took Martin (now renamed Guinness) home with her.

Before I left, Lisa (Animal Control’s manager) asked me to look at a dog with her.  Tucked away in the  back room and huddled against the back wall trembling like a leaf was a smallish dog who clearly was at least part Blue Heeler, but beyond that we could not tell anything: size, weight, age, even sex, because of the way he (as it turned out) was all hunched up.  He was terrified.

When the staff arrived that morning, Chip (Newport’s Animal Control Officer) came in the back door and found a crate that someone had left during the night.  The crate contained this guy and a cat.  They got him into one of the kill cages, but could not get close or handle him at all.  We both agreed that he was not going to do well there.  I said I’d have to talk to Marie before I could take him home – and I’d need to go get a crate anyway.  And I went on.

I delivered a display full of dog cookies to Kathy’s Grooming Parlor.  Our rescue uses her a lot and she always does a great job and treats us well.  She came to the Quilts & Canines thing on Saturday and wanted a display for her place to help Steele Away Home.  So I delivered that, we discussed terms.  Then I went on.

I stopped at the bank to exchange a bag of small bills and quarters for big bills.  The drive-through teller, Pam, is a long-time friend and helps us at the Q&C events.  We chatted until another car pulled up behind me, then I rolled on.

I went down the road a bit farther and up the big hill to Linda’s house.  She’s Steele Away Home’s treasurer, and I needed to hand off the people food sales money Marie, Pam and I took in from Quilts & Canines.  I would have given it to her after the show, but they left before we did.

From there I went out to Cedarwood Veterinary to deliver Roxy’s and Martin’s paperwork and microchip (with injector), and to make payments on Steele Away’s vet bill with funds I’d raised that week.  $92.00:  not bad, but not near as good as we did at last year’s Quilts & Canines.

Then home to e-mail Marie.  I explained the situation and she said, “Go get that poor dog!”  I needed to check with her because we are, technically, over capacity already and she is concerned that I’m working myself too hard as it is.  But … Blue is not going to do well at all there and I’m sure Steele Away Home has no vacancies since we are just two weeks before a transport.

So I loaded a transport box in the truck and went back.  The process of gaining enough of the little fella’s trust to let me maneuver him into the transport box took quite a while.  But once done, we loaded him up and I took him home.

Piney Mountain worked it’s blessedness on him, and he started settling down within minutes of arrival.

Resting after his walk

After some decompression time, I took him out for a leash walk, but ended up having to carry him back.  He’s a bit opinionated about where he wanted to go.

He was infested with fleas, so I gave him a Capstar in cat food.  Cat food is my secret weapon against stubborn dogs who will not take a pill hidden in peanut butter, cheese, hot dog, lunch meat … and I tried all of those.  He refused them all.  But Mom had some tins of cat food her cats now refuse to eat and gave me one of those to try.

He also stunk to high heaven, so later in the day I brought him in and Marie and I bathed him in the kitchen sink.  He did NOT like that, but neither did he get nasty about it.

But even through all that he still had live fleas on him.  So I took him back outside to let that Capstar continue to work.  He seemed happier outside in a kennel than inside in a crate anyway … until about 1:30 AM.  Then he started in on a high-pitched howl that sounded like banshees.  That got all the house dogs barking.  I decided to check on him and decide whether I would bring him inside or crate him in the shop to muffle the noise.  It had to be bothering our neighbors.

As I entered his kennel he jumped up and danced on my legs, “I’m so, so happy to see you!  I thought you abandoned me too!”  Okay, you’re lonely.  Bringing you in should fix the problem.

So we settled in the living room.  Lil Blue in his crate, me on the sofa with my Kindle, which I later traded for my lap top because I was not able to get back to sleep, so I might as well get some work done.  This was partly because he was restless too.  About 4:00 AM he finally settled and went into a sound sleep. But that is when I need to be up and starting my day.

And that was the Monday Lil Blue arrived at Piney Mountain.  I got quite a lot done “out there” but precious little done here at home.  I never did get to a deep cleaning of the kennels, just a pick-up and hose out a few times.  Today, Blue and I will continue to get acquainted and I’ll try to get him to walk with me on a leash so I don’t have to carry him all the time.  Not that that’s a big deal, he only weighs about 25 pounds.  But it would be better for both of us if we got that worked out.  That’s one of the necessary skills he’ll need to be considered for adoption.  Eventually he needs to come when I call so I can let him run freely in the yard.  But I have to go gently with him, he’s been hurt enough already.

To follow along with Lil Blue’s progress, check out Blues foster notes page.

Martin NAC: Notes on a foster dog

This is a foster dog diary post about Martin. New information will be added to the end of this post so all info on this dog is kept in one place and in chronological order. If you subscribe for updates, a short note will be sent when updates are posted. If you don’t subscribe, check back periodically to see what’s been added.

Last Updated: Dec. 24, 2019

This sweet, affectionate little fellow looks like a puppy, but he’s not.  He is almost 2 years old, thus fully grown, and a really good boy.

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Aug. 23
  • Breed: Golden Retriever / Black Lab / Husky
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: 47 Pounds
  • Spay/Neutered: Sept 4th, 2019
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Gentle, sweet, well-behaved.
  • Gets Along with Dogs: Yes, loves to play.
  • Gets Along with Cats: Yes.  If they run, he will chase.  If they confront him, he backs down.
  • Gets Along with People: Yes
  • Gets Along with Children: Yes, he loves kids.
  • Housebroken/Crate Trained: Yes.
  • Departure date: August 26th  October 21, 2019 November 8, 2019


This precious boy was removed from an abusive environment, along with several other dogs.  He was living in a small pen on someone’s porch.  But you would not know it by his behavior, he is as loving and eager to please and any dog from a perfect home.  Martin was adopted, and well loved, but had to be returned due to no fault of his own.

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

Dog to People Behavior

  • Is affectionate: Yes (gives great hugs)
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Yes
  • Jumps up on people: Not really, gives gentle hugs
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: Yes

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters his crate: Yes
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Yes
  • Understands going outside to potty: Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No
  • Stays off people furniture: Mostly We allow him on the people bed, not on the living room furniture.


  • Comes when called: Yes
  • Sits on command: Yes
  • Down / Off: Yes
  • Shake / Paw: Yes
  • Crates on command: Yes (with bribe)


  • DA2PP: 08/21/2019 (NAC)
    .             10/28/2019 (PMFC)
  • Bordatella: 08/21/2019 (NAC)
    .                   10/28/2019 (PMFC)
  • Wormed:
    . 10/26 – 10/28/2019, Fendbendazole, 10 ml
  • Rabies: 08/22/2019 (Cedarwood)
  • Spay/Neuter: Sept 4, 2019 (Cedarwood)
  • Heartworm Test: 10/31/2019 – Neg (Cedarwood)
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . 08/22/2019, Capstar, 25+ lbs
    . Early Sept, Frontline
    . 10/18/2019, Fipronil, 45-88 lbs
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . 10/18/2019, Ivermectin/Glycerine, 0.5 ml

Progress Updates

In chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Aug 26

We only had the privilege of fostering this sweet boy for a weekend.  We “borrowed” him from Newport Animal Control because we knew he was gentle, calm, and affectionate, as well as being a really good looking dog.  The Quilts & Canines event was coming up and we figured that would be a great venue to help this boy find a forever home.

I picked him up on Friday and took him to our favorite groomer: Kathy’s Grooming Parlor in Newport.  She brushed all the under fur out and bathed him.  He came out looking and smelling so much better.  He came home and spent the night with us. and we took him to the show on Saturday.

We put him in a portable kennel in front of our booth.  It had a roof to keep the rain and or sun off of him.  Many people came over to visit with him.  Almost all commented on what a well behaved boy he is.  Several said they’d adopt him in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for (something).

Someone we are familiar with who was also a “vendor” at the show, came to visit him several times.  Finally she said that she just loved this boy and would adopt him in a minute, but can’t afford the adoption fee right now.  Another near-by “vendor”, Cathy, overheard this conversation.  A little while after Ms. R left, Cathy came and asked if she could take Martin for a walk.  We know Cathy well and were confident in her ability to manage Martin.

They walked around the perimeter of the show and ended up at Ms. R’s tent.  There they stood and talked for a while.  Then they called me over.  We discussed several things including what was involved in an adoption and what the adoption fee covers.  It’s really quite a bargain, there is no “profit” involved for either Animal Control or the Veterinarian.

Then Cathy said, “If I pay the adoption fee and a couple months of food, would you adopt Martin and give him a good home?”

Ms. R said, “Yes, I’d be happy too” and just then, Martin stood up and hugged her!  We were all near tears at that point.

I filled out the adoption paperwork with Ms. R and we agreed on a time to meet at Animal Control so they could finalize things and schedule Martin’s surgery.

That appointment went off without a hitch this morning, and Ms. R took her new family member home with her.

Oct. 18

But it seems the fencing Ms. R has around her yard is not high enough to keep Martin in her yard and she’s afraid he’s going to get hurt by running loose.  So, with a broken heart, she returned Martin.  We will begin looking for another home for this sweet boy.

Later that afternoon …

It has been an afternoon of whirlwind communications.  The connections that were made here are multi-faceted and difficult to explain, but there was a lady, Martha, who stopped by to visit with Martin several times while we had him at Quilts and Canines.  She was thinking about adopting him but wasn’t sure she and her husband were ready for another: their last dog had died of old age not long ago.  By the time she decided she did want to do this, Martin had already been adopted by Ms.R.  Martha was disappointed, but thought, “If that wasn’t Gods plan for them …”

Today I put the word out that he was available again and it worked it’s way quickly back to Martha.  Martha called me.  We discussed things.  I liked what I heard, she liked what she heard.  We have a meet & greet between Martin and Martha and her husband scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.  We are excited and hopeful.

Oct 19

Martin came in after he had dinner to join our gang for Friday Sci-Fi night.  The dogs all got chewies while Marie and I ate dinner.  When the dishes and tray tables were cleared away  Martin came out to cuddle with Marie in front of the fire.

Teach me how to Facebook, Doug!

At bed time Martin went back to his crate and did fine while we were milling around getting ready.  When we settled and the lights went out Martin got lonely and fussy, so I went to sleep on the sofa to be near him.  That made him happy and he slept through the night.

This morning he got up and went outside to pee with the other house dogs, then Martin and I went to the den to kill time on the computer.  Martin wanted to help.

I took Martin outside and he played with Blondie Bear while I cleaned kennels.  He was ZOOMING around and having just the BEST time!  That wore him out and when we went inside I trimmed his toenails, wiped the dust and dirt off of him with a damp cloth, then brushed him out.  He gave me no trouble at all with any of this.  He is SUCH a good boy!  He’s resting in his crate with a hoofie until it’s time to go meet his potential new family.

Martin says, “Yeah, I’d like living here.”

The meet-n-greet went well.  They loved Martin, Martin enjoyed running around in their large fenced back yard, which includes a large gazebo with a BED in it!  A large house with lots of rooms to explore, and he was perfectly well-behaved  — well, except for eating a bowl of cat food.  But no one held that against him since it WAS on the floor.  He liked both Martha and Dick, and wanted to meet their cats, but the cats were hiding.

“I need a snuggle.”

Martin came back home with us for the weekend to give his new family time to prepare for him to move in.  We will do the paperwork and make it all official on Monday.  Dick and Martha have a history of taking in unwanted dogs and keeping them until they pass on of old age.  They have no dogs at the moment, their last one having been euthanized to end her pain after having been with them for 16 years.  They said they weren’t going to get any more dogs.  But then Martha met Martin … well, one more.

Oct 21

We all met at Newport Animal Control so the management there could fill out the paperwork and make the adoption legal.  Then Martin went home with Mommy and Daddy who are having a tough time remembering to refer to martin as he or him because their past several dogs (all long term pets) were female and that pattern is ingrained.  Martin says, “I don’t care, as long as you love me.”

Oct 25

We are 0 for2 with Martin, and the reason for the return this time is even more sad than his losing another home.

Martins new dog Daddy is the one who stays home with Martin during the days.  Mom works most weekdays.  It seems having a bouncy 50 pound dog around has  brought home to them just how bad Dad’s health issues are.  Martha told me, “I don’t know which is worse, losing Martin or realizing that my husband is so sick.”

Martin even came to an understanding with their cats.

My heart goes out to them, this is really hard for them both.

Martin is back here with us, and we think we have a solution for him.  I’m waiting on a return message, then we’ll know.

UPDATE: Animal Rescue Network of New England has accepted him and has made reservations on a rescue transport that rolls through here Friday, November 8th.  He needs a couple of tests done and a Health Certification before he can travel across state lines, but three times should be the charm for this charming boy.

Nov. 1

Martins Health Certification went well yesterday.  He is healthy over all, free of heartworms and free of intestinal parasites.  So he is cleared for interstate travel next weekend.  He likes playing outdoors in this chilly weather, he should do well in New England.  He’s also quite entertaining at meal times.  We enjoy dinner and a show with him around.

Nov 2

We have a ‘No Dogs On the People Furniture’ rule in our house.  Guess who feels he’s above the rules?

Nov. 8

This morning we were admiring Martin’s wonderful feet. When we were done he said, “OK, I let you see my feet, now you owe me a belly rub.”

On the way to meet Martins ride to New Hampshire, Martin decided he liked looking out my window best.  Once we met up with the PETS Transport, Martin was eager to ride in the BIG truck.  At one point he was standing on his hinders with his fore-paws up on the ladder trying his best to get up there by himself like the driver had.  He could not quite manage that so I lifted him up there once the driver had Martin’s roomette set up for him with the blanket and hoofie we brought along.

Safe travels, dear Martin!

Dec 24

Martin, has been traveling the East Coast with his foster-to-adopt family.  That family has decided they officially LOVE this boy and officially adopted him today.  They’re calling him Duncan.  Martin says, “That’s okay as long as I get to sleep on the bed.”

The young man in the photo is a home-schooled teen who is his best friend.  He takes him for walks several times a day and rides his bike with Martin running alongside.  He spends a lot of time with Martin.

This is another example of shelters, fosters, and rescues working together to save canine lives and improve human lives.

A tip of the hat to City of Newport Animal Control for pulling him out of a bad situation, and Animal Rescue Network of New England for finding him the perfect forever home.  Merry Christmas, Martin!

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save lives?


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Lil’ Blue Steele: Notes on a foster dog

This is a foster dog diary post about Lil Blue. New information will be added to the end of this post so all info on this dog is kept in one place and in chronological order. If you subscribe for updates, a short note will be sent when updates are posted. If you don’t subscribe, check back periodically to see what’s been added.

Last Updated: Oct. 12, 2019

Lil Blue had been dumped in a crate outside Animal Control during the weekend. The Manager asked me to look at him. He was scared to death and not doing well.  Clearly he could not stay there.

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: August 26, 2019
  • Breed: Blue Heeler Mix
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: @ 25 Pounds
  • Neutered: Sept 7th
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Affectionate, playful, and sweet.
  • Gets Along with Dogs: Yes
  • Gets Along with Cats: Yes
  • Gets Along with People: Yes
  • Crate Trained: Yes
  • Housebroken: Yes
  • Departure date: Sept 28, going to Lucky 7 Dog Rescue

Progress Summary:

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

For a listing of Doggy Tails that include Lil Blue [click here].

Dog to Dog Behavior

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

Dog to People Behavior

  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Unknown Probably fine with older kids, may be too energetic for toddlers.  In either case, keep his nails trimmed, they get cat-like sharp.
  • Jumps up on people: Sometimes, but doing better
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: Yes

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters his crate: Yes
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Yes Unless he needs to go out or is lonely/scared.
  • Understands going outside to potty: Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: Yes
    He can’t reach them (lol)
  • Stays off people furniture: No, but he knows its bad behavior.  Likes to test that boundary.


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

Lil Blue’s Medical

  • DA2PP: Aug 28, 2019 (PMFC)
  • Bordatella: Aug 28, 2019 (PMFC)
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
    . Aug 28-30 | Fendbendazole | 5 ml | PMFC
  • Rabies: Sept 7, 2019 (Claws and Paws)
  • Spay/Neuter: Sept 7, 2019 (Claws and Paws)
  • Heartworm Test: Sept 7, 2019, NEGATIVE (Claws and Paws)
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . Aug 26, Capstar, 25+ lbs
    . Aug 27, Fipronil, 23 – 44 lbs
    . Sept 26, TevraPet-Activate-II, 0.8 ml
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . 09/07/2019, Sentinel, 11-25 lbs
  • Notes:
    . Infested with fleas at intake and has missing fur and irritated skin along his back.  Using Chlorhexadine to prevent infection in the raw spots.  Treated him for fleas (see above).  I do not think this is mange.
    . The vets who neutered him made no mention of skin disease, confirming my diagnosis above.  His fur is growing back in too.  He’s still itchy, seems to have dry skin.


Lil Blue is drinking water now so I’ve switched him to a dry diet: 3/4 cup 4heath Salmon & Potato formula twice a day.

Progress Updates

In chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Aug 26

I finished my morning deliveries and went home to e-mail Marie about Blue and the situation he was in.  I asked her if I could exceed our limit (again) for this pitiful fella (though we didn’t know what sex he was at the time because he was hunched up against a wall in the back, trembling like a leaf). Marie said, “Go get that poor dog!” So I did. Shades of Josephine’s story.  It took a while to earn his trust enough to guide him into a transport box to take him home.

Once I got him back here I let him borrow Blaze’s kennel while I cleaned out the transport box (he got scared during the trip and messed it up) and got things ready to bring him inside.  He started calming down as soon as he got here.

Out walking

Do I see Corgi here?

Resting after his walk

I want him to take a Capstar to be sure we aren’t bringing fleas into the house. He won’t eat anything I tried hiding it in (yet). Even lunch meat. Mom gave me some cat food when I took her the mail: that was my secret weapon when I worked at the Jeff County shelter. I’ll try that. If it works I can bring him inside to his room where I can continue working to calm him. He seems like a sweet little boy!

(UPDATE: The cat food worked!  He snarfed it down he needs a while for the Capstar to work, then I’ll bring him in and settle him in his crate.

Aug 27

Blue is coming out of his shell today.  On our morning walk he had his head up and a spring in his step.  There were a couple of times when I said, “Come on lil guy” and he actually followed me.  There is hope!

I also looked up some personality traits for Blue Heelers since I don’t know many details about them.  The Daily Puppy offered this:

Behavior with Other Animals

As natural herders, these pups try to herd other animals. They can be dominant toward other dogs in herding attempts, although early socialization can mitigate this. Blue heelers also nip the animals they’re herding, again due to instinct. They’re not trying to be mean. For this reason, blue heelers aren’t recommended around cats unless they have been raised with cats from puppyhood.

Behavior with People

In general, blue heelers enjoy a tight family bond, although they will test owners for dominance. If you can assert yourself as the alpha of the pack, your blue heeler will come to respect you. If you’re not willing to consistently take a pack leader stance, you may find the blue heeler temperament and energy level too much to handle. These dogs tend to be suspicious and watchful of strangers. Coupled with their family loyalty, this makes them excellent guard dogs.

He was dumped WITH a cat, so I suspect he’s been raised around cats and is okay with them.

“What? I’m just looking out the window.”

As of Sept 8 I have not seen him trying to herd the other dogs.  He likes to run with them, but is mindful of the size difference.

I HAVE seen the heeler dominance testing behavior, especially in regard to our rule of “no dogs on the sofa and people bed”.  I am firm but gentle in enforcing the rules and he is slowly accepting my assertion of being alpha.

Aug 29

Oddly enough, Lil Blue is forming a close friendship with Blaze.  Our littlest dog chooses to buddy up with our biggest dog?  Who’d have thought it?  He’s showing more of his true personality too.  There is separation anxiety, but that will settle out as he becomes confident he’s not being dumped again.  He is good in his crate, and he does let me know when he needs to go outside.

Aug. 30

Happy to be rid of the leash.

Lil Blue has learned to come when called, so I can safely let him out to free-range in the yard.  I still go out with him to watch over him (from a distance), but he may go where he wants.  He wanders, but he keeps me in sight.

He also gets to free-range inside most of the time.  He has been good about letting me know he needs to go outside by scratching on the door.

A little while ago Lil Blue was wandering the room while I worked at my desk. He was being good, just checking things out. Then he came to me, stood up on his hinders and started bouncing his front feet on my leg. That’s new. “What is it little guy, what do you want?”

He hopped down, ran to his room (crate) and stared inside. I looked closely and saw Buddy Beagle curled up in a ball in there. “He’s in my room! Make him get out, it’s MY room.”

I extracted Buddy Beagle. Lil Blue rushed in and took inventory then settled in saying, with a little pout, “It’s MY room!”

Sept 1

Lil Blue has  successfully slept through the night twice now.  Last night I moved his crate into the bedroom so I could sleep in the bed again.  It was a bit snug squeezing his crate in there, since we already have wall-to-wall dogs at night, and Blue had his own idea of a solution, but it worked out.

I took him out for a walk at 9:00 PM, he did his thing, went right back in and settled in his “room”.  He slept all the way through to 6:30 AM.  I got up to let Buddy Beagle out once and a couple of times to tend to my own needs and Blue didn’t fuss or demand to come along.  We went to church this morning and he was okay with that.  I think we’ve worked him through his separation anxiety.

Sept. 2

Lil Blue had quite an adventure today.  We started by my baking up a bunch of dog treats, most of which I will be delivering tomorrow. Blue is eager for the samples.

Then Blue and I loaded up for a truck ride. Lil Blue was not happy about this, I think he was afraid I too was going to dump him somewhere. I tried to assure him this was nothing like that.

He liked riding in the cart at Tractor Supply Co. while I gathered our monthly supplies. He also liked getting petted and fawned over by a store associate and a customer. One gal said, “You are SO adorable, if I didn’t have 6 dogs and a husband who says, ‘no more dogs’ I’d adopt you in a heart beat.”

The gal at the checkout offered him treats, but he refused them. He knew I had peanut butter treats in my pocket, he wanted one of those.

The ride back home was calmer, I think he figured out that we were on an adventure, not a dastardly deed. When we got home I let him run in the yard while I unloaded and stacked our monthly supply of kibble.

When we went inside, I removed his walking harness and he went to tell his tale to Blondie Bear. She was a touch envious, she loves going to TSC, but she said she was glad he’d had a good time.

Sept 7

Lil Blue was neutered today.  When we picked him up from surgery he was happy to see us and bouncy.  When his pain meds wore off, he began to walk stiffly and held his ears down flat on his head.  He did eat his dinner, leash walked with me several times to do his business, and he slept through the night.  He has not been licking at his incision.  If he’s still in pain in the morning I’ll get him some baby aspirin.

Sept 8

This morning I had to put Lil Blue in a cone to keep him from licking his neuter incision. He did not like that. He asked me to take it off. I did not.

We went outside after breakfast and Blue just sat in the grass facing away from me, refusing to “do” anything, refusing to acknowledge me when I called him. SO I went inside. Pretty soon he was at the back door with Callie and Jojo wanting back in. But he was still mad at me, I could tell.

So we crated most of the dogs and went to church.

When we got back Blue was so happy to see us he forgot, for a little while, that he was mad at me. We went outside again and Blue was not giving me the cold shoulder but wasn’t being affectionate either. He does get around really well with that cone though.

At dinner time I let Blue Free-range eat with the others. He did extremely well.

Where is Buddy, you ask? Buddy is in his crate eating. Buddy is a pig-dog and cannot be trusted around food.  Blondie, Callie, Josie, and Blue mind their own bowls and only their own bowls.  They’re good dogs.

And this evening his ears are back on top of his head. He’s feeling perky again and has forgiven me — though he’d still like me to take off the cone.

Sorry, Lil guy, I really am. Not yet.  But I’ll buy you a donut in the morning, that will be easier to handle.

He’s done an amazing job of adapting. Blue is a bright and resilient little fellow.

Sept 11

Lil Blue is doing well with his surgical recovery.  We bought him a donut collar to replace the cone, and he likes that much better.  Not that he had any real trouble with the cone.  Unlike most, Blue acclimated to the thing really quickly.  This is due in part to the fact he does not walk around with his nose to the ground — which turns the cone into a dozer blade — but also to the fact that he has an unusually heightened sense of spacial proximity.  He rarely ran the cone into things.

Lil Blue is now a regular member of the Breakfast Club (and the dinner club), able to eat in close proximity to all the other free-range dogs, and has lost all his anxiety.  Until recently he insisted I go out in the yard with him.  I didn’t have to be right next to him, but he needed to be able to see me.  For the past few days he has been leading the parade around the corner and out into the yard while I stay in the house.

I’m just watching out the window, dad.

Yeah, I caved – he is now allowed on the bed.

After getting his lovins, he sleeps at the foot of the bed.

Guardian of the Realm!

Nap time sentry

I’m ready for bed now.

Lil Blue likes hanging out in his “room”.

Lil Blue thinks he’s a wild dingo dog.

Who? Us? No, we’re not getting rowdy! Really!

“My kitty still loves me” Pouting after his bath.

Sept 28

We took Lil Blue to meet his ride north this morning.  We decided to take the Subaru, which is parked out front of our house, instead of the truck, which is always parked over by the kennels.  Blue wanted no part of going out the front door, “No, no, you keep telling me not to go out the front.”  and he remained skittish until I got him in the car and seated on Marie’s lap.  Then he calmed down and rode well.

He got fearful again when I took him out of the car and carried him to the transport van, but once he was in his crate, he settled in, laid down and watched as the other dogs were loaded.  He seemed to be doing fine, even as Marie and I disappeared from his sight.

I hope he has a pleasant trip and integrates quickly into his new foster home.  I miss him, but wish him well on his journey to finding a forever home.

Sept 29

We heard from Luck 7 Dog Rescue today: Lil Blue arrived safely and is settling into his new foster home well.  He is their current Dog of the Week.  Judging by his ears, he’s not thrilled with the costuming, but I’m glad he’s being well cared for.

Oct. 12 — ADOPTED!

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Canine Toenail Trimming

Originally published April 1, 2016

The Dogtor is in

I did some toenail trimming on all the dogs yesterday. Trimming a dog’s nails is a necessary part of caring for them. Sharp claws are a hazard to you and your belongings, claws that push down on the floor as they walk can be painful to your dog. For both your sakes, keep them trimmed.

Cochise is always cooperative: he’s a good boy. Blondie did well too. She has gotten to where I ask, “May I have your paw” and she will lift a front paw and present it for trimming. She does expect the treat after each snip or two, but she sits still. Her hind feet are a little trickier (she’s ticklish) but that went well too.

Offering treats during toenail trimming does not work for Volt submits to toenail trimmingbecause he gets so excited by the prospect of food. I waited until Volt was napping, then sidled in with the nippers and said, “Volt … buddy … may I trim these toenails?”

Volt said, “Hmmm? What? Yeah, sure … whatever.”

Volt got several treats when the session was done.

So they’re all trimmed up and looking spiffy. We do this about every two weeks.

Toenail Trimming Treats

To attain even Blondie Bear’s cooperation (she was once terrified of toenail trimming) I make treats by slicing hot dogs into wheels about 1/4″ thick, spreading them on a paper towel so they don’t touch, and microwaving them for 3 minutes (that will vary depending on your microwave). Raw ones work too, but raw hot dog bits go bad quickly (sometimes in just hours). These cooked (dried) bits will keep for days if you want to use them in a training treat pouch. Longer if you store the pouch in the fridge when you’re not using it. I learned this trick from a book about fictional dog trainer Raine Stockton written by Donna Ball.

To start with, sit down and call the dog over. When she complies, give her a treat. Let her sniff the clippers. Give her a treat. Repeat that a couple of times, so she associates the clipper with pleasure. Snip one nail, give a treat. Be firm, but don’t turn it into a wrestling match. Reward her liberally with treats but only when she complies in some way. Bribery (treats before the fact) does not work on dogs: they’re too smart for that.

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Heartworm Treatment Aftermath

Originally published May 10, 2016

The Dogtor is in

How dogs deal with heartworm treatment aftermath varies considerably, depending on several factors.

  • Severity of worm infestation. A low-count infestation will have less effect on the dog as the worms die and potentially cause problems.  A high-count means more dead worm tissue in the blood stream and a higher likelihood that the heart has sustained damage from the worms chewing on it.
  • The dog’s temperament. Dogs, like people, deal with sickness or pain differently: some are wimps and will cry and moan over every little thing, others are stalwart and seemingly ignore discomfort. Most are somewhere in between.
  • How well the treatment went. If a dog jumps or lurches during the injection, it leaves a bruise in the muscle that is very painful – and it requires that the injection be repeated in a slightly different location because the bruise will allow too rapid absorption of the Immiticide. The injection must be done intramuscular to slow the absorption rate.
dolly cochise nursemaid, heartworm treatment aftermath
Dolly was Cochise’s nursemaid during heartworm treatment

Some dogs we’ve cared for were hardly slowed down at all, while others (like Cochise) were hit hard. It took him a week or more to get over the nausea and pain. Most are stiff and sore in their lower back and hips for one to three days, then bounce back quickly.

This is actually more dangerous than one who convalesces for a while because it is vital to keep the dog on crate rest for a minimum of two weeks. High levels of activity cause increased heart rate which causes an increased chance of dead worm matter breaking loose from the heart, lodging in the capillaries of the lungs and causing a lesion or embolism in the lung. This can be fatal. The dog must be given time for his body to absorb the dead tissue before they become active again.

Volt’s Heartworm Treatment Aftermath

Because Volt was underweight, Dr. Conklin decided to use an extended-kill method with him. This takes longer and is more expensive, but is easier on the dog. Volt went in for his final treatments yesterday and today. Yesterday went well and he experienced little discomfort. He felt a little yucky this morning, but that was all. Today (we suspect) did not go so well.

He’s got a visible lump on his back where the injection would have been given, so we suspect he twitched and tore a bruise in the muscle. He’s also quite uncomfortable:

And here we are, out of Tramadol. I gave him a baby aspirin. At 71 pounds, Volt could probably have two, but we’ll try one. Maybe we’ll do two at bed time so he gets a good nights rest. He should feel better in the morning.

A low dose of aspirin is safe for large dogs for short term use (like a day or two) for pain, when advised by your veterinarian. Do not use if the dog is taking Prednisone. Generally, a dog 50 to 100 pounds can have one regular aspirin tablet twice a day — SHORT term. Aspirin causes gastric bleeding if over-used. Baby aspirin is straight aspirin but in a lower (81 mg) dose. Tramadol is a better option, but it requires a prescription and is pricey. Do not use Tylenol.

Tylenol is Acetaminophen. Acetaminophen, which is not an NSAID, is poisonous to dogs. Typical symptoms of pain killer poisoning include difficulty breathing, vomiting (can be a good thing), change in coloration of the gums, jaundice (a sign of liver damage), and a change in body temperature, among others. Do not use Tylenol on your dog!

heartworm treatment aftermathAn hour after I gave Volt the baby aspirin he was able to rest. He was not sleeping, but could lie still and rest without whimpering and shifting around. I tried to make him comfortable in the den with the rest of us, but he preferred to suffer in solitude and went to the bedroom. He did appreciate an occasional belly rub.

After another hour he came and got me to tell me that he needed to go outside. I took him out (without a leash this time: the last thing he wants to do right now is run) and he went as far as the very first patch of grass to take care of all his business. I cleaned up after him (since this was in a major traffic pattern) and he was waiting for me at the back door.

The First Night

When I dish up kibbles, Volt always comes to supervise. At first he was hoping I would drop some (or he could grab some) and I had to close the door to keep him from raiding the kibble buckets as I opened them. When he learned to control himself, I started giving him a kibble or two as a treat for his improved behavior.

That evening, Volt did not come to the door of the Kibble Treasury when I began scooping kibbles into dishes. He was dozing just across the hallway, and that was more important to him than a snack.

As dinner preparation was about concluded and ready to serve, Volt did come out of the den (it did smell good). We decided to try letting him eat on a blanket beside the table like Cochise and Blondie do. Volt has been getting fed in his crate because he will wolf down his own food then try to push Blondie out of her bowl as well. And she is mild tempered enough to let him do it. She will give him a “How rude!” look, but not fight him over it. Tonight, he’s not feeling all that pushy, because of the heartworm treatment aftermath.

He did well. He ate much slower than normal, then went and sat behind my chair and waited. When Blondie and Cochise finished their dinners, all three wandered off to lie down and let the meal settle.

I woke him from his nap to take him outside so he would sleep through the night. He wasn’t thrilled with that, but he complied, squatting like a girl-dog because raising a leg hurt too much.

When bed time arrived, Volt was crashed in the den. I asked him if he wanted to join us in the bedroom, but the only response I got was a brief, groggy, one-eyed, glance.

Normally we insist on it because it’s easier to track his whereabouts. He has tried at least one Midnight Caper while we slept. But I didn’t think he’d be up to any mischief this time.

Nurse Blondie monitors Heartworm treatment aftermathVolt woke Marie at 12:30 am when he got up to wander restlessly. He was in pain again. Marie gave him another baby aspirin and he settled into his bed in the bedroom. Blondie moved from her bed to the floor next to him to be nursemaid. She stayed there all night.

At 6:00 most of us got up again. Volt seemed comatose – and caused me some concern – but it turned out he was just unwilling to leave the Nirvana of slumber. We can all understand that!

Dealing well with heartworm treatment aftermathCochise stood in for Volt as kibble inspector when I dished up doggie breakfast. Once I got the bacon and eggs going, Volt was up and sitting in the living room watching. He was more animated this morning. Enough so that he was served breakfast in his crate again.

After breakfast we went outside and he again squatted to pee. Then he settled in with us in the den and went to sleep. He is still sore, but not so sore as to need pain meds to sleep. That’s good. He’s bouncing back already. I’ll let him sleep as much as he wants, that’s the best way to heal.

The Outlook

Volt is a laid-back hound dog. Keeping him calm for the next few weeks will not be the challenge that it is in a high-energy dog. Still, I’ll use a leash to take him out for potty breaks, once he’s not suffering so.

Once he’s feeling better, we will have to take him on another trip to Tractor Supply just to be sure he does not come to associate truck rides with bad things happening to him.

Volt is a sweet, good-natured dog, he will be fine. It’s just going to take a few days to get past the rough part of heartworm treatment aftermath.

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Your Dog’s Tail Tells a Tale

Originally published: May 2, 2016

The Dogtor is in

People are used to reading the body language of other Peoples as part of their interaction with one another. They often do it without even thinking. Some people assume that dogs are just animals and so are simplistic. But they are not. They too use a lot of body language: the shape of their eyes; position of their mouth, ears, and head; their stance; even a dog’s tail speaks of how they are feeling and what they are thinking.

dog's tail Different breeds of dogs have different natural positions for their tails, so allowances have to be made for breeds. For instance, breeds like Malamute, Husky, American Eskimo, and Chow all hold their tails curled up over their backs. Determining if their tail is higher than normal, lower than normal or about average is different than for most dogs who will hold their tails angled up from the spine, in line with the spine or lower, maybe even tucked under their butt, to indicate levels of anxiety.

Keeping that in mind, here are some broad generalizations about how dogs use their tail to express themselves.

Blondie’s Dog Cabin in the Woods

Originally published Jun 24, 2016

When Cochise first came to live with us we erected a quick sleeping shelter out of a wire fence panel, a tarp and an old barn door. It was shaped like the top of an old west covered wagon using the door as a floor and the fencing hooped over to support the tarp. Cochise quickly decided it was lots of fun to jump on top of his wickiup and flatten it out. This required that I crawl inside to push it back into shape with my neck and shoulders. It didn’t take long before we decided we’d best move on to a permanent structure.

dog cabinSo Marie and I built Cochise a sturdy wooden cabin with a shingled roof that hinges up for cleaning the interior and an entry vestibule separated from his sleeping area by a wind baffle.

That cabin served him well until he became a full-time house dog. Then it served many other foster dogs. Some of these were none too gentle on it and repairs were made over the years, but it still stands and is quite solid … and very heavy.

When To Throw the Red Flag On Dogs Play

Originally published Nov. 4th, 2016

Cochise on dogs play
Cochise tells the tale

Most dogs like to play. Most of a dogs play is a lighthearted version of real-life skills: chasing, catching, fetching and … fighting.

As long as it’s done in the name of good, harmless fun, there is no problem. But if it should slide beyond play: because one “combatant” feels he is losing and doesn’t want to, things can get bloody fast.

Breaking up a dog fight is dangerous, especially if there is only one Peoples. It is best to red flag it before play turns to fight.

Signs of Play

Sampson demonstrates the classic Play Bow

When we’re playing, the tails will be swinging happily from side to side, we may bounce side to side or enter a play bow (forelegs and chest on the ground, butt in the air), we may lunge and retreat. When happy, our eyes are open and round, ears are up, and our mouths should be open and “smiling”. We may sound like we’re about to kill each other, but as long as it’s just trash-talking we’re okay.

We may wrestle each other to the ground and pin our opponent there. We may leap around and over one another, we may body slam each other, or we may take off and run – incorporating these other moves when we get the opportunity. Biting is okay as long as it’s gentle.

Cinnamon Steele: Notes on a foster dog

This is a foster dog diary post about Cinnamon. New information will be added to the end of this post so all info on this dog is kept in one place and in chronological order. If you subscribe for updates, a short note will be sent when updates are posted. If you don’t subscribe, check back periodically to see what’s been added.

Last Updated: Sept 2, 2019

Cinnamon has been bounced around from foster to foster because of behavior issues.  Now she’s here at Piney Mountain to have those issues worked on.

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Aug 15th, 2019
  • Breed: Red Heeler
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: Puppy, Young Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Weight: 62 Pounds
  • Spayed: Yes
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Calm, affectionate, I’m told she has separation anxiety: I have not seen that.
  • Gets Along with Dogs: Yes
  • Gets Along with Cats: Unknown.  Kills chickens.
  • Gets Along with People: Yes
  • Gets Along with Children: Yes, even toddlers.
  • Housebroken/Crate Trained: Not yet
  • Departure date: Sept 6th –> S.A.V.E.


Rejected by two other foster homes for behavior issues.  Otherwise I know nothing about this dog’s history.

Progress Summary:

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

For a listing of Doggy Tails that include Cinnamon [click here].

Dog to Dog Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: No Warns them off with a growl if they get too close.

Dog to People Behavior

  • Is affectionate: Yes
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Yes
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: Yes

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters her crate: No Yes
  • 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: Yes
  • Sits on command: Yes
  • Down / Off: Yes
  • Shake / Paw: Working on this
  • Kennels on command: Yes

Cinnamon’s Medical

  • DA2PP:  July 28, 2019 (SAH)
  • Bordatella: July 28, 2019 (SAH)
  • Wormed: July 28, 2019 Pyrantel Pamoate (SAH)
  • Rabies: July 31, 2018 (by)
  • Spay/Neuter: July 31, 2018 (by)
  • Heartworm Test: July 31, 2018, Neg (by)
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . July 28, product?, 0.7 ml
    . Sept 2, product?, 0.7 ml
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . July 31, Nuheart, dose?
    . Sept 2, ValuHeart, Lg Dog

Progress Updates

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.

Aug 15, 2019

Cinnamon’s former foster brought her to me late in the day and I needed to leave immediately afterward for an appointment.  Cinnamon gave me no trouble in crossing the play yard to the kennels.  I let her say “howdy” to her kennel mates, Sable and Blaze.  The plan was to have her bunk in with Sable.  I was told she was 40 pounds, she’s 62 and much larger than Sable.  Cinnamon did NOT like Sable.  Wasn’t crazy about Blaze either.  But then she was newly arrived and these two were not being as friendly as they could.

I had to hastily make other arrangements for her containment while we were away.  Former foster #1 said Cinnamon would destroy a crate if left alone in the house.  So that was not an option.  Former foster #2 said Cinnamon had ripped holes through two chain-link kennels to get out and kill her chickens.  So even if Sable or Blaze seemed like a good roomie situation, the chain link may not hold her.  So I put her in our max-security cell which is armor plated on the lower two feet.  When we got back home that night, Cinnamon was still where I put her, so that is working.  But that kennel had been promised to a shelter dog at risk of being put down.  This was an emergency situation that may cost another dog its life.

Aug 16

Cinnamon met the house dogs this morning and I introduced her (face-to-face) to Blaze this afternoon.  Those intros went well.  She no longer has harsh words for Sable either.  She loves playing with Blaze, they had a grand time running in the yard together while I was cleaning their kennels, then hanging out in the shade when they got tired.

She also decided she likes Blaze’s room and asked if she could bunk in there with him.

After I secured Blaze, I took Cinnamon for a leash walk.  She did well, so she gets her gold star for that skill.  She even went back into her kennel all on her own for a rest when we were done.

Aug 17

Cinnamon played with Josephine and Callie today.  At first Josie was hesitant because Cinnamon is twice her weight and three times her size, but Cinnamon was careful and these two played well together.

When Callie joined the game, she would charge in and bump Cinnamon with her chest.  Cinni would go stiff and fall over like one of those fainting goats, “I’m dead, you killed me”.  It was hilarious.

Aug 19

While cleaning the kennels I let Sable out first to run around solo.  When I got her kennel scrubbed out, and the dog house and dog bed scrubbed, and the disinfectant down on the floor, I let Blaze out to play with Sable so I could work on his room while the disinfectant worked in Sable’s.  When Sable’s room was done, I put her back in and let out Cinnamon to  play with Blaze, planning to put Blaze away when his room was ready and give Cinnamon some solo time.  But when I called Blaze, he and Cinnamon came galloping over and ran into Blaze’s room.  I figured they both wanted a drink of water and Cinni would come back out afterward.  But no, she settled in on Blaze’s bed and said, “I’m staying here with my friend.”  Blaze seemed okay with that, so I closed and secured the door.  Once I got the disinfectant down on Cinnamon’s floor I headed out to do a yard pick-up while it did it’s thing.  While I was out I heard Cinnamon yipping.  Blaze gave out one loud, annoyed “WOOF!”, Cinnamon yipped some more, then it got quiet.

When I got back to the kennels, I found Blaze standing at his door giving me a look: “Let me out, Doug, she’s being greedy.”

Cinnamon had grabbed Blazes bed AND his chew toy and wasn’t going to share.

But, there were no hostilities, just hurt feelings. Poor Blaze!  He’s just trying to be hospitable and this eye-batting cutie-gal is taking advantage of him!

During the afternoon play session I moved Cinnamon’s bed and toy into Blaze’s room, but on the opposite side of the room.  Now they each have a bed and a toy.  The beds should work out, but it may well be that both toys will end up under Cinni’s paws.

Blaze says, “MY bed.  MY toy. You just stay on your side of the room, girlie.”

This may not work out and I’ll be moving Cinnamon back into her own room, so we’re NOT hanging out the vacancy sign just yet.

Aug 27

Cinnamon has her room to herself again.  Martin: the guest who was staying in Blaze’s (mostly unused) kennel is gone on to his forever home now and Blaze has a “room” when he needs it.

I let Cinnamon play with Sable last week.  That was a mistake.  Sable plays hard. Cinnamon picked up on that and carried that style of play into her play with Blaze after I put Sable up.  Blaze didn’t like that. He plays with Sable that way, but Sable is considerably smaller than Cinnamon.  Blaze got defensive and they got into a tiff. Everyone went to solo-play for the rest of the week. They are doing better now.

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Blondie Bear: Escape Artist

Originally published Nov. 29, 2014

Escape artist Blondie
Blondie Bear: escape artist extraordinaire

A report from Cochise on Blondie Bear:

The day after Thanksgiving, there was great excitement in the neighborhood: a UPS truck was parked out front AND a stray dog was running up and down the road all at the same time! Smokey and Lupa were barking and carrying on, other confined dogs on the road were barking and carrying on. We were running all over the yard barking this way and that. It was more than Blondie Bear could stand.

In desperation to escape and be part of it all, she found she could scale a section of The Great Wall of Edwina by reaching up with her forepaws, hooking the top plank with her rather ample claws, and boosting herself with hind feet claws snagging seams between the heavy boards. Doug got to the door just in time to see Blondie’s butt going up over the wall and trot off toward the road. I would not have thought it possible: she’s pretty chunky after all, but she did it. Of course she went absolutely deaf the moment she got over the wall and could not hear Doug calling her back.

Doug went out after her. It was a foolish effort, but he tried. She’d look at him when he got close, giggle and run off again. Finally she went down a steep slope toward a creek and a cow pasture beyond. Doug couldn’t follow through the forest underbrush on that slope, so he came home. She was out for hours. She pranced through the yard several times, looking very pleased with herself. She was out carousing until Marie got home from shopping. The thought of seeing Marie and inspecting a truck-load of groceries was too much for her and she surrendered.

The next day Doug got to work thwarting that avenue of escape. He was going to add another level to the trellis, but Marie suggested just adding a shelf. He thought that over, modified the concept a little and made it so.

Blondie was not amused.

Escape route thwarted

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