The Dogtor is in

Hercules is a Boxer mix on loan through the Foster Dog Program at Newport Animal Shelter. He tested positive for heart worms and was taken off the adoptable list. We’re trying to change that and help him get a loving forever home. When it’s cold, our foster dogs sleep in crates in my heated workshop.

Hercules Makes Himself at Home

January 27, 2014

We had an incident one morning:

While I am NOT happy about having a hole ripped through an $80 crate,

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Hercules was SO cute when I found him snuggled into Cochise’s quilt. The name Hercules was not assigned without cause, so keeping him contained and safe in this bitter cold (single digits at night) is going to be a challenge. I have to give him credit for not toppling the kibble bin… he could easily have gorged himself, he knows whats in there. He did not tear anything up, (other than Cochise’s quilt) nor did he mess in the shop. He just wanted to get to the quilt. He’s been in here before and knows it’s here. That may have been a mistake.

Patching the Crate

I patched the crate with some wire fencing and bailing wire. I wrapped the fencing around the front, back and top corners and secured it with many tightly twisted bights of bailing wire. The twisted necks were trimmed off and bent under to prevent scratching and snagging.

It was sunny today. Air temperature in the mid 20’s. All of the dogs went outside to play in the sunshine while I patched the crate. After lunch it was “nap time”; Cheyanne and Hercules went back into their crates. Blondie and Cochise sacked out in my office with me while I worked. Hercules immediately began picking at the bars of the crate.

He has decided that he prefers the quilt. That he deserves the quilt. That he will have the quilt. He is determined, and he is strong. For this afternoon, he’s out in his pen. The sun will keep him warm. When we lose that I’ll put him in his crate again and we will see what happens. But I will close the door to the office when I leave. Will the repaired crate hold him? We will see.

And the Answer Is:

dog, crate, box
Transport box for hunting dogs

No. It took him all of 15 minutes to rip a hole through the second door. That crate is now trashed and Hercules will be living in the pen outside until we figure out what to do with him. Maybe I need one of these!

Emergency Shelter for Hercules

January 29, 2014

Hercules decided he was no longer content to sleep in his crate next to Cheyanne’s in the workshop, and ripped holes through that crate to seek classier accommodations. We cannot leave him running loose in the shop and we have no place to safely contain him there, so he has been staying in his pen.

dog pen, shelter, Marie and I did upgrade his pen by hanging tarps to shelter him from wind, rain and blowing snow. He sleeps in an Igloo dog house with a thick bed of straw inside for him to wiggle down into. He has been happy there with lows getting only into the upper 20’s. But for the next few nights we are expecting lows in the single digits: far too cold to leave him outside even if he were healthy – and he’s not. He needs emergency shelter for this cold snap.

Marie bought another crate. Not a steel-wire crate this time but a Retriever Transport Box. We have the large version of this which has worked well for several dogs including Cheyanne’s period of intensive care. I put Hercules in that the other day. It’s the right size for him, being about 40 pounds. But he grabbed the door with his teeth and pulled it into the crate before I even got across the room. Hercules is very strong! I repaired the door but that’s definitely not going to hold him.

Marie did some research on what was available that might do the trick: I suggested brick and mortar, or perhaps a plate steel box. She found that other people with similar sized dogs and situations had success with the extra-large version of the Retriever box. The extra-large is made for BIG dogs and the door is quite a bit stiffer. She bought one at Tractor Supply over the weekend. It’s big enough I could sleep in it … hopefully I’ll never need to!

dog, crate,Providing Shelter: the grand plan

Instead of leaving Hercules crated in the shop with Cheyanne, this time we’ll set him up in our laundry room where we can keep an ear on him and discourage him from tearing at the door. He is being provided with the quilt he sought so adamantly.

Cochise did his tour of inspection and gave his approval. He recognized the quilt as the one that was his snoozing spot in my office and got a little possessive when I was folding it up to go in the monster crate. But I reminded him that it was badly damaged now and Marie had bought him a new one — one with (polyester) FUR on it! “Oh, yeah … that’s right” and he went back to his deluxe snuggle quilt in the living room.

Hopefully, after a week of staying in the pen at night, Hercules will be happy to be able to sleep indoors again: especially if I leave him outside until it starts to get uncomfortably cold so he knows what he’s being spared. Some people say dogs don’t think that much: they just run on instinct. But we know better: Cochise is perfectly capable of making and executing plans. And I’ve know many other dogs who can (and did) do it.

This crating should serve a dual purpose: we shelter him from the cold now and when Hercules gets his Immiticide treatments, he will need to be kept calm for at least two weeks so he does not induce a pulmonary embolism as the worms die and clog his lungs. During his recovery we will need to keep him crated for resting and leashed when he goes out.

With a little luck and a lot of bribery, Hercules will be content to stay in the monster box while we wait out this cold snap. And will be accustomed to is for his extended stay in a couple of weeks.

Cold Day – Full House

February 7, 2014

A while ago, Hercules decided he needed to upgrade his sleeping accommodations. This was my own fault. He had been perfectly happy with a blanket in his crate at night as long as I took him straight from the shop door to his crate and back, but I allowed him to wander in the workshop one day and he discovered the quilt/bed I keep in the office for Cochise and Blondie to rest on while I work. It was lust at first sight. That night he trashed his crate to get out and snuggle into that quilt, so he had to stay in his pen.

For about a week the weather was nice enough for Hercules to stay outside in his enhanced pen while we researched better containment facilities. A new plan formed. The cold is descending; it’s time to put that plan into action.

I brought Hercules to our house yesterday evening – just before the bitter cold (low of 5°) the weatherguessers said was supposed to come sliding in. It was 24° at the time.

I’d placed the quilt Hercules had grown so fond of (and had torn up) in the new monster box along with an industrial strength chew bone. We hoped these would placate Hercules into staying in the box. We took a little walk along the way to allow him to empty out for the night so he would not be fidgety.

When we arrived I ushered him quickly through the living room (so he didn’t get too close a look at the hedonistic pleasures Cochise and Blondie enjoy there), down the hall and into the laundry room where his bed awaited. He went into the monster box without an argument, he even seemed happy about it…

Blondie came by several times to chat with him. She was quite the southern hostess; cordial and charming. Hercules was friendly, but content to remain where he was. Cochise came by too; he was more reserved…

Hercules did quite well that evening. He did tear at the quilt a few times, but we scolded him, redirected his attention to his chew bone and praised him for the proper behavior. He caught on quickly. Everyone slept through the night, Hercules made no attempt to escape from his bed/box.

In the Morning

We awoke to 21°, not the 5° we were expecting. Apparently that cold air mass stumbled over a mountain, fell on it’s face, and was delayed in arriving.

I had planned on going to my office to work today. That would mean moving everyone over there for the day, but:

  • Cochise hurt a leg yesterday while being tough and intimidating.
  • He spent a restless night and declined going for our usual morning walk. Getting him to the shop will be a struggle.
  • I don’t want to leave him here alone. He would behave; he always does, but he would be all alone and in pain.
  • Hercules is doing very well here.
  • 21° is our HIGH for the day. Bitter cold and snow we expected yesterday is arriving.
  • Cheyanne was just wormed and will need to go out more frequently.
  • I don’t really want to traipse back and forth through this weather all day.

I decided to bring Cheyanne here rather than move everyone to the shop. And we decided to move Hercules’ bed out where he can be part of the gang. That might be risky, but since he had his own private cushiness…we hoped he’ll be good with that.

We have a full house, but we will all be more comfortable here together. The temperature is dropping. Snow has begun to fall. And everyone is resting peacefully while I work. We’re going to be just fine!

Marie will pick up some air freshener on her way home from work.

Full House Credits:

Hercules and Cheyanne are foster dogs staying with us for treatment of heart worms. Hercules is just beginning treatment, Cheyanne has been treated and is in recovery.

Blondie and Cochise are former foster dogs that we fell in love with and adopted into our family. They are both excellent companions and great proof that shelter dogs are not broken dogs, they just need some love and direction to become the most loving pets you could ask for.

Just for Fun

Treatment Begins for Handsome Hercules

February 12, 2014

Hercules is a young, 58 pound Boxer mix. He is extremely gentle, getting along with all our dogs and every person he’s met. And he has heartworms. If untreated, this is a death sentence. But due to the generosity of local residents, Kim & Shannon Ball, Hercules is being reprieved from his death sentence.

That’s how it works. Dogs in the care of the Newport Animal Shelter – renamed on February 11th, 2014 The Dr. Carol Hood Memorial Shelter in honor of the Veterinarian who helped found the shelter and provided her services to care for the animals until cancer took her life – are examined and tested for all the usual diseases and parasites. If they test positive for heartworm, Jen Steele sets to work finding people willing to put up the money – typically $80 to $150 – to pay for the medications needed to treat the dog. The shelter provides the skilled medical care, and volunteer foster homes – like ours – provide the intensive care needed during the treatment and recovery period.

The Treatment Process

Treatment begins with a course of anti-biotics for several weeks, followed by a HeartGuard treatment to kill young heartworms and a couple weeks of Prednisone. Then two Immiticide injections delivered deep into the back muscles kill the adult heartworms. This can make the dog quite sick for a few days. The major concern during recovery is keeping the dog calm because dead worms can go from their heart into the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. They need to be kept calm until these dead worms have been absorbed by their body. This takes 3 to 4 weeks. The total treatment time generally runs around 3 months.

If all goes well, the dog is now healthy and ready to resume a happy, normal life. The final task is to find him or her a forever home. If you’d care to sponsor a dog, please call Steele Away Home – Canine Rescue and Foster, 877-829-5500. We always have dogs on The List and she can provide pictures and descriptions. We’ve had folks from as far away as Korea see a dog on the Dogs In Danger web site, feel compelled to help one that stood out and provided the funding needed to buy the medications.


Hercules has been ADOPTED! Once he completes his recovery he will to straight to a loving Forever Home with a young man who likes big dogs and “met” Hercules through his Facebook page.
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Intensive Care for Cheyanne
Piney Mountain Foster Care