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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