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.
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.
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.
. 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.
In chronological order, newest at the bottom.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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