Sunday, September 25, 2011

Field Trip + separation anxiety (mine)

Diesel (bathed and manicured) went on a field trip Thursday with a kind person who I reckoned might be a perfect match for him. He got a manicure with the Dremel tool. I can't believe two big dogs in a row have let me use that thing on their toenails. Anyway, I was nervous about him going in the same way a mom is nervous about the first day of school. Would he be good? Would they like him? Would he play well with others? Once he'd gone I was fine. Stella, on the other hand was a little distressed. She laid in front of his crate much of the evening and even manged to parlay that into sleeping in the bed with me and the cat.

It ended up being an exercise as much as anything. Although I'm told he did play well with others for the most part - it was also true he wasn't a good fit for their particular household. There were variables, like work schedules and energy levels and roommates. And roommates' pets that came into play, derailing his chances this time around. The good thing though is that everyone took something from the experience.

This begs the question: Once someone is interested in your foster dog - what is the best way to go about setting up meetings, home visits, etc.?  What's best for the dog and the dog's eventual success. Every situation will be a little different but I found once the interest was there I wasn't exactly sure how to proceed. Should we meet in the park and go for a walk? Should I have them over to my house? Or go to theirs? Sleep over? Loan the dog out for a day or a week? Would two nights be better than one? Do I wear him out before he visits or let them experience (and drain) his energy first hand?

In this first instance, there was someone I knew who could vouch for the potential adopter so though I didn't exactly know him, he wasn't a total stranger either. He suggested the sleepover and I just went with it. He was young and seemed perfectly capable, even well-suited I thought, to tend to the needs of a big goofy dog. Had it been someone that showed up out of the blue, or seemed only partially qualified, I think we would have moved much slower. My friend Beverly suggested a polygraph and a background check (she's taken a shine to Diesel herself) but that could be construed as excessive, working against us in the long run.

Hypothetically speaking, if this person had decided to adopt Diesel - then what? I know the mechanics of the application papers, the rabies tag and microchip transfer, that could all happen in an hour but is there some window of time or schedule of events that's better or worse for the dog? Should I let the new owner pick him up or should I drop him off? 

Am I talking about the dog really or am I talking about me? It's hard to say but I can't wait to meet the person who realizes that he's going to be their next best friend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This is Max, whose mom Lore, will be thrilled to get back home at the end of this season so Max can actually get a good solid free run in the yard. Apparently he's been storing up energy all summer and can now pull that bicycle he's standing in front of at about thirty miles an hour. Unfortunately we didn't get to see that in action and we fear Max may get a sitter for the next summer route, but he sure is an amazing and beautiful canine. Friendly, like a big Siberian Eskimo Bear. (There's no such thing of course but if there were....) Many thanks to Lore for leashing him  up and bringing him back out of the motor home after my stalking them all the way across the fairgrounds. He was impossible to miss.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lizzie Ann and Annie O.

This is Jim Phelps, who was kind enough on Sunday to let us meet his two road girls, Lizzie Ann and Annie O (in the background). Annie O is fifteen years old and feels right at home on the lot with Jim and her much younger sister. We're hoping to get the chance to spend more time with the three of them next year and wish them all the best making their way to Mississippi.

Meanwhile, we'd love to run your pictures and or updates here on the blog or on our Facebook page (simple to load) so DON'T BE SHY. We know all of you have a camera phone now so you're welcome to submit a picture of your own dog or any carnival dogs you happen to see out on the road. Sometimes there are even prizes...

Friday, September 16, 2011


Well it was a big day for me and Stella. Yesterday was our anniversary - year three. We usually try to celebrate the day of but this year was a little busy so this morning we went over to the fairgrounds and hung out on the midway for awhile. We walked down on the old midway too, now a parking lot of sorts and sat on the exact spot where we met. I asked Stella if she was cool with the fact that I'd retired her from the carnival life but she was busy sorting out all the wonderful smells vying for attention in her nose to answer. She'd found an entire corndog on the ground earlier and I (almost) felt bad not letting her have it. After the midway we went and got lunch at the taco stand by K&S World Market (best taco stand in Nashville if anyone cares). We sat on the curb and had a little picnic out in the grass there and a whole car full of Mexican guys stopped and flirted madly with her.

After lunch we drove up to the feed store for dog food and on to one of Stella's very favorite places, Lowes. The last time we were there a guy heckled us (surely I wrote about it?). He started ranting to everyone in earshot that next time he came to the hardware store he was planning to bring HIS dog and wouldn't THAT be fun. Like a third grader. When he left the guy behind the counter looked at me and said: " I hope his dog has a better attitude than he does." Today was more fun though and just about everyone we saw was happy to see us coming. It was the first time Stella's been away from the house for any length of time since her boyfriend got here.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hope lives on

I was delighted to find our latest cover girl Hope and her master Frank Chrisco at the fairgrounds today. Hope has spent her entire life on the midway, she'll be eighteen on Valentine's Day and although she's got cataracts and is nearly blind, she never lets on and still knows her way around the photo joint.

Monday, September 5, 2011


He sleeps on his back. Front paws pulled up tight against his chest, back legs splayed open, a proud display of his man parts, what's left of them. The tail wags when you look at him even if his eyes are closed. That cracks me up. It would be sweet even if you never heard the soft snore that goes with it all. Occasionally when he's dreaming he snorts and whimpers loud enough to garner the attention of his current girlfriend. She rouses from her own slumber and walks over to him, sleepy-eyed and swaying. Careful to pick out a spot just under his rib cage she punches him in the gut with her nose until he stops. Then she goes back to her own bed and lies down. He hasn't suggested anybody make him a sandwich yet but I'm sure it's coming.

Stella and I are headed to the fairgrounds this week if only for a quick peek at this year's incarnation. Ordinarily, we would've gone today but it hasn't stopped raining here for the last thirty hours.

We did get to dog sit this weekend for Banjo and Ginger so we managed a few laps in their pool on Saturday before the rain showed up. Diesel loves the water. I can't wait to take him to a lake.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Webcam Volunteer

The new web cam makes me pretty queasy but Diesel isn't shy. He's sitting in my office chair (all his idea). The real trick, as evidenced in the pictures, was mastering the controls with him in it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Big Black Dog

Emmylou Harris could sing a song about chip dip and it would be one of the better songs you heard all day. If anyone is in the market for a big black dog.... I know where to find one. I'll even vouch for him. Barring that option, there's a dog over in east Nashville that is on his way to Metro Animal Control. You all know what that means right? His name is Harpo. He was found sleeping in the front seat of a car at the home of some friends. These kind people already have three male dogs and are unable to keep him even temporarily. They (along with myself) have spent the last two or three days calling on all of their friends and offering all manner of financial support in return for temporary shelter - to no avail. Much like the case with Diesel, no rescue was willing to take him unless someone agrees to do the heavy lifting. If anyone either in Nashville or beyond has an idea (sometime in the next twenty four hours) please don't hesitate to contact me here. It's a shame he was probably dumped by someone or left home himself to find a better life and now like so many others, he appears skinny and beat up, headed for death row.