Dog’s dinner

While preparing dinner for the four dogs this evening, I found myself pondering how the expression “dog’s dinner” is often used to describe something that is a disordered mess, and how the expression did not apply in any way to the dog dinners that I was busily assembling. Indeed, dog meals have gotten so complicated at this point that I likely need to write a job aid on how to assemble each one.

Not only does each of the four meals consist of different ingredients and supplements, but there are also subtle differences between what comprises each dog’s breakfast and dinner. In addition, Coco (my current foster) eats best when isolated in my bedroom, so my bedroom has now become his own private dining space. He barks for me when he is ready for me to check on his progress.

In contrast, my breakfast is typically a bowl of cold cereal accompanied by coffee, while dinner is likely something randomly inserted into a French roll and washed down with a can of soda.

Perhaps I should next ponder the expression “gone to the dogs”…

Back to school

Today was my first day of class at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where I am pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Aerospace Logistics. Assuming I am able to stay on track with my class schedule, I plan to complete the program in sixteen months.

It is normally a two-year program, and can be completed in one year if one is so inclined, but sixteen months has a nice ring to it.

New foster: Coco

My latest foster (i.e. foster #7) is a 5-year-old Standard Poodle male named Coco. His ex-parents made the difficult decision to seek a new forever home for him when he and another of the canine residents in the home (ironically a former littermate of his) began displaying unacceptable behavior toward each other. They reached out to the Arizona Poodle Rescue for help, and we were happy to take him in. Coco’s full official bio will appear on our PetFinder page when he is ready to be adopted.


Coco has had allergy problems in the past and his ex-parents worked hard to identify his allergy triggers and eliminate them from his diet. He is a naturally shy dog, can become skittish when he hears unexpected or unusual noises, and he is nervous around other dogs, especially if they invade his personal space. He moved in on December 30, 2016, so on New Year’s Eve night I put his dark blue sweater on him to act as a comforting agent (in case of fireworks and other loud external noises) and he has continued to wear it since, as it seems to help keep him calm.

Coco loves to ride in a vehicle, and will slip into the unoccupied passenger seat without invitation. When parked, he will slip into the driver’s seat…



…and then fall asleep.



At freeway speeds, he prefers to lie down and enjoy the motion of the vehicle but prefers to sit up and take in his surroundings for speeds below ~60mph. He enjoys the company of humans far more than other dogs, and likes to know that you are within earshot of his current location. On a recent PetSmart trip, he appeared to be enjoying himself thoroughly, and the close proximity of other dogs as they passed him in the aisle ways did not seem to concern him.


He also seemed to be very comfortable with his surroundings when visiting an animal-free home this weekend. However, his stress level rose noticeable when he returned home to Sandy, Morgan and Ricky (the three permanent canine residents of my house), which seems to reinforce that Coco would prefer to be the only dog in a quiet home where he will have constant human companionship and occasional vehicular trips to stores that allow dogs.



A couple of years ago, I read an interesting article that suggested selecting a single word to focus on for the New Year versus setting several “New Year Resolutions” that most of us fail to maintain anyway within a very short time of adopting them. In response to the article, I decided to select a focus word for 2015, and it was an enjoyable experience so, for 2016, I decided to repeat the experiment and chose the word “change” as my focus word for the year.

Talk about being careful about what you ask for because it just might come true – 2016 proved to be a “year of upheavals” and threw so many unexpected changes at me that, at times, life became almost unbearable.

Any cycle of upheavals and changes eventually ends, and I’m hopeful that the transition point between 2016 and 2017 signaled the end for me so, for 2017, I have chosen the word “stability” as my focus word for the year. I hope I have chosen wisely.

Shortly after ringing in the New Year, I found myself lying in bed petting Sandy with my left hand, petting Morgan with my right hand, and enjoying how Ricky had positioned himself so that he was pressed firmly against the top of my head (when one interacts with three dogs simultaneously but has only two hands, one must get creative). Safely in a pen at the foot of my bed was Coco, my new foster (foster #7). As a dog dad, dog uncle, and dog foster dad, it was the absolute best way to experience the first minutes of the New Year.

Happy New Year 2017!

New foster: Sam

My latest foster (i.e. foster #6) is a 1 1/2 year old Old English Sheepdog and Standard Poodle mix named Sam. He came from a farm in Nebraska, where someone secured him from the farmer and brought him to Phoenix. They had him groomed and resettled him in their apartment, but things didn’t work out and he ended up with a couple elsewhere in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Sadly, they were also unable to care for him and voluntarily surrendered Sam to the Arizona Poodle Rescue. He came to my house on the morning of Friday, December 23 as my foster #6.


Sam’s coloring is beautiful, and he loves to sit or lie beside you, often leaning against you to maintain a physical connection.



We played fetch a couple of times and seemed to understand the point of chasing and securing the thrown ball, but was never too happy to yield control of the ball so that it could be thrown again. He is an intelligent dog though so he will pick up the concept quickly enough.

Sam connected with Ricky very quickly, and Ricky was his usual calming influence.


Unfortunately, Sam did not connect as well with either Sandy or Morgan, and several of their interactions were not acceptable. Sam likely also needs some professional dog training to help him acclimatize from living in a rural environment to living in an urban setting, where expectations about frequent barking and appropriate interaction with other dogs are quite different.


Therefore, I had to make the painful decision to stop fostering Sam and return him to my contact at the Arizona Poodle Rescue; I dropped him off Christmas morning. This was a difficult fostering experience for me because I so wanted things to work out for him, but a house rule is that the fosters must get along with the permanent residents (aka Sandy, Morgan and Ricky) and Sam violated that rule enough that it couldn’t be overlooked or explained away.

He is a sweet dog ~ 90% of the time and, once he gets some rough corners smoothed out, he will be a wonderful companion. Transitions are tough enough for anyone, and he has gone through a lot of changes in recent weeks. He is scheduled to be neutered on Wednesday, and I’m hoping that that will address much of what is holding him back.


Christmas stockings

This year, the display of Christmas stockings that hang from the bookcases in the living room expanded to include two more stockings.


One of the new stockings is for Ricky (my foster #3 that became my foster failure #1); it’s the one with the silver “R” initial. The other new stocking addition represents all of my past and present fosters, and has a silver “F” initial. So, from top to bottom, left to right, the stocking initials stand for Max (who died on October 2, 2015), Sandy, Morgan, Ricky, and Fosters.

In addition, I wrote the name of each foster, and a short one-line bio, on individual 3 x 5 index cards and placed them in the Fosters stocking, so that stocking is truly representative of my past and present foster dogs. Throughout the rest of this year and 2017 I will continue to build a collection of index cards for each new foster, and that stack of cards will then be added to the foster’s stocking next December when we once again decorate the house for Christmas. I thought it was an appropriate way to remember and honor the fosters that have passed through my home on the way to their forever home.

4 outta 5

On Saturday last (December 10) at a PACC911-coordinated event in Scottsdale, Teddy (my foster #5) found his forever home when he was adopted by a sweet lady from Tucson. She has two other dogs, so he will have playmates. Both the human and canine residents of the house miss him, as he was an energizing force and always up to something.

So four of my five fosters have now found their way to their forever home, except for Kininky (my foster #4). An amazing couple in Gilbert is currently fostering him, and his seizures are fully under control with his current medication. He’s such a sweet dog that deserves to find his way home. If you are looking for an easy-going dog that loves to be held, you need to submit an adoption application for Kininky.

At the event on Saturday, both Teddy and Kininky were hanging out together in a pen (Teddy is the dog on the left).


New foster: Teddy

My latest foster (i.e. foster #5) is a six-month-old male Standard Poodle puppy named Teddy. He was secured from a breeder in Central Phoenix yesterday afternoon (Sunday, November 6) by the Arizona Poodle Rescue group and I picked him up from them yesterday evening in Tempe.


Teddy is a sweet dog. He was incredibly shy at first, and was too large for the crate that I brought with me, so he rode on the floor of the passenger seat of my pickup truck, but he started coming out of his shell about halfway to the house. By the time we reached the house he was settled comfortably into the passenger seat and wasn’t too impressed with having to exit the truck and walk on the cold concrete floor of the garage.

My laundry room makes for a great “meet-and-greet” space when introducing new fosters into the house; its positioning as a closed space between the garage and the kitchen acts like an airlock where the new foster can enter from the garage and be isolated in the space so they can begin to sample the smells (and noises) of the house and the other dogs in the house while safely behind the kitchen door. With the kitchen door open, the rectangular shape of the space limits how many of the dogs can crowd the new arrival at one time, and the door to the garage offers an easy escape back into the garage if the initial meeting does not go as hoped.


Last night, Teddy seemed ok with both Sandy and Ricky sniffing him and saying hello, but he growled at Morgan each time Morgan came too close. They interacted without issue later but Teddy, for some reason Teddy, tries to maintain a healthy distance from Morgan whenever he can. If you know Morgan, you know he can be very puppy-like on occasion, and is often hesitant to interact with strangers and other dogs, so Teddy’s reaction to him is very puzzling. Maybe Teddy had a prior bad experience with a brown-haired dog perhaps.

Regardless, his confidence level increased visibly throughout the evening, he slept in a pen last night without issue, and ate breakfast this morning. He’s currently lying under the kitchen table asleep as I write this, so things are going well thus far. Teddy’s bio will be posted to the Arizona Poodle Rescue group’s dedicated page on PetFinder later this week, so if you are interested in adopting a sweet male Standard Poodle puppy that will enrich your life, submit an application to adopt Teddy through the PetFinder page.


New foster: Kininky

My latest foster (i.e. foster #4) is a male Poodle mix named Kininky.



I picked him up last Monday (October 10) and he is fitting into the current human-canine pack quite well.


He likes to connect physically with both dogs and people, which is a behavior that Morgan is not enjoying but Sandy is tolerating it, surprisingly. Ricky, on the other hand, is quite happy to have a cuddle buddy.


At night, Kininky sleeps in a pen beside my bed because Sandy is a tad territorial when it comes to my bedroom. She has ceded control of my bed to Morgan but everything else within the space is her territory, so keeping Kininky in a pen at night just makes sense. Moreover, he is much smaller than the other three (and only 20lb), so he could get into trouble if he were to start wandering around the house by himself at night.


However, during the day he has full reign of the house and backyard, although he has yet to learn how to use the dog door. He is currently available for adoption through the PetFinder page of the Arizona Poodle Rescue group.


Yesterday, Kininky and I participated in the Arizona Poodle Rescue group’s adoption event at the PetSmart on 90th Street and Shea Blvd. in Scottsdale. There were twelve Standard Poodles and poodle mixes at the event, and the energy and excitement was tangible. Kininky and I had a blast at the event and talked to a lot of potential adopters (he and I quickly determined that he garnered a lot of attention when I held him, so we did that a lot), so am hopefully that someone will submit an adoption application for Kininky this week. He is a sweet dog and is ready to find his forever home.

Foster -> Adopted

Ricky, my current Standard Poodle foster, was adopted today…by me. Yes, I am now officially a “foster failure”.

It was never my intention to adopt another dog; I have my hands full with Sandy, my Golden Retriever/Yellow Labrador mix, but there is something special about Ricky. He is such a sweet dog, and is getting along well with Sandy and Morgan (the other Standard Poodle in the house).



Unfortunately, he has a Class V heart murmur, and the right side of his heart is slightly enlarged, so he may have health issues later in life, but he’s not letting those issues slow him down much. He is still on three meals a day, but is now eating significant amounts at each meal, which is keeping his energy levels up throughout the day. He went to the groomer for the first time last Saturday and behaved perfectly, so will be on the 4-week grooming rotation that is currently in place for Morgan.

Right now, he is asleep in the dog bed in my home office. I guess getting adopted takes a lot out of a young dog.

%d bloggers like this: