Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fostering Dogs: Kristi and Glenn Austin Q and A

Jingle was found as a stray with her two 8 month old puppies by animal control in Christiansburg, VA.  No one claimed this little family.  The puppies were adopted, but beautiful mama hound, Jingle, remained homeless.

That's when a Virginia couple, Kristi and Glenn Austin, stepped up and agreed to foster Jingle while she underwent spay surgery.  

That's Jingle (left) at the shelter, sporting a new collar, and loaded in the Austin vehicle getting ready for her roadtrip to foster care with Kristi and Glenn.

I can't say I was surprised.  Kristi and Glenn have been fostering for awhile and they especially love hounds!  Well, truthfully, they simply love dogs.  In fact, they have seven dogs of their own.  Yes, some of them are "failed fosters."
Glenn and Kristi Austin
Because fostering is such an important part of saving shelter dogs, I thought I should take advantage of my friendship with the Austin's and ask some questions.

Tell us about your first fostering experience. Why did you decide to foster?
How long did you foster that first dog? How did that dog fit in your

Kristi: Our first foster was in July 2010. 

We adopted a Dalmatian mix from the Dalmatian Rescue of Southwest Virginia ( in January 2010 and I started volunteering with them later in the spring.  They were in need of emergency fosters for three puppies coming up from North Carolina. I was able to help find fosters for two of the puppies and I talked my husband into fostering the third. 

So Max came into our lives on July 4, 2010. He was about 4 months old and full of clumsy puppy energy. Max is the reason why some people say they can’t foster – because they would get too attached and want to keep them. Well I only had Max a few days and I was completely in love with him. He became our first foster as well as our first failed foster.

Glenn: Ask her to tell you about the “cannon”

How many dogs have your fostered?

Kristi: We’ve fostered dogs anywhere from a few days to several months. There’s been a total of 9 since 2010. Max, (Dalmatian mix), Chester (Dalmatian/Setter mix), Haven (American Bulldog mix), Yuma (Dalmatian mix), Belvedere (English/Bluetick Coonhound), Louis (Long haired Dalmatian), Maggie (Redtick Coonhound), Jazzi (Jack Russell/Hound mix), and Jingle (Redbone Coonhound). 

Our latest foster, Jingle, came from a shelter in southwest Virginia. We are working with City Dogs Rescue in Washington, DC to temp foster her, coordinate her vetting and getting her transported to DC.

How do you introduce a new foster dog to your current pets?

Kristi: Introducing a new dog to our pack can upset the pack dynamic that’s been established by our own 7 dogs. So much so we’ve gone back and forth about continuing to foster. 

Our younger dogs, Boof and Luna are usually more welcoming. Max, our “middle child”, thinks “Yay! Someone I can dominate!”. Mia and Ash, our alpha female and male are quick to let the newbies know they are in charge. Emme is typically indifferent, as is Belvie, unless it’s a puppy and he becomes a drooling goof! 

What’s easiest to do is to introduce the new foster gradually. We’ll put the foster with one or two of ours at a time so they can do the meet and greet with each other and get familiar with all the new smells. By the time the foster has met all of ours, they look at you like “That’s all of them right?”


Glenn: We bring them in, let check out the house and just introduce them to the less alpha dogs first and then one by one introduce them all in
limited numbers.


Tell us about your set-up. Crates? Yard/exercise.

Kristi: All of our own dogs are crate trained so we do have several crates set up in 2-3 rooms in the house. We rotate who gets crated at night and there’s a couple that are crated when we’re at work because they like to pilfer in the house. So we do/have used crates with all of our fosters. We have a fenced in area for our dogs so fosters get to go out and play and interact with our dogs.

Of course, you feed them, but what about basic training, behavior
modification, socialization, and medical care?


Louis the Longhair
Kristi: we do work with fosters on house training and crate training. Basic manners are always useful. Socialization is usually needed. 

I’ve taken fosters on short weekend trips or trips to dog friendly places in town to allow them to interact with people and see how they ride in a car. We have dealt with behavior modification issues in the past. 

One of our fosters, Haven, was becoming crate and dog aggressive after she’d been at the rescue for a few weeks. I had spent some time with Haven at the rescue and knew she was a great dog, just not happy in a crate environment. My husband let me bring her home to foster so I could work with her. 

We kept her outside in a kennel during the day and crated at night. I worked with her one on one for about a month, slowly introducing her to our dogs and letting them interact. I also had a behaviorist work with her. This dog had an amazing, goofy personality. 

Haven was with us for about 8 months before she was adopted. We’d had several applications on her, but I was very protective of her. My husband has referred to me as the “adoption mafia” because I was so militant about her applications. I had worked with Haven for so long and she’d come such a long way, I couldn’t just let her go to anyone. She ended up getting adopted by a family friend so I get regular updates! 

Rescue/shelter dogs come to their foster homes with a past. People who are thinking about fostering should understand that. These dogs have been dumped at shelters, abused and neglected by their former owners, or picked up as strays These dogs have often lived hard lives by the time they go to a foster home so they are nervous, afraid, unsure. Foster parents have to be ready and willing to deal with that.

How do you find the time?

Kristi: We have a pretty good system down with our own dogs and they are on a routine for feeding, bedtime, etc. It takes a couple of days for the new foster to figure it out, but once they do they settle into it pretty well. 

Feeding time is like an assembly line of dog bowls. We rotate who’s inside and who’s outside on days we’re off so they all get time inside and outside. Don’t get me wrong; it can be stressful and chaotic. My husband vacuums everyday as soon as he gets home from work. Thank God for hardwood! 

We’re constantly picking up gutted dog toys or taking shoes away from Boof. Glenn and I both work full time, but we love our dogs so we make time. Fostering from time to time is very important to me. There are just so many dogs in shelters and you realize you can’t save them all even though you want to. I don’t know who this quote is attributed to, but I love it: “Saving one dog won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one dog.”

Any “horror” stories?

Kristi: Not really horror stories. There are things that you sometimes have to watch out for when you bring a foster in, especially if you have other dogs. If you bring in a male that hasn’t been neutered yet, they tend to mark which cause your male dogs to mark over it. 

Strong willed female fosters can cause an issue if you have a dominant female in the house. A battle of wills so to speak. You often have to be prepared to work on them with basic manners, housetraining, socialization, or just being in a house for the first time.

Are you actively involved in finding the foster dogs forever homes? How do you give them up?

Kristi: Yes, I volunteer with the Dalmatian Rescue of Southwest Virginia as the Foster and Event Coordinator. I often work with the applications for any dog I am fostering for them. I also network with several groups via Facebook and email to spread awareness of dogs available for adoption or needing rescues. I create flyers for my fosters that have pictures and bios of our fosters to post on Facebook.

As much as I would love to keep them all, I know realistically it’s not possible so I like to play a role in where the foster goes if I can. 

Another group I work with is in my home state of West Virginia. One of the volunteers I work with I call my “coonhound partner in crime” and she works endlessly with other volunteers to save the dogs at the shelter in Charleston. The group is called Dog Bless and your can check them out here:

Tell us about your “failed” fosters. Why did you decide to keep them?

Belvedere aka Belvie
Kristi: Our first foster, Max, was a puppy and that probably had a little
to do with us keeping him. You do get attached to them, especially your first couple fosters. Max was just an adorable clumsy puppy. He and his brother were picked up as strays in North Carolina when they were just about 3-4 months old. 

He will be forever known to us by the “ass cannon” incident on his first night with us. He’d been on a transport all day so he was a little stressed and settling in. I caught him just finishing up a round of diarrhea in our dining room (thank goodness for hardwood floors!).

Anyway, I went to clean it up and thought I got it all, but could still smell it. We discovered he’d also managed to poop down into the AC register! He sat by my side watching me in my rubber gloves as I cleaned it all up!  

Max as a puppy used to play really hard with our larger dogs. When he’d get tired he’d come over to me and I’d pick him up and he’d go to sleep in my arms. My husband looked at me and goes “That dog isn’t leaving here is he?” Well now 3 years later, Max is close to 70 lbs and still climbs into my lap on occasion. He’s a total mama’s boy!

Glenn: Kristi brought Belvie in and already “had” a Coon Hound rescue group up in Massachusetts for him. Well Massachusetts has strict rules for bringing in outside animals. We had to arrange to have a Health Certificate for him prior to transport. We arranged transport and a vet visit but the health Certificate expired before we could get him transported so we had to arrange for another Vet check. 

So we’re ready to get him on a transport and we find out that he has to be tested for Lyme Disease.  He’s tested on Thursday, the transport is on Friday. Of course he tests positive for Lyme Disease, though he has no symptoms. Treatment is antibiotics for several weeks. At this point after our failed attempts to get him transported we just decided it was meant to be for him to be with us, so we adopted him!

Why should dog lovers foster?

Kristi: Fostering is an amazingly rewarding experience. Our latest foster, Jingle, is a senior redbone coonhound that was picked up as a stray in southwest Virginia with her two pups. The pups were adopted but Jingle was left. I convinced City Dogs Rescue in Washington, DC to take her in and we became her foster while she's vetted. 

For anyone who thinks they can’t foster because they would want to keep him/her, that's okay because you will want to keep them. BUT, know you are saving the life of an unwanted dog that would have stayed in a shelter and perhaps been euthanized for to make room for more dogs to be brought in. When you foster and let that dog go to a forever home, it opens your home to save yet another life.  

I'll cry like an idiot when Jingle moves on but I'll know that she's spending her golden years in a warm home with a family who will love and spoil her crazy. 

If you foster for a rescue, vetting expenses are generally paid for or reimbursed by the rescue. A foster family provides love, attention, help with housebreaking (if needed), socialization. I am the foster coordinator for Dalmatian Rescue of Southwest Virginia and we adopt Dalmatians and Dalmatian mixes throughout US and in Canada. Foster homes are always needed.

If you can’t foster, I would encourage anyone to volunteer with their local shelter or rescue. Help with transporting a dog, walking a dog, donating a bag of dog food or a little money to help pay for vaccinations or heartworm preventatives.
Austin pups sunning on the deck.
If you are interested in fostering, Kristi and Glenn suggest you check out these sites: 
Dalmatian Rescue of Southwest Virginia 
Dog Bless   (affiliated with the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association in West Virginia)
City Dogs Rescue, Washington, DC
Logan County WV Adoptable Animals – volunteer group working with a rural county pound in Logan, WV. They just received their non-profit status This is where our former foster Yuma was pulled from this pound.
Some of the Austin pack watching Glenn plow snow!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: My Snow Dogs

 Now I know how Rudy lost his coat the other day...

 To the North!   No, to the South!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dog Mom Jewelry Bracelet Give Away

We're celebrating a birthday!

No cake;  no candles.  
However, there's a gift for one of you!

As many of you know, my mom passed away earlier this month.  

Today, February 26, is her birthday.

I decided to celebrate with a giveaway and a special sale at For Love of a Dog.

When you visit For Love of a Dog, you'll see that my Dog Mom jewelry is on sale, plus some specific dog breed jewelry, too:  Pit Bull, Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, Dachshund, Fox Terrier, Lhasa Apso (Shih Tzu.)    These are the breeds of dog that were my mom's special life companions.  Maybe they're yours, too.

A Dog Mom bracelet seemed appropriate for this giveaway.  This one is in her favorite colors:  purple and red!

This is a one of kind piece of dog lover jewelry that I created specially for this celebration.

The focal is a hand crafted purple porcelain dog bone with DOG MOM hand inscribed.  The dog bone is surrounded by a variety of chubby artisan lampwork beads in shades of purple and lavender.  Pale lavender core with purple raised dots, a looping scroll design, and a drum rondelle.

The clasp is a silver heart with paw print lobster claw.  To finish things just right, I added an artisan lampwork heart that is nicely fat and scarlet red.  

A $75 value, this chunky bracelet will be re-sized to the winner's wrist measurement.

This give away is open to residents of the US and Canada (sorry, International friends!.)  There are lots of chances to win:  tweet every day (10 chances per day are possible), follow For Love of a Dog / Talking Dogs on Twitter, and comment on this blog.

One winner will be chosen at random by Rafflecopter.  That winner will need to respond within 24 hours or an alternate winner will be chosen.  Questions? Contact me:  sue (at) forloveofadog (dot) com 

A note about Raffflecopter:  if you're using the Chrome browser you may get a malware warning which is sometimes triggered by Rafflecopter.  There is no malware here!  AND sometimes you may need to refresh the page and let it load fully before the Rafflecopter will appear correctly.

Enter now!  

And be sure to check out our special sale at For Love of a Dog! Fetch dog jewelry on sale now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 25, 2013

You Do the Math: World Spay Day

Reproduction facts about dogs and cats from the Humane Society of the United States:
  • One un-spayed female dog and her un-spayed offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs in six years.
  • One un-spayed female cat and one un-neutered male cat and their offspring can result in 420,000 kittens in seven years.
  • A single female cat can have 29 litters in 10 years.
  • A male cat can sire as many as 2,500 kittens in a single year;  a male dog can sire almost as many puppies.
According to research data gathered from the American Humane Society and Pet Finder as of August 2012:
  • Total number of US animal shelters:  5,000
  • Number of companion animals that enter animal shelters annually:  6-8 million
  • Average number of companion animals euthanized annually:  3.5 million
  • Percent of dogs in animal shelters that are euthanized:  60%
  • Percent of cats in animal shelters that are euthanized:  70%
  • Percent of dogs that are returned to their owners:  15%
  • Percent of cats that are returned to their owners:  2%
  • Total number of pets that end up in a shelter that are spayed or neutered:  10%
You do the math.

Be part of the solution!  Spaying or neutering your pet ensures that they will not add to the millions of already homeless pets.  

Need more reasons to spay or neuter your pet?  Fetch the following articles from the Be the Change for Animals blog hop celebrating World Spay Day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rudy is an Adoptable Boxer Pit Bull Puppy

What a cutie!  And, let's face it, I couldn't resist featuring a dog named Rudy!  This adorable boy is a brown brindle and white Boxer and Pit Bull.  Rudy is still at puppy at only 4 months old and full of playful puppy energy.

Rudy has been calling the Humane Society of Missouri animal shelter in St Louis home since November 2012.  Definitely time for this sweet boy to find a loving forever home.

Take a look at Rudy's adoption video below and then please share!  Let's network and find Rudy someone who will teach him to be the loving, well behaved companion he wants to be.

Interested in adopting Rudy?  Contact the Humane Society of Missouri at 314-951-1562.  Rudy's animal ID number is A541555.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Help! A Cat Music Video: Dog Song Saturday

It's Saturday, so time for a dog song at Talking Dogs.  Hope you won't be too disappointed, but we're actually featuring a cat music video today.  Skeeter insisted!

February 26 is World Spay Day and we're celebrating a little early with Help!   Put together by the Alliance for Humane Action, this cat music video provides a very important message:  spay or neuter your cat.  Of course, the same is true for dog owners.

We'll be talking more about World Spay Day later this month, but right now it's time for you to grab a cat (or dog)!  Sit.  Stay.  Relax and enjoy Help! Cat Music Video.

Fetch more dog (and cat) song music videos at Talking Dogs and be sure to scroll down below today's featured video to explore some barking good blogs in the Pet Blogger Hop. Don't miss some great articles about spaying and neutering your pets in the World Spay Day blog hop!

Be the Change for Animals World Spay Day Blog Hop!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow Dogs Video from The Daily Puppy

If you follow For Love of a Dog on Facebook, then you already know I have a "thing" for snow dogs.  With 2 inches of sleet on the ground here in the Missouri Ozarks - with more ice and snow on the way - I couldn't resist sharing my addiction with you.

That's our puppy, Rosie, on the left, exploring some of that white stuff.

I love this Snow Dogs video from The Daily Puppy and I suspect you will, too.  Take a break from your day and get ready to smile!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Rosie is Born to Be Wild

Get your motor running.  Head out to the highway.

(C'mon... sing along!)

Lookin' for adventure and whatever comes my way.

Born to be wild...   Rosie's born to be wild...
she's got her biker jacket and she's ready to roll on a Harley Chopper.
(or something like that)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Good Dog Take Outs: Congratulations Dog and Cat Lovers!

Congratulations to these lucky six winners in our Good Dog Take Outs dog and cat treat giveaway!
  1. Saki A
  2. Heather P
  3. Kelly Ann T
  4. Lisa B
  5. Gizmo
  6. Tiffany A
We need to hear from you soon or alternate winners will be chosen!   

Please send your shipping information and let us know which two varieties of Good Dog Take Outs you'd like to receive.

Thanks to everyone who entered!  Follow the For Love of a Dog Talking Dogs blog for more fun giveaways in the future!

*Winners were chosen at random by Rafflecopter.

Subaru #DogTested Fun Apps and Giveaway

Many years ago, when I was single and had a good case of the wanderlust, my rescue dog, Benji, and I went everywhere together.  

Benji was a big dog, a Doberman / German Shepherd cross, and my car was a very small hatchback.  If Benji had his head out the window, people laughingly warned me that my car was going to tip over.  

Whenever I parked to run an errand, Benji always moved into the driver's seat.  Many times I returned to my car to find people talking to him.  And this became a standard line:  
"Does this dog have a driver's license?"
These days I'm married with three dogs and we're in the market for a new dog friendly vehicle.  We need something that can handle rural roads, is comfortable, gets good gas mileage and the purchase price won't wipe out our wallet.  Plus, the dogs have to be able to travel comfortably in it.  Well, not only that, but they have to like it, too.

Jeffie is pretty sure that our next vehicle needs to be a Subaru.

Ever since he saw the new Subaru video introducing Grant Weber, Subaru's most beloved Canine Sales Associate  Jeffie has dreamed of a new Subaru.  

He's certain that a new Subaru would be perfect for his For Love of a Dog mailman duties after seeing this 

In fact, he recently visited Subaru on Facebook to try out a new Dog Tested, Dog Approved Subaru.  

First, he took the little quiz to discover which model would suit him best  

All he had to do is enter a few simple questions and this new Subaru app read him perfectly:

Jeffie would look great in a Subaru Outback.  With the go-anywhere capability of the Outback, you can get away from that fenced-in yard of yours and sniff out some real adventure. 
In fact, Jeffie couldn't resist using another cool Subaru app to see what he'd look like in a new Subaru!

Okay, I have to admit it.  Jeffie looks good in a Subaru!

I'm just a little concerned about Jeffie's time on the computer, though.  I think he could become one of those dogs who never leave a chat room.  I say that because he got quite involved in a conversation with Sasha.  

Sasha is a Golden Retriever who is on the new live chat Subaru Ask an Expert app   There was an awful lot of heavy breathing and discussion of favorite things to do on a date (chomping squirrels.)  Sadly, when Jeffie asked Sasha if she wanted to go for a ride, Sasha heard the door bell.

That's probably for the best.  Jeffie has places to go and new friends to meet.

After all, thanks to Subaru, Jeffie now has his own driver's license.  

Yep.  You read that right.  Your dog can get his or her own driver's license, too, with this new Subaru app

Benji would definitely approve!

We all approve of this barking good giveaway from Subaru!  Enter now to win a $350 or $150 Visa Gift Card!  You'll need to "like" Subaru's Facebook page to enter, plus you can do the other four entries every single day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* This post is sponsored by Subaru. We are being compensated for helping spread the word about the Subaru Dog Tested. Dog Approved.™ campaign, but Talking Dogs only shares news for things we support.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Westminster Look Alike Adoptable Dog

Once glance at this adorable little face and I was reminded of Banana Joe, winner of Westminster!  

This cute little guy is Manchester.  He's a black Cairn Terrier mixed breed dog.  Animal shelter staff believe he's about 2 years old.

Manchester loves to go for walks, prefers to do his business outdoors and he's already neutered.

Take a look at his adoption video below and you may very well have found a charming new addition to your family.

For more information about Manchester, contact the Humane Society of Missouri Chesterfield Valley animal shelter location at 636-530-0805.  Manchester's animal ID number is A544340

Since 1870, the Humane Society of Missouri has been dedicated to second chances.  They provide a safe and caring haven to all animals in need - large and small - that have been abused, neglected or abandoned. Their mission is to end the cycle of abuse and pet overpopulation through our rescue and investigation efforts, spay/neuter programs and educational classes. They are committed to creating lasting relationships between people and animals through our adoption programs. The HSMO further supports that bond by making available world-class veterinary care, and outstanding pet obedience and behavior programs.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dog Song Saturday: Dogs Dogs Dogs

It's Dog Song Saturday at Talking Dogs!  Given the recent weather and all the snow, it seemed fitting to feature some dogs in snow today.

Before the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest, there was the All Alaska Sweepstakes.  This is the music video from the movie Running With Spirits - the 2008 All Alaska Sweepstakes.  (©2009 Husky Productions).  

The song, Dogs, Dogs, Dogs! is performed by Kyf Brewer and Jim Parkinson and the girls of Raining Hearts.  It is their salute to the true spirit of these sled dog races - the dogs!

Grab a dog.  Sit.  Stay.  Relax and enjoy Dogs, Dogs, Dogs!   Fetch more dog song music videos at Talking Dogs and be sure to scroll down below today's video to explore some barking good blogs in the Pet Blogger Hop.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Comfy Dog Boots for Jeffie | Product Review

Of all the dogs in my life only one has worn boots and loved them.  Though I'm quite sure he's not interested in making a fashion statement, I know he absolutely hates getting snow between his toes.  Can't say that I blame him.  Poor boy, he has very hairy toes.

Used to standing patiently to put on a coat in super cold or snowy weather, Jeffie wasn't sure what was going on when his first set of boots were on his feet.  One step outdoors and it was like a light bulb went off in his head:  dry feet!

That first set of dog boots lasted for several winters.  Unfortunately, when they began to wear out (and I no longer could make repairs), I discovered the company no longer in business.  Subsequent trials with different brands had varying results.  None of them stayed on his feet for long play times.  Luckily he had a little brother, Rudy, who was happy to retrieve them.   Still, it left Jeffie with a wet and iced foot or two.
Rudy may be out of the boot retrieval business now!

So, when Lori at Comfy Dog Boots contacted me about giving a set of her handmade footwear a try, I jumped at the chance.

The first thing I liked about Comfy Dog Boots is that they are handmade and created to fit.  Lori is well aware that paws come in different sizes and she offers an easy guide to sizing for the proper fit on your dog.  I'll admit that Jeffie did not want to stand still on a tape measure long enough for me to read the measurement, but with a little help from the Dog Daddy, I had Jeffie's measurements sent in.

Comfy Dog Boots come in a nice selection of colors.  I told Lori that Jeffie's coat is dark green with burgandy trim, so she sent burgandy colored dog boots for Jeffie.  I think he looks pretty stylish!

These boots are made with durable flannel and Cordura nylon.  Velcro closures keep the boots on and there are non-slip rubber bottoms.

Comfy Dog Boots offers several varieties of dog boot and shoes, as well as dog coats, parkas and jackets.   Choose from warm weather indoor, cold weather outdoor, lace up with velcro, and high top boots.  Some styles are perfect for those slippery tile or hardwood floors!  They even create custom dog boots to fit pets with paws that need extra protection due to allergies, dragging, deformities, and for disabled dogs.

Prices vary according to the type and size of boot selected.  Jeffie's boots retail at $22 plus $3 shipping.

Our boots arrived in record time!  We're impressed at how well made they are and how true the color is to the photos on their web site.  The fit is snug; the velcro closures have plenty of room for our big boy's feet.

Sleet and snow arrived just in time for Jeffie to give his new Comfy Dog Boots a nice trial.  Obviously comfortable, there were zero problems keeping them on.  They are light weight and flexible.  I love that they are machine washable and dryer safe!

Here's what we liked about Comfy Dog Boots:
  • Made in the USA - in Maine
  • Handmade with the ability to customize fit
  • Attractive with many color selections
  • Several styles available for varied purposes
  • Attractive web site with clear information and lots of photographs
  • Excellent customer service
  • Very affordable prices
We're pleased to highly recommend Comfy Dog Boots! .