Tag Archives: Kibbles

The Bitter Sweet of Fostering

Kibbles in the lap of his new dad

Kibbles in the lap of his new dad

This weekend my beloved Kibbles got adopted by a wonderful man and his girlfriend.  He called her his partner…they are of the age where boyfriend and girlfriend seem a little ridiculous.  He’s retired but very active.  He’s planning on taking Kibbles on many adventures and making him into a boat dog.  We’ve already heard from them as to how much they are in love with Kibbles.

I’m sad to have to give up my co-pilot.  Kibbles went with me on a lot of my client visits.  We had him for about two months and helped him learn to let go a lot of the adolescent bad behavior.  He is so quick to learn and I hope his new family continues to work on his training.  I think he could easily be a therapy dog.  He has never met a dog or human that he hasn’t loved.  We were also working on agility and he is a natural…although the jumps throw him a bit.  He doesn’t realize that he can jump!

He does however realize that he can chew and new dad Donny bought Kibbie a nice Antler for when they get home to the new house. Kibbie, however, could not wait that long so he took it out of the bag, laid down in the store and chomped on it while Dad made his new tag.
Everyday I would ask Andy if we could keep Kibbles and everyday he would give me a pained look and roll his eyes.  I had a connection with Kibbs for sure that I haven’t had with my other fosters and that was clouding my emotions and causing me to lose a little focus on why I am fostering.

With Kibbles safely and happily adopted into a new family I can offer a foster spot to another pup and save another life.  I’ve had a few people ask me how I can give them away once they’ve been integrated into my family.  I won’t lie, some are tougher then others to let go but I’ve got to keep my eye on the prize — saving more adoptable dogs!

October is Adopt-A-Dog Month.  If you are thinking about bringing a furry friend into your family, please consider adopting from your local shelter or rescue.  Only around 30% of companion pets are adopted — that leaves a lot of lives in shelters, rescues and foster homes like mine.  We can only save so many.

Is A Growl Always A Signal for Aggression

Take a look at this video.  To someone who doesn’t know Sophie and Kibbles, they may think that they are engaging in aggressive behavior.  The truth is, however, dogs communicate in a number of sounds including barks, howls, growly noises, trills and yips.  As important as the noises a dog makes is their body language and eye positions.  Notice that neither dog has their hackles up.  Hackles are the hairs along the dog’s backbone start from neck to tail.  The semi-submissive behavior of Sophie flopping on her back and using her front paws to engage Kibbles also tells me she was just vocalizing and not being aggressive.

Kibbles, on the other hand, just looks a little confused.  At first he is tentatively engaging Sophie.  He is a puppy afterall!  As the video progresses you can see him getting more emphatic with his play.  At :55 or so the playfulness between the two changes.  Can you spot the difference?  One push too much from Kibbles sends Sophie into a more defensive growl and gives Kibbles a warning that he is being too boisterous for her.

I find the vocalizations of my dogs very interesting.  Bailey, for instance, trills a lot and whoos me.  She talks back a lot!  To the other dogs, she gives a lot of warnings to stay away from her tennis balls.  Viola, my elderlab, thinks that by barking at all the other dogs, they will get off the couch and let her take their space or, by barking at us we will read her mind as to what she wants! Phoebe, my yellow lab, is a groaner and a sigher.  She lets out the most satisfied groans when we scratch at the right place.  She also howls at sirens both in real life and on the TV.

What sounds do your pups make?  Do you recognize a playful growly noise as opposed to a warning growl?

Is That Dog Depressed?

Nothing is as good as...

Nothing is as good as…

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a roll in the grass!

Kibbles did not get adopted this weekend.  He went to two adoptions. When I picked him up on Sunday I sensed that he was feeling depressed and dejected.  Although Kibbles is always a favorite of the volunteers and spends more time outside of a crate then in, he was oddly subdued for the ride home.

In the training world, we are always told not to anthropomorphize our dogs.  That’s a fancy word for making them have human traits but more studies are showing that dogs have emotions and can read emotions in their humans.  In a recent article on the National Geographic website published on August 8, 2013, a new study shows that dogs yawn more in response to their owners’ yawns then they do to strangers’ yawns.  This suggests that the dogs are “emotionally connected” to their humans.

Well we didn’t need some scientific study to tell us that, right?  When I am sick or feeling down, I know my dogs sense this.  I get extra cuddles and even the high-strung Bailey knows that I can’t deal with her shenanigans.  But, do you think dogs feel emotions all on their own?

Of course they do!  As we get to know our dogs, whether they are permanent parts of the family of foster members of the family, we start to see their moods and their emotions.  How they feel guides how they react in a situation.  I knew that Kibbles was not feeling like his usual fun-loving self when I picked him up until he ran to our front door and was greeted by his foster sisters who welcomed him home.

Kibbles almost immediately perked up. He ran around smelling everyone and them smelling him. We went outside in our backyard and he chased the big girls around.  My heart swelled and I was grateful he didn’t get adopted.  I wanted more time with this baby.

My heart says the right place for Kibbles is at the Litt Palace of Puppy Love but that would make dog number five as a permanent resident.  My brain says that if I adopt him, there goes my ability to foster. Although I probably could still foster but I think my husband would divorce me.  My friend, Eileen, also a volunteer at Mostly Mutts and previous foster mom for Kibbles, thinks he belongs at our house.

So, was Kibbles sad about the adoption events or was he sad that he wasn’t with us this weekend?  I like to think it is a little of both.