Humphrey’s Hugs

NB: it is very hard to write with a Humphrey on top of me. 

so challenging in fact that I hit publish before I wrote my thoughts. *sigh* 

So, one of the reasons Dobby is such a satisfying dog to showcase as a rehabilitated dog is because the transformation is so very visible. He went from nasty nekkid mole rat to handsome beefcake relatively quickly. 

But how do you visually show the changes in a dog who basically looks the same? Answer: you can’t. 

Humphrey, the largest of our idiots, is technically my husband’s dog because when he saw a picture of this dog he literally said, “I love him, his name is Humphrey and I shall love him forever.” and that is how Humphrey was named and adopted. 

Humphrey was quite literally a pet project of a woman who has now become incredibly valuable to the animal welfare of this island. She moved into a home and Humphrey lived, a classic case of neglect, tied to the fence at the edge of her property. Her & her husband befriended this dog, feeding him and giving him attention to the point of building him a shelter, and the husband walking him. It is my belief that these interactions were Humphrey’s first introduction to affection and he was (and is) a fan. I have some opinions about hugging dogs that can be simplified into “generally do not,” but Humphrey seems to actively seek them out. When I thought about it for a while, it made sense to me. His first FoodLady provided him with affection, food, and attention and probably hugged him. This poor dog, never having been well-socialized with other dogs and appeared to have been tied up and ignored by humans until his first FoodLady moved in next door, learned that hugs were how you show love. 

Anywhoodle, Humphrey was a mess and to be honest, still is and always will be. He was found running loose and taken to the animal shelter, and when no-one claimed him, his first FoodLady contacted me and asked if I would take him in. I showed my (now) husband his photo and the rest is history. 

Mr. Humphrey’s progress includes: 

  • was heartworm positive; now officially negative! woohooo!
  • has a lot of broken teeth (his first and only toy was the chain that attached him to the fence); still has broken teeth but is not in any pain and it is next on the vet list once I get the care credit card paid down
  • He is very healthy. 
  • He had no leash manners and was strong enough for that to make walking him very hard; he is still not perfect on a leash, but is better. He knows how to chase tennis balls and now plays joyously with the other dogs daily. Watching him run is just beautiful. 

He is a very sensitive dog and when I have been sick or sad, he hasn’t left my side. Had Humphrey been raised in a loving environment where he lived with his mother and littermates until 12 – 16 months with appropriate human socialization included and then adopted into a home where he learned how to interact with his human pack and given appropriate training? he could have been devastatingly amazing. He’s unique and he’s loved; but his lost potential will always make me a little sad. 

All these positive changes have been internal. When he arrived here he was a large, healthy-looking apricot-colored canine. He is still a large, healthy-looking apricot colored canine. 

He will always have his limitations. He cannot be around cats, he will hunt them.  He gets too caught up in pack excitement too quickly and ends up nipping humans in response leading to bruising on one occasion, but if he meets new humans by himself – they are all his newest bestest friends. 

He’s never going to be perfect, but who is? Not me. 

Love y’all,

FoodLady

    Cast of Canids

    I’m home sick today (just a cold, but ugh) and this has given me time to let my brain wander while surrounded by moderately sympathetic dogs using me for bed access. So, I have a pack of five, I never wanted more than three dogs – alas, humans plan and the gods laugh. 

    Here are the five assholes..uhh..beloved canines in order of who has been here longest to shortest: 

    SamSam – male, neutered, 4 years old, brindle, breed officially unknown, but pretty dang sure he is a pibble. Originally belonged to a friend of mine, but his repeated destruction of her husbands brake lines made it necessary for him to come and stay with his “auntie” in the puppy protection program. 

    Piper – female, neutered, 3 years old, black, breed officially unknown but she looks like a collie mix. To most people, she looks like this pretty little border collie nice dog, but of all my dogs she is the one I would choose to have with me in a dark alley – protective but not aggressive. This poor pretty girl was a failed foster who stayed here with us not because we had a deep connection, but because she fell through the cracks during Herbert’s health crisis and death. She is desperate for a connection and despite my emotional shut down following the loss of Herbert, she has stayed the course and appears happy with her lot in life. She is definitely the, “one of these things is not like the other one…” in this pack of block headed idiots. 

    Ziesa – female, neutered, 1 year, fawn, she is a mix of boxer and terrier. This poor princess was adopted from the animal shelter and is currently the least healthy dog I have, her hip dysplasia and arthritis are very bad and the medications and supplements are insanely expensive. We are just giving her the best quality of life we can for as long as we can and then we will have to let her go. Tragically, I adopted her to attempt to train her as a replacement service dog for Herbert; needless to say her health is just not up for it.

    Humphrey – male, neutered, 6+ years old, brown, breed officially unknown but he is the largest and most moist of all of our puppies. He has a pretty tragic back story which involves the first 4 years of his life being chained to a fence. He had no socialization with people or with dogs, he has no bite inhibition, very little self control, and while he is incredibly happy in his life now is just not able to be homed with just anyone. 

    Dobby – male, neutered, 1 year, white and gray, and he is also a mix of boxer and terrier. I found this poor little dude on the side of the road looking like a starved naked mole rat. A very stinky smelly starved naked mole rat. I took him to the shelter to put him down (figuring a quick death was preferable to a slow starvation) and he just connected to the world around him, was heartworm negative, and the shelter asked me to try to rehab him. Here we are 8 months later and at home at least, he is a super confident and annoying hellion. He finds a lot of the outside world scary, but we are working on it. I’m planning on training him as a diabetic alert service dog, but even if he fails completely he has seriously helped my heart heal after the loss of Herbert and because of that he has already performed a great service for me. 

    FoodLady Chronicles – yeah, yeah, okay. 

    Dear Dobby, there is no other way to say it – you’re an asshole. You may have notice the two humans you live with occasionally saying, “we get it now, we know why you were left on the side of the road.” That is because we have developed an intricate backstory for you where you’ve lived in about 7 different homes and all of them start out taking care of this sweet little dog who just needs food and love and then fast forward 7 months and the people are pacing while pulling their hair out before freaking out and driving you back to where I found you. You feel great and have ALL the energy in the world – I’m thrilled. Let me detail your current assholery:

    1.  toilet paper is not food. We only have ONE roll left, if you steal and eat that I am wiping with you. 
    2. your sisters (Ziesa & Piper) are not your personal chew toys. 
    3. Not all straps are evil and must be destroyed. Straps attached to items such as shoes, bags, furniture, etc. are there ON PURPOSE – they are not evil. 
    4. My bras are not yours to chew and destroy despite being made of mostly straps. Bras are also not to steal and run with into the yard (why does this keep happening to me)?
    5. Neither of your brothers (Sam & Humphrey) want you to crawl into their mouths and when they tell you to stop you should maybe not make screeching noises like they are killing you – I’m watching, they didn’t touch you. You appear to be extremely passive aggressive, which is weird in a dog. 
    6. This confidence (assholeishness) you show at home – could you perhaps save some of that for the outside world? I know everything is scary and I am trying to take things slowly, but I promise everything is not out to get you. 

    Love, FoodLady!

    So, Dobby’s doing well, healthy, happy, etc. No, we are not getting rid of him, I just like bitching every once in a while. I don’t know if the shelter judged him a bit older than he was or if he is finally going through a delayed adolescence due to early starvation – doesn’t matter, he is full on embracing his “adolescent asshole” stage. 

    I love the little monster. 

    In other news on Monday morning the (not nice)neighbors’ (probably nice but has issues)dog was heading South down the road. I’m not proud that for half a second I thought about calling the police, but I made the better-person decision to herd the barky fuzzy-butt back into his yard to keep him from getting run over. Fuzzy-butt is/was fear-reactive so he was super pissed (from a distance) as I moved him towards his yard just by talking and walking towards him. His human came out a bit shocked as she said she didn’t even realize he was outside. I just nodded and waved goodbye while thinking, “Yeah, it sucks when that happens, doesn’t it?”

    All’s well that ends well.  ❤

    Neighbors – the good kind! 

    So, this afternoon my phone gets all feisty and says I have messages, well la-dee-dah, aren’t I fancy?! I received a voicemail and a text from my new(ish) neighbor with whom I have enjoyed random over-fence dog chats. He was calling to say there was a dog laying outside my gate and could one of mine have gotten loose? My first thought was (obviously), “shit….how did they get through concrete?!” because they were locked in the house. Then he described the dog and I said, “shit….another stray.” My freaking yard apparently grows “dog-nip” because a ridiculous number of strays end up here. The most memorable was when Life, Teak, Freckles (aww, I miss them) and I woke up to find a very large Rottweiler with infected eyes and a broken chain hanging out in our kitchen. We were all a bit surprised at first, but he turned out to be a sweetheart. I wish I could rehabilitate, train and re-home all of the poor little lost souls but no one person can do it all. 

    That said, the never-ending battle of dog rescue is not what this post is about – neighborly consideration and LOVE, that’s what this post is about. Y’all, my heart about melted. A dog was outside my gate and my neighbor called me to let me know, that it turned out not to be one of my (beloved) assholes is irrelevant because if it had been one of mine I could have gotten home and fixed the problem. It was just a beautiful moment in stark contrast to what I’ve dealt with in the past with the other neighbors, ya know, the police-calling-try-to-kill-my-dog ones that I was just thrilled. So thrilled I wrote a card and left it with a 16oz bag of ZiwiPeak dog food (great dog treats! and yes, they have dogs!)

    Not only did said neighbor care enough to call me, a friend of his is keeping the stray safe while trying to find her owner. Here is the pretty lost girl. 

    FoodLady Chronicles – Dear Dobby

    FoodLady Chronicles – Dear Dobby Edition: Dear Dobby, yes, it’s true. You are indeed the destroyer of all things; or as I said in laughing frustration while standing in front of wreckage, “I now know *why* you were left on the side of the road Mr. Stinky!!!” Additionally, you were once a very stoic boy. When we found you, you were an infected mess of pain and starvation and yet, still just so happy. That stoicism has left you and you have embraced the way of, “owwie, owwie, owwie, LADY! my foot was stung by some damn caribbean death insect and I’m OBVIOUSLY DYING! I may NEVER walk again! *dramatically flopping onto the ground holding up one paw* (he was fine) or No! don’t trim my nails! I may NEVER walk again! (he was fine) or Is the food ALL the way over there?! I may NEVER walk again! (he was fine).”  The rough tough little 16lb stinky, infected, furless mess of puppy – stoic & brave. The 60lb healthy muscular beefcake of a boxerbull – total mamma’s boy. I wouldn’t have you any other way little dude. 

    Love, FoodLady. 

    Most of y’all probably do not remember Freckles, but the house of FoodLady had to institute what was known as the “Freckles Protocol” prior to leaving. The FP can be boiled down to, “is there anything expensive or electronic within potential reach of a Freckles? no? okay, we can leave.” While Dobby does enjoy the destruction of expensive items as well as the piquant tang of chewing into electronics, his true joy comes in the removal of tags, seams, and tassles – preferably from expensive items. Perfect example, to keep him occupied while I write this, he has deigned to begin the removal of tassels from an old towel. His demolition work is just never done and this morning I am being serenaded by, “nibble, nibble, nibble, riiiiip; nibble, nibble, nibble, riiiiiip…” 

    He is Dobby the Happy Asshole, Destroyer of Possessions and Mighty Master of Derp; he is beloved. 

    Please enjoy this video of Dobby Nibbles

    Went Low – whoopsie. 

    So, scared the bejeebis out of the new husband Saturday (sorry honey!), I was (am) getting over a cold and as all y’all know sick = ⬆BG = more insulin to bring things closer to normal. But when ya start getting better, more insulin can make ya low. I don’t know how low I was, I just know I felt really warm (in air conditioning) and walked out to make something to eat, and then I felt really tired and sat down in front of the open fridge and apparently decided to take a nap. Next thing I remember is drinking some disgusting thick nasty liquid (a coke) through a straw and realizing how much I need to clean under my (as before unviewed and apparently nasty) stove. Thanks for the assist my love! 

    So, for any of y’all who has ever wondered how much insulin could kill you? The answer is probably more than you have available and no matter the dose, is just as likely to leave you with severe brain damage as kill you. 

    So, it was the time I woke up in the front yard in 2012 when I finally decided that I was going to train Herbert as a diabetic alert dog because I lived alone and was pretty darn sure I was going to die alone and be eaten by cats. It was a lot of work, but worth it and no matter how hard his loss has been on me the hard-won knowledge I gained during the training process has been invaluable.

    Also, it may be time to invest in a t-shirt that says, I’m sorry for what I said when I was low. 😚😜😉😘

    Leatherback Turtle Egg Laying

    Last night I was privileged enough to witness something incredibly special – leatherback turtles. Last night went like this: We arrived at the Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge and met with our group. Our guide heard over the radio that there was one turtle who had just finished laying. We scampered out and got to see one pretty lady (I think she was named Nina?) finish camouflaging her where she laid her eggs (think Volkswagen with flippers doing slow donuts). Now, because she had chosen a spot in an erosion zone researchers had caught the eggs as they were dropped and relocated them, but she didn’t know that. She was just amazing, okay – so she is shite at choosing nesting spots, but she was still amazing. Then we got to sit in a circle and learn about leatherbacks – and hooboy!, science doesn’t really know all that much about them. My favorite learned tidbit – leatherback turtles are so big they created a new type of “‘therm” just for them: Gigantotherm (rather than Exotherm or Endotherm). That’s right, I pretty much got to see dinosaurs last night. So, after a few moments of leatherback information, our guide introduced us to a baby leatherback turtle and we got to hold him/her. There is no way to explain the level of squee involved in a baby leatherback sea turtle – the cuteness physically hurt me. Then the guide’s radio squawked and we learned that there was another female laying on an adjacent beach and off we went en masse and we were able to see another pretty lady (real name something like Conga, but I think she should be renamed Fertile Myrtle as this was her sixth (yes, her 6th) clutch this season!) begin to lay her eggs. According to our guide while these gorgeous behemoths are laying their eggs they could give a flying crapola about the world around them, so we were invited to come up one at a time and touch her. She felt so soft and delicate (no, not normally something you would use to describe such large lady, but her skin (yes, skin) felt like….well….skin). I spent years fascinated by reptiles within our world, so much so that it was a huge part of my college education. None of the herptiles I worked with felt like these ladies (and little lady/guy).
    The entire experience was wonderful and something I will cherish forever, even if I didn’t get to feed them anything. *grin*
    Love,
    FoodLady

    Acupuncture….for dogs?

    I like to think of myself as open-minded, but I believe that as we gain knowledge and age what each of us perceive as truth may narrow a bit. Maybe it is more correct to say I actively try to maintain an open mind. 

    To be honest, I had never even considered the concept of acupuncture for any animal until I read an article a few years ago talking about acupuncture for sea turtles. After I read that I spent a little more time thinking about it and came to the conclusion that acupuncture seems inappropriate for animals. Although acupuncture helps a lot of people, the overriding condition that those people have is the belief that acupuncture can work and one thing that has been repeatedly proven is that the placebo effect is very powerful and effective.  

    Now that Ziesa has such horrible hip issues I can’t help but notice how many articles mention acupuncture as treatment – too the point that I am left wondering if I am too close minded? Or does it just make the humans feel better to be doing something to (theoretically) alleviate their dog’s discomfort and because they feel better and hopeful the dog feels better and hopeful?

    I don’t know. 

    It’s a moot point, I’m pretty sure I can’t find a canine acupuncturist on this island anyway, let alone afford one. But I thought it was an interesting ponder. 

    Love, 

    FoodLady