Thursday, October 27, 2011
I've secured a full-time job. Huzzah! And it's with dogs, too.

The three 12-hour night shifts in a row are a problem, though.

My insomnia works in my favour, but the fatigue and pain from hyperextending and locking joints, sore muscles, and chronic mild tendinitis makes for a long recovery. I'm on my feet most of the shift, and I'm not able to sit or lie down for more than an hour at a time. It's really wearing on my body, and my mind. I had a rough couple of days after I finished that last shift, and today, four days after my last shift, I'm finally feeling human - and I've only taken two installments of pain meds today. The first few days after the shifts, I was taking the maximum five installments, using ice and heat, exercising lightly to keep my joints moving, and sleeping as much as I could, and still being in too much pain to concentrate on anything other than police procedural dramas. And I get to start it all over again tonight.

However, I am really enjoying it. It's great working with dogs, and I can take Elliepup to work with me. She has a few friends there, and I think getting her exposed to excitement is helping her to become more tolerant of busy situations. Plus, the transit back and forth has made her a pro in her carrier.

I'm pleased to have a regular paycheque coming in, and soon I'll be able to start paying down my debt and my student loans. I'll be paying rent and my bills on my own, and, aside from the class I'm taking online (which my father generously offered to pay for), I'll be making it on my own. Doing all of that - feeling like an adult, finally - while having a bunch of permanent disabilities makes me feel good about myself. And that feeling, unfortunately, isn't one that I feel very often. So, I shall do my best to hold on to it, especially on the rough days.

I'm still applying for jobs in library and information sciences, as well as in the writing and editing fields. I've got a few hits in those, and they could lead to exciting places. Even if I don't get any further in those, for now, I'm pleased to have some interest from potential employers. This job market is abysmal, and I'm thrilled to have recognition from employers that my skills and experience just might be useful to them.

And really, on the toughest days, I curl up with some warm tea, some hounds, and my cat, and I try to imagine all of you out in the world, doing what you have to to get by.

What is it that you do to get through the tough days, friends? I'd love to know.
Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bunnies and Coyotes and Beagles, oh my!

I feel privileged to welcome a foster beagle into my tiny, tiny home.

I've wanted to foster dogs ever since I found my dog, Ellie, being fostered at a friend's house. Sure, she wasn't my dog then (in fact, she was adopted be another family temporarily before joining my family), but I fell in love with the idea of fostering rescued dogs.
My Elliepup started it all.
Rescuing dogs from inadequate, and sometimes even cruel, environments is a rather romantic notion. Not everyone loves dogs, of course, but I haven't met a person who has said that rescuing dogs from neglectful or abusive humans is ridiculous or a waste of time.  Strangers on the street have been known to hug me when they find out that Ellie is a rescued dog.

But fostering? Bringing a neglected or abused dog who has no training - or worse, behavioural issues - into your home?

That seems extreme to some people. Isn't the pound is a perfectly reasonable place for dogs to live until they're adopted?

Well, yes. Many kennels are alright places for dogs who are awaiting forever homes. However, animal shelters are filled to the brim and most simply don't have room for any more dogs. Dogs are social animals and animal shelters can be stressful environments - the dogs are often better off in home environments than waiting in a kennel.

Since my Elliepup was a puppymill breeder, she had absolutely no socialization skills and didn't know how to interact with other dogs or people. She needed a loving home as soon as she could get one -- even if it was a temporary home until her permanent home (mine!) could be found. I wanted to be a part of that experience for dogs in need.

I also want another dog, but as I'm unable to financially commit to another dog right now, fostering is the perfect option for me. The rescue organization takes care of the vet bills, while I get the excitement of a new dog without the long-term commitment. I get to use and improve my dog psychology and training skills while also helping to save a dog.

Sure, it'll be difficult to say goodbye to the dogs I foster, but it'll mean that they're going to good homes. Plus, every dog I foster instead of adopt is another dog saved.

Both of these red dappled mini dachshunds were rescued from puppy mills!

So, Ellie and I have welcomed a beagle into our lives, for now, and we're loving it. Ellie is a bit annoyed that she has to share her beds (poor pup - she has, like,three, plus the laundry pile) but she's thoroughly enjoying the hound company on walks and having a warm body to snuggle up to.
How could someone not care for these dogs?

Finally, someone else is around who understands Ellie's love for sniffing and tracking. Ellie and the beagle, Alex, found a wild bunny hopping out of the hedge this morning, and they ran into a pair of coyotes on the street last night! They've also found many-a dead rodents, bits of rotting food, and discarded underthings. They're having a ball.

The beagle is learning really quickly and by the time he's adopted, he not only going to be a fantastic dog, but a well-mannered one too!

Alex, a newfie beagle, loves the CBC and is looking for a forever home!

Also, my buddy Zoe from A Giraffe in a Scarf fosters cats. She's such a great kitty mama. She often writes about her fostering experiences, and she always includes adorable photos of her snuggly feline brood.

If you're thinking of adopting an animal, please check out your local rescue organizations as well as the shelters in your area. You can often find breed-specific rescues (like the Beagle rescue I volunteer for) if you're interested in a specific breed of dog, bunny,  horse, or other animal.

Would you consider adopting from a rescue, or fostering?

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