Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday March 31

Very foggy, then starts drizzling ... cant do morning run ... fix food and leave for husband, go to work. He calls around 11, says it did stop raining and he gave them a brief AM run and fed them, all are now inside where its raining again ... finally stops around 4 PM. I arrive home, dogs outside, husband outside ... very very wet, evening run, feed and kennel

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday March 30

Starts raining in night ... has stopped when get up, fix food, unkennel dogs and start down hill, starts a fine misty drizzle, by time am heading up the side hill its a steady drizzle ... go in and get food, head for kennels, no Snoopy ... kennel Corey, take DB and Banshee in shed, here comes Snoop ...kennel her. Raining steady now. Finish feeding, slog on back to trailer, soaking wet. Change clothes, try to dry out, change and head for work, still raining hard. Call husband around noon, it's stopped raining, he let dogs out for awhile, now in trailer ... doesnt rain any more, its to the south of us ... return home, dogs greet me as I park, go inside change, fix food, then take them for a run, it is still very wet, in 50's, pretty miserable, return to trailer, am planning to brush everyone but, husband in kitchen making coffee, dogs crowd in too close, Banshee snips at Snoopy who runs to hide behind couch, Banshee right on her, DB getting involved, so put Banshee and DB out, calm Snoopy and Corey, then decide take them for van ride, go out and load up DB and Banshee, come back for Snoopy, Corey andhusband. Spray DAP in van. All are calm. Ride to store and back, dense fog settling in, disembark, unload groceries and dogs, get food, feed and kennel.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday March 29

Much cooler, went down to freezing last night! Foggy at girst, then bright sunshine ... dogs burst out of pens for morning run, cheerful and energetic, playful ... feed and kennel, go to work (stop by food bank). Return late afternoon, it has clouded up again, not as pleasant, dogs and husband all outside mowing, Snoopy greets me when I pull into parking area. Go inside, change,fix food, go back out, Corey is sitting on hill watching husband mow, DB and Banshee spot me and come racing up, Corey finally realizes I'm here and starts his joyous welcome bark ... get on mower and join husband in mowing, til dark, get food, feed and kennel. Supposed to rain again tomorrow...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday March 28

Nasty weather continues ... cold, pouring rain this AM ... no morning run, fixed food and left with husband to feed (if it ever stops) ... went to work ... bad driving conditions ... husband reports he managed to get dogs fed and run around 10:30, then inside, said he did get in one or two brief forays outside, then it'd start raining again ... return home, not raining but really cold (40's ... dogs and husband all inside with the Damcat ... give all treats, change clothes, bundle up and go for evening run ... not real pleasant, but dogs really appreciate exercise, Corey chases two trucks, DB runs in circles, Snoopy carries a throw toy hopefully around, Banshee decides to dig around the drainage pipes in back (I think mice hide in there) ... back to trailer, fix evening food, attempt to brush Corey but he's still all aquiver ... out to kennels, fed and kennel.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekly update March 21-27

Week starts off sunny, polleny, breezy and cooler (70's), ends up dismal, dank and rainy (50's) ...  much mowing done early in week, dogs enjoying the crisp clear weather, little Mattie visits again, the Damcat gets bolder and bolder... rainy weather puts a damper on the weekend, but all in all, a good week!

Sunday March 27

Woke up to pouring rain ... slacked up and then stopped briefly, took dogs for soggy morning run, cold, damp, started raining again, fed and kenneled just in time, another downpour ... just in time for me to slog off to church... returned, has stopped raining, change clothes let dogs out, into a damp foggy mist that the wind drives into your face like little needles ... dogs dont seem to mind, but are getting very damp ... back to trailer, dry them off, go inside ... lunch, naps ... around 430 load dogs and husband into van, go to town ... PetSmart, Corey is all ramped up today (clearly not enough exercise), joyously (and loudly) proclaiming his presence ... Snoopy, Banshee and DB are polite and friendly ... usual remarks about how BIG and CURLY Corey is for an Irish setter, how shy Snoopy is, how sweet DB is, how cute Banshee is ... get our treats and depart, stop by WalMart for husband to return items (which takes forever) dogs and I fall sound asleep... return home, dark, disembark, feed and kennel.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday March 26

Cloudy, cool morning ... morning run and a little mowing, little Mattie shows up in time for breakfast ...feed and kennel. Out again after postprandial rest, mow, joined by husband on tractor ... actually getting one side cleared when whoops,  get flat tire. Back to shed to get fix-a-flat, get sidetracked by phone call, go inside with dogs, whoops, the Damcat is on the couch... dogs including Banshee trot by without a glance, the Damcat then decides to make a break for the safe end of the trailer and scoots by them, Banshee turns to follow, call her and let dogs out again, back in  check weather, the rain is near ... go out for quick foray on other mower, halfway down hill starts raining. Husband gets fix a flat and goes to rescue other mower, I return to trailer, let slightly damp dogs in. Thunder grumbling, light rain, husband returns and takes nap, rain gets heavier .. off and on all day .. every time it stops and I try to take dogs out it starts again ... brush Corey, clip DB and Corey's nails, brush Snoopy ... take Banshee on enclosed porch to brush her (she's started to blow her undercoat, early, I guess because of warm weather we had) ...while I'm brushing her a big storm blows up, husband comes out with other dogs and says kennel them NOW, rush to kennels with food, Snoopy wont go in her kennel, crawls under shed ... finally get her to go in shed, but she's scared of storms,won't eat but half her food, hides in her crate ... so leave her in shed, others in kennels, will get her out later hopefully ... big band of storms coming ... did manage to go out during break in weather and with Corey and husband's help, coax Snoopy out of shed and into kennels. More storms expected tonight, Snoopy is usually OK once she is actually IN her kennel and can hide in her doghouse ... but oh, weather like this makes me long for the day when my husband finally gets my 'real' kennels built...

Confessions of a First Time 'Doggy' Foster Mom (for a friend)

I am posting this for a friend. Please share.

Confessions of a First Time 'Doggy' Foster Mom
by Carol Birdwell

My reason for writing this is to make people aware that not all rescue organizations always have their animals best interests at heart. I, myself, admit I was ignorant about rescue organizations. I knew of the Humane Society, ASPCA and my course, my local animal shelter. I had no idea there were private and non-profile organizations who placed homeless and abused animals, either through fostering and/or adoptions.
I have learned many things from my first experience as a foster mom: that it is important for the rescue to be upfront and open with their foster families, share information from former fosters and/or info acquired from the shelter where the animal was originally pulled, if that info is available and share information on temperament testing as well as medical issues, have an experienced staff member available to answer questions and give support throughout the foster period, not just at the beginning, and to get to know the next potential foster homes emotional and physical challenges to make sure the animal that is placed is well suited for 'both' the animal and foster.

It took me quite some time to decide to write this and even more time to share with others, as my thoughts are personal and private. I would say I'm not the type of person that enjoys controversy, but am honest and say what is on my mind. I've come to the realization that my writing this is not only therapeutic, for myself, but will give me final closure on this matter. No, it won't make me popular, I'm sure just the opposite, frankly, I don't give a damn.
It's something that may or may not help others, I know those who know me will understand and support me and those who don't, really shouldn't matter in my life anyhow, as I choose to surround myself with positive people. There will always be 'haters' out there, but I can choose to ignore them, just as you can choose to ignore me. I had a choice of mentioning names and chose to do just that, as I feel everyone of us needs to be accountable for our actions.
I will start with a bit about my own personal background, which some of you are aware of and some of you are not. I feel it's pertinent to my deciding to write about my experience with Bella and my first interaction with a rescue organization.
I've always had a dog in my life as long as I can remember. My parents had a dog when I was growing up and I got my first Pit Bull (Maxie) in 1984, when I was 21 years old. I went through a particularly horrific event in September of 1995, followed by the death of Maxie two months later because of brain tumors and was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and then Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in 1996.

I am now 48 and lost my last best friend, Lily, who was 12 and my psychiatric service dog, this past December 7, 2010 from Lymphoma. I was completely devastated, so much so, I couldn't cope with this loss and had a complete emotional breakdown. Lily gave me a reason to get up everyday, she was the air that gave me life, she gave me a purpose, she pushed me too live life to the fullest of my capacity...she was my everything.
After Lily's passing, I spent the next 3 weeks sleeping and just sitting on my sofa, I can't even remember Christmas Day or New Year's. I started to slowly become 'aware' of my surroundings and reached out for some emotional support. I joined a Pet Loss Group and met others who understood how I was feeling. I still couldn't function though and remember a friend, Mary Lou Seymour, I made in the group suggest I join Facebook, not just as a distraction, but to see how many people were out there trying to save homeless and abused animals. Maybe I could help out in some way and this would help with my own healing. This is where I became aware of the many Animal Rescue Organizations that were out there. Mary Lou also suggested to me about possibly "fostering" a puppy/dog. I was absolutely clueless about fostering and decided to research this idea.
This is when I first found out about Carolina Care Bullies (CCB). They are a local rescue organization here in N.C., and they specialized in rescuing Pit Bulls, which I've always had, loved and felt to be quite experienced with this breed, as I've had 3 of my own in the past 27 years. I felt they were the perfect organization for me to reach out too.
I visited their FB page and also their website, read everything about them and read about their fostering program. It sounded like a 'win-win' situation for me, as I wasn't sure I was quite ready for another dog, but could still possibly save the life of a homeless dog. They would provide a crate, food, spaying/neutering, vaccinations, etc. I was still nervous about this type of committment so I emailed Amanda Liston, President of CCB and asked loads of questions. I filled her in on my recent loss and my health status and also asked specific foster related questions. I'd never had a dog that I didn't get as a puppy and wondered if i could 'bond' with an older dog. What about behavioral problems? Could I choose the dog/puppy I wanted? Did I meet the animal in person first? As many questions that my mind could think of.
I quickly received correspondence back from Amanda, addressing each of my concerns. She was incredibly nice and patiently explained to me their fostering program. She told me at the time they had a perfect dog for me, named Bella, who was approximately a year old. Since Bella was not good with cats, children or other dogs (except for possibly a submissive male), my home would be ideal, as I didn't have any pets or children. She asked me to please fill out their Foster Application and I would hear back from them. I did this and was emailed back quickly, asking when I would be available to take Bella, as she was ready for a home immediately.
I was taken aback, as I still was in a very depressed state and had since consulted with my Psychiatrist who recommended my going into Duke Hospital Inpatient Unit for Electro Convusive Therapy Treatments. I did my research on these sort of treatments and was nervous and scared. The first thing I imagined in my head was "One Flew Over The Cookoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson having these horrific treatments done. I soon learned, technology has come a very long way and Duke was one of the leading hospitals to make advancements in this sort of therapy. I was still quite nervous, but my will to live was diminishing. I was still desperately mourning the loss of Lily and thought about her constantly. I decided to go to Duke, as a last resort, because no amount of medication was doing me any good.

I let Amanda know I would be in the hospital for 3 weeks, possibly one month, depending on how many treatments I was too receive, so it would be impossible for me to take Bella right away. When she asked me what hospital I was going to, I decided to explain, in depth, my mental health status, which I hadn't planned on doing, but didn't want her to think I was backing out of fostering Bella. I let her know I would email them as soon as I was discharged from Duke and then make arrangements for Bella.

I ended up receiving six ECT treatments, group and individual therapy, medication management (went from 11 pills a day to 2) and stayed as a inpatient for three weeks at Duke. I returned home on January 31, 2011. I was feeling SO much better, I couldn't believe how the treatments had helped me. Yes, I still missed Lily horribly, but I no longer wanted to die. I had hope again, which in itself was miraculous, especially since just a month earlier I was planning my own suicide. I had faith, that in time I would heal and decided to try to move on in a positive direction. Deciding to foster Bella, was my first big step in actually doing something, not only for my own well being but for another dog in need.

I picked up Bella the next day, Tuesday, the 1st of February, meeting Tristin (a CCB transporter) in Selma, about 20 miles from where I live in Goldsboro. Again, something miraculous as I haven't been able to drive 'alone' without Lily, who I mentioned earlier was my PSD. On hindsight, I can now say I wished I had waited at least one week to get resettled back into my home, without Lily, removing her toys and coming to terms with her death.

When I first saw Bella's little face, I couldn't believe how adorable she was! Happy, bouncy and wiggly, lol! She eagerly jumped into my car, licking my face. We got home, she checked out her new surroundings, we played with her toy duck and just got acquainted. I wish I could bottle the energy she has, she never seemed to tire and I'm an old chick, lol! Her crate was empty so I put a down comforter in there, but when it came time for bedtime, she just didn't want to go in. I had placed the crate next to my sofa, where I had been sleeping since Lily passed because I always slept with Lily and found it too painful to sleep in my own bed. When I did get Bella into the crate, she was able to see me, close by and went to sleep.

Bella had been with 4 days when I had a male friend come over to work on my computer. Bella didn't like this at all and growled and barked at this person, so I quickly put her into her crate. I told my friend after some time had passed to just put his hand to the crate so she could smell him and talk softly to her. She did this, not making a sound. After an hour, I took her out of the crate, with her leash still on and jumped into a chair I have across the room. She sat there and watched quietly. Eventually, she just laid down and fell asleep. I filled Chris in on Bella being a foster dog I was taking care of until she found a furever home, as he knew Lily. Chris was finally finished with my computer several hours later and sat up on the sofa with me. Bella sat up also. Chris then went to leave and as he was reaching for the doorknob, Bella came out of nowhere and bit him on the butt and then ran back to the chair. I was completely shocked and apologized profusely.

After Chris left, I immediately sent a message to CCB to ask if Bella had shown this type of behavior with them, as it's something I hadn't witnessed before. I heard back from Terry King saying it was not something he had noticed with Bella, as she was good with him and asked if my friend had a beard or was wearing a hat? I wasn't sure what that had to do with anything, but told him no. He said it was possible Bella had already become protective of me. I was beginning to wonder if maybe she had an 'issue' with men, but wasn't sure. Bella also had a bad habit of jumping into my face whenever I sat down on my sofa or chair and nipping/biting me on my nose, I got a few scratches, nothing major.This is something I was able to get her to stop doing, as I let her know this was NOT a good thing and she understood and stopped it.

After we finished the 'two week shutdown', rules to follow that are listed on the CCB site for foster homes, I decided it was time to get Bella out for a car ride and decided to take her to my parents house to meet them and possibly meet Molly, their rescue pup. I wasn't leery about introducing her to Molly, since CCB warned me about her being dog aggressive. She went into the house with me and immediately ran up to my mom and wiggled while my mother pet her. When my father came out of the bedroom, into the living room where she was at, she looked directly at him and lunged at him. I had her on the leash in the house, so I stopped her, but heard her jaws snap. I immediately took her home.

I emailed CCB again, telling them of my concerns regarding her behavior towards men. I wasn't sure how to handle this, but never received a reply. In all fairness, after mentioning this to Amanda weeks later, she said it could of been lost as she receives hundreds of emails daily. So, I sent a message to Terry on FB asked him for more information about Bella's background. Several days later, he messaged me back, saying that they had pulled her from a shelter, where she had been picked up as a stray. She also had been in 3 foster homes prior to being placed with me. Something, I felt would of been nice to have known sooner.

We visited again the next weekend and my dad was outside and she stopped when she saw him. He offered her a treat while talking to her and I warned him that she would probably try to bite him, as I now figured out she just didn't seem to like men in general. He tossed her a treat, which she took and relaxed. I let Bella go to the fence, where Molly was and they smelled each other and Bella and Molly were excited, starting moving around alot, like bouncing. I still didn't want to just let Bella into the fenced area, because at this point I really wasn't trusting her, as she had surprised me enough already. So, my dad put Molly on a leash, I walked Bella to the street, where they could meet on neutral ground and introduce them there. They were both pulling to get closer to each other, but we held them tight. During the next half an hour, we let them get acquainted and they started playing together. I still felt it was too soon to let Bella run loose in the yard, so we returned back home, which she resisted as she just wanted to play with Molly.

The next weekend, we were back. This time they met in the front yard and recognized each other and immediately started playing. My dad and I both decided they were "playing" and he said he felt it would be alright to put Bella in the fenced in back yard, which I felt was a good idea also. So, I put Bella in the back yard, still with her leash on her, in case I needed to grab her and they started playing, running, jumping, having a great time! We stayed outside with both of them for about 45 minutes and they continued to play and romp about. She basically ignored us and focused all her attention on Molly. I went into the houes and kept a close eye on them from the glass doors in the house and checked on them constantly, never a problem arised between them.

Bella started to get really tired after a hour and a half of this and laid down. Molly still wanted to play, so my mother suggested we bring Bella in, so Molly would quit bothering her. Bella never got angry though, would just make a 'gruffing' sound, not like a growl, but a sound when Molly would paw at her while Bella laid down. That you will see on the picts I sent you. When Bella came in, she was all wiggly, as she usually is and ran to my mom and me, but again, did not approach my dad. He left her alone and did not go near her. He said he felt she just didn't like him, but I told him about the incident with Chris and thought it was a good possibility that she was abused by a man when she was a stray.

I had Bella for a month now and was starting too stress out. I was worried about people coming over and running into people while walking her and was definitely too nervous to take her to a dog park. After having 3 Pits of my own, something I had with them was 100% trust, never did any of them growl, nip or try to bite me. I attitute this to having gotten them as young puppies and knew 'everything' about them and what they were exposed too. I had no clue what Bella had been exposed too or what had happened in her past. I thought if I could maybe get a professional trainer to help me, we could work out these issues, but living on social security disability, it wasn't something I could afford. Not too mention the vet bills I had now acquired due to Lily's illness. I emailed CCB and asked if they wouldn't mind placing Bella into a new foster home, as I felt I was too inexperienced to deal with what issues I had witnessed and was constantly wondering what she was going to do next. CCB emailed me back asking me to "please not give up one her". This made me feel incredibly guilty, as I didn't want to give up on Bella, but felt I was in over my head.

I decided one day to trim Bella's nails, as they were getting quite long. Bella didn't like this at all and kept squirming, so I just decided to possibly try to do this again when I had some help. The following weekend, we were back at my parents house. I thought maybe after Bella played with Molly for an hour or so, she would be tired and easier to lay down and with the help of my parents, I could then trim her nails. This is something I've always done with my own dogs, but they were used to it as I had done this for them since they were puppies. I did expect she might squirm a bit, but I blame my own inexperience with trying to do this without first muzzling her, which I learned the hard way.

We brought Bella into the house, she laid down easily and my mom held her back end, my dad her middle and she just laid there. So, I took her front left paw and started to clip, she then started to squirm. I quickly trimmed two more, her nails are quite easy to trim since she has white nails, so the quick was visible, so I know I wasn't trimming them too short, but then got angry, bit down on my hand and then went after my dad's hand or maybe just after my dad, it happened very quickly. We immediately let her back outside. I then looked at my right hand where she had punctured the top and it was bleeding and there was a red mark on my palm. I washed it up and put on a band aid. Again, I accept complete responsibility for this, I just shouldn't of tried to trim her nails after she first showed me she didn't like it the week previous.

I emailed Terry again, this time insisting on him finding Bella a new foster home and gave him 3 weeks to find her a place. I let him know of the biting incident with my trying to trim her nails. I never received a response. So, I then emailed Meredith Denny, who is in charge of fostering/adoptions for CCB, detailing her habits, the issues I've experienced and also things like how she was now going easily into her crate, sitting down for dinner, learned how to 'give me a paw' for a treat and was completely house broken. I never received a response from Meredith either.

I began too feel as if CCB was angry at me for not keeping Bella and asking for her to be placed into an other foster home. CCB had put up a post for Bella asking for a new foster home and I saw a response from someone saying, "so, the foster mom doesn't want to adopt Bella?" This made me wonder if that is what usually happened with fosters, that they were adopted by their foster homes. Again, it's just my lack of knowledge, as I thought that fostering meant a temporary home until a furever home was found. I think it's wonderful if you do foster and can bond with him/her and decide to adopt, but I now know, from talking to many other fosters, that isn't always the case. Two weeks later I received a group email asking for help with transporting Bella from my home to CCB on Saturday, March 19th at 6pm. No one had even emailed me for weeks or to bother to ask me if that date was suitable for me. I really felt as if I was getting the cold shoulder at this point.

I decided to write another email to CCB and directly to Amanda. Since they had decided to pick up Bella at this specific time, I felt I should at least give her all the details about my experiences with Bella and what the next foster home should be aware of. I also mentioned I had emailed Meredith with more details and hoped she had passed it along too her. I really thought the new foster home needed as much information as possible, as not to repeat any mistakes I had made. I also suggested it might be useful in the future for foster homes to pass along information, such as I was, so the new foster home was somewhat prepared for their new addition.
I received a scathing response from Amanda, telling me the word "bite" was very subjective and that Bella did "nip" at their hands when released from the crate, which was normal from being excited and/or anxious. That I needed to be careful how I used the word 'bite' since a dog's life was at stake. I was also told that she and CCB were extremely busy, having full time jobs and a detailed description of what normal day for her consisted of. That she hasn't had a vacation in two years, weekends were filled with fund raising events, etc.  It was possible that she missed an email or two from me, but spent more time responding to me than any other of their foster homes. She was also aware of Bella doing "air snaps", which I construed as Bella jumping into my face and, snapping at my nose. She informed me that she had taken a 2 day ASPCA training course and evaluated Bella herself. She had passed a 7 part temperament test and would be happy to send me the results and would also be happy to have this test redone by someone else, she felt the results would be the same. She closed by saying I needed to respect their organization, that they all worked very hard and all had very full productive lives.

To say I was speechless is an understatement. I was being scolded like a child and decided to just not respond back, as I felt it would not be productive and really didn't want to have a war of words. Yes, I was angry, as I felt she was full of excuses and my responding back would just be a waste of time.

On March 14th, which happened to be my birthday, I received an email from Amanda saying she was now aware of all the 'bites', she didn't realize Bella had been such a handful as Terry was the 'strong and silent type' and didn't always share everything and wanted to pick up Bella asap to euthanize her! I completely broke down and reached out to my friends for support as I felt I was now killing Bella. All I could picture was when I had Lily euthanized and was completely distraught and started to panic. I hadn't had a panic attack since being discharged from Duke and had to take a sedative to calm down.

Mary Lou, having many friends who are professional trainers and behavorists consulted them, telling them all about Bella. She heard from Cricket Mara from The Pawsitive Dog first, who described the most severe bite, as a level 3 bite, according to Dr. Ian Dunbar's Bite Index, which a majority of trainers use. The levels of bites start as level 1 as growls, snaps, and lunges, harassment but not skin contact, all the way to level 6 being described as death of victim or flesh consumption. Bella's bite was quick contact when I put her in a very uncomfortable situation, should she wanted to actually "hurt" me, it could of easily done, but wasn't. Again, I put Bella in that position, which I still regret to this day, but feel it was a fear based bite.

I wrote Amanda back, along with Mary Lou, pleading to not euthanize Bella. I couldn't bear the guilt and felt I was have a complete melt down again. I asked if it were possible to get a professional trainer to help me with her, they refused, saying they needed their resources for the dogs they already have. I then received a very long email from Amanda about "Pit Bull Behavior", as they are great with people, but not always with other animals, etc. That an 'attack' on a person would not be tolerated and cannot be trained out of a dog.
Then I received an email from Meredith from CCB saying they decided to euthanize Bella, when would be a convenient time for me for them to come and pick her up?

I couldn't believe they kept reminding me that they were intending on euthanizing Bella, considering that I was still mourning the death of my own dog, Lily. I found it completely insensitive, unprofessional and just cruel.

Mary Lou, who is a strong animal activist, spending many hours of her own time, money "and" working full time, while managing her own animals then tried to find an Animal Sanctuary that would possibly take Bella, even offering to help pay for Bella to be placed. We both worked on this, but found it was incredibly expensive, $1000-1500 to just take her and then $100 a month maintenance fee for the rest of her life. She asked Amanda if she would release Bella to a sanctuary, but again, after discussion, they could not see paying that and refused.

I then researched NC bite laws and read I was supposed to report any bite that broke the skin, which had happened when I tried to trim Bella's nail. I called my local animal control to ask what happened when a dog bite was reported. I was told the dog was held for a 10 day quarantine and then euthanized. They don't euthanize humanely at this shelter, but use gas chambers, so I refused to report the bite.
I then got a phone call from a CCB volunteer on Wednesday, March 16th, saying she was picking up Bella that evening since they were euthanizing her Saturday morning, the 19th and what time could she come over? I told her I was following the quarantine law of NC and that it had been 7 days since the incident and they could get her on the 19th, as agreed upon previously, as this would be 10 days. She then told me I did not OWN Bella, she was the property of CCB and pressed for me to give her a time to pick up Bella. I told her I would not be available, so she said she needed to call Amanda and hung up.

Amanda then emailed me asking why I was delaying the inevitable, why not let them pick Bella up now, so this wasn't hanging over everyone's heads for the next several weeks.

I was now having major panic attacks and had been since first being notified about Bella being euthanized. I was crying constantly and didn't know what too do anymore. I spoke with the volunteer transporter again and agreed she could come and pick up Bella.
Mary Lou continued to try to find other options to try to save Bella's life. She, like me, felt their decision to euthanize Bella to be premature and hasty. I felt the bite incidents did not mean Bella was a vicious dog. She had actually started warming up to my dad, after several more visits to their home. She just needed someone to take things very slowly and be experienced with working with dogs like Bella.

We continued to email Amanda and found out she was to now be euthanized on Monday afternoon with a vet Amanda trusted and worked with. So, we tried for several more days to see what could be done for Bella. Amanda told me they were having a CCB board meeting on Sunday, the 20th and would discuss Bella. I hoped with emails from me, Mary Lou and another friend of hers that they might change their mind and keep Bella.

Monday came and went, no word from CCB. Tuesday came and Mary Lou emailed CCB asking if Bella had been euthanized or not, that we had the right to know what they had decided too do.
Amanda emailed back on Wednesday saying that she and the CCB board wanted to keep all issues regarding Bella private, but didn't want us wondering what had happened to Bella and that she was 'alive and well', and was going to a new foster home that evening. That the new foster mom was aware of all of Bella's issues and she is enrolled in a group training class that aims to reduce her fear issues. To say we were thrilled is another understatement! All of the worry about Bella's demise was not too be. Though I wished they had notified us sooner, I was still ecstatic to know she was given another chance.

I was asked twice by Amanda to keep this 'matter' regarding Bella private, but made the decision to write about this so that others can be aware of what questions need to be asked before you decide to foster/adopt before interacting with a potential new house member. I also felt that it would be irresponsible for me to 'not' share this story, as I've spoke with other Pit Bull Rescue Organizations owners who were in agreement with me that my situation with Bella wasn't the 'norm' and could of been handled in a much more professional manner. What really angered me was while all of this was going on with Bella, I continued to see posts from CCB, saying they wanted to pull more pit bulls from two new county shelters, when they already have so many that need fosters/adopting. I didn't understand if they had funds for pulling more dogs, why couldn't they use some of those funds for Bella?

Before you decide to foster, check with other foster homes that house from a particular organization, a reputable rescue (I know there are many of them) will be more than happy to share their other success stories. Ask them questions about if the rescue corresponds with them in a timely manner, do they support them and have both you and the foster animal in the best possible situation? Ask for a copy of the temperament test. I requested Bella's twice, but never did receive it.

Again, this is just my own personal experience with being a first time foster mom. I'm sure many of you have had different experiences or maybe even similar ones, I don't know. I just felt it necessary to make others aware of my own as it could happen to anyone. You, as a foster parent are opening up your home and family to a unfamiliar animal, that you trust has been tested to be safe to come into your lives. You open your hearts and want to save a animal, you deserve to know all the facts before taking on this commitment, just something to think about and worth doing the homework.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday March 25

Very cool this morning, in high 30's ... breezy too ... had to go back inside and get a winter jacket ... morning run, dogs all very frisky, horses in back running around, just like the first cool snap of fall! Feed and kennel, go to work ... beautiful weather all day, high 60's ... husband has full crew working today, reports that the dogs are 'good company' (when its really hot, the dogs go and lie in the shade, when its really cold, they huddle hopefully on the porch waiting for the humans to decide to go inside ... return around 530, greeted at gate by all dogs, Corey decides to jump in the car front seat as I'm closing the last gate, OK, he rides in with me ... disembark, give all treats, go inside and change, workers then leave, I do about an hour of mowing, really pleasant ... I actually enjoy mowing (which is fortunate since I have so much to mow) ... you can actually SEE your 'accomplishment' (unlike much of my day job work), its quiet and peaceful, and every time I stop my beautiful dogs appear to be petted, given treats, and do brief 'training exercises'. Back to trailer, let Corey and DB in (Snoopy is all wet, Banshee is engaged in chewing a big clump of grass clippings), fix food, the Damcat struts into the kitchen to get a treat with the dogs ... I dont worry about the Damcat's safety except with Banshee, who STILL has not accepted that the Damcat is NOT prey ... back out again for a final run around the property, feed and kennel ...  little Mattie shows up ... too late ... sit on porch with her awhile and give her a few treats.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday March 24

Rained during night, crisp and clear this morning ... early meeting so no morning run ... call husband to make sure dogs fed ..return late, barely time to fix evening food and go for brief run ... little Mattie shows up, first time in about a week, running, playing gleefully with my dogs, jumping up for treats ... much cooler today, in high 60's, down to 40 at night ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wed March 23

Windy and warm ... pollen blowing everywhere ... morning run, feed and kennel, Corey's ear still doing good! Off to work ... return, all dogs out with husband, mowing ... DB comes and greets me at gate, the others converge at parking area ... change clothes, fix food (with Corey's help), back out to mow ... really beautiful evening, the horses in back and on the side all running about, kicking up their heels, Snoopy rolling gleefully in grass and then into drainage pond, Corey finds an empty water bottle and crunches away , DB running in circles, Banshee popping up and down through the high vetch (that hasnt been mowed yet) all quite lovely ... sunset, back to trailer, get food, feed and kennel.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday March 22

Bright sunshine, but haze of pine pollen still everywhere, need some rain! Morning run, workers arrive early, dogs all still out, follow workers' vehicles to parking area then run back to me to tell me they're here! Feed and kennel, go to work ... really long day ... back bothering me, go by chiro and then to Claire's to pick up herbs, return home, late, dogs all out with husband, load them into van and go for evening ride to Bilo, return, its dark, feed and kennel.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday March 21

Pleasant morning run, now the pine tree crosses are coming out and a fine yellow dust everywhere ... Corey's nose is yellow, Banshee has a fine sprinkle of yellow all over her face ... Feed and kennel, go to work ... have to go to hearing in Columbia, traffic so awful late afternoon return home, ah, the peace and quiet ... arrive home, all dogs inside napping with husband, wake them up, change clothes, mow for about a half hour, talk to neighbor, then husband decides to go to Lowes and we load up dogs in van and take off ... walk them around parking lot at Lowes and Home Depot, too late to go to PetSmart ... return home in the dark,disembark, go get food, fed and kennel.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weeky update March 14-20

May in March continues ... beautiful spring weather ...a few days of foggy mornings and rainy evenings .. little Mattie joins us early in the week several times ... my birthday this week, also st Paddy's Day ... oh, I miss Angel Ginger on St Patrick's Day, last year St. Patrick's Day was rainy and cold, I do SO wish she'd been here for this year's beautiful weather ... Ireland Forever! any country that could give us such beautiful red dogs is truly the 'blessed isle' ... lots of mowing of vetch this week, several busted pipes ... new trees planted ... the Damcat now comes and sits in the kitchen with the dogs to get a treat (eyes very suspiciously by Banshee, who is visibly restraining herself ... miss seeing supermoon because of stormy weather moving through ... all in all, a good week.

Sunday March 20

Storms in the night, lots of rain ... cloudy and much cooler this AM ... morning run, dogs all excited, burst out of kennels, running about wildly (almost like the first day of fall!) feed and kennel, go to church, return, dogs still kenneled... change clothes, go for midday run ... find another water spicket that has busted, pouring water down to ditch (I noticed this on way out this morning but thought it was just the rainfall) ... alert husband, have lunch, put in wash, more mowing ... also check new line of some kind of fir trees husband put in last week, need propping up ... finally finish mowing back section ... back to trailer, brief nap with the Damcat, while dogs nap in living room, (Corey stations himself in hall) ... then load dogs into van and go for ride ...return, still light, another brief mowing foray, husband plays fetch with Snoopy, DB and Banshee find mouse in woodpile (but cant seem to catch it)... practice sit-stay and down at a distance with Corey (who's getting quite proficient...) getting dark, fix food, feed and kennel.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday March 19

Beautiful spring day ... more like May than March ... temps reach 90 degrees! Morning run, feed and kennel, out again to mow ... several hours worth ... Corey follows me, trying to find shade ... the shade trees are of course not leafed out yet, so he snuggles under the evergreens ... every time I stop, all dogs appear at my side ... back in for lunch and brief nap, then more mowing (husband's big tractor still doesnt have blade changed and no workers show up today, the other mower needs a belt, so, its just me and the dogs... and 20 acres of vetch ...) was going into town today, but too tired ... clouds pop up right around nightfall... thunder and lightening towards Saluda... feed and kennel, check the weather, yikes, big storms heading our way ... and darn, dont get to see supermoon, for which I looked forward all week ... still, a good day.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday March 18

Yet another gorgeous spring day ... brilliant sunshine ... morning run, husband has gone into town to bank ... feed and kennel. Corey's ear still doing good! Supposed to be off today but have an appointment so into town ... husband returns as I leave. Calls me late afternoon he is going to chiro for his knee. Return late afternoon, unkennel dogs, put in an hour of mowing, dogs in high spirits, play fetch with Snoopy, Corey starts barking and barking so practice sit-stay ... mow some more, getting dark, husband not back yet, feed and kennel.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday March 17 St Patrick's Day

A beautiful crisp clear morning, all the trees blooming, the vetch growing ... morning run, feed and kennel, go to work ... another long day... return, no dogs at gate ... get up to parking area and here come DB,Snoopy and Banshee ... husband way in back with Corey ... go inside, change, fix food, then here comes Corey and husband ... let them in, brush Corey, then back out for evening mowing to get mower on big tractor, some of this is way too high to mow now ... husband reports that when he went to burn brush pile (with all the branches I pruned with Corey's help) a bird has built a nest in it with little baby birds already hatched, so of course we cant burn it until they can fly away ...practice sit-stay, talk to neighbor in back and her dogs (who 'fence run' with DB and Banshee ... Corey and Snoopy don't bother ... little Mattie joins us on way back, feed and kennel.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday March 16

Very foggy this morning, doesnt begin to lift til after 9. Morning run, dogs disappearing and reappearing in the fog, joined briefly by little Mattie, feed and kennel. Corey's ear much better! Go to Johnston food bank to deliver food with friend, then on to work ... clears up mid afternoon, beautiful by time I return home, for an hour of mowing, dogs in high spirits, husband has put out wading pool for Snoopy and she's no longer green! Banshee in especially good spirits, playing with Snoopy and Mattie ... DB and Corey getting very good at sit-stay, Snoopy and Banshee coming along (they do OK as long as my back is turned but when I turn around they 'break'. ) Feed and kennel at nightfall.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday March 15

Foggy and cooler, no rain yet. This is my birthday, supposed to be off! Morning run, feed and kennel, then go to food bank in Saluda to deliver food (Johnston was closed), stop by satellite office while there, several clients waiting. Return home around noon, dogs are all out, husband in back ... eat lunch, let dogs in, then out and mow for awhile, then load up dogs and go into town to PetSmart and park for brief walk, husband's knee bothering him so then to several stores to pick up various items. Return home, starts raining on way back, arrive home it has slacked up a bit, unload dogs and groceries, then inside for food, feed and kennel.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday March 14

Nice weather continues. Morning run, joined by little Mattie. Snoopy green from rolling in the grass, try to clean her off, hopeless... will get husband to fill up her wading pond so she'll go swimming. Corey's ear better! Feed and kennel, go to work ... long tough day ... return, at least it's light now when I get home with the time change! Mow some vetch, feed and kennel. Supposed to rain tonight

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Weekly update March 7-13

Very windy this week... rain 2 days, then beautiful sunshine ... everything blooming, forsythia, pears, plums, peaches ... and, of course, the vetch is getting higher and higher ...Corey's ear seems some better by week's end ... little Mattie joins us several times ... I now have a 'green dog' instead of a 'yellow dog' (Snoopy) ... I go to reiki workshop and try it for the first time with the dogs, with mixed results ... an interesting week!

Sunday March 13

Another beautiful spring day, clear and sunny, temps in high 70's ... everything 'earlier' as set clocks forward last night ... so its now still dark when get up ... fix food, morning run, dogs all very frisky and particularly friendly, Corey never leaves my side ... back to kennels and, here's little Mattie in time for breakfast ... feed and kennel, then to church (a bit late, but make it in time)... collect an amazing amount of food for our food bank outreach! Return home, dogs still kenneled ... husband not feeling well, stomach. Change clothes, let dogs out, and ... mow for an hour or so. Return to trailer, fix lunch, inside to brush Corey and try to sponge off Snoopy who has globs of green gunk all over herself (she rolls in the grass clippings) ... outside again, decide to try, just try, the reiki around the dogs ... Banshee walks over, sniffs my hands, then jumps off the porch. Snoopy disappears. DB and Corey lay down and doze off. Only try this for about 10 minutes. As soon as I stop, and get up to go inside, Banshee and Snoopy reappear, we all go inside, and take naps. Husband still feeling poorly. Up again, outside for another few hours of mowing, joined by husband, then load dogs into van and go to store and back (just for an evening ride) ... return, get food, feed and kennel.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday March 12

Beautiful weather ... take dogs for long morning run, to make up for missing yesterday evening ... gosh, the vetch has grown a foot ... really really need to mow... but need to go to second day of reiki workshop ... feed and kennel, go to workshop .. very interesting, I will definitely try to practice this on myself first( I'm now a 'level 1 practitioner') ... and see how it goes ... return home, husband has a full crew working today ... no dogs greet me at gate, when I enter parking area, Banshee and Snoopy come off porch and sniff me very thoroughly ... DB hangs back ... I go inside, Corey and the Damcat are inside, Corey quivers all over and greets me normally ...(ie, jumps up and down, doing the 'Irish jig') I then let other dogs in (put Damcat in bedroom) and get something to eat (and water, I'm very thirsty, this reiki stuff makes you really thirsty) ... lay down on couch, Corey beside me, others in their usual positions (Snoopy behind the couch, DB across the door, Banshee in the dog bed) ... husband then comes in, wanting lunch (geez, its 4 PM) , sigh. OK, fix lunch, then take the dogs out and start mowing the vetch , joined by little Mattie ... workers leave around 530. Back to trailer, fix food, out to kennels ... and Corey acts very oddly, standing in the middle of the yard and barking, finally settles down and goes to his kennel. Feed and kennel.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday March 11

Very windy this morning, cool, cloudy, but not raining ... morning run, joined by little Mattie, feed and kennel ... off to work ... stop by PetSmart  late afternoon on the way to chiropractor, looking for a green collar for Corey, still cant find one I like ... then to a reiki workshop, hopeful I can learn to use reiki with animals ... return home well after dark, dogs have been fed and kenneled, take out yogurt-esenses

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursday March 10

Morning hearing in Columbia, raining ... fix food and leave for husband to feed ... return home late afternoon, it has cleared up but still cloudy and windy ... greeted at gate by Banshee and Snoopy,all excited, back to trailer, DB and Corey inside ... brush Corey, then take all for evening run, feed and kennel

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wednesday March 9

Cloudy and cool rain coming in later ... morning run, dogs are all cheerful, horses in back are kicking and bucking , dogs seem to 'catch the fever' and start running around in circles... wind picking up again, a faint drizzle begins ... back to trailer, get food, feed and kennel before rain starts ... to work. Rains all day off and on, return home after dental appointment in downpour, dogs (and husband) are in the dog shed (they had been out working in front during a lull in the rain and the heavy rain hit). I decide to lay down briefly, then up to fix dog food, then  to church for Ash Wednesday service; husband says he'll feed when rain slacks up. Return after church, just a drizzle now, take yogurt-essenses out and chewies

Tuesday March 8

Very windy again this morning! Morning run, Corey is doing fine, no limping that I can see ... Snoopy is green from rolling in the grass clipping (husband mowed yesterday) .. clean Corey's ears, left is still bad ... feed and kennel, go to work, return well after dark. Take out yogurt and essences, chewies.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday March 7

Cool and windy, but pleasant AM run ... joined by little Mattie ...DB and Banshee particularly intent on some burrowing critter by the fence line, never get it, but definitely have dirty faces... feed and kennel, go to work. A really really tough day at work. Arrive home after dusk, dogs have been kenneled, husband reports he thinks Corey was limping on front leg. out to kennels, give yogurt and essences, feel Corey's front legs and paws, appear OK, but give him an Arnica (3 tabs)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekly update Feb.28-March 6

Weather turns cooler, windy ... peaches,pears, forsythia bursting to bloom as well as Angel Ginger's red plum tree ... pet therapy day for Banshee, others along for the ride and PetSmart visit ...  several days of on again off again rain ... the Damcat makes a suicidal foray into kitchen with all 4 dogs ... Corey's left ear still a problem ... but all in all, a good week, thanks be to God.

Sunday March 6

Still drizzly this morning, supposed to have rained hard last night but missed us ... wait out a hard rain around 8 AM, then let dogs out for morning run ... make it back to kennels before it starts again, whew! Feed and kennel, go to church ... return, still drizzly, wait for a weather break, let dogs out, go for very damp windy run, return to trailer, let dogs inside ... a repeat of yesterday, rain and damp, finally clearing in late afternoon ... well, at least all got a good brushing! Last run, pick up some debris blown into property, practice sit and stay (Corey and DB are really getting good, Banshee and Snoopy improving) ... back to trailer, let all back in ... whoops, husband has left Damcat loose, all dogs are crowded around me as I fix their food, here comes Damcat, under Corey, peeking up ... then, he runs ... and all chase him ... ack. Let dogs out. Get food, go to kennels, feed and kennel.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday March 5

Morning is crisp and cool windy ... bad weather coming in today ... morning run, barely make it back to kennels, drizzling rain ... feed and kennel. A break in the drizzle, let dogs out, mid day run, then inside ... dry them off, settle in for naps ... do some work on computer on publicizing the horrific events in Chesterfield County SC (shelter dogs SHOT by animal control ... getting national attention) ... the weather continues alternate drizzle and just damp, take dogs for a van ride to the store, return home, feed and kennel.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday March 4

Cool, windy, typical March weather ... morning run, horses in back very lively, DB and Banshee again run fence line with them ... little Mattie joins us briefly, the disappears ... plums in full bloom now, forsythia coming out, Bradford pears and peaches in bloom ... and Angel Ginger's red plum tree is starting to bloom ... if I manage to find the recharger for my video camera I'll take some pictures ... feed and kennel, off to work ... return late afternoon, husband has gone to town for lumber ... let dogs out, evening run, a bit of mowing, then feed and kennel ...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thurs March 3

Very windy this morning ... put on heavier jacket with hood, went for AM run ... Corey and Banshee's fur and feathers rippling in the wind .. poor DB's eyes all irritated (she has pollen allergies like I do)... feed and kennel, go to work ... return at dark, dogs are fed and kenneled, take out yogurt-essenses and chewies.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday March 2

Cooler weather continues, crisp clear morning, warms up to 60's in day ... morning run, the horses in back are kicking up their heels, DB and Banshee running along the fence line with them ... Corey and Snoopy have found the orange throw toy, Snoopy brings to me and carefully lays on the lawnmower foot rest .. I throw several times for her then Corey snatches it, Corey's idea of bringing it to me is that I'm then supposed to tug it out of his mouth, which i won't do ... finally get him to stay while I pick it up and throw ... once. Oh well. Back to trailer, feed and kennel, go to work ... return late afternoon, DB,Banshee and Snoopy greet me at gate, Corey inside, brush Corey, fix food, then mow for a little while... the vetch is gaining ground. Feed and kennel.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday March 1

Rain last night, beautiful clear but windy this morning ... morning run, dogs all very exhilerated ... feed and kennel, go to work, return lunchtime... greeted at gate by DB, others inside trailer ... give treats, fix husbands lunch, then load up all dogs and go to pet therapy ... arrive at parking lot, let Corey out to greet others, oops, one male doesnt like him, Corey acts his usual 'well phooey on you' self (I've been a bit concerned after the husky incident, but apparently he perceived THOSE as a real threat, whereas other males just huffing at him he ignores) ... put Corey back in crate, got Banshee, did pet therapy ... good turnout today! 6 dogs! (and people)... finish up, back to van, let DB and Snoopy out for brief stretch of legs (and Corey too), then to Pet Smart ... go in with Snoopy and Corey, come back, get DB and Banshee. All very polite (but its not busy today). Then load up again, go to gardens, walk in twos  ... meet a few dogs, a bunch of children. Snoopy is walking somewhat better on leash (she tends to cross in front of me) ... back home, husband out pruning trees, join him for a spot of mowing, then feed and kennel.