Brody and Lana go hiking.

If you are a fan of DBBL on Facebook (if you aren’t, you should go “like” us now! We don’t post annoying stuff all the time, we promise!), then you have already seen a glimpse of our hiking adventure Sunday a couple of weeks ago. (Good grief this post has been sitting in drafts for quite some time!)

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This was very exciting for us. It was only the second time I’ve had Lana off-leash (except for going from my car to the front door of our apartment complex) and it was the very first time Brody was off-leash outdoors! I was a little nervous at first, because I’m pretty sure it would be the end of the world if I lost a foster dog. But he was so good!

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It was actually pretty funny to see how different Lana and Brody are. Lana’s the type who likes to be first in line for anything. She’d wander too far and play deaf when we called her, until she heard a level of seriousness in our tone and her last name being tacked on at the end. Then she’d run back as if she’d been planning to all along. Obviously I need to get back into training her.

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Meanwhile Brody spent most of his time right behind someone else, whether that someone was a person or Lana. He likes to be able to keep tabs on the group. Like a faithful watch dog.

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The walk wasn’t entirely off leash, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I was just about to let them loose to run on this weird peninsular thing when I noticed a big grayish brownish lump. It was colored like dirt but it seemed like an odd place for a pile of dirt.

Hiking with the dogs | DreamBigBarkLoudly.com

We got a bit closer and it moved! We had run across a very large gator, who apparently was very much awake! So we backed up very carefully and chose to keep the dogs on leash the rest of the walk.

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Aside from the deadly reptiles, most of the scenery was beautiful.

Hiking with the dogs | DreamBigBarkLoudly.com

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And finally the dogs got some room to run (unheard of in my little apartment)!

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All in all, hiking with the dogs was a great experience. I’m not that outdoorsy, but I’d totally do it again!

Brody Goes to the Groomer

Well, the last few days have been pretty busy here. I think I’ve finally responded to the comments I’ve received, but we are long overdue for a new post!

Brody the fostered Aussie and Lana the rescued mutt

Well, I’ve been busy. The dogs have been slacking a bit.

Brody the fostered Aussie and Lana the rescued muttYesterday, Lana and Brody patiently waited at home while I got my passport and participated in some extra credit experiments for the class that is sucking the life out of my GPA. Then poor Lana was stuck at home while Brody and I went to the groomers.

This was quite the experience.

Brody the Australian Shepherd | Dream Big, Bark LoudlyI was never blessed with a mental map. I was, however, burdened with driving anxiety. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s still not fun. I got very lost, then I got very stressed, then my stress rubbed off on Brody until he grew so anxious he crapped in my back seat. So, half an hour late and smelling very, very bad (bless the groomers’ hearts), Brody and I arrived. I left him looking very betrayed, and killed some time at Target. (I got the dogs some Nylabones, but they don’t know yet!)

When I came back, the wonderful groomer finished and took him off the table. We drove home (he insisted on crawling in the front seat, I wonder why), stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a much needed pick me up, and then we showed Lana his pretty new haircut.

Brody, the Adoptable Aussie | Dream Big, Bark LoudlyLook how white he looks! And he looks so soft, too! Can you see his scraggly ear hair was trimmed? Every time he looks at me I just picture a little kid with a fresh bowl cut. Except his hair-do is far more stylish than the stereotypical “bowl cut”.

Brody the fostered Aussie and Lana the rescued mutt Not to mention, he smells fantastic! It’s been a day, and he still smells great! He’s soft, he’s shiny, he smells nice; I don’t know why I’ve never had Lana groomed! (Lord knows it’d be nice to  get rid of some of that extra hair…)

Brody, the Adoptable Aussie | Dream Big, Bark LoudlySo we will spend the rest of the day relaxing and smelling nice. Until tonight. Tonight we party!

Brody, the Adoptable Aussie | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

Brody and a flower I may or may not have stolen from the garbage at work.

Brody, Lana, and I hope you all have a great weekend!

Happy Easter!

Rescued Border Collie mix, Lana, with Easter bunny ears | DreamBigBarkLoudly.com

The dogs and I worked pretty hard to get some cute pictures for Easter. I think I had to work harder than they did. But, I think they turned out pretty cute (let’s face it, it helps to have cute dogs!).

Fostered Aussie, Brody, with Easter bunny ears | DreamBigBarkLoudly.com

Our photo shoot was a bit discombobulated, but isn’t that how the holidays always go?

Brody and Lana wishing everyone a happy Easter | DreamBigBarkLoudly.com I mean, how hard is it for at least one of them to look at the camera? I had a treat right above it! (Judging by Lana’s face maybe it was a bit too far above the camera…)

Anyway, it all worked out in the end. We succeeded and set the tone for a great Easter, and we hope yours was great, as well!

Brody and Lana wishing everyone a happy Easter | DreamBigBarkLoudly.com

I’ve made a huge mistake

I've made a huge mistakeSometimes I get cocky. I think I’m so smart. I have been called a know-it-all, and rightly so. My friend Morgan posted about something similar (okay, not that similar, but based on a similar mistake), yet I still had to learn a lesson the hard way.

I just keep flashing back to Spring break. My mother offered to buy me new clothes, and I told her I had too many. This is my punishment…

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

If you’ve ever been to my house, this doesn’t look that out of place. But this time it is. You see, Brody was so grateful that I let him stay at my house he decided he’d go through my closet and help relieve me of some of my clothes. And shoes. And belts…. Need I keep going?

Gee thanks, Brody.

But guess what. This was 92.5% my fault. I trusted him, and that is NOT smart. I’ve had him for 24 hours. Smart people do NOT trust a new dog after that amount of time. I’ve fostered enough dogs that I really should know that. It’s just… He didn’t even chew toys. He just seemed like such a gentleman. I thought he’d never do anything to hurt me.

I was wrong.

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

I came home from dinner and Lana, who had been loose in the living room watching Bride Day on TLC (as if she had a choice of what channel I left on) ran to the bedroom door. I thought she must have missed her new brother. No. She knew something was amiss.

I realized I should be concerned when I couldn’t open the door. It was wedged shut, but I could poke my head in enough to see it wasn’t Brody blocking the door. Then I saw the mess. My first reaction was laughter.

“I’ve made a terrible mistake.”

So I went back to my boyfriend next door and he helped me start to clean it up. That’s when I realized things weren’t just misplaced, they were destroyed. Three belts. Three pairs of sandals. Two dresses. A sweater. A tank top. A leash. Countless coat hangers. And my entire shoe rack. I tried to gather what might be salvageable, things I might be able to re-purpose. But the trash bag full of lost treasures was far larger than the stack of clothes I would try to tackle with my stone age sewing machine. The following dresses, sweater, and shirt are all that wait on what I now call the intensive care shelf.

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

But still, it could have been worse. Most of my most expensive and favorite articles of clothing were untouched. My flats and my boots were untouched. My portable air conditioner survived the attack (though it was not ignored). My computer and camera were spared. The insanely old books I had rented from the library were safe and sound in Lana’s room (though she eats books, so they were also on the top shelf).

The Importance of Crating Your Dog | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

This is, more than anything, a lesson in the importance of crating. Despite fostering so many dogs and working for years beneath a professional trainer, even I make mistakes. Just because a dog acts great while you’re around, doesn’t mean (s)he should be trusted alone. I knew better than to leave him with Lana (Lana had been trusted alone with both Link and Sierra, but I’d had them far longer). But I should have known this, too.

He threw up in his crate when I went to lunch. I had dismissed it as a reaction to new food and a new place. That is part of the reason I left him in my room outside of the crate. My guess is he had anxiety because I left. That is something we are going to have to work on.

I am not mad at Brody. This was my fault. But this is something that I will remember next time I think he can be trusted loose. No dog is perfect; it’s my job as a foster mom to figure out what’s imperfect and fix it to the best of my ability.

But this is fixable.

Brody will make a great companion by the time he leaves our home.

Brody the Australian Shepherd | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

I urge you to consider crating your dogs until you are positive they are trustworthy. Not just for the sake of your things. For the sake of your dog. And issues like this, like anxiety, should be fixed, not ignored or avoided. Again, for the sake of the dog.

Brody the Australian Shepherd | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO CRATE YOUR DOG!

It is not mean. They will not hold it against you. This post is lighthearted, but I couldn’t be more serious. I know it could have been so much worse. Don’t be like me. Dogs are just dogs. They don’t think about how their actions will affect you, or even how they will affect them, for that matter. Just remember that. For me…

Brody

I had a post planned for today, but something more important has come up. Something exciting! Remember how I offered to take that Golden? Another rescue took him. Then remember how I thought I might end up with one of those Australian Shepherds? Yeah, that didn’t happen either.

I got a call Tuesday afternoon asking if I I’d take another Aussie named Brody from Gainesville. He’s heartworm positive and was living in a home with a BUNCH of other dogs. I think it was nine? And apparently a few of them are un-neutered males (as was he until earlier this week). When going through treatment, heartworm positive dogs need calm. That’s kind of my specialty. He is my third heartworm rehab foster, after all.

Brody, the Adoptable Aussie | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

Actually, he was from another rescue. I don’t know what they were called, but long story short, he’s now with Aussie and Me. This is the first time I’ve ever fostered through them, but so far so good!

We realized right away that he wasn’t in the best shape ever. He’s pretty dirty and some of his hair is matted pretty badly. I guess the other rescue wasn’t super concerned about that? Also his hair sticks out every direction; he reminds me of a mad scientist. I don’t know if that’s being dirty of if he’s always that awesome, though.

Matted Hair | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

So far, the support within this rescue is great. One woman drove him from Gainesville to Live Oak, and then my amazing boyfriend and I took him from there to Tallahassee. What a convenient drive? Oh well, somebody’s gotta do it.

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When the other volunteers in the rescue heard about the shape Brody was in, a foster from nearby Carwfordville offered to set up a grooming appointment for Brody so he could get his very own ‘spa day’. How awesome is that?! And good for him, because I was probably just going to cut the matted hair, but maybe the groomer can untangle it? We’ll see I guess.

Gator Collar | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

After he gets cleaned up we’ll get him a new collar. He sure won’t fit in here with THAT around his neck!

Brody, the Adoptable Aussie | Dream Big, Bark Loudly

He’s handsome, but my apartment makes a pretty ugly background. So, this weekend I’ll get some pictures of him outside where it looks prettier. I’ll keep everyone updated! Oh, and Happy Friday!!

I feel like one of those stage moms right now…

We have some pretty cool news!

You know that AMAZING photographer who took those stunning pictures of my last foster baby, Precious? (She also happens to be a friend of mine, and the mom of two very awesome Dachshunds, too.) Well she has been featured in a book called “2013 Paws for Charity“! The book is actually for sale, just click on the title. All proceeds are donated to charity. One woman said to use the Coupon Code: CSVIP to get a 20% discount on your order (one time use only, expires April 5th). (She may be the editor? I’m not really sure, but she seemed to know a lot so I’m going to go ahead and trust her.)

Shopping for Charity | Dream Big, Bark LoudlyThat’s not all! The picture above is a screen shot of Betsy’s page in the book. Do you see what I see? Precious really is a star!! I’m so happy for Betsy and thrilled to see one of my beautiful former fosters shown off, too. So if you want to help a shelter and get an awesome coffee table book, too, go buy the “2013 Paws for Charity” book now! I’ve heard the hardcover version is worth every extra penny.