"In loving memory of my Golden Angel, Michelob"
A portion of Journey's medical care was paid for by a generous grant from the Golden Retriever Foundation's April Fund
April 4, 2012
On March 25th I decided to take a "Journey". And, Oh what a Journey this will be. Along with 28 other beautiful, scared, and shy creatures, Journey made the trip north to Minnesota from MO. She and the others were rescued by a wonderful group of RAGOM’s volunteers who have hearts of gold. They made the long trip with fierce determination to save as many golden prizes as they could. That Sunday morning I had the privilege to joined those who had worked through the night to drive them to freedom, give them basic medical care, water and some food if they would eat. Each of the 29 have a unique story of their own and their foster’s. Over the next several weeks, I will tell you Journey’s story.
We were told that Journey’s birthday is 8/16/2010. She has most likely had several litters. We don’t know that for sure. What I do know is she has a beautiful gold/cream color coat that surprisingly is in good condition. She has big paws and a curly butt of fur. She has these big brown/gold/amber color eyes that at times are very soulful. I wonder if she thinks of her life before, born and living in a cage. I have whispered to her more than once; “Journey, you’re not in MO anymore”. The day Journey came to live with us, she was very scared. She would hide her head in the corner of the kennel. She would not make any eye contact and she if caught me looking at her she would start to shake. Even the faintest of pets would cause her distress. I wondered if the RAGOM angels were the first human contact she has known? The greatest moment of the first day was when I learned she was concealing a very playful heart. I saw it that very first day only hours after she arrived when she met my resident Goldens’ Max and Bentley and pipsqueak Duster. I had gotten the kennel that she was transported in as far as the garage. I had spent some time quietly sitting with her in the garage. I then decided to leave her alone for a while to give her some space. After a time I let Max come down the stairs to the basement. I peeked around the corner to see her up on her feet, wagging her tail. Banging it against the sides of the kennel. So excited to meet my Head Foster Assistant. My first AhHa moment. Next down the steps came 2nd Assistant, Bentley. Oh the pure JOY she exhibited when she caught sight of the handsome Bentley. To watch her go from this small lump of fur curled up in the corner to a beauty standing on four gorgeous legs shaking her whole body is the first of many wonderful moments that I am sure we will have on our journey together. Journey did not eat for the first couple of days. She took water, which is always such a relief to us fosters when we take in these special pups. I was able to get her outside to my secure fenced in deck starting the first day. I had to carry her from the kennel to the deck and then back again. No amount of coaxing would get her to move. Starting around day 4 she would leave her kennel with the others to go from the dining room to the back door and out. I let my Head Foster Assistant and 2nd Assistant, Max and Bentley show her the way. I tag along behind. She has a long lead that trails behind. The first one I had on her made too much noise. As it trailed behind her and clanked against the wood it would scare her. During the first few days sudden movements or loud noises will scare her. It will take a lot of time for her to get accustom to living in the world instead of a confined cage.
These early days have been hard. I want so much to give her hugs and lots of pets, but contact that my resident dogs can’t get enough of, only scares her. She watches the others crawl all over me, getting lots of love and giving lots in return. At first she would even hide her face from it. Now she watches with intent. A day will come when she will be there, pushing the others aside to get to me first. I must be patient. Baby steps are not just for humans.
She has made a trip to the vet. She was very scared but I was also proud of how brave she acted. She allowed the vet to do a quick physical. Journey has a yeast infection in both ears. Unfortunately the only medication that can be given has steroids. Steroids could cause deformities if she is carrying pups. Yes, that is also part of Journey’s story. We were told that she was bred the week before. It is too soon to know if she is pregnant so all precautions are being taken to make sure that if she is, that the pups will be healthy. At this point, her ears are being treated by washing the outside area to reduce the PH level. She is negative for worms. She has had her rabies shot but we will have to wait for the other shots until we know if she is pregnant. It will be a minimum of two weeks before they can make a determination of pregnancy. Until we know and she has been spayed she is not available for adoption.
Journey and I have made progress. The kennel is her safe spot. It sits next to the dining room table that I sit at while I do my college studies. While I am home the door is open and she will venture out to sniff and check things out. She retreats to the kennel if she is spooked.
The first few days on the deck she was constantly in motion as she would walk from one end to the other. If I stayed in the house and peak out, I was rewarded with seeing her and the boys playing. She will often times initiate the play. She really is quite the tease with the boys. This last weekend, she started to relax some and would actually lay down and enjoy the fresh air. Her spot is next to the door. Through that door is her safe spot – her kennel. Journey has not made a single bark yet. Each day I see small improvements of feeling more confident. I must be patient. Something as small as the noise of a recliner being put back up or a Tupperware container hitting the floor will set her back. She does not shake when she sees me coming to her kennel. She does not hide her face. She does still look down and away. But from across the room she has made eye contact and not looked away. In her kennel she is not curled up in the corner, but sprawls out when she sleeps. Two days ago I heard the first deep sigh of contentment. If I had not been listening I might not have heard it. She lays with her paws crossed instead of straight out ready to spring into flight in need be. Tonight she was dreaming and her front legs were peddling fast. Sweet dreams gorgeous!
There will be many more baby steps to this Journey.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. (Robert Frost)
Thank you so much to Helen Krone for sponsoring Ms. Journey! We could never take care of these beautiful souls without the help of our fans and terrific sponsors.
Journey has made some progress since the first post. Yet she still remains fearful of the “new” and unpredictable. I have decided she is nocturnal in nature. Now that it is light out later in the evening and people are out and about running mowers and chainsaws etc, the outdoors is sort of a scary place. Journey does really well when the sun goes down. The same is true when she wakes up in the morning. Before the lights go on, she is bumping my elbow, her tail is wagging and she is so happy and excited. Once the light goes on and we start to head outdoors the fear takes over. She will follow me to the door and out if I have her tethered. If not there is uncertainty of going out and a little bit of cat and mouse to go out the door. Outside again if she is tethered she goes everywhere I do and is very docile. If I let go of the leash she is then afraid to come up to me. On the enclosed deck she will come to me but not nearly like she does indoors. Coming in from outdoors is going pretty well. Before I would have to be out of sight in the living room before she would come in, if not tethered to me. Now I can stand right by the door and she will come past. Indoors she comes to me most of the time for pets and scratches. She LOVES to have the spot between her eyes and under her chin scratched. I can almost put her to sleep scratching those two spots. I have heard her bark once in the month she has been with us. She was excited in the morning, bumping my elbow to wake me up and she actually barked. I was really excited to hear her speak. Commercial breeders will often debark dogs so that they don’t have to listen to the barking. Generally speaking, they don’t do it by going to a vet to have it done with surgery, they do in themselves.
Journey is most definitely pregnant. She is a little over half way through the pregnancy. This weekend we will be setting up the whelping area so that she can get used to where it will be. Foster Mom here has been doing research on what to expect. While I am sad for her and hope that it is a small liter, ( I read that large breed dogs can have up to 12 and sometimes more pups ), I am so glad that this time around she won’t have to have them in a cage with no room to stretch out. Even though the kennel is still her safe place to be, the door is open for her to come and go as she wants. I am pleased to see that she spends less and less time in it. It must mean that she is feeling more comfortable to out and about. Each night she gets a spa treatment from resident Max. He loves to lick her face. He licks all over her eyes, top of her head and month and her ears. She closes her eyes and just relishes the treatment. I have tried to get pictures of it, but they don’t turn out as well as seeing it in person. Her ear infections seem to be much better. She hardly ever scratches now. I don’t know if it was the medicine or Max’s spa treatment!
Journey won’t be available for adoption for at least another 10 – 12 weeks now that we know she is pregnant. She still needs a lot of socialization and to build up more confidence to face the outside world. I also have to admit that I am excited to see her pups. I love Puppy Breath! It is just the best.
Journey went on a vacation a couple of weekends ago. I was heading out of town so she went to another Fosters for the weekend. Getting her there was somewhat traumatic. Getting in the car literally scared the poop right out of her. She was pretty scared when she got to the house. We gave her a bath outside on the deck. I was really glad it was a nice day. She then stayed in the corner of the yard facing us. Cara (resident dog of the other Fosters) tried so hard to get her to play. No way was Journey up for that action. Bentley went with, which gave Journey some security of a sorts. The other cool thing was that Cara is one of Bentley’s offspring so it was fun to see these two together. Dad Bentley and his little girl Cara.
Journey with Cara
Journey did really well on her visit. It even gave her some confidence as this was definitely pushing her outside of her comfort level. Thank you to Diane and Woody for taking her that weekend! I could see a difference in her that Sunday night. She is walking better on the leash and has more confidence to come out of her kennel.
Baby Steps! With these pups it is all about the little victories they have. I can’t tell you adequately the feeling I get when I see her open up just a little bit more each day. Some days she does the “moonwalk” and we go backwards, but then she will wake up the next day and we go forward. Maybe on the “moonwalk” days she just don’t wanna….do whatever. I have those days too!
“Let your mind start a Journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thought of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be…Close your eyes let your spirit soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before” Erich Fromm
Surprise!!! Journey has had her pups! At 10:30pm on May 2 we all head off to bed. Journey seemed reluctant to leave the kennel she had been laying in all night. Strange, I thought, since she really has taken to sleeping in the bed at night. Once we all got into the bedroom she was hanging by the door. I coax her to the bed. She did not jump up so I reached under her to help her in. There was a swish sound and my arms and the bed was drenched. Both a clear liquid and blood. Scared - too say the least. My first thought was OH NO, she is miscarrying. Remember she was not supposed to have her pups until end of May. I turned around to the other dogs, they had all backed up to the door, sort of like, “let me out of here”. I opened the door and out they went. I decided that this was not a miscarriage but the real deal. Through the house I go, grabbing towels, cell phone, camera and computer. Once I was back in the room, the computer was set up and I had done some searching of what to expect…( I had already researched food requirements for a pregnant dog, and getting the whelping spot ready. I thought I had three more weeks to research the labor and birth – yikes! ) I search Youtube for a video of pups being born just to see if the symptoms look to be the same. Right as the video shows a Maltese puppy being born, I look up to see Journey’s first pup appear. What an incredible sight!! It is 11:45pm on May 2nd. I text my friend Mary R. to tell her Journey is having her pups right NOW. The message comes back “ I will be on my way in 2 minutes”. Next I try to text Dayle with RAGOM to tell her… opps, I still feel bad, I hit the dial button instead. What do I do, hang up after it has already rung twice?? No, I can’t do that, so it rings again. With each ring I wince, thinking of how I am waking her from a dead sleep.
Each pup is in its own sac and a placenta comes with. With the first pup there is a lot of liquid and blood. Yikes – I need more towels and rubber gloves!! As I open the bedroom door to go get these items, there is Max, Bentley, Duster and Jazz all lined up watching the door. “Coming through, coming through” I tell them. Now we all go to the basement and garage to get the needed items. I forgot to mention that earlier that night, another RAGOM Foster Jazz 12-109 came to stay for the weekend. Her FM/FD were going out of town for the weekend. Back up stairs we go, just like a train, one right after the other, this scenario would be repeated several times during the night. More research on what to expect, I read that it is important to allow the momma dog to clean the pup so that they bond. Okay, so I kind of blew that first one, as I had not read that yet. First pup I pulled the sac off the pup’s face and gave it several rubs to make sure it was breathing then I gave it to Journey. She seemed to take it all in stride. She probably thought to herself – “amateur”! Second pup arrives at 12:31 am on May 3rd; I look up to see my friend Mary R pull in the driveway. Yea! Reinforcements have arrived. As a single person “I know nothin’ about birthing no babies”. Two pups in less than an hour! Wow… Now mind you less than two weeks before May 2nd I had Journey at the Vet, with palpitations, the Vet says “yes, she is pregnant…I can feel two small lumps”. And he holds up his fingers so that they are about 2 inches apart. Hmmmm… Granted he says, “ palpitations is not his strong suit”. ‘Cause in fewer than two weeks I am pretty sure they did not grow 4 more inches.
Friend Mary and I are in the bedroom with Journey. I say to her, “I was planning on getting a new mattress…she says, that’s good, cause that is now a given”. I won’t go into much detail here but there is reasons why the website tell you to gather up “old towels and blankets” that can be thrown away after the birth. After Mary sees the two pups born, both are female, we settle down to wait for the next. We are checking websites for “what do GR puppies look like at birth, more on what to expect, what do GR Doodles puppies look like at birth…there was some discussion that she might have been bred with a poodle…. we wait, and we wait and wait some more. Trips to the bathroom to get Journey some water… the “boys and Jazz” waiting at the door just like expectant fathers and Aunties. 3 hours have gone by and no more pups. The Vet said two, but he also said they were 2 inches long, sooo…. Journey does not look like she is done. She is panting, she is exhibiting all the symptoms of a dog in labor. Another hour and finally pup number 3 at 4:30am. It’s a girl. Guess I will have to decorate the nursery in pink. We leave the room to let Journey clean her pup. We come back 15 minutes later only to discover not 3 pups but 4! Pup number 4 arrives at 4:45am. After 4 hours 2 come in a matter of minutes. It’s a boy! I guess the nursery will be pink and blue after all.
The next bit of information is sort of yucky so close your eyes if you have a weak stomach. The momma dog is supposed to eat the placenta, as this gives them necessary nutrients for the first few days of nursing. FM has a very, very low gag reflex. We humans decide to leave the room after each birth once we know the pup is breathing to allow Journey time to clean the pup.
The next two hours were the most stressful of the entire event. Journey’s labor is more pronounced. She is straining and is very restless. She is pacing on the bed. The discharge is green. The Internet says green can be nothing to worry about or it can be very serious. A call to the emergency Vet in the wee hours of the morning did not do much to calm FM. I was told to wait another hour and if no pup is born to bring her in. This is when I was the most appreciative that my dear friend Mary had come to help. I would have packed Journey and 4 pups into a car and she would have had the next pup on the way to the hospital. That would have been a grave mistake, as this pup was breach. No wonder poor sweet Journey was straining so much to have this wee puppy. He came out like a limp doll. We got the sac off the face and turned him upside down. Lots of liquid came out of his nose and month. After a brisk rub down and a couple of small sneezes he was breathing on his own. Whew! That was very scary! The time is 6:55am. Almost exactly one hour later at 7:45 another breach pup arrives. Okay Journey enough of the breach pups! This time we were better prepared and did not have the close call we had with the one before. Have you kept an accurate count? 6 pups – 3 females and 3 males. Journey is not done. She is still in labor. There is another pup on the way. Journey is now showing signs of being tired. She is laying more during the labor. I am hoping that this is the last. At 8:28 the tie is broken, number 7 arrives. It is a male. Journey is such a good Mom. Even though she is so tired she fusses over each of her beautiful pups. The labor continues and Journey is more and more tired. Just about an hour later at 9:20 pup number 8 arrives. Another male. 5 male and 3 female. We watch Journey for signs of labor. Hoping that she is done. After about 10 minutes from puppy #8, the next labor begins. Pup number 9 is on its way. The majority of births have been almost exactly 1 hour apart. This one would be 2 hours. Puppy # 9 is born at 11:25am on May 3rd. It’s a girl!! We watch and wait – does she go into labor? I think both of us were holding our breath. 20 minutes go by…. Another 20 minutes, but no more signs of labor. Yea! She is done. 9 puppies total born in almost exactly 12 hours. All the puppies have been cleaned and have nursed. Journey is exhausted. She sleeps for the first time in twelve hours. Mary and I sit for a while and marvel at the experience we have just been through. All have survived and appear healthy.
The word has spread through RAGOM that Journey has had her pups. The volunteers of RAGOM are awesome. Mary M comes with more towels and other much needed stuff. Denise A comes by with a scale and three bins of towels, dry dog food, puppy formula, canned dog food and lots of other stuff. I am thinking “wow, this is a lot of towels”…little did I know! At 5:00pm I take a nap. Actually everyone in the house takes a nap. It has been a long but very exciting day. Sunday Mary R comes back and we pack everyone in the car for a visit to the vet. From past experience the car ride and visit to the vet is stressful for Journey. The wonderful staff at VCA in Richfield does a wonderful job of weighing all the pups, cleaning up Journey and giving her a shave on the back of her legs to get rid of that beautiful curly butt hair that is now a trap for afterbirth. 4 pups weigh 1 lb. 2 oz. each. The smallest weighs 12.9 oz. The rest are in between. The little female that weighs 12.9 oz is also slightly dehydrated. The Vet is also concerned at how thin Journey is. On the way home a stop at the pet store for bottles to start feeding the smallest ones formula, more dog food that hopefully Journey will like. Once we are home we prepare the formula and take female RAGOM 12-177 to hand feed her. At first she does not want any part of it. All of a sudden she gets a taste and practically lunges at the bottle. SUCCESS! During this time, the FM/FD of Jazz arrives to take Jazz home. What a weekend Jazz has had. Thank you Mary R for all your help. You are a dear friend! For the next week I am changing towels for Journey about every 6 hours. NOW, I understand why all the towels. It is normal that she continues to expel afterbirth. I have never done this much laundry in a week’s time in my life! I can’t imagine what my water bill will be – lol. Oh well! Journey is still losing weight as everything that goes into her goes toward production of milk. She is not interested in any of the dog food. She will eat the canned dog food, however it seems to give her diarrhea.
Off to the store for hotdogs, cottage cheese, yogurt, lunchmeat, any thing that will give her protein. Yogurt is not a big hit, but hotdogs – wow she gobbles them down in no time. This is good for now. She needs to be on Puppy Food but if hotdogs are what she will eat, then hotdogs it is.
This week was also “finals” week for college. I had some major deadlines that were all due within a matter of 10 days after the birth. There was a final 6-page research paper, 2 quizzes, a learning report and one Final Test. The timing really could not have been worse. I blew it big time and total missed one assignment altogether. I got mixed up on my dates with everything going on. Go Figure! I took a vacation day from work to put together my 6-page research paper. You really can’t do a 6-page research paper in an afternoon at the library. I have resolved myself to the fact that my straight A’s were over. Some might ask, how could you jeopardize your classes for a dog? I guess to some, it makes no sense. To me it makes perfect sense. So I get a B instead of an A. Hopefully not a C – yikes! These lives we save have changed my perspective on priorities. I don’t do this for RAGOM, or the other wonderful human volunteers even though they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I do this for all the sweet souls that for one reason or another have been rescued to find a new home. From my first foster named Daisy Mae and my second named Buster. Had he been my first I might have quit the day he was adopted out. He is absolutely beautiful but he has horrible storm anxieties. I never knew the damage a poor dog under the stress of storm anxiety could do to a house. If I had given up I would have missed all the wonderful memories of Alina, Adrina, Cheyenne, Bella, Bailey, Rudy, Landon, Brian, sweet Shawny who went to the Rainbow bridge too soon, Buddy, Maggie, Jerry (reincarnation of my first dog I ever owned named Sam), regal Violet, Shiloh, sweet, sweet Cameron, Lady, Ronny, Jameson whose eyesight RAGOM saved, Teddy, my beautiful Becky, Charles, Wilson, Chester, Dudley, BlonD, Eva, Pete, Cooper and now Journey. To some it may seem crazy that 31 beautiful dogs in their own special way have made their way through my house to a new life. 31 in 4 years.
“Love is the Boat for the Journey” Ian Callinan.
Now there are 9 more. 9 pups, all will need puppy shots and surgery before they are adopted. Most of us fosters spend hundreds of dollars each year on dog food, treats, and toys but RAGOM bears the majority of the cost by paying all medical bills. We make sure that all the dogs leave our care healthy and ready to start a new life with their fur-ever family. It is costly and we appreciate all our fans and supporters. THANK YOU!
Journey is back on Puppy Food. She looks better with each day. She is a wonderful Mom to her pups. She keeps them clean and for the first 10 days barely left them. She has started to venture out in the evening after the nighttime feeding to be with the “adults”. Her nightly spa treatment with Max has resumed. She so loves the attention he gives her. She smiles the whole time. She has learned to trust me more. I have handled all the pups from day one without any issues. She comes to me for pets every night. Plus I wait on her hand and foot. Remember she has 4 feet! Breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed! How sweet is life. And don’t forget the 3 am snack. She is my nocturnal pup. At 3 am she wants to go out to pee. Once she is back in she wants to play. She visits with everyone and won’t stop bumping my arm for pets. Bentley and Duster were all for it at first. After the 5th day even they look at her cross-eyed for the early morning reveille. One to two hours later she is sleeping. About the time I have to get up to go to work…. “Love is the Boat for the Journey.”
I am so THANKFUL to Mary M, another RAGOM volunteer who comes in each day to let all the adult dogs out and feed Journey her “lunch”. Mary has dealt with her fair share of poop and urine soaked towels. Folding laundry – yes, we are still doing a load a day. I actually ran out of clothes to wear cause I could not get my own clothes washed for all the loads of towels. THANK YOU MARY! You Rock!
My co-workers had a “Puppy Shower” for Journey. Thank you so much to Donna who pulled it together. Thank you to Donna, Tony, Melissa, Dawn, Janice and Shana for the great gifts of money and gift cards (I will soon need more Puppy Food), puppy pads, puppy toys, wipes, treats and used TOWELS! Seriously you can’t have too many towels with 9 pups in the house. The pups have doubled in weight and I will soon have pictures and names up on the website. I know that the adoptees will most likely change their names, but I am having a blast picking out their RAGOM names. I will give you a hint. You will know they are Journey’s pups by the name they are given. SO FUN!
The story continues. This sequel is named Motherhood. For Journey it is her last time at motherhood. Thank you to All of the RAGOM supporters that made it possible for these puppies to be born on a plump mattress in a warm house versus a cage in a pole barn.
“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a Journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.”
- Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
What will the next day bring? Journey will show us the way to what a new life can mean.
The first pup is born
Journey's month of May... so far.
Journey and her nine puppies - 5 boys and 4 girls
Nap time for Momma and puppies, 17 days old
Momma - I want to eat too!
Evening Spa treatment
Big yawn! I live to sleep on my back.
Puppy in a baseball cap!!
I am a proper lady with my paws crossed.
Wow--it has been so long and way overdue for an update on Journey! She is doing well since all of her puppies have gone on to their forever homes and is healthy. She is still very shy and especially of new people and situations. When in the house, she comes to me for pets and snuggles on the couch. Outside, she seems more frightened and won't come up. Journey is about as far along as the other Golden girls that came in with her from MO. She rarely has an accident in the house but is not 100% house trained. Of course, she gets along with the resident dogs as that was her whole life before coming into RAGOM.
Journey may come to Goldzilla for the early foster tent time where similar very shy dogs will be showcased. If it proves to be too much, we will go home where she feels comfortable.
Journey will be at the Chuck and Don’s event in Roseville on Saturday, October 20th. Please stop over to see her between 11:00 and 12:30.
Journey will be at Chuck and Don’s 11.3.12 between 11 – 2. Hope to see you there!
Through no fault of her own, Journey has a new foster family. She is a beautiful girl! She is still skittish, but in the mornings she is a happy, playful dog. She has been in our home for a little over two weeks. She comes up to foster mom for love and petting, wagging her tail and with happy eyes. But after a while, she becomes fearful and takes to the couch for the rest of the day. Yes, she's quite the couch potato! In fact, she considers our TV room couch her "safe" place. She won't rest on the floor or anywhere else - only on the couch! (And we thought our resident dog was a diva!) She explores the house a little at a time when Eva takes her on a tour. We have leashed her up and taken her on a couple tours of the house ourselves, so she knows the different safe spots available to her.
When foster dad and I play fetch with Eva, Journey stays far away from us. But when Eva runs for the ball, Journey will run along with her and get very playful with her. But when Eva runs back to us with the ball, Journey stays away and waits for Eva to come back to her vicinity.
Journey continues to thrive! Mornings are so fun with her. She just seems happy with the world. When I (foster mom) approach her crate first thing in the morning, she thump, thump, thumps her tail. As soon as I open the door, she bursts out and twirls two or three times in her excitement! Then she follows closely on my heels to be let outside with Eva. Morning is also her time to explore our house to see how everything smells and see if anything has changed overnight. She looks so happy and lively in the mornings. If I sit down with them, she bumps me in the head with her nose asking me to play. Some mornings I just sit and laugh at all her antics. She loves to twirl! She'll go round and round - sometimes chasing her tail. Yesterday she kept biting her back leg as she twirled. She loves being petted by us and doesn't want us to stop! The dogs both nap around 10 a.m., and after that Journey reverts back to her cautious self and takes to the couch. We don't get many tail wags out of her after that and she becomes too fearful to even get off the couch and get a drink of water. We're working on that.
From one Missouri girl to another-I'm so proud of how far you've come! Love, Betty 12-101
Journey continues to move forward in progress toward a "normal" golden. Foster dad is the one she is most shy around, and he was gone for 10 days on a work trip recently. During that time, Journey became less shy with me. She will come to me on her own now looking for pets. She and Eva will sometimes follow me upstairs and stay outside the bathroom door while I'm getting ready for the day. One day last week, Journey was up there waiting for me by herself! That hasn't happened before. She usually competes with Eva for my attention, but when Eva isn't in the vicinity, Journey is usually less forward. I could hardly believe that Journey actually stayed upstairs without Eva. I praised her highly for being so brave, and she pounded her tail on the wall at all the praise and petting. When foster dad came home from his trip, Journey was still shy but seems to be getting more relaxed around him as time goes by.
Something I have found to soften Journey toward me if she's having a shy day is whining like a puppy! She immediately comes to me wagging her tail while licking and bumping me with her nose. Or if we're outside, she'll play bow to me and run around happily wagging her tail. She was a mama most of her life until she came to RAGOM, so puppy whines must be a primal language she truly understands!
Journey spends more and more time off the couch during the day while foster dad is gone to work. She'll stretch out on the floor and roll around on her back; and she'll lay there playing with toys. She and Eva will lie on the floor in our 3-season porch and watch what's going on out the back door.
Something I think I've failed to mention in my previous updates is that Journey guards toys and treats from Eva. When Eva tries to take toys away from her, Journey will air bite at her. When they both have hold of the same toy, Eva will always let go. Journey will let me take toys away that she's chewing on, but I tried taking a rawhide from her, and she wouldn't let me near it. She didn't growl but kept moving her head and playing keep-away from me.
I took Journey to the vet a few weeks ago because her ears had been infected, and I wanted to know the status on them. He said she has allergies. She was on prednisone for about 10 days, and now they look great. She also has one paw that is pretty bothersome to her. She is on fish oil caps, but I think we'll try benadryl to see if the hot spot on her foot will settle down.
It is so good to see Journey blossoming! We hope to get her out on more walks as spring overcomes winter. We need to work on getting her to come to us while outside. We also want to get her used to being around other people. So if there's anyone who would like to come meet the beautiful Journey, just let us know. We'll be happy to show her off!
We are happy to announce that Journey has found a forever family!! We're SO happy for her and know she will be very loved and doted on. She has come such a long way from the scared mama she was when RAGOM first rescued her.
She is a gentle, sweet girl. When she gets excited she just has to run in little circles wagging her tail. We have been getting her out on walks since it's semi-spring now. She is still skittish when we first start out. Noises like kids playing basketball, cars driving by, and dogs barking all make her nervous. But after we have been out awhile, she calms down and walks like nothing bothers her! She is an amazing girl, and we will miss her very much!
The lovely Journey is back with us in our foster home. She came back to RAGOM due to the fact that she wasn't warming up to the men in the family who adopted her. Because of Journey's past puppy mill experience, she has a deep fear of men. In light of that, any man interested in adopting Journey into his home needs to understand that it will probably take a very long time for her to warm up to him. She doesn't seem to have problems being friendly and excited with women.
When she returned to our home, she seemed even more relaxed and happy than when she left. She was always very nervous in our backyard and would never come to me, foster mom, out there or allow me to walk up to her. Now she comes to me for petting in the yard as well as in the house! Also, Journey was always a little fearful of the leash, so she would walk nicely while leashed to a flat collar. Now, she is gaining so much confidence that she has begun pulling on the leash. I'm going to try a gentle leader on our next walk and see if she tolerates it. Journey is still fearful of loud noises. This morning, our neighbors sawed down some trees in their yard and put them through a wood chipper. It went on for around 2 hours. Journey stayed in her crate the whole time that noise carried on. Afterwards, she was fine.
Journey has been less fearful of guests in our home since her return, and much to foster dad's glee, she has been friendlier to him. In the morning she is particularly perky and will wag her tail and even come up to foster dad to be petted. She has also licked his hand a few times!
Here are my thoughts on what Journey would need in an adoptive home:
- A confident resident dog.
- A fenced yard. She loves to run and is impossible to catch.
- Quiet home. No small or noisy children.
- LOTS of love and patience! It took Journey 5 months to warm up to me, foster mom. She might never become a normal golden, but she certainly is a beautiful girl!
A fellow RAGOM foster mom, who adopted her puppy mill foster dog, wrote the following: "Adopting a puppy mill dog is definitely a lot of work at times, and you need lots of patience, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I wish people would see the potential that these wonderful dogs have, and not be afraid to take that leap!" Are you one of those people? If so, we would love to introduce you to Journey.
Beautiful Journey had a fun weekend having a 2-night sleepover with her furry friends at Jeanine M.'s house. Journey loved that and amazed Jeanine at how far she has come out of her 'puppy mill shell'!
Journey got so excited running and playing this morning that she started play-biting Eva's head! Until now Eva and Journey have always had a hard time playing together. It seems that when one is 'in the mood', the other isn't. Journey loves being near Eva, even when Eva is being a little snob. So it was really funny seeing Journey trying to bite Eva's whole head. It was like she was saying, "Come on, Eva, lighten up! Let's have some fun!" It made me think that Journey had learned something new over the weekend. She seemed a little braver today!
If you have an interest in meeting Journey and would like to see if she and your resident dog would play well together, let's make a playdate for them and see!
Journey has had an interesting summer. We have had more guests this summer than ever before, and Journey is being a sweet, brave girl through all the hubbub! She is acting more and more like a normal golden with Eva and me (foster mom). And she is much more relaxed with the alpha guy (foster dad) too. She will walk up to him for scratches under the chin. In the mornings, since she is crated on his side of the bed, she'll wag her tail and let him pet her head and shoulders. He has noticed that with so many people in and out of our house, Journey views him as a constant and feels safer with him now than ever before. Yea!! As usual though, she trusts the visiting females sooner than the males. She never could get used to the 9-yr-old boy being here, though. He was all boy, and Journey just couldn't take all the noise and movement.
Journey had a breakthrough this morning. She loves to run through a small, chest-deep pond at a friend's house, but our pond has a drop-off very near shore, and Journey has always been very fearful of our large pond. However, this morning Eva was swimming around near shore, and I was the only human in the yard, so Journey was running around being very playful. When Eva came out of the water, they would race back and forth along the pond's edge from fence to fence. Journey began to test the rocks at pond's edge, then she walked right off into the deep water! She was startled when she realized there was no ground under her feet, and it was sink or swim. But she was only a foot from shore, so she made it back safely. After that, she would nose the water a lot, and she even went into the pond once more before it was time to clean up. She did well getting bathed from the hose and toweled off afterwards too. It's so fun watching her get braver and more relaxed. Sweet Journey is well on her way to being a normal golden!
Journey has been coming out of her shell very nicely these days. She is more relaxed and acting like a normal, happy dog most of the time. But to stretch her and get her out of her comfort zone just a little, we took her to the Edina Chuck & Don's meet and greet this past Sunday. She was beside herself when we first arrived. All the traffic noise, dog noise, people noise made her quite nervous. But she calmed down quickly when we sat down with her outside of the store. Journey received much attention from many people, and we thank you for showing our girl lots of love and goodwill!
Beautiful Journey had a good time at the Roseville Chuck & Don's Petfood Warehouse this last Saturday. It was actually her second outing of the day. She was up and out early that morning for a pedi at Petsmart - had her nails and feet trimmed. She was so proud of her newly groomed feet!! Later at Chuck & Don's, after finally deciding it was an ok place to actually leave the car, she followed me to greet her other RAGOM buddies hanging at the event. She seemed happy to be there! But after about an hour, she was ready for a nap under my chair. Maybe too much excitement for one day! Foster dad couldn't come help out that day, so my good friend, Erika, came as Eva's escort. Of course, Eva had a great time seeing, sniffing and being loved on too. Thank you, Erika, for all your help! I couldn't have done it without you!
On Sunday morning, foster dad and I joined the pack on the floor for some frolicking fun. Journey is continuing to warm up to fd a little bit more each day, and it seemed she was ready to trust him a lot on Sunday. FD was lying on the floor, and Journey stretched out next to him and rolled over on her back! That is a HUGE step in trust for her. She allowed him to rub her belly! We have found that we aren't so scarey to her when we get down on her level.
Journey continues to trust Foster Dad more and more. This past week, when the other dogs came inside to cool down, Journey stayed outside and watched FD do yard work. She has also begun waiting up for him to come up to bed. If I take the dogs up to bed with me, Journey will wait a few minutes for FD to come up too. If he takes longer than she thinks he should, she will go to the top of the stairs to listen for him. And if he isn't coming, she will go back down and wait for him.
Journey has become a brave swimmer! She ventured out into the water on one of those 90+ degree days that we've had too many of lately. At first she stayed pretty close to the shore, but as the day went on, she would swim farther out to meet Eva as she swam to shore with her dummy. We did get some video, but it isn't ready to be posted yet. Stay tuned....
Journey has found her forever home!! And it's us! After fostering her for almost 10 months, we have found that Journey has stolen our hearts. We have walked with her through some very dark and heartbreaking times, and we have seen her slowly emerge from being frightened at every sound and movement we made to being the happy clown she is today. What a joy it is to see her run, twirl, and roll with exuberant abandon inside the house as well as outside! Although she still carries emotional damage from the puppy mill and is still apprehensive about us at times, she seems to know something has changed. We are her family, and this is where she is loved, nurtured and protected. This is Home - where she can continue her journey of recovery. What a happy beginning for us all!