Retrieve a Golden of Minnesota: RAGOM is a 501(c)(3) organization, rescuing Golden Retrievers and re-homing them through adoption since 1985. Serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Dogs Available for Adoption


Willow
Willow #12-112
(Fostered in Golden Valley, MN)

A portion of Willow's medical care was paid for by a generous grant from the Golden Retriever Foundation's April Fund


 



April 1, 2012

03-24-2012: My number is 198. I do not have a name. I am a young female Golden Retriever. I live in a commercial breeding facility with several hundred other dogs of all ages and breeds. My home is a kennel run, I drink water from a drip pipe, not a bowl. My only purpose in life is to have puppies. Today many 2 leggers are here. Something is different. The two leggers are taking us out of our kennel runs and putting us in crates. I am scared. I hide in the back of my kennel run, I hope they do not see me. I am very scared. The two leggers have picked me up and put me in a crate. They have kind voices but sad faces. They say I will be ok, that my new life is starting, that I am safe now. I am terrified. I have never known anything other than the puppy mill I live at.


03-25-2012 4am : I am at a new place with more 2 leggers. They talk to me as they move me in my crate, they have kind voices, some have water running from their eyes as they check me out. One tries to take me out of my crate, I won't come out as I'm terrified. She tells me I am beautiful and calls me Willow. She says I have a beautiful name and crawls into my crate with me. She removes the chain from my neck that has my number on it and says I don't need that anymore as I am a RAGOM dog now and I am safe. I have a name. It is Willow. I have a birth date. It is 08-16-2010. I am terrified and try to hide in my crate. A two legger with a kind voice and sad eyes talks to me and pets me when I am in my crate. He tells me it will be ok and that I am safe. I am too afraid to move, I just stand still and let him touch me. Human touch is new to me so I am very afraid.


03-26-2012 : I am now in a house with another dog named Bella and a 2 legger. I'm very scared but drink a little water and eat a little food, so I feel a little better. I go potty outside. Today I will go to my permanent foster home....I don't know what that means. I go for a ride to another scary place where I meet three new dogs. One is a girl dog named Jimmie, she looks like me but with short hair. She's ok, growled at me, but I know my place with her. The other two are boy dogs. They are big and kind of scary but they try to be nice to me. They do not look like me. I'm not sure about any of this. I am very scared. The two legger is being nice, I remember her from before but she is still scary. She says I am safe and no one will ever hurt me and only good things will happen now. I refuse to go into my crate, so the two legger tells me that I will have to sleep in her room tonight with the other dogs. I'm scared but try to sleep. Everything is new and scary.
03-27-2012 : The two legger feeds us and takes us outside to potty. She talks to me and says when I am ready she will touch me. The boy dogs try to play with me, I'd like to play but I don't know how and I am scared. I check out the trees and leaves, they are new to me. I taste them, some taste good, none taste like food. I sniff the two legger when she is not looking, if she moves I run away. I have three collars and two leashes on at all times. The two legger is worried I will run away and she will not catch me. I would run as fast and as far if I could get away. I am afraid of everything. I stay with one of the dogs who called Raven when the two legger goes someplace. Raven is nice to me. The two legger comes back. We eat again. I am very tired, I sleep a lot.

03-28-2012 : I sniff the two legger when she is asleep. I decide maybe she's not as scary as the other dogs are not afraid of her. I copy their behavior and follow them around. I will only eat if I can be next to one of them. I licked the two leggers feet and hand today. I let her touch under my chin a little. I run if she moves but not as fast. I chew on a rug and a chair. The two legger says "oh, honey we don't do that".....she says it nice. I don't know she is talking to me so I keep doing what I'm doing. She moves the rug and chair so I stop chewing on them. She looks in my ear and says "oh, you poor girl, you need to see the doctor". I am afraid but maybe not quite as much as before. I growl at the boy dogs, they scare me and I don't want them by me sometimes. I'm still scared. I found my voice and bark when the other dogs bark.

03-29-2012 : Today I took another trip to a scary place. The one they call Raven went with me. The two legger said it was the doctor. They touched me and looked at my ears. They put stuff in my ears and now they feel funny. The two leggers said it will make my ears feel better and that I will feel better too. I was very scared and just froze in the corner of the room so the doctor could do the stuff to me. I was happy to get back to the house and see Rocco and Jimmie. I was so happy, I let the human touch me and kiss me on top of the head. She had water running from her eyes when she kissed me and I did not run away, in fact I moved just a tiny bit closer for more. I even closed my eyes for just a second when she scratched me under the chin and on my chest. I found my safe spot on a soft rug only a foot or two away from the human here. That made water run from her eyes again. I am very tired and sleep a lot. I am still afraid but not everything is new now.

03-30-2012 : I love running around the back yard. I still have two leashes attached to me when I am outside but now I am used to running with them on. The other dogs wrestle and play with toys but I do not know how to do those things so I watch and sometimes I try to play but usually I get scared and run to the door so I can go inside. I am happy when I am in my safe spot, next to a wall and near the human. I growl at the boy dogs to keep them away when I am afraid. They are twice a big as me but they walk away when I growl. The human says they will not hurt me so I do not need to growl at them. I'm not sure about that. She says we will work on that so I am more comfortable. I'm still afraid and need to sleep a lot.

03-31-2012 : One week ago today my life changed. It has been a very scary week for me. Everything is new and I am still scared but I am getting more comfortable with humans (they are no longer just two leggers). Living in a house is ok, I have a lot to get used to. The human here feeds me, talks to me, touches me and is not mean to me. The dogs are ok, I am still afraid of the boy dogs sometimes and tell them to give me my space. They listen to me. My ears feel some better and my tummy is full. I have clean blankets and dogs beds to sleep on. There are three water dishes and they always have clean, cold water in them. I can drink anytime I want. The human said next week I will have a bath and some other humans may come to meet me. She says I will feel better when I am clean and that I will like other humans as they will be nice to me too. I'm not sure what any of that means. I'm still tired and sleep a lot.

Foster mom here : I had the honor and privilege to be in charge of the intake of the 29 Golden's who RAGOM saved from the liquidation auction. I witnessed first hand how terrified these 29 dogs were when they arrived in our care. It was heart breaking, heart wrenching and yet heart fulfilling to see these dogs as they began their new lives. I am also honored to be Willow's foster mom. Her journey will be full of baby steps as she learns what life as a companion dog is all about. Just like the Willow tree she was named after, Willow is proving to be very beautiful and resilient. She has a very kind soul. She is strong and able to rebound quicker than I could have ever imagined. I have no doubt she will continue to make progress and will be a wonderful family companion in a few months.

I would like to thank everyone who has donated their time, money and resources to help these 29 dogs so they can live the life they were intended to live. They are very lucky such kind hearted, generous people exist. Thank you for following Willow's journey and the journey of her other 28 friends as they embark on their new lives.

UPDATES:
04/01/2012:

Willow would like to send a heartfelt thank you to Julia and Dan Gleeman for sponsoring her. Thanks to your generous donation, RAGOM is able to continue to rescue dogs like Willow. You make it possible for us to do what we do.

Thank you.




04/08/2012:

04-01-2012: Today a new 2 legger came to the house. I was very afraid of her and stayed as far away from her as possible. She did not try to touch me and did not look at me as that scares me. I stayed out of the room she was in even though I saw all three of the others dogs getting attention from her. They all like her and wag their tails when she touches them and talks to them. They sit in her lap and roll around on their backs, they are happy to see the two legger. I am too afraid to go anywhere near her. Once the two legger left, I sniffed and sniffed at the place where she sat. The human here said that was a good sign and that someday I will be ok when I meet new people. I'm not sure about that. I am still very tired and sleep all night in the bedroom with the human and other dogs.



04-02-2012: Another new two legger was here today. I was outside with the other dogs and stayed in the yard on my leash while she was here. I barked at her a lot and ran around the yard. She is taking care of my friend Journey 12-111. She was surprised to see my tail wagging and me looking happy. I am happy when I am outside as I love to run around, sniff and taste everything. I also like to dig holes in the yard, that dirt is fun to play in!! Tonight there was a thunderstorm and rain. I was not afraid of the thunder and lightening but did bark when the rain made a lot of noise on the roof and windows. I slept all night on my dog bed next to the human. I like to take her socks and shirt and sleep on top of them. I am still afraid of many, many things as they are all new to me but somethings are ok now.

04-03-2012: What are tennis balls for? I found one in the yard, the other dogs like to play with them and when the human throws them they run and bring them back to her. Hum, I'm not sure about that stuff but I do like to chew on them and carry them around. The human threw one for me and I got scared, ran to the door so now she rolls it on the ground and I can check it out once it stops moving. The other dogs like to play with toys, I'm not sure about them but I do like to rip them up and destroy them. I also like to collect them all. Sometimes I growl at the other dogs if I think they are going to take my toys. Human says there are plenty of toys to share and gives me a different one and makes me trade with the other dogs. Human says I have to learn to share and that no one will take all the toys away...unless we fight over them. I don't want to fight, so she says we can work on this. Tonight I took my favorite toy to bed with me.



04-04-2012: I discovered I can climb on the furniture to look out the window into the back yard. I saw the other dogs do this all the time but today is the first time I tried it myself. Wow, that is pretty neat. I also took a nap in the sun while laying on the love seat. What a nice soft spot. Tonight I discovered there is another dog that looks just like me right outside the big window. I barked and barked at that dog trying to get her to play with me or come inside. The human said there was not really another dog out there, that it was my reflection but I don't know what that means. I keep looking for that dog but it's only there when it is dark outside. Tonight I tried out the big bed where the human and other dogs sleep. It was soft and warm. I slept there for a while between Raven and Rocco but decided the dog bed was cooler. I also saw another dog in the bedroom that looks just like me. I barked at her too but she did not come out of the closet. Human said there was no other dog just my reflection again. I'm still looking for those other dogs. I am still tired and sleep a lot.



04-05-2012: Today I was very brave and climbed up on the couch next to the human. I've put my front feet on the couch before but not my whole body. I decided to give it a try because I saw the other dogs do it and nothing bad happened to them. In fact, they seemed to like resting their body next to or on the human. So....I tried it. Wow, nothing bad happened and before I knew what happened I fell asleep with my head on the human's lap. She rubbed my ears and stroked my head and face, and scratched my tummy and that made me sleepy. It did not hurt. When I woke up the human had water running from her eyes again. I have a favorite toy that I like to carry everywhere. I take it outside and bring it back in, if I forget it, I go back out to get it. Last night when I went to bed I forgot my toy down stairs so I went back down and brought it up to bed. The human thought I was going downstairs to pee cause sometimes I pee by the back door but she was very happy and surprised to see me come back up with my blue octopus. I love that toy and sleep with it. I sleep through the night without a problem and get up on the bed in the morning for some attention. I've seen the other dogs do this every morning so I thought I'd give it try and see what I've been missing.

04-06-2012: Two weeks ago today I began a very scary journey to my new life. So much has happened to me in these past two weeks. I have seen and experienced more things in these two weeks than in my entire life. I was used to living in a 4 foot by 5 foot kennel run, usually by myself with other dogs on each side of me. No humans ever spent time with me other than to give me food or take me to be bred. I never lived inside a home so all the sounds and smells are new to me. I never rode in a vehicle before the good humans came and saved us from the puppy mill place. Now I have learned that maybe not all humans are so scary and that there is an entire world out there that I never knew existed. The human tells me everyday that she loves me....what is love? She also says no one will ever hurt me or make me do things that I don't want to do. I'm not sure what any of those things mean. I do know I am warm, have a full tummy and no one has hurt me. Is this what love is?



Foster mom here: Sweet pea Willow has made amazing progress in the past two weeks. I am so happy to now see joy in her eyes where I saw fear and worry just a few days ago. She is very much like a young puppy now, just exploring and learning about things. She loves to taste everything and the simple act of her licking yogurt from a spoon has made me cry. She comes to me for treats, eats food out of my hand and loves to be close to me, although she is still frightened of me from time to time, especially if I make a sudden move or loud noise....even a sneeze will send her running away. She loves toys and has found the toy box and the endless supply of old stuffed toys....I knew there was a reason I did not throw out the toys after their squeakers and stuffing had been removed....Willow is afraid of the squeakers and loves to rip up the stuffed toys so without the stuffing there is less mess. Willow still has a long way to go before she is ready to move on to her forever family but her progress is very encouraging.

Thank you for following her journey as she continues to take baby steps to her new life.

Thank you to Willow's wonderful sponsors Julia and Dan Gleeman. Julia's family adopted a puppy from RAGOM when Julia was a teenager so I would like to thank them for a life time of support.


04/18/2012:


04-09-2012: Raven is my best friend. He plays with me and stays with me in the laundry room when the lady goes places. He is very nice to me but he likes to steal my toys. Sometimes I growl at him when he takes my toys but he never growls back. He just drops my toys and walks away. I think he is afraid of me. I like Rocco too and he likes to run with me in the back yard. We play chase, sometimes I chase him, sometimes he chases me. I like to do both. I really like to run as fast as I can. I don't have to wear a leash all the time now but I still have two collars on. The lady says one of these days she will take Raven and I for a walk outside of the back yard. I do not like the leash pulling on me and get very scared if she tries to make me go somewhere I don't want to go. New stuff still scares me.



04-10-2012: Today is my foster sister Jimmie's 10th birthday. No one ever celebrated my birthday before so I was not sure what to make of the special treats the lady gave us. After breakfast we each got a homemade frosty paw treat. Yup, ice cream for breakfast!! Foster mom says we need to thank Nikki and Sam for the special recipe. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to eat it or play with it but I saw Raven eat his so I gave it a try, it was very good. After dinner we each got a bone from the butcher shop. I was not sure what to do with that but it did not take me long to figure out how to chew on that bone. That was very good too. I think I like birthdays. I hope my new family will celebrate my birthdays with me. Oh, and we each got a new fleece toy to play with. I pulled the stuffing out of mine but it is still fun to play with. Sometimes I like to nap with my toys. I still sleep all night long and I am the first to bed when the lady says its time for bed.

04-11-2012: I met a new human friend today. One of the wonderful volunteers from RAGOM came by to see me after she helped take care of Lola and her pups. At first I was afraid of Kathy G but within a short time I was brave enough to come into the room where she was sitting and checked her out. After a half an hour or so I sat next to her and after an hour or so I let her give me yummy treats. By the time she was ready to go home I let her touch me under the chin and licked her hands. That made water run from her eyes. She was very kind to me and knows about scared dogs like me so we got along just fine. Foster mom says my confidence is growing and she is very happy to see me interacting with other people. Maybe not all people are so scary. Thank you Kathy for being my new friend.

04-12-2012: Foster mom gave me a bath today, well at least she tried to give me a bath. That was very scary and I had to have Raven get in the bathtub with me. He loves water, I do not. Foster mom said next time she will have someone else help her with bath time. Guess I made a pretty big mess as I jumped out of the bathtub and ran around the house when I was all wet. She could not get me to come back to her and I did not want anything to do with getting dried by the towels, they were really scary. Raven loves towels, he likes to carry them around and play with them, I am afraid of towels but I do like to rip them up if I can. Bad towels, must destroy them!! Foster mom said sometimes I make her want to cry when I am so scared but a lot of times I make her laugh. Did you notice I call the human foster mom now?That made water run from her eyes again.

04-13-2012: Ok, I have a confession, I like to eat poop!! Foster mom wondered why she was not seeing much of my poo in the yard and then she saw me try to clean up after myself. She told me that is her job not mine so not to eat poop. Well, Rocco does it too so I'm not the only one and he is not from a puppy mill so what is his excuse?? Foster mom says this is pretty common with dogs who lived like I lived so she was not surprised. I don't do it all the time and do listen when she says to leave it...she uses her quiet voice to tell me that as I get scared if she talks loud. Sometimes she forgets and says "no" to one of the other dogs and does not use the quiet voice....then I run to the door if we are outside or run to another room if we are inside the house. I am afraid of loud voices and sudden moves. But I recover quickly and will come back to foster mom for attention and kisses. I like to give her kisses and like to kiss the other dogs. She says it would be best if I did not eat poop if I want to give kisses. Guess we have to work on that.



04-14-2012: My brave puppy side is coming out now as I am getting more comfortable here. Today I climbed up on the dinning room table from the love seat. I tried to drink foster mom's cranberry juice and tried to eat some paper work that she needed. I spilled the juice on the paperwork so now it is a pretty red color. I like it better that way, foster mom not so much. Guess it was some tax stuff that she needed. Well maybe the tax folks will understand about a sweet Golden Retriever girl from Missouri.

 

Foster mom said all she could do was laugh about it. She never thought I'd climb on the dinning room table....guess I fooled her. I also discovered another dog in the house, this one is in the fireplace. Foster mom said no dog, just my reflection again but I'm still working on getting that dog to come out and play with me. I really like to bark at it. Foster mom says I am very silly and very much a puppy even though I am almost 2 years old. Guess I never had a chance to be a puppy before so now I'm making up for lost time. I like to keep foster mom on her toes!! Foster mom here: Willow has made amazing progress in the three weeks since she was liberated from the puppy mill in MO. I am amazed everyday by how far she has come and how much she has grown. She is a silly, sweet girl who loves attention and loves people. She loves all three of my resident dogs and her growling at the boys is less and less each day. Willow loves to play with my dogs and learns so much from them. She watches their every move and copies their behavior both good and bad. This week I am working on getting Willow out for more rides in the car and hope to take her for her first walk. I will continue to expose her to new people so she learns that humans are good. She is such a sweet girl and it is so rewarding to see her gain confidence and grow. She is a happy girl now, not nearly so scared.

Thank you for following Willow's journey.


04/27/2012:

04-15-2012: Today I met another new human and I did pretty well with her. It took me only a little while to walk through the room while she was sitting on the couch and I even sniffed her and let her touch me after an hour or so. Foster mom says that is good progress. I'm learning not all humans are so scary and they will not hurt me. It's nice to have such wonderful RAGOM friends who stop by to meet me and help me so I can gain confidence and grow. Thanks Christi T for stopping by to meet me.

04-16-2012: Foster mom took me and Raven in the car today so we could run errands with her. I really do not like getting in the car so foster mom has to pick me up and put me in. Sometimes I pee when foster mom tries to pick me up as I'm afraid she is going to hurt me. She keeps telling me she won't hurt me but I don't believe her. My buddy Raven loves to go for rides in the car. He is so happy to go with foster mom that he does not wait for her to open the door to the car and will jump in the car through the open window!! Not me, I'd rather stay home but foster mom says I have to get used to it as fun stuff happens when we go places and my forever family will want to take me places. So we keep going places. I'm not as afraid as I was before, usually I just find a corner to hang out in and don't look around or make any noise. I don't get car sick so she says that's good and with practice I'll like the car someday.

04-18-2012: My friend Kathy G stopped by to see me today. I remembered her from before and was not as afraid of her as the last time she came to see me. I let her touch me and took treats from her and even got on the couch next to her for a little bit. She's still a little scary but not as much as before. She knows not to make eye contact with me and to talk in a soft, quiet voice so I do not get frightened. She also gives good treats to me, so maybe she's not too bad. I do keep a close eye on her and am a bit nervous but foster mom says I'm much better than a few weeks ago. She's my friend and I do like her, she's just a little bit scary now.

04-19-2012: Went for another car ride with Raven and foster mom. We stopped at a place called "the bank" and a voice talked through a machine and the machine made a big noise when it ate the stuff foster mom put in it. The noise scared me as did the voice that talked to us. Raven was not afraid and the machine made another big noise but it gave treats when it made the noise again. I was too afraid to eat the treat, Raven ate his and wanted mine but foster mom put it in her pocket so I could have it when we got home.....Raven really wanted that treat. I did not want to eat the treat when I got home, so I dropped it on the floor and Rocco ate it....he always eats any treats or food I drop. I let him take them as I think he is hungry all the time.

04-21-2012: Foster mom left us home today when she went to work. I stay in the laundry room with Raven unless he opens the door and we run upstairs. We did that a few days ago and foster mom came home to a mess on the living room rug, someone peed and someone ripped up a few toys and part of two rugs. She thinks it was me but with 4 dogs here I'm not confessing to anything. When foster mom came home today she brought in a big box that had my name on it. She could not figure out who sent me a present until she opened it up and saw the nice note inside the box. And guess what? The box was full of toys and a new blanket just for me!! It was from my new friend and longtime RAGOM volunteer Morgan S and her dog Bailey. She read my story on the web site and said my story made her cry and cheer for me all at the same time. The biggest surprise was that my new favorite toy, tennis balls squeak!!! Did you know that? I love to pull the fuzz off the tennis balls but even with the fuzz off of them they still squeak!! I love my tennis balls, so do Raven and Rocco so foster mom put one of them away so I can have a new one if the other two get destroyed. I love my new blanket too, it's soft and warm. Foster mom put away the other toys as she said the boys will destroy them quicker than me so I can play with them when the boys are outside. Thank you Morgan S for my surprise care package. You are my new best friend. Hugs to you and Bailey.

 

04-22-2012: Today is Earth Day. I think that means I get to dig in the dirt, foster mom not so much. Today I got to met a new dog friend and two new humans. The dog is named Bailey and she lived here with foster mom when she was a little puppy. Her name was Rona and she was very sick but foster mom and the vets made her all better. Now she lives with Julie and Chris, they brought her over to meet me. I was afraid of all of them and showed my teeth and growled at Bailey for the first hour or so. She is way bigger than me even though I am older than her and I don't know her so I told her to stay away from me. But after watching her run around with Raven, Rocco and Jimmie I decided to play with her a little bit. I was also afraid of the new humans, especially the man, but after an hour or so I took yummy treats from both ot them and would come up on the deck with them. I even sniffed Chris's hand and let him touch me under the chin once. Whew, scary stuff for me but I tried to be brave. We all got very dirty when we ran around outside. I don't like towels so foster mom had a tough time cleaning up my feet and all but she said oh well, what's a little dirt in the house. Guess that's why I like foster mom....she does not get upset about the little stuff. I did hear her say something about a bath for all of us....

04-23-2012: Today was spa day at my foster house. All four of us dogs got brushed, got our ears cleaned out, took baths and three of us got our nails trimmed. I did not get my nails trimmed cause foster mom says I am going to the good doctor tomorrow to get "fixed" so I can't make any puppies and they will trim my nails when I am sleeping. I did ok with the bath this time, was scared and just laid down in the tub which made it a bit difficult for foster mom to give me a bath but she said at least I am cleaner than before so it was good. Raven took a bath with me cause he loves the water. He also loves to get dried off but does not like to have his nails trimmed....he growled at foster mom and put his mouth on her hand so she stopped trying to clip his nails. She said she has to work with him so she can trim his nails. Glad I'm not the only one here who needs work!!

04-24-2012: Today was the worst day of my life. Foster mom picked me up and put me in the car with Raven and we drove to the vets office so I could have my spay surgery. It all started badly as I peed when she picked me up at home and it only went downhill from there. Once we got to the vets office she tried to take both me and Raven out of the car but Raven was all goofy and too excited so she made him stay in the car while she took me in. I was so terrified I did not want to go in at all and I peed and pooped all the way through the waiting room and into the exam room. I did my business outside before we left home but I guess when you get really, really, really scared your body just can't hold it and out everything came. Some guy in the waiting room said some not so nice things to foster mom about me being untrained and unsocialized and that made water run from foster mom's eyes plus seeing me so scared broke her heart. I tried to climb into a small shelf area and knocked all the stuff out of the shelf and peed on everything. Good thing the staff at ACH is used to us scared dogs and just cleaned it up and told foster mom not to worry. They also told the guy that I was from a puppy mill and that I was a rescue not foster mom's dog. Well my surgery went ok but since I was so terrified they called foster mom to come pick me up rather than keep me overnight. Foster mom hoped I would be happy to see her and Raven but I was terrified of her and she had to carry me to the car as I would not go with her. I saw more water run from her eyes. Once we got home she carried me to the couch and I hid in the corner, would not let her touch me or sit by me and I growled and showed my teeth to the dogs even if they walked in the room. This was the worst day of my life. I am so scared and I feel yucky from what the doctor did. Foster mom said it had to be done so I could move on with my life but she feels really bad that I am so scared. She said she hopes it is the anesthesia and I'll bounce back in a day or two. I am very scared and slept on the human bed but as far away from foster mom as possible.

04-25-2012: I am still very afraid of foster mom and the resident dogs here at my foster home. I will not let foster mom touch me or get near me and I am growling and showing my teeth to the dogs even if they look at me. Foster mom says we are back to square one now so I have a leash on me all the time and she is afraid I will run away. I hide from her and do not want to be in the same room as her. I will eat and drink but not if she is in the same room as me. I am taking my medicine but she has not been able to put the medicine in my ears as I will not let her get close enough to me. When I was asleep at the vets office they looked way down inside my ears and said I have some stuff growing in them so they cleaned them and gave foster mom some medicine to put in them so they will get better. I am very afraid of foster mom and the dogs. I peed and pooped in the house several times as I won't go outside since I need to be on a leash and freeze if foster mom tries to get me to move. I won't let her get close enough to pick me up so she can not get me to go outside. I am supposed to stay quiet, no running, jumping or playing for the next two weeks or so. I am tired but do not sleep very well as I am uncomfortable from my surgery. Foster mom says things will get better in a day or two. I'm not sure that I believe her.

04-26-2012: Nothing has changed. I am still very afraid of foster mom and the resident dogs. I will not let her get close to me and run into another room when she moves. I still growl and show my teeth at the dogs here. I am afraid of everything and everyone again. Foster mom has water running from her eyes a lot as she says she feels terrible that I am so afraid. Says it breaks her heart to know that I have regressed so far. She says I am worse than when I first came to her a month ago. All I know is I am very afraid of her and of the dogs.

Foster mom here: Well, it's been a very tough few days for Willow and her foster family. I hate seeing her so frightened again and we are back to square one with her. I was so hopeful when she appeared to be making such great progress. I know she will come around again but this set back is heartbreaking. I wish I knew what to do to make her feel better but for now all I can do is give her time, patience and love. The reality of growing up in a puppy mill is so apparent this week, just makes me so sad to see her so distrustful of me and my dogs. I know we will get back on track and and I am so grateful to the wonderful staff at ACH who not only cleaned up after Willow but also stuck up for her and foster mom and of course provided great care for her. I am also so thankful for the support of RAGOM fosters and volunteers who are reassuring me that things will improve and that there is nothing I could have done differently. Educating people who are not aware of how horribly affected dogs who have lived in puppy mills are is part of what RAGOM does and I hope seeing and reading about Willow so afraid makes people think twice about purchasing that cute puppy from a pet store or on-line breeder. Please help us educate people by making sure all your friends and family are aware of the terrible damage commercial breeders do.


04/30/2012:

04-27-2012: I surprised foster mom and the resident dogs today by deciding to forget all about my bad day at the vets office. I decided foster mom was not so bad and gave her some kisses and sat on the couch with her for snuggles and attention. I also kissed the other dogs and decided to play with them again. Foster mom seemed happy to see me happy and playful again. Of course just when I thought all was back to normal what does foster mom do? She loaded me and Rocco in the car and took me to that vet office again so they could check on my surgery. This time she brought Rocco in the office with me and I did fine, was still scared but I did not pee or poop in the office and was able to get on the scale after I saw Rocco get weighed. I also let the doctor look me over, so far so good, just have to stay quiet for another week or two. I was happy to get back home and even got out of the car on my own. Foster mom says I was very brave today.

04-28-2012: I'm back to my normal, happy playful self. Today I emptied all the toys out of the toy box and chewed on all of them. Couldn't decide which one I liked best so I just kept taking out more. That made foster mom laugh and smile. I really, really, really want to run around and play with Rocco but foster mom says I can not run for at least another week as I have to heal from my surgery. Boy, she is no fun at all. But I still like her as she's pretty good to me. I'm not afraid of her now and no longer growl and show my teeth to the resident dogs unless they try to take my toys away. They are good about giving up their toys when I stand over them and give them my look of could I please have your toy. I love toys and think they all belong to me.



Foster mom here: I'm so happy to see Willow back to her happy self. Whew, what a relief to have her back to "normal". She is doing just fine after her surgery, biggest challenge now is a normal one of keeping her quiet for the next week or so. She really wants to run in my back yard and does not like the restrictions of being on a leash, so I let her trail a long lead so I can stop her if she decides to start running sprints in the back yard. She will not go potty when I hold on to her leash so I do have to let her drag it around in order for her to do her business outside. Thanks to everyone who offered words of encouragement and support when Willow regressed, she is a resilient dog and bounced back. I suspect she will regress a bit when she moves to her forever home but now we all know she can bounce back in just a short time. Just a reminder on what she needs in her forever home: at least one medium to large dog, no young children, dog savvy teenagers might be ok, a fenced yard, and someone who will love her and help her grow in confidence. She has come a long way in just 5 weeks.


05/09/2012:

04-29-2012: My friends Julie, Chris and their dog Bailey stopped by to visit with me today. They also brought my foster brother Raven back home. He had a sleep over at their house for two days. I missed my buddy Raven and looked for him in all the rooms, couldn't figure out where he went but I was happy to see him when he came home. I was still a bit afraid of Julie, Chris and Bailey but not as much as the first time I met them. I stayed inside most of the time they were visiting as I am not allowed to run around yet....still recovering from my surgery. When they came inside I stayed in the same room as them but did not go to them for pets, but at least I did not run away from them.

05-01-2012: Thank you Archie and Clyde for decorating my page with the beautiful butterfly token and for donating to help with the costs of my care. Foster mom says I am a very brave girl and she is very impressed with how courageous I am. Yes, I'm still afraid of new things and new people but I bounce back quicker now than I did 5 weeks ago so I am moving forward. It's still baby steps for me, sometimes one step forward and two steps back but at least I'm trying. I am pretty much back to my normal self (from before my spay surgery) but I still can not run around and play like I want to. Foster mom says another week or so of taking it easy....boy is she boring.



05-02-2012: Today I'm am sending a big hug and thank you to my very special friends Morgan S and her dog Bailey. Thank you for the beautiful butterfly token on my page and the very sweet note in memory of your sweet Serenity. Foster mom told me Serenity was a very special horse that you rescued and saved after she had a bad start to her life. She told me that you nursed her back to health and gave her the best life in the world. Thank you for taking such great care of sweet Serenity, I'm sorry she had to leave you but now she is running free at the Rainbow Bridge waiting for you. I feel very special to know that you think I have a sweet soul like your sweet Serenity. Hugs and puppy kisses from me to you. Thank you Morgan and Bailey. You are my heroes.

05-03-2012: Foster mom called me a little stinker today. Why do you think she called me that? Do you think it could have anything to do with the fact that I pulled all but one of the stair treads off of the steps coming up from the laundry room? Why did I do that? Well, I didn't like them and thought the stairs looked better without them. Maybe I have a career in redecorating. I have to confess, I really like to chew on carpeting and these were just small pieces of carpeting so I chewed them up and had to take them off the steps in order to do a good job. I also like to chew on anything made of wood. Chair legs and table legs are some of my favorites as are the steps and the corner of the walls. Maybe I'm bored since foster mom won't let me run around, still on surgery recovery time. Foster mom says I'm like a young puppy with my chewing and some pee accidents in the house. Guess I never had a chance to do this stuff before so I am learning. Foster mom says I am teaching her patience. See I'm a teacher too!!

05-04-2012: I do not like to go outside when it is raining and do not like to get my feet wet if the yard has standing water on it. So that means I go potty in the house. Foster mom says we need to work on this. Oh, so many things to work on. I'm not afraid of the storms just do not like to get wet or dried off. Foster mom says she bets I will not like to swim either but she's going to get out the kiddie wadding pool soon and maybe if I see my foster brothers and sister play in the water I will give it a try. All I know is that's new stuff to me so it's scary. I try to be brave but I can only do so much at a time.

05-05-2012: My friend Lorray stopped by to visit me today. I first met her about a month ago and was too afraid to even walk into the room when she was here. Today I sat on the couch next to foster mom while they visited, huge steps for me. I did not go to her for pets or treats even after watching the other dogs here get tons of love and attention from her but I did sniff her foot once when she was not looking. She brought presents for Jimmie cause her birthday was a few weeks ago. She also brought some yummy treats for all of us to share. One of the toys is supposed to be indestructible, ha, ha, I put holes in it within just a few minutes. I think the company that makes those toys should hire me to be a toy tester cause I can destroy toys with the best of them. I love, love, love to rip up toys. Foster mom is always picking up the pieces of something that I've destroyed. She's happy when it is a dog toy and not the carpeting, towels, blankets or other stuff.



05-06-2012: Today we all stayed home for 7.5 hours without anyone coming over to let us out or check up on us as foster mom had to work all day. She left me with Raven and Rocco in the laundry room and we did just fine. Nothing was destroyed or chewed up when she got home and no one had any accidents while she was gone. She was very happy to see that. I was very happy to see her and had a ton of energy when she got home. I played and played until way past my bed time....foster mom said she was very tired but I did not want to go to bed. After everyone went to bed, I snuck downstairs and peed on the living room rug, guess my routine was off a bit but foster mom just got up and cleaned it up without saying a word to me. She said she might have to buy stock in paper towels and Natures Miracle cause she's had to clean up after me a fair amount. She also said it would be better if I did not use the one carpeted area to pee since all the rest of the house has hardwood floors. More stuff to work on.

05-07-2012: Today was one of the best days!! It was Raven's birthday. He turned 4 years old, at least that's what foster mom thinks he is. Raven was found as a stray one year ago today, he was picked up by animal control and RAGOM saved him just a few hours before he was scheduled to get the needle. Foster mom fostered him and three months later she adopted him. Since she did not know his birthday, she gave him the day he was found by animal control which happens to be the same day as she had to say goodbye to her best friend Lwood. I've heard stories about Lwood from Jimmie and Rocco as he was their brother. He was a really cool big dog and foster mom still has water running from her eyes when she talks about him. But enough about that stuff...today was about celebrating and we all got our favorite dog treats. Frosty paws in the morning after breakfast and a bone from the butcher shop at night. Wow, I love birthdays. Can't wait for the next one!! I love Frosty Paws and bones from the butcher shop.




05/20/2012:

05-10-2012: Do you like to get up with the birds? I do!! As soon as I hear the first birds singing, I'm wide awake and ready to go outside to play!! Usually it is about 4:30 AM, somedays it's even earlier now that the days are getting longer. My foster brothers and sister are sleepy heads and could sleep until 7 or 8 am but not me. Foster mom is not too happy when I wake her up so early and she keeps telling me to go back to sleep but that usually only lasts for a few minutes and then I jump off the bed and run downstairs. Foster mom has to get up then as she thinks I will go potty in the house. She tries to get me to go back to bed but all I want to do is play and I can usually convince Rocco or Raven to join me....Jimmie sleeps until foster mom gets breakfast ready!! I like my new life and can't wait to start another day.

05-11-2012: Foster mom says she thinks I am part goat or cow cause I love to eat all the plants and leaves off of the trees. Rocco taught me to eat the good sweet grass so I like that too....I don't get sick after eating stuff but Rocco throws up after he eats a lot of grass. I get scared when he throws up but it does not stop me from eating everything outside. Foster mom has to watch me all the time because she does not want me to eat stuff that will hurt me, I try to eat the rose bushes and have tried to eat the rocks from under the deck. I listen pretty good when foster mom calls my name and tells me to stop eating stuff. I also let her take stuff out of my mouth without any problem. Oh, and I love, love, love to rip up her socks and any clothes that are on the floor or in the laundry basket. She tries to keep stuff picked up but I'm really quick and find things. I don't eat the clothes, just tear them to pieces.

05-12-2012: Today Rocco, foster mom and I took a long drive to visit one of foster mom's friends who is also a RAGOM foster mom and is her boss at RAGOM. She is fostering my friend Piper 12-116. Another foster was visiting at her house and she is fostering my friend Heidi 12-115. So the three of us puppy mill girls had a little reunion. I loved seeing my friends from my puppy mill days. We all hung out together and comforted each other when we got scared. I did pretty well on the drive, got car sick at first but did ok after that. When we got to New Ulm there were 7 dogs plus Rocco and me. I did not show my teeth or growl at any of the dogs.....that surprised foster mom since I did not know 5 of the dogs and most were way bigger than me. There were also some guys who were doing landscaping and they had some big machines that made a bunch of noise. I was a little afraid of the noise and found a safe spot on the bed where I could watch things without having to be too close to the noise and people. For most of the day we all hung out on the deck and got to have a few treats when the humans ate lunch. I was really tired after spending my day there so Rocco and I slept all the way home. Thank you Dayle S for letting me visit you at your house. I had fun meeting Grizz, Skye, Scout, Piper and meeting your friend Barb K and her dogs Moose, Nellie and Heidi. And thanks for taking the nice photos of me!!


05-13-2012: I love steak!! Tonight Raven and I shared a nice big piece of raw steak and I really liked it. Foster mom said it was her dinner and we were naughty dogs for stealing her food off the counter when she went outside to light the grill. Well, Raven grabbed the plate off the counter and when the steak hit the floor I grabbed it but not before Raven got a big chunk of it too. Rocco and Jimmie were outside with foster mom so they did not get any. When foster mom came back inside all she saw was me finishing off my piece of steak and Raven licking the plate. Boy, she was not happy about that as she had to have some soup and crackers for dinner since we ate all the steak. She thought we'd get sick and I did get a tummy ache at 3am but I woke her up so she took me outside before I had an accident in the house. Aren't I the best?? Raven did not get a tummy ache.....probably because I ate most of the steak. Now foster mom puts the food in the fridge when she goes out of the room. Guess I won't be getting steak for dinner again anytime too soon.

05-14-2012: Today I met a really big lab named Cheyenne. She's like 10 times the size of me!! She came to our house for a few hours as foster mom was bringing her to a nice lady who was adopting her. Cheyenne had been staying with a very nice man named Barry who took care of her for 4+ months and helped her drop a lot of weight. Foster mom said when she first saw Cheyenne she looked like a walking coffee table and was as wide as she was long. Well, I still think she is HUGE and I was afraid of her but I did not growl at her or show my teeth, just ran away from her. I thought she might want to eat me cause it looks like she eats everything!! Actually she is a very nice lab and got to go live with a nice lady and her two labs. I'm glad she did not stay at our house cause I think she would have eaten everyone's food!!

05-15-2012: Foster brother Raven had to go to the vet today so he could get his vaccines and get checked over. I got to go with him as foster mom wants me to go more places and since I had a rough time at the vet when I went in for my spay surgery she thought I should practice going to the vet office. Good news for me, I did ok, walked in the door and got on the scale without peeing or pooping. I was kind of scared and hid behind foster mom but since the doctor did not do anything to me I was ok. Bad news for Raven, he has to drop about 8 pounds and had to have a couple of shots and a blood test. Ha, ha, he did not like getting his shots or having the doctor look in his ears but he let them do the stuff to him. The doctor gave us some treats, I did not eat my treats so Raven ate both his and mine. Foster mom said that is not on his diet. Now he has to eat some green beans instead of all of his kibble....he spits out his green beans so foster mom said he will just have to eat less food and get more exercise. Glad I do not have to be on a diet. I still weigh a nice trim 52 pounds which the doctor said is my perfect weight!!

05-16-2012: I met a new human today and did pretty well with her. I was not as afraid as I've been in the past and sat on the couch with foster mom while they visited. I even got close enough to her to sniff her and let her touch me for just a second or two. She did not stay very long as she had to get home to her dog and her foster dog Patch. She came by to pick up a GPS tracking collar for Patch because he likes to run away. Foster mom wants to know how it works for him because Raven likes to jump the fence and run away so she is thinking of getting Raven a GPS collar too. I don't try to run away, most times if I am outside and get scared, I run to the door to go inside. Foster mom says not all puppy mill dogs are like me, some want to run away. Most puppy mill dogs love their crates, I hate crates and will not go in one....except to get toys to play with cause foster mom puts all the toys in my crate.

05-17-2012: Today I learned a valuable lesson....don't eat bees or wasps. I like to chase everything that flies and today I caught and tried to eat a bee and then a couple of hours later tried to eat a wasp. I got stung on the lip by the bee and on the face by the wasp.....boy that hurt and itched a lot. Foster mom said she hopes I learned not to try to eat everything. I still try to eat moths, tried to eat a junebug and a butterfly. Foster mom says those things are not for eating, just for watching but I still think I should eat them. Foster mom says I am like a puppy cause everything goes in my mouth. Well, all this stuff is new to me so I have to taste it all and see for myself if I like things or if they will hurt me. Oh, and I'm not supposed to eat the shower curtain or pull it down on top of foster mom when she is taking a shower. Guess I do have a lot to learn and guess she is right, I am a big, silly puppy!! I sure do like to have fun!!

05-18-2012: I am still afraid of many things. Some of the things are pretty common things like ceiling fans, vacuum cleaners, the lawn mower and the air conditioner. When foster mom turned on the ceiling fan, I barked at it and would not come into the room until she turned it off. It did not make much noise but I did not like the way it moved. I also bark and carry on when she mows the lawn even though I am in the house and am with my foster brothers and sister. I hide when she vacuums and I did not like the noise of the air conditioner but I did like laying in front of the vent where the cool air comes out of. Foster mom says this stuff is all normal for a dog that lived a sheltered life in a puppy mill so I just have to experience stuff and I will be ok with most of these things. Some things I may never be ok with but she keeps exposing me to stuff so I can get used to it. It all takes baby steps.

Foster mom here: Willow is doing very well adjusting to life outside of the puppy mill. It is so rewarding to watch her run around my back yard playing chase with Rocco and Raven. She loves to wrestle with both of them on my bed and on the couch. She also loves to snuggle with me on the couch and will give me kisses, take treats and allows me to clean her ears and brush her....all stuff we take for granted with our dogs. Willow has come very far but we still have some obstacles to overcome. She is still very afraid of being on leash so we have not ventured out for any walks. She is not very comfortable riding in the car but at least now she will get in by herself instead of me having to pick her up and put her in. New people still frighten her, more so men, but we are making progress here too. The neighbor children do frighten her and any loud voices send her running for cover. My neighbors are loud as are their teenage children and they frighten her. Loud cars, motorcycles and lawn equipment are also triggers for her fears. We will continue to work with Willow so she can be more comfortable and know she is safe. Thank you for following her on her journey to her new life.


05/30/2012:

Sponsored by:

Julia and Dan Gleeman

Courage isn't the lack of fear... It's moving forward in spite of it. We love you brave girl! Archie and Clyde  Courage isn't the lack of fear... It's moving forward in spite of it. We love you brave girl! Archie and Clyde

From Morgan  For one sweet soul, in memory of another. Love and best wishes, Morgan and Bailey, in memory of Serenity


06/09/2012:

Hey everyone, it's me Willow. Bet you are all wondering what I've been up to and why I've not sent in my usual day by day diary. Well, I've been busy doing stuff at my foster home and I have to confess, I chewed up my diary a week or so ago. Foster mom gave me a note book that I was using to record my stuff in, and one day I saw it sitting on the dining room table and thought I should play with it rather than write in it. Once I started playing with it, I decided to start chewing on it and one thing lead to another and soon I had chewed it all up into little pieces.....foster mom was in the shower when I was doing this. She said good thing my first two months in foster care are on my web page so that stuff is saved forever. So here's a brief update of what I've been up to for the past two weeks or so.

On Memorial Day weekend my buddy Raven went on another sleep over. This time when he came home he brought my new best friend, Bailey (was Rona 11-017) with him so she could have a sleep over at our house. You might remember that when I met Bailey a few months ago, I was very afraid of her, showed my teeth to her and growled at her and ran away from her. Well, now we are buds....she and I wrestle all the time, share toys and run around the back yard together. We fly through the house, playing chase and I really like her. Guess I just needed some time to get used to new dogs so I could learn that they won't hurt me.

I love to play in the house and get the zoomies when I play with Raven. One night I ran through the living room and jumped up on to the dinning room table. I took out a lamp and almost knocked foster mom's laptop onto the floor. Lucky she was right there and caught it before it hit the floor. The lamp did not survive and I broke another one the next day when I flew off the couch and crashed into the wall. I did not get hurt but we are down two lamps in two days. Foster mom says she will go to garage sales to buy some new ones in case I break more of them. Ha, ha, I'm just having fun and love to fly around the house, rugs go flying and so do I.

Foster mom has been trying to take me for walks outside of my back yard. That is a work in progress. So far we have made it about 1/2 block at which point I refused to go any further and foster mom had to carry me back home. I would not move at all, just laid on my belly in the street and refused to budge. She had Rocco with and she told him to run home hoping I would follow him but no way. I was just too scared and peed all over foster mom when she carried me home....sorry about that foster mom. So we are still working on this, she's gotten me as far as the end of the front yard and back to the fenced in back yard, we are practicing that at least once a day now. I really do not like walking on a leash even when I see Rocco and Raven happily going for walks. The outside world is just a big scary place for me. Foster mom says she is not giving up and we will figure it out someday.

I've not peed in the house for 5 days now....that is my new record!! Foster mom had to pull up the carpeting in the living room because I kept peeing on it, sometimes in the early morning and sometimes when I had just been outside and she knew I had gone out there. She finally decided maybe I could still smell some pee in the carpet even though she had cleaned up everything really well so now the carpeting is gone. Guess she was correct as I no longer pee in the house...that makes her very happy. I still don't tell her when I need to go outside but so she just makes sure I go out a lot and knows that I need to go out as soon as I'm done eating and right when I wake up.....just like a puppy.

Chewing up stuff is still my specialty. I chewed up one of the couch cushions when foster mom was gone to work. She said good thing it was off of the dog couch and not the good couch in the living room. I don't eat the stuffing but sure have fun pulling it all out and making a big mess for her to clean up. I also love to pull the yellow fuzz off of my squeaker tennis balls....I don't eat that either, just like to de-fuzz them. I'm great at shredding paper, remember my diary, and had a great time with the Sunday paper when foster mom left it out on the deck.....what fun that was to play with and watch it blow all around the back yard. I really liked watching foster mom run around the yard trying to pick it all up before it blew away....I think I am helping her get more exercise. See how helpful I am!!

Earlier this week foster mom brought home 5 six week old puppies. Someone was going to put them out in their back yard and let the hawks take them so she and another RAGOM lady (Jane N) picked them up so they could find good homes. I was interested in the puppies but was kind of afraid of them when they cried and barked. Foster mom said she thinks they reminded me of my puppy mill days as I tucked my tail under my butt and ran from foster mom when they were here. I would go up and wag my tail at them and sniff them if foster mom was not close but if she tried to get me to come to her I ran and would not come into the house. She had to crawl on her hands and knees to put a leash on me so she could bring me into the house. Lucky for us some nice foster ladies came and picked up the puppies so they are no longer living at our house. Check out the little black puppies on the site. I'm back to my normal self now that they are gone.

Well, this is it for now, I need to go and play with my friend Bailey as she had a sleep over at our house last night. Her folks are coming to pick her up pretty soon so I better get my wrestling in now. I'll try to get back to my day by day journal but I might have to chew up the new notebook foster mom got me....I sure love to chew on stuff. Thanks for following my story.

Your friend Willow.


06/24/2012:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow writing to you from my foster home. I've been too busy to write in my diary on a daily basis so I'll just tell you what I've been up to during the past two weeks. I've been having tons of fun and keeping foster mom and my foster brothers and sister on their toes trying to keep up with me. My good friend Piper 12-116 stayed at my house for 5 days. Boy did we have fun!! We got foster mom up nice and early everyday, never slept in past 4:30 am!! Foster mom would get up with us, let us outside to go potty and then bring us back in and tell us to go back to sleep. Well, that works for Raven and Rocco and Jimmie (she never got up anyway) but not for me and Piper. We'd go back upstairs to the bedroom, rest for 2 minutes and then we'd start wrestling and playing.....I loved having another girl dog to play with and it was so fun that she wanted to stay up with me. Foster mom would get up after 10 minutes or so of me bouncing around on the bed and stepping on her so then we'd go downstairs and eat our breakfast. After breakfast we got to go outside and fly around the back yard. Piper loves to run just like I do, fast and run laps all around the yard. Then we'd come inside and wrestle and rip up stuffed toys and chew on bones. We usually took a nap around lunch time and then started all over again. If Piper got tired, I'd play with Rocco and Raven and if I got tired, Piper would play with them....it was really fun. I also tried to teach Piper that humans (foster mom) are good and won't hurt you.....she's still a bit afraid and does some of the same stuff I did when I first came to my foster home. I was sad to see her go home. Now I'm back to sleeping in.....I get up at 5:28 am everyday!! Oh, and I taught Piper that homemade frosty paws are really good, we got to have them almost everyday that she was at my house!!

I learned a new game this week. Foster brother Rocco likes to eat the green apples that fall of the trees in the back yard. I tried one of them and, yuck they are too sour for me to eat. But, I decided to help Rocco get more apples by pulling them off the tree for him. I don't take the leafs off the tree, just pull off the apples and quickly spit them out so Rocco can eat them. I pulled off all the apples that I could reach standing on 4 feet so now I figured out that I can reach more if I stand on my back legs. I think Rocco really likes me a lot now, as he loves those apples and does not know how to pick them himself. See how smart I am!! Foster mom videotaped me but she can't figure out how to post it on my site and I don't know how to do that either so if we can figure it out we'll post the video. I love helping Rocco and foster mom by picking the apples off the tree. I heard foster mom say maybe I can get a job at an apple orchard picking apples this fall.....that would be fun but I'd have to bring Rocco with so he could eat them!!

Today I really surprised foster mom by catching a Blue bird. Foster mom let us outside and I ran to the fence where a bunch of birds were flying around and I jumped up and grabbed a bird right out of the air!! Foster mom saw me do it and heard the bird squawk so she came running to see what happened. I did not eat the bird, just dropped it on the ground and stood over it so Rocco and Raven could not eat it. They were barking at me and at the bird and the bird was making lots of noise. Foster mom picked it up with her bare hands and put it over the fence so it could try to fly away. It did not fly but hopped around and finally flew a few feet at a time. I watched it the entire time and it finally made it to the creek where it got into the water. We couldn't see it after that so we don't know if it was ok but the neighbor kids heard it and came outside to check on it....they said they would watch it to make sure it was ok. I don't think I hurt it too much so hopefully it could fly away with it's friends. Foster mom, Rocco and Raven were really surprised that I caught a bird. Neither Rocco or Raven have ever caught a bird, even though they are labs or part lab....guess I showed those boys a thing or two. Ha, ha, it was fun. I guess I'm a retriever after all. Pretty good for a puppy mill dog huh??

Oh, and I've not peed in the house for almost three weeks.....ever since foster mom pulled up the carpeting in the living room. I still don't tell her when I need to go outside but she is good at watching me and takes us out a lot so I have not had any accidents. I think that makes foster mom happy.

Well, that's it for now, I have to go and run around the back yard some. Rocco saw something outside so I need to go with him to see what it is.....maybe another bird or maybe a rabbit.....I've not caught a rabbit yet but that's on my list of things to do. Rocco said he would teach me how to catch them as he is really good at that and so is Raven. I sure love my foster brothers and Jimmie too....she sleeps a lot so we don't play but she is nice to me most of the time. Oh, and I love foster mom too. Bye for now, your friend, Willow.


07/05/2012:

Hey everyone, it's me Willow letting you all know what I've been up to. Well, I have some big news. I have a new foster brother staying with me!! Yup, check out James 12-090. He is a 3.5 year old male lab/Golden mix. He's a smaller guy, only 57 pounds so just a little bit bigger than me. He had a rough start in his life so is learning some stuff so he can find his forever home, just like me. At first I did not like him and showed him my teeth. He thought I was smiling at him and just sniffed my mouth and wagged his tail at me. I ran away and he thought I was playing so he chased me. I had to growl at him so he would leave me alone. Now we get along ok most of the time. James likes to play rough and will run into me and knock me down. I don''t like that so then I growl at him but later I give him kisses and we both like to sit in foster mom's lap to get cuddles and attention. I guess James is ok except that he likes to destroy my tennis balls. Foster mom says she will have to buy us some more.

I have a new hobby that foster mom says I need to tell everyone about. A bird made a nest in the lilac bushes that are right next to the deck. There are two baby birds in the nest and I am obsessed with those birds. Every time I go outside I immediately run over to the bushes where the nest is and try to get to the nest. I dance around on my back legs trying to reach them and have pulled a few branches off the bushes in the hope that I could get to those birds. The mom bird sits in the tree chirping at me and watching me but does not try to dive bomb me....foster mom said maybe if she did I'd learn to leave them alone. I'm so obsessed with the birds that I do not go potty when I go outside and foster mom has to keep reminding me to do my dog business. Most times I do not listen to her and so I've had a few accidents in the house because once I get back inside then I remember I need to go. Foster mom is not happy about this as I had not had an accident for more than 3 weeks. She said she hopes the baby birds grow up quickly so they fly away and then she can take down their nest. None of the other dogs even give them a 2nd sniff but I sure am interested in them and want to see them or maybe it's eat them. Foster mom has to bring me back inside by putting a leash on me and taking me in as I can not hear her when she calls me if I am looking at the birds. I love those birds, foster mom says I love them too much.



Tomorrow we are getting out the new kiddie pool and I get to try that out. We had a kiddie pool but the boys jumped on it when it was empty and upside down and they wrecked it so foster mom had to buy us a new one. Ha, ha with all the hot weather all the stores were sold out but today she found one. I'll let you all know if I like water when it is in the pool or not.

Well, off to check on my birds, your friend Willow the bird dog.


07/16/2012:

Hey everyone, it's me Willow letting you all know what I've been up to. First of all, my baby birds grew up and flew away.....darn, I really liked those baby birds but foster mom was very happy to see them fly away. She was worried they were not going to survive the heat so she put out food and water and made a fence around the bush their nest was in so I could not get to them. We looked on the internet and found out they were North American Cardinals....we saw the mom, dad and two babies. Foster mom says since I like birds so much (ok she said I'm obsessed with them) that it would be best if my forever home did not have birds living in the house. I didn't know people had birds living in their houses but she said one of her past fosters lives with a big parrot in her forever home....wow, I think that would be so cool.....she says probably not as I would bug the bird too much.

Foster mom has been challenging me to do stuff that I don't like and to go new places. So this week she's had four new people come over to the house. I liked Kris T, she brought yummy treats and I ate them right out of her hand. I also let her pet me and sat by her on the couch. She was surprised I was not too afraid of her. I also met a repair guy who came to fix our air conditioner. I was ok with him until he used the hose to clean off the air conditioner, then I didn't want anything to do with him. But he did get to pet me when he was in the house fixing the AC. I also met two other guys, one came by to say hi to me and the other dogs. I let him sit by me and give me treats and touch me. The other guy came by to bring his big lab over for us to dog sit and I was a little afraid of Remington the big lab. But after a few hours I decided he was ok, he really did not play much cause it was too hot out and he was only at our house for two days. I let his owner pet me once and stayed in the same room as him but otherwise I just watched him from the couch.

Today Rocco and I went to Chuck and Don's so we could get our toe nails trimmed. I don't like getting my done and Rocco does not hold still for foster mom so we took a trip so the nice staff could do ours. They do this as part of a fund raiser so we helped other dogs by getting our nails trimmed. I had to walk on leash across the parking lot and into the store. That was scary and I tried to crawl underneath a car that was in the parking lot. Foster mom had a tight grip on the leash so I was not successful. She's pretty smart with stuff like that. Once I got in the store several people wanted to pet me, one guy tried to give me treats but I did not want to take them....I was pretty scared and hid behind foster mom and Rocco. I watched Rocco get his nails trimmed and then it was my turn. I snuggled up to a display of food and let the lady trim my nails, no problem at all. I was actually better behaved than Rocco, but that was cause I was too afraid to move. Once we were done, we had to walk back across that scary parking lot again, I tried to wrap my leash around foster mom's legs but she managed not to fall and we got to the truck without any incident. I was very happy to get back home!! Whew, she said I did great, I did not pee or poop in the truck or in the store or parking lot. I was a bit miffed at her when we got home and did not want any treats but then she got out my favorite special Willow treats and I forgot and forgave her for taking me to get my nails done. We've also been trying to get me out for more walks, now we can go two blocks but I go very early in the morning and go with foster brother James 12-090. I don't like to go far from home and once we got past where I can see the house I want to go back home, foster mom says we will keep working on this. Oh, and I tried out the kiddie pool, I don't like it one bit. Foster mom got in with me and had to pick me up and put me in but I just sat down and shook and jumped out as soon as I could. She said we will keep trying this too. She says I'll like it once I get used to it....I'm not sure but I did let her dry me off with a towel, that's new as I hated towels before, so she said I'm making progress.

Well, all for now as I need to go outside and pick more apples off the tree, now I like to eat them and taught James how to pick them and eat them too!!

Your friend, Willow.


08/11/2012:

Hey everyone, it's your pal Willow letting you all know what I've been up to during the past few weeks. First of all my foster brother James got adopted. His new family came to meet him at our house and I did pretty good meeting the adults. I was a bit afraid of their 6 year old granddaughter.....did not want her to pet me but I did stay by foster mom and hung out on the couch in the same room as her. I was sad to see my buddy James leave as I liked to play with him and run with him in the back yard. I looked for him for a few days after he left, especially when we went outside. Foster mom says he is doing really well in his new home and that his foster family loves him very much. I think she misses him too.

After James left we dog sat for three labs. One boy, Remington came for a weekend while his dad was out of town. I like him but he does not play as he is 10 years old. He lived in Joplin, MO with his folks but they were killed in a tornado and he lived all by himself for 7 weeks before some nice folks found him. Then he came to the humane society in MN and his new dad adopted him. Remington is afraid of thunderstorms so foster mom told his dad about the Thundershirt and medication that helped James. His dad is trying this stuff for him so maybe he won't be so afraid.

The next week, two labs came to stay with us for a day and a half. I had met the big chocolate Lab Bessie before and was a little afraid of her. This time she brought her brother Leo with. He's from a puppy mill like the place that I came from. He has been with his mom for 7 years now but he's still a little afraid of stuff. I liked him but he did not play either, nor did Bessie. Bessie did try to boss me around some and "talked" to me which scared me. I did not want to walk by her and wanted to stay upstairs in the bedroom but foster mom did not let me because she said Bessie would not hurt me. It all worked out ok and I was ok with their mom when she came to pick them up. I did not get too close to her but did not run from her either, so foster mom says I am making progress.


I'm doing better with noises and stuff. Now I can be outside when foster mom mows the lawn....I'm not afraid of the lawn mower anymore!! I'm also ok with fans and ceiling fans now. I still bark at the kids who live next door but I'm interested in them, just afraid of them. Foster mom has been trying to get me out for more car rides and walks. I'm pretty good about getting in and out of the car and have not gotten car sick, so that is progress too. Walks, well, we are still working on this. I can go about 2 blocks before I need to go home. Foster mom says we will keep walking and one day maybe I will like to go....I'm not sure about that yet. I've not had an accident in the house for more than 3 weeks. If I need to go outside and foster mom is not paying attention, I run back and forth to the back door and sometimes if she still is not paying attention, I grab her arm so she knows I have to go out. I'm pretty good about coming inside when foster mom calls me but not if I'm hunting for birds. I am quite the bird hunter. I have caught 4 birds now....foster brothers Rocco and Raven (supposed to be hunting dogs) have not caught any birds!!!

Foster mom says I must have been a hunting dog in a previous life as I sure do know how to hunt. I've also tried to catch a couple of rabbits, so far they've gotten away but I did get a couple of mouth fulls of bunny fur, so I'm getting close. Foster mom says next week is a big week for me cause it will be my 2nd birthday!! She said we will have a little party and maybe she will make me a cake or cupcakes. I know we will get bones from the butcher shop and home made frosty paws for sure. She said maybe we will have another dog or two stop by to celebrate with me. I can't wait, never had anyone celebrate my birthday before.

Well, that's all for now, off to look for more birds in the back yard.

Your friend, Willow.


08/24/2012:

Hey, everyone it's me Willow letting you know what I've been up to as of late. Last week was my 2nd birthday and I had a little party with the three resident dogs here in my foster home. We all enjoyed bones from the butcher shop, homemade frosty paws in the shape of dog bones, home made dog treats and some cake!! Yum, yum, I really liked all the special treats and so did my foster brothers and sister!! I also got a stuffed duck as a birthday present from foster mom. She knows how much I like birds so thought she would get me a bird for my birthday. It's a big yellow bird and guess what....I was afraid of it since it was so big. I ran from it when she gave it to me but then a while later (after Raven took it) I decided to carry it around and pull off the tags that were on it. I didn't get to chew it up very much as foster mom put it away so it would not get destroyed in the first hour. I get to play with it some each day but as still a bit afraid of it at first. It's really big, almost as big as me!! 

Not much else is new, foster mom says we are getting a new foster brother later this week. She says he is from a puppy mill like the place I came from and is still very afraid so we are going to try to help him learn that humans are ok. She says he is just one year old so he likes to play and that means I will have a new friend to play with. I'll let you know how things go in a few days.

Bye for now, your friend Willow.


09/04/2012:

Hey everyone one, it's me Willow sending in an update to let you all know how I'm doing. I'm enjoying life in my foster home, especially now that I have a new foster brother to play with. Cocoa 12-062 is now living with us and I really like him. He is only 13 months old so just a young guy and boy does he love to play!! He and I wrestle from the time we wake up (5:30 am) until we go to bed around 10 pm. Sometimes we take a few naps during the day but as soon as one of us wakes up we start playing again. I'm teaching him all kinds of fun stuff, like how to play with stuffed toys (rip them up and remove their stuffing), how to chase after rabbits and squirrels in the back yard and how to wrestle in the bed, on the couch and on the floor!! I am also teaching Cocoa that foster mom is a nice lady and that he does not need to be so afraid of her or of other humans. I think he is learning from me as at first he would not let foster mom pet him or touch him but now he comes to her and licks her hands, feet and arms. He also like to take treats from her hands and is coming in the house on his own. All of these are things that I had to learn when I first came to foster mom's house too, so I think it is pretty neat that I get to teach Cocoa the same stuff.

  

We've had a busy couple of weeks at our house, with 5 or 6 new humans for us to meet. I'm doing much better about meeting new people. I will stay in the same room as the new people and will sit by foster mom (usually behind her) while they visit. I do bark at people if they are outside with us or if I see the neighbors outside. I like to bark at the neighbor dogs too, so foster mom says we have to work on that. I've not have any accidents in the house for a while now and foster mom even put new carpeting in the living room so Jimmie could get around easier. So far I've not peed on the new carpeting, it's just an area rug in case I have an accident, foster mom can put it away. So far so good. She says I am pretty much housebroken but I don't give any real signals that I need to go out, she just takes us outside a lot.

I've discovered that I like just about any kind of fruit and most vegetables. My favorite fruits are bananas and apples and my favorite vegetables are green beans and carrots. I also love cheese and peanut butter....will dance on my back legs when I see the peanut butter jar come out. Foster mom says I am a goofy, happy girl and that I have come very far from the scared girl from 4 months ago.

Well, all for now, have to go play with my new boyfriend Cocoa before we eat dinner. Your friend Willow.


09/28/2012:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow writing you from my foster home. It has been 6 months since the nice folks rescued me and my 28 friends from the puppy mill in Missouri. I have learned and experienced so much in the past six months!! I can't believe how much I missed out on during my first 18 months of life. I really want to thank all the good people who helped me and my friends so we could have a good life and not have to be puppy making machines. I am a happy girl and love my new life of freedom.

All is going well at my foster home and I love foster mom and my foster family. I really love Cocoa 12-062. He is my buddy and we run and wrestle all the time. He is learning that foster mom is good and that he can trust her not to hurt him. I also really like Rocco and Raven. They play with me all the time too. Jimmie is my friend too. She is nice to me but does not play as she is older and just likes to sleep and chew on bones and antlers. I know enough not to try and play with her and not to take bones away from her.

I still get up at 5:30 every morning and we go outside to go potty and then foster mom tries to get us to go back to sleep. We all go back to bed, but Cocoa and I do not go back to sleep....we usually wrestle and bug each other until foster mom gets up with us. She says she would really like it if we would go back to sleep but we are enjoying our new lives too much to sleep in. After we eat breakfast we chew on bones for a bit until foster mom lets us go outside to play more.....they we run around a lot and wrestle until it is time for foster mom to go to work. Once she comes home, we run and play until dinner time, rest a little after dinner and then play until it is time for bed. I sleep in the bed all night with foster mom and my foster brothers and sister. Sometimes there are 5 dogs sleeping in the bed with foster mom!!

I really love foster mom and come to her for attention and love. She is no longer scary to me but new people still scare me a little. It takes me about 30 minutes to an hour to warm up to new people and then I will take treats from them, a little longer before I will let them pet me. I'm still working on walking on leash, really do not like the leash at all so it is a work in progress. I did not get to go to Goldzilla as foster mom had to volunteer all day and knew I would not be able to hang out all day because there would be too many people and noise for me. We all hung out at home and foster mom brought us some treats and tennis balls when she came home and we got homemade frosty paws the next day since we were so good.

All for now as I need to go run around the yard with Cocoa....he sees a squirrel and we need to go chase it out of the yard. More later.....your friend Willow.

10/29/2012:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow with an update on my life. First I want to say thank you to Patch 10-223 for decorating my page with a nice blue paw print. How did he know that blue is my most favorite color? He and his foster mom are just great. I'd also like to thank my foster mom for my 2nd blue paw print. She is very good to me!!

I'm doing well in my foster home and am having a wonderful time playing with my foster brothers. Cocoa 12-062 and I wrestle all the time and he is my best friend. I like teaching him that foster mom is good and that he doesn't need to be afraid of her. Last weekend I took a little road trip with foster brother Raven. We attended a RAGOM meet and greet at Chuck and Don's. I did fine riding in the car, did not get car sick. Foster mom tried something new for me, she put some peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and put that in the truck so that the whole truck smelled like peppermint. She said that is supposed to calm sick tummies and it worked. I was a little afraid to walk across the parking lot once we got to Chuck and Don's but with help from Raven and another RAGOM volunteer (thanks Kris N) we made it. I hung out with foster mom and did ok for the most part. A nice RAGOM volunteer guy sat with me for most of the event and I let him pet me and hold my leash. Thanks Kelly B for being my new friend. He saw me the day I came into RAGOM and was happy to see that I was much more relaxed and not as afraid of humans. I also let several other people pet me and even let a couple of teenagers touch me. Foster mom was very happy to see how much progress I've made. I only got scared a few times....mostly when some boy dogs were barking and I did not know what they were barking at. I was very tired when I got home...took a good long nap. Whew, all that visiting wears a dog out!!

I'm doing well with my house breaking, only one accident since my last update. I still like to chew up stuff...sometimes it's stuff that I shouldn't chew up, like a rug and I chewed a hole in the box spring when foster mom was on the phone. She was not too happy about those two items but she still loves me and got over it pretty fast. I have to say I am not too excited about this whole Halloween thing. I got pretty scared when the little neighbor kids were running around outside in their costumes and when the neighbor had a big Halloween party with scary noise, a fire and lots of people. Foster mom had to keep me inside cause I kept barking like crazy when I went outside. I'll be glad when the costumes are gone!!

All for now, have to get in one more play session with Cocoa and then off to bed. I like to sleep at the top of the bed....right next to foster mom's head....keeps her head warm!!

Your friend, Willow


11/25/2012:

Hello everyone, it's me Willow writing to you from my foster home. I am doing very well here and really like living here with my foster mom and foster brothers and sister. I have lots of fun playing with the other dogs, toys and just hanging out in the house. Foster brother Cocoa 12-062 is my best buddy and we play a ton. He's younger than me so we run and wrestle all the time. I also love to play with Raven and Rocco and I think they love playing with me. I am very happy to chew on beef bones and nylabones. I also love to destroy soft toys and have a special love for towels, blankets and rugs. Foster mom says I am kind of naughty when I rip up stuff that is not a toy....I keep telling her I did not have anything to chew on when I lived at the puppy mill so I think everything is a toy. I do have to confess that I also chewed a six inch hole in her box spring.....she put me and Cocoa in her bedroom while she was on the phone....Cocoa likes to bark when she is trying to talk, so we got bored and chewed on the bedroom rug, the dog bed and the box spring. Foster mom was not too happy about all of that stuff. She thinks I did most of it as Cocoa was chewing on a bone when she opened the door but I had my nose stuck in the box spring....heck, I just wanted to see what was inside that thing!!

I want to thank all my friends at RAGOM for saving me and my friends from the puppy mill auction. I am very grateful for having a nice warm house to live in, a warm bed (human bed) to sleep in, yummy food to fill up my belly, clean, cold water to drink and my human foster mom and canine foster dogs to play with. It's such a change from my old life and I am very happy to have a great life now. I am still scared of new things and new people but love, love, love my foster family. Foster mom says she loves me very much too, even when I destroy things that I shouldn't.

All for now as I need to go play with Cocoa. More later.

Your friend, Willow


12/10/2012:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow checking in from my snowy foster home. Boy do I love the snow!! I played outside for most of the day with Cocoa, Rocco and Raven. I love to run in the snow and eat it. Took me a little bit to figure out how to go potty in the snow....kept getting my butt in the snow when I needed to do my business but I finally figured out that was ok. I kept busy looking for all my toys that I know are somewhere in my back yard.....wonder what happened to them?? Here's a photo of me, Rocco and Raven looking for one of my tennis balls....gosh I know I left it right there but I sure could not find it under the 10 inches of snow!!

I want to send a huge thank you to my friend Betty for decorating my page with a mitten. She must know that mittens (and hats) are two of my favorite things these days. I love to grab them and run around the house with them when foster mom is trying to put them on....love playing that game with her!! Thank you Betty for thinking of me. Hope you are enjoying the snow as much as I am!!

All for now, I have to take a nap, playing outside all day made me tired and I need to rest up so I can play more tomorrow. Foster mom says the snow will still be here when I wake up....I'm so happy I get to play in the snow again tomorrow!!

Your friend, Willow


12/21/2012:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow checking in from my foster home. I want to say a huge thank you to Morgan and Bailey for decorating my page with the cute mitten. You guys are great, thank you for doing so much for the dogs in RAGOM. I also want to thank the Golden Retriever Foundation for donating money from their April Fund to help pay for my medical care. They made a very generous donation to RAGOM to help pay for the medical care of many of the dogs that came in with me from MO. Thank goodness for such great supporters and donors.

Foster mom had to go out of town for a day and a half to help rescue a bunch of dog from some breeder guy in South Dakota. Boy, did she stink when she came home but I was sure happy to see her when she came back!! I stayed home with my foster brothers and sister and we had a friend stay with us with her dog. I was very good for Julie and even let her pet me and did not run away from her. I was also good with her dog. I've spent time with them before so they were not new to me so I did good. Foster mom was very happy to hear how well behaved I was.

I'd also like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am looking forward to Christmas as I have a stocking with my name on it hanging by the fireplace....can't wait to see what treats and toys I get for Christmas. This will be the first time anyone celebrated Christmas with me....not sure what it is all about but there is a tree in the house....so far we have not destroyed it. That makes foster mom very happy!!

Well off to play for a little bit and then to bed. Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a super great New Year.

Your friend,
Willow


01/07/2013:

Hey everyone, it's me Willow writing to you from my foster home. All is good here and I am doing fine. I had a very nice Christmas with lots of nice toys and treats. Thank you Kathy G for bringing me and all my foster family treats and toys and for visiting with us. I really enjoyed destroying the toys and eating the treats!! I was very interested in the Christmas tree but did not knock it over or eat any of the decorations. Foster mom said that was a good thing. I did keep looking in the tree....thought I saw or smelled a bird or two but foster mom said there were no birds in that tree.....I really like birds!!

Foster mom says I have been a bit naughty as I caught a rabbit in the back yard and I got into a little fight with Rocco and Cocoa when they wanted to take my bunny away from me. I scared both those boys and they did not want to play with me or even go outside with me....but now we are all friends again and I made up to them by giving them kisses and putting my paw on top of their heads. Foster mom has a new rule now, only one dog can go out at first so any rabbits have a chance to get out of the yard before the rest of us go outside. We caught 3 rabbits and 1 squirrel in 10 days....foster mom said that was enough of that. She said I have a high prey drive and so do the boys.

Well that's it for now. Cocoa wants me to wrestle with him and I think we need to run around the back yard so catch you all later.

Your friend Willow


01/25/2013:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow sending you an update from my toasty warm foster home. Can you all believe the cold weather we have been having? Wow, it sure has been cold outside but nice and warm inside...other than one morning when we woke up to a cold house. Foster mom said the furnace stopped working when it was so windy outside. She got it going again and all was fine but then a couple of days later something started beeping in the house in the middle of the night. That beeping noise woke everyone up and foster sister Jimmie was very afraid of the noise. She hid downstairs!! I was not afraid but was curious as to what the noise was and where it was coming from. Foster mom had to have a repair guy out to check it out. All was fine, just a bad co2 detector. Foster mom said she did not know they went bad and she was very happy that's all it was.

Not much is new in my life. I still love to play with the other dogs at my foster home and the cold has not stopped me from playing outside. I still don't want to go for walks with foster mom and the other dogs so I usually stay home with Jimmie when foster mom takes the boys for a walk. Jimmie and I get along fine, I know she is the boss and I don't mess with her. Cocoa and I wrestle all the time, inside and outside. Foster mom keeps trying to take photos of us but all she gets is a big blur!!

Foster mom did find out that I need to stay on a grain free food. A friend gave us a big box of dog biscuits for Christmas and they had grain in them. After a week or so of eating them, I started licking and chewing on my feet and one of my ears got red and gunky. Foster mom stopped giving me the new treats and put some spray stuff on my feet and some medicine in my ear and now everything is almost back to normal. I guess that means I am allergic to grain. Foster mom says that is pretty common with Golden Retrievers and Labs. Darn, I really liked those yummy treats!!

I've met a few new people and a couple of new dogs. I love all the dogs and I am slowly getting used to new people. Usually when they come over to visit, I stay away from them and sit behind foster mom on the couch.....she is my safe spot. I don't usually let them touch me and if they come over to me, I run away but come right back to foster mom once they sit down or move away. Foster mom said I am braver than when I first got here but I am still afraid of most strangers. Sometimes if they have yummy treats or if I have met them a few times I will let them touch me. Foster mom says I am a work in progress but at least I am making progress.

Well, all for now, have to go and play with Cocoa and Raven.

Your friend, Willow


01/25/2013:
From one Missouri girl to another-I'm so proud of how far you've come! Love, Betty 12-101 From one Missouri girl to another-I'm so proud of how far you've come! Love, Betty 12-101
Love from Bailey From one snow-loving Golden to another, so glad you will get to have a wonderful holiday filled with love- From Morgan and Bailey

To one lucky dog! From Patch 10-223


To my sweet girl!! From Foster Mom

02/17/2013:

Hey everyone, it's me Willow sending you an update from my foster home. All is good here and I am happy and doing well. I've been keeping busy keeping an eye on Ruby 12-416 and Jewel 12-415. They hung out at our house for a few days and I helped watch them for foster mom. She thought I wold love playing with them but I really only wanted to boss them around. I did play a little but also did my growl and show your teeth routine. Foster mom said she thinks I was jealous over the attention she was showing them.

 

Well, that could be right because I was a little worried they were staying here and I would have to share her with 6 other dogs!! I kind of teased them when we all went to bed. They slept in a crate and I get to sleep in the bed with foster mom. When they went into their crate for the night, I would run in the room and look at them and then run back and jump on the bed....I did this a few times each night until foster mom told me to stop. Ha, ha, I just wanted to show them that I am a big girl and don't have to be in a crate....actually I hate crates!!

Foster mom told me that my buddy Cocoa 12-062 is getting adopted next week. Boy, I sure will miss that guy. I really like him and we play a ton. I guess I will have to play with Rocco and Raven once he is gone to his forever home. But then who knows who foster mom will bring home next. I know she met some dogs today so maybe she will bring one of them home....hope if she does bring home a new foster, they like to play with me!!!

Not much else is new. I am still chewing on my feet so now I am taking some fish oil each day. Foster mom says if my feet do not look better by the end of the week I will need to see the vet. She tried putting socks on my feet so I would not chew on them but I chewed the socks off my feet so that did not work. I like to keep foster mom on her toes!!

Well all for now, have to go play with Cocoa.

Your friend Willow.


03/01/2013:

Hey everyone it's your buddy Willow checking in from my foster home. Things have been pretty busy at my foster home as my best buddy Cocoa 12-062 went to his forever home on Sunday night. I really miss that guy as we were very good friends and we played all the time. I looked for him for the first couple of days and foster mom said she could tell I was sad. I did not have too much time to be sad as the day after Cocoa went to his forever home, a friend of foster mom's came over with our new foster. This one is a little guy, just 3.5 months old. I was not sure if I wanted to play with him at first, but now I've decided that he is ok to play with and I like to wrestle him and play chase with him in the back yard. I also love his puppy toys and have destroyed a few of them. Foster mom says that the puppy toys are for the puppy and not for me but hey, I did not have puppy toys when I was his age so I think I should play with them now.

Foster mom is trying hard to expose me to new people and new places so earlier this week I got to go to work with foster mom and foster brother Raven. She has tried to take me a couple of times before but I would not have anything to do with going to work with her....this time she just put my leash on and I got in the truck and off we went. I did ok at work, was a little scared of some of the noises and one of the guys worried me a little....he moved around a lot and made some noises that I had not heard before. I did like one of the ladies there and would take treats from her and let her pet me and touch me. She tried to teach me to sit for a treat but I did not want to do that....maybe next time I will try it again. I had to walk on leash to go out side to go potty and I did fine with that, and even peed when I was on leash. Foster mom was very happy with that and I did not have any accidents inside, that also made foster mom very happy. Foster mom says she will take me to work again, maybe once a week or so as long as I am good. She is very impressed on how far I have come and how much I've improved.

We have had a lot of visitors who have come by to see the puppy foster mom is fostering and I have been pretty brave when they have visited. I usually stay in the same room as the new people and while I will not let them touch me, I do wag my tail at them and foster mom thinks I want to let them pet me but I am just not sure yet. I have been in foster care for just under a year now and am doing very well thanks to my foster brothers and sister and foster mom. She says I am still a work in progress as new things, people, places and such still frighten me some but I recover quicker and don't seem as stressed as I used to. I've not had any accidents in the house for quite a while, unlike the puppy, so she says I am housebroken but she also takes me outside a lot. I do stay home with the other dogs when she is at work and do fine but I do not have free roam. I stay in the laundry room/exercise room as I will chew up stuff and I won't go into a crate.

I do like to chew on my feet and if foster mom does not clean my ears out a couple of times each week, they get some gunk in them and start to itch. She says I have allergies, probably to grain. I am on a grain free food and treats but I do like to eat poop and since not all the dogs here can be on grain free food, she thinks I am getting some grain and that is what causes things to flare up. I am very quick about eating poop, so even though foster mom tries to pick it up right away I still manage to get some from time to time. Other than that, I am very healthy.

Well time to take a nap before dinner and then foster mom says more people are coming over to see the puppy. I better rest up while I can.

Your friend, Willow


03/17/2013:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow checking in to let you know how things are going. It's been a busy few weeks at my foster home. Foster brother Maverick 13-070 went to his forever home last week so things were pretty quiet here without that sweet puppy to play with and all the people coming by to meet him. I really liked him and loved to wrestle him and play with him. I loved putting my mouth over his head and pulling him around the back yard. He didn't mind and liked to play with me too.

Just when I was getting used to the quiet and having just the 4 of us dogs here, what does foster mom do? Yup, you guessed it, she brought home another foster dog. His name is Rufus 12-342. He is a 4 year old male Golden mix. I did not like him when foster mom first brought him home and did my usual show him my teeth and growl at him. I also yipped at him....kind of like a high pitched bark and I hoped that would scare him away.....but it didn't. By day two I realized he was not going to hurt me, and I guess he is quite handsome so I guess he can be my new friend. He likes to play rough, so do I, but so far I've only played with him inside. I let the boys play with him outside. Foster mom says soon we will be running around outside together too. We like to wrestle a little and mouth each other on the head and legs, so that is fun. I let him sleep in the bedroom with us and am ok when he gets on the bed and on the couch. Foster mom says it just takes me a little time to get used to new dogs and new people.

Next week I have to take a trip to the vet so I can get updated on on vaccines and have the doc look me over. Foster mom says she will talk to the doc about my feet....I like to chew on them and she is sure I have allergies. Not much else is new here. I love playing in the snow and running around outside. I really like my foster brothers and foster sister and I love foster mom. She says I have made a ton of progress with her. I've been in foster care here for almost one year. Boy has my life changed in the past year. I sure do love living in a house, getting regular meals, water and sleeping on the couch and bed. I think I am a very lucky girl to have been saved by the nice people of RAGOM. Thanks so much to everyone who helped save me and has helped me this past year.

Well, off to play outside and then a nap before bedtime. Ah, the good life.

Your friend, Willow


03/25/2013:

Hey everyone, it's me Willow checking in from my foster home. I just wanted to say hi to everyone and thank you to everyone who has helped me during this past year. One year ago the wonderful folks from RAGOM saved me and 28 of my friends from a puppy mill. I was very scared when they came to pick me up and transported me to MN from MO. What a long scary ride that was!! A day later I arrived in my foster home and was terrified of everyone and everything. Good thing foster mom and the foster dogs here are so nice as they just let me hang out and taught me that not everything is so scary. I've had some ups and downs in the past year but for the most part I've adjusted pretty well to living inside and being a loved family member. I am still afraid of new dogs, new people and new places. My foster home and family are my comfort spot but foster mom and my foster siblings keep working with me to help me learn that new stuff is ok.

Last week I went to the vet for my yearly checkup. I did ok, got car sick on the ride there but I was able to walk in the door and get on the scale without any problem. I weigh 53 pounds, doc said I could drop a couple but that I am very muscular so not to worry too much....that's good cause I don't want to go on a diet!! I got my vaccines and heartworm test done and even got my nails trimmed. All my tests were normal, so I am healthy other than maybe some allergies that make me lick my feet. My ears and teeth are nice and clean (foster mom got a pat on the back for that one). Foster brother Rocco went with me to the doctor. He was a naughty boy when we were leaving and made foster mom fall when he decided he wanted to see the dog food and pull foster mom down. She hit her knees and head on the floor. Rocco did not check on her but I ran right over and gave her kisses and sat on her to make sure she was ok. She's ok, just has a black eye and sore knees.

This morning at 5:15 am, I celebrated my one year anniversary of leaving the puppy mill place and arriving at foster mom's house by catching a bunny rabbit. I brought it to foster mom when she called me from the deck, dropped it right at her feet. She was happy I did not try to take it inside and that I did not get into a fight with any of the other dogs over my bunny....I did that the last time I caught one. I did not go back to bed and kept wanting to go outside to look at my bunny but foster mom put it away so I did not get to see it any more. She said she hopes that was not the Easter Bunny....if it was we will not get any Easter presents.

Well, all for now, have to go play some and run around with my foster siblings. Thanks again to everyone who helps us dogs so we can live great lives as RAGOM dogs.

Your friend, Willow (aka Bunny Hunter)


04/11/2013:

Hi everyone, it's me Willow checking in from my snowy foster home. Can you believe it is still snowing on April 11th? Just when I thought all the snow was gone and I could finally find all the lost toys in the yard!!

I am doing well in my foster home. It is kind of quiet here as it is just me and the three resident dogs right now, no new fosters. That's ok with me because that means I get more attention from foster mom. I was pretty happy when the weather was a bit warmer as the birds started coming back in the yard and guess what, I already caught one!! I also caught another rabbit on Sunday morning. I sure to love to chase those critters and I am pretty quick plus I can jump up in the air (to catch birds) and can go under the deck to catch the bunnies. Foster mom is not so happy that I catch critters but I think I it is pretty fun to do.

I also figured out a new thing to do in the house. I figured out I can climb up on the dining room table and eat foster mom's food!! Here's a photo of me doing just that. Foster mom left her plate on the table while she answered the phone and when she came back, this is what she found.

I think this is a neat trick, foster mom, not so much. But she had to take a picture of me before she made me get off the table. I've climbed up on the table a few more times, but now foster mom knows not to leave any food unattended. What can I say, I am just a puppy at heart and still testing all the rules.

Well, off to play in the new snow with my foster brothers.....have to go see what we can find underneath the new snow.

Your friend Willow


05/12/2013:

Hello everyone, it's me Willow dropping by to say hi to all my friends. I am doing well at my foster home. I am really happy playing with foster brothers Rocco and Raven and know how to keep foster sister Jimmie happy too. She can be cranky with all of us dogs, but when she acts cranky, I just walk over to her, sit down next to her and put my foot on her head. Foster mom says it is very cute and it is like I am saying "don't be crabby, I'm your friend". Foster mom keeps trying to get a photo of this but we don't cooperate for her. I love to wrestle with Rocco and Raven especially in bed in the morning!!

I love the warm weather and have been very active catching birds. The other day I caught one and brought it to foster mom, she asked me what I had in my mouth and I dropped it right at her feet. She said if she did not know that I came from a puppy mill she would have thought someone taught me how to go bird hunting as this is how trained bird hunting dogs behave. I'm not telling her how I know to do this but she is sure I would never be able to go bird hunting as the gun shot noise would certainly scare me. I also like to pick up money. Earlier I had a quarter in my mouth and brought it over to foster mom, she asked me what was in my mouth and I put it in her hand. She said it was nice of me to give it to her and not to eat it as it could have given me a tummy ache!!

Last week I met a few new people and did pretty well with them. One of them came armed with treats and I came right up to her numerous times for treats. The other two ladies did not have treats but I still came up to them after a while and even licked one of them on the hand. Foster mom says that is huge progress from where I was last year. I'm still a little shy but I will at least stay in the room with new people and my tail is always wagging.

I also love to watch out the living room window. I like to watch for birds and critters and will run to the door when I see one that I want to chase. Here is a photo of me and foster brother Raven looking out the living room window.

I want to wish all the RAGOM folks and friends a very happy mother's day. Thanks to all the mom's that take care of us foster pups and for all the moms (and dads too) that adopt us and make us pups part of their forever families.

Well, all for now, have to go and check out the backyard and chase up some more birds. More later, your friend, Willow.


06/20/2013:

Hey everyone, it's me, Willow. I'm sure you have all been wondering what I've been up to since my last update. Well, I've been keeping busy. We've had a couple of temporary foster dogs stay with us, one was cute puppy Brandy and now a new guy from a puppy mill. We've also had some canine visitors and have done some dog sitting, so it's been pretty crazy at my house. I've been good with all the dogs. I really liked puppy Brandy. she was fun to play with and was nice to me. The new puppy mill dog likes to hog all of Foster Mom's time and attention, so I'm not so sure about him as I don't get my normal amount of "me time" with Foster Mom. The visiting dogs have been OK too, a couple have been previous fosters that lived here before they found their forever homes. Foster Mom says it is nice that their families bring them by so she can see how well they are doing now with their forever families.

Not much else is new here. I've caught a few birds in the backyard and am watching the apples grow on the trees. I like rolling in the grass, especially after Foster Mom mows the lawn. I get all full of grass and have even had some grass stains on my coat, so that resulted in a bath for me. All in all, I am doing well here with the routine and my foster brothers and sister to show me the ropes and foster home to put up with my puppy mill behaviors. Just this past week, I surprised her by peeing in the house again. She's not sure why I decided to start doing that again and I'm not telling her....I usually do it at night when everyone else is asleep. I just sneak down to the living room and pee on the carpet. Foster Mom says she will have to pull up the carpeting again and see if that gets me to stop. I just like to keep her on her toes and keep her guessing!!

Thanks for following my story. More later, your friend, Willow.


07/07/2013:

Hey everyone, it's me, Willow, just checking in from my foster home. I am doing OK now that the fireworks for the 4th of July are almost over with. Whew, it has been a couple of noisy days in my neighborhood. I really don't like those loud booms and the whooshing noise from the fireworks. I spent most of the past two days glued to Foster Mom. She had me wear a Thundershirt and gave us all some Rescue Remedy in our water dish, but I was still scared and did not appreciate all that noise. Seemed like every time Foster Mom took me outside to go potty, the darn neighbor would shoot off more noise makers. By the end of the night, I refused to go outside and just peed and pooped in the house as I was too scared to go outside to do my business. The darn guy is still shooting off fireworks today but not as many, so I've only had a couple of accidents today. Foster Mom says she hopes he is done soon and I can get back to doing my stuff outside.

I have a new buddy at my house. Little puppy Jojee 13-179 is our newest foster. He is from a MO puppy mill just like me, but lucky for him, RAGOM saved him while he was still a young puppy, so he is not nearly as afraid of stuff as I am. I really like him and like to wrestle with him and try to put his entire head in my mouth!! Foster Mom keeps reminding me that I need to be gentle with him as he is just a puppy and is frail cause he's been sick and is skinny. I really like his puppy toys and keep trying to play with them, but Foster Mom takes them away and gives them back to him. Darn, I never had toys when I was his age....he sure is a lucky guy. I also had a temp foster at my house for a week. His name is Zane and he came from puppy mill in SD. I really liked him too....after a few hours. He loved to play fetch and I loved to run around the yard with him and wrestle with him in the bed in the mornings. I think I like the puppy mill dogs a lot since we have a common bond.


Jojee 13-179 and Willow


I've also been busy catching birds in the backyard. Foster Mom is not thrilled about this, but she says I am a hunting dog so she is not too surprised. She just doesn't like to see us dogs kill critters. In the past two days, Foster Brothers Rocco and Raven have each gotten a bunny, I got a bird, and Jojee got a frog!! I think it is fun, Foster Mom, not so much.

Just a reminder on what I need in a forever home. I need at least one or more large breed, well socialized dogs who will help me grow and are OK with a girl dog who thinks all toys and bones are hers. I like most dogs but act bossy at first and can growl and show my teeth until I understand that the new dogs will not hurt me.....so dogs that understand that and won't think I want to fight with them. I really need an adult-only home as even teenaged children are too active and noisy for me.....I like women better than men, but if the guys are quiet and very patient with me, I might be OK with them. I also need a fenced yard. Foster Mom says she would never trust me off leash in an unfenced area, and I do not like to be on-leash or on a tie-out. Oh, and I do eat poop....always have, always will, so you have to just accept that quirk and not get upset with me. I also need to be on grain-free food as I do have some sort of allergies, and I need to have my feet wiped a couple of times a day and my ears cleaned once a week or so to make sure they don't get gunky. I also love to sleep in the bed with my humans and will not go in a crate. I panic if I am put in a crate and will injure myself. I don't have free roam when Foster Mom is gone as I will chew up stuff, like chair legs, rugs, etc, so you will need a place that I can hang out where I will be safe when you are gone. Foster Mom says I am a work in progress but worth the work and I have made huge progress....just have some quirks that I probably will always have. She says that is what makes me lovable and very special.

Well, that's all for now, time to play with my buddy Jojee and see what else I can hunt up in the backyard. Thanks for reading about me.

Your friend,

Willow


08/03/2013:

Hey everyone, it's me, Willow, writing to you from my foster home. Not too much is new here. I am still enjoying playing with Jojee 13-179. He is my buddy and we love to wrestle and play bite with each other. Foster mom says I am like his mom and that I will miss him once he finds his forever home. I am also enjoying my summer. I love to pull apples off the apple trees in the backyard. I'm not so sure about eating them (they are kind of bitter) but I do like to jump up and pull them off so Rocco and Jojee can eat them. I also like to hunt birds and rabbits. Caught two more birds and one rabbit since my last update. Foster mom says I am a very good hunter but she would rather that I not hunt the birds and rabbits. I am teaching Jojee how to hunt too!! I also love to chase and try to catch fireflies at night. Jojee and I love doing this and it makes foster mom laugh.

I've had a few more pee accidents in the house as of late. Foster mom thinks it is because Jojee has some accidents and I see him pee in the house so think it is OK for me to do that too. She says we need to work on this. All in all, I am doing pretty good and am looking forward to my third birthday in just a couple of weeks. I hope foster mom has a big party for me!! I know I will get homemade frosty paws and a bone from the butcher shop....foster mom always does this for all the dogs birthdays. We are so lucky!!

All for now, time to play with Jojee!!

Your friend,
Willow


08/15/2013:

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to me, Willow!!! OK, I'm a day early on celebrating my birthday (my birthday is on Friday the 16th), but I am so excited I just had to start my celebration a day or two early. I received the best birthday present in the entire world, just in time for my 3rd birthday. Can you guess what my birthday present is? I'll give you a hint or two. It is too big to to fit in a box and there is no way to wrap it up. It was pretty expensive, but thanks to a very special person, my biggest, best-est wish came true. I AM ADOPTED!!!!! Yup, you read that right, me, sweet baby girl Willow has her very own family, mine, mine, mine, all mine. No more foster family for me, no more foster brothers or foster sisters, no more foster mom, now it is just regular mom, brothers and sister!!! After almost 18 months in foster care, I finally found someone who wants me to be part of their family even with all my "issues and special needs." I now have my very own mom, two brother dogs and one sister dog. I have a nice big fenced-in backyard to play in, hunt for bunnies and birds in and stay safe in. I also have a nice house to hang out in and I can sleep in bed with my mom and canine siblings. Bet you are all wondering if I will miss my foster mom and foster brothers and sister since I lived with them for all this time. Nope, I am not going to miss them at all, cause I am so happy with my new family. I never even said goodbye to them. Ha, ha, the joke is on all of you who are wondering why I won't miss them and why I didn't say goodbye. That's cause I am not going anywhere. Foster mom adopted me!!!!! I get to stay with her forever and ever and ever and get to live with my most favorite boy dogs in the world, Rocco and Raven and my favorite sister dog, Jimmie. Can you all believe this news??? How great is this, huh. Boy, am I the luckiest dog in the world or what. I love my mom and my siblings and am so happy I do not have to move and learn to love new people again. Mom says we will keep working on my socialization skills and we will conquer walking on a leash. She wants me to be comfortable so someday I can attend RAGOM events and show everyone just how far a very scared, traumatized puppy mill dog can come. She says she knows I can grow and learn since I have already made so much progress. She also says she hopes I will someday no longer pee in the house and chew up stuff.....hopes someday I can have free roam when she is not home. Sounds like I have a lot to work on, but I know with her love and care I can get there.

I'd like to thank all the wonderful people in RAGOM who have helped me find my forever home. Thank you to everyone who helped me learn that humans are not so scary and brought me treats and were so patient with me. Thank you to all the wonderful people who donated money and time so that all of us dogs can have a chance at a happy life. Without you none of this would be possible and I would still be living in the puppy mill. I can't believe my good luck. I was so scared when they picked me up from the puppy mill in March of 2012 and so scared when I first came to my foster home. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this is what my life would be like. I would like to send a very special thank you to the wonderful person who made my adoption possible....you know who you are and so do I....a little bird told me and I will thank you in person in a few weeks. You are the best. Well,.off to celebrate my new life and my birthday. Jojee and I are going to wrestle some and I am waiting for mom (love saying MOM and not foster mom) to give us our homemade frosty paws and beef bones!!! I love birthdays!!

So long for now,

your friend Willow

(I'll send in some updates from time to time, so watch for me on the happy endings page.)