Complimentary Coloring

The cushions on my couch have never been the same since Buster came to live here, but I admit they have got quite a bit of use as cat beds before his arrival.

Isis is a princess, with her bright, impeccable coat, clear green eyes tastefully ringed in eyeliner, and an entitled air. She’s a commanding little presence in the household.

She always held herself aloof from the other cats — until the first foster kittens showed up. Isis was about three by that time and it was the first time I’d seen her act like a kitten with other cats.

She had always been more of a dog kinda cat, she and Daisy the German shepherd forming a tight bond almost instantly. Isis was the only cat not terrified of the six week old puppy and the pair quickly formed a Trouble Club, joyfully chasing one another through the house, disturbing the other cats and secretly shredding the underside of a couch. That must have been their Initiation Ritual.

On Buster’s first night here, Isis indicated her approval with a regal nod of the head. That and the fact that she calmly regarded him from her perch on the couch (not THAT couch) with no hint of unease, and let him stick his curious nose in her face without a swat or a hiss let me know he doesn’t have a ‘cats are prey’ drive.

Typically, you might find that the cat would be on the back of the couch, and the big dog would be down below on the cushions, but you know already that nothing plays to the norm in my house.


And the Trouble Begins…

I officially adopted Buster a couple of weeks ago.  He’d been with us since the end of November, and we seem to know each other pretty well.   The adjustment period for a new animal is around two months, give or take a week.  Buster’s adjustment period was short.  Within five minutes of his arrival, he and Luna were racing around the yard together, chewing on each others’ necks, all that fun dog stuff.   Buster fit so easily into the household, it was almost as if he’d always been here. Except for some inappropriate chewing episodes (the woodwork ledge by the patio door, the ballpoint pen enthusiastically destroyed on my bed) and a persistent interest in stealing cat food from the kitchen counter, he’s really been no trouble at all.  I’ve had two or more dogs for a long time.  Never have two of them been great friends like this.  Luna’s the more dominant dog, but only slightly.  Theirs seems to be an equal partnership.

Once I signed the adoption contract and wrote my check to Carver-Scott Humane Society, something changed.  I think the animals know once you have committed to them forever and ever.  Take my cat Cricket, for example.  I fostered her for months after she came to me with her brother and sisters as a family of four-week-old orphans.  I regularly trimmed the kittens’ nails, because it’s good to offer for adoption a kitten who already knows how to get a pedicure.  It makes it less likely that the adopter will want to declaw the cat, and its just a good idea to start the young ones off with good habits. So Cricket got her nails done, surprisingly with a minimum of struggle or strife because I am not the most coordinated lady on earth. Shortly after I signed the adoption papers and paid the fee, I got my clippers out, happily thinking it was good that at least one of my cats had proper nail training.  Our life together would be a snap.

How wrong I was!  Miss Cricket writhed and flipped and in general let me know that she was not interested in a pedicure, that day or ever.  How did she know that she was here for good, whether she had neatly trimmed nails or not?

Buster has shown his appreciation for my lifetime commitment to him by ripping the stuffing out of not one, but two, comforters.  I was secretly hoping something would happen to one of them, because it had a nice Rorschach ink blot right in the middle of it (see paragraph one, above, about Buster’s chewing adventures).  The other one had been with me since before the Flood and I was used to seeing it folded neatly at the end of the bed, ready to warm me on those ‘two quilt’ winter nights.  So sad to see an old friend go.

Special Investigator Luna gives the ruined comforter a final check before it goes to Quilt Heaven.

But, life goes on.   The new extremely inexpensive one I bought yesterday at Target is still intact and -bonus – it brightens the room up.  If he can just keep his mouth off it for another couple of months, I’ll be happy.

Double Agent Luna lends an ear to Buster’s secret plot to damage the new bedcover. Will she come to the authorities before it’s too late?


We Had A Photo Shoot

Please welcome our guest blogger, Luna.  She writes on topics of interest to the Canine-American community. Thanks to Amber Johnson of Modern Life Photo for having the patience to deal with two unruly dogs. – Celayne

Here we are in the backyard. I’m the good-looking girl on the right. Buster’s the shorter guy. He adores me.

So we got to go on a car ride today, me and my foster brother, Buster.  It was longer than we usually drive.  Normally we wait in the car while She Who Keeps the Food goes into the store to buy her own food and it is close to our home and it doesn’t take very long.  Today we sped along the freeway for a while before we got to a place I remember well: Pampered Pooch Playground.  I haven’t been there in maybe a year, but I went pretty often after Daisy died.  She Who Keeps the Food thought I needed to play with dogs and Rusty was too old to play with me.  Like I can’t entertain myself!  But it was fun going there.  Now I’ve got Buster to play with so we just stay home in our big fenced yard and chase around there.  I hope She is not too mad when she sees what happened to the Mugo pine tree…

You can click here to see a video of the two of us playing tug-of-war.  We were tired after a long day with many trips outdoors into the blowing cold, it was warm in front of the fireplace and so we were moving kinda slow motion.  But you can see how well we get along together.  He respects my authority, so of course things are going smoothly!

Anyway, the reason we were at Pampered Pooch was to have our picture taken.  I don’t know why She took us there, because she’s always taking pictures of us.  Embarrassing stuff like when we are sliding off the couch while sleeping, or having one of the cats cuddle against us.  But there we were, so we put on a show.  We pretended not to know what ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ means.  Buster pretended that he always jumps up when he is offered a treat.  And I pretended that I was shy and kept trying to hide behind my mom.  She was getting frustrated with our make-believe, I could tell.

But the photographer, a real photographer with a real camera, was very nice and patient with us. I kind of felt sorry for her and wished we weren’t doing all our pretending.  Despite our antics, she said she got some good pictures of us and will be getting them ready so She Who Keeps the Food can pick them up on Saturday.

So stay tuned. I’m sure She will want to share our pictures with you.

Well, back at it.  There’s still a small patch of pristine snow in the backyard and we want to mess it up before nightfall.

Your canine correspondent,



I’ve been living in a dream world

I thought clean plates and silverware in the dishwasher were safe.  Freshly washed and sparkling, they hold no interest for a curious dog.  I wanted to believe this.  I had no reason not to.

Until today.

I’m a procrastinator, I am lazy, and I am easily distracted.  Sometimes it takes me an hour to unload the dishwasher.

But, it’s not a big deal because the animals will leave the clean things alone.

Sure, I’ve caught a dog with her mouth around a fork, trying to lick the last bit of flavor from it.  Or watched as a big head tries to find enough room to clean up microscopic remainders of cat food from neatly loaded cat plates.  The dishwasher, while several years old, does a fine job of cleaning, not even leaving soap residue behind. Nothing left behind for a dog to enjoy.

My dream world imploded around me this morning.







It’s so disappointing when illusions are licked out of existence.

The Buster Report

I wrote a version of this article for the Carver-Scott Humane Society’s newsletter, Furry Footnotes.  Any time I can write an article and it can be about me and my animals, I am happy.  No hours spent on research!  The newsletter should be online in a month or two.

Buster cuddles with Monty, a fellow impound survivor

Ever think of fostering, but thought it would be too hard, too much work, or just too daunting?  It’s not all that hard, really; the extra work is minimal, and Carver-Scott volunteers are ready to answer any questions you have or help you deal with behavior or adjustment problems that might arise with the foster animal.

In CSHS’ foster-based program, volunteer foster homes are one of the most necessary components to our mission of rescuing and finding permanent, loving homes for the dogs and cats we serve.   Without foster homes, we cannot take animals who need rescue.

I am fostering a year-old Pit Bull called Buster for CSHS.  I have fostered both dogs and cats in the past, but he is my first Carver-Scott foster.  Taking a dog into my home as a foster was not what I was planning in early December, but life has a way of evolving down paths you never expected.

A year earlier, I had three of my own dogs.  In the space of four months, two of them died: one from extreme old age and the other from hermangiosarcoma, a blood cancer.  It was a devastating period for me, and I was left with one lonely young dog and a heart that would not open up to any new canine companions.  Oh, I looked occasionally, but none of the dogs I saw broke through the emotional barrier I’d erected.

About the time my heart was thawing – a bit – I learned of a dog at 4 Paws Animal Control in Shakopee who had been there for three weeks after being abandoned by his owner when she moved away.  Other dogs at 4 Paws had been claimed by CSHS or other rescues, but still Buster waited.   I took my dog, Luna, to meet him.  She was afraid of all the commotion at the impound, but Buster was just happy to meet us, as he was happy to meet any other dog or person there.  Pit Bulls are often this way, despite the bad reputation they have for being aggressive.

Because the first meeting hadn’t gone very well, on Luna’s part at least, I waited until the next day to pick him up.  I felt bad about making him stay at the impound another night but a happy introduction was more important and better for everybody in the long run.  On her own turf, Luna was her usual self — and elated to have a playmate.  After a couple of minutes of sniffing and worriedly following the newcomer as he checked out his new home, the two were playing chase around my fenced yard.  There’s no way a human can replicate the kind of play that two dogs share, especially when your dog is a hard-playing German shepherd and you are a low-energy kind of slug.

The first few days are always a learning curve, as you and your foster dog get to know one another.  Buster’s house training was an unknown, and at first it seemed to be non-existent.  After being kept in a pen at animal control for so long, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he balked at entering the crate I had for him.  But he came with a built-in great attitude, joyfully playing with Luna, inspecting my cats with the utmost respect and never letting his long white-tipped tail stop wagging.  The house training issue was solved after a few days.  He did that part all by himself.  The crate training thing: we have put that one off until later.  He’s not causing problems in the house, even when I’m not here to supervise, and yeah, it’s unpleasant and I am putting it off.

It’s supposed to be three or four weeks in a new home before a dog will show you all he is made of.  At the four week mark, Buster has gone from a dog who showed signs of separation anxiety, who became frantic if he found himself alone in the house or the yard, to a dog who often is happy to stay outside and play alone when Luna has demanded to be let inside.  He’s gotten a little friskier with my cats, but he only wants to play with them.

CSHS foster homes provide love and care for our dogs, cats and exotics until they are adopted into their forever families.   When you foster, you are doing a good deed, but the animals also do so much for you.   They will love you unconditionally, are thankful for a warm place to land, and in the case of Buster with Luna, provide a free exercise service!

Wake Me When Christmas Gets Here

Buster has made himself right at home, including parking on my bed at night.

Buster seems to know Christmas is coming.  He’s sampled a branch of the Christmas tree and opened one of his gifts – a Nylabone for “powerful chewers”.  His chewing puts Luna’s destruction to shame.   Toys that Daisy had her entire life that later lived through Luna’s puppy years now lay dead or dying after discovery by Buster.  Cat toys don’t stand a chance.

Buster’s only about a year old, and still firmly a puppy.  He’s learning manners pretty well, and I can’t fault a young guy for chewing.  At least he hasn’t gone after any furniture, or my shoes, or the woodwork.

He is completely food motivated.  Today he pulled a fresh almond croissant out of the grocery bag somewhere between the car and the house.  It must have been when I left the bag at the front door and returned to the car for the case of canned dog food.   He didn’t even act guilty.  I guess he thought he needed it more than I did.




We Love The Snow

With her heavy shepherd coat and extreme activity level, Luna loves being out in the cold and snow.  Buster Brown, the pit bull terrier we are fostering, does not like the snow.  When we got up Saturday morning and discovered a handful of inches of new snow on the ground, Luna dashed out and danced through it, spraying up rooster tails like a hotshot skier grandstanding to a stop.  Buster was about to step out the sliding door, but held up at the last moment, sniffing the air and wondering what on earth had happened overnight.

I got into my Happy Mode, encouraging him to follow me with squeally-voiced cheerleading: “come on!”;  “let’s go!”; “hooray!” while clapping and hopping up and down, generally making a fool of myself.  Did I mention that I was barefoot in the snow at this point?   But he really needed to get outdoors to relieve himself.  We’d just gotten past the Morning Piddle in the Dining Room stage and I was not about to revert.

Buster did what he was supposed to, and headed back to the door.  “No, you don’t, Buster!” commanded Luna. “C’mon, I’ll show you some fun!” and nosed the reluctant and cold boy back to the expanse of lawn that she’d already decorated with a figure eight. “You do this”, and she jumped up into the air.  “And this”, and pushed some snow with her nose.  “And this”, and she tackled him.

Buster forgot all about the cold as he rolled to his back and began biting Luna’s neck.  Ah.  True love.