Cindy, Yellow Labrador Retriever, 11 Years Old

January 20, 2019

Hi, all!  I’m checking in to give you just a little update, since it has been such a long time since you’ve heard from me. I have been in my foster home almost six months and I think I’ve accomplished all the things that FM had put on  my to-do list when I arrived here. I’ve adapted completely to life in a regular, non-farm house.  Around here that means no fences and no time at all running loose outside. I’m really fine with that, since I’m not big on running around anyway. And speaking of not big, I’ve reached that goal too.  You may remember that when I came from the farm I was somewhere in the range of 88-92 lbs.  I was checked at the vet about a week ago and I was 73 lbs. Wow! What a difference that has made!  I have a nicely defined waist, my coat is very nice, it’s coming in well in the areas that were clipped for surgery (back in October), and that ol’ lick wound on my paw healed up a long time ago. I completed my four-week induction phase on Adequan a month ago.  That was started to help with the considerable arthritis in my elbow.  It made a very noticeable difference.  FM is pleased, the vet is pleased, I’m pleased.  Smiles and tail-wags all around! We were able to wait the full four weeks after the induction phase before my first maintenance dose, which I had two days ago.  So that will be the schedule I’ll want to follow going forward. Several of my dog-walking neighbors have noticed the improved pep in my step.  I must admit I’m kind of proud about that. Blush blush… I’m very happy to go for rides in the car, now that I understand how that works:  you go in the car and something very good will happen when you get out at the end of the ride.  So Ben and I just jump right in as soon as FM opens that back door thing on the car. I do appreciate that FM backs the car up to a curb, so I don’t have to jump too far to get in. So the only thing that mars the perfection of this picture is that I will occasionally randomly get into things when FM isn’t around.  I’ve gotten much better about it, possibly because FM has put so many things away.  She says the upside is that the house looks a good bit tidier. The downside is that she doesn’t know just where some of her things ended up.  And some things really can’t be put away very well, so the kitchen, which is gated, is becoming the alternate location for some stuff.  Like the computer. (I chewed/cut the power cord.) I guess the Keurig will be relocating to the kitchen tonight, as that power cord met the same fate today.  Oops. Plastic storage containers, the fringe and edge of the oriental rug, music books, sheet music, papers, books, boxes, the tablecloth and contents of the dining room table, two Freedom harnesses (while I was wearing them), a Corning ware casserole…oh, and a whole lot of Ben’s food, which I was able to access after I tipped over the metal trash can where it’s stored, and managed to pop off the snug-fitting lid.  So FM and I think it would be best if can go to a home where someone is around a fair amount of the time.

Which brings me to the end of this “little” update, and leads to the teaser for my next communication, which will be the announcement of my availability.  FM says that will probably be this weekend, with the Foster Dog questionnaire.  I will see what I can do to create some fanfare for my announcement. Stay tuned! xoxo  Cindy (Cinderella)

October 23, 2018
Hi, everyone! It’s me, Miss Cindy, AKA Cinderella.  I’m touching base with you, since it’s been a few weeks, and I have good things to share with you. I think the last time I checked in I was about to have my spay surgery.  So that went fine.  Because I’ve had a lot of puppies the surgery was a little more involved and the incision was somewhat longer but I did just fine.  I had a lump removed from my leg at the same time.  That incision was closed with a few sutures and my spay incision was closed with a bunch of staples. (Good thing I wasn’t going through any airport metal detectors!) The folks at the vet noticed that I wanted to mess with the sutures on my leg, so they put on the dreaded cone, which FM had thoughtfully (??) brought from home.  That cone was actually quite a nice one, as cones go, but I was having none of it and I wrecked it in less than 5 minutes. So, the vet people sent me home with a standard-issue vet-office cone.  Let me tell you, FM and I both hated that cone. It was really big, the front edge was sharp, and things were not going well with it.  So, FM decided to cut it back and rig up some cushioning on the edge.  She used that foam insulation that you put on water pipes. Thank you, Mitch for that suggestion!  It’s lightweight, and it made the edge softer and quieter. AND we concluded I could be trusted to leave it off when FM was in the room with me.  So, things went just fine from then on.yellow labrador retriever in an e collar with bumpers   When I went back to the vet for removal of the staples and sutures I got some good news: My weight was down to 79.8.  Yay!  I’ve broken 80 lbs!  The incisions were in good shape, so I need no further vet care. So of course, that was all great.  Then another happy development:  When it was time to get back in the car to go home I decided I wouldn’t make FM lift me in bodily.  She put my front paws in and I tried to push up with my back legs.  I needed some help, but it was a big step in the right direction. So now that FM knows I will get into the car willingly she is starting to take me places.  We went to the groomer on Saturday for Ben’s nail trim.  And I’m going along today with Ben for his vet visit.  AND we are both going to the picnic.  So, we will see our Brookline buddies there! Attached is a photo of me wearing my modified cone.  FM made a feeble attempt to tell me that was the fascinator she’s been promising, but I wasn’t buying that story.  So, I’m still waiting for the fascinator.  More to come on that… xoxo Cindy/Cinderella
September 19, 2018
I took Cindy to the vet’s office tonight, to leave her there for her spay surgery (and removal of a lump from her leg), tomorrow.  When they checked her in they also weighed her.  She’s lost six pounds in the last three weeks. Yay Cindy! I don’t know whether it’s the weight loss or her getting more accustomed to our walks, or maybe a combination of both, but she has improved significantly in her ability to walk. She moves more freely and more quickly, she doesn’t seem to tire as easily, and she really seems to enjoy the walks. As the weather gets a bit cooler Cindy and Ben and I are all savoring our walk time.  Life is good! A couple of days ago Cindy flushed a cat out of a bush near my neighbor’s house.  She was very keen to give chase, and I’m sure she would have if she hadn’t been on leash.  I’m told she lived with cats on the farm, but I guess that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t chase them if she got the chance. As she gets to be more spry I suspect she will be more alert to opportunities to pursue the neighborhood critters.  She’s already interested in rabbits, squirrels and now cats.  Can’t wait to see how she’ll react when she first catches sight of the resident chipmunks! I’m happy to see her partaking of the joys of dog-dom.  We’ll need to exercise some restraint as she recovers from her surgery, but that should be just a brief set-back.  Fingers and paws crossed! September 18, 2018 Cindy is pleased to report a recent development. She’s been thinking about it for at least a week, and has decided to share it in the form of a little puzzle.  Read on! Oh, lookie! Hey, listen! I have something new. I’m turning it into a puzzle for you. This thing (which I hope you are trying to guess) Reflects NOT something more, but in fact something LESS. One clue that may help you to answer this riddle: On dogs and on people it’s close to the middle. Cinderella’s is nicely displayed at the ball; Her look has Prince Charming completely in thrall. Bit by bit, over time, MINE had just disappeared. Regaining it now is a little bit weird. Experience tells me–though some would deny it– To have one (or not) is a matter of diet. —Okay…have you figured it out?— If you haven’t yet guessed it, here’s one final clue. The spelling that follows may reveal it to you: …Wait for it…  …WEIGHT for it… The solution to the puzzle: I Have.  A.  Waist.  Yes, a waist! I haven’t had one in a while.  And at this point it isn’t exactly well-defined, but it’s there.  Yay!  A breakthrough in my weight-management program.  FM tells me it will become better defined if we keep working on it.  And in addition to the development of a waist I can proudly report the development of increased stamina and a faster pace on our walks. Life is good! So…do you think my spay surgery will count toward my weight-loss goal?  I will be spayed this Thursday.  That will be the official end of my baby-making abilities. Unfortunately, I understand it won’t eliminate the evidence of all those litters of puppies.  But we’ll just keep on, bit by bit, and see how things go. Wish me luck on Thursday.  And I’ll keep you posted about anything new about my waist.

September 1, 2018

Cindy is wonderful.  She elevates velcro to an art form, so I will want to place her with someone who appreciates that kind of lovin’.  Not everyone does.   I also think she would be happiest in a home with another mellow dog.  She and Ben don’t interact much but I know she likes having him around. Funny thing this AM: I was sitting at the bottom of the steps, trying to put on my running shoes, and Cindy was so glued to me I couldn’t get the shoes on, couldn’t see my feet.  Ben was on his bed with a toy, in the dining room.  So I kept saying to Cindy, “No, Cindy, stop.”  Not yelling, not even raising my voice.  But Ben heard me and I guess he thought I needed to be saved.  He gave a big bark and came charging up and shoved his face at us, nudging Cindy out of the way.  It was really funny.  And now I know that Mr. Mellow has a protective streak. I would never have guessed!  It’s kind of nice to know. Cindy has an appointment to be spayed and have her dental work and lump removal (from her leg) on September 20.  I think I will make her available soon after that, once she’s had a chance to recover.  Her vet has a broken thumb, so is out of action for surgery right now.  She expects to be able to do it in a few weeks, so that’s what we’ve planned.  Miss Cindy continues her portly ways.  She actually gained four pounds in less than four weeks here, even on a diet that I thought was pretty modest.  So I’ve cut it back further and will try substituting green beans for part of her rations.  I’d really like to see how much her mobility might improve once she takes off some of this weight.  She needs to lose about 20 pounds. She is the sweetest dog.  She’ll be a great companion for someone who doesn’t have a terribly active lifestyle. And who doesn’t expect her to go places in the car.  She HATES getting into the car.  Maybe I need to try a pumpkin-shaped carriage with horses.  After all, this IS Cinderella we’re talking about!

August 17, 2018 Just getting all my smile muscles in working order!

Nailed it!  As you can see, Brookline friends, I’m wearing my new scarf, along with my fully warmed-up smile face.  The glitter doesn’t show up too well because it was TOO EARLY in the morning and there wasn’t enough sun to make it sparkle.  You will also note that FM has decorated my scarf with the beautiful flower that was part of my Brookline Welcome Box.  That flower will be re-appearing shortly in a very special accessory: FM has promised to make a fascinator for me.  You know all the royal ladies wear those fascinators when they get dressed up. It’s only fitting that the princess-in-training should do the same. August 15, 2018 Hi everyone!  It’s me, Cindy, with the latest and greatest.  It’s been a week and a half since I left the farm, but I’ve managed to squeeze a lot of interesting things into that brief time.  So here’s a little thing that happened just now:  I was just chillin’ on the floor near FM and Ben was chillin’ on the other side of the table, when FM reminded me not to lick my paw.  So I started wagging my tail and it was thumping against the wall.  Ben heard it and he thought someone was knocking at the door, so he jumped up and started running around and barking.  He’s still carrying on.  Meanwhile I moved about eighteen inches and went back to chillin’.  That Ben is great as a security detail.  His size (jumbo) and his voice (loud and deep) are really quite impressive.  But he is a perfect buddy for me.  He is my Prince Charming!  Which brings me to the next thing I want to tell you: It’s funny that FM should have decided to call me Cindy.  It’s a perfect nickname for my true name: Cinderella.  Well that’s what SHOULD be my true name.  Just like the original Cinderella I worked very hard in my first home, on the farm.  I didn’t have to sweep the hearth or cook or carry firewood but I had to make puppies.  Lots of them.  That was hard work!  Then a week ago I was swept out of my hard-working world, like Cinderella going to the ball.  My first fairy godmother drove me from the farm.  She has an SUV rather than a pumpkin-shaped carriage with four horses.  That was okay; horses aren’t exactly a novelty to me.   And the modern-day convenience of air conditioning was most welcome on that hot morning. My second fairy godmother is my FM.  And of course Ben is my Prince Charming!  So I’ve started the princess phase of my life.  Actually, I am currently a princess-in-training.  I’ll become a full-fledged princess when I go to my furever home.  In the meantime, FM (second fairy godmother) and I agree that this new life certainly suits me.  I do intend to opt out of the glass slippers; I don’t need any more challenges with traction on smooth surfaces! Apart from settling into my new life I’ve been working to get rid of my cough.  It’s almost gone.  I think it will clear up completely pretty soon.  I hope so!  There are a number of dogs in the neighborhood.  We’re eager to meet, but I’ve had to keep my distance.  I don’t want them to think I’m too stuck-up to associate with them, even if I am a princess-in-training.  And FM wants to take me to the groomer for a spa day.  That too will have to wait till I’ve recovered.  So there are good things in store in the not-too-distant future. Meanwhile I’m enjoying other good things.  Walks with Ben are always nice.  A couple of times we’ve had to scurry home because a big storm has come up suddenly.  FM found out that I can move along pretty well when I need to.  I know we’ll be working on that whole walking thing, together with the weight loss thing.  Both the weight loss and the walking will take some time. I really like food and would gladly nudge Ben away from his bowl, to steal his dinner.  Ben is a real gentleman and he would totally let me.  FM, not so much.  I have also (just once) shown my willingness and ability to put my paws up on the kitchen table, to get at the treats there. So cutting my rations will not go over well.  We’ll get there slowly. The walking thing will be another gradual process.  I’m slow and steady but FM thinks that with time and reasonable exercise I’ll get into better condition AND I’ll lose some weight, which will make it easier to walk.  And a bit of moderation in the outdoor temperature would help as well. I’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping in FM’s room at night.  I’m a quiet sleeper.  I may move from place to place but I stay upstairs.  I don’t bother with a dog bed when I’m on the main floor, so FM hasn’t brought one upstairs for me.  That’s okay; I’m thinking that given my status as a princess-in-training I should probably be exploring something better suited to the royal life…perhaps a velvet cushion with some nice tassels hanging from the corners.  Not sure how FM would feel about that.  She has so many dog beds already she may balk at the idea.  Perhaps I could just start doing a discreet search on Amazon, and then if I find something suitable I can drop a few hints.  Stay tuned on that! So we’re in a nice comfortable routine right now.  I know that lurking our there on the near horizon is a return to the vet.  Some of the stuff that might have been done during my first visit was deferred because I was stressed that day and definitely not feeling well.  So I have to get the rest of my shots, get my stool tested for any parasites that might be hiding there, and I guess have a re-check on the things that were issues that first day.  I think FM is most concerned about just getting me into her car.  She’s hoping that I won’t be so resistant the next time.  We shall see… One final note:  A big thank you to Carolyn, who sent me a lovely box of goodies from Brookline.  I must confess I’m not quite sure what to do with all the toys, but Ben is impressed.  And the squeaky snake is very cool.  I’m enjoying the treats (no surprise there) and I’ve already taken the heartworm and flea/tick pills, but here’s the best part: This beautiful scarf.  One side is red and white polka dot (so classic; always in style) and the other side is lavender with lady bugs, and it’s embellished with glitter!  Magnificent! I don’t know how Carolyn came up with something so perfectly royal! So that’s where things stand for me.  I am loving life and looking forward to each new day. Xoxo Cindy, more formally known as Cinderella   8/9/18: Cindy’s foster mom is writing this as Cindy’s ghost-writer, as she is napping and I don’t want to disturb her. -Coleen Hi everyone from your new friend, Cindy.  It’s been two days since I sent that big update, so I have some new stuff to tell you, but I’ll try to be brief. I am still coughing but I think it’s getting a little better.  I’m not having to cough quite as hard and on the whole it doesn’t sound as bad.  It happens when I first get up, especially first thing in the morning.  I think it’s a combination of excitement and and the exertion of getting up.  I’m pretty slow to get on my feet when I’ve been lying down, particularly if I’m on a slippery surface.  I usually push myself up, using my front legs to do most of the work.  FM doesn’t know whether that’s caused by my hip arthritis or possibly some hind end weakness that might improve with some consistent conditioning.  BUT whatever it is, it doesn’t stop me from going up and down her inside steps. FM was home all day today and she went up and down those steps more times than I could count.  I went with her most of the time, cuz I like to be around her as much as possible.  When I go down the steps I bunny hop with my back legs, putting both feet on each step. It takes a little longer but it feels secure and I like that.  The outside steps are not so scary now.  I bunny hop down them as well, but with Ben in the lead I no longer hesitate. Yesterday FM gave up on the baby gates, after I had defeated the one gate three times.  So the gates are back in the basement (where they belong!) and I have access to the whole house.  I’m not interested in getting on the furniture or the bed.  That’s a good thing, cuz I’m not sure I could get up even if I wanted to.  I’m completely reliable about doing my peeing and pooping outside.  When we’re out on walks I like to make note of the spots where Ben has just gone, and I will then pee in each of those same spots.  I trust him to choose the best places! Now that I’m not gated in the kitchen FM is realizing that I will happily steal food from Ben’s bowl, even when he’s standing there.  And Mr. Mellow will let me do it.  He is one chill dude!  FM definitely doesn’t want that going on.  Not only do I NOT need the extra food, but she’s still concerned about this cough, and that is way too close for comfort.  At dinner time today she ended up putting a chair in the doorway to kitchen and then sitting on the chair to block my way, until Ben had finished his dinner. His habit is to eat in the dining room, while I eat in the kitchen. Actually I will eat wherever there’s food to be had, but my food bowl happens to be in the kitchen.  And FM is glad to see that I don’t counter surf or help myself to things on the tables. I must tell you how much I like that Ben.  He is so nice, patient and always a happy boy.  I wonder what I’d do without him around!  I will have to be careful not take unfair advantage of his sweet personality.  I have a feeling FM will be keeping an eye on that.  That’s okay.  I know she’s keeping an eye out for my well-being too. So FM is telling me it’s time to go out for our bedtime walk.  Time to sign off. Nighty night! xoxo -Cindy 8/7/18: Yellow Labrador Retriever Cindy chilling outHi, everyone!  Please allow me to introduce myself. It may sound odd to you but I’m not entirely sure about my name.  The whole 11 years I lived on the farm I was called Sandy.  Now it seems this lady is calling me something else…it kinda sounds the same as Sandy, but maybe not quite.  Sindy? Cindy?  I’m trying to figure it out, but I do get the idea that it’s meant for me and not the other dog around here. So here’s my story so far:  I was living on the farm with my family, including four young kids, when this lady came to visit, about a week ago.  Then after several days the same lady came back and told me I was going with her. And she helped me get into her car (a strange experience for me) and she took me to a place where there were all these dogs and people.  That’s where I met the lady who is now trying to be my new mom. I must tell you I probably wasn’t very cooperative at that point.  I was really scared and confused about what was going on, and I wasn’t feeling well. I was waiting for one of my family members to show up and straighten things out, but no one came.  Instead I was poked and prodded for a little bit and then handed over to the lady who wants to be my new mom.  She asked me to get in her car, then begged me, even pulled on my leash while she was begging me. I decided I needed to stand my ground. After I had escaped my collar a couple of times the new mom-lady called in reinforcements and together they put me in the car against my wishes. And off we went. After a while we arrived at this new place.  When I got out of the car I saw a big chocolate dog nearby.  He was on a leash but the man holding him couldn’t control him and this big dog got pretty close to me before he stopped.  Turns out he lives with the mom-lady and he is a really lovely dog.  We had a nice, cordial meeting, hung out for a little bit and then headed to the mom-lady’s house.  That was the occasion of mom-lady’s first surprise: I went right up her front steps as if I had been practicing for the moment.  She told me she was very pleasantly surprised.  Hmm…that was easy!  Once we were in the house I decided to lie down for a rest.  I still wasn’t feeling well and it had been very hot outside, so I just wanted to get my bearings and chill for a while.  I was still hoping my family would show up.  They didn’t.Cindy close up - yellow labrador retriever So this mom-lady (she said I can call her FM) just let me rest that whole day. We had a few walks, sometimes with the big chocolate dog and sometimes without him.  I couldn’t tell you much about the walks.  It was all kind of a blur.  I didn’t feel much like eating but when FM put some canned food in with a bowl of kibble she won me over and I ate it all.  I decided I would be safest on the dog bed in the kitchen and I made it my spot.  I slept there all night, without any barking or crying or accidents. Next morning we went for another walk with the chocolate boy. (I found out his name is Ben.) It was getting hot again and I was feeling a little worse than I had on Saturday. This cough was really annoying, and it was making it hard to breathe. I ate breakfast but then just plopped down on the dog bed and stayed there.  Next thing you know the mom-lady (FM) decides it’s time to go in the car again.  Oh no! She put this harness contraption on me (it’s called a Help-Me-Up Harness) and she lifted me into the back of her car. I made zero contribution to any part of the effort.  At least she had the decency to apologize for all my inconvenience! We went to a different place where there was some more poking and prodding and then we had another car trip before arriving back into FM’s house where I could rest again.  Another couple of walks, another dinner.  FM gave me a couple of pills and told me they would help me to feel better.  Just before she went to bed that night FM took me outside once more.  I refused to walk down her front steps and she had to half-carry me down. If I had been feeling better I would have laughed at how hard I was making her work.  Moving a 90-pound dog isn’t easy, even going down the steps.  I know she was glad I was willing to go UP the steps without hesitation. Monday brought a new approach: FM decided I might go down the steps more readily if Ben went with me.  BINGO! We’ve done that on every walk since.  We are wonderful walking together.  I’m definitely slower than Ben but he doesn’t seem to mind.  It gives him extra time to sniff every little thing along the way.  FM is very happy to find that it’s easy to handle us together on-leash. The other thing that happened Monday was that I started to feel better.  I stopped waiting for my family to show up, I decided I like FM, and felt some of my energy coming back. I started wagging my tail, and cut back on the time I was spending on the dog bed. Monday night I did a little happy dance at dinner time. So today (Tuesday) has brought some further revelations: I know the command “sit” and will also sit for a treat even without the command. I will at least sometimes respond to the “come” command.  I am increasingly convinced that FM is a good person to know, so I’m starting to follow her around.  I’m wagging my tail often.  I am definitely feeling better, though I’m still coughing.  I’m actually quite capable of smiling, and I’m doing it fairly often.  I think chocolate Ben is a great buddy to have around and I’m venturing out of the kitchen to be with him and FM.  When FM came downstairs this morning I was standing at the kitchen gate, wagging my tail, waiting for her.  I’m looking forward to the day when I can spend my days wherever I choose.  It might be in the kitchen, or it might be wherever Ben is.  Right now I am gated in the kitchen when FM isn’t around, and even most of the time when she is around.  She says that’s because of my cough, and she promised me it will be temporary. I will keep you posted!Yellow Labrador Retriever Cindy lying on her bed FM’s very brief addition to this narrative:  Cindy does have bronchitis.  I’m trying to limit the direct contact between Cindy and Ben but the layout of my first floor doesn’t lend itself to the kind of real isolation that would be ideal to minimize the risk to Ben.  (He has been vaccinated for Bordetella.) And I think true isolation would be very traumatic for Cindy at this point.  Fingers crossed that things continue to go as well as they have so far!

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