Charlie #12 Black Labrador Retriever Male 5-6 Years Old ID #2634

August 6, 2020

So just a couple of random things that have reminded FM that she’s still learning new aspects about me and the way I think…

I have made a habit of moving from place to place during the night, for reasons I still haven’t shared with FM.  She thinks it might be some variant on the Goldilocks thing, where I keep sampling different options, trying to find the one that’s just right.  But I usually try all the options, every night, so there’s a fair amount of activity over the course of the night. And now I’ve found a nice new option:  I can sleep in the shower.  I’ve discovered that the shower floor is made of these smooth, flat stones. They are nice and cool, and the size and shape of the shower are just right for me. Bonus:  If FM comes into the bathroom in the middle of the night she is momentarily startled to see me there in the shower.  Hee hee! Gotcha, FM!  So that’s the night-time thing.

The day-time thing is that I can help keep FM on her toes about putting things away in the kitchen.  Cindy and I get various pills, morning and evening, and they are always wrapped in little pieces of American cheese. We LOVE getting our pills.  Occasionally FM will forget to put the cheese away when we’re finished. When that happens I will sit in the kitchen close to the counter where the cheese is, and just look at it and do little whines and yelps.  If FM doesn’t come right away I’ll stay in the same spot and bark at the cheese.  Then FM comes and notices what I’m trying to tell her. And she puts it away.  So then I can go about my business, knowing that I’ve done two favors for FM: I’ve refrained from eating the whole package of cheese, and I’ve reminded her that she needs to put it away. She acknowledges what a good helper I am by saying, “Thank you, Charlie!” Oh yes, I am a good boy indeed!

So, apart from my being listed as available, the other thing of note this week is that I’ve developed an ear infection.  I went to the vet today (while FM waited in the car).  I made sure the vet understood how much I did NOT want her checking my ears, but ultimately I had to allow it. I came home with some pills, some drops to go in my ears, and a special solution to clean them.  Did I mention that I don’t want anyone messing with my ears?  So this I can tell you: FM intends to use that cleanser and those drops, and she will not be dissuaded. This I can also tell you: I will continue to make my objections known, in the strongest possible terms.  The irresistible force is about to meet the immovable object.  Let the battle begin.  The survivor will let you know how it turns out.

Hugs and licks and kisses from Charlie!

July 15, 2020

Hello again, from your friend Charlie #12, AKA tag 2634.  I’m checking in from FM’s house, where the days just keep sliding by, each one very much like all the others.  Out of necessity I’ve become adept at searching for small things that might signify some break from our uninteresting routine.

Last week I was standing next to FM when she opened a closet that she doesn’t usually open.  On the floor just inside the door was a bone. And next to the bone were two round rocks that FM had put in there a few weeks ago.  She had seen me trying to play with them as if they were balls (I love balls!) and she was worried that I’d break my teeth.  Anyway FM quickly finished whatever she was doing with the closet and she closed the door. Of course that didn’t end matters in my mind.  About a half hour later I started with my “I want it” bark.  I’ve become very proficient in training FM to understand what the different barks mean, and she knows this one pretty well.  I know that it’s most effective if I keep it up uninterrupted for several minutes. Sure enough, FM came looking for me and found me sitting in front of the closet door, staring at it, barking, and waiting for my wish to be granted.  Uh oh.  Sorry, Charlie!  FM was having none of it.  She offered me a consolation prize of some kind and I decided to call it a win. Such are the trivial “events” that mark the passage of the days and nights around here. It’s a sad state of affairs when I have to resort to refining my repertoire of barks (and other vocalizations) for lack of anything better to do.

There was another bigger event last week: The nice trainer lady came back and we had a very good training session.  We walked in the neighborhood and practiced my “look” and “touch” skills.  I did really well with all of that and then also did well when we reached a place where a neighbor was walking an unfamiliar dog.  The nice training lady could see by the dog’s posture that it wasn’t rolling out the welcome mat for visitors. And of course I’m not a fan of abrupt introductions or quickie meetings with dogs I don’t know. (Is that what they call speed dating?)  So we practiced our “look” and “touch” and “easy” encouragement and I handled it beautifully, and we just walked on by.  I did a lot of sniffing at the ground.  The nice trainer lady told FM that was a good thing. She explained that the sniffing is a way of self-soothing or self-comforting and my doing it was another sign that I was handling myself well. So there you have it! I must admit the treats for this whole exercise were amazing: pieces of hot dog!  Wow!  FM really hit a home run with that choice!

So the trainer lady thinks I’ve progressed well and that I’m ready to find my fur-ever family.  She said that it would be important for a new family to understand my anxiety about unfamiliar dogs and continue to work on it, but it’s something that is quite manageable, especially with the benefit of the Halti lead. And here’s something the nice trainer lady doesn’t yet know:  a couple of days after our session, FM and I went out for a morning walk and along the way we encountered a total of TEN dogs, in singles and multiples. And with the help of the hot dog pieces and FM’s “look” and “touch” encouragement, we went right on by, cool as a cucumber.

So FM is going to start working on the forms she needs to complete to make me available, and she thinks she will announce my availability within the next week.  She does want to add, in the interest of full disclosure, that she just had me seen by the vet for some recent instances when she’s noticed that I would occasionally leak a few drops of urine while I was sleeping or resting. It has been infrequent, certainly not something that happens every time I sleep, but FM wanted to look into it. So the vet said there’s no sign of any abnormality or infection. He thinks it’s probably just a very mild incontinence that develops in some dogs.  He started me on an extended-release Proin, which should take care of it very nicely.  I had my first dose this evening.

And that’s where things stand.  Stay tuned for late-breaking developments. I’ve been waiting for something interesting to happen, and my upcoming availability certainly qualifies!

Xoxo Charlie

June 2, 2020black Labrador Retriever

Hi, friends, Charlie here, stopping by to let you know what I’ve been up to. Truth to tell, not much.  Our days have settled into a predictable routine that starts with a walk and then breakfast.  Sounds like a promising beginning, right?  Not.  The rest of the day usually consists of sleeping and waiting for something to happen.

FM is working at home these days. When she started this work-at-home thing I had high hopes for fun-filled days, lots of walks, maybe some random snuggle times.  But I’ve come to understand that FM had other plans. She sits at her computer most of the time, maybe walking around a little if she’s talking on the phone.  So the best I can muster is to stay on the alert and listen for anything outside that will give me an excuse to exercise my vocal cords.  Luckily there are multiple opportunities every day. Even better, those opportunities usually coincide with FM’s phone calls.  So almost everyone who has been on a call with FM has heard me bark.  The best are the Zoom meetings.  Hee hee!  And my bark is a thing of beauty, if I do say so.

Anyway, it seems FM has a rationale for these inactive days: she doesn’t want me to become accustomed to a lot of activity and entertainment during the day, because it won’t always be available, whether here in my foster home or in my eventual forever home. And she figures it wouldn’t be fair to allow me to get used to fun-filled days and then suddenly change the rules.  I guess she has a point.

I do want to tell you about a good thing from a few weeks ago:  I made the acquaintance of another dog in the neighborhood and it went off really well. The other dog is a Lab mix, almost my size.  He has excellent manners.  His mom and my FM made a spur-of-the-moment decision to try the introduction and neither one had any treats on hand, so we did it without treats.  Just a gradual walking around kind of thing, while we got closer and closer. It was totally fine. After a short time we were just hanging out side by side, sniffing the ground without a care in the world. FM must have told me “good boy” a hundred times. So now we know that I can calmly greet at least some dogs.  So that’s my latest milestone moment. The challenge will be learning to greet dogs that aren’t as well-mannered.  Meanwhile I’m still doing the sit/stay and waiting for other dogs to pass by if we encounter them on our walks.  I’ll be sure and let you know about my next milestone achievement, in another update.

And now a few words from FM: Charlie is a really good boy in the house.  He doesn’t seem to mind the workdays, with their limited opportunities for play.  He has lots of toys and he entertains himself for long stretches with one or another of them.  He and Cindy sometimes share the big dog bed, while other times he’s on the floor near me or he’s sleeping on the sofa.  He never pesters to go out. Our usual habit is that I take Cindy for a short walk, then take Charlie for a longer walk.  If Cindy doesn’t want to go out I can’t persuade Charlie to go first.  He looks as me as if to say, “It’s not my turn yet.  I’ll be ready to go when you and Cindy come back.”  Dogs certainly are creatures of habit!

I plan to speak with the trainer shortly, to get her thoughts and advice on the possibility of making Charlie available without finishing the program we had started at the end of February.  It was suspended after only one session, due to the COVID-related restrictions.  If she can help me work out a blueprint for his continued training then I think I’ll go ahead with that, and start searching for his forever home. It will be hard to let this big boy go. He’s a gem!

April 12, 2020

Happy Easter from Charlie #12, AKA Charlie #2634! I wish that didn’t sound so much like a mug shot or prison ID number.  Alas, it is what it is.  I also wish I had more to tell you in the way of fresh news. I guess we’ll settle for something less than fresh!

I’ve been here in my foster home since Thanksgiving.  I had some veterinary needs that were addressed and wrapped up by the end of January.  We then started working on a training program in February but we had only one session before that sort went off the rails, with a couple of consecutive scheduling complications and then the COVID-related shut-downs. So, FM and I have been trying out the “independent study” concept, with reasonably good progress. Here’s what I can report:

I am astoundingly good (if I do say so myself) about wearing that Halti lead. I let FM put it on without any issues, and I don’t mess with it at all, until we come back in the house, at which point I immediately start pawing at it.  We use the Halti every time we go outside and FM finds I am much more easily managed.  In other words, it works!  The down-side for me: she is no longer feeding me little treats as we go along on our walks. That was great while it lasted but I kind of knew it was too good to continue forever!

I’m now able (with encouragement from FM and the Halti) to sit-stay without pulling or squirming when an unfamiliar dog walks by on the other side of the street. I sit nicely and whine just a little, but I think this count as good progress! We’ll be working to achieve that same good behavior at a smaller distance. FM thinks the next real hurdle will be actual up-close greetings with other dogs.  We will work toward that gradually. And eventually we’ll re-connect with the trainer, which should help a lot.  In the meantime, the social distancing rules fit nicely with the Charlie-distancing rules. So that’s where things stand on my social skills.

In the house I am truly easy peezy.  I get along wonderfully with resident dog Cindy.  We don’t play together, because Cindy just isn’t inclined to play, but we hang out nicely, sometimes chilling on our own and sometimes snoozing together on the big dog bed.  I’m well-behaved indoors and my reward is that I’m no longer gated in the kitchen.  I have a few toys that I enjoying chewing for long stretches of time. And I’m happy to take long siestas.  My only indoor vice is that I will sometimes help myself to food on the table or countertop. FM is learning to be more careful about leaving things where I might reach them, but she still drops her guard occasionally. Lucky for me!

And so, we pass our days pretty peacefully.  FM tells me that she will be helping me to find my forever family, once she’s satisfied with my progress on new-dog interactions. So stay tuned on that. I’m a smart pupper and I don’t think it will take very long.

By the way, I do have one other little vice: I just can’t stand having my picture taken.  FM is attaching one photo. My caption: No, no! Please no pictures!black Labrador Retriever with paw over nose


Xoxo Charlie

February 24, 2020

Hi, out there! It’s me, Charlie, with an update on my life here in foster-land.

The main thing in the past few weeks is that I’ve started my training sessions with the nice lady.  FM is right: that lady is really nice and she said lots of super-nice things about me when she came out last week for our first session. We’re working on having me pay attention to FM and slow down (“EASY…”) when I’m walking on the leash.  FM thinks this will be a gradual process, but I’ve promised to keep working on it…as long as she keeps the treats coming!

The second thing is that FM is getting me used to the Halti.  That’s going well. I do let her put it on without fighting.  The next thing will be for me to keep it on.  With adequate quantities of yummy treats, I think I may be persuaded.  The nice trainer lady says it will make a big difference if FM can use the Halti for my walks. So, we’ll see her again this Thursday (Feb. 27).  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Apart from the training, things are pretty uneventful around here.  Oh…except for that one-time last week when I ate a pound of American cheese that was out on the counter.  Apparently, FM had NOT intended that to be my post-dinner palate-cleanser. Well who knew? It was there, and well…stuff happens.  A perfectly understandable mistake on my part.  Of course, I will be 100% certain to make that same mistake again, if I get the chance! Hee hee!

So that’s it for now. Stay tuned for a report on my next training session. Can you say TREATS?

Xoxo Charlie

January 31, 2020

Hi, everyone!  It’s me, Charlie #12. I have been a pretty busy boy since my last update to you.  I did have that mass taken off my gum.  It turned out to be a kind of tumor called acanthomatous ameloblastoma.  The name is much bigger than the tumor was!  People can get them too.  My mass wasn’t all that big but it was the kind of thing that can be invasive locally, and it will come back if it’s not completely removed.  So I had surgery with a dental specialist. She took out what was left of the mass, plus two teeth, plus the rim of the lower jaw where those teeth were attached. I’ve made a very good recovery, and the surgeon was able to get clear margins all around, so I am now cured.  Woo hoo!  The only disappointment is that some of my favorite chew toys are now off limits permanently. Here’s how the vet dentist explained it: If the toy is something FM wouldn’t want hitting her in the knee, then it’s something I shouldn’t be chewing.  I’m not at all clear on the connection between FM’s knee and my teeth, but it seems I don’t get a vote.  Luckily I have lots of great toys that ARE okay for me!

So, speaking of FM, she has decided to get creative with my name.  While we’re in the house I’m still just plain Charlie. But as soon as we step out the door and start down the steps my name changes to Charlie Wait.  She calls me that a lot while we’re going down the steps. Then once we’re on the sidewalk or in the street my name changes again. She calls me Charlie Easy.  I do wonder why FM feels the need to get fancy with my name. If I ever figure it out, I’ll be sure to let you know.

FM tells me I will very soon be meeting this nice lady who will help us to become a Dynamic Dog-walking Duo.  It seems FM believes we need some help–together–with the proper etiquette for meeting and greeting unfamiliar dogs. And secondarily, we will work on my approach to bushes, trees, lamp posts and other things I need to check out.  It seems that FM isn’t a fan of my signature style, which involves lunging toward the target of my interest.  I think it’s great sport, but FM isn’t convinced. I’ll certainly let you know how things go with that nice lady I’ll be meeting.

I must say that life is good for me.  Resident dog Cindy and I get along really well together.  I’m well behaved and quiet in the house. FM thinks I’m quite smart and funny. Who am I to argue? I have a LOT of great toys.  One my favorites is called a Jumbler. It’s shaped like a football and it’s a firm rubbery material, clear red color, and it has a tennis ball INSIDE the football shape.  It was one of the toys in the box from the Carolyn. What a great choice! So, I need to end this now and get back to playing with my super excellent toys!

Here are some pix taken by my dentist.  You can see I’m wearing my scarf saying “I won!”  Catch my smile in the first photo.  I crack myself up…

black labrador retriever
xoxo Charlie #12
December 17, 2019

He is very adept at avoiding my attempts to take his picture.  Even with a piece of cheese hanging out of my mouth I can’t persuade him to look at me if my phone is in my hand.

Charlie is indeed a big fan of cheese. He’s getting a bit better about his picky food habits but cheese is still his favorite thing.

He and Cindy are doing well together.  They are comfortable resting side by side on the big dog bed. It would make a cute photo if only Charlie would cooperate.

black Labrador Retriever face

yellow and black Labrador Retriever on dog bed

He has improved considerably in his tolerance for being touched.  He likes to run between my legs and then stop there and stand for some butt rubbing. (His, not mine.) And he likes belly rubs.  When he visited the vet (almost two weeks ago) he rolled over to let the tech rub his belly. What a pleasant surprise!

Charlie runs up and down the steps with ease. And he can get on my bed quickly and silently.  Poor Cindy would love to get on the bed but she can’t jump that well.  I hope she appreciates that I tell him to get down as soon as I notice him there.  After all, fair is fair!

On the whole he’s good about not messing with things that aren’t his.  He hasn’t shown any interest in counter-surfing or taking things off the tables.  His only vice in that department is his special fondness for slender wooden things. He pulled a wooden stake out of a house plant and started chewing/breaking it.  He got a long wooden dowel out from behind a piece of furniture (HOW??) and bit off the end.  And he chewed up a pencil a few days ago.  If that’s the worst behavior in his indoor repertoire I think he can be forgiven!  But I’m glad my gates are metal.

I’m expecting he will continue his progress as he becomes more and more secure and confident.  He will have surgery Friday to remove the mass from his gum.  I guess that could make him a little bit anxious again, for a short time, but he’s on the right trajectory.  Wish him good luck and mojo, please!  (Maybe I should ask the vet to get some nice portraits while he’s anesthetized or sedated.  Presumably he will be a more cooperative subject while he’s conked out.)

December 12, 2019

 Hi, Brookline friends! I hope you don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. I actually have lots to tell you, as it’s been more than a week since I last wrote to you.

I am settling into the routine in my foster home.  Not to say there may not be opportunities for improvement here and there, but FM thinks I’m showing promise.  She told me she thinks I’m smart, maybe even a teensy bit too smart, as I’ll explain below.

But first things first.  So, I got this great box of goodies from Miss Carolyn. That nice lady sure knew what I would like!  A bunch of balls and toys that I am loving, including this extra-favorite one that’s shaped like a football.  It’s super-tough and I love chewing on it.  Besides that, it squeaks, it bounces in funny ways because of its shape, and it has a little tennis ball inside.  Wow, what a perfect toy.  I am a die-hard chewer, so I really need toys that can withstand my assaults! This one fills the bill. So, the box of goodies was a big hit with me.

But guess what?  Before I could enjoy it, Miss Cindy got to it, while I was gated in the kitchen and FM was out for a while.  She tore up the shipping box (Cindy, not FM), tore up the filling paper inside the box, ripped open a box of treats that had been meant for ME, and scattered the new toys all over the front hall.  She was, however, kind enough to refrain from eating the treats, and she apparently had no interest in playing with anything inside the box. She just wanted to tear up the cardboard and paper.  Crazy girl!

So that happened last Wednesday night.  We got that all squared away.  Last Thursday night I had my initial vet visit.  The people at the vet’s office seemed to like me. They were amused at the way I dragged FM through the side door and made quick stops at each room on the way to our assigned exam room.  We came in that way because FM was pretty sure it would have been impossible to go through the main waiting area, with other dogs and cats and people there.  I believe her term for that was “disaster beyond all imagination.” (Remember that line from “Phantom of the Opera”?) But I digress…  So, we came in through the side door and we met Dr. Hawkins.  She checked me out and concluded that I am five or maybe six years old, not eight.  FM was not at all surprised. She had already concluded that I was younger than reported.  Dr. Hawkins thought my hot spot and fur loss looked like flea-bite dermatitis rather than a food allergy reaction.  It had already improved a lot by then and has since improved a whole lot more. So, we can probably assume I do NOT in fact have severe food allergies.  So, the whole checkup was really very good, except for one thing: there’s a mass on my gum that is a concern.  Dr. Hawkins said that could be a problem and it should be removed and evaluated.  I will be going back to the vet to have it removed on December 20.  Fingers and paws crossed that’s it’s benign.

Other than that, life has settled into a fairly predictable routine. FM takes me out on walks with Cindy.  I am learning to take my time going down the front steps, with lots of reminders to “wait.”  Okay, okay! I get it!  Cindy moves pretty slowly and I’m getting used to that.  I still think it’s a good idea to lunge for any tree or bush I want to inspect.  FM will have to work a little harder to modify that behavior, but I suspect it will happen.  So… our MAIN project will be to improve my interactions with dogs I don’t know.  I pull hard to get to those dogs, and then I am (according to FM) too pushy.  Maybe not aggressive, but not appropriate.  So, for now FM is keeping me away from unfamiliar dogs.

I am still gated in the kitchen when FM can’t supervise me.  She tells me that’s mainly because she doesn’t trust me to be consistently nice to Cindy.  I hardly ever snark at her now, but FM wants to be very sure. So, here’s where she thinks I’m maybe a tiny bit too smart:  I really don’t want to be gated in the kitchen.  FM initially lured me in with one of my preferred toys, but I caught on to that and wouldn’t come in. Then she tempted me with my favorite treat. That worked for a few days, but I got wise to that too. Then she went for the nuclear option: cheese. That worked until this morning. So, she ended up putting my leash on, and I went right in. But I won’t go for that more than couple of times. So, it will be interesting to see what devious idea is next on the list. Stay tuned.

black Labrador Retriever sitting

A few words from FM:  Charlie is a really nice dog.  He’s happy and agreeable (except about being gated in the kitchen) and he has already come a long way from the scared, anxious dog who was time-stamped at ACCT. He has this puppy-like bark that’s reserved for the times he wants attention. His serious bark is quite impressive, but I’ve only heard it a couple of times. He signals when he needs to go out, combining his puppy bark with a quick trip to the front door. And he still growls and barks (a third kind of bark) when he’s playing with his toys, whether by himself or with me.  His love for toys is boundless, but he does settle well with an antler or hard toy to chew. Right now, the mass on his gum starts to bleed if he chews for a while.  We’re looking forward to having that addressed. And hoping it is NOT anything serious.

December 1, 2019

Hi again! It’s your new foster friend Charlie, with an update on my last couple of days.  First, I need to let you in on a little secret: This business of telling you about myself and the details of my activities does make me just a teensy bit uncomfortable. It feels pretty self-absorbed, self-indulgent and so on.  I have a healthy disdain for those people (and puppers) who feel the need to go on social media and broadcast to the world what they ate for breakfast, which designer they’re wearing today, and how many likes they got on their last post. Ugh!  And now I feel as though I’m joining the ranks of those spoiled brats. So just to be clear: I’m doing this because FM is MAKING me do it.  So here goes…

On the subject of what I’ve been eating for breakfast, the short answer is whatever FM can persuade me to try.  I’ve gotten more and more picky with each meal and I’ve skipped a couple, out of sheer indifference.  I could stand to lose a few pounds, but FM thinks this isn’t the way to do it. So, she’s tried adding shredded cheese, pieces of American cheese, chicken stock, and globs of wet food to my kibble (not all at once, thank you!).  None of it mattered very much.  Last night she tried a bit of homemade turkey gravy and that did the trick.  So, my meals today have been “seasoned” with gravy.  Score one for me in the “training FM” department.

I am definitely feeling more comfortable and getting the lay of the land. I discovered a basket of toys and tugs and balls and such, and I’ve been very busy the last two days sampling every single item in that basket. There were a number of squeaky stuffed toys. Those are no longer available. It seems FM wasn’t wild about the idea of my tearing them apart.  Now they’re all out of reach.  I can see them but I can’t get at them.  While I did have them, I made her laugh at my style of playing:  lots of vigorous shaking, dropping them and pouncing on them and then jumping away, growling and barking at them when FM and Cindy were in another room.  All of that was fine, but tearing them apart wasn’t fine.  Oh well. So, it goes.

I’m improving (so FM says) in becoming more approachable across the board.  I acted quite possessive about toys initially but I’m not doing that very much now.  The first time I went for a walk with Cindy I growled at her when she tried to sniff a spot where I was sniffing. We quickly reached a compromise on that: she hangs back till I finish sniffing, and I let her get pretty close without objecting.  In the house we’ve had a couple of snarky scuffles and I know that I own those.  FM is still separating us for meals and during the times she can’t supervise us.  That usually means I’m gated in the kitchen, where I have fewer opportunities for mischief and no opportunities to go after Cindy. I noticed that the kitchen gating routine was really easy for FM, so I decided to make it more challenging: I’m no longer falling for the bait of a toy or a ball tossed into the kitchen.

Here are some very good things to report:

The hot spot at the base of my tail is looking somewhat less inflamed.  We still have work to do but it seems to be getting better rather than worse. Let’s hear it for Veterancyn!

I sleep quietly in the kitchen all night and don’t pester to get up in the morning.

I’ve had no accidents.

I’m learning quickly the right way to go out the front door and down the steps.  I know the command “wait!”

I haven’t (so far) messed with any non-dog items.

I’ve demonstrated a nice vocal range, including heart-breaking whines (for attention or release from the prison…I mean kitchen), yappy, high-pitched puppy barks (also seeking attention), and impressive big-boy barks directed at my toys.

And some not-so-good things to report:

I still have worms.  Apparently, the de-worming at the shelter didn’t “take.”

I do need to learn to approach other dogs with more restraint, and less growling.  That will be an ongoing project. So says FM.

FM also says we should save some details for our next update.  (You’d never guess I’m reluctant to talk about myself, would you?)

We will be arranging a vet visit ASAP, to get things checked out, get rid of those yucky worms, etc.  FM says it will be interesting to know whether I’m more cooperative with her vet than I was with the shelter vet.  We shall see…

So… that’s all for now!


November 30, 2019

This boy is progressing so quickly, it’s hard to believe he’s been here less than three full days. He had initially shown signs of resource guarding, warning both Cindy and me about various things. That has just about disappeared, though I’m still not allowing any unsupervised contact between Cindy and Charlie.  He has an unbelievable obsession with balls, to the point where he can barely tear himself away to eat.  He has a really funny response to toys that squeak.  I’ll describe that in more detail in an update later, but I think he reacts the way a puppy would: he tries to charge at the toy or ball, then jumps back.  If he picks it up and makes it squeak, he’ll quickly drop it and tilt his head to listen. Of course, it doesn’t squeak once he drops it. It’s comical.

Walks…He’s getting better about barreling out the door to go outside.  He would initially rush out the door and then jump sideways from the second or third step and dash down the hill, but he understands now that he has to wait, and once we start moving, he needs to go down the steps. He’s a quick study.

Alone time…He’s quiet and well-behaved when he’s gated in the kitchen. So far, no counter surfing nor any attempt to get into anything.  Right now, he’s gated out of the kitchen while Cindy is in here with me.  He amuses himself with the toys and balls he’s finding in the toy basket.  He’s barked at the toys several times.  That too strikes me as a puppy-like behavior.

Meeting other dogs…We’ve met a few on our walks.  He pulls like crazy and seems friendly but very pushy.  He growls while meeting the other dog, but there really doesn’t seem to be anything aggressive in his posture or behavior.  And the other dogs don’t react in a way that suggests they are responding to a warning. Nonetheless, I’m trying to keep him from getting too up close and personal for more than a second or two. Interestingly, he also growls a lot while playing alone with his toys.  I have to look into that further.  Are there growls that do NOT signal an aggressive warning?

Physical issues…his skin issues and hair loss around his butt and the base of his tail may well be a flea-bite dermatitis rather than a food allergy. The one area certainly looks like a hot spot.  I’ll be addressing that with the vet when he has his initial appointment.  Also, he was de-wormed but as of this AM there were still live worms in his stool.  Another point for discussion with the vet.

In short, things are going really well.  Charlie is a super-nice dog and he’s smart.  He’s a great example of the amazing resilience of dogs whose back-stories are often so sad.

November 27, 2019black Labrador Retriever face

Charlie arrived about 90 minutes ago.  We introduced Cindy and Charlie in a grassy common area a short distance from my house.  It went very smoothly.  They were appropriately interested in one another, nothing dramatic.  Then we came back to the house and I brought Charlie in and allowed him to explore while Cindy was outside.  He was again appropriately interested but not obsessed about anything.  He did immediately find the tennis balls in a basket of toys! Cindy then joined us.  Charlie continued walking around the first floor while Cindy stayed close to me, her usual behavior.

It’s apparent that Charlie will be a ball hound.  He brings the ball and gives it a little toss to be sure the fetch game continues, even if the fetching is only a distance of two feet.  And it seems he’s willing to play ball with himself.  He’s mildly interested in a big squeaky hedgehog toy, and intrigued by a squeaky tennis ball.

I’ll be gating him in the kitchen for a few days at least, to keep him separated from Cindy.  He’s there now, asleep, while Cindy is sleeping at my feet in the dining room.  He did some whining for a few minutes right after I gated him in, but very quickly settled down.  He seems to respect the gates and hasn’t shown any interest in trying to knock them down or get past them, as so many other fosters have done. I’ve noticed that when he lies down, he faces away from wherever I am, even if it means he’s facing a wall.  It will be interesting to see whether that continues.

While we were introducing the dogs, we used treats to get them to sit. He definitely appreciated them, but he doesn’t seem to be totally obsessed, as Cindy is.

He came with a bunch of meds.  I already have almost all of them on hand, as Cindy and/or Ben have/had been taking them regularly.  So far, I haven’t seen any evidence of scratching or itchiness.  His coat isn’t bad, but I bet it will improve.

I think we will go out again before bedtime, and/or during the night.  He did drink a good bit of water, not surprisingly.  So, he may need to go out sometime before morning. I put a dog bed in the kitchen for him, but he’s not on it.  I’m sure he’s appreciating the peace and quiet after his stressful and noisy days at the shelter. I guess he doesn’t need the dog bed to feel comfortable.

Poor Charlie was time-stamped for Thursday evening.  Thanks to his Brookline team of superheroes he’s safe now.  Ahh-h-h!  Sigh. Bliss.  Sweet dreams, sweet boy!

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