Harriet Black Labrador Retriever Female 4 Years Old ID #2778
Harriet came to Brookline from Mississippi after being rescued by a local woman who found her and her 9 pups (don’t worry they are safe too) living under the front porch stairs of an abandoned house. Harriet was a super good mom to her pups and was clearly very grateful to her rescuer for getting her and them safe. Now it’s turn for Brookline to take care of Harriet who unfortunately is heartworm positive. But we got you Harriet. We will get you better so you can live the long, healthy and happy life you deserve. Harriet is currently getting settled into her new foster home. Stay tuned for updates on this sweetie (please read her blog from the bottom up).
January 17, 2021
Just a quick update on Harriet. While Harriet has always stayed close to my dogs, she hasn’t been particularly cuddly. Well last night I turned the corner to see her using our yellow lab as a pillow. It warmed my heart.
Harriet also successfully went for a walk without the other dogs. My daughter had taken the other three (and Harriet decided she wasn’t so sure about that since it’s usually foster mom or foster dad who takes her walking/hiking) so she stayed with me. Of course she then looked longingly out the window until I caved and suited up to go outside with her. This had happened a few weeks ago, and when I took her out she would only go about a 100 yards. This time she did the whole ~1 mile walk, although I knew which way my pack coming back and she was super excited to bump into them. Baby steps but progress indeed!
January 4, 2021
Harriet wants to wish everyone a Happy New Year! She’s hoping that this is the year that she will find her furever home. There is not a lot more that I can say about her. She’s an easy pup for us, but she is shy and there’s no instant fix for that. It’s just going to take time and patience, and she may always be reserved. While we know she didn’t have a great start, we can only surmise what she had to do to survive. But I know that furever home is out there for her.
If I could hand pick the perfect family for her, it would be with one the has a playful dog that will try to engage with her and to help bring out her “fun” side. Indeed a resident dog is a requirement for her placement, and I think she will always need the comfort of another dog in her home to help show her the ropes. She will probably do better in a quieter home where two-legged coming and goings are on the calm side and predictable, but Harriet knows how to make herself scarce if she’s not comfortable with new people in the house, and that’s OK. She’ll take herself upstairs to chill in our bedroom. She comes out when she’s ready.
Harriet is going on regular walks with us and is great on the leash unless she decides she is ready to turn around, and then she can be a bit stubborn. But with the other dogs leading the way, she rarely does that, and we average 3-4 miles a day with her. She is not interested in going for a walk with just her humans though (we’ve tried that and she won’t go that far). She loves my husband and me equally now; it used to be that she preferred me but food is important to Harriet and he is the one who does the bulk of feeding so she is no dummy. Whenever one of us returns from being away for even an hour, she greets us with some little hops and a fully body wag.
She’s quite comfortable in the back yard (and she is loving the snow!), but noises she doesn’t recognize still sometimes make her wary, so she is going to do much better in a relatively quiet setting.
She is a perfect lady in the house, although I’m sure she would counter surf if given the opportunity. We’ve just gotten better at not leaving things out within reach. She likes to be up in the bedroom with us, but so far prefers her own bed, and she hasn’t tried hopping up.
We really want Harriet to have her own home, but we’ll happily continue to host her and try to expose her to new things slowly but surely until her match comes. Please reach out if you have any questions about her.
December 22, 2020
You might notice the gap in Harriet’s blog. We thought we had found the perfect match for her, but alas it didn’t quite work out the way we hoped. So Harriet is back with us in foster care, and it is as if she never left! And we had quite the reunion when she hopped out of the car and the three resident labs were there to greet her.
Now that Harriet is completely done with exercise restrictions, we’ll be working on exposing her to new things and socializing her to the extent we can. However the pandemic is working against us here. Still the day after she returned we took advantage of the recent large snow storm, and we all went snow shoeing (ok the dogs don’t have snow shoes). And Harriet did great, staying right in line with the rest of us (once she learned not to step on the back of foster mom’s snow shoes!). And we’ve taken her on two walks a day the last couple of days. We’ve seen a few people and while she gets nervous, we just move off to the side of the trail and let them pass. And if they want to stop and chat, I’m fine with that as I want Harriet to learn that nothing bad happens when she sees people. We’re relaxed and so she needs to be too. I’m now taking treats with me again so I can mark/reward the behavior I want to see. I was happy to notice that she still isn’t responding to gun shots far off in the distance from the gun range in the adjacent State Gamelands.
Harriet is very happy inside the home and is trying out all the dog beds, sometimes sharing and sometimes seeking out her own space. Her tail wags constantly when you talk to her. As with the outdoors, new things can make her nervous, but as with the gun shots, once she gets used to a new sound and it is no longer new, she’s no longer afraid. I try hard not to comfort her when she’s worried, but rather tell her “it’s Ok silly girl” in an upbeat voice.
Between how she does with the resident dogs and how animated she got with the short term foster pup Jazz, I continue to know that she needs a home with a resident dog/dogs. In fact I think she got so playful with the pup because the pup didn’t take no for an answer and pushed her a bit.
November 8, 2020
Harriet is already more than 3/4 done with her rest restrictions from her last heartworm injection and she is doing great. I’m actually more than a little sad to say that I think it’s time to start thinking about her going to her furever home. She will need to gradually increase her exercise over the next month or so but the hard part is over. Harriet has gotten quite attached to us, so I know it will be an adjustment for her AND for us, but I do think she is going to bond to her new family pretty quickly as long as they give her time to decompress, lots of soft loving words and pets and well -food. Harriet loves to eat, so she will probably bond quickly with anyone willing to give her snacks. We’ve tried to be careful with that since she hasn’t been getting aerobic exercise. Good thing she likes carrots and apples!
Harriet will need another heartworm test in 6 months but the treatment has gone so well and there is zero reason to think that she will test negative. It has been a long haul, but we made it, and she was quite the uncomplaining trooper. Harriet had a hard life before she came into rescue; she has good reason to be scared of gun sounds and loud voices, but slowly but surely she is coming around to the fact that life is going to be good from here on out!
We’ve had an interesting week as we had an unexpected visitor in the form of an 11 week old black lab puppy (Jazz who has her own blog). I thought of all the dogs that Harriet would welcome herb at first she growled and moved away from her every time the puppy came near. I think she was telling us that she is SO done with having puppies. But within two days she relented and actually has started to mother the little one. And she is so patient with the puppy antics. Good girl Harriet.
She is going to make an awesome companion for the right family, and they’ll have the honor of watching her and helping her continue to blossom. We will miss you sweet Harriet. Warning, visiting rights are going to be written into her contract lol!
October 27, 2020
Harriet is now done with her injections! She was not a happy chappy after injection two but she rebounded for the third one, and all is well. We’re even tapering off the prednisone which is a good thing, because Harriet is quite the food thief with this hunger-inducing steroid. Just this morning she ate the breakfast bread off my plate when I turned my back for just a second. And in the last two months, she also ate a box of donuts, two full prepared grain bowls and a bag of lemon heads to name a few. She has an iron gut though and has never shown any signs of distress from these binges. I suspect that’s because when she was on her own she often had to raid garbage bins and the like. Still we’ll all be happy when she is done with the prednisone, not just because of he increased hunger but because of her increased thirst and the subsequent frequent potty trips outside.
Harriet is still somewhat shy (reserved?) but she is a sweetheart and always has a tail wag for us and likes to be pet, and she is very comfortable in our home. Honestly my heart is already hurting knowing that we’ll be making her available soon and that she’ll have to adjust again to a new life. But I know this time it will be much easier for her, and I can’t wait for her to have a life without restrictions. While she’s quite calm, she does love going outside. It’s such a change from when she first came here and everything scared her. Now while she still is often on high alert, a leaf blower or voices next door don’t cause her to want to come immediately back in. Harriet is a bit of a hunter and I know if she weren’t on leash she would have caught plenty of chipmunks. I suspect they are no match for her. While we haven’t gotten to go on walks for awhile, I know she is going to enjoy them as long as they are in quiet settings.
October 3, 2020
Time flies and I apologize for the delay in updating Harriet’s blog. Harriet did really well with injection number one; it was clear that she was initially in a lot of pain (it’s a deep intramuscular injection) but we were able to get pain meds in her and keep her comfortable until the area didn’t hurt so much. In terms of the what the injection is designed to do- kill off those nasty adult worms- we’re not seeing a lot of side effects, which is really good news. We’re keeping her as quiet as we can, but you wouldn’t necessarily realize you needed to as she seems pretty much herself; mind you there are days that she is more perky than others but it’s hard to know exactly why. As I often say about my foster dogs, wouldn’t it be nice if they could tell me what they were feeling and thinking! Probably the most challenging part from our perspective was dealing with her increased thirst from the prednisone she was on post-injection. At first the dosage was high enough that she was wanting to drink all the time and therefore we needed to take her out almost hourly if we didn’t want her to have accidents.
I took Harriet with me on a very quiet trip to visit my elderly parents in Maine, figuring she’d have someone watching her 24/7 versus being alone while foster dad was at work back at home. She traveled quite well. She settled immediately and pretty much slept the entire drive. We did stop a few times for her to do her business, and I just had to be mindful to pick quiet rest stops. Harriet will not go if there are noises around her that she finds scary (and that includes a lot of sounds). Harriet also did well in Maine and enjoyed the river views and watching all the critters, but she was wary of my very unassuming and quiet parents the whole time. Upon our coming home I confirmed that she does much better with the resident dogs as opposed to being solo. I’m including the video of her coming home so you can see just how happy she was to be back with the pack.
So even though we have two more injections to go (on two consecutive days) in about two weeks, we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I just can’t wait until this girl beats the worms and can run and play like everyone else. She will have to continue her exercise restrictions to the tee for the month following the two shots, and after that, she should be only allowed to gradually resume normal activity, but I’m feeling really optimistic about her long term health.
Lastly she looks great. Her coat has come back in (after major fur loss post nursing her pups) and is soft and silky, and she’s a good weight at about ~53 pounds.
September 13, 2020
Harriet goes in tomorrow morning for her first shot, and while she’s oblivious to that fact, I on the other hand am nervous for her and am hoping she tolerates the shot well enough. The purpose of this first shot is to start killing off the adult worms, so when she comes home, it’s imperative to keep her quiet and not get her heart rate up. While some dogs stay overnight after getting their injections, my vet doesn’t have overnight capabilities, so that’s not an option. But actually I think she will be way more calm back at home with us than she would be staying in a strange place overnight, and it will be way less scary for her here. She could use some mojo from her fan club though 🙂
September 3, 2020
Harriet is doing well. Every day she get s a little braver but she still is learning to trust both the sounds she hears and things she sees. She is literally terrified of anything that sounds like a gunshot, and I don’t even like to think what that means But she is safe with us and she is fitting right in with the pack (labs that are 6, 8 and 10) and they all coexist peacefully.
Harriet is looking great. She is losing her mama belly and her coarse postpartum fur is gone (I feel like I am still vacuuming from the copious shedding) but the result is a glorious shiny and soft coat, and the fur that was missing from her right ear has completely filled in.
In late August, we snuck away for a short vacation in these crazy Covid days and took a road trip to a great little place on a lake in southern NH. Aside for Harriet’s transport from MS, I’m guessing this car ride was the longest she ever experienced. The four dogs rode in style on lots of dog beds with the seats down. Harriet did great. Harriet wasn’t sure what to make of the noises on the lake (from water skiers to loons) but she mostly took it all in stride and hung out on the deck and watched. While she didn’t go swimming (and we don’t want her to exert herself until she’s heartworm free), she did explore a bit and wade. We think she had a good time.
So now it’s hurry up and wait for her first injection in 11 days. Foster mom is nervous but is hopeful that Harriet is going to do very well. Fingers and paws crossed.
August 8, 2020
Harriet got spayed the other day and so her puppy days are officially over. It’s a good thing as according to the vet, her uterus was “worn out” and another litter would have been dangerous for all. Harriet hasn’t needed a cone as she has left the area completely alone. I checked out the incision to see how she’s healing and I can barely see it. No wonder she’s being so good about it.
A couple more days of doxycycline and then another Heartgard plus and then we’ll start the 30 day countdown to her first injection. While I’m nervous for her, I’m also more than ready for her to start getting rid of those adult worms once and for all.
Harriet continues to make progress with being more social but somedays she backslides. One day she wanted to go for two leisurely strolls (the one speed I’m allowing) and then the next, she absolutely refused. Her human fur sibling came back from a trip (he was here for 10 days when Harriet arrived) and she decided he was pretty scare and retired upstairs for the rest of the day. No amount of cajoling could get her to come back down. But today she seems a little more comfortable with him. Baby steps.
She is getting more affectionate towards me and I swear she seems like she was trying to play with one of my pack the other day. I just can’t wait to see the dog she blossoms into when all is said and done.
July 24, 2020
Miss Harriet has evolved a fair amount in the last few days. One big step in the right direction is that as long as it’s quiet outside, I can now get her to do her business when it’s dark. That’s great news because Harriet has also decided she doesn’t like being in the crate one bit, so in the interest of not having accidents overnight we need to start the night with an empty bladder. I’ve been watching her in the crate when we go up at night since the first night, and she was totally fine, but the other night she started pushing on it and biting at it and barking. Yes, she has a voice! I waited it out for awhile but eventually got worried she’d hurt herself. Plus the way she was carrying on had to mean her heart rate was up, something we’re trying to avoid. So I decided to gate her in the front hallway since it is all tile- that way if she had an accident it would be easy to clean up. Again I watched her upstairs and she kept fussing with the gates until she knocked them down (they are spring loaded). So I had no choice but to let her have free roam of the downstairs (everywhere but the living room where we have french doors that I can close off) . I’m pleased to report that she settled down on our comfiest of dog beds and there were no accidents awaiting me in the morning. Good job Harriet. I tried to crate her again the next night, but when she started to carry on I caved again and let her be downstairs. Again no issue. Last night we just let her be, said good night and went upstairs. I turned when I was brushing my teeth, only to see Harriet standing next to me. So apparently stairs are no big deal anymore, so she’ll be sleeping by my side of the bed from here on out and we should be good to go. Just like a lab to want to be by their people. I get it. Luckily since she’s so calm and chill, I think we won’t need to crate her during most of the heartworm treatment.. After her spay and her injections when she is likely not going to be feeling great, I’ll plan to sleep downstairs although I was told that with regards to the shots as long as she isn’t running up and down the stairs, she won’t be overexerting herself if she chooses to go upstairs at night. My pups are mostly really calm in the house, so they shouldn’t get her overexcited either (I’m being serenaded by several snorers as I type).
Harriet is still very nervous outside and any noise will send her wanting to go back inside immediately. Luckily we have little road traffic (we’re at the top of a circle) because she is not a fan of automobile noise. She’s getting a little bit better about hanging outside after she’s done her business but she still isn’t interested in going on walks. I have her start out with my three on our two walks, but if I can get her to walk 100 yards, we’ve done really well. Mostly I’m giving her another opportunity to do her business and then I take her back and then continue the walk with my pack. I watch her on the camera and she just goes and lays down on a dog bed in the kitchen and waits for us to return. Occasionally I see she will go into the toy basket and pull out all the toys, and we have to play 52 pickup when I get back. She is a true fan of the soft stuffed animals (like many breeder mamas) and thank you to Carolyn for sending me some new ones. My challenge is to keep my chocolate lab from being interested in them too, as he likes to destroy them.
Harriet continues to love her meals but I have to be careful not to overfeed her since she’s not getting much exercise. Her coat is still dry and wiry, but she is shedding so much that I suspect her new coat will be much thicker and lab-like. She’s already getting her girlish figure back from having puppies. It’s one of the reasons I think she is closer to 3 years old than 5 (that in conjunction with the condition of her teeth)
I am enjoying having her here- and have been trying on new nicknames; my husband calls her Harry in spite of my protests that this is not a good name for this little lady. I’ve accidentally called her Charlotte on a few occasions which seems to suit her, but then I guess he’d call her Charlie, so I can’t win.
July 18, 2020
Harriet is doing well and really seems to be getting comfortable. She’s most attached to me, her foster mom, and when I comes in the room or within earshot, Harriet gets up to say hello. The way she wiggles and shifts the weight from one paw to the next is really cute. She still sleeps a lot and is very chill, but these qualities will help her rock the injection part of the heartworm treatment. One of her favorite spots in still between the sofa and the coffee table but she has also decided that dog beds are pretty nice.
She is getting a little bit better about going outside, and she even stayed outside a few minutes on the back patio yesterday before she high tailed it back to the door to be let in, but walks are not something she is interested in. And that’s OK, we’ll take her lead and have her let us know when she is ready to do more.
She is having no trouble with the doxycycline (it makes some dogs nauseous and affects their appetites) and in fact meal time is her favorite time. We make sure to get her out for the night before it gets dark as she absolutely won’t go once it is, but when all the other dogs are having last call outside, she puts herself to bed in the crate in my office. I think she’s as smart as she is cute.
July 14, 2020
Little Miss Harriet is continuing to decompress and getting used to her new digs. Mostly what she seems to want to do is rest. She has gone into her crate all three nights without issue, but during the day her favorite spot is the small space between the coffee table and the sofa. Occasionally I find her on a dog bed, but not often. She is eating well and actually weighs 55 pounds now (she was 48 pounds in early June) so I’ll have to be careful not to overfeed her since she won’t have any opportunity to burn off extra calories with walks and play anytime soon. My biggest challenge is getting her to go outside. She has to be coaxed out each and every time. And if you leash her and try to get her to move, she refuses. So we make very slow forward movement by my getting down on the floor a few feet in front of her and loving on her verbally until she can’t stand it any longer and she comes forward for some petting. But then she immediately sits or lies down and we have to start all over again. Needless to say it takes a fair amount of time to get her out the door, and THEN we have to go very slowly and pray that it’s quiet out as any sound startles her and she wants to turn around. Our property borders the State Gamelands and there is a shooting range several miles away but even still, if she hears a shot off in the distance, that’s it. Potty mission is aborted and back inside we go. I’ve also learned that she doesn’t like being out in the dark, so our last trip outside has to be before sunset. Thank goodness the daylight hours are long. Once she has done her business, she makes a beeline for the front door and is not interested in spending any time outdoors sniffing. Really interesting since this dog has likely lived outside her entire life. It’s probably been pretty scary for her and I hate to think what she was subjected to 🙁
Harriet got a full checkup yesterday and re-tested to confirm the positive heartworm diagnosis. Unfortunately it was confirmed, but the good news is that in spite of having heartworm, the vet thinks her health is pretty darn good and that she is asymptomatic. That’s good news for Harriet as it may mean she has an easier time with the treatment than some dogs do. We’re still awaiting the results of her complete bloodwork.
Now to the heartworm treatment. The first step is to give a hw positive dog Heartgard Plus and a 28 day course of doxycycline, and Harriet got her first dose this morning. The active ingredient in Heartgard Plus, ivermectin, helps kills any new worms (the babies are called microfilariae) and the doxycycline works by attacking organisms called wolbachia that have a symbiotic relationship with the worms, thereby making it harder for the heartworms to thrive. The doxycycline also plays an important role in minimizing the spread of heartworm to other dogs as doxycyline-treated dogs, even if microfilariae are produced and ingested in a mosquito’s blood meal, the resultant larva are incapable of producing infection (thereby protecting a hw negative dog if it were to be bit by said mosquito). I’ll stop here as I’m sure I am boring many, but for those of you (hopefully there isn’t anyone) who don’t think heartworm prevention is necessary here up north, I’ll let you think about the risk to your dog for those cases when heartworm positive dogs come north and aren’t treated- or not treated promptly because the first test was negative but the second test a year later is positive (it takes ~ 6 months for an infected dog to test positive). And with good ol’ global warming and warmer city microclimates, mosquitos are here for more than a few months in PA. And all it takes is one bite from an infected mosquito.
July 12, 2020
I was able to convince Harriet that the crate isn’t such a bad thing and she slept all night downstairs without an issue. She has no clue about stairs and if she is comfortable sleeping downstairs, I’d prefer to keep it that way since she shouldn’t be exerting herself once the heartworm treatment starts in earnest.
Harriet has been very quiet and has slept most the day. No doubt she is tired from her long journey. She’s eating well, but not too thrilled to go outside yet. She’s the first dog we’ve fostered who has previously only lived outside that doesn’t seem to prefer it. For now she’d much rather stay inside where she feels safe. Poor girl might be worried that she is going to be abandoned. Still she has had no accidents and has done her business outside several times.
Harriet finds some of the sounds in the house, like the ice maker dropping ice and the TV, a little scary but also a bit fascinating. She must have a true momma instinct because she got very worried and stood up and walked over to the TV when there was a human infant crying on the program we were watching!
She continues to do well with all the resident dogs and, in spite of the variety of dog beds in the house, is mostly choosing to lie on the floor in a room that we are in. That means she trusts us, a good thing. Every time either my myself, my husband or my son walks in the room she’s in, she gives a little wag and seems happy to see us. Tomorrow she goes for a complete checkup and to come up with a plan for her heartworm treatment.
July 11, 2020
What a long day Miss Harriet had today. She and roughly 40 other dogs made a three day trip up from Texas and Mississippi to the Northeast. And just when she got off the transport van and thought her traveling was done, she got scooped up by me, her foster, for another 3 hour drive. Harriet was quiet as a mouse for the entire trip although understandably a little timid.
When we got back home, it was time to check out the yard and do her business. Then it was time for introductions with the three resident labs and a foster lab, and they couldn’t have gone any better. They realized pretty quickly that she needs some time to decompress (these labs are great ambassadors!) so we all just wandered around the back yard for awhile.
She wasn’t sure about going in the house but after a little coaxing, she followed the other dogs into the house and has settled for what I expect to be a long nap.
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