Holly #7 Charcoal Labrador Retriever Female 6 Years Old ID #3312

June 17, 2023

Holly continues to enjoy her new life as a House Dog!  She loves hanging out in the sunroom and gazing at the activity in the backyard birdbath.  She is a sharp cookie and has figured out how to open the sliding screen door – thankfully she accomplished that without any damage.  Smart and Skilled!.Black Labrador Retriever

We have practiced going on short car rides and letting her sit in the back seat. She enjoys this very much and will walk right up to the car door hoping for a ride.  She does need a bit of a boost to get in the car and is still reluctant to get out of the car unless there is a bribe involved. So, we continue to practice.

We created a “spot” for Holly to hang out in the family room with us by folding a blanket.  She does not get up on the furniture so it’s nice for her to have her own place to be.  She will usually choose either her spot or her crate to hang out in.  She is not “crate-trained” but she does enjoy hanging out there, especially after meal time.

June 6, 2023

Holly has had a very busy few weeks of new adventures.  FM and FD were away the last week in May so Holly went to stay with Foster Auntie a few blocks away.  She was a bit anxious at first but settled in quickly and discovered a new favorite spot, the ottoman in the window.black Labrador Retriever

Very happy to see FM & FD on their return but also likes to visit FA’s house on the walk.  Will head right to the front door and wait for FA to appear.

Next adventure was a trip to PETCO for a Brookline event.  First time in a store!  Holly was relaxed on the one-hour drive, a little reluctant to get out of the SUV but with some patience, she entered the store, navigating those sliding doors with ease.  We discovered that beyond loving attention from people, Holly loves to SHOP!

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She was also fascinated by the birds!

Later that day it was time for another adventure “Holly – Jersey Shore Edition”

Again, Holly is so relaxed riding in the SUV.  For this trip, we had her bed in the back so she was more than comfortable.  We tether her for safety, using a short leash to her harness affixed to a tie-down D-ring built into the wall of the SUV.  Holly is always a bit reluctant to get out of the SUV once she has settled in, but with patience, and sometimes a bribe, she will get there.

Another First for Holly. This retired PA farm girl went to the BEACH! black Labrador Retriever

In addition to the beach, Holly enjoyed the other pleasures of a shore weekend including porch sitting, Netflix, and hunting bunnies after dark. black Labrador Retriever

More FIRSTS – riding in an elevator!!!!  And navigating slippery wood stairs!!!black Labrador Retriever

After that whirlwind of firsts it was time to head home and get back to being a fantastic Work From Home assistant.black Labrador Retriever

May 20, 2023

Holly continues to do very well at this house dog thing.  On May 11th we had a return visit to the vet for a distemper booster.  Foster Mom managed to get her into the back of the SUV with a BOOST from behind.  There is no photo documentation of this event, thank goodness, but happily, no discs were slipped during this process (by either of us).  At the vet, Holly had a hard think about jumping down from the SUV to the parking lot and…SHE DID IT!!!!  Then trotted right into the office as though it wasn’t the house of needles.  It was 5:00 PM so a shift was ending and there were voices calling “goodbye!”.  Holly seems to know this word?  Because she got up on her hind legs and braced herself on the half door, and peered down the hall to see who was leaving.  This of course caused a commotion because the staff who were leaving now had to come back to meet Holly!  How could they not!  Minutes later two techs came out and quickly administered the booster shot, Holly didn’t mind at all because…PETS!

After that we struck out on a new adventure, the gas station!  Well Costco, actually, and Holly sat calmly in the back of the SUV completely unconcerned about the people moving about outside the car.  She has also been through the car wash, unbothered.  Holly is very calm riding in the car.Black Labrador Retriever

To crate or not to crate.  Initially we had attempted to get Holly to sleep in the crate at night without success.  She now sleeps beautifully on a bed on the floor next to FM.Black Labrador Retriever

As to the crate, she likes to hang out in it during the day sometimes, especially after mealtime.  So, as she does not object to the crate itself, we have begun to crate her for short periods of time (30-60 minutes) when we are both out of the house.  Holly is not particularly food motivated however; a piece of beef hot dog is a high-value treat!  So, we can get her in the crate but she does NOT like being left alone.  She will bark – who knows for how long – maybe she is like a toddler who stops crying the minute you leave?  She has never had an accident in the house but because she is so clingy, we think it best to crate her when we are out to avoid any potential for anxiety induced destruction.

Today we went for a ride in the SUV again – not to the vet – just to get gas again.  She was great during the drive and when we arrived home, she decided she would like to hang out in the car!  A hot dog bribe was required to get her out!  She may be on to me.

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Holly continues to make progress with commands.  She has “sit”, “stay”, “wait”, “all done”, pretty much down and we have begun to work on “leave it”.

Next week Holly will be spending time with Foster Auntie while we are away for several days.  She has been to FAs’ house several times and knows which driveway to walk up so she will be fine.

May 6, 2023

Paws – Holly loves to offer her paw.  When getting pets, which she LOVES, Holly likes to reciprocate by offering her paw.  We have tried to give a name to this behavior by saying “paw” or “shake” when she does this but really she just likes to “hold hands”.  Holly also lies down in the most lady-like manner – paws neatly crossed, always.

Holly is a bit of a gossip apparently.  She loves to get all the “tea” about the neighborhood and vigorous sniffing on the walk is how she collects her gossip.  She also enjoys leaving her own updates on every block, especially the corner where that bossy German Shepherd lives.  We continue to work on not pulling, recall, not being first out the door and general walking skills which are improving daily.

She met a very nice elderly gentleman yellow lab named Jack.  He had the nicest manners.  Jack, showed keen interest in a meeting but held back until given the green light.  Then approached slowly and confidently.  Holly was fine with meeting and engaging with him.  It seems that other dogs are fine with Holly, as long as they match her energy.  Later on that same walk we encountered a miniature poodle who was losing their mind and again, HARD PASS from Holly.

Holly had spay surgery on Tuesday and came through it with flying colors.  Getting in and out of the SUV is a bit of a challenge as she is not quite sure what’s up.  That will get better with practice and once she’s fully-recovered we will work on taking some joy rides to improve comfort level.  The first night she had some Gabapentin in cream cheese.  This girl does not like peanut butter!  Weird, right?  She was somewhat restless through the night, but we got through it.  In the morning she went out to pee promptly.  Not interested in breakfast so she had another Cheesy Gabapentin snack.  FD made her some scrambled eggs – did I mention he is her favorite?  Those went right down so then it was safe to give her the Rimadyl.  And a bit after that she ate her regular kibble breakfast.    Foster Dad was horrified by the E-collar so we opted for the donut collar.  Initially we had some challenges.  But eventually we got the hang of it.  Holly seems mostly ok with the stitches and has only tried to bother with them a few times.



As she comes into her own, Holly has recently been discovering mischief.  This week she stole her first sock!  And it wasn’t even dirty!!  Next, she made off with a hair scrunchie.  Here she is experimenting with a tennis ball.  Not sure what to do with it but mouthing it seems like enough for now.

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April 26, 2023

FM & FD had to make an overnight trip to NYC.  Foster Auntie was very kind to come for a sleepove


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Holly relaxing

Holly kept a close eye on FA and they got along splendidly, even made a short visit to FA’s house.  That would be the second house Holly has been in and she enjoyed exploring.  Holly was a good sport about having a sitter but she was very happy to see FD & FM on their return.  Well mostly FD, but as we know, he is her favorite.

Overall, Holly is doing great!  She is agreeable, friendly and eager to please. No accidents in the house to date.  She has met people and kids on the walk and engaged in a friendly manner.  We had one encounter with an over-enthusiastic golden retriever that did not go well.  Bad words were exchanged.  We were able to separate them before anything happened.  FM thinks that it may have been being on the leash and/or that the golden was being so wild on approach that Holly said “hard pass!”

April 21, 2023

Now that the stairs thing is handled, Holly has begun sleeping upstairs in the master.  The dog bed which she ignored when it was in the sunroom, is not upstairs and she had decided, after some show & tell, that it is her upstairs spot.  And Bonus, Holly has decided that she likes her crate and often chooses to hang out there.

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Holly relaxing in her crate

April 20, 2023

Holly passed her vet visit with flying colors. OK, so she was reluctant to get in and out of the car haven’t had much experience with that so far and unsure about what comes next.  Once in the waiting room she was calm and friendly.

Met a few other dogs and frankly not all that interested.  Even encountered a cat in a carrier, on the floor, and not at all interested in the cat either.  Holly likes PEOPLE!  People who will PET HER.  The man with the cat was waaaay more interesting than his cat.


The vet says everything with Holly is A-OK.  The little bit of droopiness and redness on her left eye are just how her inner-eyelid happens to be and it is nothing to worry about and does not require any treatment.  She is a healthy girl!  At 85 lbs., she is a hefty girl too, but the vet was not particularly concerned about her weight. He gave her a score of 7 out of 9 on the “how hefty are you?” scale.  Miss Holly is getting 3+ walks a day so we expect her to lighten up in due course.  Holly was 100% cooperative with all the exam, the shots and the blood draw. Spay surgery is scheduled.

To forge a positive association with both the car AND the vet, we made a Starbucks stop on the way home for puppacino!  Another step on the conversion from farm girl to bougie house dog.

April 19, 2023

Foster Mom was gone most of the day so Holly hung out with Foster Dad who TBH is her favorite. Black labrador retriever But when FM finally came home, it was FD’s turn to go out for a bit.  Holly did not like that at all and began frantically looking for him.  And then to Foster Mom’s stunned surprise, Holly RAN UP THE STAIRS looking for him and when she didn’t find him, she RAN DOWN THE STAIRS.  She did this at least twice.  This farm girl is full of surprises.  Tomorrow, Thursday is her vet appointment we will find out what she weighs, a lot!  We hope to get some treatment for her left eye which continues to look red, and get her spay scheduled.

April 18, 2023

Our story continues…5:00 AM.  Holly was again pawing at the rug so FD got up, dressed and brought her harness – which she LOVES because it means walkies.  So funny how this farm girl who probably never walked on a leash or on a sidewalk, LOVES to go on walks!  He thought that might entice her to brave the stairs.  Foster Mom listened to the battle of wills that took place in the upstairs hallway as Holly put the emergency brake on and FD stepped on the accelerator.  I could hear what little finish was left on the worn hardwood floor being stripped away.  In the end, Foster Dad won and Holly got to pee, outside.  Another positive development – Holly has taken to hanging out in her crate for short periods during the day!Black labrador retriever

April 17, 2023

The bedtime crate has not been going well.  She will go in the crate with treats but absolutely refuses to be left alone and will bark to express her dismay.  So, PIVOT! Let her come upstairs with us and sleep in the room with her new favorite people.  Then maybe everyone could just relax and go to bed.  PLOT TWIST!  … STAIRS!!!!!   Now when Holly arrived on Friday, she bounded up the three steps to our backyard deck like it was nothing.  We foolishly assumed that she was good with stairs.  The inside stairs may as well have been Mt Everest.  She looked at us like “Are you nuts?”  After much encouragement, instruction and demonstration from Foster Dad, Holly finally gingerly made it up.  GREAT!  Problem solved!  Until 1:00 AM when she began pawing the rug which has become her signal for “potty time”.  OK Holly, thanks for the heads-up, let’s go…..DOWNSTAIRS.  What comes up must go down, except when it doesn’t.  I WISH I had a picture to share but it was the middle of the night, phone on charge and in my PJs, I wasn’t prepared.  Holly stood, firmly rooted in the upstairs hallway peering around the corner at me.  I stood on the stairs begging, pleading, cajoling, offering small treats, etc. etc. This went on for a while and finally we gave up – if she pees, she pees.  We all went back to bed, defeated and resigned to our fate.

April 16, 2023Black labrador retriever

HOORAY! HOORAY!!  Holly pooped today!  It was a two-bagger for sure.  Bet she feels better now! We are relieved too TBH as we hadn’t had any poops since she was pulled on Friday and we were thinking we may have to resort to some pumpkin soon.  Holly continues to do well on walks.  Foster Mom took the lead today with Foster Dad along for the walk.  She is a big strong girl for sure and she does pull a bit.  However, she also corrects very easily with a tug and a command “no, this way”. When she wants to trek up someone’s lawn or driveway.  We are working on not being the first one through the door too.  She hasn’t been too keen on her food, just a few bites but tonight she ate ALL her dinner.  And a bit ahead of schedule, she decided to test a boundary by checking out the kitchen counter.  Responded quickly to correction.  She is an attention-seeker and will take pets all day long if you let her.  We are instituting an “all done” policy.  She seeks pets, we give them and when we have had enough, we say “all done” and “go sit”. And amazingly she does!  A bit begrudgingly at times but she does!

April 15, 2023

The second night in the crate – a bit of a rough start – she doesn’t like the crate idea but reassurance and quiet chatting gets her to settle.  It also helps if someone stays in the room with her.  She has some separation anxiety for sure but heck, it’s only day 2 off the farm

April 14, 2023Black labrador retriever

Miss “Holly” is a #JerseyGirl now.  She said goodbye to the farm and after two long car rides, “what? I just got out of a car and now you want me to get back in?”  she arrived in Cherry Hill, NJ and wasn’t at all sure she wanted to get out of the SUV.  “not again!”  But with some coaxing from Foster Auntie and Foster Mom, (and by coaxing, I mean hauling and heaving) Holly made it to the driveway and to the backyard.  There she began her discovery of suburban life including features such as mulch, lawn and deck.

Next it was time for a spa treatment but without an appointment and it being a nice warm day, we settled for a backyard bath.  Holly tolerated that pretty well, because, as we have discovered, she LOVES attention! As for peanut butter, which we had available for a hold-still bribe, meh, not that interested.  Just as long as we didn’t make any sudden moves, because she does startle pretty easily, can you blame her?

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didn’t love the bath but loved the attention

After the bath Holly smelled a bit better, can’t say the same for Foster Auntie and Foster Mom!  We all sat on the deck and dried off.  Holly kept a close eye on her new people, don’t anyone leave!  And then, Foster Dad arrived and Holly decided she likes him too!

Foster Dad took Holly for a short walk where more suburban discoveries were made, sidewalks!, shrubbery!, more grass lawns and mulch!  Holly did fine on the leash and peed!  We sat in the sunroom together for a bit.  Good transition space for a dog not used to being inside much (or at all?).  It has glass sliding doors on all sides. So, it maybe looks like outside but feels like inside?  It also has a wood grain vinyl floor so not slippery.

She had a bit of kibble for dinner.  Not that into it, just a few bites on her own.  She will eat more if you hand feed her but we are not going to encourage that princess behavior.  We left the door between the sunroom and family room open while we had our dinner and let her decide where she wanted to be.  Holly decided to brave the slippery hardwood floor and join us in the family room.  Found a nice spot on the rug and lay there happily wondering what a TV is.

After a bit, she gave us a signal that she maybe needed to go potty, so outside she went and she did!  So proud of this smart girl!  Don’t ask me what the signal was, we just knew.  By this time her tail which began the day firmly clamped between her legs, finally relaxed and even wagged a bit. After a long and stressful day, feeling SAFE at last.  One more potty outside and then followed a treat into the crate for what we hoped would be a peaceful night.

And it was, mostly.  We set her up with a baby monitor and left her in the crate with a nightlight on.  She lasted about 15 minutes and we could hear her fussing around.  Foster Mom went down to check and make sure she wasn’t hurting herself.  Sat with her and chatted quietly until she settled down then left her again.  This time she last about 20 minutes before she started barking.  So, Foster Mom went down again and sat with her, chatting.  When she settled down again, Foster Mom settled down too, on the sofa, LOL. Close by but out of sight but that’s all it took.  (Déjà vu! this feels a lot like Ferberizing!) Holly settled and was quiet and snoring until 6:30 AM when she began stirring and sat up.  Went outside to pee, had a big drink, a few bites of breakfast and waited anxiously for Foster Dad to re-appear.

Very happy to see Foster Dad and get MORE PETS!   They went for a short morning walk, had a big pee and completely ignored the dogs across the street who were misbehaving and being rude.  Happy to report, no reaction at all!

Currently racked out on the rug in the family room.  Retirement and suburban life is GOOD!

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