On Patience and Gibson

23 Dec

I’ve had Gibson three weeks tomorrow and he’s teaching me the art of patience.  He needs you to be patient with him.  He needs me to be patient and find him the exact right family.

He had a near perfect family (and this post is not a judgement of them in any way, wrong time for them and they are going to be a great family for a dog).  I loved this family for Gibson.  On paper and in person they ticked all his boxes.  They borrowed him for a morning and he wasn’t ready.  He froze.  He wasn’t happy.  They were going on vacation the next day and without seeing his true personality, they couldn’t commit.  I don’t blame them.

But it taught me that when I’m looking for his family, I’m looking for a family that will understand that they may not see his true personality for a couple weeks.  I’m looking for a family with a strong female because he will trust her first, he needs her to show him not to be scared.  I’m looking for a family that is ok having a shadow at their feet but not until he trust and loves you.  He may not eat for the first 3-4 days.  He just needs time.

There are quite a few applications in for Gibson and I just received them today.  I’ll be looking through them and calling the 3 that seem most promising.  From that, I’ll see if one of them is right.  If none of them are right, I’ll wait for the right family.  If you’ve sent in an application, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment, so I know to watch for your application.  Gibson is going to be a great, easy dog for some lucky family, but it has to be a patient, confidence building family.


Getting Gibson

14 Dec

I promised Yvette that I would someday tell the story of getting Gibson, so here it goes…

Sometime ago: Yvette asks for a foster for Gibson among other dogs.  I reply that I would love to take Gibson, but that dog run doesn’t happen.

4 Weeks ago: Again, Gibson is put up for foster, the same day, Lisa B asks me if I will foster Matsqueek.  I say yes tentatively – can’t take barkers.  Feel sad that Gibson won’t come to me.

3.5 Weeks ago: I say no to Matsqueek and email Yvette begging for Gibson.  She says yes I can foster him!  Stan will be coming down soon.

Two Weekends ago: Yvette and I make a plan for me to meet Stan on Monday night.  I promise to go anywhere to get Gibson. BUT…Stan doesn’t have a cell phone (yet…) so Yvette will just have to be the go between and tell me where to find Stan in the big city.

Monday at Noon: Call Yvette to find out where to meet Stan.  Oh No!  Stan has been turned around due to bad weather.  He has only just left TG now.  Can I meet him at the vet Tuesday morning at 9?

Tuesday morning: I can’t go to the Vet, so my wonderful husband (who might tell you he doesn’t even like fostering dogs…) offers to go get him.  I go to work early to be home early to meet the little guy.  I’m so thankful that Brendon will go get him, but jealous that he’ll get to see Stan and meet Gibby first.

8:30: Brendon calls me at work.  Massive accident on the bridge. No way to get to Gibson.  He will take the other bridge, but no chance of getting to Stan on time.  (are we destined to never meet Gibby???).  Can’t call Stan as he doesn’t have cell phone…

8:35am: Can’t stand it.  Decide I’ll use my flexible schedule at work, jump in car.  Call Hemlock Vet (thank you for all you do) and tell them to tell Stan – I’m on my way!  Will be there as quick as I can.  Drive across town – curse all traffic along the way.  Call husband and tell him to meet me at my office.

8:45am: Curse all traffic on Broadway….will Stan have to leave for Dog and his Man show before I can get to Gibby?

9:00am: Take wrong turn (damn Hemlock Animal Hospital for being directly under the Granville St bridge…) and end up downtown.  DOWNTOWN!  Try to get turned around quickly…please Stan don’t leave!

9:05am: Pull into Hemlock Animal Hospital.  See Stan’s truck.  So excited.  Run to the truck!  Get Gibson. Happy Day.  But wait….Grizz is in the truck…Would I like to say hi to him?  You bet I would!  Thank you Stan!

9:10am: 3 Grizz hugs later and Gibson in the car.  Drive back across town to work.  Husband there, but whole work family now knows about Gibson.  Can they meet him?  One at a time I say…he’s had a long day.  But Gibson was a real gentleman and met them all nicely.  Thanks Buddy.

Thank you Yvette and Stan for getting Gibson to me and providing me with the easiest foster yet!IMG_1896[1]


Introducing Gibson

13 Dec


Introducing Gibson.  He’s the easiest foster I’ve ever had and probably won’t be here long because of that.  He’s funny looking with the body of a lab and the legs of a corgi.  He’s a bit shy and nervous at first, but when he warms up to you, he can’t get enough of you.  He’s just starting to act like a funny little dog.  We thought about keeping him, but want something a bit more dog playful for Cooper.  So he’s up for adoption and already has a few applications.  I’m taking my time getting to know him to make sure that he gets the best home for him.  This one is one special little dog.

Happy 3rd Coop-aversary

20 Nov

Happy 3rd Coop-aversary to the best pooch around.  Thanks for loving us, making us laugh and running zoomies on the trails.  Thanks for helping me learn to love biking and for making me slow down and appreciate what is right in front of me.  Thank you to Yvette for picking Coop for us and to Lisa to bringing him to us 3 years ago.  Thanks to Brendon for letting me get my super sucky, super cuddly Coonhound.  Happy Coop-aversary.


Things that happen when Ashley gets bored…

What to expect from a homevisit?

16 Nov

One of my favourite parts of being involved with TG is the ability to do home visits.  There’s nothing quite like visiting a family who has their eye on a new pet and getting to help answer their questions.  For those running the rescue, the home visit is a chance for us to check that you are telling us the truth and for us to assess whether the dog you’ve applied for is truly one that will fit into your life.  We want you to be the forever home for the dog, so it has to be right – for you and for the dog.

I can only tell you what to expect from my home visit as I know that we all do it slightly different.

When TG has approved you for a home visit, I will send you an email and try to set up a visit as soon as I can – sometimes I’ve even gone the same day!  I know that you are anxious know more about your potential new pal and I would rather you have some answers. In order for me to do the home visit, your whole family has to be home.  I need to know that it a priority for your whole family to welcome this new animal into your lives, and I need to know that each of you is on board.

I’m going to bring Cooper!  You get to meet the wonder dog!  I know there are some people who do home visits without their dogs, but I want to see your reaction (and your family members reactions) to Coop.  How do you interact with him?  Do you understand his body language?  Do you know how to greet him?  Plus, I trust him – it’s rare he doesn’t like someone, so I use him to tell me if something isn’t right.

We are going to walk around your whole house and you are going to show me where you think your new friend might eat, sleep, play and any areas that might be off limits (in my house, its the kitchen!).  You will explain to me how you plan on adapting your life to bring this new friend in.  I will answer your questions and give you advice from what I’ve learned from fostering and from Cooper.

I’ll have a list of questions for you and we will work our way through them, but usually I find you answer them just by telling me what you’ve planned for your new friend.

Last, I’ll explain to you that I will forward your answers to TG.  I explain that they ALWAYS get the last word and that we will always pick the best home for the dog.  I also will explain that if a dog has multiple applications, you may not be chosen but you may be offered another dog.  If I think you’ve really picked the wrong dog, I might discuss it with you, but honestly, TG is pretty good at picking up on that ahead of time.  Since I have almost always believed the person would be getting the dog, I’ll offer you a recommendation on trainers, vets, dog trails, parks and I’ll remind you that you have my email and you can always email me after you get your dog.  I believe that if the lines of communication are open right off the bat, I’ll be able to help with your dog as you are learning instead of you waiting until its too late to ask for help.

I think some people find the home visit part to be scary, but really we are just looking out for you and for the dog.  Please don’t change anything for us, just show us how you’ll adapt to your new friend.  Hopefully when I leave your house, I’ll know that I will see you a the next dog run!

Got any questions on the home visit process?

Cooper is famous…

20 Oct

Ok…not really famous as in on the cover of US magazine, but famous as in we’ve been recognized twice this weekend on the trails.  Both times Coop was recognized, not me (and I’m ok with that!).  It’s an odd feeling that your dog is being noticed, and I’m so proud of him for being exactly what a Turtle Gardens famous dog should be!

What has Cooper been up to since Rusty went to his loving family?  Well, we’ve been busy dog sitting and house sitting (do you need someone to watch your dog? leave me a comment!).

First we had a visit by Shenny.  Shenny is an adorable golden retriever who belongs to my mom’s 85-year-old movie star friend!  She was busy being in a movie, so Shenny came to stay with us.  Shenny loved going for hikes as you can see…


Best day ever!


But then he found the mud…have you ever tried to get mud off a golden?  I’m sorry to say he went back tired, happy and dirtier than he arrived.


After Shenny left, Coop and I went to the TG reunion where I was lucky enough to meet Grizz.  Now, you may have noticed that I’m a sucker for big, soppy dogs and Grizz was no exception.  If I thought Stan would have let me, I would have snuck him into the back of my car and taken him home.


Coop put on his own performance at the reunion by being super well-behaved – off leash the whole time – who would have thought it?  And then winning the meatball bobbing competition.  Now I might be biased, but it seemed like no competition to this hound dog!  We’re saving the raccoon (appropriate prize anyone?) for Brendon to see when he gets back from South Africa next week.


The weekend after, Coop and I headed up to Lynn Valley to hang out with this guy.


Zypher belongs to a friend of the family and they were headed away for the weekend.  Zeph thought having Coop around was awesome and when he would try to play, you could barely see his 12.5 years.  What a sweet old man.


Now all that doggy sitting and meatball bobbing will make a Coonhound tired, so look where I found him resting on our last day in Lynn Valley.  I couldn’t stop laughing when I looked out the window.


So that’s what Cooper has been up to since Rusty found his home.  We are open to doggy sitting over the next four months as Brendon will not be working.  We guarantee fun times, long hikes, belly rubs and a calm dog for your dog to hang out with.  Leave a comment if you’d like to enlist our services.  In the meantime, I’ll be watching for the next great foster dog and will be doing some new posts on homevisits, choosing a dog for your family and funny Coop stories.





A quick update on Rusty

15 Sep

I’ve been putting off writing this post for fear of jinxing it.  Rusty had a tough few days when he got to his home.  He decided the cat looked delicious and pulled his new mama to the ground.  I wasn’t sure they were going to keep him.  But one of the reasons that I choose this family is that they were commuted to working through Rusty’s adventurous side, and they had already had to put a lot of work into their other TG dog, so I had hope.

It’s now been a week since I’ve heard from them, so I’m assuming its all good.  And I know that they love him.  He will be some work for them, but his squishy face should keep them entertained.  I will get in touch with them later this week and check on him, but I want to give them the space to learn about him and develop their own relationship with them.

I’ve been spending my time reacquainting myself with Coop.  Enjoy walks where I don’t need to think about the dogs every second, enjoying a dog whose recall is usually good.  This morning, we hiked with Denise and her two dogs and I truly enjoyed watching Coop trying to get Leo to play with him.  Maybe its a sign we need a friend for Coop?

We’re going to board a friends dog for a week at the end of September and if that goes well, we will try to continue to do it through the winter.  That said, we know it will have to be only dogs we know aren’t loud as we do live in a condo.  They also can’t have separation anxiety.  So for those who meet our criteria – the price is going to be right – but we are picky on who we will take. Don’t be afraid to get in touch if you are heading for a vacation this winter and need a loving home for the dog for a week or so.

I’ll update you when I know more about Rusty.  In the meantime, it’s just about Coop!


Fostering Dogs for Turtle Gardens

The Foster Report

Fostering Dogs for Turtle Gardens

Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue

Fostering Dogs for Turtle Gardens