Out Please

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Update: Amber has found her 'forever' home! And a more perfect home for her we cannot imagine. Because of the likelihood that Amber would have ongoing medical issues and due to her physical special needs we thought there might not be anyone willing to take on the challenges of caring for this little dog. Imagine our joy at meeting Sue and Marie, two women who delight in the company of elderly dogs, who actually prefer to adopt a dog that it is difficult to place due to age and/or illness. I am tempted to describe them as saints except that they are so down-to-earth sensible, kindly and knowledgeable. When we took Amber to meet them, it was immediately obvious that this was It. We always find it difficult to say goodbye to one of our beloved foster dogs but the blow is softened so much when we know they are going to a good home with a loving family. We miss you Amber but how glad we are for your amazing good fortune in the happy circumstances of your new life.

Before Amber went to live with Sue and Marie, we had the chance to take advantage of the first beautiful day of spring this year for a day trip to Quadra Island. We had a magical day with Amber and Finnegan at Rebecca Spit Provincial Park. I was able to let Amber run free on the land side beach of the spit. I've never seen her so happy. She even chased the seagulls. She must have walked nearly 2 KM that day. Noel and I took turns carrying her back to the car. When Amber first came to us she could barely walk a block before her back legs would give out. Now she can walk a KM easily, so the gradual exercise did help improve her muscle tone and endurance. It was a wonderful thing to watch her getting stronger. April, 2011

Update: Amber has had her dental work done. She had a few extractions, now her mouth is all healed nicely and we have started a daily oral hygiene routine. We bought a stroller so that we can take Amber along when we go for long walks with the other dogs. When she gets tired she can ride for awhile. She absolutely loves coming with us on the walks. Our next project is getting a pool in the summer for the dogs. We will start a hydro therapy program to help Amber strengthen her legs even more. We've had a chance to get to know this little gal and we're so fond of her. We call her Amber The Lionhearted because she is such a brave and gallant little dog. She is going to make some lucky person a truly wonderful companion. January 2011

Four years ago Amber could not walk because of spinal trauma; her back legs did not work at all. A very expensive surgery was performed and now she has partial use of her legs, though they are still weak and stiff. She went through a few weeks of hydro therapy after her surgery. Perhaps, if she had had more consistent therapy and exercise, her physical condition would have improved more but we don't know that for sure. We have discussed these issues with our vet and he suggests getting her on a gentle exercise program. We plan to get a baby stroller so we can take her on walks with us. She will walk as far as is comfortable then we'll bundle her in a blanket so she can ride in the stroller for awhile. That way she will not have to be left behind at home when we go for walks with the other dogs.

New Ramp in the Snow

Amber was unable to navigate the step up to our porch so we have built a ramp for her and she manages that under her own steam quite nicely. She does not know she has a disability. Sometimes, when she gets excited, she will run quite well across the lawn. She likes to play with soft toys and will, in time, learn to play with other dogs. According to her previous family, she gets along very well with cats.

Amber's dental hygiene has been sorely neglected. Once she has had a course of antibiotics, our vet will perform about $1000 of oral surgery. I can't wait to see the improvement in her overall health once her teeth are well cared-for.

Amber likes to be brushed and bathed. She loves to cuddle but, because of her leg and back problems it is not comfortable for her to spend long periods in a lap or to be lifted more than is necessary. She is about the cutest dog you can imagine. She has a feisty temperament and is not shy about telling other dogs to calm down when they get too excited. She's a good little watch dog and will let you know when someone comes to the door.

A quiet home with lots of gentle loving patience is a must for this little gal. Small children could never be allowed to play unsupervised with Amber due to her physical disabilities. Because she is so adorable it might be tempting to spoil her but that would be a mistake. Amber is still very much a dog and needs discipline in the form of rules, boundaries and limitations in order to live the best life possible. I have noticed a tendency in her to become possessive of my affections, nipping and growling at any other dog that comes near me. I do not allow this. I tell her 'No!' in a firm voice and move away from her, depriving her of my company as the consequence for unwanted behavior. If she is on my lap when it happens, I put her gently on the floor. She can also be a bit possessive of food. To discourage this I make sure she sees me eat before any of the dogs get their food. This helps to establish me as the pack leader. Then, the calmest dog is always fed first. Amber is not allowed to try to take food from another dog's dish. We are already seeing an improvement in Amber's responsiveness to us in the week she has been in our care. From experience, I know that consistent calm assertiveness from her human family will result in Amber learning to feel trust and respect, allowing a deep bond to form.