Many people ask me what it is like to run a home based senior dog rescue. Here is a typical morning.
Our day starts early. Between 5:30 & 6:00 am we wake up. No need to set an alarm. Bare will let us know when we should get moving by barking and then everyone joins in and those who howl do so. Then you have Buddy the Shepherd joining in, but his howl is just awful. Sounds like he’s dying. LOL! I open my eyes and scan the floor for puddles etc. Waldo, who I swear just watches me all night while I sleep, will come over as soon as my eyes open. I pet his head and then I pat the blankets on the bed to locate Zou Zou who has buried herself in them and I strike gold. I pull back the covers and she rolls over on her back for a tummy rub and morning kiss. A couple of rubs and I begin to get dressed as quickly as I can. Usually, that’s when Mader decides he can’t wait until I get dressed to go potty so he waddles into the bathroom to use his potty tray. Now Shakey is awake and stands up and takes 3 steps and squats to pee. Some days I’m lucky enough to have a rag handy and I can catch it as it comes out. Most days, I’m just a step too late. No worries, we have plenty of rags and cleaner. Messes cleaned up I begin to get the dogs outside. Waldo & Shep are first. Shep is 14 1/2 and can’t hear anymore so I have to go wake him and then we go outside. They potty and wander around the pen for a few minutes while I get Shakey & the 3 chi’s out. Shakey is about 15. She’s a sweet Chocolate Lab we are giving hospice to. I help her up the stairs and then go back for 13yr old Mader. Another trip down to get Chico. Now where is Zou Zou? She’s still in the bed. She has crawled back under the covers and gone back to sleep. One more tummy rub and then I bring her outside to join Chico, Mader & Shakey. A few minutes later I bring those 4 back in. Each Chi is carried down one at a time & then you have to help Shakey back down the stairs. Whew! Now back to Shep & Waldo. I leash them up and we go for a walk on the trails. Shep loves this. Waldo…not so much and especially not so much if it is raining, snowing or if he has to get his feet wet. The walk is done so we head back downstairs to feed these 6. Feeding time can be a little hectic at times but usually goes pretty smoothly. All 6 bowls come out. We prepare the food before hand to make it easier. All of these guys eat in the same room and in the same place and in the same order every day. Shep gets his first, then Shakey, then Mader, then Zou Zou & Chico & finally Waldo. By the time I hand Waldo his food, Shep is done and Shakey is just about there, too. She finishes eating, takes 3 steps and pees. Sometimes I have the rag ready, sometimes not. Now Mader is done and if Shakey left something behind, he will try to eat it. He is on special food for allergies so you have to grab her bowl right away. Shep is waiting in the wings and scanning for wayward pieces of food. Chico & Zou Zou finish and now we all wait for Waldo. He’s a very slow eater. He finally finishes and I wash all the bowls and refill for the next meal. On to the next group!
Mattie, Buddy, Duke & Hairy are next. We go take the walk on the trails and return to the house. I fill the food bowls, add a little water and put them inside the oven for safe keeping. If we leave them on the counter, Mattie will help herself to all 4 bowls.
Next group is Scooter & the ACDs. They fly out the door and head for the pen. Atticus immediately goes to his favorite digging hole with Scooter & Raven following closely. We leave them to wander around and potty in the pen & go get Bare & Sylvester.
I enter the room and T the 13 yr old Mastiff/Am Bull Dog mix looks up at me and puts his head back down on his bed as if to say “It’s too early! Come back for me in a little while.” Wish granted! Inevitably, Bare has left me a river to clean up so I throw some towels down to soak it up and I leash up Sylvester & Bare & we go for our walk. We get back and I clean up the river & feed Bare & Sylvester and if T is ready to get up, I feed T. I grab the bowls for the ACDs & Scooter and head back to the pen. I am greeted like a God. Each dog follows me to their spot and sits while I hand out food bowls. Ok, T man, you have to come out now! Begrudgingly, T comes out and walks around the yard and does his business.
By this time Mattie is barking her head off saying “Our food is ready and we want to eat!” So Mattie, Buddy & Duke get their breakfast and now I get to have a cup of coffee and a 15 minute break. This is usually the time T wanders over and begins barking at us. He’s brave from 5 ft away but as soon as you walk over to him, he waddles away. Too funny. He just loves to bark at us. Break over, I gather up Scooter, Atticus & Raven’s bowls and play ball with them for about 30 minutes. Then we head out for a walk and I pray we don’t see any deer, squirrels or chipmunks. These 3 love to chase the animals and have taken me for plenty of rides in the past. Walk over, they go back inside to hang out on their couches and arm chairs and then Sylvester & Bare come out for playtime in the pen. If it’s cold, Bare will do his business and then he goes back inside. If it’s a nice day, he’ll hang out with me & Sylvester. At 15 1/2, Sylvester is a real trooper and doesn’t mind the temperature. As long as he has his rawhide chewie, he’s happy. I hang with Sylvester for about 30 minutes and then he joins Bare inside for nap time. By this time, Mattie is again barking her head off and wants to come back outside.
Mattie, Buddy, & Duke come back out again and wander around the pen for a few minutes and then it’s back inside for a treat & a nap.
Last group for pen time is Shep, Waldo, Shakey & the 3 Chi’s. Shep & Waldo get rawhides to chew. Shep gets a really thick one and Waldo gets a really thin one. He takes forever to chew them so we have to give him a thin one. About 20 minutes later, they’re ready to go back in and snuggle in for naps.
Whew! So that’s a typical morning for us. It takes about 3 hrs to get everyone walked, fed, pottied, & played with. About 2 hours in the winter.