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(mostly) Good news abounds with the Wilbert. First - he responded to neither "Wilbur" or "Orville", so I have offically decided to go with Wilbur. He has no secondary skin infections that require treating. The groomer (the Pet Gallery in Atlanta - oh how I love them!) did a WONDERFUL job grooming him. They said he was a super sweet boy (which he is). They were able to work through some of the hair on his head, so he looks very poodle-ish right now, but his body is cut to the skin (the hair is maybe 1/8"). He is so skinny and ribby and knobbly that I keep tearing up when I see him walking (you can see how all of his bones work and it's just so sad and it just didn't have to be like this for him).

I brought Callie home from daycare last night, and had Wilbur in the kitchen with doors shut. We're having crating issues, so I let him hang out there. Wilbur had a couple of hours to hang in the house and get to know it before Callie came home, but he had zero desire to sniff around - he really just wanted to hang out with me, whatever I was doing (I'd been told to kind of ignore him and let him do his own thing, but this guy has NO interest in being ignored). I wasn't really worried about Callie's reaction to Wilbur - Callie is such a friendly, muppety doodle. I was worried that she'd be too exuberant for this shy, scared guy and that he would get wiggy and nip at her or freak out. At first, they really just ignored each other. Callie hopped up on the sofa with me for our evening snuggle (it's a bit of a ritual around here). Then, I got up for a second - Callie followed me and and Wilbur hopped right up on the sofa. I was really cracking up on the inside - I kept thinking of reading Jane's posts about how Murphy is learning to sit, etc, because he has Guinness' good example. Obviously, Wilbur is picking right up on Callie's less than awesome habits! Then, I got out leashes to take everyone on a walk...for some reason, Callie hopped up on the coffee table (which has NEVER happened before)...and so did Wilbur! I really started to feel like Wilbur's doodley brain was saying "hey - whatever that furry black dog gets to do, I get to do too!".

I was expecting some resource guarding from Wilbur, and picked up all the toys and put food and water bowls very far away from each other. The one resource that never occured to me was...ME. Wilbur sat at my feet and growled at Callie every time she tried to come up to me. It was a pretty passive growl. and he'd stop if I said anything, but it was persistant.

Then came the adventure of bed time. I had it all worked out. I took the crate upstairs, put the blanket from the sofa in it (Wilbur had already sat on it, so it would smell like everyone in the house, including himself) and brought up and entire chunk of cheddar cheese (I already established that he liked the cheese) to lure him, bit by bit into the crate. He was not fooled and not biting. I spent over an hour trying to bribe, cajole, and drag him into this crate, but he dug in and I actually couldn't get him into the crate. Then it was midnight and I was beat. I decided he could sleep in Callie's bed (she always sleeps with me anyway). I got him settled down there, but before I had the blankets pulled up, Wilbur was in bed too! I know that this is not from the offical foster's handbook, but I decided that Wilbur was telling me that he needed warmth and affection more than he needed a crate (all the experienced foster parents can tell me about what a huge mistake I've made). Wilbur slept through the night, with Callie in the same bed, with no issue.

Wilbur is reminding me a lot of Callie, when I first brought her home from the shelter. Just like Callie, Wilbur seems hungry to give love and affection. It is truly amazing to me. We were walking today, and Callie was peeing...Wilbur stopped and jumped up and put his paws on my shoulders and gave me a doodle hug. Yes, I cried.

Here are the issues: the crate. he's not eating well. I don't think he's drinking enough (his urine is dark). He hasn't pooped since I got him. Thoughts?

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  • So happy to see your update. It's so sad they didn't even know which one he was. Wilbur is a sweet name for a sweet boy. Feel like crying too just thinking of his little bony ribs showing. He is so lucky now to be with you and Callie. It sounds like you have a big happy bed!!! Doodle hugs from us.
  • What a great job you are doing for Wilbur! A doodle hug....WOW!
  • I am thrilled that you let him sleep with you and Callie. You are going with your instincts and that is what makes a great foster Mom!! When my girls are drinking enough, I give them some of the broth from the boiled chicken I make them - I dilute it lots of water - and they will drink all that I give them. I have learned that they don't get that after 4pm the hard way - WOL!!
    There is never enough love, hugs and kisses you can give him!
    You are doing a fantastic job and I glad that you are keeping us posted.
    Have fun!!!!!!
  • I've watched all day for your post and it was worth the wait! Sounds like things are moving right along! Tomorrow will be better than today and the next even better! Just go with whatever your heart tells you and you will be fine!
  • Your doing fine. If it's cuddles he wants--give him cuddles. He knows what he wants he just can't tell you. In a few days you will write us and say he is counter surfing and eating the toaster crumbs.
    Go enjoy some cuddles you lucky girl.
  • The food, water and elimination will all come with time. He is stressed. It's a good stress, but it's still stress. You're doing everything perfectly.
  • You tell a delightful tale except fotr the eating/drinking. But he just may need some time. You could try wetting his food which might help get some more fluids in and who knows what kind of food he's used too. Any little bits of human food on top also might help. Keep up the great work.
  • I could just hug you right now for letting Wilbur sleep with you and Callie last night instead of forcing him into the crate. I am a firm believer that our hearts always lead us to the right answer. I know that my Guinness is struggling with my Murphy "snuggle time" too. He too would rather get ALL my hugs and kisses. I think he's actually now starting to realize that he's getting more "loves" and "good boys" than ever. Don't think that Guinness is only showing Murphy the good things. He leads him right to the waste baskets, lets Murphy pilfer them and then shares in the spoils with none of the blame. He wasn't born yesterday. And that jumping on the coffee table, I'm guessing that Callie was just "showing off" for her guest. As for the crate...I think you already have your answer. With the eating and drinking, do you feed them together? For the past couple of months I actually worried that Guinness didn't drink enough...but now they are sharing a water bowl, and he's drinking like never before. Guess why? Same thing with eating. They each have different food, but I feed them together and sit in the middle on the floor. They "chow" because they're afraid if they don't the other one will eat it. I don't know if that will work in this case, but it sure works here. I can totally picture that big Wilbur "Doodle Hug" and it makes me cry too. Frannie, you are so "awesome" for what you're giving Wilbur.
  • I think that Wilber may not need crating. A crate it not a rule it has a purpose and if you don't need it why would you use it? Ned is the first dog we have had that was successfully crated - and it was for safety issues that we used it. My Springer has anxiety issues and would NOT be crated. My daughter's lab was a rescue/rehome and had lived in the crate for most of his 8 months - he would NOT be crated when she got him.
    I would assume that Wilber is still anxious and so food and pee and poop will come when he relaxes a bit.
  • I don't know if this will help but when Quincy was not drinking much, I think he was not feeling well. I knew he liked to eat from my hand so why not drink? I held his water bowl and scooped a little water into my hand. He would drink a little each time I did this. Worked like a charm. When Quincy wasn't eating his kibble someone suggested I try shaking on some parmesan cheese, since he is a cheese lover this might help. Not sure about the poo thing, maybe when he is eating and drinking more that will sort itself out too. As for the crate, do you have one that the top comes off, if you do take it off and try that. Gradually work the top back on a little at a time. Good luck to you and Wilbur. I think he's already figured out what a lucky dood he is.
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