Sunday, March 17, 2019

Noelle Update: Week 1 and 2

It's been 4 weeks since Noelle came to our life. Our naked pup has been good. She eats well, um, too well. She spreads her love. She enjoys to be loved.

This is how the first 2 weeks went...

First Week

Because of the President Day, it was a short week. That means she spent more time with us. Plus, Chad arranged to come home early to minimize her alone time during the week. I worked from home later the week since I was still recovering from flu and didn't feel well. So, she had extra time with us whether getting attention or not.

She got 30 min. walk in the morning and one big Milkbone after breakfast. I left the radio on softly and made sure she knew I walked out the door. In the afternoon, Chad gave her 1 hour walk, then some play time.

She was playful. She loves to wrestle. She plays with us like playing with other dogs. When she gets so excited, she nips. It gets rough. She needs to learn difference between playing with dogs and people.

When she gets excited, she does a hippity-hoppity dance. This is very cute. I'll show you some time when I video that.

There was no home disturbance or accidents on the days we both went to work. Everything was where they were as I left home in the morning. The trash can was not touched. There are some toys we got for Marilyn who had no interest in toys in the living room. Noelle didn't touch them either. Only things messed up were the blankets on her beds and the couch where she spent time on. She makes bed even it's already made.

Noelle loves to be on the couch. Most of the time, she waits an invitation. Oh wait, let me rephrase that. She tells you to invite her. When we are not around, she invites herself on the couch.

I would never be comfortable this way, but this is how she sleeps on the couch. It's like a yoga pose.

... and you might wonder why only pictures of her sleeping. Because ones taken while she was awake are out of focus or super close up of her body part. Whenever she saw me pointing her the camera, she started walking toward me. I set the camera on pet portrait mode, which is forgiving with some movement, but it didn't help. She just didn't stay still.

I was not sure about her schedule for nature calls, so I slept on the couch next to her bed. In the middle of night, she licked my face. It was 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. I ignored her. She went back to her bed. A little later, she licked my face again. So, we went outside. She quickly found her spot, peed and came right back to the door. ... Then, that continued every night. Umm, her fosters didn't mention this. This was definitely not a jet rag. She'd gone her last call around 9:00 pm. She should be able to hold all night since she could hold during the day. What's going on?

Meet Her New Vet

The week started with the first appointment with her new vet. She was all over the place since it was a new place to her. She was sniffing around from the kitty patient waiting area to the shop area, where she found toys and treats, and other dogs' parents. Two of their vet technicians, who know Marilyn well, came out to say hi and welcomed Noelle, which was very nice of them.

She was 62 lb, which is a good weight for her size. She was a little bit anxious, but did good with a little help of their yummy treats. She had been fully checked out by the vet at the shelter already, so she got some vaccination which she hadn't gotten and heartworm prevention tablets for next 6 months. We found she had an ear infection. She'd been on the med for next 2 weeks. Dr. LeBlanc was happy about how she'd been treated before the adoption and educated us with possible causes of her skin condition and what to expect in a couple scenarios by each cause. He also pointed out she has arthritis on her hind legs, which was not much of surprise since I noticed they were weaker than supposed to be when she hopped into the car for the first time. For her skin condition, at this point, we agreed to continue the same care given by her fosters.

Bath Time

Noelle had a first bath at our place Monday evening. She did very well. She went into the shower by herself with some treats, then stayed in the shower and led me do scrub. To make the medicated shampoo works, it needs to be sit on her skin for 10 min. That's the hardest part since the poor thing gets cold. I kept rubbing her body and Chad entertained her with treats during the waiting period. It didn't take long for the bath since she doesn't have much of hair. We set Mondays and Fridays for her bath days.


Noelle was to busy to check things out and not so good at paying attention to our voices. That went on for a couple of days in the house. Once she got used to the surrounding, she started listening to us better.

Outside was a different story. Different views and different smells, there are too much to take in yet. She went down every driveway along the course of our walk. I mean every single house. Noelle was eager to meet anybody on the street.

Once we finished the loop and came back to our house, she passed and kept going. She started recognizing our house in a week. She confidently walked down the driveway toward the door. She thinks our house is her house. That made this dog mom feel good. Now she knows she has home.

Second Week


Noelle had been very good with getting her ear infection med. She got it twice a day, morning and evening.

When I was measuring the dose, she was supervising me not to overdose her😜 She didn't run away as I injected the med into her ear. Then, she got some ear rub with my saying "Get better, get better, get better..." She stayed until both ears were done, then shook her head... same way, everytime.

Little Thief

One evening, I came home from grocery shopping and was putting the groceries away. When I took out the plastic bag of oranges, one of them fell. The bag had a big tear. The runaway orange traveled to the corner of the kitchen. Noelle was watching the whole thing happened.

I left the orange on the floor and was putting away other stuff on the counter. A couple minutes later, she quietly walked up to the orange, grabbed it and tried to walk away with it.

She got caught red handed right away. "Uh, what are you doing? You're not supposed to eat that." She knew she was not supposed to do that. She gave up the orange without any resistance.

Love for Food

She eats anything. I mean anything. I gave her some apple, she ate the apple. I gave her some celery, she ate the celery.

The other day, I was prepping dinner. Noelle was beside me for moral support for my questionable cooking skill😳

I peeled off some napa cabbage leaves. For some reasons, she found that was exciting. Her eyes were wide open, and her nose was higher up in the air. I thought she wanted to check them out. So, I put them in front of her nose to let her sniff.

Instead of her putting the nose on the leaves, her wide open mouth almost grabbed them, all 6 layers at once.

"Umm..., no." But, it was a kind of my fault. I gave her a wrong sign. With my guilt, I gave her one leaf though I didn't think she would eat it. Next thing I heard was a loud crunch noise. She was eating the napa cabbage. 10 seconds later, it was all gone. I was blinking my eyes. I'd never seen a dog eats napa cabbage in person in my whole life... but not anymore.

So, that made me think what else she eats. Of course I went for my little experiment omitting cheese, egg and meat. Here are I've found what she eats and loves so far:

  • pasta
  • bread
  • oatmeal
  • rice
  • rice puff cracker
  • dried anchovies
  • sardine
  • apple
  • banana
  • carrot
  • celery
  • green bean
  • daikon radish
  • mushroom
  • orange pepper
  • iceberg lettuce
  • red lettuce
  • cabbage
  • napa cabbage
  • okura
  • natto
  • nori(seaweed sheet aka sushi wrapper for maki)

The bright side of this is that I don't need to get her so called "dog treat." I can simply give her vegetables and fruits instead, which is more healthy for her and affordable to me. No worries, she still gets some doggy treats besides apples and carrots.

The dark side is we cannot leave any food in her reach. Andrea told me the incident of her snatching 4 pork chops and one wedge of cheese from the kitchen counter when her parents were fostering Noelle. So far, she doesn't counter-surf when she doesn't see any food on the counter. I push them further away from the edge of the counter. When she finds food in her reach and nobody is around, she thinks that's her opportunity. She knows she's not suppose to take anything from the counter, but it's just not good and fair to her to leave any possibilities to lead counter surfing knowing her love for food. This is something we need to be careful with.

I have no doubt the list grows longer. She never turns down any food offered. It would be hard to find what she doesn't eat. I was quite surprised she ate natto and she asked for more.

This flexible taste had helped her survive in her stray era. She is not a hunter. She must have eaten anything she could find as a scavenger.


At her first meal at our place, she couldn't wait her bowl got put down. She tried to put her head into the bowl before it hit the floor. This needs to be changed.

We started a little training. I covered the bowl as I put it down on the floor. Her face was right there, but she didn't force herself into the bowl either. This was a start.

I told her to sit. She didn't want to sit though she sat for treats, then I realised she didn't like to sit on a hard floor. That's not easy for her with her weak hind legs. So, I put a small mat in front of her bowl, navigated her on the mat. She sat down.

As soon as her bum hit the floor, she thought she could eat then. That's not quite what I was aiming for. She didn't stay sitting. Then, another command "wait" came in. Once she sat down, I started telling her wait. She was given the wait command every 5 seconds to make sure she stayed sitting.

She's getting it. I still need to cover the bowl with my hand, but she knows she needs to sit and wait before she starts eating.

Hopefully, this tells her food wouldn't go away even she doesn't eat it as soon as she finds it.

My Shadow

Noelle follows me everywhere, but the basement. Even she was invited, she never goes down to the basement. She waits at the top of the stairs no matter how long I spend time down there.

She opens the bathroom door and pokes her head out of the door when I'm in, then leaves keeping the door open. Even she sees me I'm going to the bathroom, she opens the door 5 seconds later. She's doing this since she came to us. Actually, her foster, Marianne told me she did that when she was with her as I mentioned that to her. Now I just invite her into the bathroom, then I can at least have the bathroom door closed. By the way, she never turns down my invitation.

When she realizes I'm not around, she runs around the house looking for me. Sometimes she cannot find me either she misses the spot or I'm behind a door even it's open. She goes around the house going up and down the stairs once, twice. She still cannot find me, then she cries loud once. The one cry is filled with fear and anxiety. Noelle, did you do the same cry when you found yourself lost?

"Hey, I'm here. You don't need to cry." She came to me with big wagging tail. I see the relief on her face. It'd been only a week and how come she put that much trust on me? I could be a super evil to hurt her. She wouldn't know that.

In her first week, she wake me up in the middle of the night for party... that's what I thought. It turned out to be that she was just checking I was there. She went pee since she found she was given the opportunities. One night, she woke me up as usual, so we went out. She did nothing. She didn't even want to go out. So, we went back inside. A little while later, she sniffed and licked my face again. Then, she went back to her bed. She was making sure she was not alone.

In the second week, she started her evening snuggle time on the couch. When I finish all chores for the day and sit down on the couch, she finds that's her cue. She asks me to invite her to the couch. She hops on it and has some snuggle or rubby time for a while, then situates herself making sure her body is touching me and falls asleep. She stays on the couch until morning. So, I go to bed. Then, middle of the night, I hear her nails clicking the floor. By the way, I'm a light sleeper. Usually any noise wakes me up. The click noise gets close and closer. Then, I hear her sniffing my face. If she sees me, she licks my face. She turns around and goes back to the couch. She makes sure I'm around.

Noelle is looking for security. That is her way of making sure she is not lost again. Hopefully, her feeling of lack of security eventually fades away, and she feels comfortable to be alone.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Here We Go. Another Journey Begins...

Hi, I'm Noelle🐶

I was captured a little before last Christmas when I was wandering in the wild, and brought to Smithtown Animal Shelter. I'm a Long Island girl. I was starved and cold for long long time. The long term neglect caused my skin issue and hair loss. With lots of TLC from the kind people at the shelter and New York State Retriever Rescue, I am as good as new now although the hair takes for a while to grow back. They helped me found my forever home.

More importantly, I am a year-round 🎄Christmas girl! Can you tell by my name?😉 I'm always on the nice list and ready to receive gifts anytime. Well, as a year-round Christmas girl, how can I be possibly on the naughty list? I LOVE 🥕🥦🍎FOOD🥓🧀🥩.

Love... at First Sight?????

Last month, in the MLK weekend, it was a day after Marilyn's 2nd anniversary. Chad and I went to Long Island. It was a freezing windy day. Noelle jumped out of the car and started checking out her surrounding. Then, she eventually noticed we were there. She briefly said hello to us and went back to follow her curiosity. We walked around the parking together. She was happy and friendly. After the quick meet and greet, she went backed into the car and we went back to the boat we came with to return to Connecticut.

Gotcha Day ~ Saturday, Feb. 16th

Marilyn's bowl was filled with fresh water. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out in the clear blue sky. We got a break from cold. The temperature hit 40s. We were heading to Berkshire. The traffic was terrific. After a little over 2 hours drive, we met Marianne, Noelle's 2nd foster mom, with Noelle.

Noelle jumped into my car with no hesitation. She settled right in with a chew treat on the back seat. Marianne and I went over her information. As we started talking, a beautiful golden retriever walked in front of us. Our eyes were following the dog. We were distracted from the talk. "That's a cute dog!" Marianne said. We, dog people, cannot help checking out every dog we see. It just how we are, and we love to be that way.

Noelle had no idea what was going on. She was busy with her treat. We hit the road again. She was nice and quiet even after finishing up the treat. Once in a while, she stood up and checked the windows and said quick hello to us.

Once we got home, Noelle got off the car and started checking out the yard. Most part was covered with snow, so not much to look around, but she sniffed around. Her exploring continued to the house. She made a couple of quick circles downstairs, then sniffed some spots. She hesitated to use the stairs as if she didn't know what they are. She stared at the upstairs' hallway. I gave a little push on her bum and we went up together. She did fine with the stairs. She looked around in and out each room, then went downstairs by herself. The upstairs didn't interest her so much.

A couple of dog beds were set up, but she kept making circles in the house and didn't know what to do. She came with a pink blanket which she had at the shelter. I put the blanket on one of the beds, then a magic happened. She sat right on it. When I sat on the bed next to her, she got up, sat down making sure her bum touching me. A couple minutes later, she got up again, turned around, sat down, put her head on my lap, then started snoring. It was a long ride. She had another one hour ride with her foster mom before she met us in Berkshire. Not knowing what's going on, having a ride with strangers in a unfamiliar car, finding herself in a unfamiliar place... all events wore her out. That was a very exhausting day to her.

After the nap, she had her first walk in the neighborhood before getting dark. Big laundry was going on since we just came back from our trip the night before. She got nervous with some noise from the washer, but she managed it well.

Dinner time! The biggest excitement of the day to her. We saw her so it called wild side... She couldn't contain her excitement to herself when she saw me walking around with the dog bowl. Humm, how did she know that was her bowl? While I was putting her dry food from the bag, she attempted to put her head into the bag. Once I put the bowl down on the floor, she couldn't wait any longer. We had to pull her back. She couldn't hear anything. She was so focused on the food. Well, she's got to learn some manners. She's not allowed to eat like in the wild anymore. I'll name it the Project My Fair Lady. She chowed down the crunches, then was still hungry. She got some sardine and veggie stew with oatmeal. That didn't last long either. Her bowl was as clean as it was before the dinner.

I navigated her to the bedroom for bedtime. She came into the bedroom, but turned around, went downstairs, and sat on the bed in the living room. So, we slept in the living room.

Day 2

We ran some errands together. She was very good in the car. She didn't jump out when the door is open. She was curious and looking at the window for the whole time in the car.

We went to Barkery. It was early morning, so we didn't see any other doggies. She sniffed around, but didn't help herself with anything though so many yummy treats in the store. Great job, Noelle!

Chad and Noelle played ball for a while. Chad threw a ball. Noelle retrieved it. Then, they started over the cycle again and again. It lasted for a while. She was excited and had fun.

As Andrea from the rescue told me, Noelle is a velcro dog. She follows me around. She loves to touch someone when she settles. Maybe, that's her security thing😢 after being alone for so long in the wild. She loves to jam her head between my body and arm. She loves hugs. She's also a big kisser. She's very affectionate.

Noelle is on 24/7 kitchen patrol. Whenever she detects any activities in the kitchen, she flies over there. Then she comes back with a little disappointment of not getting any food.

She tells when she needs to go out. This is very helpful. She's not so good with recall. We need to work on that. We started with a clicker, but she's so excited with the treats in my hand. I don't think she's ever heard either the clicker or my voice calling her name so far🙄. We have a long way ahead, but we'll get there.

Based on what we've seen so far, it was a right call to wait to have her after our trip. The trip was arranged last fall and it was unable to reschedule. We explored any possibilities to have her sooner, but the bottom line is we had to have somebody to watch her while we were away soon after we'd get her. We were not comfortable with the idea to drop off the dog we were not familiar with to somebody without enough information to pass on. In case of an accident, we didn't want to put the person into an awkward spot. Even though Noelle is generally good, her response to recall is concerning enough. Plus, she had been in a great care by two dedicated fosters.

Noelle is a good girl. She is very loving, happy and playful. In this short amount of time, she's already shown so much personality. She's been making herself at home. She doesn't wait for an invitation to the couch anymore. She invites herself🙄. Well, I was warned that she loves a couch. This sort of things just crack me up. Oh, she also likes to open the bathroom door while someone is in it. I can see she'll receive a lot of love by people she'll meet. We're very excited to have her. And, the behind of the whole thing, there is Marilyn. She picked her new sister and brought her to us. Our special girl did a great job.

Noelle is estimated around 8-9 years old. Marianne told me the vet guessed she'd been stray for at least one year, possibly longer than that. We'll never know how she'd got lost and survived. Based on her personality, I think she was very loved and well taken care of by her previous owner. The owner must have been very heartbroken by losing her. She'll never get lost again.

Noelle came to us through love, compassion, dedication, commitment and hard work by people at the shelter and the rescue. We're honored that they trust us for their Noelle. It is our privilege to be given her. So, here is our promise to them that we'll give her the best life we can possibly give her. Here we are again to start a journey. We don't know where it takes us, but we are sure this journey is going to as good as one with Marilyn.

There are so many people like them in the world to save neglected lives. Those are all good animals who deserve good happy life just like everybody else. Because of these people's hard work, they'd get another chance. You could be a part of it by adopting such animals. You might think they are just animals, but they have much better understanding of their surroundings than you think. Once you adopt them, they'd show you their appreciation. Yes, they know you saved them and appreciate that. Besides, they'll make your life so fulfilled and colorful you'd never imagined with their love.

Don't shop. Adopt.