It's not often we get a cute picture of our pups together: AnnaBelle looking on as Apollo is getting cleaned up for Thanksgiving. Her turn is next!

The Streckfuss Family

30 November 2010

Hello! Just a quick update to let you know how much we just love our pups! It's been 3 years now that we made the 4 hour drive to bring Apollo home, and it's been 1 1/2 years since we brought sweet AnnaBelle home to foster, then just had to adopt. These two dogs are somewhat like the odd couple, but we love them!

Apollo is a very rambunctious 85 pound coonie! He loves to bay and he is so good at it! He’s loud! Thankfully we haven’t been cited by the city again. Apollo loves to chase any little critter that may come into his back yard. This list includes birds, squirrels, bunnies, field mice, moths, butterflies and bumble bees! He'll sit on the edge of the concrete steps, just waiting to see what he can chase around the yard. Apollo loves going on morning runs with me, sometimes 7 miles long! His favorite place to call it a day is in my bed, under the covers with me!

AnnaBelle is very laid back and is taking in all her amenities her older life is giving her. She loves the regular feedings along with the treats for going outside and being a "good girl." She has a pleasantly plump belly to show for this. Her favorite place to lie is in my big cushy chair. If the chair is empty and she sees me walking towards the chair, she will do her gallop and jump right up, beating me and leaving me nowhere to sit.

Last fall we became members of the local dog park. The pups love it!! It is a true work out just getting them there. As soon as we're in the car, Apollo starts barking and baying and AnnaBelle does her baritone "woof". They bark the whole ride to the park. People can hear us as we pull up! Apollo will run right in, full speed, barking/baying the whole way. He gets along well with other dogs, but the other dogs really don't want to play with him because he spends the whole time barking and he is just too loud and no fun. Even though rejected, he still holds his curled tail high! AnnaBelle will enter the park with a slow gallop and wander towards the fence and very slowly walk along it, ignoring everything that is going on around her. She's happy to be outside and sniffing away. Several times she's had to pucker her lip and growl off a dog, if one was a bit pushy with her - definitely no playing for AnnaBelle - just let her walk and sniff and this ole gal is happy. She loves to walk up to the humans in the dog park and get free loving.

Summer time brought a garden of fresh tomatoes and the dogs love them! AnnaBelle found how to get in the garden and pick the tomatoes and jalapeno peppers. Apollo would stand on the outside watching her, waiting for her to get in trouble, but she never did because she was just so cute. Soon Apollo caught on and found his way into the garden where he could pick his choice of tomatoes!

We can't thank you enough for our hounds. Life wouldn't be the same without Apollo’s never dying energy and AnnaBelle’s laid back life style!

The Streckfuss Family

1 October 2010

What can we say about Apollo? At two years old he is 80 pounds of doofiness! He definitely has a mind of his own. I don’t think he has stopped baying since he learned how! He bays for any reason. Like for a squirrel in a tree or for a squirrel not in a tree. He bays at other dogs or at AnnaBelle, his “sister”. He bays when we leave him, he bays when we come back home. He bays for his food. He bays when he’s let outside. He bays when playing fetch! He bays when we take his picture. This dog never stops baying! We have been cited by the city for having a “loud” dog. He just can’t help himself. He gets so very excited for any reason. We can hear him bay on the other side of the park which is close to a mile away. We can hear him two houses away, us outside, him inside baying for us to let him come out and play too!

Apollo loves to go on morning runs with me and has worked his way up to 7 miles, with ease. He’s a little skittish with the dark morning shadows and is still learning the command of “no pulling.” He is not the type of dog to cuddle with, or have his belly rubbed or even to sit and be petted. He has to be busy doing something, even if it’s staring into a 10 foot tall leafless dogwood tree, waiting for a squirrel or chasing bubbles blown from a bubble machine.

However, he does love to burrow under the covers with me at night! He has his own special bedtime routine. He will stay up, on top of the covers, until he hears the last person home at night. Then he will walk to the head of the bed and scoot his nose under the covers, which is his signal for us to pick up the blankets for him to walk under, down to the foot of the bed where he abruptly plops himself down. He likes to sleep on his side, with all four paws straight out, digging into my back. Sometimes he gets confused exactly where he is under the covers, and thinks the way out is at the foot of the bed, thus tearing apart all the bedding. That’s where he stays until it’s time to get up to “run” or eat.

He has learned simple tricks of paw, sit, lie down and stay; all of course for a treat. He has his own silly way of talking by opening his mouth as if to yawn, and then letting out a whining sound. He does this repeatedly to get our attention when he is excited about something – like if I’m late to give him his evening bowl of food or if he wants you to play fetch.

Apollo loves to go hiking into the woods, but we can’t let him off the leash. He would roam and get lost and we wouldn't want to lose our Apollo. These hiking trips into the woods can be quite annoying (but still fun) since he bays and pulls the whole time. Once, when the hike was over, we rested on the side of the trail, where he found a tree and decided to bay for a good 15 minutes. When we turned to look, there was a line of cars stopped, watching this goofball bay away!

Our family decided to foster a B&T from the rescue to give Apollo a playmate. The fostering turned into adopting and Apollo just loves AnnaBelle. She may not be as energetic as he would like, but he has learned to play with her when she is ready and he plays the way she likes. They both fight for our attention by pawing at us and barking. They steal each other’s warm spot on the sofa. When we leave for the day, they sneak upstairs and play on the beds, leaving the covers all rumpled!! Even though Apollo is a crazy, noisy, rambunctious and a little doofy at times, we wouldn’t want him any other way. Apollo and AnnaBelle have brought us many laughs and it wouldn’t be home without them!

Thank you American Black & Tan Coonhound rescue for giving us a chance to adopt these unique dogs!

The Streckfuss Family

1 November 2009

AnnaBelle came to us after our inquiry to foster a dog. We wanted a playmate for Apollo, our 2 year old coonhound. B&T Rescue had one that was in a shelter in our area that was to be euthanized the following day if she didn’t find a home. We were told she was brought to the shelter by a woman who saw her deliberately lay down in the middle of the country highway, right in her path, just as to say, “Get me out of my misery.” The woman stopped and eventually was able to coax the exhausted dog into her car. We were warned she had been on her own for awhile, and not to let the pictures scare us; she was a sweet girl.

She came to us the next day, skin and bones was all we saw. She had no hair, a deep scar on her cheek and notches in her ears. One of her ankle bones was crooked and her back swayed when she walked. Her age was evident by her wide, flat paws, and broken teeth worn down to her gum line. As if all of that wasn't enough she also had a big red goopy cherry eye and she just plain stunk! She definitely was not the dog we envisioned as a playmate for our Apollo.

The first couple months we had some health issues that caused concern. Her spaying was delayed because she was so malnourished. When she did get spayed and her cherry eye removed, she had a very slow recovery with no appetite; we thought she was going to starve to death. On her follow up visit, the vet discovered a severe ear infection, which was causing her foul odor. A couple weeks later she had some sort of seizure that made us rush her to the emergency animal hospital in the middle of a snow storm. As soon as we got there she was fine. She was treated for dehydration and we went home. After being home for a short while, AnnaBelle’s face swelled up, so much so that her eyes were just little slits in her face. We raced her back to the ER vet where she was diagnosed with an allergic reaction to something. For extra precaution, we decided to leave her there for the night.

As time passed, her hair grew in, her foul smell disappeared. She learned simple tricks and quickly made herself at home on the furniture. We decided we had to be the ones to adopt her. We couldn’t bear the thought of AnnaBelle living with someone else. Not after all we went through with her. We love our AnnaBelle!

Everyday “Stinkerz” makes us laugh, whether it’s the way she swirls her tail around in circles, or her reasoning for laying on a cold tile kitchen floor, the puckering of her front lip when she plays with Apollo, her now pleasantly plump belly and saggy neck skin, picking and eating tomatoes and hot peppers from inside the fenced off garden or her gallop-like style of running when she’s happy. Even her old lady deep baritone, “woof” makes us laugh! She loves her walks/hikes and gives it her all when she’s back out in the woods. The next day, she’ll lie in a warm cushy spot, not moving, causing us more concern, but all she is doing is resting her old bones.

As for being Apollo’s playmate, she pretty much ignores him. He will pounce all around her trying to get her to play. Sometimes he tosses a ball/bone in the air to get her attention, she ignores him. When he has finally given up, she will race to that bone to steal it away from him! On occasion the two pups will wrestle together. When this happens we all stop what we’re doing and just watch and laugh. Her feistiness does not last long, as her poor old worn out body tires easily.

Sometimes we wonder what her past life was; how and why she was so mistreated and abused. We wonder what her life was when she was roaming the woods, how she got her scar, the notches in her ears, the knot on her ankle bone, what caused her teeth to be ground to the gum line, whatever happened to all her litters of puppies and if she was a good mom? How did she manage to survive? Just how old is she, anyhow? Does she remember her past life, the way things were before? These questions will always be a mystery. Deep down it doesn't really matter because we love our AnnaBelle just the way she is!

Fostering a dog and nurturing her back to health has been one of the most rewarding things our family has ever done. It's just amazing to look back and see the changes in our AnnaBelle - her looks and personality. We just had to adopt her!

The Streckfuss Family

30 October 2009

In November of 2007, we had to suddenly put to sleep our family dog, Haley. She had a very aggressive form of cancer. We found her abandoned in the woods when she was just a pup. The vets told us she was part B & T Coonhound. For the next 9 years she was the most wonderful dog a person could ever have. Our hearts were broken when we had to have her put to sleep, leaving us without our Haley.

One day, out of curiosity, I googled “Black and Tan Coonhound”; that’s when I came across this wonderful web site dedicated to rescuing the Black & Tan Coonhound. We couldn’t believe how cute all the dogs were and they all needed homes! After some very persistent persuading by my daughter, we applied, hoping for a puppy. Hopefully, one of those cute little Winter Wonderland Pups! Jayne called, we were approved and had our pick from the Winter Wonderland Pups!

Due to holidays, snow covered roads, and under-the-weather puppies, we had our puppy pick-up date delayed several times. The first chance we had was the day after Christmas. We drove 4 hours to pick our puppy out and bring him home. We met Phil, the foster dad, and the three puppies and three more beautiful full grown coonies. Now we had the difficult task of picking which puppy we wanted. They were all so cute! After much deliberation, we chose Sleigh Bells and drove the 4 hours back home with a sleeping puppy in the back seat.

On the way home we debated over which name to name him. We had several to choose from. We chose the name Apollo. In our family all our dogs have had celestial themed names. Pluto, Venus, Haley (the comet) and now Apollo, the Handsome Fellow.

Apollo has become the perfect new little family member. Well, not too little anymore! He is 45 pounds at 6 months. Vet says he has a lot more growing to do. Some of ‘Pollo’s favorite things to do include, sleeping under the covers with us, jumping in the shower while someone is showering and playing with his best puppy friend from next door. If he is outside and sees Jelly Belly, he will bay to no end, loudly, until someone brings her over to play. Then he bays loudly the whole time they are romping around, none stop. Did I say loudly? I meant loudly! Neighbors have come from all around to see what’s causing this bizarre noise that’s new to the neighborhood. He is loud; it’s funny. It’s annoying. He is the clumsiest pup I have ever seen; big paws, long legs and no coordination! To our amazement he is very flexible during his rough housing with his BFF. He is always the one on the ground, falling and rolling and somersaulting, only to jump up quickly for another run around the yard, ending in another duo-summersault!

‘Pollo is very smart. He caught on to potty training quickly, trust worthy with the full roam of the house, by 4 months, with no major problems and soon learned the basic tricks of sit, paw, lie down and stay. Once he gets his coordination, he will have “sit up” mastered. He is learning the basics on walking on a leash with “no pulling”. Apollo also has become my running partner. He has gradually worked his way up to 1 ˝ miles.

As you can tell with this long update, we love our new puppy! Many thanks go to Jayne and her rescue volunteers. Also to Apollo’s foster family, Phil and his entire family who are amazing for taking in so many puppies/dogs and giving them a great foster home!

The Streckfuss Family

2 April 2008