Friday, December 30, 2011
Buddy has found his forever family. The staff person I spoke with did not know if he would be getting to use his herding skills as the adoption occurred a couple of days ago and she did not recall who handled it. Happy New Year to all of you, including Buddy and his new people.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Koda, nearly the sweetest puppy I've ever walked has found her forever family. It took her a little longer than many dogs, since the shelter requires proof of home ownership before allowing a potential owner to adopt a Pit Bull. This of course eliminates quite a few dog people. I know they will love her since she is close to perfect!
Dakota (huge German Shepherd puppy)
Dakota's forever person did not turn out to be man I met and demonstrated Dakota's obedience skills to; the staff member recalled that it was a father and son who adopted him, last week. A very big puppy this obedient, should be a great addition to his new family.
Bruno (Chihuahua/Heeler mix)
You did not get to meet Bruno since I was having eye problems (thankfully over) and could not use the computer. Bruno was a strange looking little dog and his profile indicated that he was likely to be especially timid around men. On our walk he zeroed in on every male we met, for potential pets. As we were returning to the shelter there was a young guy clad head to toe in black leather and chains, sitting on the curb in front of the shelter. For Bruno, it was love at first sight. He planted himself in front of him, gazed lovingly up at him then settled into a lean against his legs. The guy told Bruno he would just love to take him home but it was not possible. I eventually convinced Bruno back to the shelter, but it was hard to get him to move. I'm sure a little guy as affectionate as Bruno is now very close to his new family whoever they are.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The shelter was really busy and noisy today; kids are out of school, the cats are on sale; a happy bustle after a few comparatively quiet weeks is nice. At 2:00 all but two dogs had a volunteer walk and one of them was Buddy. He is a beautiful four year old Australian Shepherd who was just in his second day at the shelter and wearing a couple of extra pounds. I've noticed that often when dogs arrive at the shelter as a result of their owner's passing away, they are a little overweight likely from the illness/inactivity of their past owners. As I came to his back door to put on his collar, though cautious, he quietly came to me and stood very still while I put on the collar and leash. He did not seem bothered by all the visitors and other dogs barking as we were walking down the hall and was OK with people stopping to pet him.
Once outside, he seemed happy just walking close by, sniffing and checking back every so often with his stunning pale blue eyes; normal herd dog behavior and excellent leash behavior. About half way into our walk out in the desert, things changed. Al called to let me know he had already picked up the mail, etc and since I had my phone on speaker, Buddy heard his voice. He got quite anxious and immediately wanted to go back toward the shelter. I tried to get him to walk a little further, even using treats, but he was adamant. As we started back, there was little if any casual sniffing, just a purposeful march back to the shelter area. He got very agitated and alert in the parking lot but became normal again once we were inside. Let's hope his new person finds him soon.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Following a supposedly routine cataract surgery Nov. 14, I've had lots of eye problems that have limited my driving and almost cut out my computer use. I see the doctor again tomorrow. I have walked a really sweet dog Bruno and hopefully will be able to write him up soon.
Also, Al could not find Christmas cards he liked at Costco so I suggested he try "Paws and Shop" at the Factory Outlet Center (Humane Society Shop); he said it was great for Christmas items. Hope to be in touch with you again soon.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
By 1:00 on Saturday all of the dogs had been on volunteer walks; so I walked through a second time and did not get past Koda's big brown eyes. I went around to the back of her kennel and, though happily squirming for pets, she made no attempt to bolt out her door; getting her collared was easy. Like all puppies ( six months) she was brimming with energy but the exercise area was in use, so we started our walk without an initial romp. Koda, a Pit Bull seemed to want to stay close, she was very happy to look up and get petted every few minutes. In fact, every time her leash got tangled, she sat down, wagged and waited for me to untangle and pet her, looking at me happily the whole time. I began to suspect that she was getting tangled just to create petting stops, because she she would sit there, tail thumping eager for me to talk to her and pet her while getting her untangled. She is one of the most affectionate dogs I've ever walked in the 8/9 months I've been volunteering here.
On our return, the exercise yard was free so I thought we would go in for some ball chasing. Koda did a little running around but as soon as she saw me sit on the bench, she had to be on my lap showering me with kisses. She is such a sweet little dog, she will make someone a wonderful friend.
I had just arrived at the shelter and was walking down the hall when I met a potential adopter/visitor coming in from a short outing with Dakota. Dakota (Dougy's brother) is a seven month old German Shepherd mix who out-weighs Dougy by about ten pounds, likely putting him at just over 80, a super sized puppy! I heard the visitor discussing with the staff that Dakota seemed pretty wild and he was wondering how he would get along with a dog already at home. I told him I was on my way back to the dog area if he needed any assistance and suggested that we take Dakota into one of the "get acquainted" rooms. Knowing that the volunteers work with getting the dogs socialized and trained, and, that Dakota has been at the shelter two weeks; I loaded up with a pocket full of doggy treats and hoped that Dakota would come through. He not only came through, he aced it. He sat, went down, shook hands, he looked like a pro, not a seven month old puppy. I asked the potential adopter if he wanted to step in but he said he just wanted to watch him perform. I soon left to find a walking buddy; I'm hoping that Dakota won him over.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
By around 12:30 on Saturday most of the dogs were either back from their volunteer walks or on them, except Dougy. Dougy is a 75 pound, seven month old German Shepherd/Lab mix puppy. He is pure happiness, enthusiasm and energy. Knowing that the pathways were intermittent snowy and icy, I had more than a few moments hesitation about Dougy as a walking buddy, however his sweet, eager face won out. I went to his back door to face the first challenge, getting the chain collar on him. He saw the collar and threw his head into it, I fastened his leash and he leaped with joy. I quickly realized that I would need to wrap around the first leash and use a second one to give him some walking space. Since dogs are not supposed to be in the supply room, a visitor offered to stand in the hall with him while I went in for leash number two. When I came out in less than a minute I could tell that she was stunned at Dougy's level of exuberance. I thanked her, she looked relieved and we were off.
Our first stop was the exercise yard, Dougy did some ball chasing but he mostly wanted to sniff around the edges, catch sight of me and run as fast as possible right at me. I turned away so he did not knock me down but I quickly determined that our "yard time" would turn into "school time". Though excited, after just a bit of sternness he consistently sat on command for treats.
We started our walk and as I anticipated he displayed a puppy's total abandon and interest in everything resulting in lots of pulling and lunging. This would not do. I wrapped his leash under his front legs and up, to stop the pulling; he hated it. He began bucking like a wild horse and quickly got his back foot caught in the leash; as I went to get him untangled I soon realized that he was completely free of the collar AND leash. Just a note here, Dougy is the only dog I've encountered here at the shelter who had no little plastic collar with his name and number on it. I had absolutely nothing on him to grab. As most of you know this has happened to me more than once in the back area of the kennels, but, out in the open desert - not good! I stood up, told Dougy to sit, he sat; I replaced his collar and leash (no wrap around) and we continued our walk. I let Dougy do more sniffing and pulling for about another ten minutes then I decided the walk would be on my terms, I would be in the Alpha role for the rest of this walk whether he liked it or not. He seemed very content walking along on my terms. On our return we stopped again in the exercise yard, he still had a good amount of energy to burn but he mostly preferred just being close with lots of pets and nuzzles. Big as he is he wanted to crawl onto my lap.
After an exciting and exhausting outing with Dougy, I started really being impressed with him. When you consider that he is a large seven month old puppy, confined to a relatively small kennel except for limited outings and very limited training; he did amazingly well. He will be a wonderful pet for someone but his future person will have to be willing to be the consistent Alpha that Dougy needs.
It was so busy and noisy at the shelter on a late Saturday morning that I almost walked right by his kennel. Two Socks, a five year old gray Shih Tzu -with two white socks -was standing (I think) quietly looking (I think) at me. He resembled a scraggly little gray mop, no eyes showing but an odd little grin with just his lower teeth apparent. He had not yet had a volunteer walk, so he would be my choice. As I went to his back door to get him, he was happy to get petted, but seemed confused about getting collared for a walk; he did not seem to know the routine.
As we were walking down the hall, Two Socks made these odd grunt/growl sounds as he bounced along, if you've ever heard piglets grunting around, that is how it sounded. The staff said they thought it was just inward sneezes. He seemed to do less of it out on the walk. Al's suggestion (from my description) was possibly post nasal drip.
Our first stop was the exercise yard, though Two Socks seemed to enjoy running around for balls, he still did not seem to know what to make of things. Unfortunately we were just about five minutes into our walk when I looked up to see a large privately owned dog barreling down on us. Two Socks, curious but not afraid, was still happy when I picked him up to safety. He was very comfortable being held, no squirming at all. As our walk continued he was very good on the leash doing the usual amount of sniffing but mostly wanting to be beside me. There was quite a bit of snow around and when we were about ten minutes from the shelter on our return, I noticed he had really slowed down. I looked down and saw that his paws were so packed with snow that he could no longer pick them up! We finished our walk with me carrying him, his heavy paws dangling.
Back at the shelter I finally read his profile and it explained a lot. This was his first full day at the shelter, this walk was his first walk by a volunteer and he is here because his owner recently passed away. Two Socks has had lots of adjustments to make very recently and, all things considered, he seems to be doing very well. Let's hope he finds his new person soon since he still seems a little confused but clearly is used to being close to someone.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Sweet Alice was adopted yesterday. Though as you know, adoption information is confidential, the staff member I spoke with believes that she was adopted at the recommendation of a volunteer so someone has taken the time to know her a little better. She aims to please and I'm sure she will.
Doc was adopted late Thursday into a family that includes a doggy friend. The shelter always recommends a "meet and greet" on the neutral ground of the shelter exercise yard between the existing and newcomer dog, so it sounds as though Doc passed his test. I'm sure he saw it the other way around. By now Doc has likely established himself well into the petting order and is getting more than his share of everyone's attention.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
One look at Doc and he was walking buddy choice. Doc is a two year old standard Dashshund and a real beauty. The dog I grew up with was a standard black and tan Dachshund and she was simply the best. We started down the hall toward the main door, Doc trotting along slowing down only to acknowledge some new fans (shelter visitors) along the way. Dachshunds, lovable as they are, seem to have an inborn "attitude". They are quite a sophisticated little dog and Doc is no exception. He is just a perfect little guy on the leash. We passed a few very large dogs on our walk and Doc simply ruffled a little hair at his shoulders and looked on with interest. He was not at all intimidated by dogs much larger than him even when they were pulling towards him. Like most hounds, he explores his world with his nose and being a young dog, everything is new and exciting.
Back at the shelter, Doc had more visitors to greet, so he just wagged his whole body and wanted to stay in the reception area. He is very people oriented and seems to love being talked to. I had to do a bit of coaxing, including treats, to get him back into his kennel. He is going to make someone a wonderful little friend, let's hope it is soon.
Since it was a cold and rainy day I thought, at just around noon, I would find lots of dogs who had not yet had a volunteer walk - not so. They all had been walked by volunteers, so I went through a second time and Alice caught my eye. Kathy W. had mentioned a few days ago that males seemed to out number females in the adoptables I write about, so Alice seemed like a good choice to even things out. She is a two year old lab/border collie mix and was up on her hind legs, wagging and jumping, ready to go.
As I opened her back door she bounced straight up and out. Once again here I am, leash and collar in hand, with Alice freely leaping around the back kennel area. If I were not a volunteer I know I would be fired. Strangely enough, Alice is as obedient as she is enthusiastic. I just stood still, told her to come and sit (she kind of half sat) then she put her head into the collar. We were off.
Once we started our walk, I was somewhat surprised that she is very good on the leash; though she is strong, she is not a puller. She is still a young dog and interested in everything, especially birds, but she stays connected with you and is quite responsive to voice and treats. She readily sits and shakes her paw on command, so although she was a stray, someone has obviously worked with her. Back at the shelter, she continued to be happy and obedient; I opened her back door and she returned to her kennel with no coaxing required. She is just a really sweet and obedient dog.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
The staff noticed that Buddy seemed to be in pain. The shelter vet examined him thoroughly and Buddy was found to have severe arthritis and hip dysplasia and he did not respond to the meds they gave him to alleviate his pain. I guess when I thought he was slow in starting because of something in his paw; it was really those other problems. The shelter staff made the difficult decision that many of us have had to make regarding our pets in their time of need. During his short stay at the shelter he had many fans among the staff and the volunteers and he will be remembered.
I need to vent a little. Buddy was surrendered to the shelter just a short time ago by his owners, as an adoptable dog. They were moving and he could not go along. I hope I never encounter a pet owner this irresponsible who would not see their long time pet comfortably through to the end. Thankfully the shelter staff is skilled and compassionate; because of them, Buddy felt cared for and is no longer in pain.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
At 11:30 most of the dogs had not yet had volunteer walks and, since lately I've been walking mostly smaller dogs, I selected Buddy as my buddy. Buddy is an eight year old Blue Heeler who was quietly wagging and sniffing through the front of his kennel to encourage my decision. As I went to his back door to put on his collar, he shoved his way into the collar and I realized how strong he was. Our first stop was the exercise yard; I let go of Buddy's leash, he spotted one of the shelter staff on the other side of the fence and went over to visit him. Visiting someone he knew was much more important to him than fetching toys or running around the yard. He has been at the shelter just a little over a week and he has already bonded with the staff.
We started our walk down the dirt road out into the desert and, knowing his strength, I wondered if I would have to wrap his leash to prevent him from pulling. I was about to be amazed. At first I thought he must have picked up something in his paw because he was not walking in front of me like dogs usually do; his nose was just about ten inches and slightly behind my left knee. When I stopped examined his feet and petted him, he wandered a little sniffing the weeds, etc, but as soon as I started walking again he went back to his position ten inches slightly behind my left knee. I walked faster, he stayed in position, slower, the same; we were joined at the knee. I held the leash in a short relaxed loop behind my back, for my comfort and shelter rules, since Buddy's internal leash was far superior to any piece of cord. I have never experienced a dog heel with the precision that Buddy did. When I stopped to pet him and let him know that it was break time, he wandered and sniffed like a normal dog, but as soon as we continued walking, Buddy reverted to precision heeling. At one point we came upon a narrow path (just room for one of us), so Buddy took a new position ten inches behind my left knee. During our walk, Al called; I did not declare a break to Buddy so he stayed in position and just whined a little when the conversation went too long. What a dog!
As far as other obedience, Buddy does sit on command but only if a treat is apparent. His future forever person will need to give him some refreshers in this area.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
After a careful look up and down each aisle, just one dog had not yet had a volunteer walk, though it was after 3:00 - Diesel, a 3 year old miniature poodle. As I put the "Out for a walk" tag on his kennel I noticed a short cord hanging in front but paid no attention. I opened Diesel's back kennel door, he went to the front away from me. After much coaxing, I gave up and went to get help from a staff person. She continued gentle coaxing, Diesel was not budging. Finally she quietly took the short cord, looped it around his rear, scooped him up and that is what took to get him leashed and collared. He seemed afraid of everyone. Fortunately I had selected a very long leash so he was able to walk staying far away from me. At one point early in our walk I reached down to give him a pet, he had been looking the other way and he jumped straight up in the air he was so startled and scared. I felt the same level of connection that I would probably feel if I were walking a squirrel. As our walk continued he seemed to respond just a little to my voice but I was not about to touch him again. After about 20 minutes I noticed that he started to change directions when I did without a cue from the leash. I also noticed that he did no marking, or anything else, throughout the walk.
As we neared the shelter, I took him into the exercise yard and let go of his leash for a little free movement. I walked over to the bench, sat down, turned around and there he was right beside me. This seemed really strange so I walked to the opposite side of the exercise yard; he followed me. After a few minutes I walked to the gate and called him, he came bounding over; I picked up his leash and we returned to the shelter. When I put him in his kennel he had no problem at all with my removing his collar and leash and petting him. By the time I got to the front of his kennel to change his tag he was jumping up and down wagging and licking through the wire - he was a completely different dog after just a half an hour of one on one attention and affection. I finally read his profile, this was just his second day at the shelter, he was brought in since his owner could no longer care for him. I also noticed that his food looked like it had not been touched; I do not know whether dogs experience separation trauma the way people do but Diesel is surely going through something and is so ready to bond with a new person. I really hope he finds his person soon, he is such a sensitive and sweet little guy.
Let's also hope that the shelter gets a better photo of him.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Elton was adopted on Saturday. He is so cute, it is no surprise that he found his new home so quickly. His kennel mate Lala was also adopted but not by the same family. They are both so affectionate, I'm sure they are fitting right in to their new homes.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
As I started up the first row of the dog area I just could get no further than this very small but very engaging Chihuahua/Miniature pincher mix, Papa. His whole little body was wagging and at just a little over a year, his joy at someone talking to him was overwhelming. After two tries of finding a collar small enough for him, we were off. He just galloped down the hall not at all intimidated by the bigger dogs coming and going on their walks. I don't know much about his breed mix but, during our walk, he made a point of staying in eye contact with me just as some herd dogs do. In his case however, I think that he is just such a people-oriented dog that he wanted to keep assuring himself that I was still there.
The only really odd behavior was that not once during our half hour walk did he "mark" (lift his leg) and when he finally went - one time, he squatted. At this point I thought his profile must have had a typo, he seemed more like a "Pippa" than a Papa; but the staff assured me that he is a male but likely just neutered very young. They said that this behavior often occurs with early neutering. He came from a home including all ages of people but unfortunately one of them developed an allergy to him. He is really cute and lovable, though a little strange regarding gender issues. He is so people oriented I know he will do well wherever he goes.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
It was a cool, cloudy weekday afternoon and the dog area was just full of dogs, fortunately lots of potential adopters also. The shelter has accepted a group of dogs from a California shelter that has run out of space, so lots of the dogs are sharing kennels and they seem quite happy about it. Selecting a walking buddy was so difficult; I wound up going to Elton and Lala's kennel to see which one of them would pop out first. They are part of the very large group of dogs from CA. I was kind of hoping it would be Elton since he is the cutest dog I have ever seen. When I think of movies I've seen where they have cast a cute little mutt who seems to be made up of doggy spare parts - that's Elton.
Both Elton and Lala (kennel mate) were there to greet me at their back door but they were shy about letting me put on a leash. After a few minutes, Elton decided to brave it, so he was my walking buddy. Our first stop was the exercise yard where he retrieved a couple of balls then decided he really wanted to get going on a walk. He is very good on the leash bouncing along in typical terrier fashion, though his "look" is anything but typical. At every "get petted stop" his ears went down to maximize pets. He is so sweet. When we got back to the dog area in the shelter he was afraid of the loud barking but he became a relaxed happy little dog again as soon as I opened his kennel door and Lala was there to greet him. They were both much braver and stood together happily while I scratched their chins for several minutes. It was late so I did not have time to take Lala out, but both seemed content wagging and chewing Milk-bone treats.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
The combination of the kids being back in school and me arriving at the shelter early (10:30), resulted in lots of walking buddies to choose from. I noticed a VERY large yellow lab who was standing patiently, wagging and shifting his considerable weight back and forth. I read the volunteer's comments posted on his kennel: "loves to be brushed, loves to be bathed, loves to be petted". RJ, a six year old lab just seems to love people and every kind of interaction. He would be my walking buddy today.
We started our walk at a pretty fast clip; I hoped the exercise yard would be vacant so I could wear him out a little - it wasn't. As we started into the open desert he improved on the leash so that I did not have to use a "no pull" wrap around. I had just gotten a new GPS so I thought I'd try it during our walk. RJ was clipping right along but the minute I stopped to get the GPS out of my pocket he stopped, came around to my side and stood there looking up at me. He did this completely on his own. Once I put the GPS back in my pocket and said "let's go", he started walking again. Ten minutes or so later, I got out the GPS and the same thing happened; not a word from me; RJ just stopped came around to my side, stood there and watched me until I told him we were ready to walk again. This occurred several times throughout our walk of about an hour.
As we returned, the exercise yard was vacant so that was our last stop. RJ just loves the water, his drink at the kiddie pool was a whole body immersion drink. Also he can sit and go down (for treats) which does not surprise me, since he is such a people oriented dog.
Like lots of the dogs at the shelter, he came in as a stray, so we will never know his background; but somewhere in his life he has learned to closely monitor people the way therapy dogs do. It would be wonderful if he found a home where the people need him as much as he needs them. He is really a special dog.
We will be back East till the end of the month, so Good Dog will be quiet till then. Bonnie will be cat sitting for Gus so he will be getting spoiled and having a vacation here at home.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Clementine was adopted yesterday. As always adoption information is confidential but I'm betting that it was someone who has taken the time to really know her, so her match up will be a solid one.
This summer I've seen lots of potential adopters looking at the dogs; puppies seem to get the most attention, followed by dogs who are very cute, waggy and fluffy. A Doberman/Rottweiler mix like Clementine is certainly not fluffy. Whoever has adopted Clementine knows what a special dog she is.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
As you all know, I just go through the dog area and select my walking buddy based on who has not yet had a volunteer walk (all of the dogs get walked by the staff, mornings and late afternoons). I arrived at the same time as another volunteer who uses the same selection process so after going for the same dog, I wound up with Clementine. She is a five year old Doberman/Rottweiler mix; a fairly large dog and very strong. You may have guessed by now, I have a little prejudice against Rottweilers; no reason, but it is there. She looked sweet though and while all the other neighbor dogs were barking loudly, she was just waiting for me and wagging at her back door.
Maybe I was a little antsy, but as soon as I opened her back door she slipped by me. There I was collar in hand, Clementine excitedly running around and every other dog barking loudly. I held out the chain collar, told her to come, grabbed her little plastic collar, told her to sit and was happily surprised when, despite all the confusion and noise, she did exactly what I told her to do.
She pulled on the leash somewhat as we were leaving the shelter, she really needed to "find a shrub;" however, Clementine is such a strong dog that I could not tolerate her pulling on her leash. I used the "no-pull" leash wrap under and just behind her front legs for just a few yards; this does not hurt the dog but it quickly tells them that "pulling is not OK". Within just a few minutes she stopped pulling and we walked the rest of the way with just a plain choke collar. After our walk we stopped in the exercise yard and I was, by this time, not surprised that she could sit, go down, and shake hands (for a treat).
She was brought to the shelter as a stray just about two weeks ago and, when I described her to my "resident vet", she apparently has fairly recently been a mom. I guess none of us will know what Clementine has been through but she sure has impressed me.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Another busy summer day at the shelter, potential adopters all over the place and quite a few volunteers running around but somehow Coco had not yet had a volunteer walk. She is "mostly Kelpie", around 30 pounds and at just nine months, still a puppy. She is the second Kelpie I've walked so I was prepared to be impressed and I was not disappointed. We started in the exercise yard, she is able to fetch and return the ball about 90% of the time. After I figured she had burned off some energy, we started our walk. I let her do some sniffing and path side exploring but generally she stayed by my side, no pulling; or walked in front of me looking back at me every few minutes, taking responsibility for our connection. This eye contact trait is what good Kelpie cattle dogs do.
About 20 minutes into our walk she spotted a bench in the shade, crawled up on to it and laid down. She is very affectionate, so when I sat down she of course crawled on to my lap. Being a hot day, I told her she had to be content with sitting beside me. We must have looked so funny because she had to sit as close as possible, leaning on me and every few minutes giving me a puppy kiss. After about ten minutes she was rested and ready to continue our walk. I decided to see if she could sit on command (for treats). On the first attempt I had to give her a prompt with a push on her rump, but that was all it took; she sat on command quickly after that. On the way back to the shelter, we had another stop in the exercise yard; we did a little more of fetch but she mostly wanted to lay on the cool grass beside me and get petted. She is an amazing puppy; smart, affectionate and eager to please. I know her DNA will make her a terrific herd dog but her heart will make her an even better pet to some lucky owner.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
No you are not seeing double; Java and Prestly, both Pugs, arrived at the shelter just two days ago and if ever two dogs needed a walk, these are the two. I decided since they arrived together and were kennel-mates, I would take them out at the same time. They are seven and eight, not that old for Pugs, but they are very out of shape. We started our walk in the exercise yard; I tossed a ball for them and I retrieved it, they preferred sitting in the shade. I tossed the ball again, running a little this time; still no movement from my audience. After a couple more times including encouraging words, I tired out. Java and Prestly were an attentive audience but quite happy when I stopped all the ball nonsense, flipping on their backs for belly rubs. Realizing that the exercise yard was not working; I started them on their walk. Java, the alpha (and the least fit and chubbiest ) made it as far as the first shady spot then wheezed to a stop. Picking him up was like carrying a happy, affectionate stump. I got both of them to a shadier more grassy area and we had "sort of" a walk. Neither wanted to go very far. Prestly is a bit younger and in better shape but both dogs could use a healthier lifestyle. I think they have likely been fed together in their former home and that Java has taken more than his share of the food. Although these dogs are buddies, they did relate to me as individuals and I think they might actually do better (at least health wise) if they went to separate forever homes. I think they would fit in pretty well even to homes with other dogs; neither of them were upset by larger noisy dogs barking at them. They are both very cute and have lots of personality. Let's hope their stay at the shelter gets them in better shape.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
This week Al and I spent Thursday afternoon working in the Humane Society tent at the Deschutes County Fair. We were assisting the Humane Society Outreach Director and it was pretty much non stop people coming through all afternoon. It was really fun watching the change in Amora (blue heeler mix puppy) during the day. She has been at the shelter less than a week and at first was very shy and insecure not wanting to leave her little pen or look up from her chew toy AT ALL. By the end of the day with everyone stopping by to pet and talk with her, she got so comfortable that she was up on her hind legs greeting everyone, especially kids, and having a great time.
Tinkerbell and Dino, three month old kitty buddies (not related) shared a large two story cage. Dino slept, or tried to, most of the afternoon but, about once every hour Tinkerbell would pounce on him jarring him awake for games. Tinkerbell is especially cute since she is a polydactile (extra toe on each front foot) making her look as though she has huge feet.
Blizzard is also a sweet kitty; she is nine months old and has quite a bit of Siamese in her. She has a beautiful wedge shaped face and blue eyes. She was very laid back despite many people coming through the tent. In reading her profile, her former home included kids, dogs and other cats so I guess she's seen it all. At the end of the day when I took her from her cage to put her in her carrier she remained just as calm and floppy as she had been all day. When I think of what state Gus would be in - let's just not go there!
Fratso and her sister (pet rats) also seemed to take things in stride, they were adopted together soon after Al and I got there.
The other animal in the tent was the Humane Society mascot Maty; a truly wonderful dog. She has competed at the National level with Frisbee dogs who have four legs (she has three), raised feral kittens, been a therapy dog; her resume is extensive. Every so often she entertained tent visitors with her many tricks. This month's Reader's Digest has an article about her.
As of now, Saturday, it looks like everyone but Blizzard has found a home. Amora, Tinkerbell and the pet rats were all in the process of being adopted while we were there on Thursday.
Next week Al and I are volunteering for the Humane Society Golf event Friday at the Bend Country Club, the Dogleg Classic. If you are golfers and plan to play, we will see you on the 13th hole with a surprise. I hope I have time to walk the dogs next week, but, as some of you know, August in Sunriver is really busy.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Lots of potential adopters at the shelter Thursday, but not as many volunteers; it was a hot day. Elroy had not yet had a volunteer walk so he was my walking buddy. Elroy is a 6 year old, very large and strong retriever/lab mix. He is fairly laid back but as soon as he saw me put the "walk" tag on his kennel, he wagged happily. However, when I got around to the back gate to collar him, he was busy receiving pets from two little girls in the front of his kennel. He left his two young fans, came to his back gate for his collar and leash, and we were off. Our first stop was the exercise area but, although he looks more like a lab (color and short coat), he had little if any interest in retrieving balls, so we started our walk. He was very co-operative and walked well on a leash despite the fact that this was his first walk of the day by a volunteer. I typically let the dog decide where we walk, but Elroy was happy to go wherever I chose, sniffing some of the interesting shrubs; but for the most part, tracking pretty straight in front of me yet not pulling. He is so strong, yet I did not have to use an anti-pull harness with him.
As he was trotting along in front of me, I remembered my long-ago Old English Sheep Dog, Mandy and how well she pulled me on cross country skis. I think Elroy with his combination of strength, desire to obey ( he sits plus goes down on command, and walks happily wherever you choose) would be that kind of pal. On our way back I stopped at the exercise yard for Elroy to get a drink from the kiddie pool, you guessed it! He took one quick drink then laid down in the pool. He just loves being in the water. Once back in the shelter he greeted visitors with a happy head leaning on them and big tail flopping back and forth. I also noticed how bonded he is with the staff in just the few days (5) since his intake. He is clearly a very people oriented and obedient, water-loving dog. Let's hope someone who really loves the water finds Elroy.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It happened again, a very busy day at the shelter, lots of barking, lots of potential adopters, activity everywhere. Who do I notice, Briar a beautiful two year old German Short hair Pointer laying at the back of his kennel quietly trying NOT to be noticed. I was not surprised that he had not yet had a volunteer walk, he was definitely easy to miss (the staff walks all of them each morning and late afternoon). Briar would be my walking buddy today. As I put on a collar and leash, he was quiet and seemed happy to be going for a walk so it caught me by surprise when, as soon as we got out of his kennel into the main dog area, he nearly flattened to the floor. I pulled him close to my legs and, by allowing him to have the wall on one side and me on the other, we made it out of the shelter with him in a low crouch the entire time. He was petrified. Once we were outside, he became a completely different dog. We started our outing in the exercise area, he ran around a little but did not seem interested in playing with the toys, then he saw a bird. He froze into a perfect point, stubby little tale straight up, head alert, and one paw lifted. He could have been on the front cover of any hunting magazine. He held his position until I told him he was a good dog and petted him. When I walk a hunting breed dog, I hook two leads together so if they want more freedom to flush out whatever they are seeking in the shrubs, they have a little more room. Briar repeated this flushing and pointing when he spotted a larger bird throughout our walk. He was interested in smaller birds but not to this extent; he differentiated. He covered a huge amount of ground in just an hour and though he was thirsty, he never slowed down. Toward the end of our walk we stopped at the exercise area; the staff keeps a kiddie pool filled with water for doggy drinks. Briar went to it immediately and started gulping, halting only to remove a tennis ball from the pool, fling it aside and continue gulping - this is one serious working dog.
As we approached the shelter, the same scared, timid behavior returned. By the time we were on the home stretch toward his kennel, his legs were locked and frozen and I just pulled him in "skid mode"into his kennel. I had to go in with him to remove his collar and leash, since while in the building, this seems the only place he feels safe. At this time in his life he seems to be two different dogs (both sweet and friendly); one where he is confidant knowing his proper place in the world and the other where he seems to feel he does not belong at all.
I really hope a complete "sportaholic" Type A bird hunter finds Briar, they will make a perfect match.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Manny was adopted on Friday. When I was at the shelter on Thursday, he was on Adoption Hold, so his new family was obviously giving him careful consideration - always a good sign. I have no specifics as to whether he has landed in an "exercise" (he needs it) or "couch potato" (he likely prefers it) situation, but he is such a sweetie, I'm sure he will be very happy and fit right in.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
When I got to the shelter today, most of the dogs were already out on walks. This left me to confront my prejudice about pit bulls, it was Neeko or no one! With leash, choke collar and trepidation I went around to the back of Neeko's kennel to get him ready to go. He exploded out of his kennel jumping straight up with joy and kisses. He is very strong; this resulted in Neeko getting loose in the back dog area with the other dogs barking loudly - potential shelter mayhem. I stood there with the leash and collar in hand and told him to sit; he came to my side, quivered with excitement and sat. I got him leashed and ready for his walk. He pulled a little at first when we were near the shelter and he saw other dogs, but as soon as we got out into the open area, he was just perfect, walking with a nearly slack leash. On our way back, the exercise area was free so I took him in for some fetch. It took him a just a few tries to begin to get the connection between dropping the ball near me and lots of pets and praise. When I sat down in a chair in the exercise area, he just wanted to be close. As I returned him to his kennel, I finally read his profile; he is an eight month old puppy! I have never encountered such a smart responsive puppy, he is just amazing.
When I got home, I read more about this breed, American Stafford-shire Terrier and he seems fairly typical. They are very smart and so affectionate that they apparently make dreadful guard dogs. They would lick a burglar into submission. Once again, the dogs continue to surprise me in such a good way.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
When you walk through the dog area you generally have to be in front of each kennel to see each dog, since the kennel sides are solid to about three feet off the floor giving the dogs privacy from each other. Buford is a very sweet and social four year old beagle and no three foot barrier is going to keep him from attempting to connect. As I glanced down the row of kennels, I saw these beagle ears flying as he jumped in his kennel. Even though I expected he might be a "puller"since he was so enthusiastic, he was just such a beautiful beagle I could not pass him by. As soon as I opened his door to collar him, I told him to sit and he did. I used an extended leash with him to give him the opportunity to do lots of expanded sniffing in an open weedy field near 27th street. Being a hound, he loved exploring with his nose, but about every five minutes he happily trotted back to me and wagged just to check in. He was very good on the leash, no pulling at all during our walk. When we returned and encountered other dogs near the shelter, he really wanted to visit. He was surrendered to the shelter from a multi -dog home and he just loves other dogs. I believe this is likely the reason for his jumping in his kennel, he just wants to see the other dogs. He is really a wonderful and beautiful dog.
I intended to walk completely through the dog area to assess who had not yet had a walk by a volunteer, before selecting my walking buddy; I did not get past the first kennel. Maggie, sitting up and waving hello is "show stopper" cute. According to her profile she is a four year old cocker/terrier mix but she looks very much like an un-clipped miniature poodle and seems just as smart. After my scary adventure last week I decided stay out of the open desert however I figured the dogs would still like to rough it, so I found a large weedy area fairly close in for our walk. Maggie made it clear that she preferred mowed grass, sidewalks and quiet paved roads. We walked according to Maggie's agenda and had a great time. She is really a sweetie.
When I left the shelter, I met Al at the Bend Genealogy annual yard sale and while thinking of my long-ago family, I remembered I had a Great Aunt Maggie and Uncle Buford. Buford the beagle is cuter.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
It happens so often, but when you are at the shelter on busy noisy days you tend to notice the dogs who are being quiet. Haley was sitting at the back of her kennel watching everything going on around her; she was my first walking buddy of the day. Haley is a really cute Pomeranian/ Border collie mix, just about a year old and new to the shelter, this was just her fourth day. Being just a little beyond puppy hood, she was interested in everything , birds in the brush, holes, lizards, you name it. Unfortunately when we were at our furthest point out in the open desert, we came upon a fresh skeleton of a very large raccoon (tail intact). It was not until this time that I recalled Maryann's warning to be wary of cougars when doing my dog walking in Bend. I decided to continue walking and within about twenty yards, Haley just put her ears back and froze, this was enough for me. I don't know whether or not a cougar was lounging under one of the desert shrubs but we turned around and continued our walk much closer to the shelter. Haley gets my "Best Dog on a Leash" award; her first volunteer walk of the day and the leash remained slack throughout the walk!
I decided that walk buddy number two would be "the largest dog I could find"; if there was a cougar out there, we were NOT going to make it easy. Manny is a very sweet and very large seven year old pointer lab mix. As we left the shelter, I felt confidant that all was well and we would have a good walk. Manny had other plans. As usual, our first stop was the exercise yard; Manny went in, but sat at the gate and would not move. As we left the exercise area for the open desert, Manny made it clear that his preference was the parking lot. He wanted to be near everyone getting into a car and to sniff every car. He does obey, so he walked with me (tail dragging) several yards down the desert path, however I soon realized he was trying to tell me that he wanted to go for a ride, not a walk. As soon as he realized we were going to get in my car he perked up and jumped into the back seat. I had been to Costco so he was crowded between groceries but happy. He was very well behaved sitting up in the middle getting maximum AC in his face and not even sniffing the groceries. When we returned to the shelter, I realized I should have gotten permission before taking him for a ride - next time I'll know. Manny is such a sweetie.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Leon was adopted Friday shortly after our walk. As some of you know I'm getting ready for an unexpected trip to Atlanta, so I just cannot remember which "potential Leon owners" I may have talked with as I brought him in. I'm sure he will do well as he is a wonderful dog.
I along with some of you have been concerned that it has taken longer than we've come to expect for Tanner (red bone coon hound) to find his forever home. Among the volunteers, he is close to "Vincent" status as a favorite, but apparently hound breeds are harder to place. So, Tanner is now in doggy foster care at home with a family, still awaiting permanent adoption but getting lots of love and attention in the interim. The organization handling this is a wonderful local rescue group of volunteers called "All for Dogs". I emailed them my write up on Tanner and they responded very promptly; they agree that Tanner is great and will likely find his forever home soon. I'm very impressed with this group and with what the volunteers accomplish on very little.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Some days there are more dogs needing a walk than volunteers. I was trying to make up my mind between dogs and I noticed that Leon had a whole pile of volunteer's notes on his kennel: "Good listener", Knows what I'm thinking", "Communicates with me" "Knows all commands", etc. Was this a dog or a therapist? Well, it has been a lousy spring in Sunriver, so perhaps a walk with a four legged therapist would be a good idea. Leon is a beautiful five year old yellow lab. He is great on the leash, sits, goes down, etc. immediately on command, however what really impressed me occurred as we were returning to the shelter from the open desert area. Al called on my phone and since I had put it in an inside pocket, I had to deal with removing my gloves, getting the phone, all while holding onto the leash. Leon must have sensed that I was struggling because with no command from me, he stopped his walk came around to my side sat down then laid down at my feet the entire time I was talking to Al. During this time several volunteers with dogs walked by us and Leon did not budge. Once I put the phone away and we resumed, everything returned to a normal walk. What an incredible dog!