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.