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.