Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sad News About Buddy

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

Diesel has a forever home

Sweet little Diesel was adopted yesterday. I'm sure by now he is already thoroughly in love with his new person.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Papa has a forever home

Papa was adopted today. His new home includes a kitty which sounds just great since his earlier home had other animals . I know he will fit right in.

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 has a forever home

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.