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.