Saturday, December 29, 2012

Minnie and Denny (lower square is a video)

It is really encouraging pulling in to a nearly full shelter parking lot.  Inside, visitors were everywhere, lots of activity and holiday bustle abounded. I made my way back to the volunteer room to see which dogs still needed walks.  By early afternoon usually most of them have had a walk- not today.  Of the dogs requiring a more experienced walker (me) just one had been walked.  I saw from the board that Minnie and Denny were kennel mates so I figured I could save time by getting both of them out and perhaps have time for a third. I got permission from the staff to take two at a time as well as some help getting them harnessed, we were off.

Minnie and Denny  are Chihuahuas, three and five respectively with very different personalities.  Minnie is in continual motion!  She is so cute and squirmy that I completely panicked in the exercise yard when I saw that she had  wiggled right out of her harness.  Fortunately she is also a "carry me" dog, it always "pick me up time" for her, no harness no problem.She snuggles right in, for about 30 seconds, then is ready to rush off to a new adventure.  Denny, on the other hand, is a solid and sweet quiet little guy.  He stays near you just happy to get petted and talked to.  He and Minnie came in together so maybe their temperaments would be different if they were "only" dogs.   Since I was more concerned with getting the dogs out of their kennel than going over training issues, etc, I just let them wander around and enjoy themselves.  Not wanting to risk Minnie getting out of her harness, AGAIN, we ended our outing in a vacant get acquainted room, where I was able to capture a short video of the two cuties.  They are really nice little dogs, so let's hope that they find their new
home(s) very soon.

Bryan (lower square is a video)

By the time I got to Bryan I was a little short on time, but could not resist his sweet shy little eyes. He is a cute Jack Russel mix between two and three years old.   Bryan bounced up to meet me at his back door then promptly dashed in the other direction as soon as I entered his kennel.  With some coaxing I was able to get in a few chin scratches and ear rubs but getting him harnessed - that was something else.  I kept petting him and talking then I decided that, though timid, he seemed naturally affectionate, so he might not mind  being picked up and carried.  Fortunately he was OK with it and I got him harnessed while we left the inner dog area and  walked down the main hall.

Once outside he was again gripped with fear and shyness.  He  stood  in the outside walkway too afraid to even sniff the nearby bushes.  I carried him to a quiet area close to the building and somewhat protected by shrubbery, where he began some cautious sniffing - progress.  Once in the exercise yard he started feeling more comfortable and began normal doggy sniffing and running around, however he was still  cautious  with me.  I continued talking to him and noticed that his wandering started centering on me.  I pushed a bit more and was happy to see that he was soon following me around the yard.  He even came when I called him after just a short amount of time.

Now seemed like a good time for a regular walk however Bryan had other plans.  He preferred returning to the familiar comfort of the shelter and was quite confidant and perky as we walked inside and started back down the hall.  I felt since he had come so far so fast ,that I wanted to spend a bit more time with him.  All the get acquainted rooms were occupied so I took him into the Volunteer Room; he promptly dove head first into the trash can for some left over peanut butter.  He's fast! I decided to leave well enough alone and return the sweet little guy to his kennel.  He was very cooperative, especially since I left him with a frozen peanut butter Kong.  He bonded so quickly with me that I think he will fit in very well to his future family, let's hope he finds them soon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kelly (lower square is a video)

I wonder if I'm ever going to walk an ordinary dog.  Well it did not happen Saturday.  According to the chart in the volunteer room  everyone but Kelly had been out for a walk so my buddy decision was made for me.  I went to meet Kelly.  I do not like admitting this but when I saw the happy, eager little terrier, pit bull face looking up at me, I felt a little sad. Since pit bull mix adopters must be home owners, quite a few potential forever families will not be available for her.  It typically takes them considerably longer to get adopted.

Kelly was up on her hind legs to greet me but quieted down nicely to get ready for her walk. She was just full of energy but still was easy to keep close by as we made our way out.  The exercise yard was occupied and Kelly was clearly making "let's play" gestures toward the occupant, however this is against the rules.  Fortunately the yard became available quickly and this is my preferred way to begin an outing.  Kelly wasted no time sniffing, etc. but  went straight for a ball and made it clear that she wanted to play.  She is great at fetch and just as great at catching a ball or ring on the fly and promptly returning it to you.  Next I thought we would try some of the basics: sit, down, stay, come;  she aced them all!  This truly amazing medium/small dog is just eleven months old, very, very affectionate, and  so eager to please  that all she wants for a reward is affection and praise.  I had three different types of treats with me and she had no interest in them. 

After about 20 minutes of play, pets and hugs in the exercise yard we began our walk.  She is every bit as cooperative on the leash as by now, I expected she would be.  Kelly is the complete package,  so very sweet, smart and according to her profile, likes other dogs and cats. In her short first eleven months she has not only been very well educated, she has found time for motherhood (unplanned of course).  I just cannot imagine a sweeter pet, let's hope she finds her forever family soon.

Teddy has a Forever Home

Teddy found his forever family in the Portland area.  He was transferred to the Oregon Humane Society early last week in the hopes that there would be more potential adopters.  He found his new family within two days!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


At less than a week after the Black Friday Sale, the shelter was nicely low on dogs.  Everyone had already been walked so I took the suggestion of the volunteer coordinator that Teddy would really appreciate another outing.  He is young (two), mostly Catahoula Leopard Dog with just a dash of Pit Bull mixed in and very eager.  He greeted me happily at the back of his kennel  jumping up on his hind legs but when I said sit and  slowly opened his door just a little,  he immediately went down and sat quietly.  He was  a little timid about getting harnessed but a few treats did the trick.

Teddy was excited to be getting out again but when I told him to sit, just outside the shelter door, he was in a sit looking up at me before I could get a treat out of my pocket.  I usually let a dog relax a little in the exercise yard before doing any commands but both yards were occupied.  We began our walk into the desert immediately.  After a few minutes, with Teddy trotting briskly along, I slowed down and said his name.  He stopped immediately turned around and looked at me.    I did this several times - same result. Each time he did this he earned a treat, according to Meredith, it is a very important part of obedience training for the dog to look at you when you say his name.  Further into our walk Teddy found a big bone, I said "No", he slackened his jaw while took it out of his mouth and replaced it with a treat.  A few minutes later he found another one, I said, "Drop it", he complied and received another treat.  Amazingly in just a few more minutes he seemed to be going for another big bone, it was a root!  He absolutely knew it was a root, he was just trying to fool me into giving him another treat!  When I called him on it, he just wagged and came back for a pet, not really wanting the root at all.  

On our return we had the exercise yard to ourselves.  I started with basic sit and down, Teddy of course is perfect.  We progressed to fetch, perfect again, dropping the ball right at my feet sitting eagerly waiting for the next toss.  Then I tried  the run out and catch the ball in the air, perfect again.  Teddy is so smart and eager to work.  He also likes other dogs and, according to his profile, cats.  Teddy has been at the shelter for a few weeks possibly because he does not have a fluffy cuddly look, but whoever  adopts him will probably consider themselves the luckiest dog owner ever for the rest of his life.  What a dog!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lanie has a forever home

After many long weeks Lanie has found her forever family.  As some of you know, it usually takes longer for a dog who has some Pit Bull in her background due to specific owner requirements.  We wish her the best, I know she is a very appreciative pup.

Elton has a forever home

Sweet little Elton has his own family now.  He was adopted on Friday and I know he is likely snuggled in tightly by now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


On a cloudy rainy Tuesday, after a busy Bend morning, the dogs beckoned.  My mind's eye pictured happy little faces, all eagerly waiting for a walk, etc.  Reality hit as I pulled into a nearly full parking lot, visitors and volunteers were all over the place.  Just one dog had not had an outing - Elton.  The notes said he was very shy and timid.  As is often the case with small dogs (he is mostly Chihuahua) his kennel was one of the private elevated enclosures requiring a stop at the reception desk for key and harness. The staff person offered to help coax him out and I was happy to accept.  Elton leaped into her arms squirming wildly in delight while she got him harnessed.  I carried him down the hall; the staff person and I walked together so that Elton had someone he knew close by. 

Outside it was cold so I do not know if Elton's trembles were from excitement, cold, or fear of me (a stranger); but he  huddled close.  He is so little, I figured he could get a good workout in the exercise yard so we went there first.  He is really cute, he just bounces around like a little toy, interested in everything.  He began following me around just happy to be with me. At one point I looked down and noticed his harness had nearly slipped  off.  Readjusting it was challenging because he was now my best friend and was smothering me with kisses.  Time for our leash walk to begin.

Elton is a social guy so we walked back toward the shelter building where he had more chances to encounter potential new friends.  He enjoyed all the  regular dog things like sniffing every inch of the hedges around building but what surprised me was his eagerness to make friends with other dogs, even large ones who were not behaving very friendly toward him.  Once back inside the shelter it was obvious that he absolutely loves the staff.  He was dashing to each one of them getting happier by the minute as they greeted him.  In the nearly two years I've been volunteering here, I can't remember a happier dog.  Little Elton came in as a stray so his history is a mystery, but there must have been love in there somewhere.  Let's hope he finds his loving family soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shae has a forever home

Sweet little Shae has found her forever family.  We are all so happy she found them them so quickly.

Halie has a forever home

Some very lucky family connected with Halie yesterday.  I know she will amaze them daily with how much she understands and how eager she is to please. 

Family Photos

Maggie, Mike and Doris
The Braemers

Doggy friend, great photographer and Good Dog reader (of course), Ginny, took these fun photos.  Thank you Ginny for your talent and your heart!

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I just love hounds, so on a Thursday afternoon with all of the dogs having had at least one walk, Shae, a three year old mostly beagle/pointer mix was going to be my walking buddy. She was up on her hind legs to greet me at her back door but ran to the front of her kennel as soon as I entered.  It took just a few minutes of talking and coaxing for her to come over for pets then a few more to get her harnessed and ready to go.  I quickly glanced at her profile and saw that this was just her second day at the shelter, no wonder she was unsure of things.

We got outside and both exercise yards were being used so we proceeded straight to our walk, no energy burning romp in the cards  today.  I mentally prepared myself to deal with a dog eagerly pulling the leash.  Shae's first surprise, she is very good on the leash.  My next preconception, hounds find a scent and focus on it totally.  Shae did enjoy sniffing things but no  more than any other dog does. However my favorite thing about her is her need for affection.  Every few minutes she stops her walk, comes over to you, and leans for pets, looking up at you all the while.  I hope she continues this affection seeking behavior when she finds her forever family.  She is a good little dog, sitting on command, coming when called, walking comfortably on the leash and, from my brief exposure, seeming to like other dogs.  I sure hope she finds her new home soon.


Though I did not walk Halie I spent enough time with her to be really impressed. As I was walking another dog, I noticed one of the staff doing a video in the exercise yard.  The dog was so "connected" and obedient I thought I was watching a YouTube on dog obedience.  I just had to ask her handler/volunteer her name -Halie.  She is a beautiful two and half year old lab / wire hair mix; actually she looks like a lab with a beard, really cute.   Later that day I was part of a small group getting a hands on lesson in doggy bathing.  Our victim (oops) client, was Halie.  I volunteered to go get her.  She was excited and bouncing around in her kennel but sat immediately when I gave her the command.  She is a big dog so, had she decided not to cooperate, well...., you can imagine; however, our instructor knew what he was doing, Halie was sweeter than sweet, and all went well.  I think her future owner will be nearly as lucky as we were to find Willow and that is saying a lot!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Another late in the day shelter arrival for me and  and, when I asked for suggestions about which dog could REALLY use a second outing, Lanie was voted, "most in need of one".  I glanced through her profile:  Door dasher, pulls on leash, second time in shelter as a stray with no one claiming her...  On the plus side, she sure is cute!  Lanie is a young (about a year and a half) terrier pit bull mix and was bouncing up and down eager to meet me at her back door.  Surprisingly it took just a few minutes for her to quiet and back away from the door when I entered her kennel.  She sat on command so that I could get her harnessed. 

As soon as we left her kennel the pulling began; at the front desk I had one of the staff check her harness; she was pulling so hard it looked as though it might come off.  I closed my eyes for a quick prayer that the exercise yard would be vacant; if ever a dog needed to burn off energy, it was Lanie.  Prayer answered, yard vacant, in we go.

Lanie began dashing round and round the perimeter, stopping only to whimper and whine for any dog she spotted, near or far.  She absolutely loves other dogs.  Just a note, on our return to the shelter she even behaved affectionately toward  dogs who showed aggression toward her.  It made me dizzy  just watching her zip around and I did not like the fact that she was ignoring me.  Fetch did the trick, she is pretty good at it and it got her to pay more attention to me, not perfect but improved.  Then I decided to force the issue. I stood in the middle of the yard so that I could not be ignored; she finally stopped dashing around came over for pets and looked at me. I rewarded her with treats and we began our walk.

I decided that getting her out into the open desert and away from the stimulus of other dogs would be a good next move.  The leash pulling resumed with a vengeance. For about the next 15 minutes, I blew it.  I just let her pull and marveled that the training harness made it not too uncomfortable for me. It took me until we got to the halfway point and turned back to realize what a disservice I was doing her.  Allowing her to pull and ignore me was certainly NOT adding to her adopt-ability.

She pulled, I came to a stop.  We stood there until she turned around, looked at me and proceeded slowly.  Every time the leash tightened and she pulled, I stopped.  I'd like to say that this fixed everything; it did not, but it made a difference.  I walked very slowly, she walked much more upright with intermittent tension in the leash but not at all like our outbound trek.  She looked back at me often and earned lots of treats for this.  As we approached the shelter I saw her begin to tense up, I kept talking to her but it was hard to keep her attention.  Once inside I shortened her leash, she was excited but not pulling excessively.  A family with children were just leaving the kennel area and I made her sit, stay and look at me - she aced it!

Considering that Lanie is a high energy young dog, with so many stressful transitions in her recent past and the day to day stress of general shelter life, she made an amazing amount of progress in just an hour.  Let's hope she finds a home of her own soon and it would be wonderful if it included another dog. 

Biggy has a Forever Home

Biggy was  adopted a couple of weeks ago but with all the excitement of adopting Willow, I am a little late.  His forever family includes a beautiful red Pomeranian. The Pom-Poms were brought by the shelter for a "look how cute we are" visit last week.  A truly happy beginning for a sweet, appreciative senior Pom.   

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Introducing Willow Braemer

We adopted this wonderful dog on Monday.  Several months ago Willow was brought to the shelter as a stray. She was about 10 months old, under socialized and very timid.  Despite being a beautiful lab mix with a surprisingly quiet temperament, she was just so shy, she could not get herself adopted.  All for Dogs came to her rescue and put her into a foster home.  Her foster family included other dogs and cats and she did very well, eventually getting adopted by what was expected to be a forever family.  Apparently a couple of weeks ago she began piddling inside and here is where my information gets a little sketchy.  Her family contacted All for Dogs  to turn her over to them and, once again, they came to her rescue.  They took her to the vet, determined she had a urinary tract infection, began her treatment at Happy Tails Boarding in Redmond and listed her for adoption on their website.

I had just finished "walking" Emma, and asked the shelter's Volunteer Coordinator for suggestions of adoption agencies in addition to the shelter, she reminded me to try All for Dogs; I checked it later and  filled out the on-line application for Willow. She has had one accident her first day with us, but otherwise she is just an incredible dog.  She looks forward to making lots of new doggy and human friends here in Sunriver plus she will likely be getting a cat friend in the next few months.  Once we all get settled, we plan to adopt a kitty.

I'll still be walking dogs at the shelter, however this week has been too busy.

Emma has a Forever Home

Emma found her forever family this past week. While I do not know them, they must be very special people to see the quiet love and devotion that this sweet, timid creature will give them every day.  The staff person I spoke with did not think she was going to be used as a hunting dog, more of a family pet.  Good luck Emma.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


If you are expecting an action-packed doggy story, you might consider skipping this one.  At around 3:00 on Friday only Emma had not yet had a volunteer walk, she is currently considered under socialized and her log sheet suggests that volunteers use lots of treats.  I could handle this; what could be so bad?  I confidently loaded up with treats and went off to meet Emma.  She offered a happy face and happy tail as I greeted her from the front of her kennel; so far so good.  I opened her back door  to get her harnessed; she was flattened against the front trying to disappear.  She is a big, beautiful black and tan, seven month,  Coon Hound puppy, way too big to hide under her blanket. Emma and her three brothers were found wandering on a road and brought in as strays; who knows what they have been through in their short lives.  After much coaxing, treats, etc; I gave up and went for help from the staff.  The staff person crawled in from one direction, I stayed in the other and the staff person got her harnessed.  Emma froze and would not budge more than a foot from her kennel.  After continued coaxing from both of us, the staff person suggested  that she carry her to a private adjacent staff hallway and we would just see where things went from there.  She also put a large comforter in the hall so that Emma had a place to hide.

Emma stood in the hall and trembled; I sat next to her talking and petting.  As the staff went about their normal duties, they all acknowledged her.  One staff person was very encouraged that she was brave enough to stand there and not hide in the comforter - socialization one step at a time.  After about 15 minutes, I asked a staff person to help me carry her just outside the door.  It is a fairly quiet grassy spot with a view of the exercise yard and used only by the staff.

I sat on the walkway, she lay next to me as close as possible, but soon her nose began telling her that there are lots of interesting things in the world. After just a few minutes she got brave enough to stand up and walk around sniffing, but only within a few feet of me.  At one point, the staff led two big dogs  fairly close to us. They were taking them into another yard and we were in their path.    Though they barked at Emma, she was not at all afraid; she actually walked toward them wagging; but the minute she realized what she was doing she turned around and quickly and  buried her head in my lap.  Another staff member came out to see how she was doing and was really impressed that Emma approached  her independently.  I was about to get another surprise when Emma spotted her brother, Mason in the exercise yard.  She stood up bravely and barked at him, her shoulder ruff standing straight up.  It's against  the rules for the dogs to be in contact with each other, so she could not go visit, but she was certainly not at all timid concerning her brother.  

Once the exercise yard was free, I thought I'd see if I could get Emma to walk toward it.  She picked up her brother's scent, bravely walked over to the yard and through the gate for some serious sniffing.  At last Emma was behaving like a real Coon Hound!   When it was time to return, we went through the Shelter's main door but unfortunately much of the shyness returned.   She had to be carried most of the way.  I still think she made a lot of progress today, though there is still work to be done.  I think she will make a very good pet for the owner who likes Coon Hounds since, unlike some of them, she seems very dependent on human comforting.  Hunting dogs are sometimes type cast as being too independent, this is definitely not the case with Emma.  If anything, she leans toward the "needy" side.  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ruby has a Forever Home

Ruby has found her forever family. I would imagine she will make the thought of "winter in a month or two", a brighter prospect for them.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


No shortage of dogs today.  The shelter received 27 from an overcrowded California shelter this past weekend and all but Ruby are small.  She is just so beautiful, a Siberian Husky with stunning pale blue eyes; I  had to get to know her better.  The notes on her log sheet requested that volunteers work with her on calmly leaving and returning to her kennel.  Trepidation starts to creep in!  No problem; my right brain assured me that having just completed Meredith's (Pawsitive Experience)  training, I could handle this.  I made up my plastic lid coated with peanut butter (to distract her while harnessing up) and headed for her kennel.  There she was happily howling and jumping up on her hind legs - "Stay calm and ignore her until she stands quietly", (Meredith).

 It worked; so far so good.   I'm now in her kennel; peanut butter lid is on the floor; she is sniffing it, I'm getting her harnessed and she does not even like peanut butter!  Wow; we calmly leave the dog area, walk down the hall and go outside.  I know she is just seething with energy so a stop in the exercise yard is a must.  She goes racing around, half run, half jump; you can see she is not used to wearing a training harness.  She jumped up at me one time, but by just turning away and ignoring her (thank you Meredith), no more jumping.  She still raced around then raced at me when I called her, but her brakes slammed on as soon as she got to me.  I was somewhat surprised that she sits on command IMMEDIATELY;  she does not even require a treat.

Once out on our walk, she was pretty good, taking my lead in direction, but lunging for every chipmunk and bird.  Fortunately the training harness prevents pulling so her lunging did not cause problems.   About one third into our walk I reversed to avoid another dog/volunteer team; Ruby let me know clearly by whimpering loudly, that she was not ready to turn around and go back.  As soon as it was apparent  that her walk was continuing, she wagged and trotted along.  She is so responsive.  As our walk was winding down, I found a bench and she was happy to sit and lean on me.  She is very affectionate and eager to please.  Back in the dog area, she seemed a little afraid of the other dogs barking but  stayed calm and easily walked into her kennel.  I finally read her profile. She is just a year old.  For a dog not much beyond puppy-hood and in her circumstances,  she is  amazing.  She is going to make someone a wonderful companion for a long time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slow Doggy Day at the Shelter

 The Sun Salon:
At about 11:30 on Tuesday morning just two dogs were eligible for a volunteer walk. One, Charles, was already out walking and number two, Biggy had been out for a walk, had a shampoo and fluff and just needed brushed out.  I picked up the still damp little Pomeranian and we headed out to a sunny bench for his brush-out.  He loved it.  Just a note for all of you knitters;  I have never felt anything as soft as the Pomeranian undercoat; what a wonderful yarn it would make, and there is lots of it.  I'm sure Biggy would be happy to oblige. 

Update on Good Dog Alum, Janelle:
Some of you may remember Janelle, I know I do!  Janelle is now living the good life, about half her time in the Sunriver area and half on a 400 acre farm in Idaho.  Besides her loving human family she lives with her best buddy Sage, a Golden Retriever.

Jannelle and Sage

Dogs just seem to love these.  You pack them with a small amount of peanut butter frozen in a larger amount of ice and the dog is entertained for hours!  It reminds me of watching a kid with a Smartphone.  The Shelter keeps the freezer full so we always have them available as special treats.

Sugar Finds Her Forever Home

Sugar found her forever family on Saturday.  Apparently rooming with Biggy gave her more confidence so that she was becoming less timid every day.  On Saturday she won the heart of the right person and the rest is history.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Biggy is a happy well adjusted eleven year old Pomeranian; they are a long lived breed so he likely has quite a few more good years. As I was reaching in to get his roommate Sugar, he made it clear that he was going to go for the first walk, strutting over (as only a Pom can) and waiting to make sure I got the point. As I picked him up, he settled in and I quickly observed he is rock solid and not at all rattled by the barking all around as we walked through the main kennel area. Once outside he enjoyed some sniffing in the exercise yard but was happy to begin our walk into the bigger world. Though I usually let the dog determine the route, Biggy was more inclined to want me to make the decisions. You can tell he has spent his life in close communication with people. He is a nice comfortable little dog who will make someone a sweet companion. Once our walk was over and he went to his corner of the shared kennel, I figured he might want a nap - wrong. Within just a few minutes, when I returned with Sugar's harness, etc. for another walk "attempt"; Biggy came trotting out ready to go again.


Though I did not walk Sugar, I spent about 15 minutes attempting to convince her to leave her "safe" corner, so I kind of know her. She is a three year old Chihuahua, currently bunking with Biggy, and the most timid dog I've met yet. Apparently she was left on her own for long periods and is just afraid of people. She and Biggy are in a very cozy enclosed kennel, separate and somewhat sound proofed from the main dog area; but I could not reach in far enough in to drag her out. She clearly listened to my coaxing, sniffed at a lid with peanut butter on it (her favorite), but just trembled as I futilely stretched to reach her. I ran out time or I would have asked a staff person to get her for me. I think that once this sweet little dog finds her person, she will be incredibly devoted, let's hope it is soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Roger has a forever home

Roger the little black kitten from the doggy carnival was adopted a few weeks ago. I have not been as prompt as I would like because Al and I have been dealing with the unhappy situation of saying good bye to our sweet kitty Gus. We were honored with his company for eleven and one half wonderful years. Because his temperament was so laid back and he never had an interest in food, we did not know until just before the end that he had late stage kidney failure. He will be with us forever in spirit and in our memory.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alexander has a forever home

Alexander has found his forever family. The staff person I spoke with did not know if the home includes other pets, but Alexander is so young and sociable, he will find friends everywhere. His life has taken a wonderful new turn.

Monday, August 20, 2012


The Canine division of the Shelter began a wonderful new program last week emphasizing each dog's individuality to give them a better shelter experience and increase their adopt-ability. I mention this because it was a reason for my selection of Alexander, a ten month old, big, energetic, German Shepherd puppy and the strong suggestion that his walking buddy should be experienced - me! All the dogs now have their own custom fitted training harnesses; the bad news is that I had never put one on by myself. After a few clumsy attempts including a big, happy puppy; I went for help from the staff. I learned from the staff person that Alexander had arrived at the shelter as a very thin stray; he had likely been making it on his own for quite a bit of his short life with not a lot to eat.

We got Alexander into his harness, but that was it. Though he was now eating and gaining weight, new things such as doors and making transitions - like leaving his comfortable kennel were VERY scary. After scooting him on all fours toward his door, she gave up and just carried him out. This continued for door number two, but by doors three and four, she pushed and I held treats in front of his nose. We eventually made it outside.

A first stop in the exercise yard seemed like a good idea. Alexander went bouncing around; he has clearly had no training regarding sit, fetch, or down; but, because he is naturally affectionate and social, he loves to come for hugs and pets. I offered treats and though he likes to smell them, he really does not seem to understand that they are food. He enjoyed sniffing around on his own, but generally wanted to be beside me. At one point he spotted a volunteer walking a Chihuahua on the other side of the fence. Alexander was so enthralled, he laid down to get as close as he could to other dog's level while wagging and whimpering. Just a note, later as I returned him to the dog area, we passed the Chihuahua's kennel and he remembered her with wags and whimpers. I now think his pre-shelter life could have included being with a group of other dogs; as he seems quite comfortable walking down doggy gauntlet.

Once on our walk I was happy and a bit surprised that he is pretty good on the leash. I know the training harness accounts for some of it, but I think he is just a social dog who likes being with people as well as other dogs. He is also a fast learner. Once we were back at the shelter, he was a little hesitant with doors but nothing like earlier. He was quite willing to go back to his kennel and chow down at his food dish. Alexander is a sweet, happy dog with tons of potential. Let's hope he finds his new family soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bob and Scooter have forever homes

Mr. Personality - Bob- has found his forever family; Scooter, the tabby kitten has also found his. Good work guys!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Unleash the Vision*- A Doggy Festival

Al let me off at the main entrance then began the search for a parking place. RiverBend Park was brimming over with dogs, owners and vendors of "everything doggy". After a little scanning I spotted the Humane Society tent where we would be volunteering for the afternoon. What first caught my eye was an empty dog pen. The adoptable dog - Bob - decided it just did not work for him, and was able to convince the Shelter Outreach Director that he could a much better job meeting visitors with the increased freedom a leash offered. Bob is a one year old Miniature Pincher look-alike, who just loves everyone, whether they're on two legs or four. I need to add a qualifier here. During the course of Bob's busy afternoon, a dog came by and behaved aggressively toward Scooter and Roger, the kittens. Though they were safely contained and Bob had only met the kittens about two hours earlier, he became very protective, putting himself between the much larger dog and the kittens' cage and barking loudly till the owner took the dog away. I saw him do this same behavior when a beagle got too near the kittens, though he just kept him away with his body - no barking. What a perfect little dog he is, let's hope he finds his new family soon; but for now he is taking a well deserved rest!

Scooter (tabby) and Roger (black) are super sweet two month old kitties who have been fostered with kids and dogs thus, they are very calm and easy going. Because it was so warm, they spent most of the afternoon sleeping. They attracted lots of attention, especially from kids, but overall, it was a lazy day for them. With their great foster backgrounds they will fit right in to all kinds of family situations. We wish them forever homes very soon.

*Unleash the Vision is a benefit for the charity "Feed the People".

Rory has a forever home

Rory found his forever home early last week. I would guess that by now he has let his new owner know his expectations and hopefully all is well.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bindi has a forever home

Bindi found her forever family just a few days ago. Though I know nothing about them, I know they are special. According to the staff, they came back several times before making the decision, taking their time to get to know this great little dog. In addition, because Bindi has some Pit Bull in her, there are more rigid standards that an adopter must meet. I know she will not disappoint, Bindi is really an impressive dog!

Vivian has a forever home

Vivian the happy and "full of potential puppy" was adopted earlier this week. Some lucky family is now getting a lot more exercise and fun.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Even though the shelter was buzzing with visitor activity, it was hard to miss Vivian. Her happy, bouncy personality just draws you in. She had not yet had a volunteer walk so I went for large size walking supplies and told her I'd be back. She is officially considered a "hound mix" but she looks just like the photo I found of an English Coon Hound (left). Her kennel photo is pretty bad, let's hope they get a nicer one. When I returned she was in the front of her kennel greeting visitors but charged back when she saw me. She was so excited - many of you can guess what's coming -Vivian broke loose and dashed out of her kennel. I just crossed my fingers and hoped that she was obedient; she is. She went directly to the outer door, I told her to sit and stay, I got her collared and leashed, off we went!

A stop in the exercise yard to burn off energy was a must. Vivian raced around happily, thrilled to obey the come command. She likes the idea of fetch but gets it right just about one out of every three times. Once on our walk I expected extreme pulling but she was actually quite good. At one point I needed to do some leash adjusting and I made her sit and stay for several minutes; she needed prompts, but overall did very well. The day was warm and when Vivian began seeking shady spots for rests, I knew it was time to take her in. Once I got her back into her kennel, I took the time to read her profile - shock. Because she is so big, I just assumed she was an adult; she is a seven month old puppy! I am just amazed at how well behaved she is especially considering her current circumstances. She is going to make someone a wonderful pet, let's hope she finds that someone soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


With visitors everywhere asking lots of questions - I seemed to be the only dog volunteer at the shelter at this time- Rory was easy to miss. He is a sweet little West Highland Terrier who was sitting quietly on his bed watching the goings on. I figured a gentle walk would be therapeutic for both of us so I went for a small collar and leash and told Rory I would be right back. After a quick sprint down the hall and out the door, we took care of the necessities; I thought a romp in the exercise yard would be a good way to start our outing. Rory thought not. Plan B, a fun walk up a gentle short path, very pretty, yet close to the shelter; Rory gave it a "paws down". Plan C, OK Rory, what do you want to do?

I quickly learned that this little guy is very people oriented, he wanted to sit near the entrance and meet people coming and going, sniff cars, stare longingly at people getting in or out of cars, attempt to join them, etc. He really wants to find a family of his own. According to his profile, he also likes dogs and cats, so he is not fussy. On our return I left plenty of time for him to greet all the visitors inside as well as the staff so, all in all, he had a good outing though a bit light in the exercise category.

Since I knew very little about Westies, I consulted Al and Google. They're strong willed - got it- and long lived, 15 or more years. This works well for Rory since he is seven.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Duke has a forever home

As I was doing my mid dog hand washing today I glanced into the adoption room and saw Duke sprawled on the floor and a happy new owner going through the adoption process. We had a chance to talk in the parking lot and Duke will be going to a wonderful life. He is going to a home with lots of property and one of his jobs will be to discourage a cougar from coming around. Let's all cross our fingers and hope that Duke's attitude of polite reticence toward the kittens does not apply to cougars! On Duke's behalf, I asked the new owner if he had truck; he does not currently have one but he has been thinking of getting one. Good luck Duke in your new home.

Geronimo has a forever home

Geronimo found his forever home early this past week. It took him awhile as he had lots of small dog competition from a very large group of cuties from an overcrowded California shelter. However the right person finally came along and this, one time shy little fellow, connected in a big way.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


As I signed in on a busy Saturday morning, I noticed that Duke, a beautiful Red Bone Coon Hound was still waiting to be adopted. When I got back to the dog area and saw that he had not yet had a walk, I knew who my walking buddy would be. Unfortunately Coon Hounds suffer from type casting. Many potential Central Oregon adopters picture them racing through a South Eastern forest baying with their buddies, on a serious hunt. I have to admit, I'm sometimes guilty of this same type casting. Whenever I walk a working breed I take two long leashes hooked together so that they have as much freedom as possible to do their sniffing/hunting behavior. Duke also had a note on his kennel to use a "no pull" harness. I gathered up equipment, doggie treats and all my prejudices and went off to meet Duke.

He was waiting for me at his back door, standing on his hind legs gazing happily into my eyes, he is big. The first thing I noticed is that he had no plastic collar to grab; however he took one whiff of the doggy treats in one pocket and my jerky snack in the other pocket and he sat so fast on command, he practically sat in his water dish. This was one obedient dog! I got his regular collar attached with his leash and we were off to the front desk for the "no pull" harness. They were busy so he had to wait; once again he quickly sat on command then flopped down onto the floor until the staff had time to get the special harness on him.

Our first outside stop was the exercise yard, he enjoyed some leisurely sniffing, had no interest in fetch, but was completely thrilled to come when I called him and sit for a treat. After a little while of this we started our walk; I was all ready for our mini hunt, I lashed the two leashes together, and started walking into the desert. Duke really did not want to go; he of course walked with me when I told him to, but his heart was not in it. He wanted to amble around the parking lot. He just loves trucks; he not only sniffs every inch of the tires, but puts his paws up on the doors so that he can see in the windows, etc. Being a Saturday, the parking area had lots of activity; at one point, a visitor dog broke away from his owner and came bounding over. I quickly leashed Duke in closely but he was so polite and gentle with the other dog, I had no need for concern. To finish out our walk I led him on to the grass surrounding the building, less chance of running into visitors. Duke was enjoying sniffing around in the shady shrubbery when I heard unmistakable kitty meowing. Two of the cutest tabby kittens were in the enclosure area that fronts onto the Shelter yard, they were less than ten feet away. The kittens were very interested in Duke. Duke, however behaved as though he was afraid of them and kept his distance. I think this is probably a very healthy behavior for a dog of his size who needs to be able to fit into a variety of family situations. Duke is a sweet gentle creature who will be happy in just about any situation, but wildly happy if it includes a truck.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I knew I would be walking an adoptable dog in the Bend Pet Parade but it was not until I arrived and started toward the Humane Society tent through the parade staging area crowded with many, many dogs, that the reality started to dawn. I was about to bring a dog who was not surrounded by comfortable family members, and who had recently been transported from her kennel via car to me, a stranger, into this chaos. I got to the Shelter's tent, signed in, and waited for my walking buddy to arrive. As I read Bindi's profile, she certainly looked promising; a three year old Heeler/Pit Bull mix who not only could do all the standard obedience drills, but also liked other dogs and cats. In addition she has the really cute behavior of mimicking you if you get down on the floor with her. I crossed my fingers as I looked up and saw her being led across the street toward the tent by the shelter director - showtime! We took a few minutes to get acquainted, get her suited up into her "Adopt Me" jacket and, with another volunteer/dog team, headed for the pandemonium across the street.

Bindi is a medium size dog at about 40 pounds but we clustered in the Big Dog waiting area so the shelter dogs could be near each other in the parade. We were crammed so tightly with dogs and their owners that you could not turn around without bumping into someone. We waited in this area for at least a half hour. I knew Bindi was excited because when I gave her a command eg sit, she would respond but would not a accept treat; she was too excited to eat. When dogs many times her size approached her sniffing, licking, etc. from all directions, she remained perfectly calm, positive, and friendly but completely in control of each interaction. If any of you have ever watched Cesar Milan the Dog Whisperer (TV show), one of his "perfect dogs" will often take this role when he is working to correct someone's problem dog. With each passing minute I was more impressed with Bindi, as were many of the other dog owners we were crushed in with!

Finally the Parade began. I decided that in order to give Bindi maximum exposure we would walk the outside edge so that I could see how she'd interact with the hundreds of well wishers along the route, some of them canine. Bindi loved prancing along welcoming the oohs, ahs, and pets from the spectators. About 3/4 of the way through, she seemed to be getting thirsty so she paid a lot of attention to those with water bottles and coffee cups! I think she enjoyed every minute and so did I. Great day, even greater dog.

Miranda has a forever home

Miranda, the "A list dog" was adopted early last week by some lucky family. I know she will do well, she is such a loving people pleaser.