Wednesday, February 22, 2012
You get accustomed to walking through the dog area looking for purple tags and notes indicating which dogs have not yet had a volunteer walk. I was casually wandering along when Moonshine brought me to a halt. He is a seven year old "puppy" Shih Tzu who, if he were not already cute enough, had been recently clipped and groomed and was sporting an Army khaki jacket zipped up the back. The cutie dancing on the right is a look-a-like; the real Moonshine is on the left. When I returned to his kennel with a small collar and leash he was already wiggling around in anticipation. I finally got him to hold still long enough for the collar and we set off.
We got about a third of the way down the hall and Moonshine spotted his first pal on the staff, he immediately went up on his hind legs and started jumping and dancing - just like the little dog on the right. This is the first time I have seen a dog balance on hind legs long enough to actually jump around and dance! After lots of laughing and petting we made it about another 20 feet, Moonshine found more staff buddies and the show resumed. He could have happily spent the rest of the day there but the staff had work to do. Once we were outside, Moonshine decided the jacket had to go so he rolled onto his back and by kicking his feet in the air madly, managed to scoot all the way down the walkway. A busload of special needs kids was unloading and they thought this was just about the best welcome ever! The jacket has a sturdy zipper, and since this was his first volunteer walk of the day, the exercise yard beckoned; Moonshine took care of business and we continued our walk.
Moonshine sits for treats and is just wonderful on the leash. He bounces along enjoying himself but he does seem to prefer sidewalks to the dirt paths out in the desert area. As we came back toward the shelter he made it clear that he wanted to go back to see the staff. He actually pulled a little on the leash to get inside to them. Moonshine has been at the shelter for a few weeks now and has formed very strong bonds with the staff. After pets and hugs from the staff, we made our way back to his kennel. He was just fine about going in and making himself at home. He is a little dog that will be totally devoted to his next family, according to his profile, he even likes cats.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
It is normal to hear lots of barking and sometimes howling but this was a soft whimpery whine; I looked down to see this odd looking little dog (Chihuahua mix) standing up on her hind legs happy for me to notice her. She was the only dog who had not yet had a volunteer walk, so I went to find a small collar to get Cleo ready go. At her back door the dance began, one step forward for me, two steps back for Cleo, etc. I think I know why she had not yet had a walk! After several minutes of coaxing and scratching under her chin, I managed to get the collar on and we were off.
Once we were outside, she noticed people in the parking lot and she wanted to watch them. I decided to just let her walk wherever she chose, so we started in the yard area in front of the shelter. She seemed comfortable sitting and watching people going to and from the shelter but did not attempt to approach them. After awhile I took her into the exercise yard to see how she would react to being allowed to wander freely. She walked completely around the perimeter and then ended at the gate wanting out. As we left this area she wanted to go back where she could continue people watching.
In an attempt to get a better idea of what was going on with this little dog, at the end of our "walk" I took her into one of the private get-acquainted rooms. She did the same circumnavigation including standing up on her hind legs to see how high up the wall she could go, interspersed with sitting at my feet enjoying being petted but trembling all the while.
When I attempted to return her to her kennel she absolutely refused, I had to pick her up and carry her in.
She came to the shelter as a stray and I'll bet she has been living on her own for quite awhile. She is sweet and very interested in people but I think her behavior is more like a cat than a dog. As she becomes more accustomed to staff and volunteers interacting with her I'm sure she will become more confident, but for now she seems pretty confused.
Princess caught my eye immediately; a big beautiful boxer with the sweetest face. As I opened her back door to get her leashed she began bouncing so excitedly, I almost had second thoughts. However by getting into her kennel and using my leg to hold her still, I managed to get the collar on her and we raced out. As soon as we got into the outer corridor we met a family with a little girl; Princess was thrilled, she loves kids and this was much more important to her than going out. After a few slobbery boxer pets we continued on down the corridor, then met another little girl - same routine. We eventually made it outside and into the exercise yard where Princess demonstrated how well she "sits" for a treat. In fact, throughout our walk, every time I hesitated and put my hand near my pocket she sat and looked up sweetly waiting for a treat. I was very pleased to find out that she is wonderful on the leash, no pulling at all; very important for a dog of her size and strength. She will make a great companion for anyone but let's hope her next home includes children, she is a natural for kids.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It was round and brown, at first glance I thought some lucky pup had an elegant fur pillow. Then she slowly managed to get turned around and I met Pumpkin, a sweet "little" Miniature Dachshund who is 3 years old and approximately 17 pounds overweight - wow!
This is her first day at the shelter. Her former owner is elderly, has mobility problems and did not have access to dog food so he shared his food with her. His children found out the extent of the problem and brought her in.
As I opened her back door to put on the collar and leash, she looked friendly and interested but backed up when I held the collar near her. I held out my hand to pet her and this was fine but the collar and leash were clearly not. After about five minutes of this, I was close to giving up and getting some staff assistance but as I turned and was walking out of her kennel, I saw that she was following me. Her waddle makes her pretty easy to catch, so I got her leashed and we were off - kind of. She weaved around walking down the corridor and out the door; I felt like I was walking a giant June bug. Once outside, I thought it best to let her set the pace and wander wherever she wanted to go. She seemed to prefer the smooth ground of the sidewalk and parking lot, at least at first. It could be that her weight puts a lot of extra pressure on her feet and smooth is better than rough. I did get her into the yard surrounding the building and she seemed to like sniffing around as a hound should. About this time I began to wonder if this could possibly be her first ever walk on a leash.
The exercise yard was our next stop, lots of good smells there and Pumpkin could wander freely. I showed her a tennis ball and rolled it a few feet but she paid no attention. She seemed to enjoy sniffing around but mostly she followed me everywhere I walked. Once we started back toward the shelter I noted that she could not get up a curb so I lifted her - what a load.
Once back at her kennel she was much braver; I had no problems removing her collar, etc. I know inside is a typical fun loving little Dachshund ( I grew up with one) and hopefully she will soon be herself again.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Lucy was adopted on Saturday. I do not know whether her new family will use her as a hunting dog, but her outgoing personality should insure that whatever her role, she will fit right in. Although this breed was a new one for me, since 1979, it has been the State Dog of Louisiana; so maybe her new family is from the South.