Thursday, April 26, 2012
The first dog I came upon who had not yet been on a volunteer walk was unbelievably cute. Benji, a year and a half Lhasa Apso would be my walking pal number one. Since this was his first full day at the shelter, he was quite timid and the sounds of the other dogs scared him. I did get him collared and leashed and he was very happy to leave the dog area to get out in the hall. He went into a full gallop and looked just like a fast moving furry slipper.
Our first stop was the exercise yard, but I think Benji was still a little too stressed for obedience tasks. Once we were on our walk, he seemed to calm down and go into the Lhasa "bounce" sniffing around in normal doggy fashion. We had a good walk, he was happy to go wherever I took him. Things remained fine all the way back to the shelter however as we approached the dog area inside, Benji rebelled. He was not going in there to be scared again. I had to carry him to his kennel. I checked on him before leaving and he seemed to be calmer and making the best of it. Let's hope this little guy finds his new family soon, I know he will make such a fun little friend.
Andy had been on one walk already, but so had everyone else and his lovely brown eyes looked in need of some human comfort. Andy is a beautiful four year old Pomeranian experiencing his first full day at the shelter - and he was scared. He was hesitant about coming to me as I opened his back door to get him ready for a walk, but after some gentle words he decided I was OK. Though I've never been around a Pom, I've enjoyed seeing them in shows and wondered if their strut is the result of a great handler - it is not. Andy strutted down the hall like he was at the Westminster!
Once outside, like so many new arrivals, he was very interested in the parking lot. I was eventually able to get him walking on the surrounding paths and, while he did some normal doggy sniffing, his main concern was to stay in close contact with me. Every few feet he stopped and turned around making eye contact just as a good herd dog would do. It is clear that he has been very close to people and was going to make sure I stayed in sight.
I took him into the exercise yard and was not surprised that he was great with "come", no treats needed, but was too stressed for other commands. Let's hope he finds a new family soon because he is really a people guy. According to his profile he has done fine with other dogs and cats so he should fit into lots of situations.
The Shelter is having a $20 Microchip Clinic this Saturday so if you have considered it for your pet, this could be a good opportunity. I've heard that it is more expensive if you have it done privately, plus, if you come between 12 and 2, you can say Hi to Al and I.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Despite the horrible weather, at around 2 on Thursday all of the dogs had gone for at least one walk with a volunteer. I just love hounds so Taki had no competition. She is a beautiful five year old mostly Black and Tan Coon Hound. Off I went to the equipment room for a collar and two leashes; for hunting breeds I like giving them extra "working room" also, if she was a puller, I might need to wrap one leash under her chest to control her. As I opened her back door she stood quietly and was a little hesitant; she eventually did come forward and sat immediately when I told her to for me to put on her collar. This initial timid behavior surprised me until I recalled her profile noting that she had gone through some prior rough times. The staff person I spoke with did not have specifics but I suspect she may have encountered some mistreatment in her past . Sorry to jump ahead but at the end of our walk, I stopped to talk with a visitor in the parking lot who was interested in her; though she was well-behaved and polite, she was somewhat afraid of him. Back to our outing.
We started in the exercise yard where Taki showed me how she could come and sit for treats. She still needs work on "lay down;" although it was wet! As we began our walk I was ready to wrap the leash around her to prevent pulling-she is big and VERY strong - but I did not need to. I let her do the requisite rambling and sniffing that I especially do for a hound, but she did not pull - except once. A distant rabbit crossed our path and she leaped and lunged like a bat out of ____! Like the great hunter that she is, her nose was either up catching wind scents or down for ground scents constantly. Though she wanted to follow the scents she seemed to understand that today was not the day for that. I was pleasantly surprised that she did her come and sit commands in the midst of her happy rambling; some hunting hounds can be so single-minded, she does not seem to be one of them.
At the end of our walk she was perfectly OK with going back into her kennel and chomping down on lunch. She is a great dog; let's hope she finds a hunting family who will show her the kindness she deserves.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
On a cool and blustery Wednesday nearly all of the dogs were eager for their first volunteer walk of the day. My initial choice was a very timid new arrival Ava, who was so shy no amount of coaxing could get her out of the kennel. I decided that my second choice would be someone who really wanted an outing. Janell's happy and enthusiastic manner won me over. She is a big lab mix, about four years old and was jumping-up-and-down excited to know she was going for a walk. As I got to her back door she was up on her hind legs to greet me; apprehension was creeping in. As soon as she saw the collar, she sat immediately on command and was quiet enough for me to get her ready to go.
As usual our first stop was the exercise yard for some obedience basics. Janell did just great at sit, down and come. She was okay but not terrific at fetch, very strange for a dog that is nearly all Lab. It was the impromptu game of charge that was initially unnerving. I typically let go of the leash and let the dog wander in the exercise area to let them have some free roaming time and to show me obedience when I'm not holding on to the leash. Several times I waited till Janell was at a far corner of the yard, then told her to come. She would come charging at me at full speed then come to a screeching halt just in front of me for pets and praise. As I said earlier, Janell is big and strong; had she jumped up, her momentum could have knocked me flat. Thankfully she knows not to throw her weight around. Once out on our walk I was happy to see that she did not pull and was quite good on the leash. She is happy to go wherever you want. We had a grooming stop before I took her back toward her kennel; she enjoyed the the brushing and additional attention.
As we reached her back door, her brakes went on. She did not want the fun to end. I pulled on her collar until I was afraid I was going to hurt her neck. That did not work. I maneuvered her front half into her kennel then shoved her rear; she sat down on my feet. Somehow I managed to get her into the kennel if I went in with her. The minute I removed her collar however, she shoved me out of the way and got back out the door behind me. The chase commenced, as soon as I got close enough to get the collar on, she pulled backward to get out of it. Thankfully another volunteer came into the back area so now there were two of us. Still no luck, she was quicker than both of us. At least the doors to the main dog area were latched so she was somewhat confined; this is what we thought until we saw her tail disappear through the door to the outer hall. PANIC. Fortunately she went directly to a closed door to the outside and stopped to sniff the bottom opening. Also fortunately the hall was empty of visitors. The other volunteer managed to get the leash he had made into a lasso, around her neck and we got her back to the confined area. With him pulling and me shoving and making sure she could not run out behind us, we managed to get her back into her kennel. Once latched in, she calmly ambled over to her water dish for refreshment. I calmly ambled out to my car and collapsed. A little too much excitement at the shelter today.