Thursday, May 31, 2012
Lots of people activity at the shelter this afternoon; visitors, electricians (working on an alarm system) and of course volunteers, stimulating lots of barking. Of course I notice one little blond rump curled on her bed, quietly attempting to disappear. There was no I've had a volunteer walk sign on her kennel, so I went to get a collar and leash, all the while expecting that she would likely be too timid to leave her kennel. When I returned she was waiting at her back door squirming happily and ready to go.
Lola is a beautiful five year old blond Cocker Spaniel from an over crowded California shelter, thus her official resume is pretty scant. We began our outing by racing down the hall having been warned that a test alarm would be set off at any minute! Once outside she "found a shrub" and I had my first surprise - she lifted her leg. Was Lola really a Larry? This happened two more times on our walk. My resident vet had no answer. When we had gone just a little further, Lola began jumping straight up, kind of like a circus dog; I stretched out my arm to keep the collar from pulling on her neck and she jumped toward my hand. What was going on here? I leaned down, she put her paws up and I gave her a hug and pets. That was what she wanted; she wanted that hug to last and last. After a few minutes of this she was ready to walk and behave much more normally. During our walk she demonstrated that she can both sit for treats and come. She is reluctant to go out of sight of the shelter, but on our return, when I saw how much she loved the staff, it could be that she just wants to be within "scent" of them. She is such a sweet little dog and so in need of human bonding, let's hope she finds her new forever person very soon.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
At just 10:30 on a Thursday morning all but two dogs had been out for volunteer walks. A sweet and timid little Pomeranian named Stacey; though nothing would budge her from her kennel she was adopted later that day and,... energy, enthusiasm, and excitement in a black coat - Phoenix. She is a six month old, lab/shepherd mix puppy who is more than a handful at this early stage in her life. At her back door I was greeted by a wildly happy bouncing puppy who promptly broke out of her plastic collar and made a dash for the exit. I really must start getting here earlier. When I told her to sit she slowed down enough for me to get her collar on. I quickly learned that one of her favorite things is to bark at the other dogs; she is big and has a "big dog" bark thus, this is not well received. In a less regulated setting, this pup would get some very harsh lessons in manners from some of these adult dogs.
We made it through doggy gauntlet and careened down the hallway. The Volunteer Coordinator saw/heard us coming and met us with a "no pull" harness. The magic of doggy treats got Phoenix past other dogs near the entry area and we were finally outside. The exercise yard visit was our mandatory first stop, I was intent on burning off as much of her energy as possible before beginning our walk. Fortunately Phoenix likes to fetch. For a puppy she is pretty good at it, she stayed interested for about 15 minutes. I was also happy to find that she sits for treats very consistently. She seems to understand a little of the 'down' command but definitely needs work. "Come" is also a little inconsistent since, as a puppy she is so easily distracted, though she does it about 80% of the time. Interesting note, the shelter was out of soft treats, just thick hard Milkbones were available. Even though Phoenix did not like them (spit them out) she still performed all I asked of her for Milkbone rewards.
I'm not sure how Phoenix would have been without a special harness but on our walk she was just fine. No pulling, very cooperative, and happy to go whichever way I wanted to go. About midway through our walk I made her sit while I struggled to remove a really cumbersome wind breaker. It got caught on my hat, etc and Phoenix sat patiently beside me the whole time. On our return she once again got excited seeing other dogs so we stopped at the front desk to pick some really good treats and staff belly rubs for Phoenix. I used the treats to keep her distracted from the other dogs as I got her back into her kennel. She is a big boisterous puppy but considering her age and surroundings doing remarkably well. Her future family will probably need to give her obedience training but she is smart and learns quickly.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Things were blustery inside and out on Monday afternoon. Lots of activity, visitors, and barking; it was hard to decide since quite a few dogs needed a volunteer walk. Wilbur and Quincy, four and half year old Welsh Corgis, were just too cute to pass by. The shelter requires that you walk dogs one at a time so Wilbur - popping out first, got the first walk. His profile indicated that he was a "puller" and needed a special harness so our first stop was the front desk. He is a people guy so he enjoyed having the staff person fit him into his harness. Together we walked out the door to the front sidewalk entry area and, after just a little sniffing, Wilbur sat down. That was it! For the next twenty minutes I stood there and Wilbur sat greeting people as they came in and went out of the shelter. Finally I got him over to the exercise yard and he agreed to some sniffing - near the gate- then indicated that he wanted to return to the front sidewalk area. I convinced him to cross the driveway over to the trail area but he looked so longingly at the entry way; I did not have the heart to make him go for a walk! The sweet little guy and I went inside where he once again enjoyed having the staff remove his harness; we went back to the kennel for Quincy's turn.
Quincy's nose was already pushing into the collar but he, apparently is NOT a puller, so we did not need a harness stop. We started in the exercise yard where, after some sniffing , he showed that he could sit for a treat. As for "come"; he followed me around so I could not tell whether or not he knew this command. Once we started our walk he quickly found a patch of grass he enjoyed munching for about 15 minutes - these two dogs are the least "flighty" animals I've ever encountered. They find something they like and they stick with it! We eventually did do a short walk, and Quincy seemed to enjoy himself; he really perked up when he spotted another dog out on a walk, he showed interest not aggression. Perhaps that is what got his attention off the delicious grass. Once back at the shelter he was delighted to visit the staff before heading back to his kennel mate Wilbur.
I'm thinking these cute little guys are brothers but the staff person I spoke with was not sure. They are both people oriented and seem contented with very little. Let's hope they find a family (or two) that does not expect them to be running pals for a marathon. Wilbur has the white blaze on his face.