Thursday, August 23, 2012
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
Sunday, August 12, 2012
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".