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.