Sunday, June 30, 2013


The volunteer note board cautioned that Tobbi, might be timid and could take some time to warm up; treats, soft talking, etc would all be helpful. I loaded up my pockets and went off to meet the possibly reclusive Tobbi.  I saw two visitors sitting on the floor making "puppy talk" sounds and a squirming, charming Tobbi pressed up against his kennel as close as he could get to them.  At his back kennel door he greeted me with the same happy enthusiasm, settling  just  enough to get harnessed.  Far from a recluse, this dog was Mr. Hollywood.  Tobbi is a  about 18 months old; his profile says he is a Chihuahua/Cocker Spaniel mix but to me he looks more like a Papillon. He happily trotted out of the dog area full of confidence and not at all concerned with the cacophony of barks and howls all around us.

He is so small and the day so hot, I decided that our outing would be limited to the exercise yard which afforded plenty of room for his exercise and also shade.  He was happy  sniffing, getting petted or carried around and watching some of the bigger dogs going out on walks.  Unlike some small dogs, he is very calm  and relaxed.  I always attempt to catch the dog doing something active in the video but this did not happen with Tobbi.  He was quite happy resting in the shade letting the breezes waft over him.  He is such a totally sweet little guy, it was very hard to end our visit.  I guess I'll just have to be content knowing that there is an excellent chance his search for a forever family will be short.  They will be so lucky!


Despite the heat Boston, an approximately 8 year old Chocolate Lab was ready for a walk.  Apparently he arrived at the shelter as a stray but no one has claimed him.  He was happily jumping around as I approached his back kennel door but quickly settled down for me to get him harnessed.  As we made our way through the dog area he seemed a bit afraid of the barking and was happy to stay close, me on one side, the wall on the other.  This behavior repeated  on our return.  Once outside the joy of going on a walk superseded everything else.  We started in the exercise yard, lots of sniffing but, surprisingly, not much interest in fetch.  I would try it again on our return.

Once on our walk, Boston got a B+ for leash walking, he's good but without a training harness, I think he would need some work.  It was such a hot day I opted to finish our outing in the exercise yard offering some shade.  Boston did much better with fetch, sit and come - for treats.  I get the feeling that he is still experiencing some stress from his untimely separation from what was likely a long standing home situation.  Let's hope he finds a new family to call his own soon.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


You could not help but notice Pollyanna, a beautiful yellow lab, about three and with that  happy lab smile.  This time I decided to prepare myself by reading her profile before taking her out.  I always read the staff notes in the volunteer room, they were also cautionary regarding her enthusiasm.
This was her second time at the shelter as a stray with no one claiming her  (not good).  Her energy level is very high (at least I can prepare) and she gets along well with kids, dogs and cats.

I approached the back door of her kennel determined that, despite her obvious eagerness, we would exit smoothly. I told her to go back, she did after just a few seconds, then to sit, she did; I got her harnessed and we were off.  At 2:00 this was her first volunteer outing so she was very eager to get outside.  My plan was a nice long energy-burning romp in the exercise yard before starting our walk.  I shuddered to see that both yards were occupied.   For the first few minutes she was breathing hard, trembling and pulling; I continued walking at a slow pace and talking to her.  After a reasonably short time she began to slow down and sniff things.  I did the first video below about 20 minutes into our walk.  As you can see she is quietly walking with a nearly slack leash, she turns around when I say her name and, though not in the video, she walked back and laid down beside me as I was putting my phone away.  This pretty much described the rest of our walk - very nice.

On our return an exercise yard was vacant.  She still had plenty of energy and was so happy to play.  Pollyanna loves running for a ball and after just 3 or 4 times was beginning to get the fetch concept.  She is already good at sitting for treats and coming when she is called.  I could tell that she had not yet learned "down", but she is so smart and eager to please, she started doing it after just a few prompts although not consistently. 

On our way back to her kennel, she did well walking quietly down the hall, but was surprised when two staff members came out of a hall door.  She practically jumped out of her harness trying to greet them.  She can go from a 1 to 10 on excitability in a heartbeat.  Pollyanna is a sweet, smart beautiful dog but I really hope she finds her way to the right family this time.  She needs not only daily exercise but also the daily quiet structure of obedience drills.  Although with her sweet nature she gets along with other animals and people, she will not be at her best in a busy active family that does not have time for her.

Parker has a forever home

It comes as no surprise that sweet little Parker found his forever family in just a couple of days.  He is so irresistible.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I think I need to develop a thicker skin.  I had Saturday all planned out, I would be taking Willow to Petco for a bath, etc. after a hearty romp at a dog park to get her  tired out.  While she was getting her shampoo I would to go to the Shelter and walk dogs.  We arrived at the dog park, it was sooo hot!  Willow found the first shady bush,  gave me that "Why me?" look; off we went to Petco - no exercise for Willow.  At Petco she sat mournfully facing the outside door while I went over the plan for her torture with the groomer. I glanced back and saw her slinking off with the attendant as I left for the Shelter .

I arrived at the Shelter around 3:00 and just two dogs had not yet been out with a volunteer.  One look at Parker and my decision was made - happiest dog I've ever seen.   Parker is mostly miniature poodle and about two years old.  He is one of the newly arrived  dogs from an over crowded  California shelter so not much is known about his background.  Once harnessed (his happy squirming made it somewhat of a challenge) we made our way to the exercise yard.

Parker had been inside for some time, so taking care of business and all the accompanying sniffing was at the top of his agenda.   We mostly just walked around the yard together;  when I got him close for some obedience "tests" he turned the closeness into hug opportunities or belly rubs, so I have no idea whether he can sit, stay or go down.  However I  know that he is extremely affectionate.  He was especially thrilled to be picked up and carried around.  A visitor watching us came over and seemed very interested in him.  Parker is  a loving little bundle of charm so the visitor stayed observing Parker until we left the exercise area for our walk.

Once on our walk Parker was very good on the leash but happy for every petting break.   He is such a sweet little guy, it is so hard to imagine anyone letting him go.  Once back at the Shelter we met the interested visitor at the front desk.  He had been waiting for some one on one time with Parker. Of course I was delighted until I looked down and saw poor little Parker's anxious face that I was leaving him with a stranger.   I fast forward  to how happy Willow will be when I retrieve her from Petco, meanwhile wishing the best for Parker and vowing to keep those positive thoughts coming.

Bonzi has a forever home

Bonzi was adopted very early in the week following our weekend walk.  I knew with three adoption holds, he was going to find his new family very quickly. 

Duke has a transition

Duke has gone into a foster home to await adoption.  This is so much better for him; let's hope his forever family comes soon.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Bonzi was hard to miss.  He was doing everything possible to get noticed yet he was the only dog who had not yet had a volunteer walk.  He is a 4 year old Bichon Frise/ Coton de Tulear mix who was surrendered to the shelter because is owner developed allergies to him .   His breed is relatively new   and becoming very popular. Bonzi  was at his back door bouncing around to greet me but backed away from the door and settled down quickly when I told him to.   We started our outing in the exercise yard with Bonzi bouncing and sniffing.  He is very treat oriented so he sat promptly on command when a treat was eminent however he did not come when he was called.  The pending treat reward was too far away to be obvious and I was someone he had just met - not his bonded forever human friend that he had recently lost.  Like perhaps some of you, I had to look this breed up.  As I read about this breed they take relationships very seriously and really suffer separation anxiety when they lose their owner.  While he was sweet and polite with me, I was not someone that he was going to be at his best with.  

As we left the yard and continued our walk I noticed  that he lingered in shady spots but really hurried when we were on any sunny surface.  It soon became  clear that his feet are very sensitive; I picked him up, carried him to the shadier exercise yard and that is where we finished our outing.  Once again I attempted to get him to come when called but he wanted to do his own thing which was grazing.  I thought he looked so much like a little lamb I just had to get a video of it.  

According to his profile he likes other dogs (I saw evidence of this) as well as cats.  I was very happy to notice three adoption holds on his kennel on our return.  I'll bet he has a new best human friend by early in the week.  Let's hope so.