Sunday, November 29, 2009

Don Pascual patron saint of the kitchen-my dog

Meet Pascual, patron saint of the kitchen. Other aliases; Blue, Blueberry, Blueberry muffin dog, Hullabalue,Panzon, Pascualito, Little Pascual, Bubba on occasion. It's funny how we come up with nicknames for our dogs. Blue was rescued out of the Boise Idaho shelter ten years ago by a wonderful woman named Jackie who then gave him to us. We have had Pascual for eight wonderful years now, we changed his name but, he had been Blue for one whole year prior to getting him and he knew that name well, so we have two names for him, at times more .

Friday, November 27, 2009

Born to run

Here is Dash, Mr. Dashwood, available for adoption. As all wound up, cooped up dogs, he was not one to sit still while I got my expensive camara out to photograph him, with fingers crossed as to not drop the camara or lose the dog the leash, which I wrapped between my knees. I was a little nervous because the main road is close by, parallel to the bike path we were on. This was a long walk today, a good hour and a half. Luckily we both got tired after the first hour. At times it feels like a gentle war of attrition. I sure had my upper body workout today, using my body like a martial artist, with counter moves to his 1 year old lab/hound never been socialized energy.

Bye bye to foster dog

Au revoir, we miss you. I hope you're doing well. You're family sure seemed to be glad to have you back after 7 months of being gone. I guess I now know who you were pining for, although I did my best to take excellent care of you. Glad to have helped out and to have had your sweet company for as long as I did.Happy trails
Posted by Picasa

Memories whistle through the barren branches

Something about winter when the leaves have died and fallen off the trees. I'm walking Dash around. A new dog for me, I'm walking through the streets of the old neighborhood. the memories of the big Polish man are haunting me, resounding through the cold and silent back alleys.His voice, booming through my memory. " Oh is that a German short hair pointer?" He new all the dog breeds. He and his amazing adult son, who worked on their apartments together,in the neighborhood I walked through, were always up for a chat. They adopted one of the shelter dogs I was walking one day, an adorable little heeler, much like my own. They saw her, spoke with me, and immediately went to adopt her. The big man always had a kind word for us a welcoming exchange, a bit of sharing. Such a huge man with a big heart and thick Polish accent and warmth that spread like wildfire. and now he is gone, taken by the natural world in such a quick and inconceivable way, falling in the boat hitting his head and gone to perpetual sleep in the mysterious waters below. I walk through this old neighborhood and the tears well up in my eyes. Dash has no memory of all this, he is happy to be out and about sniffing around, sliding on the ice, sloshing around in the slush, but I remember. That huge personality still echoes through the streets to me. The meeting up with his lovely wife on occasion, stunned by what had happened, but resigned to her fate, still having the distilled spirit of her dearly departed left remaining in her kind and devoted son. What a lovely family, and how sad that this mighty oak of a man has fallen. Why did this amazing person go, so seemingly before his time? Why those people who had such a warm and loving close knit family that touched everyone they met? We continue to walk on, year after year,my rescued heeler and I. New dogs, new people to meet and more stories to be found and discovered, pounding the pavement, walking the dogs, meeting our needs for exercise, kindness, and belonging.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

and yet one more

Ten years of volunteering at our local no kill animal shelter.
The foster dog I had for 6 months went happily back to his previous owner. I can't even count how many dogs I've worked with, walked in the last ten years but I have about 5 pairs of dead sneakers to show for it, and yet there is another. One more sad, young, huge dog with way too much energy, that needs me, needs an ally right now. He was a stray, a large 90lbs. ish yellow lab mostly with a dash of hound face and instinct, a la sniffing on the ground as we walk with head down, and part greyhound in terms of the speed he can run, with a dash of bunny rabbit thrown in. He was running so fast in the dog park, his back legs could not keep up so they would bunch together and hop ahead of him like a rabbit. I should have known better than to wear my new army peacoat the first day I worked with him as he jumped all over me, focusing on my head a lot with his big skinny dog legs and excitedly jumping and dancing all over me,with at least three days of unwashed shelter stink. Oh, but I am used to it, and it is a labor of love and I have no children to have cleaned up dirty diapers for, so the sacrifice is not much at all. His name is Dash. Allready I have many nicknames for him; Mr. Dashwood(Sense and Sensibilityby Jane Austen), Dashiel Hammet,Dish dash( a clothing item),Dasher, and a host of others.The first two days I was only able to walk him for about twenty minutes, breaking into jogs to help expell some of his energy. The main issue was the excited puppyish, jumping all over me behavior. Today, the third day was much better. As a matter of fact about 75% better. My consistency with reinforcing the no jumping and the leash corrections coupled with affection and verbal praise switching to harsh gutteral no's for bad behaior are catching on. That, coupled with the 4th week after getting neutered and I'm thinking maybe we have a pretty smart, soon to be nice dog on our hands.So the lesson for the day is; exercise, consistency with commands, positive reinforcement, and happy talk( hunting breeds love praise) and we're making terrific progress. This is what's so rewarding. The progress and walking the neighborhood of the small college town and remembering the people I've met along the way