Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays and Big Thank You

Happy Holidays and a big Thank you to all those who have adopted and/or helped, abandoned animals

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Another fun filled afternoon with shelter dogs

I was able to spend a good hour and a half today walking shelter dogs. This little Shih Tzu is Drew, a 1 year old male. He was a stray and has been at the shelter for a few days without being claimed. How could someone not know he was missing, unless no one cares. If he is not claimed, in a few more days he will become available for adoption. He is so sweet, and loved being held in my arms. For the most part I am a big dog person, but this little guy just tugged at my heartstrings. If you are interested in him you could contact the shelter and place a hold on him

The Black lab with my Blue Merle Aussie is Lady again. We had a nice hour long walk through town. My dog has this" why are you taking my picture, you know I am camera shy" look on his face"

The black and white guy with his tongue sticking out is Augustus, my new favorite. He doesn't usually have his tongue sticking out but the dogs have been cooped up lately and it's been hard to get decent photos of them with them being happy to be outside and all, so this wasn't a half bad picture, so I included it. He's on the large size of medium sized dogs, very sweet and well behaved considering he has not yet been neutered. If he's this nice pre neutering, he'll only become more calm and nice after. He needs to put on at least 5 lbs.
Augustus is typical of my favorite type of dog, sort of plain, non-descript but with a heart of gold. I love these big easy going guys, unfortunately I am only half of the household decision making process or I would have 5 dogs, but one often makes compromises in relationships, so in a way, the compromise is what keeps me coming back to help more dogs

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dog walking in winter- some new dogs

We finally had a lull in the heavy snows and I was able to get back to walking the shelter dogs, which is always such a joy for me. This little adorable black and tan guy is about a six month old puppy. Someone has placed a hold on him and he will probably be adopted out soon but I thought it would be nice for him to get out and get some love , attention and exercise. He did well on the leash and I was pleased that my dog Cash the blue merle Aussie was very in tune with me trying to keep the puppy calm and walking nicely as he wanted to play and romp with Cash but I wasn't up for a tangled leash, animated play scene, enveloping me on the icy sidewalk so Cash was very good at understanding my intentions, and keeping the puppy in line. The other shelter dog is Lady, the black lab who was well behaved, came to me when I called her and was just a tad wound up as a result of the shelter dogs being cooped up in inside kennels during the snowy weather, but under more normal circumstances seems like she would make a lovely well behaved pet. Much like people, the dogs get cabin fever too, and need to get outside and have fun. Lady the black lab is available for adoption as well as another big black lab Harley and an assortment of other adorable dogs. I see so many dogs named Harley, funny I never see many named Davidson! My new favorite is Augustus. I was unable to take him out because he has not been neutered yet but he is a sweet medium to large sized maybe Australian cattle dog,white German Shepherd looking mix that loves attention and is mellow and practically human in his responses. I hope to get a photo of him soon and be able to walk him if he is still at the shelter

Sunday, December 5, 2010

the "Peace Accord" on the sofa

I was at a dinner party the other night with some dear friends. I was talking about dog behavior and my friend said something along the lines of "It's so interesting to see a glimpse of what humans are like by studying the behaviors of dogs" I never thought of it that way before, that maybe we can learn how to act by seeing how dogs/pack animals resolve their disputes. As I watched the progression to family harmony from the introduction of a newly neutered male dog into my home and pack with a well entrenched 10 1/2 year old neutered male dog that we have had since he was 2 years old, I started to wonder if there was some sort of metaphor/model for human harmony as well. At first it seemed like I had one frightened new dog with some residual testosterone and one old dog who's home territory was being invaded. The newcomer was frightened, , half starved-25% underweight, had been tossed around from place to place with nowhere to call home, came close to being gassed, until some nice people rescued him and set about to finding an appropriate home for him. The old dog was very comfortable in his home territory, laid claim to the upstairs, the sofa, and strategically placed dog bed next to the outside view and had a long history with his people. The new dog finally had a nice comfortable safe place to call home where conditions such as food and comfort and threat level were in his favor. I guess he started liking his new home and feeling protective of it. "See that comfortable couch that I like to lay on? It is now mine. I never had one before and you, little old dog, seem old, weak and complacent. I've had to fight for survival and now I want to ensure it, get it? so it's mine and you stay away from it" This seemed to be the conversation between my new 2 year old Aussie shepherd and my old Blue Heeler. The Heeler was like" Hey wait a minute bub, this is my home territory and has been my sofa for years, who are you to invade and claim it?" I was somewhat of the Peace keeping Mission on the sofa. I would watch as they sorted out their differences. One time I tried to coax them both onto the sofa with me as mediator but my husband said no, "don't do that , let them work it out on their own" I had one long week of daily fights. Nasty sounding fur flying but not much actual damage to either dog. I figured that the new dog needed a lot of exercise in order to calm down. He also needed to know that his food bowl would be full, and that his needs would be met. The old dog needed reassurance that he was still important, that life would improve with this invasion- he got canned food instead of dry kibble every morning. Life was changing, but hopefully it could be a win win for all involved. I would have a new walking and dog training companion, the old dog could semi retire to guard duty in the car and house and occasional nature walks. The new dog would have a warm safe fun comfortable home, meaningful work to do, and his physical need for exercise would be met.For awhile, only the new dog would get on the sofa, and shoot dirty looks at the old dog in order to keep him away. I would intervene and make sure that the old dog was treated well and got attention and comfortable accommodations. As the new dog started to relax and settle into our routine, one day about 2 months after acquiring the new dog I saw both dogs on the sofa with me of their own accord. The old dog was brave and comfortable enough with the new dog to risk the retaking of his old territory. I sat and marveled at the progress we made. Then gradually both dogs started getting comfortable with allowing the other dog to feel a part of the home to freely move on and off the choice pieces of real estate, to share the attentions of their people and their environment and live as one family. Their are still mini power struggles, working out pack positions and duty roles. It seems that time, and minimum interference on my part and both dog's needs being met and the people as moderators to ensure that violence doesn't break out, and then both dogs have somewhat their own safe territory to retreat to. The old dog can go upstairs while the new young dog is somewhat afraid of the stairs. The new dog likes the chair with three comfortable protective sides surrounding him. I'm not sure how many parallels can be drawn between dog behavior and human behavior, dog's don't seem to have the big egos like humans have and are somewhat more tolerant of their species with less attention to their lineage as in not descending into "I am an Aussie Shepherd and you are a German Shepherd, therefore we are destined to disagreement." I'm glad my friend gave me a glimpse into another way to make observations about both dog and human behavior.

* I'd written this awhile ago, and both dogs are getting along just fine now.