Ok so maybe not chickens – but how about puppies?? I took my sister in law with me yesterday to walk some wonderful dogs at the SPCA. I was reminded that Spring also means an influx of puppies to the shelter. Once we were finished walking our big guys, we treated ourselves with a walk through the puppy room and saw these little angels.
As most of you know, Puppies need to be socialized. It’s so important for them to experience a variety of people early on. I’ve even heard a raw statistic that a puppy between 3 and 6 months should meet 100 people, and have a positive experience with every single one. This will help them be less fearful or nervous later on in life. A balanced dog, can be a wonderful thing. So why not start with them when they are at the SPCA.
“As the weeks go by, exposure to a variety of experiences is crucial to his becoming a well-rounded adult. Studies have shown that a puppy’s experiences in the first three months of life strongly influence what kind of companion he will grow to be and how he will react to the world. ” – AKC
Early socialization is a vital piece of a puppies’ life. I took full advantage yesterday. We played and took these little angels for a walk, hoping to encounter many people along the way. Of course, then we treated ourselves to some snuggles and play time in the front yard.
These little guys are Shepherd/Border Collie mixes. Huge paws and beautiful brown eyes. My heart melts everytime I see them. Need I remind you that “Puppy Therapy” is the very best kind there is?
So upon one of my wonderful trips to the local SPCA this week to snuggle and walk some great critters, I came across this….
Be still my heart!
If that wasn’t bad enough, she waved to me to say “Hi!”
Meet Ellie. She’s a two month old Border Collie mix that was brought in with her four brothers when they didn’t sell on Kijiji (sidenote: I feel the need to attack a punching bag when I hear stories like this – NEUTER your pets people).
Nonetheless, How can you turn down some bonus snuggle time with this little gem!
Her cute little face and eyes got to my soul. My mission (as always), find Ellie a wonderful forever home. I took her and her brother (now adopted) out of their kennel for some fun play time. Introducing them to new places, people, sounds and smells is a GREAT thing.
I took the cutest pictures I could of her and posted to my facebook wall (as I do with most of these wonderful critters). I don’t want to jinx myself here, but low and behold my facebook peeps were as hooked as I was. One of my childhood friends has submitted paperwork, and is pending approval – we should hear back tomorrow.
This friend has a sweet 2 yr old Duck Tolling Retriever mix, who would make a wonderful big sister. Socialized and affectionate with other dogs, this dog would make a great role model for Ellie. I’ve encouraged my friend and her family to come and meet her face to face, and she is this weekend.
I thought I’d share my (hopefully) uplifting news – Thank you Social Media for working for the better good!
Have a great day and cross your fingers that it all works out!
You’ve all been patiently waiting to hear who my newest boarder is. So without further ado, meet Richard (aka – Great News: Part 2) !
Richard is Newton’s brother, former play buddy and identical personality twin. Newton was boarded at his house when we traveled. When his owner asked me to board him for a week or two, I tried to hold back tears. I couldn’t.
They were tears of happiness.
If I’m being honest – our house feels like a home again with a Bernese visitor in it. I love all of my boarders, but this one is obviously a bit more emotional for me.
“There’s something about being greeted at the door by a giant black and white panda bear, full of fur and drool, that warms my heart.”
I see Richard, and am reminded of Newton – This time in a positive light. Great memories pour in as I enjoy my time with him. I am reminded of why I fell in love with Newton in the first place, and also the breed. Those big goofy eyes, giant paws and furry faces exude love. What better therapy is there then that?
You should my other two little fur kids faces!. It was like Christmas morning when Richard breezed through the house. Frankie and Stewart were greeted with “cat baths” from him, which Stewart begrudgingly accepted and Frankie loved (and now receives a few times a day). Now Frank “the Tank” has turned into Richard’s shadow, which I find amazingly adorable.
I honestly wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but happy we were open to the opportunity. I’ve found comfort and joy in being around other dogs (fostering, boarding and training can be healthy and healing – when you’re ready!). It makes me aware that a new addition would not take the place of Newton in our hearts, as we have room for more. I wasn’t convinced of that a week ago.
I continue to miss Newton every single day, which I don’t expect to change. Grief, after all, does not have an expiration date.
My advice if you’re feeling down? Find a cool pup that enjoys a snuggle or two.
A huge thanks to Richards parents for entrusting us for the next little while with this wonderful fur kid, stay tuned for more pics and posts to come 🙂
I’ve been so busy with my new boarding business and renovating my flooded basement, that I am just getting to this now. Apologies, as my timeliness is not representing how humbled and honored I am by receiving this award!
I’ve still been
falling in love dog walking at the SPCA 3-4 times a week, plus taking on boarders. *SPOILER ALERT* I cannot wait to share who I get to spend my time with next week!
Today I am thanking blogger K9 Harper Lee for The Missy Award Nomination. If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, she’s an incredibly talented and charismatic Golden Retriever. She also has a great sense of humor – what a gem. Make sure to check this blog out!
The Missy Award is presented to bloggers who support and advocate for animals, either as the main focus of their blog or in a single blog post. The nominated bloggers can be animal lovers, vegetarians, vegans, rescue workers . . . doesn’t matter . . . it’s all about the animals.
The rules for this one are pretty simple:
- You must post the award picture on your blog. (Who doesn’t love putting award pictures on their blog?)
- Link back to The Missy Award.
- And answer these two questions: What inspires you to write? Why do you love animals?
- Nominate other worthy bloggers (whatever number you’d like), or you can simply accept the award and complete only Steps 1, 2, and 3.
- Finally, please let your nominees know you nominated them.
Q – What inspires me to write?
A – That’s easy. My big hearted, gentle giant that we sadly lost to Chronic Kidney Disease – Newton.
Newton was only 2.5 years old when I said goodbye last December. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I miss him every day. We tried everything to keep him with us longer. We had a week after his diagnosis to bring him home and give him his perfect day – every day. We recognized the signs he was giving us, and knew it was time.
Every day, I remind myself what he was all about – Love, Patience and Joy. I learned life lessons from my furry kid, and I have also turned them into my life’s mission statement. I started working with rescue dogs – training, walking and grooming. Then I opened my home to boarding other peoples’ dogs who want a home away from their own. I’m healing, and surrounding myself with “pawesome” animals plays a huge part in the process.
Q – Why do you love animals?
A – Easy, because they represent the best pieces of humanity. I think we can learn a lot from our canine and feline friends. We just have to listen. Too deep? Then how about this – I think getting to know their quirky, amazing and adorable personalities can be an amazing process. The animals I hang out with make me laugh on a daily basis. Laughing is great food for the soul.
Now for my nominees:
1. Oh Melvin (and Yo Jake) – a blog about the unlikely canine couple who found themselves brothers. Their owner writes about life with two hilarious rescue dogs, one of whom has severe allergies. Their owner tackles issues like socialization, food allergies and training. Talk about loving animals and making it work at all costs – She’s the real deal. You can feel the love between the three of them!
2. Peace. Love and Fostering – I think the name of her blog says it all. This blog highlights the stories of the amazing Pitbull fosters she opens her doors to. She also adds her wisdom and experience throughout. I eventually see myself getting into Foster Care, and she is an inspiration. Talk about someone who LOVES animals. This is it!
Sidenote – I’ve personally fell in love with Johnnie and cannot wait to see the progress of finding her a forever home!
3. Gardens for Goldens – I’m not ashamed to say I had tears the first time I found this blog. Gardens for Goldens is amazing, it’s all about creating a memorial garden for rescue Golden Retrievers. Through this story of a rescued garden, GFG hopes to share the love for rescue! A beautiful tribute, please check it out!
I also want to thank all of you for all your love, advocation, commitment and passion when it comes to the protection of distressed and homeless animals. All of your blogs inspire me on a daily basis. Thank you for that.
Beyond that, many of you have shared your own wisdom, encouragement and thoughts with me. I am beyond thankful to be a part of this wonderful community. I also nominate each one of YOU for this award!
Thanks for stopping by,
This past Saturday, I heard a knock at my door.
Strange as I usually do not get a lot of visitors of the two-legged kind….
My neighbor and his 8 month old puppy, Gus, were standing there when I opened the door. He just been called into work for the day for an emergency. With his wife away, they didn’t want to leave Gus alone for the entire day.
I appreciated the hound-dog look on both faces. Let’s be realistic though – hangouts with a puppy? Yes please.
Gus is a pretty lucky
duck dog. He has two wonderful owners who truly appreciate him. They experienced a similar loss to us, with their 3 year old Chocolate lab early last year. They took the time they needed, and then happily brought rescue puppy Gus into their lives last fall. Gus’s feline brother from another mama. “Beau” is featured below. He adores dogs, so much that he ensures to go visit them all in our neighborhood – whether they reciprocate his love or not.
Hang-outs with Gus reminded me why puppies are fantastic – once again.
They inject an air of goofy happiness that never ceases to amaze me. They also help reinforce important life lessons like…
Pleasant reminders I thought worth sharing.
Thanks for stopping by!
My newest boarder, Kobe, has inspired my post today!
Working with other people’s dogs and SPCA dogs has given me an entirely different perspective on training!
I go back to basics with every single one of them. It all starts with the walk. I think if you train a dog to walk on HEEL, no less in the great big world of distractions (Squirrels, other beautiful pups and ohhh the smells!), you’re in a fantastic space with your furry friend.
My new friend Kobe did not walk on heel, he walked out in front of me when he first came to stay with us – pulling, tugging – smelling EVERYTHING. We’ve been working on this, and I am amazed at his progress! We went for a walk in a public park and he stayed on heel with me almost the entire way. I’m so proud of his accomplishments. Whether his mom keeps this up or not, I think it’s wonderful to show owners (and potential owners) what their dogs are capable of!
Kobe also had an aversion to the car. What I’ve found out is that it’s not an aversion so much as laziness on his part AND wonderful training of his humans. Smart move Kobe.
He would get his front feet in and then turn around to his human (or me) and say – “ok lift me in”. I laughed the first time I saw it. This is what my Newton would do as well. He had me trained down pat too!
With a new outlook, I thought – “let’s see what he can do”. I repositioned the lead to pulling up just slightly, pointed and said “up”. He jumped in the back seat without issues – and was awarded with affection and LOTS of praise! Then he did it again, and again, and again…
I must confess my training with the SPCA has helped me tremendously. However, I’d also like to bring up somewhat of a controversial topic in training – Cesar Milan. Some of you love him, some of you hate him. Regardless of how you may feel about his training techniques – I’ve used some of them (below) with my new friend Kobe with AMAZING results.
– Maintaining a calm and assertive energy – this is the hard one.
– No rewarding unless the dog is in a calm and submissive state
– Practicing expectations and boundaries consistently every day.
More importantly, his theory that it all starts with the walk.
A walk can be a beautiful experience, marred too many times by frustration at dogs’ pulling, lunging and non stop tugging. We do a lot of our training after exerting Kobe’s energy on our hour long walk. He’s a nervous dog, so this has worked well for him. However, the walk is training too, and it starts by ensuring he’s calm when we put the leash on him (The first time – this took almost 20 mins), then we walk out the door first, followed by Kobe.
All basics, that I sometimes forget how important they are – it starts at the beginning. A few simple reminders for Kobe to walk beside, not in front and we’re off!
I found this video by Nigel Reed also helpful – It teaches step by step how to teach a dog to walk on heel. I’ve used the “Start, stop and change direction” technique many times – it works people!
I found after practicing some of Cesar’s techniques on the walk, Kobe gave me more respect with his other training. He’s extremely smart, thus should only be reminded once of his boundaries. Kobe had some bad habits, which is fine if his owner doesn’t mind them. In my house, it’s not ok. There are rules that all our furry friends and visitors must abide by.
Further evidence that I’ve seen of Cesar’s training techniques working is from my sister.
My sister has had aggression issues between her two Great Pyrenees. They get nervous when someone visits the house, which leads to aggression between them. Cesar’s tip for people entering the house – no touch, no talk, no eye contact to the dogs has been one that has worked remarkable for her, and for her dogs. They do not get as excitable, which doesn’t escalate to an aggressive state of mind.
I love learning from our canine friends! Training them teaches me patience and consistency, which is always a great reminder to take with us wherever we walk next in life.
Further, teaching the canine basics has given me a purpose with dogs again. It’s been a long road in the last 3 months, and this gives me something to look forward to. Hanging with dogs for me is soothing for the soul. I’ve been bringing family members and friends on my dog walking excursions to the SPCA. Every time – they leave with smiles and excited conversations of a great day spent. If your stressed with life, go play with some puppies or even better – calm yourself down (never approach a dog with anger) and see if you’re able to take a rescue dog for a walk!
Thanks for reading,
ps – My friend Miss Harper Lee reminded me that dogs are generally happy go lucky and want to please. I agree!! I think this is the perfect example of how humans usually need the training! I just checked out my Milanisms -I noted all things I need to do 🙂 After all, dogs already know how to walk – we just have to learn how to walk them.
Apologies on being lax this week with the posts..
It’s because I was busy with my first boarder – this sweet pea!!
Yep – I said boarder. I’m in the animal biz somewhat “officially” now as a one-dog -at-a-time kennel/boarding facility. I made the waiver and dog info forms, had a lawyer review and we’re here! We have the space, a fenced yard and the time – so why not?
Merit’s an 8 year old Golden Retriever with a heart full of gold (sorry for the age disclosure dear Merit – its just a number anyway!).
We started by having a trial day two weeks ago to see if she got along with my two rescue cats.
Since we’ve opened our home to accepting boarders, I had an overwhelming response. My March and April are almost completely booked up. I do only take one dog at a time as I still work my 9-5. I want to ensure my full attention is on our new friend.
We have a kennel/crate area set up in one room and require a trial day ahead of time to ensure the dog to get along with cats.
As most of you know, we’re not open yet to owning as we’re still healing. This, like dog walking at the Shelter, is a great option with staying connected to furry friends. My Mr. and I agree, it’s amazingly nice to have a pup around again. We’ve agreed that fostering is a good next step for us, at some point 🙂
We’ve taken time this week to reflect on how our Newton would have loved her. Her gentle and loving nature reminded me a lot of him.
Merit’s also won over my Mr. He’s been home off work from Thursday until Monday, and spending most of his time with her. Here’s the evidence he’s found love with another woman 🙂
We’ve had a ton of fun this past week. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves, spent more time outside (as naturally Merit prefers two walks a day, with a longer off-leash hike on the weekends) and tons of puppy snuggles. Proving our theory that “fur-therapy” really is the very best kind.
Cheers to the next adventure.
I went to the SPCA last night to walk some of my oranges. As I walked through the kennels I noticed a few things, let me tell you first the good news. I immediately saw that two of the dogs I regularly work with had been adopted, with a third pending!
It’s policy that we are not to take the dogs out once the adoption papers have been finalized as they no longer belong to the SPCA. I immediately gave Newton a “high-5” in my head. I locked eyes and gave them each a “great job”. I was so happy for these dogs. Furthermore that someone else had connected with them, saw beyond the orange and yellow sheets explaining their issues (Colors are a way of identifying a dog’s temperament, Green = easiest, yellow = a few issues, Orange = please read all testing & check with manager before handling).
Then I turned the corner and saw Big Ben’s kennel. It was empty. Ben was an interesting case, a 4 year old half husky, half shepherd. One of the prettiest dogs I’ve ever seen. All alert eyes, with a body that was ready to spring into action upon the snap of some fingers. I took my fiance in to meet him once, all he said was “whoa, that’s a pretty dog”. He was a dog who I’ve learned the most from as a volunteer. Ben made me work for everything.
I had a friend that once said,
“The most stubborn and difficult dogs can be the ones you learn the most from”
Ben had never exhibited aggression to humans to my knowledge, however canine, feline or any other furry friend had better watch out. I don’t know why Ben was surrendered, or anything about Ben’s previous life. He was surrendered without a reason given. Ben had a few issues. He responded to uncertainty with “fight” rather then “flight” when presented with other furry friends. Loud noises and surprises frequently made him feel this uncertainty as well.
Walks with Ben made me more alert , I always had to be aware of my surroundings, ensuring his (and others) safety. When handling, grooming or practicing commands/manners, I had to be completely immersed in the process, ensuring I was aware of his level of comfort at all times. I’ve always felt that I was in tune with the body language of a dog, but he brought me to a whole new level.
It’s a sad story that I write about today. Ben did the unforgivable – he bit another volunteer. I think it may have been quite bad. He sadly wrote his own ending and passed over the rainbow bridge yesterday. I know that some of you may be torn about my next comment – I believe that Ben may have been part victim and part aggressor here. I know that might seem strange to say, and not all of you will understand my way of thinking.
Let me elaborate. I know the volunteer he was with, a green volunteer who just wants to be around dogs. I think this wonderful, further that she’s wonderful. Working with the oranges may not be where some volunteers/owners belong. These dogs deserve love yes and attention – but they also need more: consistency, a firm and fair demeanor and most of all an understanding of boundaries. I’m not saying that what he did was ok. I’m saying this may have been avoidable.
Ben, a dog who I’ve worked with for 5 weeks has never even shown a hint of aggression towards me. He greeted all orange volunteers the same, with the wag of a tail, a hand lick and a love for humanity. I also understand he greeted us this way because we had not ever proved him otherwise. I believed that there was a person out there without kids, without other pets that would have understood him and gave him a forever home.
I think the key is understanding a dogs’ body language and respectful handling, Orange dogs can also find their forever homes. It takes time though, and Shelter dogs aren’t always given all the time they need. In an already tense environment, kenneled with other dogs all around (not a great environment for Ben) – Ben needed to be put through the paces, tired prior to handling, easing his tense nerves. Not everyone might understand this, or take the time to read thoroughly through his temperament testing.
Some people wish that their dogs could talk, I believe if we look close enough – we can read them. Listen to what they have to say. A dogs’ body language can tell us all we need to know.
A few links worth looking at go further into this:
Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan explains in this video about compatibility and interpretation. Cesar is waaayyyy above my personal abilities, I think these cases are better left to experts. In the meantime, I’ll be comfy just working on my listening skills.
I found this video quite interesting as well, and more pertinent to Ben’s case. We always want to touch dogs, but not all dogs want to be touched. Check out eileenanddogs.com video on body language and petting here.
Since I was not there, I hate to jump to conclusions. What I do know is this: Ben has never exhibited any signs of aggression with me. I’d like to think that if with a little more understanding and respect for a Ben’s comfort level and needs, this all could have been avoided. Some people may argue that Ben was a ticking time bomb. In this case, I do not agree. I know it’s a controversial topic.
I say this as I have seen the positive, the light. Once he became comfy, he seeked out my hand to rub against his ear, his special spot that he loved being scratched. He made me laugh constantly. Ben had a great sense of humor. The right owner may have come along, they also may not have either. As an SPCA volunteer, you cannot afford to think this way. I like to think that the right home would have worked on this with him, protecting him and others in the process.
In this world of partnerships between human and canine, we have an upperhand. As we can dictate the fate of such dogs. I think it’s a responsibility that we have and should take seriously when handing special dogs, such as Ben. We need to listen to what they have to say.
Another sad side of this is that dogs who have not been given their forever home before passing over the rainbow bridge aren’t given the same respect, grieving, and remembrance of life. I believe they deserve this too, and I know I’m not alone. So today, despite Ben doing the unforgivable, I dedicate this post to him. Ben, thank you for teaching me to be more compassionate, more understanding, more patient and more alert and in tune with your language.
Lastly I leave you all with this…
Dear Ben, when you pass the rainbow bridge I wish for you lots of doggy treats, big fields without leashes to run and explore, incredible adventures, no other dogs or cats and many humans of your choosing to give you head scratches ONLY when YOU want. I choose to simplify this process and remember you only for the positive.
Ben, If my Newton does meet you, know he will be your friend. He will continue teaching you that not all dogs are enemies, I hope he will show you that some can become friends.
I ask you, if you would, fellow dog lovers to take a moment to think of my friend Ben.
Rest in peace my dear friend,
SPCA video from Wake County!
Great message & ABBA!
Thanks Rusty Ramblings for the find 🙂