So You Think You Want a Herding Dog…

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Have a broken foot? It’s zero degrees F outside?

Guess what?

Your high energy herding dog doesn’t care! Better get out for a nice long off leash walk/run if you don’t want to listen to barking all day/have your house destroyed/obtain a black eye as a result of said herding dog repeatedly trying to vault off your face.

Happy (cold) Friday!

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Garfunkel aka Garth: Adopted!

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I alluded to some potentially exciting news in my post on Monday… Well, I can officially announce that Garfunkel has a new family. And believe it or not they actually like the name Garth and are probably going to rename him back to Garth. Funny how things work out!

The family is just lovely and I am very happy for Garth. We will be keeping in touch and they will be taking an obedience class with my trainer (who has met Garth before) to bond with him and help him continue to gain confidence. They have cats who are familiar with dogs, and when we did a meet and greet at their house last night the cats and Garth got along right away.

Hopefully I will have updates soon. Garth is going to stay with them officially starting Friday evening, so cross your fingers for a smooth adjustment period. I’ve grown quite attached to our tripod boy and I thought I was going to have a really hard time with him leaving, but this just feels right and I am nothing but happy for him and his new people.

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Today I’m participating in the “Thursday Barks and Bytes” blog hop… Check out the hosts at 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog.

More On Snoopy

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See part one of Snoopy’s story here

So there I was, fresh out of college, knowing nothing about dogs, with a brand new dog that had been sitting in a shelter for three months and had been living at a hoarder’s house before that. I’ll be honest – the me of today would have been hesitant to give a dog to myself back then.

But what came of that girl who had no idea what she was doing and the dog who hadn’t lived a normal life in a long time?

Well…

We snuggled in bed together, even though he was supposed to sleep in the crate. I got lucky and he was mostly housetrained – except for the night he pooped in the bathtub (????) at 3 in the morning. We went for walks around my grandma’s neighborhood and he dragged me down the street. Someone emailed and wanted to adopt him (he was a foster, remember?) – I freaked out. Decided I had to keep him, but I didn’t have a job lined up after my internship was over. Got a job at the last minute. Found an apartment on Craigslist that was okay with a dog.

“Is that a pit bull?” Uh… no he’s a Boston Terrier, I told my landlord when she suspiciously eyed a photo of Snoopy. Pit bulls were banned in the apartment complex. Somehow convinced the landlord he definitely was not a pit bull. Learned more about pit bulls and their stereotypes. Became determined to make Snoopy a good pit bull ambassador, whatever he really was. He pulled on leash and barked at other dogs. Found an obedience class – learned about dogs and dog training. Got excited, took more obedience classes. Got Snoopy’s Canine Good Citizen certificate.

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Ran around in the woods near out apartment off leash. Fiance moved in. Dog and boy fell in love. The three of us lived a quiet happy life. Got a new job, moved into my future in law’s house for six weeks. Snoopy made a dog friend, got beat up by the cat. Got to come to work with me.

Moved into a house, with a yard. Snoopy sunbathed. Bought a really expensive collar, started my collar obsession. Learned about dog food, Snoopy went on a diet, got on grain free food. Looked at a one eyed border collie that would hopefully become Snoopy’s sister. Somehow ended up bringing home a fluffy Chow mix instead. Snoopy had a new best friend. Went to the beach, rode on a boat, did more training. Went to art fairs. Enjoyed the summer. Got married. Snoopy didn’t go, but he was waiting for us when we got back.

Lost Snoopy’s best friend. Brain tumors suck. Fostered a little bit. Got a new friend, and another. Continued to grow and train. Moved again. Tried out lure coursing, Snoopy found new levels of vocalization and excitement. Things changed. Snoopy was always there.

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And that, in the end, is what is special about Snoopy. I have learned a LOT since I got him, and grown a lot, and I consider myself a very different dog owner than when I first got him. But all along he’s been happy to just be with me. He still sleeps on the bed with me. He’s starting to get a bit old, now, but I try not to think about that. He’s still spunky, and he’s still the boss of the house. He still loves food, even though he’s not so fat anymore. We learned a lot from each other, and we’re still learning. I don’t blame everyone who thought Snoopy was the most inviting of the pictures I posted a few days ago… he’s got a sweet, almost human soul, and I am lucky to know him.

A Word About Snoopy

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So in yesterday’s post, I asked which dog people who most want to pet if they came across them on the street, and counterproductive to my post, everyone unanimously chose Snoopy.

Not that I blame them – Snoopy is pretty pettable. He is a good snuggler and a good kisser and he loves everyone. Maybe not as much as he loves food, but almost.

Snoopy was my first dog.

I thought I knew what I was doing, and I was ready for a dog…. doesn’t everybody?

And wow, was I ever wrong.

Luckily, I had some help. I had just graduated college and was living with my grandparents for the summer while I interned at a zoo. My grandparents had dogs before but had not gotten a new one since their last dog died. I really, really wanted a dog. I had volunteered at the shelter walking dogs all through college and I knew foster homes were important, so I asked my grandma if I could foster a dog. I would take care of it, but it would benefit from having someone at home all day while I was at work. Bless my grandma, she can’t say no.

So I went to orientation at the shelter and asked the volunteer coordinator what kind of dog I could foster when I knew I only had about three months in the city for my internship. He suggested a heartworm dog, because they had to be out of the shelter for about two months while they went through heartworm treatment.

Snoopy's shelter photos.

Snoopy’s shelter photos.

I didn’t know anything about heartworm or the treatment it entailed, but I was all for helping out. After talking to my grandma, who was used to small dogs (Westies) I asked them to give me the smallest heartworm dog they had. So they suggested the “Boston Terrier/Beagle mix” Snoopy. He was one of about 30 dogs they seized from a hoarder, many of which had heartworm. I showed the pictures of him to my grandparents and they agreed he looked cute and small.

The first time I met him, he blew out of the kennel right past me without even a second glance. The laughing volunteer coordinator handed me his leash and asked me if I wanted to give him a bath before he left, because he kind of stunk. He dragged me through the halls to the outdoor runs (he knew exactly where he was going) and once in one of the runs proceeded to pee on everything and totally ignore me.

On the ride home after a semi-successful attempt at a bath, he bopped around the car and licked the air vents.

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We went straight to the pet store so I could get some supplies. The shelter staff told me they just fed whatever food was donated so I could pick up whatever I wanted for him. I’m embarrassed to admit this but I had no clue about dog food and looked at the labels and picked up something I remembered seeing on TV… I will not name names but let’s just say I wouldn’t let me dogs in the same building as an open bag of this food anymore.

A week later I dropped him off for his heartworm treatment at the vet, and sat home reading horror stories on the internet about dogs dying from heartworm treatment. I did not know it was so dangerous! Of course, when I went to pick him up, the vet tech told me DO NOT READ THE INTERNET. He was pitiful though. Heartworm treatment is difficult on a dog and he slept and moped for about a week.

For the six weeks after that it was a learning experience for all of us. I got lucky with Snoopy, I’ll tell you that! This is getting a bit long so I guess you’ll have to wait for the next installment of how Snoopy came to be mine…

Monday Mischief: Don’t Judge a Book (Dog) By Its Cover

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Imagine you are out and about, talking a walk, and you come across a person with the above three dogs. Which one do you want to pet first? Which one will you give most of (or all) of your attention to? Which one are you JUST POSITIVE will love you?

Well, if you picked the left or center dogs, you picked wrong.

Jeni (the Icelandic Sheepdog on far left) is not fearful or aggressive toward people, but she just… doesn’t care about them. If you try to pet her she’ll look away and disengage. Garfunkel (foster dog in the center) is fearful and would prefer that people do not approach him at all, much less pet him. Snoopy (right), however, LOVES people and wants to be everyone’s best friend.

But guess who gets the most attention when I take them out for a walk (individually or otherwise)? You probably guessed right this time – it’s not Snoopy.

I took Garfunkel out for a little socialization work this weekend. We went to a local indoor artist’s market that is dog friendly and most people are dog savvy. But dog savvy or not, apparently everyone loses their head when a three-legged dog walks by. I intended to sit off to the side and simply treat him for quietly observing people for a few minutes, and then leave. Instead, I had to fend off throngs of people that wanted to pet the dog that very obviously did not want to be touched.

Luckily I have no problem being rude so it actually turned out to be a nice positive experience for him and he was not forced to interact with anyone.

Bauer is cute and fluffy AND enjoys interacting with strangers, but that's not always the case for all dogs!

Bauer is cute and fluffy AND enjoys interacting with strangers, but that’s not always the case for all dogs!

It got me thinking though, how often people go on looks when judging a dog. I have brought all of my dogs to this market at one point or another. Jeni, who is adorable and fluffy attracts quite a bit of attention but is completely indifferent to anyone trying to win her affection. Snoopy on the other hand, LOVES people and generally wags his tail and looks expectantly at anyone walking by, but he gets a minimal amount of attention from people passing him… usually the only people that want to pet him at the market are a few of the artists that we know.

Snoopy, notably, is a “pit-bull type dog.” If for some reason you are not familiar with the judgement and stereotypes blocky headed dogs face, I would visit here and here and here and here for starters.

It’s a bummer that people instantly judge a dog by its looks, though not exactly surprising. I’m sure we’ve all felt that “OMG PUPPY AHH SO CUTE MUST TOUCH IT” urge when we see someone carrying around a puppy or even just a really cute dog. And affecting how many people want to pet a person’s dog is probably a minor thing. But unfortunately it does affect how people choose to adopt a dog, something I hope to cover in future posts.

One other (potentially) exciting thing happened this weekend as well, but you’ll have to wait until later in the week to find out…

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Today I am joining the Monday Mischief blog hop, hosted by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog and My Brown Newfies.

Say Hi to Arthur

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Sometimes I think I have a fostering addiction.

To be fair, there was some thought about bringing this guy home – he is a very short term foster (got here on Tuesday, likely leaving on Monday) and he is eight months old and spazzy, which is the perfect match for Garfunkel. They have not stopped chewing on each other since Arthur got here.

At the shelter I work for, we rarely adopt dogs out of a foster home, but fosters still serve an important role in our animal care. Unless an animal is extremely stressed in the shelter or not showing well because of behavioral issues, they have the best chance of getting adopted quickly when actually physically at the shelter.

However, there are many reasons an animal can’t go up for adoption right away or stay in the adoption kennels. The most common (and the reason Arthur is with us) is upper respiratory infection, a cold-like disease that spreads quickly in a kennel environment (also called kennel cough for that reason). Sometimes an animal has heartworm and needs to stay in a home environment while treated. Some have an injury like a broken leg. Some kittens or puppies may be too young to be adopted out yet. Nursing mothers spend time in foster homes to avoid the disease and stress of the shelter.

After an animal has overcome the ailment that landed it in foster, they generally head back to the shelter to get adopted. So Arthur, provided he is over his cold by then, will be leaving after the weekend.

I actually have quite a bit of fun with these short term fosters – they usually make nice playmates for my other dogs, and by the time the novelty wears off for everyone and they don’t care to play as much anymore, the foster goes back and finds its forever  home. It’s beneficial for everyone because it frees up space at the shelter for other sick animals and allows the sick animal to recover in a less stressful environment. On the other hand I am not as intimately involved with the adoption of these guys like I was with Kringle or with be with Garfunkel so I just have to trust our adoption counselors to find them a perfect home (and they always do).

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Today I’m participating in the “Thursday Barks and Bytes” blog hop… Check out the hosts at 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog.

Another First for Garfunkel

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Garfunkel/Garfy/Garth took a big step in his socialization today – he went to doggie daycare!

While Garfy has always been a little nervous around people, especially men, he LOVES other dogs and has the prefect temperament to enjoy romping around with with a bunch of rowdy dogs all day. He is a younger guy and a big goofball and very tolerant – he doesn’t take anything personally and goes with the flow.

After a really great visit with my sister and her boyfriend this weekend where he accepted them into the house almost immediately and cuddled with them on the couch while they were here, I decided he was ready to give daycare a try.

Of course, while he loves dogs, there are dog handlers at daycare as well (an important part of any daycare!) so he would have to learn to accept a few people while playing with new doggie friends. Lucky for him he tends to be better in a neutral area than when people come into the house so with understanding staff who were briefed on his issues and a plan in place, he went to his first day of daycare.

I will be off to pick him up soon, but I have chatted with the staff and watched him on their live cameras and by all accounts he is doing very well! He was a bit nervous at first but walked up to the female dog handler I had him meet initially without much hesitation and immediately warmed up to the presence of other dogs. He has spent most of his time in the small dog area where he can’t get body slammed and knocked over but sometimes he does like a good chase and wrestle so I’m sure he will move onto the big dogs as he gets more comfortable.

This is a great step for him and I’m happy he is doing so well. Of course, even if he hadn’t, it wouldn’t be the end of the world… not all dogs are cut out for daycare. But for a dog that needs new experiences and to gain confidence, a well run daycare can be a wonderful step.

P.S. You may want to check out my shelter’s Facebook feed tonight… I will be on site as our cruelty investigators and rescue drivers spend the (very cold!) night in a doghouse to bring awareness to the outdoor dogs that have frozen to death and struggle through the night. Learn more here.