Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oh Shaqy Day!

What a way to start out my vaca!..with our baby Shaq Attack getting ADOPTED!! I did the showing yesterday with a lovely low key family with a cute 6y son. Some worry because they feared Shaq wouldn't show affection or show well in general but my boy shined yesterday. I left them alone with him for a bit and came back and he was lovin all over them and not just for his toy. They live in a nice quiet area with few dogs around and he will be inside with free access outside. i just hope they remember to keep the cheese off the counter because he will snatch it! little scavenger that he is. Our one staffer who took him overnight a few times cried as soon as she heard he was adopted and of course made me cry and the lovely woman said I didn't realize he was wanted here so much but it wasn't that. Our staffer had just ended up filling herself with doubt that he wouldn't get adopted and to hear that he is just made her joy and relief overflow.
I'm glad I had that chat with Shaq about not staying with us any longer..guess he listened. ;}

Most of our long timers are gone now.WHEW! We got our grandma Shnauzer a home and our little blind Annie got snatched up pretty quick.
We only have Marjorie our little deaf spinner who is willing to go after even a 200lb dog. We will have her up front more since she seems to blossom up there. She is more social less nervous and I'll have to find out for sure but I think she spins less up there.
Then there is Teej who is a total gentle sweetie of a black whippet lab mix (maybe?) thin girl with short medium hair deep narrow chest who just wants you to be near her. She tolerates dogs but just wants people.

I'm off for a week so I hope the rest of the babies I know will be gone to homes by the time I get back. If not, then it's Just A Matter Of Time!!!! :)
Love to you n your family Shaqy
Thanks for reading all.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wonderful Week

What a fabulous week we have had. At the beginning of my week I had been somewhat stressed and frustrated as 2 of our long termers were starting to really show regression. Our Copper boy was starting to grab at his gate door and pull on it with his teeth which is a BIG sign of being highly stressed. If we didn't get him out soon my fears were his anxiety would quickly snowball. Well I am happy to say the universe constantly reminds me that we truly know nothing because here came this couple who had 3 Malamutes before and saw our Copper boy online and decided to come see him. They had just lost their last Mal. a week prior and weren't sure they were ready until they saw our boy's pic on our website. The only thing they were unsure about was he is about half the size of what they are used to. Their last 3 were all around 150 and here was our little (HA) 65 pounder. Since I am a jokester and did the showing with them they kept saying how wonderful he is buttttt his size....I said well ya know kids you ARE getting older hee hee (they were in their 50's probably) and we laughed about it and they finally decided the one con was not worth all the other pros that Copper had and they trucked him off back to Alpine. The wife called the following day to ask some questions. Since we are all used to it being a call about a problem, we all held our breathes as I answered the call. Lo and behold all she wanted to ask was how much we were feeding him! WHEW! She told us how wonderful he is already and following her around the house and laying at her husband's feet and even nudging them in the morning to take him out to potty. Another wonderful home for a wonderful deserving pet.

Usually Sat.'s are our big days as that is when our newbies become available and people are lined up to meet with them. Of course at least 4 out of the 10 got adopted that morning which is lovely since they won't have to stay in bizarro world for long. The only small (and I mean REALLY small)sad part is you don't get to spend much time with them and if people bring them back to visit us which we LOVE, I don't usually remember them. This Saturday was particularly wonderful because we had a woman come in to see our Bogenaught. She was told about his Lupus which is treatable and that he had a history with another family. She brought her 12y old Shepard mix with bad hips to meet. This threw up a worry flag since Boge likes to play rough..too rough usually. She came back with her son and her dog and we did the intro way off site since Boge does better away from the shelter with meeting new dogs. He wanted to play with her right away. He tried to mount her a few times but the gave him warnings that he listened to but would then smack her with his paw, go into a play bow and bark at her till she wanted to play with him. He must have know she was old because he really respected her warnings and would finally go and stand by the son for a bit but would come back and try to get her to play again like a little kid nagging you for something he wants. I gave the woman lots of info on how to watch their interactions and how to help tech him that certain behavior is not allowed. She seemed to adore him and felt her dog was pretty comfortable with Boge and decided they would make a good match. YEAH! Perfect timing as Boge was another one showing signs of his threshold level reaching it's limit. He started biting at his leash and refusing to go back to his kennel. Wow 2 babies out in the nick of time I might say. One can only hope they will all be happy with each other and live out the rest of their lives together. If not then as I heard one person put it.."then they just got to have a nice adventure" and we will wait for the next people to come along for them.

Other than our Shaq Attack we have two other little ones who will be getting some much needed time up front with staff. We have our deaf, very cute, vicious little Chihoo Marge. I call Marge vicious only because when she is on leash and she sees other dogs she acts like a Pit Bull with rabies! She doesn't care their size or look, she will go for them like they are meat on a hook. I was daring one day and decided to see if Shaq and Marge could coexist up front for a bit. OH BOY WAS THAT A MISTAKE. I had Shaq, and another staffer had Marge and as soon as she saw him she started going off like a rocket. I think some of that foaming from her mouth hit me in the eye! I tried to get her to settle with treats but once our other food hound Shaq got his face in there Marge went for him and he was not about to let some tiny little whipper snapper 1)take food from him or 2) think she was boss over HIM. He retaliated and fortunately didn't get to bite her head clean off, especially since it's about the size of a treat, but it was close. After that lack of a love fest going on, little miss bossy thang got to stay up front by herself for some much needed down time. Hopefully someone will fall in love with her soon and be willing to work on her doggie "issues"

Our sweet little Ann and Shaq will have to share their time up front with Marge for now.The odd thing I noticed about Marge and our Ann is that they both tend to do circles. When Ann hears a lot going on she just keeps doing them and sometimes hits her little head into the wall :( sad. Ann has been going home with different staff and volunteers at night since she seems to have a hard time being alone. Marge has always done circles but seems to do it less now that she has had some deaf training and more interaction.

Hopefully when I get back from my days off more of our longer term babies will be gone. Especially Shaq! Keep sending out that positive energy!
Thanks for tuning in!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Week of Reiki & Regression

So we have been fortunate enough to have another tool in our box other than regular dog training or behaviour knowledge/experience. Several of the staff members including myself have become Reiki I practicioners. If you don't know what it is, my best crude explanation is first having an intention for being of assistance which comprises of being a conduit for healing energy and projecting that energy to wherever the individual's body calls for it. Whether that be animals or people. Many at our Shelter think it is a bunch of metaphysical mumbo jumbo and I definitely know if I was back in Chicago and I brought this idea they would first tell me I was out of my mind and then probably say of course! it comes from the land of fruits and nuts! Fortunately here in S. Cali it is much more acceptable which I find refreshing.

I've done some Reiki on a few of the animals and for now I don't see any immediate reaction but hope that it at least has some bit of calming for them...other than the contentment of just having the company itself. I will continue to practice it and hopefully will gain greater ability with it, especially since they have scientific proof that it actually works. After we practice more we will continue our schooling to become Reiki II and III Masters. I'll let ya know how and if it works on our kids here.

One of our front desk ladies has been practicing Reiki on Shaq Attack & staff has tried to stay conscious in keeping on the protocal for our stressed little fella. He is kept away from the other dogs as much as possible and spends most days up at our front desk. It's gotten to the point that he knows exactly where he likes to be and will pull you all the way to the front office door if you let him as he was some dowsing rod pulling you directly to water. He is even sharing the space with a SUHWHEET young little Shihtsu named Anna, who had to have both her eyes removed because of a blunt trauma to her head. Shaq doesn't mind her up there at all but maybe it's fromthem both getting Reiki :) Who knows? Regardless, it's good to see he can share his space with another of his kind. So far so good. All he needs now is to attract that forever home that will keep him happy and healthy.

We ended up getting this deathly afraid, adorable little Chihuahua Choochoo. She is the kind of dog who hides in the back of her crate and acts like she wants to be ok with you, as she will come up and take treats from your hand (though funnily enough food can get many dogs right out of a fearful moment)and off your legs etc but if you move she will run away again. Patience is a true virtue with this kind of animal and I'm sad to say that not a lot of people really have that kind of patience especially if they feel they are in a hurry. I am in charge of what we call "special needs" animals and that would be any animal that needs extra attention whether it be more exercise, quiet time, more socialization etc. so even though she had special instructions I only put her in my own mental special needs. The first few sitting it would taker her about 20 min. before she would climb onto my lap after a thousand treat of bribery and sloth like stealthiness. Even after the few good intros we had she still would come to the gate door but not come out until I opened it abit and she would allow you to pet her neck and then come forward for more and the she would let me pick her up. As I said before this much time was not taken with her by everyone and one day while trying to get her to come forward from her play yard she darted and ended jumping over another staffer who caught her but it freaked Choochoo enough that she bit the staffer. Now my Choochoo is on Bite Quarantine where she is secluded from the general population for 10days. I was told the other day that she is now on the green mile. I'm frustrated because she had shown some improvement and I believe (and still willing to admit I MAY be wrong about this) that if everyone had worked with her the way that was best for her then she probably would have made more strides.

My frustration also stems from experiencing other dogs who have come in here traitwith very similar behaviour traits (minus the fear bite) and got more put into them to see if they could adjust and the last one I can remember of those fearful ones has been adopted. I will openly admit I am stubborn in my views and that on occassion they may be idealistic yet I prefer to think of it more as being hopeful. It's been a battle for three years with me and another individual who have completely opposite ideas about the animals in the shelter as to whether they are "suffering", whether anyone would want them or not or if they will be some kind of danger in the home. I find the person to be focused on created stories of negativity and my created stories side on the positive side. All I can do is keep working with my kids the best I can and fight for those I feel are misrepresented or if rulings are unsubstantial.

As for my Choochoo, I'm not sure what to do about her. I adore her of course but she does spend the majority of her time tucked away in the back of her kennel and often shaking. What I do accept for right now is that here, we do not have the proper tools to work with her without continually causing her even more stress and anxiety. I wish we had a foster that would take her home and see if she is adaptable...would that just prolong a life of fear? I don't know. What I do know is that if I can get these kids to be able to just hang in there long enough without going off the deep end then an openhearted, kind patient person will take each of these "special needs dogs home. Like I said before..It's just a matter of time.

Last note of the day..Big Bogenaut and my Copper are still here yet doing pretty well. Bogers is seeming a little sad but I have spent some extra time with him getting him to get excited and play. we also got 10 newbies who will be available Sat. All small all cute and all champions when it came to their shots and blood draws. What BRAVE little monkies!
Wish I had more time for all of them.
Thanks for reading!
Stay Tuned


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Timing is key

So since the last update there have been some positive and negative happenings. Our girl Wendsday is now adopted! She had a man from AZ see her and he has two other Weims that look similar to her. Now here Wendsday is the boss lady with dogs even though she is a big tail between the legs sissy when it comes to most other things. Well here came MOMMA "Tyson" Weim the eldest of the adopter's dogs. Wendsday knew better than to challenge Momma dog even though she looked pretty old she definitely told Wendsday who was the boss and how it was going to work. Who knows maybe she told her she'd bite her ear off.
We were all happy to see that Wendsday was agreeable to her station below Momma. Hopefully she will not decide one day that she is Buster Douglas and challenge Momma Tyson. However it goes, it is wonderful to know that someone who is very familiar with the breed will be giving her her forever home. Our girl had not been spayed yet and the adopter had to get back to AZ. Now to be responsible we do not allow unalterd animals to leave our facility so one of our fabulous staffers offered to drive Wendsday to AZ for him after she has been spayed (Wendsday, not the staffer). SOOO glad our girl got out when she did since she had been getting pretty aroused to the point that we had to cover her door to keep her from seeing to much and keeping that arousal up. WooHoo one long termer gone.

Then we have our Shaq Attack who unfortunately lived up to his name. We have had him out on foster with a staffer a few times and he has been VERY good. Not to reactive with dogs and was able to meet some dogs and be good about it. He has been out among people and done very well.
Here in bizzaro world, as I call the shelter that for the animals, his level of stress is rising. One problem is the male Great Dane and him somehow have become arch enemies even worse than Batman and the Joker. Shaq Attack and the Dane got to close one day and Shaq lost his scruples for the moment and went off like a rocket trying to get to the Dane and in the middle of who knows what Shaq was screaming at the Dane our staffer tugged him back and he redirected his arousal on her and bit her arm. The only small saving grace is that he did not break skin. When it comes to redirection of aggression, that is an issue that is looked more kindly upon than any other kind or reason for a bite. A week or so later I was pulled aside and told that Shaq Attack was to be put down for several different reasons which I somehow knew was coming. Instantly I broke down into tears.
This is a dog I have worked with and have gotten to blossom into a lovey, affectionate and sweet companion, and see such quality in him as a pet so I automatically disagreed with this decision. It took me some time and a good conversation from a fellow staffer to get me fired up to fight for my boy which I almost didn't and that made me realize that if I don't keep speaking up for those I feel deserve more time then I must be burned out. So, Thanks NW you helped more than you know. I gathered my facts about his bum knee which is a torn ligament and his behaviour outside of the shelter, his previous info from his relinquishers and got ready to plead my case for my defendant.
I felt I had all the right answers :We've had old dogs with chronic issues and some that can be expensive and they have found homes. We know it's only here in bizzaro world that he is so reactive and his bite from arousal has to be taken w/ a grain of salt since he will not reach that level out in the "normal" world. Just because he's black and older and with a bad knee doesn't mean no one will want him. I always have faith that our dogs will ALL get adopted, it's just a matter of time and if our kids can just hang on to their sanity long enough in this bizzaro world they WILL get their forever home. I pleaded my case to the judge (our Boss) and he is always good about hearing me out. I was prepared for whatever answer was to be given..the main thing was that Shaq Attack got his defense heard. The Judge was kind enough to give a weeks reprieve to show if the protocol that is put into place for him will work to keep him de-stressed enough so as not to reach a point of suffering He is now with people the majority of the time and we work hard at not allowing him to see any of the other dogs in the shelter since that often ramps him up (though nothing like him and the Dane). All the staff is rooting for him and he is loved by many. I had recently found out that I was not the only one to plead for him which brings me joy to hear.
Our boy is doing well in my eyes and all I can hope for is that others see that as well and give him the time he deserves to get his own forever home.
It's all about timing.
2 of our other long timers are doing well. Copper who is a sweet sweet Malamute who used to be really reactive to other dogs but us doing very well with not fence fighting or barking at them as they pass his room. He LOVES to be brushed and also has a very bad habit of peeing on his raised bed. He didn't do this in the beginning when he first arrived but one can never say how stress will manifest in each animal. He's a nut since he will pee on any bedding you give him. He's lucky his fur is cushy enough he doesn't really need it.
Bogenaut is still with us and still doing very well. He was kind enough to let us dress him up in a devil costume with a hat with horns to take a picture and then he was in a hippy costume with black curly wig! Talk about an awesome dog! if I didn't have so many of my own I would snag him up just solely because Halloween is my fav holiday and my boys won't tolerate my nonsense in that area. :) I'll fill you in on a few of our little ankle biters next time.
Thanks for tuning in!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happens in 3's? & Saving The Best For Last?

It's been awhile and we have had some crazy things happening recently. I had mentioned the story of my Ghosters who I had to lay to rest because he was a danger. Well in came this beautiful black lab maybe pit mix named Kona. He became my favorite in a day. He was wild and goofy with puppy like lovins. He was another who loved the pool and liked to fetch wet toys and lay next to me to chew his rawhide. He had these huge upright ears with one kinda tilted over to the side a bit. He was another I fell hard for. Our boy Kona was an angel with me but did the worst thing he could do and that was show some serious aggression with out provocation to the bossman (among others). There are a few no no's here and threatening the boss is the biggest. The boss is the one who trusts me whenever I ask for more time to work with an animal and I trust him and he was the one to experience that behaviour first hand. Sadly my Kona was put on the green mile. RIP my little man, you will be missed. Oddly enough I have a knack for falling hard for the difficult dogs who end up exhibiting dangerous/unacceptable behaviours that land them on the green mile. It's not intentional and way before the animal is considered for it but if staff hears me completely falling for a dog they teasingly say don't get attached NOW because Libberator's just cursed the poor beast. Now, we do not do many euthanasia's of our own dogs thankfully, because we usually get great animals but there are those times when you don't get to see a behaviour until whatever circumstances arise to trigger it. This was my second heartbreak in such a short of a time . I'm really hoping this doesn't end up happening in threes.

The other unusual crazy things happening lately is 2 cases of bloat. We adopted out a sweet young Shepard and after 3 weeks with his new family he passed away from bloat about 2 weeks ago. The entire staff was shocked and saddened to hear about him and the family's loss. We sent the family a sympathy card because it is often as though we have lost one of our own when you care for them for so long. At least he got to live in a loving home for the last bit of his life.
Then just last week we got 2 big beautiful Great Danes into our Safe House Program. We had them in our special housing with a gigantic yard attached. The housing is not in the same area as the rest of the dogs so they don't get to see or experience as much down there. Well we had the gods on our side this particular day because we decided that even though our front office is AWFULLY small to fit 3 staffers and 2 Danes weighing a hefty 170 each (our girl was a bit smaller) we would keep them up front and just walk around and over them since they are calm and sweet. Our big girl started acting weird after drinking a bunch of water. She was salivating and didn't want to lay down and seemed a bit disoriented. We had our vet come up front (who isn't usually here this day) and she sent her to get x-rays right away and she ended up going into emergency surgery for bloat. Had she not been up front for us to see her, she would have passed aways in no time. Now in the 3+ years I have been here we have not had one case of bloat and in the last month there were 2 of our kids with it. Big girl is doing better and I have decided that things are now to happen in two's not three's. We'll see if the universe listens.

Is it our best for last? We have a few long termers who have been with us awhile and happily still doing pretty well. We have Wendsday a Beautiful Jumpy Hyper Sweet Grey Ghost(Weimeriner)mix with Doberman markings. Now Weims have LOTS of energy and even though we do as much as we can she surely can use more. She is shy and nervous around some people and with others she is a cuddle bug. She listens well once she has gotten some of that energy expended and oh lord does she have energy to burn. I take her for walks around the neighborhood and her favorite thing to do is sniff sniff sniff! Wendsday has the loudest strangest sounding sniff I have ever heard. It's hysterical! Still waiting for that active person/s willing to work with their pet and lavish love on her.
Next another fav of mine Shaq Attack. He's an 8y Shepard Lab x. He has the Sweetest soulful eyes. When he first came in all he cared about was his toy. He only wanted you for throwing his toy. He didn't really care about you. I decided to start working on his loving skills. I would only give him treats or his toy if he looked at me first and after he got that down we started working on him letting me pet on him without turning or walking away before he got his goodies. After our work my Shaq Attack now will give me kisses with his nose and will now lay down on his bed with me and let me pet all over him. He's Sweet, Mellow, Lovey but Not Clingy who just needs his future parents to be careful because he has a bum knee that can get worse if he plays runs or jumps to much. He isn't overly animated so we're just waiting for those who can see his greatness without all the fireworks the others tend to show off.
Our last long termer is Bogenaut. He's a Quiet Lovey Chill Easy Lanky Long Legged Black Lab lookin mix with a furry curled tail. He is another one who is pretty subdued in his kennel...until a dog passes him. Then he becomes a raging monster. This is how you know that dogs in a shelter are in THE most stressful place they can be when they show this in the shelter but once they are out they are different. Bogenaut has been to many events because he is so great. Last event I had him at he met lots of dogs without any aggression at all and kids were stepping over him and had 3 kids petting him all at once with lots of activity and noises going on and he was as happy as a clam to just lay there and relax the whole time. Behaviours in the shelter are not always an indication that that is how the animal will be once they are in a more relaxed environment. Doesn't mean they will be perfect either. Just like life it's always an unknown but with our three current long termers I believe they will be even more wonderful and easy to love once they get home..and they will, because they always do. Time heals all things they say. I believe that goes not only my hurt for the ones who have passed but also our babies who just have to wait for their time to come and be healed themselves by their loving forever home.
We will have some newbies coming in tomorrow and I can't wait to see if anyone was adopted and what the newbies will be like.
Stay tuned! :) thanks for stopping by

Monday, September 21, 2009

From Suffering To The End Of Suffering

So I have been out for a bit with some serious back issues that I am still contending with. The crummy thing about that is not just that I missed out on caring for all my "kids" but that there is one in particular that needed me there more than the rest, and that would be Ghoshley.
Since I was gone, he didn't get as much attention and exercise since our other staffer has different important business to tend to. He was getting worse and so it was time for Ghosters to move on. Mom had left her program which violates her agreement and the fact that almost all staff could not deal with him was another issue. Mom finally came to pick up who now seemed like MY boy. The Shelter is a very difficult place for many animals to stay stable in. Pitty's and some other breeds like Shepards don't always do well there because their needs are more than is usually able to be given to them in that environment. Ghosters was no exception. He came out all wild to momma and became more unruly. He jumped and nipped at her was more mouthy and she was unable to handle him when a person was about 50' away and he started growling and trying to go towards them. She was pretty freaked by his behaviour and I'm sad to say I saw it coming.

I had taken it upon myself to speak to this sweet young girl who I knew had no place Ghosters to go and no one to keep him safe and loved or to as just importantly keep others safe from him. Now I LOVED this dog as my own and saw the wonderful sweet side of this big beast but I also saw the very dangerous side to him. Had I felt there were any possibilities for this dog to have a good life and be a good example of a pet I would not have suggested that she consider euthanasia. I talked with her for 2 hrs learning even more about the abuse this poor woman and dog have gone through which made me even more secure that what I was suggesting to her was the best thing for all involved. This lovely girl made one of the hardest decisions one could ever make and that was to choose her life, her son's life and the public's life to be a safer and more stable one over the love of a dangerous animal who had protected her at one time.

I am the one staffer who never wants to put any animal down because I am always hopeful there is a home for and a way to work with these animals. Ghosters was different. He was abused and unstable and showed aggression at a very young age and I know what that all equals up to. Serious potential for harm. I was sincere in my love for her animal and she could see how he loved me and that I was not someone being judgemental or biased against pittys (since I have one myself) or her situation but that it came from knowledge and experience that this behaviour leads to no where but trouble.

So after coming back from my own weeks of suffering from physical pain I end up taking away the mental and emotional pain of a dog I loved as my own but knew this was no longer the time or place for him and that wherever he went will be a place of less suffering for him.
It's THE hardest part of my job
RIP Ghosters All My Love

Again to end on a lovely note..Starletta escaped the green mile by being adopted by her foster mom. She will still need to be careful around strangers and may always be a little booger with certain handling but I can't tell you how happy I am that she was saved and that her sufferring of being scared and confused in the shelter is now over and she is living a happy life given to her by her new momma. Yea!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Sweet Fearful One

So we have a great program that helps people who need some help getting back on track in life and we will take care of their pet for a set amount of time, usually not more than 3 months. Our newest ASP resident is Goshley. A beautiful tan and white big pink mouthed 9 month old jug head of a Pitty. He's my sweet, loveable, goofy, bull in a china shop. He LOVES the pool, belly rubs, trying endlessly to carry that giant hard plastic blue ball in his mouth, attempting to eat a few of our staff members, and can catch a tennis ball mid air better than any Border Collie I've ever seen. I tried to just slip that one past. Unfortunately my sweetness is what I would call a fear aggressor. He tells many of the staffers he would like to eat them for lunch and makes no bones about letting you know LOUD and clear. He will jump up on the kennel gate bark and growl at almost everyone who passes by, often with dialated eyes which means Trouble Run For Cover. Now I was fortunate enough to be the first to meet him while he was still with his "Mama". She intro'd us and because she thought I was cool I believe he accepted me as cool. We have been chums from then on (oh except for that one time I just poked a finger through the kennel and he snapped at it like a hungry gator-he seems to have this thing about fingers through the gate).Itake him out to play in the baby pool we have and let him play like a seal by pushing the ball all around the yard with his nose. Unexpectedly he turned mean on a staffer who he allowed into his kennel with him to give him the kong I made for him and without knowing what the reason he suddenly started to growl at her and bark and she barely had a chance to get out and close the door. Still don't know why. I'll tell you, this big boy would make you soil your pants if he even LOOKED at you and didn't like you. So far he's my big daddy and we are on lovey terms. The problem is that he shows himself to come forward even though he's afraid. Fear with assertiveness is NOT a good thing. He's a smart boy but if he doesn't get more training, especially in socialization he can easily become a menace. Sadly, the circumstances are such that it makes it very difficult to do that work in a shelter. I don't think all hope is lost on him. He really does have all the qualities I mentioned. Unfortunatley fear arises in many forms. Hjust happens to be quite fearful and has a harm you before you harm me reaction to his fear. I adore him but never underestimate his ability to be triggered by unforseeable things. Stay aware, careful and compassionate.
I little lovely update -all my previously discussed babies have of course all gotten forever homes! Yea! Shaq Attack will be next!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Difficult Hard Reality

You may have noticed that so far that I still had yet to talk about the cats. We do adopt out Dogs, Cats and Rabbits and I do love them all and I do have my fav's out of all the species but I have always had the most connection with the dogs and tend to spend more time with them

The issue I have with the cats [and now come to think of it, some similar behaviours with the wiley fuzzy bunnies (just like our poor angry Mistress just biding her time to exact revenge at this point, on any 2 legged monkey she could, having been a test bunny) ] is that I am not good at reading the shifty snipery little buggers. They can look at you with a sweet look and an invitation for affection and from out of nowhere an evil demon rises up within them and out come those claws (or better to be described as RAZORBLADES) faster than a streak of lightning across the sky right across your hand/arm/ face/jugular or wherever else they can reach for blood. That's much better than when they strike that head forward (or Launch at you) quicker than a viper trapped in a corner and hit you with those bacteria infected cat butt laced needle teeth of death. Even if they don't hit a vein you'll be lucky not to bleed to death or get a staph infection where you'll end up having to remove a part of your body you would really rather keep.

Sometimes they are kind enough to me to give an obvious sign of displeasure like a hiss or a growl which I gratefully appreciate and respect and then there are those who will love you to love on them but do it a little itty bitty to much or just in the "wrong" spot and BAM! they wrap their mouth, front arms annnnnd claws around that arm of yours with the grip of a Hulk Hogan head lock. You could only pray it ends there, but usually it follows the act of scratching the back claws, I mean razorblades, up and down your arm like it was it's human scratching post.

With all that, I did the cleaning of most of the cats today. There were plenty of newbies around that I had not met before and few others I did know, but out of those, knew which ones not to screw with. Let me tell ya, we have had some FEISTY and I dare say "mean" little hairballers. Well we do again. Mar Gareet our little pretty is "OK" with other cats but I describe her as the Lucy Van Pelt of the rest of the Peanuts Gang in the cattery but with a touch more maliciousness. She likes to swat at all of the other cats. Today I had been able to pet her and correct her and tell her NO when she's trying to start trouble and then pet her face a couple of strokes as I told her good girl for stopping her antics. I did this several times in the room while I was cleaning and she was a good girl for me but I know her history and she has bitten before and can get quite easily overexcited it seems and then it can go very bad from there so I didn't over do it. I left without incident and felt I had made some good contact with her and felt like it was a sign of her improving. Sadly enough not 20min after I had left a volunteer went in with them and Mar Gareet had bitten her several times in a row. She has an aggressive history and is so unpredictable that she is unfortunately shown herself to be a danger to the public and is now on what I have dubbed the green mile. It's the span of time where you already really know what needs to be done but don't have final word yet on if there is any other rehabilitation available or even possible.

One of, if not the most difficult thing I do in the shelter is euthanizing an in house animal. It's an inevitable reality that we will occasionally encounter animals in our place that are just not able to live harmoniously with humans/society or it's own emotional state. In those cases the hardest decision is made to put the animal down with the intention to prevent any more suffering. Not only it's own suffering but the suffering that is all but guaranteed to happen to another should this animal be adopted out. I loved them all and wished they weren't the way they were or that more could be done so this didn't ever have to occur but that wasn't reality. The truth is, it will happen again and to get through it, I just aspire to instill in them as they go through the transition that they ARE loved and that the end to their suffering is almost here.

Well the first newbie full of piss n vinegar I encountered was a big orange tub o lard who's name I must have blocked out for a reason. While attempting to clean his room, and get the damn kitty litter (that they like to fling everywhere like it's confetti at a parade) off his blankets he bats me hard 3x. I jerked my hand away automatically expecting to pull back a bloody stump only to find no pain or scratches. Oh kind universe! the quick little wanker didn't have his claws. Now we do not perceive declawing as humane to a cat since it's actually removing the first BONE out of each of it's digits that can result in chronic pain and other issues but I was thankful at that moment for him not having his claws.

Last psycho kitty to encounter today was of course the doozy! We have three cats in a room and they are all out roaming around and I needed to get some supplies so in I go and here is this white and grayish black Satan spawn in disguise looking up at me and coming to me all slow and sweet like. He lifts his head up to me like "pet me" and like the gullible one I am I took the bait. I got one stroke across his face and CHOMP! he bit my arm like he was a shark taking a chunk out of a surf board then spitting it back out from disgust. All I had heard was that he's a little shy and here I am like oh hey look at me he's not afraid of me, he likes..OOOOUUUCCCCHHH

Not a good day for in house cat's. 2 on the green mile puts a serious damper on morale for awhile even when we believe what we do is for the best for all.

Dogs vs Cats.....Granted, 2 attacks with one mild one, out of all the other cats I encountered today one might say isn't a bad ratio but that's just today. In 2 1/2 yrs I have had many many attacks on me by cats aaaaand rabbits whether it was bites or claws but when it comes to the number dogs that have tried to harm me the total is 2.

I'm not saying it couldn't be me..or even that I don't love all of them including the ones who are the kind of cats you don't want to run into alone in a dark alley I'm just saying me n the mutts have a better understanding..They don't bite me and I give them lots of love...that seems to be working for us.

There may be a new fav of mine with the cats and once I socialize with him again and come back unharmed I'll tell more about him. So far he's the first cat in a long time who loved his belly rubbed and accepted a LOT of lovins and never got tired of it. But that was only our first encounter but maybe more to come on the cats..:)
Because of the crazy cat day and other things I didn't get much time with the hounds today. Hopefully tomorrow.

Though.....Bucky has caught my attention..a shy sweet white Shepard Lab x maybe, who must have had a rough life as his teeth are all worn down and his tongue is all mangled. Who knows, maybe he chewed on a gate of some sort or rocks and since he is tearing up all his blankets there is worry he could have some form of separation distress. Stay Tuned

Monday, May 4, 2009

My B&W Cookie and the Lagoon

Since my portly gal Cookie has been looking awfully melancholy I decided I needed to take her out to get some new experiences. Miss thang was already down in one of the recess yards and busy digging a hole to whatever creature she was sure was in there.

(Big tip that works everytime I use it. Put poop in the holes and then fill hole back in with the dirt. It always works with dogs that aren't really strong scent/prey breeds, including my own. Be aware it just may take a few holes before they stop...or make a place for them to dig in the yard with sand or dirt and teach them they are allowed to dig there. I'll have to think of how I can institute that in our shelter too.)

I called her over and she comes sauntering over with that big booty swingin' from left to right and got right into her harness to go. Funny thing about my girl is once we started heading up and down the road she thought she was going for a walk and was not down for that nonsense. I kept telling her "we're going to the car c'mon mama" and she finally started along again.

(Here in the shelter one can't be forcing our kids into anything they don't want to do. They are already aroused/anxious/afraid/uncertain/confused enough in this environment and the goal is to not increase that at all, so I use lots of treats to "bribe" my kids. Bribery is good sometimes, it takes away some of the focus on whatever their issue is and helps them focus on something they consider good while helping them get over or get through that problem.)

Once big mama saw the car door open she willingly crawled right in. Now, I have a small clown car of a 2 door civic and though I have fit both my boys in it, where one is a 60lb SharPei/Pit x and the other a 100lb Lab/Chow(gotta be part Newfie too as big as he is)Cookie barely fit in the front seat. :)At very first she seemed unsettled by constantly shifting in her seat and drooling excessively but once we got onto the highway she settled right in and found a way to lie down with an arm on my leg. We headed to the Lagoon!

I figured since she was Border Collie/Queensland Heeler X she might enjoy at least some new smells. THOUGH.. first I must tell you that Cookie is hardly anything like her suspected breeds. Between the 2 breeds they often are very high energy/wary of strangers/not big on lots of lovins/ herders and gatherers, among other things which I can surely say Cookie does not diplay here. If you didn't get an idea of how she is in the previous tellings I can tell you now that she Loves attention from anyone. "brush me, love me, sit with me, but don't WALK me to far" :). She is not suspicious of anyone who has approached her. Cookie has also been going coo-coo for the birds and squirrels in and around her room so I'd say she's more of a hunter/retriever than anything. Though she did fight with a dog in her home and here she gets riled up when walking past a few of the others' rooms, she passed every dog on the path at the lagoon like a perfect angel.

(A difficulty with shelters is that since the dogs are always in a continual abnormal/higher state of arousal and stress, they don't always behave as their true natural selves as they will when they are in a home environment)

It was about 1pm and the sky was pretty clear and the sun was warm. Noooooot the best time to be taking my muffin top on a stroll so I let her lead the way and she happily sniffed away towards the underbrush. There's lots of tall grasses and indigenous trees and plants around and there were several times she spotted something in the brush and immediately stalked it and tried to catch was fun to see her go all nature channel out here. I had her on a long lead so she got to do some good chasing. There were a few times she had gotten a little spring in her step and was even trottin' along quicker than I could walk my regular speed. It was the first time I had seen her with a little pep and it filled me with joy.

The first dog I saw approach us I got a little concerned, not knowing how she would react. I refused to let myself tighten my grip on the leash because they can feel your tension through the leash. I decided to be open and just see, but pulled her to closer to a nice relaxed heel. I could feel she was relaxed so I didn't really worry after I noticed that, and all my girl did was watch the big yellow Lab go by until he was past her and then she went back to sniffing. I was especially proud of her when we passed a woman with what looked like a large Boxer X. The woman had her dog on a tight heel and he kept pulling to get away from her and get to Cookie. Even I could feel the high arousal in that dog even without him making a sound and Cookinator just followed him with her eyes until he got half way past her and she went back to walking peacefully. Wonderful how a different environment often brings different responses.

She was visibly pooped so I led us into some shade where she could cool down and get some water. Walking on the way back was slow going but we made it, and with a couple more dogs passing without incident. She got back in and decided to keep her head out the window for half the ride then laid down and started to close her eyes. I felt horrible because I knew we would be back at the shelter soon and I wish I had time to let her even lay in the car with me for a bit to let her have some more relaxing time but I had previously made plans and timing just wasn't on our side that day. Good thing was that she doesn't fight going back to her room and this time walking past the usual antagonists she was relaxed enough that as soon as I felt her start to get roused I just had to give her a little eh eh correction and tell her good girl the rest of the way to her room and she didn't let out one woof. Another proud moment! Waiting for her was her dinner which she is always happy to see. She hasn't skipped a meal yet.

I learn and love more about Cookie everyday and I see what an awesome companion she will make and how sweet and willing to learn she is. I realized on our trip that she appears to love her ears rubbed and isn't as happy with you rubbin her hind end. Hmmm maybe she's a little insecure about her junk in the trunk. That's crazy right? Yeah she's beautiful just as she is...but thinner would be healthier for her so no more sweets, she's now on a diet! :)
Hoping her new family comes and finds her soon.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Back in the Saddle and Forever Homes

I have felt so out of the loop being first stuck in the front office for a week and then gone on vaca for a week and then still trapped up front for additional time and so the only babies I get to see are those I know of that are in need of some serious down time. I decided to be nice one day and let our new front office manager pick a dog since he already had a favorite. It was a new girl Cleopatra who is a Border Collie X. I teased him about her not being so stressed since she had just arrived and teasingly gave him examples of stress. Is she Pacing in her kennel? Is she barking non stop at people? Is she sitting in the back looking depressed or not eating? Well than she isn't SOOOO stressed is she?!. He teased that Cleopatra told him she needed time up front so I gladly conceded. I had not met her before but oh my goodness is she a love muffin. There have been a few dogs I have encountered that don't even seem to need to sniff you before they are loving all over you and asking for some in return. She was very good up front and was lovey with me the moment I met her. She supposedly has toy guarding but not seriously and not shown with everyone. She's high energy but got swiped up already by her new forever home.

I just couldn't allow a fairly secure and stable dog hog up all the front office time so I requested Big Bear again . I had just come back from vaca so hadn't seen my boy for a bit. He came in and I immediately noticed that he was thinner..he was a stout fella to begin with who could use a few less pounds but I was also aware that we were not TRYING to get him to lose weight so I asked Mama Z our wonderful Medical Manager to weigh him and see if he was losing weight and found he had lost 6lbs which was ok since it was more appropriate for him but we didn't have him on the South Beach Diet so knew he wasn't eating much with all his anxiety. She made a note to keep an eye on him and we will feed him wet canned food with his dry for breakfast too instead of just dinner

(You may be amazed at how even just a little cuddling will get animals to eat when they are stressed. I have often hand fed our kids while petting them because it is the only way they would eat. I even did it today with one of our skinny minny's and she refused to eat out of the bowl or off the floor but as soon as I decided to sit down and wait for her, this tiny little terrier who is very shy and timid crawled slowly right into my lap looked up at me and ate with me giving her one kibble bit at a time..and she had not even met this two legged monkey bringing this smelly stuff reeking of all kinds of other animals before. Now, if I had left the food overnight, there is no telling whether she would eat eventually or not but my ego likes blowing smoke every now and again telling me what a special gift I have. Ha! Either way it's just a joy for me to be able help them feel comfy enough to eat right away)

OK Back to my Big Bear..Well not only did I notice that my boy was losing weight but he was losing more hair! He had come in with parts of his hindend shaved close but I saw it was now more towards his front and once again asked our Med Mgr to have the vet look at him. LOW AND BEHOLD my big loveable kisser has low thyroid and he will now be on meds to help his skin and weight. Mama Z was very thankful to me for noticing and I was so stoked to be able to have helped hopefully bring my big boy some relief. The more often we have him up front the more I notice him not drooling excessively in his kennel or looking at everyone with these wild whale eyes worrying about what harm may occur in the next moment. Another great sign to see with him is his willingness now to play with toys. Just yesterday he was chasing after his hedgehog and was willing to play a little tug o war instead of looking around or pacing. Even when lying down he no longer breathes fast or through his mouth! My joy could only be raised up to a higher level by him getting a wonderful forever home with someone who will love him endlessly. He's a little past middle age so my hope is that does not hinder to many from seeing his beauty and gifts of love and companionship. He's especially fun to watch when you put peanut butter on his nose and he licks and licks but never seems to get that tongue up over onto his nose. Speaking of eating...Our boy is even eating all of his dinner now.

With Big Bear eating well now you can only guess what comes next...yeppers the gasies. The rest of the front desk staff was WONDERFUL to let me keep Big Bear up front for the extra 15 min even though I swear we actually had to open the windows and front door or die from noxious fumes. Even staffers in the OTHER ROOM were blaming others for funking up the staff restroom but it was our boy Bear. I have a very poor sense of smell and only my love for this beast kept me from chucking him right out the door for such foulness but he got to stay and I love the staff for letting me or more so comes my Black n White Cookie

Oh my big mush Cookie. Not much different than she was before. Very relaxed, doesn't care about any rawhides or chewies or toys. She just lays down and looks up at you waiting for some love. Now when i called her a big ball of clay I wasn't kidding. i wanted her close to me and couldn't situate myself to where she was so she just let me crab her legs and pull her gently across the tile to me and never made a move other than her lifting that back leg to signal it's belly rub time. She's so happy up there that our FD Mgr took all the toys she had and just lined them up on top and across her. We all had enough time to even take pictures of her like that because she didn't care. It was only when there was 3 of all all making a commotion that she lifted her head up enough to make all the toys fall (soft toys mind you). She is the best..she started getting gassy and because of the last attack we endured she was not allowed to linger as long but I believe it is benefitting her just being able to be close to us even if we are not smothering her with kisses and lovins.

Best news ever..Dezziroo and our little couch potato Coolio have their Forever Homes and I am Back in the Saddle again, going back to kennels to spend more time with more of the kids. I don't know who took Dez since I was off at the time but I do know that Coolio is being adopted by a woman who was LOOKING for a couch potato dog! Yea! Not to many long termers left but Griffin, Big Bear, Black N White Cookie and Magadoodle who is now off medical hold and been with us for way to long but is lucky enough to have pulled the heart strings of one of our lovely volunteers who occasionally takes her home for overnights.
A grateful week for many many different reasons. More to come..I would like to spend more time with Itsy & Bitsy and with little Baby Twig who have all tugged on my heartstrings just today after me sitting with them for a bit...sweet sweet tellings to come I'm sure.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stress Free Moments

Of course being the mother hen I can often be with my babies, I contemplate the night before who else is in need of some serious company and quiet time up front with us.

Yesterday I decided it was time for our girl Black N White Cookie. She is our beautifully voluptuous, plenty o junk in the tunk, big ball of clay herding x. An oh so very sweet & quiet girl who obviously hasn't had much time in her life to chase after those birds and squirrels she'd love to get her chompers into, being as um, sturdy as she is :) . If she had less poundage and a little more leverage those birds that dare to enter her bedroom would have a run for thier money. Miss Cookie is not showing herself to be a typical energetic herder. She's a big ball of clay! As soon as BWC came in she was automatically content. She layed right down and start to relax. I can sit with her on the floor and move her where ever I want her. I put her head on my leg and she just keeps her eys closed and leaves it there. Pull her leg up to rub her belly she leaves it there. When she knows and trusts you she really trusts you. I see this different sort of sadness in her eyes at times. Like she's not totally unhappy but rather that she just needs more. She happily lays in your lap to get cuddled. Be prepared to have done your lunges and squats cuz she's not a true lap dog unless you are AHNOLD and have won Mr Universe in the last few years. Bony legs? No worries, she could be happy even if all she could get was some spooning. Even though she's a demure gal don't think she doesn't still have some fire in her. She had a room across from our Big Bear and they were like two inmates hollerin' at each other about how they were going to shiv the other in the shower. Fortunately we gave them different accomodations so they were unable to practice their frustration. Gotta love the ones who will kiss and cuddle us talking monkeys and just as easily turn around and kill, bringing us an offering of the latest prize it's killed.I'd say that dual type personality would definitely be our Black N White Cookie. She is interesting at times when she lays right by the door with her nose at it like waiting for her chance to bolt yet when the door is open and she has her opportunity to go she doesn't even contemplate it. Sweet girl.

Next came my energizer bunny Oconnor. I had planned on Big Bear coming up next but staff showed me how they gave Oconnor a bath and how pretty he was when it reminded me how easily aroused and stressed he gets staying in his room with all the action going on. He looks like a pin ball that hit at the exact perfect spot so that it just keeps bouncing around from side to side. He's a sweet long legged wire haired Terrier x, skinny with a short scruffy face.He's one of what I call the "fakers" with a Nervous Nelly complex. He's the big talker threatening you, but if he were to be called on it, would run away screaming like a little girl. When it comes to other dogs he acts like a drunk Irishman looking for a brawl. (I'm Irish. I know)So I decided I wanted to introduced him to my female dog who plays a statue in dog interactions and stands completely still and half the time has no interest in sniffing the other dog. Well here our little Irishman comes in like gang busters but my girl just stays still and he gets his sniff on and once he realizes she's not assertive he was AFRAID of her. He stayed on the other side of the room and if she walked even in the direction he was in he would turn his head away as if to say I'm not here, I can't see you , don't hurt me. MY girl?! Afraid of my sissy girl who gets beat up by CATS? I was in awe. Having another dog very similar to him, I thought two peas in a pod. I mean once a nerd finds out a threat is really just another nerd, they will bond. Right? Well another keen staff member had the same idea about putting Mighty One & Oconner together. Well these two would no longer be sitting alone at the lunch table. Finally! A friend. It's always nice to find them playmates they enjoy.
The highlight for me ws to see Oconner so relaxed after to long a time. No stress. No panting, or pacing, just contentment. Time to stand on my lap and check things out and feel safe, play fetch in our tiny space and lie down to enjoy his chewy. It still amazes me how some of the dogs instantly relax up there with us when they were just moments before in such a high state of stress. Oconnor was a different dog up front. Happy calm and well behaved and who would give you kisses any time you requested them.One who will surely benefit more from time away from all the action.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hangin' In The Office

Today, since I'm temporarily stuck doing office work until I'm better I asked to have little Coolio with me. I put him in my lap since he fits :) and he spotted the hamster on the counter. and He stopped dead. All he did was WATCH it. No whining, barking, growling. freezing or lunging. Just.....watching. Just in case I was reading him wrong and he was just contemplating his snatch and swallow plan we went to the front office. Little man has excellent smelling skills and will scavange everything there is within reach of his short little legs. He came up and found some old dry food from the previous day on the floor, found Garcia's rejected rawhide, snarfed that down and then came staring at me with those big sad eyes asking for some of my cake. Well how could I deny that face? Of course he got a tiny taste of frosting and then some real doggie yum yums. He decided he needed to be close to me so he had me pull a chair up to mine and he curled up on it next to me happy as a clam. Don't let that calm demeanor fool ya. when he's protected by a wall or a fence or something else he's barking to let the other dog's know he's the stuff round here which is like the insecure tough guy acting all bold really because he doesn't want you to know they are really vulnerable, but I can't tell ya how many of our staff adore him. How could you not think he's adorable with that underbite with those two stained canines jutting up like a little boar and those eyes always looking as if saying "don't hurt, me please love me" plus little man has heartworm so OF COURSE he's a bit more of a couch potato. I'd call him a pugchihoo. Even with all his lovliness, once the farting started from all those treats, it was time for a different sweetie to have some time in front with me.

Stress=deterioration (Same with dogs as humans)
Here in the shelter, because it is one of the most, if not THE most, stressful situation for a dog to be in, it can only mean they all deteriorate a portion every day. With constant arousal, little rest because of the constant arousal, toxic brain chemicals being produced as a result of the previous, a lacking in quantity of attention, routine, stability, consistantcy, space and even love, compared to living in a home they are stressed for the most part of their day. They will all deteriorate at different rates with different signs and severities but it is always happening. Believing that the more signs shown the more likely the animal is closer to suffering the goal is to watch for signs and work a little more with them to get them back to their Happy Place so as to be able to live comfortably here until their forever home comes along.
With That, in comes Dezaroo. What a Happy Happy Happy Happy girl she is. She for the most part a typical Labby. She LOVES people. in fact, here she is pretty stressed without them. She barks consistantly in her kennel unless someone is with her and only if she knows you are going to spend some time with her. Happily she chases and retrieves toys in the Recess Time yards but only if you are with her. She's a little...we'll say Rubenesque but when she sits with a paw up for treats you just can't help but give her one. It multitalented by scratching her back while getting a belly rub. Gotta childproof the place because she will clear a coffee table with her Happy Tail.
When it pertains to other dogs, here, ole girl is the Mae West of this place. This is her domain while she is here and no matter if you be a stud or a filly she will gladly put you in your place should she feel the need to. Just like when Black Bart came to town. Now, NOBODY liked Black Bart. There was just something about him. just a black herding x. He was quiet but a sort of creepy kind of quiet yet I, along with few others saw the other something in him and adored him, but all the dogs made it known he was not welcome. Well our Mae West Dezaroo got out just as I was walking Black Bart back to his bedroom. She came barreling right for him and showed him who's boss. She got him right by the tail and and a couple shots on the kiester but finally someone had to grab miss sniveling snarling white hot ball of canine terror by her tail to get her off poor Black Bart who probably would have pissed his chaps had he had any on. Even with her being in the middle of an extremely high arousal state she never turned to redirect her energy. I was quite proud of her for that. Like I said before, she's a people lover. Today she was instantly relieved to be up front. Found herself a chewie and settled down on her blankie for the majority of her time with us. Other than when one of us is going up to her and grabbing her head and kissing her and telling her how sweet or how loved she is. She is only happy in a quieter place here and with people.... any people. We will keep a watchful eye on her to make sure she's not getting worse.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back from hell

So my little love muffin Coolio a Che-hoo and pug mix with the most adorable under bite with 2 yellow fangs you have ever seen is back AGAIN! Returned the second time because he was to much of a couch potato and liked treats to much! All this coming from 2 overweight elderly people who don't believe in giving treats. You can tell as soon as you meet him that he is shy and mellow and is easily bribed with treats. He's the kind of pooch who lets you do anything to him. He leans his feace towards yours when giving him kisses and leans in when you are stroking his chin and the bridge of his nose all the while with his little tail tucked under. He's one of our sweet "Nervous Nellies"So my poor boy has gotten the shaft again. No worries, he gets my love until we find him the right home who will treat him like the prince he is.