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 it...it 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 him...in 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.