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.

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