Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Friends and a long termer gets a pardon

Since our big beeeyutiful Pitty Boon hasn't had many dog to dog interactions I figured it was time to have him meet our little psycho pogo stick Coopie. They have been going to play yards that are next to one another and I have noticed Boon enjoying running back and forth in the yard along the fence with Coopie. Coopie wasn't trying to weasle his little nose through the fence to bite Boon so I saw that as a positive sign. No no Coopie is really not a bad dog he's just a high strung mess of a mix (Italian Greyhound and Terrier).

Coopie's brother got adopted so he no longer had a play buddy and he is in true need of one. The problem is that Coopie is kinda leash reactive which means some aggression is triggered in him when he is restrained on leash and around other dogs. Yes since we have to go the safest route we can't just throw them in a yard together and hope for the best which does make it a bit more challenging. We did have some things going for us that helped. Coopie is easily distracted with treats and we can use those to keep him calm as he is approaching Boon. Secondly Boon is a big wuss and I say that in the best most positive way. :) He is a Pitty and he is the most sweet and submissive dog (poor thing gets picked on by all of the other kids)so I wasn't to concerned about Boon's reaction to Coopie. We walked them together a bit and then went down to a play yard. We usually keep their walking gear on for a bit to see how their play will be. All was good with the play bows and running together until we tried to remove their gear so they could play better. As Coopie was getting his gear taken off Boon came over to play and Coopie felt the tug of being pulled back to get the harness off and he just lost it. I liken it to maybe a psychotic break or a Dr. Jeykel and Mr. Hyde. Coopie turned into a sniveling snarling white hot ball of canine terror. He was on top of Boon and was snarling and had poor Boon rolling on the ground and on his back. It looked like a pirana on a wounded guppy. It took us maybe 10 seconds to scramble and get them apart. Whew, it was all just talk and marks on our little Boon. So since there was no injury, Boon is not the type to fight back and we know Coopie's issue, we allowed play again but just let leashes drag. Boon is a soft hearted boy and Coopie thought he would make it known he felt he was the top dog ...(oh he tried to mount Boon once)and Boon was happy to let him be and Coopie was happy to have another brother he could play with. We cut it short to make sure it ended on a good note and hopefully they will have another supervised play date took alot out of us after that little tussle of theirs and I wouldn't trust just anyone putting them together because Coopie is a tough one. To smart and to high energy..that is not a great combo in the shelter world.

Coopie is as I mentioned before, a pogo stick. There are little ledges all along the walls of each kennel that are probably about 2-3 inches wide and are about 4-4 1/2' up. We started seeing Coopie up on the ledge with his head sticking out of the kennel! I was amazed that he would be able to leap that high. Well our little jumping bean isn't actually jumping all the way up there. What he does is jumps up, wedges his head in between the gate door and gate wall as a lever to hold himself up and then shimmies his legs the rest of the way to the ledge. We even had to wire tie little crate doors across the small opening so he wouldn't squeeze out. I think if this little fella had an IQ test we would find he's not just above average intelligence but a genius, which is probably why he is such a nut in the shelter. A sweet nut but still a nut. Given the proper outlets and stable home I feel he will be an excellent companion.

Boobahla my lioness long termer has FINALLY gotten her home. A lovely fella had been coming to see her and had several showings with her. He was very patient with her dead stopping and deciding she was not walking any further which she has done many times with different people. We would walk with him leading the way with another dog. He would come visit her again and there would be a new she had giardia (a treatable intestinal parasite) and was on special food. The next time it was that she was now eating her own poop. I told him that it could be because of the supplements we have been putting in her food or that because she has been her so long it could just be a sign of stress and that it may subside when she gets into a stable home but to watch her around her poop. I'm suprised it didn't send him running for the hills but he made light of it. He kept coming to visit her while he was waiting for his room mate and the other dog to be able to meet Boobahla. He worked on her jumping in the kennel and really fell in love with her. The day came when the room mate and dog could come for a meet and greet. I didn't do the intro so I awaited the news with baited breath. I saw him at the front counter and asked him how it went and he held up his hand for a high five. YES! the other dog corrected her and she listened woo hoo! (I was worried she would try and tear his ears off like her and Coraline do to each other). He had to go on one last trip over the weekend so will be taking our girl home on Monday. One down 3 to go as far as long termers go.
We'll see who we can home next. We will be getting about 10 newbies on Monday also. Can't wait to see what we get.
Thanks for tuning in

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day of Puppies and Bunnies

We had a Valentine's event this past weekend...we're slashing prices and everything must go go go! <---true but it's not as easy as selling used cars. Of course we had three of THEE cutest little fuzzy black tuxedoed 3 1/2 month old big balls of squishy love. Now when I say little I really mean Baby Huey little. These puppies are the way you dream all puppies will be. They are mellow and sweet and not crazy hyper yet are playful and not squirmy worms in your arms. They don't bellow out the high pitched ear bleeding scream and bark like some. More like a low whine at times. Hmm maybe they have parvo. J/K. They are just that good. One can forget what a good puppy is really like when we have recently had several little boogers in a row. Not "bad" dogs per say, just....boogers. Ones in need of some SERIOUS structure, discipline and mental stimulation.(Not to forget about patience and love being the engine and caboose to that train.) Just puppies who were little smarty pants' and/or fearful toughies who very well may bite you should the proper circumstances arise, or those who wanted to pick fights with the other dogs or were in just plain need of maybe some Ritalin.
These puppies were even so smart as to go on their potty pads. Ok it was only once and the rest of the time they would poop right in fron of their door and step all in it and then jump up on the door and try to jump on you because thy are just so hyper and happy to see you first thing in the morning! All I want to do at that time is grab them as quickly as possible so as to keep them from slapping those poopy paws anywhere on my body and getting me all full of smelly foulness before the day has even begun. I usually try to make it through to after they have all gotten out for their morning breaks but then again they are the biggest causers of poop getting all over me. Them, and when the poop they have somehow burried UNDER their covers flies out when you are fluffing their beds and hits you in the leg.
Two of them got adopted by really good people who you hope are as ready for a baby as they feel they are. (and oh yes it is a "baby") A crying, chewing, peeing and pooping machine who's self relaince and learning capacity will only reach to about a 2yr old's (with ADD). Willing to feed them, potty them, keep them somehow entertained (hey not all two year olds play well by themselves right? ) clean up after them, keep them from running into the street or wandering off with strangers.
Hoping they understand there will always be the occasion of having to wipe their dirty butts, clean their vomit off the couch,(and your bed and the floor and your get the point) pick up after the things they chewed up and then spit out, give them the "it’s been way to long and you are just too smelly" bath they hate and forever remind them what is appropriate.
Wait a minute! (I thought I didn't want kids so how did I wind up with them!?) There is only the boy left and of course he’s the biggest and we estimate them all to be round 60-70 pounds. Big babies!

We have had a good run on rabbit adoptions recently. They can come in waves it seems. No rabbit showings for weeks or adoptions for months and then BAM one day a rabbit gets adopted a week later another, a day later one of the pairs of rabbits are adopted. Now thankfully rabbits seem to do fairly well in the shelter except for when they get “cage aggressive”. Oh lordy let me tell you I would rather take my chances with a growly dog than a feisty “get yer damn dirty ape hands out of my cage” rabbit.
Somehow these little beasts are given carte blanche when it comes to biting. Now a dog that bites over something ferociously or repeatedly or unpredictably may very well be considered for the green mile But Rabbits they get to charge you, kick at you and even bite you (with a lock jaw clamp that makes you almost pull them out of the cage when pulling your hand back in pain because the little teeth grinder wouldn’t let go) with no repercussions at all. Don’t tell me those bites don’t hurt! The good thing about rabbits is the more people are with them and handling them they become nicer. Kinda like hey just keep snuggling that badger and he’ll get friendlier. In my three + years working with the animals I have received the most bites that broke skin from those wascally wabbits! Crazy how I still love em and am happy when they get into a good home.
More on the hounds later.
Be kind to your pets

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Not Such A Bad Place ?or is it?

So as I briefly mentioned last post, we had a boy named Jokester. Our sweet Border Collie got a home and was scheduled to be returned since our little fella seemed to have some seperation anxiety. Now seperation anxiety isn't little fido or fifi going poop in your shoes or just barking through the day or even deciding to TP the inside of your house (that's just them having some fun.:)) Seperation anxiety is more towards breaking through the glass window or jumping off the 2nd story balcony or eating half the door jam trying to get out of the house to (most likely) find you or SOMEONE. [thankfully my girl just runs away when a door is left glass breaking or door chewing so far]

Jokester seemed to be tearing the house apart when mom & dad left even for an hour. We had set up our boys room for his return and my concerns of course immediately ran amuck wondering how long it would take for someone to be able to work with his issue! The day came when Jokester was to come in and lo and behold the people loved him so much they took off work and decided to work with him on his anxiety and are letting him have more free reign in the house and leaving him for brief intervals to get him used to being alone. They let us know he is getting better. Those are the kind of pet owners one hopes all our kids get.

I came up with an idea long ago that I dubbed Special Needs Animals. These are dogs (and sometimes cats)that have either been here a long time and/or are those who are showing some signs of needing more. More of something, everything. More exercise, more rest, more mental stimulation, more companionship/quiet time. They DO get all these things at the shelter..but not always enough. Often, just getting their basic needs taken care of like clean housing and bedding, food, medicine, potty time out in a play yard and getting them introduced to potential adopters, is all we have time for in the day. The special needs animals are to have some one on one time with a staff member everyday. I usually get 25-30 min of solid play time or quiet time or even obstacle course time with at least one of them...on a good day I'll do 2 special needs animals and still get to sit with a couple others for 10-15 min. Those days are my favorites.

Our 3 girls Coraline, Boobahla, and Lady, along with the lovely, sweet, thick, busty, white with a batman mask, ball of rolling thunder (that's labled an Am. Bulldog but is in my view just a beautiful bully mutt) named Cheekaleeka are all on the Special Needs list, as is the ASP Pitty Boon whom Boobahla beats the crap out of. Each of these kids have started to show obvious stress signs.

Coraline our Husy has her girlfriend Boobala and they always play together since they both need a serious expenditure of energy and that is the best tool we have..other dogs. One day we decided to give them a really big yard....not quite remembering that Coraline has jumped fences. Well Boobahla this day was apparently not enough entertainment to keep Coraline around. I guess all the pulling on the ears wasn't as enjoyable as jumping the fence and taking off to siff out a squirrel, a gopher, the countryside, or the oceanside for that matter. Everyone was distraught once we realized our girl had gone AWOL and we had people out driving around looking for her and creating posters to make sure people would know where she belongs. Unfortunately we couldn't find her and all we could do is wait. Well a Husky likes to roam and explore so who knows how far she went but she was a mess when she was found HANGING AROUND IN FRONT OF THE SHELTER the next morning! How happy we all were to know she came back to us as if we were "home" and she was saying "I'm done playing now, can I have breakfast"? Our girl got to hang out up front that day which I thought was an odd reprimand for running away :) and she was zonked out all day. Silly beast. She has started some whining and a little over aroused nipping and has started to shred some of her bedding again. She gets exercise and campanionship/quiet time.

Boobahla is still jumpy and crazy and has gotten a little to rough at times with Coraline. She gets lots of quiet/companion time. She's now got some belly issues and currently there seems to be no medical problem so it could be stress. She's been with us to long..she needs her forever home soon. My sweet lioness.

Lady has been going up front to stay with the front office gang since she does so well up there. She settles right down onto her blanket and plays with her toys and is well behaved and not barking at kids and other dogs and often is snoozing away right next to the filing cabinet. She is doing pretty well compared to the increasing signs of stress from the others.

My Boon, whom I ADORE (I'm a pitty lover)is starting to jump much more and try a lot of muzzle punching which is when a dog jumps up to pop you in the eye or mouth or anywhere else they can get to on your face. Trust me Boon may not be tall but ole boy's got enough muscle in that butt and legs of his that he can easily reach the nose on my 5'8" frame. I swear he's got the jumping power of a flea! He's gets relax time and more play time.

Then there is my Cheekaleeka who has been with us awhile and though she is hanging in there pretty well she has a tendancy to look depressed when she's not with someone. When she is with you she hops up and down with her back legs on the ground. She reminds me of one of those souped up cars that can bounce. That's what she looks like when you enter her kennel. She gets soooo excited and will kiss you all over and chase her toys and chew on her rawhides. She does none of those things when alone. If not interacted with, she just stands at her kennel with this blank look on her face and none of theat bubbly personality shows through. You want to make everyone see just how funny and lovable she is when she's not just staring at you with this stoic look on her face through the gate. She gets mostly lovins/campanion time.

I think we may have a couple more to add to special needs as we've noticed one of our IT Greyhound mix gettting much more dog reactive and he is trying his best to jump up and pop you in the face and grab his leash in his mouth and jump up and pop you in the face and oh did I mention he tries to jump up and pop you in the face? He needs it, exercise, mental stimulation... OY my poor Coopy..he's a pistol.

It's an interesting dynamic here at the shelter. On one hand you Watch some dogs come out of their shell here and blossom and that keeps one feeling good but when you see the reverse, where they started out here happy and fairly well behaved then after so much time they start to stress, and stress, and stress. It makes me think of a drip on a rock. The drip doesn't look like it's wearing away at the rock because it's just a drip but after months of drips that rock has been worn away.
We have had dogs who actually didn't want to leave. We've had dogs that leave and come back..even voluntarily. We've had dogs change in ways that were disheartening to us and difficult to witness. Within the life of a shelter dog maybe there was once a thought "this ain't such a bad place" but when compared to a real home a pooch may coem bacj and say "isn't it?" There's the good and bad, black and white to all of life, it's the grey I have a hard time with.
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More on the others later
Be kind to your animals
Thanks for reading