Archive for the 'fostering' Category

Relaxed

This is my favorite photo of Darby so far.

We had just finished a 3.5 mile walk with 30 some other dogs and countless people. I think he almost cracked a smile. His expression is just priceless.

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Progress…..may….be!

It has been over 6 weeks…

When I think of his 1st week with us, well, over his 1st week I just shudder. It wasn’t easy, he was not easy. That my friends is okay because we LOVE a challenge.

We went from that sound of a hungry, protesting, spoiled dog to this….

progress….dare I say it. This is meal time now. 6 weeks ago he would have been crazy boy….today he is learning to wait.

I figure I should give you a real photo or two of this boy showing his very lovely self.
Just before going for a walk.

Chilling out.

I am still waiting for a smile, that is all I am waiting for. I guess for me that is the most important thing…a happy dog. Time, it is just a matter of time. When it happens I will share it, lets all cross our fingers.

For laughs….Dexter the cat is willing to share Darby’s bed with him…I guess it goes to show that the cat doesn’t care that this is a Pit Bull type dog. Dexter just like his bed and for the moment he willing to call a truce.

After this photo Darby went and sat on Dexter….I guess Darby just wanted his bed to himself.

For those who are wondering….Yes, we watch every single interaction among the animals. That bed is in a X-pen…the resident cats and resident dogs cannot get into it when the door is closed. We are 1st hand safety people here, any funny business is nipped in the bud asap. The husband and I spend a whole bunch of time monitoring the animals interactions with one another.

It is late and 6:00 am comes early….pack walk with 19+ other people in the morning and I cannot wait to see just how many dogs. We could be close to 35 or 40.

Then there was Three.

Sorry this is long but as of late my hands have been very full.

A long time ago I had a pipe dream.  What if, someday, I could get Miss Stella to pass CGC.  This would be the same dog that one year ago I sat down with Scott from Versatile K9 and asked for help.  A friend of the husband and I – who we do pack walks with every Sunday morning finishing with breakfast, complete with Bloody Mary’s – sent us an e-mail and asked if we wanted to enter the dogs in CGC classes.  Connie told me flat out – let my dogs prove me wrong.  She knows Miss Stella and she knows that Miss Stella can get scared in the company of strangers.  The test as I read had one part which you leave your dog and walk out of the room.  I thought no way she will be able to handle this.  So I wrote Kaethe of Versatile and asked for her honest opinion about doing this CGC thang.  Practice, let this be practice for Stella, Kaethe stated.  So I took a leap and Miss Stella went back to school with 20 other dogs.  OMG!!!!

I didn’t blog about the experience – but should have.  Miss stella can do the walk like nobody’s business – but other stuff like feet being touched, brushing, petting, leave me in a room with all these dogs and people – are you joking lady?  I know this is what she was thinking when we started.

The week of Thanksgiving we also started fostering this guy – Darby.

He is a dog with a huge personality – being a rock star and all – so he thought.  One day his contract was up because he didn’t have a the fan base and was banished from his posh pad.  Life has been very interesting of late and there has been no time for anything.  If you are wondering if this is the same dog I talked about before that we were considering adopting…yes!   We are currently fostering him for many reasons and until we see a change in the pack dynamics we won’t be his forever home.   There are many great dogs in need of forever homes and the way we feel is that it must be a match for us, however he can rest his head here for as long as needed.

Now the interesting thing is that Darby was also in CGC class with Miss Stella.  When we began to foster him we realized we had 2 dogs with different sets of issues that needed work.  Stella and her trusting skills and Darby with basic manners – okay, at least 7 out of 10 to fix in a very short period of time.  Darby not only had just lost his rock star status but he also had to work for every single thing – like going outside to use the restroom.  Nothing, and we mean nothing, in this pups life was for free any longer.

Poor Darby. Life was sucking big time and trust me he let us know how much it sucked.  This too shall pass we said over and over, during our Thanksgiving dinner.

So there has been a lot of training.  Miss Stella and setting her up with success and having big fun in a room full of people and dogs.  Mr. Darby  learning that mouthing the human is a huge no, no.  I should mention that we cut off the treats – and that affection was now his only reward.  This dog was way too focused on food and us missing some fingers was not part of the deal.   There will be more about that topic at a later time.  Trust me, it was the best thing for him.

Did they pass?  Eight days into Darby’s stay, on CGC night I had 2 dogs to transport and keep separate.   I was driving the dogs to class using the husband car and not my Jeep.  I had to feed dogs, load dogs one by one and I was late getting out of work.  I walked into the boy screaming his fool head off for dinner.  The Bean barking her fool head off.  Miss Stella thought it would be a great idea to join in.   The excitement level in the house was on turbo.  I lost it.  I screamed at my dogs, threw a dog harness on the floor and completely flipped a script.  By the way, did I mention this was day number eight of the boy screaming.  Those who know this breed know what sound I am talking about – there is nothing about that sound which is pleasing to the ears.

Miss Stella at class that night failed the practice run of the separation part.  She failed it.  It was my fault.  I allowed my energy to effect her instead of taking a couple hundred deep breaths before I turned the handle on the door of the house.  It was my fault and nobody else.  We did a practice a couple weeks prior and she did fine and that is how I knew I screwed up big time.  I didn’t know if I would be able to get her back in a state of calmness within 7 days.  The boy, well not a whole bunch affects him except rain, but he still had major work to do.  Seven days.  Can we pull this off in 7 days?

The next night I sat in my car for 5 minutes prior to turning the key.  I needed to prepare myself for the screaming of the Darby.  The barking of the Bean and would Miss Stella join in?  Who knew?  When I got home only a couple barks from Bean and a whimper from the D-man.  Interesting I thought.  Dogs went out, came in and now feeding time.  All was very quiet.  Interesting I thought.  The house was silent.  Was this a set up I thought.  I waited and there was nothing.  We had finally turned a corner.  Our home was at peace again.

Yes both dogs passed and with Darby it took a small army of people over a course of time to teach him “sit” and “the down”.  We finished with the rest.  We taught him how to properly walk on the lead. Come when called. Brushing is not going to kill you.  You will not mouth a human if they touch your feet.  Stay in place.

My Miss Stella was awesome and I am so proud of her that she trusted me enough to leave her in a room with a stranger.

Fast forward….six weeks later.

Darby is a legend in his own mind – he still thinks he is a rock star – but because he loves attention we use it to our full advantage.  He loves the human.  He will follow us everywhere.  He likes to be in the mix with the other dogs but we have learned that he needs some work on dog manners.  Not his fault –  it’s the people who originally raised him.  These are the behaviors we watch for.  The best thing so far that we have learned about him is that he is great at migrating on pack walks – no joke.  The other thing this he has one hell of a nose. I already have him playing “find it”.

1st time with a back pack

I’m not sure what he thinks about Dexter the cat because kitty boy stares at him, claims his bed and we think is basically screwing with him. See…

The Ashie has finally come down from our bedroom this week and ventured around the house with him out of the x-pen.  Our animals tell us what state of mind this guy is in.  It has taught us to pay attention to small details of their interactions or lack of interaction.  Like I said, this has been very educational for us.

Fostering this guy has been very educational.  Darby is a very different kind of dog.  That is not bad he is just different.  I keep waiting for that smile.  I would like for him to relax and just be a dog.  We see this from time to time, not often, but we now know that it is there and he just needs time.

Time we can give him…


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