Posts Tagged 'dogs'


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…

No Damage Done

I was eager to see if any damage had been done to Stella psychologically from that past Monday night when I walked the dogs in the neighborhood. Saturday was socialization class day and Stella is actually doing really well. Watching my girl go off on her own and check other dogs out from time to time – priceless! She is still not engaging in play but that’s okay. No damage had been done and that is all that had mattered.

Lena has become Scott’s helper. Miss Lena corrects dogs, how dogs should be corrected. A growl, a bark it’s actually very funny to watch young dogs get corrected for things like getting in personal doggie space with way too much energy. Watching dogs interact and learn is very fascinating and you can really spend hours watching all the intricate body language that goes on when it is on video. Yes, I do this from time to time because for me I find it that interesting.

We are waiting for the weather break so we can start getting busy with the new gardens. Can someone send me some 45 degree weather?

Spring is here….

Spring started off with a lovely party with friends, food and drinks. We could have not asked for a better start. Right now it’s about 30 degrees here and well I think spring is on hold for another week.

A little catching up – the house – not touched – nope – not one thing. I am struggling to find a reason why we should do anything more here. Our neighborhood looks for the most part like shit, a ghetto.

The neighbors next door think that our drive-way apron has an “enter” sign on it as they are driving up and across to their part of the side yard. I guess side yards and driveways are one in the same because it is trashed with tire tracks now. Lucky for us we have very big rocks that will be placed as landscaping material – cough, cough – to stop them from driving on our part of the side yard and trashing it. The neighbors across the street – silent! However, I have learned that when one neighbor starts to behave and get a clue – that someone else in the neighborhood must – there has be a “Ghetto Code of Ethics” somewhere written – pick up the slack. The award for ghetto-ness now goes to the next door neighbors.

I walked the dogs for the first time in a very long time around the neighborhood Monday night and imagine every part of your being just shaking because you are being stalked by 2 hoods and one dog. Not because I’m scared, no, because I am pissed off. Minutes prior to the run in with these two there was a group of 3 males and a dog on the opposite side my street that we passed. This was not a leisurely stroll with Fido, Fido didn’t even know how to walk on a lead. Most people do not walk their dogs here and for the few who do, you can painfully tell that they are not looking for (fill in the blank).

Back to the the disrespectful youths, they are now walking in the middle of the street, the one youth is telling his dog “get it” (meaning us) over and over which is causing the dog to get really amp-ed up. They were gaining on us and Lena is feeling the need to protect due to the out-of-control dog and Stella wants to run like hell and then thinks well I need to protect my human. Rage does not even begin to describe how I felt. I don’t think that there is a word for it. All I did was shake and try like hell not to pull on the leads. I have no tolerance for this. I have no tolerance for a couple wannabe hoods with a dog playing a game of intimidation. I have no tolerance for people who dishonor a certain type of dog breed and were doing it at that moment to me. I don’t think so little man-child!

I had to get control of this situation. I stopped and turned around, faced them, and confronted them. I stood my ground and waited for them to make a move. I know I was glaring at them because I don’t hide how I feel very well. I probably looked like a crazy lady to them, I’m okay with looking like a nut job when I need to. I was firm with my words and loud. I was hoping that some neighbors were watching. They made a wise decision and walked away. Yes, I always carry a cell phone with me for those who are wondering. I know I put myself and my dogs at risk. I realize that this could have gone a very different way. I will be damned if some disrespectful man-child thinks that intimidating people with a dog is a good idea and that this is a tool that they can use. I’m not easily intimated and I have zero tolerance these days. I continued our walk making sure I wasn’t being followed and headed for the main road. I’m not really sure if I did the right thing and yet I’m really not sure if there was anything else that could have been done. Socialization class is on Saturday, we will see if any damage has been done by this incident.

There is stuff going on in our neighborhood – again, what would appear to be normal to some is very much the opposite for us. I don’t like the vibe here, I don’t like it at all.

We will always out-last them I keep telling myself, we will always out-last them.

First Sunday of the Month

There is nothing like a pack walk on a Sunday morning with a lite snow and 10 other people with 11 dogs. I am still truly amazed that all these dogs are in various stages of rehab/training and their owners who like us, are willing to get up on a snowy Sunday morning to walk about 3 miles just because.

Happy dogs and people.

Happy Lena.

This is a happy Stella!

This why I love getting up at 6:30 on Sunday once a month and doing this one hour drive to a beautiful park. I am counting down the days till we all meet up again. Thank your Versatile K9 for making this happen.


I finally have my normal life back, it is raining and I don’t even care. I’m not sure when it all started – a couple months ago or so -I have actually lost track of time – we have been going through a conversion at work, big fun. These changes of the great computer software has led to much overtime, 6 day work weeks, going in early, staying late, working short handed and as of last Saturday – was really starting to suck. I’m down for change as long as everything goes smooth and the new system is faster than our current system. Well…… I now see that I have a better chance of getting a well done steak, 2 seconds flat in hell. Enough said!

I was so excited to get my life back that I went to the dentist today and liked it. The husband and I took the dogs for a walk prior to the storm coming in. I was able to get the dogs in for a nail trimming at the vet. It has been a great day. It does not take much to make me happy as you can see.

Since it has been such a happy day I will share with you my relationship with Stella.

I have been looking again for a trainer/behaviorist to correct this very unpleasant behavior that Stella has. Her need to protect me. “Dog, are you kidding?” She is extremely reactive and protective of me and the husband but I am the main problem. The reality is that she is actually very fearful of everything, insecure and really does not want to do this job of protecting but due to some events in her life she had chosen not to move on and we didn’t give her the opportunity to do so.

The husband and I had taken her to a trainer once before and as we found out years later “we” had only been encouraging the reactive behavior. People, never ever pet your dog when it’s being reactive – This DOES NOT CALM THEM DOWN it reinforces the behavior. Never, pet your dog when it is fearful, you only encourage the fearful mindset. The husband and I figured that out years ago with Lena’s issues around fireworks and storms. Lena’s fear today is about 97% better than she was before. We should have applied the same principle to Stella but didn’t. Why, because we became very protective of her and were looking for a different way to correct this now baggage carrying dogs behavior. We screwed up.

My mom had been telling me about a certain behaviorist who has philosophies that the husband and I both agree with and understand. I purchased and read everything I could get my hands on. I was still having issues with her wanting to walk in front of me. That behavior drives me crazy because if I need to protect my dogs from other dogs while walking I need to put them behind me. I knew I was doing something very wrong because she did not get the communication I was sending to her that I wanted her by my side and not in front.

I went through the walking drills/boot camp with corrections etc and she still wanted to be out front and can we talk about soooo not paying attention to me. Well, I finally found the “how to” I was looking for. Placing the collar higher on her very strong neck and only giving her a couple inches of slack we finally had communication. Walking her last night and today, even with the husband present, was a complete 180 from 2 days ago. I also really waited out the dogs excitement today prior to the walk, which also mad a difference. The dogs are simply waited out until they calm down before I do anything with them, no excitement. They have to be calm.

So why is all of this so important, it is what you get in return. I said I took the dogs to vet today, well for the 1st time Stella did not bark/growl at other dogs and people. What was really amazing is that she let “A Man” pet her “A Stranger”. This is huge progress for her. She liked him, this guy had good energy and brought a positive experience to the table that she really needs. He approached her from the side and was not in her face. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve have witnessed, our dog being a dog at the vet of all places. For me this was the cherry on the whip cream when after their clipping, while I was paying the bill, these dogs just sat and waited for me to finish. The Tech could not believe they were not pulling me out the door. Stella even allowed the Tech to pet her – the bad people who cut her nails. I explained that we had been working on the “wait” command. I simply told them to “sit” and “wait” when they started pulling for the door and they did it. Holy Shit!

What a beautiful day!

Uncrossed Fingers – NO C-word.

The little girl is cancer FREE. The tumor is benign. The type of tumor she has could possibly come back but this type almost never turns malignant. Now we have to figure to out how not to allow it to come back.

Thank you everyone for all the positive energy and prayers. I realize that she is a dog, our family member, but after last year and this year no more deaths from cancer. I would like to go through at least 6 months without cancer killing a human or an animal. A simple request, no?

January 2019
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