Monday, June 30, 2008

Update on Starbuck (aka Gesso)

Starbuck is doing great! She's training really well. She loves loves loves going to the park everyday and playing with other dogs. She's learning to control her excitement on walks when we come across another dog or someone she wants to say hello to. She's just perfect and happy!

I've started giving her Claritin for her allergies as per the doctor's suggestion and it's working really well for her-- no more scratching (I thought she had fleas for a while!), her eyes are less red and she has no more rash on her belly.

She's really a perfect fit for me, everyone says she's just like her mom!

I'm taking her to the the wine country this weekend for swimming and training (my friend who lives there has a dog and is a great trainer and teacher). Will keep you posted--

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Poe: Lap Dog Extraordinaire

As you can imagine, capturing a good picture of a pooch can be quite a challenge. Shelter dogs in particular are abuzz with interest in the world around them when out on their walks. The last thing they want to do is stand still for a photo opportunity! It's next to impossible to capture an appealing photo when the photographer is also the leash holder. I can assure you of that!

And then there's Poe. This funny pooch loves to sit in the park, preferably on your lap so he can be pet and give you doggie kisses in return. Good boy. When I had him out today I kept waiting for someone to walk by so I could ask them to take a photo of me with my 60-lb lap dog. Finally, I decided I'd have to do it myself and so I held the camera out in front of us and snapped away. Behold the many faces of Poe from a very close-up position!

At one point, Poe watched a family walk by with a very large dog but Poe wasn't going anywhere... He was clearly too comfortable lounging in my lap in the sun. It's a true pleasure to see a shelter dog so relaxed if only for a brief time while he is free of the shelter.

One the way back, Poe dragged a bit, clearly relishing his time outdoors and not wanting to go back inside to the cement kennel. However, he continued along with some words of encouragement and we managed a short little jog at the end. Poe has been at the shelter since January now and it really is his turn to exit the shelter for good. He has the makings of an affectionate and loyal companion. Let's hope he finds the peace and love in a new home that he deserves sometime soon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kali Update (aka Trixie)

Received word from Kali's new mom:

Kali is doing well, we are still trying to break the food aggression but she is doing a lot better. Please pass these pictures on to her extended family and we will be seeing you soon.

She is really a sweet girl, she and Moose really enjoy playing together. They are so funny running through the house like banchies and playing tug-a-war.

Kali loves going in the car now-- you ask if she wants to go with Mama and she is at the car door waiting to jump in, She loves the water and when she gets to a creek she is in it before you can stop her. Love them dirty dogs, there is nothing that makes them happier than the water and dirt bath. (ha-ha).

Thank you all again for all the love that you provided her, she is another little angel in our family

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Melvin and his latest fanclub members

I stopped by the shelter today to do the review walk of two new pooches who arrived at the shelter together last week. These pit mix girls, Ellie & Pearl are real sweeties! Ellie in particular offers lots of kisses and is quite submissive; she rolls over on her back a lot. Pearl, with the black and white coloring, is a bit more nervous about her surroundings still. She barked at the fire hydrant and the doggie carved into the stone bench. She also appears to be the more "alpha" of the two pooches. However, she's more than happy to share some love with you. Neither girlie wanted to walk very far but definitely blossomed and became more comfortable when they were around each other.

We were hanging out in front of the shelter when ACO Melvin stopped by to say "hi" to us. Well, these two dogs were all over him with kisses and affection. I was impressed that they were so immediately friendly and excited to see him. No doubt it's due to his charms (Hi Melvin) but it probably didn't hurt that the had taken the girls out to the back play area earlier in the day to romp around. They clearly appreciated it!

Stop by to meet the sisters. They really are unusually sweet.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Malik Sighting

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Montclair Pet Fair in Oakland. I had the pleasure of sharing a booth with Donna Reynolds of BADRAP and her therapy-pit, Honky Tonk. Honky Tonk and I were holding down the fort, while Donna made a coffee run, when we saw a family with a lovely blue pittie coming our way. They stopped at our booth and humans and doggies all commenced chatting/sniffing when I heard someone call the blue dog Malik. Malik?!? That's our Malik AGAIN! I mentioned that he had already appeared in our dog blog, and his person said, "Our dog is more popular than we are. But we're getting used to it!" Apparently they make a point of taking him out in public with the kids so everyone can see how great they are together -- I wish I'd had my camera. Thanks again to everyone (shelter staff and volunteers, rescue folks, trainers, and adopters) who help Malik go from misery to stardom.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shadow is a happy, silly, prancing pooch

Shadow had a busy Sunday. He had an active morning play session with Chiona in the dog run, training walk with Chuck in the park to work on his leash reactivity and finally a photo session with Helena and me just before the shelter closed. It was a good day for our boy Shadow. He's going to need a social secretary if this keeps up (or better yet a home)!

Bouncy Shines

Dear Bouncy was the subject of a special photo shoot by a guest photographer, my friend Helena. She is a 19-year old visitor from Europe who is acting as au pair to my sister's twins. I've noticed that she has a great eye and timing when she takes pictures. The twins' every moment have been documented beyond belief. Okay, when I was a baby my parents took slides(!). Remember those? Anyway, I asked her to direct some of her artistic talents towards snapping some shelter dogs. Bouncy went first. He's a sweet, sweet boy who deserves some extra attention. This is what it looked like as we hung out in front of the shelter today.

Chiona aka "Bat Girl"

She's the cutest little crime fighter at the shelter!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

We love you Bo

Black dogs never look dirty



Yes, there's a compelling practical reason to adopt a black shelter pooch: their coats hide dirt better! As you may already be aware, black shelter dogs are less likely to be adopted. It's sad but true. There's no one simple explanation for why this might be. Is it superstition? Do they look more menacing? Too ordinary? Whatever the case, a dark colored dog is going to wait longer to find a home. Bark Magazine did a nice article on this black dog dilemma.

We seem to have an unusually high number of black (or dark chocolate colored) pooches at the shelter right now. Even worse, several of them are pit bulls which adds up to two strikes: color and breed. Alas. These dogs are just as loyal and loving as any other color of dog.

In addition:
-- Black dogs are easy to find in the snow.
-- Black is a formal, elegant, and prestigious color!
-- Black goes with everything so you and your dog will never clash.
-- Black is made up of every color in the spectrum not just one!

Another challenge is that it's often hard to get good photographs of black dogs to display on the web. Their features aren't as visible so adopters are less likely to find them appealing. Here's a picture roundup of our current shelter crew. Let's hope some folks will "do the right thing" and give these sweet doggies a second look.


Monday, June 16, 2008

A Surprise Encounter

I was at my local dog gathering area last night with Monkey and another dog, and a guy comes up to the gate with his black pittie and said that his dog plays pretty rough, can my dog handle it? I said, sure thing. So, he let him go and the two of them went at it, playing as hard and as rough as two pittie boys can. The dog was well-behaved and friendly, with a slight awkwardness that was sweetly endearing. Then his person, David called his name: DJANGO! I said, Django!?!?! There can only be one, I thought. Where did you get him? I asked. Home at Last, he replied. BUTCHIE!!! I shouted with glee. All I could think about was that precious boy who came into the shelter an adolescent and grew up into an adult while in a cage. I remembered him sucking on the links of the kennel, as he started to become a little kennel crazy toward the end of his stay before HAL rescued him.

Now, Django is with David, a very nice man who absolutely adores him, and our 'Butchie' has grown up into a goofy, lovable adult who plays hard, but respects boundaries-- never once did their play verge on fighting. Thank you Alan C. and everyone who loved Butchie while he was at the shelter; thank you Kate for holding on to him as long as you did; and thank you HAL for rescuing him when he was nearing a point of no return. I know it wasn't easy placing him for I believe he had two fosters before he found his forever home- but obviously your persistence paid off.

Butchie/Django's shelter pictures upon first arriving:

The young pooch looks understandably apprehensive. All's well that ends well.

Isaac and Ivy Step Out

I was keen to do another play session with Isaac since he's such a lovable lunk. In the previous doggie play fest he had come on a bit strong with hormones raging. However, the neutering has done wonders for him I'm pleased to report. Steve and I opted to try him with Ivy mainly because all the other female candidates had been out on a walk already.

Ivy is very bouncy and barky and she likes to dash madly around the dog run. Isaac wasn't quite sure what to make of her squeals and antics. He was keen to engage more with Steve than the crazy shepherd girl. We were a bit wary of dropping the leashes because we weren't sure how Isaac would respond. However, once we gave them free rein they were fine together. Unfortunately we had to cut the play short because the water pails were empty. Isaac kept licking the empty bucket.

So, we took them to the shelter, gave them some water and then proceeded on a walk. It was fun to see this unlikely pair trotting companionably next to each other. Steve says Isaac is very easy to manage and he's eager to please. Good boy!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Elderly dog rescued from shelter

It is always particularly wrenching when an elderly dog is either dumped at the shelter or shows up as a stray. We want to believe that every dog is beloved and will live out their final years in the comfort of a home. Perhaps it's also unsettling because we know that one day when we reach an advanced age that our circumstances could change for the worse.

Whatever the case, we are so grateful that Raven, a sweet, small Rottweiler mix who showed up last November, was able to move onto a much better situation. He had previously been picked up by an animal control officer and returned to his home. This time the owner was unwilling to bail him out. Raven is 16 years old.

Fortunately, Rottie Angel Rescue agreed to rescue Raven and ensure that he is loved and cared for until the end. We cannot thank them enough. Raven stopped by this past Friday and we snapped these pictures in the lobby. We wish all senior dogs were this lucky!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Natasha: A Dog in Need Found a Home

Natasha, now "Tasha" was a long-term resident at the shelter. As the months went by she became more and more reluctant to leave her cement kennel. When volunteers walked by her cage she would bark excitedly as if she wanted to get out. However, once she was leashed up and outside she would stop walking after only a block and want to retreat back to the kennel. No amount of coaxing would convince her to continue. Resigned, volunteers would return her to the kennel rather than stressing her out further. It was painful to see a dog with such a bad case of agoraphobia. It came time to consider putting an end to her suffering... Volunteers decided to do one last push to try to find Natasha a foster or forever home so that she could have a chance to recover and discover life anew. An appeal went out on all the websites and Craig's list ads were posted. People called in wanting to find out more, offering money to help her plight. And then, a woman knowing Natasha was in need, drove up from the Southbay to meet her. Natasha went home with her new mom Robin that night. Volunteers and staff were thrilled.

According to to Robin, "Tasha’s tail never stops wagging." What more could we ask for?

Otis: From shelter dog to artist's muse

Otis is one of those dropdead gorgeous dogs -- the "Angeline Jolie of dogs" as someone said. However, he had a bit of an "eyeore-ish" quality about him during his stay at the shelter. He never really showed much happy doggie energy and was clearly having a really hard time being in the shelter. Indeed, as time progressed volunteers worried that Otis wasn't going to make it out at all. He was starting to act up in the kennel and things weren't looking good. A volunteer was taking Otis to the BADRAP training class each week where he did quite well. So, the volunteer was dismayed to hear that Otis's number might be up.

And then... along came a home. Happy Days. Otis is now living with a nice young couple and his new brother Cisco. During the follow-up call to check on Otis we heard from his new mom that "when he was getting his first teeth cleaning at the vet, the vet noticed that his lower canine was partially broken off and that the nerves under it were all exposed. So all this time, he has been in excruciating pain (that's how the vet described it and my heart puckered.) But it was not a problem and Otis went through surgery that day and got that all fixed. And his disposition changed dramatically and is a lot happier now!"

Hallejulah. It's music to our ears to hear such good news. In addition, Otis has a new job as model for his mom's artistic explorations. Check out some of her work presented here.