Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hey Bebe!


My Bebe has truly come so far since she came to the shelter mid January. She has blossomed into a joyful, infinitely loving, incredibly sweet and perfectly wonderful dog.

When I first met Bebe, I had low expectations for her improvement at the shelter. After all, she had been living as a stray near the Berkeley Marina for some time and was so fearful of people that it took a week for animal control officers to catch her!

Frightened and confused, Bebe barked defensively at anyone that tried to approach her. I wanted to bond with her, but how could I when she wouldn't even let me near her? With a few short visits every day (with either some natural balance treats or a small bowl of wet food), Bebe eventually "granted me permission" to enter her kennel. I rested her kuranda bed against the wall and spread a blanket out on the floor, for I was preparing to be there for a while.

She avoided me at first - staying on the outside of the kennel, practically clinging to the kennel door for dear life. 5 minutes went by and there she remained. 10 minutes went by until she felt relaxed enough to lie down. Another 5 minutes and she had slowly inched towards the center of the kennel. With each additional minute, Bebe crawled on her belly toward me until she finally reached the promise land: a lap to lay her head upon.

Bebe looked up at me with her expressive face, heaved a sigh, and took a nap.

For the following week we had a routine: getting reacquainted in the kennel, walking into the laundry room and becoming familiarized with all of the noises and smells, walking up into the bath tub (but only for a few moments!), and finally walking outside to sit in front of the shelter in the sun. By the end of that week - I gave Bebe her first bath and she felt brave enough to go for her first real walk.

Of course, a few days of real walks and we find out she's in heat! Back into the kennel she went where she was forced to endure boring kennel visits and no sunshine. :(

But with each day Bebe became less frightened, less shy, and more relaxed and confident. More volunteers began to visit with her, too (thanks you guys!), and now Bebe is a "yellow dot" volunteer favorite, I think. So easy to walk and such a pleasure to spend time with.

It has been a few weeks since I last walked Bebe (I was away for a couple of weeks!), but today I finally had the chance before someone else got to her. :) It felt so nice to have Bebe back in my arms, for I did miss her.

I hope this fabulous dog finds a family that will cherish her for the wonderful gem of a dog she is.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We got baths!

One of the side effects of walking dogs for 6 plus miles in one day is sore feet! When this happens I take to the tub - the doggy tub that is.

10 dogs in 2 hours = Prune-like fingers, really wet pants and shoes,
and lots of water spots on my glasses. :)

P.S. -- Never give Miss Jelly Bean a bath!

March's Volunteer of the Month


When I'm Not Volunteering at the Shelter

I work at Nolo, writing and editing books and pieces for their website. In a previous life, I was the type of lawyer who has to wear a suit and not bring my dog to work, but that's all behind me now. I really enjoy rock climbing, so I'm often at one of the local rock climbing gyms, Indian Rock, etc. I've got other hobbies, but since I started walking dogs at the shelter, that's mostly how I want to spend my free time. It's addictive.

Why I Initially Volunteered

I have always had and loved dogs, particularly my BFF Faith, who in the first two months of her life had already been used as bait and thrown out of a car. BACS's own Jill Posener rescued Faith as she was being wheeled through the Pinole shelter on her way to be euthanized, and I adopted her a few weeks later. Last year, when I decided Faith (and I) needed a buddy, Jill suggested I check out some of the shelter dogs. Then I accidentally fell in love with all of them and couldn't stop dropping by to visit my favorites. So I figured I may as well start doing something helpful, and not just getting in Tim's and Thomas's way.

My Favorite Thing About Walking the Dogs

I love being able to help a dog become more adoptable, whether it's by helping them overcome shyness, get better on the leash, learn some basic commands, go to training class, or just get out of the kennel for a while. The biggest draw for me, though, is just being around dogs. I really enjoy their company, they crack me up, they surprise and impress me, and I learn a lot every day I spend walking them. It's a lot of fun, even though their circumstances are not always the best.

My New Favorite Dogs

Well, there's Rocky -- who became such a personal favorite that I just adopted him! I also love Sandy, whose intelligence and attentiveness are second to none (not to mention making me look good at BAD RAP). Raulon is very sweet; we discovered that we share a common interest in "resting our eyes for a minute" (as my mother used to say) in the sunny spot on the pier at Aquatic Park. Jelly Bean is a goofball, a pit bull quality I can't get enough of. And Albert, who has been at the shelter way too long but I've just started walking: his half-pipe act in the kennel always puts a smile on my face, and he's a lot of fun on the trail. I also heart Avea.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Avea, the Tireless Pooch

Avea is our longest-term dog, having been a BACS resident for almost a year, this coming May. Despite the length of time with us, Avea demonstrates a remarkable resilience, an even temperament, and most importantly, the capacity for FUN!!!!
A few weeks ago, we took her to the play area to help her burn up some of her unprecedented levels of energy. Thanks to our shelter photographer, Rob, we were able to document this phenomenon. First, we brought in Azule:

Well, she made pretty quick work of that boy, so we brought in Raulon:

Well, you can see she outlasted, Raulon, too.

What is a girl to do?????

Entertain herself, by all means . . . in this case, with a frisbee.

Airborne is best. : )

No, not tired yet.

Absolutely mahhhvelous rope-toy!

No, really not tired yet. Heart is not even racing.

Yesssss! A baseball, with endless layers of leather and endless rows of stitching. This will keep her going for hours . . .

The lady said hours-- it is nowhere near time to go.

Okay, the baseball's done; what's next?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Snorts, wiggles, and farts


Who is the goofiest, large-headed, cutest, and smelliest low ridin' pittie at the Berkeley Shelter? Barnaby!

Oh, Barnaby - how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

You remind me of a pot belly pig as you snort with glee while I rub your fat belly...
You are confident, calm, and relaxed in your skin and will make yourself comfortable wherever you are..
You are happy and just plain funny to look at...
You are friendly and a pleasure to cuddle and snuggle with...
Despite your funky breath and your somewhat offensive farts, I would gladly spend every minute of every day with you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lyle at home

My mom, my brother and I drove to see Lyle (a.k.a. 'Piggo') in his new home Sunday morning. When we found his house (near Hilltop), we rang the doorbell, and when the door opened, there was Lyle, his big piggy face poking through his owner's legs. He realized who we were at once and wriggled through to us. He covered us in slobbery kisses and doggy hugs, his body wriggling and his tail wagging so hard it hurt our legs! He was so excited he peed on the floor!

When Lyle finally calmed down enough for us to go inside, we were led through his owner, Kevin's, house. We ended up in the back deck, where we threw Lyle kongs and played tug-of-war.

During the day while Kevin is out, Lyle stays in a 9ft x 9ft kennel, and once Kevin fixes up his backyard so it is doggie-safe, Lyle will be able to hang out there! But when Kevin isn't at school or work, Lyle is at the beach, the dog park or on a walk! He is now almost fully house-trained, and, according to Kevin, hardly ever pulls on the leash or growls at other dogs, though he still chases squirrels. And also, since Kevin is going out of town during Spring break, my family will doggie-sit Lyle at our house!

Here are some pictures we took while we were there:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Toys galore

With your help we were able to purchase: Zanies hard rubber bones, Nylabone double action dog chews, KONG biscuit balls and Extreme Dog toys, Tough by Nature Chompions, and lots of new toys for the play area!!

However, Babu was less than enthused. Little grouch.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Such a busy week!

Many shelter dogs got lucky this week
and finally found their forever homes!







Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Where's Gigi?

You probably remember Gigi, a smallish pit bull terrier who arrived at the shelter in January. She came to us understandably sad and depressed – she had been stripped away from her newborn litter and dumped into a BACS night box.

Life is happily on the upswing for Gigi these days. She has a nice new home and a new name – Harley, short for Harlequin. She’s also getting along great with her two new housemates: Max (who looks like Raulon’s twin brother), and 5-pound Bella, a Chihuahua.

Her new owners, Janice and Erik, say that Harley's depression is diminishing as she begins to accept that her new home is for real. Janice says that Harley is a DREAM, and makes her wonder how Max got to be so nuts.

Here we see Gigi/Harley (lifeless lump on the left) using a free paw to demonstrate clear domination over new domestic partner Max (lifeless lump on the right):

Happy trails Harley! Don't be a stranger!


Here are a few pictures of Harley/Gigi on a recent trip. She went with her family down to Los Angeles for a wedding and also got to go camping in the Mojave Desert and to Laguna Beach.


Chilling on the beach:

Mojave desert:

Getting a drink after all that action (I had no idea she could operate a water fountain! Did we check her for thumbs?):

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thanks everyone!

The toys are on their way! :)

Together, we raised $240 for the BACS shelter pups.

Thank you everyone who contributed and thank you for reading our blog.

Photos will be posted within the next week.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Dasher is a very handsome, friendly, playful, energetic dog who enjoys demolishing squeaky toys and playing fetch. SUPER smart and athletic, Dasher has what it takes to do agility courses, search and rescue, and more.

During his temperament test today, Dasher had a BLAST playing with every toy in sight. This guy would be a total hoot in the play area.

No, don't worry. Dasher didn't kill a rabbit or office kitty. This is his back hair. That's right, just his back hair. 5 minutes and PHOOMPH, nearly 5 lbs of fur landed on the floor. I was unable to finish before I had to return Dasher to his kennel.

He still needs a good brushing, ladies and gentlemen - please feel free to stop by and give him the spa treatment! (He was totally diggin' it!)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We need a new office dog!

Jamie,  A017133, in Kennel 6. by rmcnicholas.
That's right - we need a new one, because Jamie has been adopted! :)

Dear, dear Jamie,

We shall miss your spunky nature, your goofy personality, your love for sucking on stuffy toys, your love of bananas, apples, tangerines and pizza, your tendency to pee on everything in sight, and your appreciation of the simple things in life. 

We watched you come back from the brink of death to become one of the happiest, joyful dogs we've had the pleasure to know. I'll miss coming into the shelter every day and seeing your smiling face, your fluffy fur, your sparkling white underbite, your bald chest and your old, but happy eyes. 

You've waited a long time for a forever-home, Jamus - we're so happy for you! 

"Zaida" in her new crib

Just this morning I received an update about Miss Jody - now Zaida - from her person, Fred.

Hi Sam,

I wanted to update you on Jody, AKA Zaida (the fortunate one). Yes, I have changed her name. I changed her name to match what I have experienced as being a very special dog that I am just as fortunate to have found her as she to find me! Zaida... Anyhow, she is doing absolutely great. Such a sweet girl. We spend about 2-3 mornings a week at Point Pinole, the other days walking and exploring the neighborhood. She is taking quite well to her routine of Exercise Discipline Affection... She is very smart, and yes bully style strong-willed at times, and oh so cute and lovable that makes me want to give in at those times too! I have attached a couple of pics of her modeling her rain gear in prep for the sporadic rain that has threatened our routine :).

Your note was very thoughtful, and I am glad that Zaida has so many people that care deeply for her well being!

Feel free to check in anytime and we can certainly arrange for you to see her again!