Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rico Suave

The first time I met Rico he wouldn't even come over to say hi to me. He was too frightened of the "guillotine" door that separates the inside/outside kennel. He kept glancing upward at it, afraid that at any moment it might come crashing down upon his head. The only way I could encourage him to walk underneath the guillotine was with a delicious bowl of kibble mixed with wet food with lots of gravy. Mmmmm. Rico crawled to the bowl of food, took one sniff, then his nose and mouth disappeared for 10 seconds before he finally resurfaced for air. Done! Every last drop of gravy had been devoured. Full and more relaxed, Rico crawled into my lap as I was sitting on his kuranda bed and he rolled over to expose his big belly. He was an incredibly sweet, gentle, shy - but large boy.

Yesterday was the first time I was able to take him out for a walk. I'll admit that I was a little hesitant after I read the notes on his walk card. Apparently he was very difficult to collar - so I prepared myself for a struggle when I entered his kennel. However, with a little manuevering it was as easy as 1-2-3 to get him outside for his walk! After putting on a Gentle Leader head collar and a safety collar - we were off after only 1 or 2 minutes of collaring!

Now Rico is a strong dog. He is very large and powerful and with an inexperienced handler or someone with a small physique, he could easily pull them over or take them for a walk. This is why I wanted to try the GL on him to see if it would help halt his pulling while on walks and help focus his attention back to me, his handler. He struggled at first, as any dog would if they are unfamiliar with a head collar, but I marched on down the gauntlet of barking dogs without hesitation.

Rico fought the good fight against the "evil Gentle Leader" for a good 5 to 10 minutes. But by the time we reached the pedestrian bridge near Aquatic Park he had finally acquiesced, stopped pulling and was enjoying the walk. After he relaxed, he ignored the collar and was just happy to be outside by my side - which is exactly where he stayed for the remainder of the walk.

The rest of our walk went so smoothly that it would be too boring to write about it. So I'll just say that it was uneventful, but enjoyable. The best part was cuddling together in the shade of a tree after our 2 mile walk together. Rico is a very gentle, well behaved gentleman who will thrive in a household with a strong, firm, but kind leader. For our red-dot volunteers, let's work together to help Rico on his way to finding a well matched forever home.

(Photos courtesty of Rob "The Photographer" McNicholas and Neen "Sister" Nicholson)

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