Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Dream Come True

Shirley bathed in sunlight while on a walk in the woods.

Gearing up for a car ride.
Smiling happily in Montclair's business district.
Shirley (calmly) watching the passersby in Montclair

Shirley waiting for treats.

Shirley's Couch

Shirley is adjusting well to being in a home, immediately calming down from the hectic, stressful life of the shelter. She now is a much calmer dog. And I think the major reason she was looked over at the shelter was because her loud and constant bark scared adopters off. This is a silly reason given that in the whole time Shirley has been with us she has only barked twice.

The rest of her time she's either going on walks, begging for food, or sleeping on the couch which has now exclusively become her couch. She loves to go on walks to new places so I try to take her on new paths but usually she ends up making the regular weekday loop. On the weekends though we pack her up in the car (which she loves to ride in) and take her to a new place like Lake Temescal or a path up in the hills, and she just loves it.

Overall she is a great dog and her easy to love character has spread to all of the family. My dad who in the beginning of the adoption process has said, "No pitbulls and that's final," is now infatuated with Shirley and plays with her every second he has, including often lying on the floor as asking Shirley for some kisses.

She is a great friendly, loveable dog who also knows boundaries and won't jump up on a bed or couch without being asked. She is also much more well behaved with other dogs now that she is out of the shelter. My grandparents came over to see her with their dog (a tiny Shih tzu mix) and Shirley did absolutely fine with the other dog. In fact the other dog was the one with the problem and kept growling at Shirley but still she just wanted to play and he ended up having to sit in the car.

She loves playing with new toys (squeaky toys especially), but she is a bit of a princess when it comes to toys. She'll only play with toys if they're new and haven't been played with other dogs before. As soon as she gets them her main goal is to break them and as soon as she does, she never plays with the toy again. Well I guess that's why she's named Shirley Temple.

But really she is a great dog, and as she gets more and more accustomed to our home, she just gets happier and happier as you can see in the pictures. I am sad that Shirley had to spend 15 months in the shelter but in the end I'm glad she did, because if she hadn't stayed that long I wouldn't have found her. In the end Shirley got a home, and I got what I had been asking for since I could talk, and we couldn't be happier.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Rico is Seeking A Dog with Person to Call His Own

When Rico first came to the shelter (8/7/10), he was a terrified little ball in the corner of his kennel not wanting anybody to come near him. Fast forward one month later and now meet RICO THE GREAT! Rico is lively, fun, and full of confidence. His favorite past time is playing in the office with Neffie the doberman. This spunky guy is just itching to get into a home - it would really be an added bonus if this new home came with a doggie friend in it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September's Volunteer of the Month


This month we salute Karen, who spends most of her volunteer time helping out in the office. Every time I take an overanxious, intestinally-distressed dog for a long walk on a hot day, I start to think that she might have the right idea. Thanks for all your hard work Karen! And please try to make sure that I don't keep walking out of the shelter with a key around my wrist!

What do you do when you're not at the shelter?

I spend time looking for a job, which leads directly to...

Why did you initially decide to volunteer at BACS?

Since being laid off from my job as an administrative assistant at the state Public Health Lab in Richmond, I now have the free time to volunteer. I've always wanted to do this, but full-time work didn't make it easy. Now, however, I have lots of time available and I love volunteering at BACS so much that I often forget that my main "job" should be looking for another one!!!

While I do spend most of my volunteer hours in the office, I also visit the cats and dogs frequently, and have been helping out lately with taking the staff's dogs out for walks.

What are your favorite things about volunteering?

The incredible job the staff does with handling so many different animals, people and situations! I have a lot of respect and affection for these wonderful staff members and they've made me feel very at home at BACS. This also applies to the many other volunteers I've met these past months. And even though I'm frequently on a computer or updating the lost & found books, the bonus is that the whole time I'm in the office, I'm surrounded by the staff's marvelous dogs (constant puppy love!) and those 3 fabulous kitties (Squirrel, Wilma, and Madu). If I ever get another job, it'll be tough to give up the wonderful perk of being with loving animals all the time! Volunteering at BACS has given me tremendous appreciation of the hard and challenging work people do to save and protect and find homes for our animal buddies. Being a part of this community is a priceless experience and I'm very grateful for it!

I wish the best to everyone who is associated with BACS!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Going the miles for Miles

Or...that sad Frost line arises: and Miles to go before I sleep. Such sadness underscores the beauty of our fragile at-risk Berkeley dogs. Beautiful, happy (once he's befriended you!) Miles epitomizes this beauty. Some of you may wonder why he hasn't been posted, and why he has a special 'HALTI ONLY' warning on his Red-Dot walk card.

Well, Miles is a doll. He sits to be collared, as he knows you're taking him out; and he runs like a stallion, with or without his toys, in the play area. (Almost knows "drop it"!)

But, as some may know, he was distressed at being left at BACS and can be high-strung and barky with strangers at his barrier. Then, he had to be sedated in order for the vet to check out his badly infected ears. Kate and Tim have done a wonderful job acclimating him to his probably lifelong ear meds. But Miles also has a drama-king's aversion to the prong collar (I've developed some ambivalence about using the prong for my dog, as there are effective trainers and training sites who have gentler methods and consider the prong a tool of torture--see below): i.e., he will start yelping and sometimes jump and roll around in a fit of civil disobedience. Humor aside, he's never redirected with me; but I know he'd get himself in trouble were anyone to try a pop correction with him.

Those who walk him regularly know he's amenable enough to the Halti--he'll actually slip right into it! though his affection for other dogs makes him a bit feisty when they pass.

But he did pass his temp test on that score: great with dogs; also with cats--but then! the old vet aversion kicked in when his paws were handled during his temp test: he tried to bite. He is probably set to be a 'rescue-only' boy.

Yet everyone at BACS seems to realize that Miles is essentially a great, loving, safe dog--with this handling caveat.
Obviously, though, that's some caveat, and it's important not to be complacent about his apparent ease, to prevent him from 'getting in trouble.'

So I am hoping other Miles fans will join me in experimenting with some Dog Listening (NOT Whispering) methods that saved former BACS inmate Mallory, an extremely dog-reactive lab mix who was otherwise a love. The day she was to be put down, she was rescued by Dog Listening trainer Penny Locke. Some of her and a colleague's video links listed below. And some lovely shots of a happy happy Miles in the doggie play pen. Please contact me if you're interested in working with Kyree, an Oakland -based Dog Listener, to help Miles--and maybe also help dogs like Bella, Noodle, Faye, Jasper--smooth out their mouthy kinks. BACS also has Jan Fennel's DVD, and I have a copy as well if you'd like to borrow. All part of our Red Dot Education! Alexandra (510) 849-2613 Cali plays with a tire/early days Cali sharing space But it's mine today (22bradshaw's rescue of a 'vicious' South African Dutch shepherd) (part 2)

Hercules check-in

I'm sure we all remember Hercules, who went to a sanctuary in Humboldt County several weeks ago. I called the sanctuary to follow up on how Hercules was doing, and got some good news. He was adopted quickly! The sanctuary uses caution when they adopt out pits and pit mixes, but they were very pleased with the couple that adopted Hercules. Herky is now residing up in Humboldt County, and it sounds like all is well with him.

Unfortunately no pictures or adopter testimonials but I wanted to share with everyone. Hercules had a long road to find his home but it looks like it finally happened for him. Thanks to all the volunteers who worked with this lovable but challenging dog, especially Mike & Summer Vodnoy and Larry Gurley who put in a lot of hours with him. Plus Tim, Donna, and Donyale at BAD RAP who also helped him along.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cleo: one clever (and very happy) girl

From the day Cleo arrived at the shelter, it was clear that she was a very special girl. Here's an update from her mom, Noreen:

Cleo has been an outstanding dog: smart, loyal and full of love and kisses! It has been about two months since we adopted her, and she already knows Come, Sit, Down, Up, In, Out (of her crate, or the car), Stay, Fetch and Drop It - well, almost! We took her to the beach over the weekend for her first romp in the water - and she loved it! She loves chasing other dogs, and is nothing but friendly towards all four-legged critters she meets (well, except squirrels)!

Way to go, Cleo.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sweet Samuel Has a New Home

Samuel is a guy whose looks always belied his sweet nature. And who would have guessed that, while he was an enthusiastic enough walker, he mostly liked to sit on the bench and give kisses. Today he finally found a shelter browser who wasn't fooled by his tough-guy facade! Samuel has gone home to live the good life with a female pit mix (another BACS dog from years past, I think).

Beauty's Only Skin Deep, as the Temptations sang. Samuel is living proof.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rory Has A Girlfriend!

Many of us loved Rory, the big guy with a huge head and a gentle heart. Last week, a neighbor of Kathy Kear's came in to meet him (thank you, Kathy!)-- and of course she found Rory irresistible. The big question: how would her alpha female pittie take to Rory moving into her space, where she has been a prized only dog? We did a long 'meet and greet' walk, and things seemed to be okay, though Rory was clearly lots more interested than Pippin was in having a, ahem, relationship.

With excitement and a little trepidation, Kate took Rory home. We all crossed our fingers. A few short days later, Kate reports that Pippin and Rory are in love!

Pippin, you couldn't have found a nicer guy. We're so happy for both of you.