Monthly Archives: September 2009

Too funny not to repost: “The George Incident”

Came across this blog post yesterday and just about died laughing.  Enjoy.

http://www.arottalove.org/blog/?p=1581

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I *heart* George. He is without a doubt my favorite dog in the adoption program right now. He’s sweet, handsome, happy, funny, and about a dozen other nauseously sweet adjectives. Tragically – and I say this with all the love in the world – there are goldfish smarter than George.

So when I call Maus, Riley, and George in from the yard Saturday night and George doesn’t come racing up, I don’t think much of it. I tuck my two boys inside, close the screen door, and go off to find my wayward temporary foster.

It’s dark, but luckily for me George is white, and I find him behind the garage making friends with a tree – or so I think. I call him with the promise of all sorts of yummy treats, and at first I think it works. George’s head pops up, he tosses a full body wiggle in my direction, and starts prancing over. However, when he gets about five feet away, George suddenly veers to the side and starts running for the house. That’s weird, I think, and then I saw it silhouetted in the porch light:

George has half a dead squirrel dangling from his mouth.

The other half is, of course, on its way down his throat like the world’s most disgusting spaghetti noodle. I spring into action, and in a fit of genius, George realizes I’m on to him. The race is on: can he finish swallowing this thing before I get there, or will he be telling generations of foster pups about The One That Got Away?

George breaks through my screen door and tears into the house, me hot on his heels. He flies through the dining room, the sound of franticly crunching bone coming from his mouth, but I manage to tackle him in the living room. Without thinking, I wrap my hand around the former squirrel’s tail, and now –

Now I have a problem.

Those of you who own pit bulls know one basic fact about them: pit bulls do not let go of something unless they want to. George definitely does not want to let go of his new friend. I am definitely not letting George eat this dead squirrel, no matter how fresh it is. Unfortunately, George weighs almost half of what I do, and unlike me, George is entirely made of muscle.

While I am desperately wishing I own a break stick like any good pit bull owner (and then realizing that if I were to let go of this squirrel for the three seconds it would take me to go get the break stick the squirrel would be gone), I suddenly become aware that George and I have an audience. Maus and Riley are watching this exchange with expressions of rapture that I can only assume have not been seen since the three wise men saw the baby Jesus for the first time.

Crap.

Well, first things first. I have to get this squirrel out of George’s mouth. I’m smarter than him, I can do this. I decide the best course of action will be to pinch George’s nose closed and cut off his breathing. George now has three options: he can let go of the squirrel, he can pass out, or he can grow a blowhole.

George tries very, very hard to grow a blowhole.

Luckily for me, evolution doesn’t work that fast. George projectile vomits the squirrel across the living room in a way that would make men shot from cannons proud. For an instant, time stops. The dead squirrel is free; none of us can quite believe it.

“MINE!” I scream like a deranged Chihuahua, “MINE!MINE!MINE!MINE!”

The four of us launch ourselves toward the squirrel at the same moment, colliding together in a storm of legs, teeth, and bodies.

“Wa-HAH!” I shout, jumping to my feet and triumphantly waving the dead squirrel over my head like I’ve just won the Super Bowl. “Mine!”

And in this second, I realize that I have a really, really big problem.

Now there are three pit bulls staring at me as if they’re wondering if it might be okay – just this once – to bite the hand that feeds them. I’m surrounded in enemy territory.

Double crap.

I start inching toward the door, but the dogs mirror my movements, waiting for that one, perfect moment when my focus waivers. I’m going to have to make a run for it.

I take a deep breath, shoot out a quick prayer to whatever deity might be listening (and laughing his or her ass off), and make a break for it.

I race out of the living room, through the dining room, into the kitchen, out the door, and SLAM! the door shut behind me. There are three crashes from the other side that I’m sure are hard enough to rattle windows and knock pictures off the walls, but it doesn’t matter because I HAVE WON!

THE DEAD SQUIRREL IS MINE!!!!!!

MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have survived this ordeal to tell you one thing:

Crazy is contagious.

You get it from your dogs.

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Filed under Misc., Rescue

ADOPTED!

It’s official – woohoo!

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Filed under Josie, Rescue

Josie’s adoption: take two.

On Saturday, we dropped Josie off for her second trial adoption run, after the first one didn’t work out.  I have always believed things happen for a reason, and I hope the way things have panned out have just been fate’s way of stepping in.

You see, the weekend before Josie went on her first trial run, we had gotten together at our lake cabin with some family, and my cousin and her husband had totally fallen in love with Josie. At the time, we had no reason to believe her trial adoption wouldn’t work out, so we didn’t even really discuss the possibility of them adopting her. Well, fast forward two weeks – when they found out Josie came back to us for separation anxiety issues, my cousin’s husband emailed me to tell me they were interested and were filling out an application. Yay! It sounds like a perfect home for her – my cousin is a stay-at-home-mom, and they have another dog whom Josie has met and gets along with. Really an ideal situation, because not only will Josie have someone home with her most of the time, but even when the humans are out, she’ll have a “brother” to keep her company. My cousin’s kids are really great, too. They have an obvious bond with their current dog and everyone is really excited about possibly adding Josie to the family. Of course, on a more selfish note, I’m just excited that Josie would get to stay “in the family” and that I’d get to see her again!

The adoption coordinator and I spent a good couple hours at their home on Saturday answering questions, observing Josie playing with their current dog (they went nuts!), and explaining Josie’s separation issues. They’re fully prepared to deal with it and work on it, and I just have a really good feeling about all of this.

They are planning to do a week-long trial run, so we should know by Saturday whether the adoption will be made official.

Fingers, toes and paws crossed!

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She’s back :(

Our foster puppy, Josie, went for her trial run about a week and a half ago, and unfortunately it wasn’t the right match. So she’s coming back to us tonight. I’m completely heartbroken that it didn’t work out, and I know the people who were going to adopt her are too. But, this is exactly why we do trial runs – sometimes it just isn’t the right match.

It seems as though Josie developed pretty bad separation anxiety during her trial run. Whenever she was left alone, she would completely scream bloody murder in her crate… for hours on end (seriously, they videoed her!). Since they rent and are in a townhome with a shared wall, they just weren’t equipped to handle that, and I don’t blame them for the hard decision they made to return her to us. I know they loved her, and it truly was the most selfless thing they could do – to recognize that they weren’t equipped to handle her needs, and that she wouldn’t be happy being alone all day without either a human or canine companion to keep her company. She will probably need to go to a home with other dogs, or a home where someone is home enough during the day to positively condition her that being alone isn’t the end of the world.

I feel terrible about this, like there’s something I could have done to better prepare her. I always had her crate right next to Stewie’s, and it just never even occurred to me to separate them. She never had much of a problem with us leaving when we had her, but then again, she never was truly alone, because she had Stewie and Maggie to keep her company during the day.

So, we’ll be taking it slowly, moving her crate farther and farther away from Stewie’s until she is comfortable being in another room by herself. It’s going to take a lot of work, and I wish I had thought to do that before, but  you know what they say about hindsight…

It was bittersweet to let her go, and it’s equally as bittersweet to welcome her home again. I have missed her so much, but I was also really hoping her new home would work out for her. I don’t know how I can possibly let her go twice, but I do believe everything happens for a reason and that she will find her perfect home, eventually.

Welcome back, little girl.

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Recap – Pit Bulls on Parade!

(I’m realizing that I’m sorely remiss on updating the blog, so you’re getting two posts in one day… maybe more if I don’t get too busy with, um, actual work.)

Last Saturday our rescue held a fantastic event and fundraiser – Pit Bulls on Parade. We had a fantastic turnout, and even though it drizzled just a bit in the morning, the sun came out in the afternoon. One of our rescue members posted some great photos on Smilebox if you want to take a look.

For every pit bull or pit mix that passed the Canine Good Citizen test, we received $150 through a generous grant from Animal Farm Foundation. I’m not sure of the total number of dogs passed, but I do know the testing arena was full all day and we had 7 of our rescue alumni pass! Congrats, Ella, Zoe, Mia, Romeo, Piper, Layla and Emmie. I wanted to test Stewie but he still needs a little work on his leash pulling. Next year!

In addition to CGC testing, the event had demonstrations in disc dog, agility and shutzhund. For anyone who’s ever seen a shutzund demonstration, it’s truly incredible. While some might argue that having a pit bull  run at and bite someone’s arm is scary and not necessarily the image this breed needs, the control and focus these dogs maintain is just phenomenal. With a simple and calm command from the trainer the dog would go from tearing and biting at the padded burlap sleeve, to a perfect sit-stay. It was like they had just flipped a switch and the dog went from excited and intense to completely calm and relaxed. The way the trainer explained it, the dog wants to chew the sleeve, not attack the person. In real police dog work, the dog is never actually in a state of aggression – they’re just biting the arm where the sleeve would have been. It’s fun for the dog, but scary and painful for the bad guy who is not actually wearing a sleeve! After the demonstration was over, the dog got to chew and play with the sleeve on his own as a reward. Very cute.

The other thing that was really fun about the event was the weight pull demonstration. They even let other dogs try it out! Stewie was a natural, and pulled 120 lbs (twice his weight!) across the arena. Below are a few pictures. All in all, it was a really fun day!

First, the pro shows us how its done

First, the pro shows us how it's done

Now its Stewies turn to try - you can see just how focused he is on me here.

Now it's Stewie's turn to try - you can see just how focused he is on me here.

He did it! Good boy.

He did it! Good boy.

Here he is talking to me afterward. :)

Here he is talking to me afterward. 🙂

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Filed under Rescue, Stewie

Update on Stewie

You may remember my previous post about Stewie’s OCD issue. Well, last night we saw a behaviorist, and I’m cautiously optimistic. We still may need medication, but we’re going to try some behavior modification first. I was prepared for the behaviorist to tell me he needed more exercise (I’m definitely guilty of not walking him as much as I should, even though he gets plenty of wrestling exercise with Maggie — and Josie, when she was with us). He did note, though, that while walking may not tire him out as much as wrestling does, it’s “structured” exercise, which exercises his brain more. He also said that Stewie probably needs more mental stimulation in general, because dogs with obsessive-compulsive tendencies basically have overactive brains — that his day is too routine and he needs an outlet to stimulate his brain or he’ll find a way to try to do it on his own (i.e., tail chasing).

It all makes perfect sense, and as much as I claim to know about dogs, I’m ashamed to admit that I never thought of the mental stimulation part of it. The behaviorist suggested playing hide and seek at mealtimes as a way of stimulating his brain — make him stay and then go hide his bowl and make him work to find it. So I tried that this morning. I made it pretty easy for him to start out with, and he actually found Maggie’s bowl instead of his own, but they eat the same food/same amount, so that was no big deal.

Another thing he taught us is that when Stewie starts to chase his tail and we tell him to stop, we’re just giving him attention (albeit negative) and inadvertently rewarding the behavior. He suggested we simply walk up to him and grab his tail – not pull it – but simply get it out of his mouth or get him to stop spinning without making a big deal about it. We’re also supposed to just touch his tail a lot to make him realize it’s actually connected to him and is part of his body. Sounds strange, but some dogs don’t quite realize their body parts (legs, tail, etc.) are actually a part of them. Have you ever seen the video of the dog attacking his own leg? It’s kind of like that (though not quite that bad, thank God!).

The behaviorist also thinks that he may have injured his tail in the past, and that the memory of the injury somehow triggered an oral fixation on his tail, or that the injury itself still bothers him and he goes after his tail to essentially lick/chew/soothe it. Hubby did accidentally close it in the car door about a year ago (ouch!), but in his defense, the tail chasing started before that.

Bottom line, there are any number of reasons or combinations thereof that could be causing this. The great thing about this behaviorist is that he only charges for in-person appointments, and once you meet with him, you have unlimited access to him via phone calls and emails at no charge. He wants us to check in in a week, after keeping a journal of Stewie’s progress, and depending on his progress or lack thereof, possibly come up with plan B – which still could include medication if we’re not seeing any progress. I’m not opposed to medication if that’s what he really needs, but I’m also hesitant to medicate if he doesn’t actually need it. At any rate, here’s hoping!

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