Thursday, April 30, 2009

I would call it a "hoot"...

...but it was more of a "woof!"

Bill and I went down to Denver to pick up our new furry foster friend Snowy yesterday. All I knew was that he was coming into town with a group called "CARE," Colorado Animal Rescue Express. This group is neat - they're a non-profit that transports dogs between shelters, rescue groups and forever families.

When I spoke with Linda, one of the founders, she said something about 53 dogs but I blew it off because I thought I had misheard her. It turns out that I heard her right! These dogs rolled into the Walmart parking lot where we were to meet them like a bunch of rock stars! Eager crowds awaited their arrival with the excitement of children on the first day of school.

When the vans pulled in and the unloading process began I couldn't believe how organized it was. 53 dogs, 53 paperwork packets, 5 volunteers (I think) and lots of people waiting. Once the doors opened the scene definitely got a bit chaotic, but it was organized chaos. There were dogs and people all over the place but as stressed as these brave dogs were everyone seemed to play nice. I highly recommend going down there just to view it sometime - it's amazing!

On to Snowy...

The dog I was picking up was in the second van. This was lucky because there was a dog with a definite case of kennel cough in the first one. Snowy was clearly stressed as he was kind of hyperventilating and when I finally took him into my possession he wouldn't pee. He was zig-zagging all over the place and pulling like an ox. I figured I would stick him in the car and drive him to somewhere mellower.

Well, we didn't get past the first exit on I-70 before I started smelling poo. I turn around and Bill is dancing across the seat trying to avoid stepping in it. At this point I'm going 70 mph on the highway so there wasn't much I could do. I aimed for the next exit but before I could get there Snowy decided to finish what he started and peed all over the seat too! Aargh!

I'm thankful for the waterproof seat cover I bought a few months ago as this was much less of a disaster than it could have been. The fun didn't stop there though. As I was cleaning out the car on the side of the road, Bill decided to jump out. He was totally calm and collected but I was yelling like a maniac! In the end, I was very lucky that we practiced "sit" so many times because he sat for me and I was able to put him back in the car before anything tragic happened.

The rest of the ride home was pretty uneventful except for being stuck in construction traffic for a half hour. This is not normally too big a deal but I really wanted to get Snowy out of the car so he could chill out. Oh, and the car smelled like poo!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Food and Water

I'm sure all mill dogs are different in how they approach mealtime. Bill will only eat his food on the floor if we leave the house. He'll wait hours! However, if I put it on the bed with him he often won't eat it unless I hang out in there with him while he takes the first few bites. How weird is that?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bill is here?

This dog is so quiet that my husband is often home for hours and when I get home and say something about Bill he says "Bill is here?" Uh, yeah. He's sitting right THERE!

I still remember Bill's first bark. It was the funniest thing! He was completely silent for the first four or five months he was with us (which really isn't a bad thing if you think about it, though kind of sad). His two favorite spots were the bed downstairs and the couch upstairs. I was in the living room and he was upstairs when I suddenly heard a random "woof." That was it. No ceremony or anything; just a "woof." It was so funny because there was no rhyme or reason, he was just trying it out.

It took him quite some time to try it again. Nowadays he does this weird bark/howl/whine/yawn thing when we get to trail heads. He LOVES to hike and so he gets very excited so this is how he shows it. This ritual usually involves turning the stereo on and off a few times with his paws too since it's just a button. There is also some leg scratching usually involved. Despite the pain to my legs, ears and dashboard it really is adorable. It worth enduring it to see him showing his happiness!

Friday, April 24, 2009

STOP BITING ME! Ok, just a little!

I'm guessing I'm not the only person with a spoiled dog? It really hurts when he bites me but he's just so cute! Really, though, disciplining Bill is a struggle because of his "special" history. Can a dog be timid and tough at the same time? If someone drops a book on the floor of our house Bill will fall over from trying to scramble out of the room so fast (we have wood floors). On the other hand, when he's having a good time any sort of "No," yelling, screaming, growling, "AT!" noises I make are completely ineffective.

When he first started to come out of his shell, jumping up on me and "mouthing" me was adorable and welcomed because we thought it was a sign of improvement. Now he is putting paw prints on everyone he sees (which is especially inconvenient during mud season!) and his mouthing has some bite to it! I'm trying to get it under control but I'm kind of at a loss. (Yes, I know I need to be more consistent with him)

(Jingle, jingle from upstairs) Bill is be waking up from his afternoon nap. He needed it after our great hike today. Any minute he's going to come downstairs and give me that look I can't resist. I guess it's time to take him to the lake!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's got four legs and likes to roll in dead birds?


Bill is getting more active in the house, finally. As I work on my computer Bill now spends the first half hour of his day runing up and down the stairs as though he is looking for his favorite toy but not sure where he put it. Apparently this isn't the case, however, because every time I give him a toy he spits it back at me. Maybe he's just exercising...

Bill is always afraid to go out our back gate. This may be a throwback to that one time he ran away and got lost in the woods for three weeks. Either way, once we are through the gate and down the street things seem to get better for him. We have a great neighborhood park where there are many of the usual things you find in a park...dogs, people, trash, etc. Bill likes it there because there's always something to sniff.

Lately there has been a group of people training their puppies on the park. Bill's favorite new activity is to run full speed into the group of dogs and serve as their uninvited and unexpected distraction. The puppies are thrilled but I can see that the owners lack the same enthusiasm after they worked so hard to get their dog to sit and then Bill came along and ruined it. I have to be honest here - I don't stop him because I find it very amusing. Plus, the dogs are going to have to deal with distractions sometime, right?

Our afternoon walk was at the reservoir where there are often dogs chasing balls into the water. It's hot out and I'm trying to get Bill to swim so it was an ideal place for today. Bill is kind of like one of those fish that swim in shallow water with their mouths open inhaling whatever they can get. This too is very funny to watch! What was not funny to watch was the guy sunbathing face up NAKED on the path we decided to walk. Ewwww!

The First Post

I feel compelled to blog about my dog Bill because he is a perfect example of what time and love can do for a dog who was previously neglected. In an effort not to repeat myself, please learn about his history on our "about" page as he was the inspiration for the Happy Tails Books project.

In short, he was a puppy mill breeder for the first two years of his life. He was put out to auction and taken in by Mid America Boston Terrier Rescue. After a failed adoption and some time spent hiding in the woods, Bill became my dog (long story). When I got him he was in a very bad psychological state as he would not get out of bed. For weeks he simply cowered in his corner.

He was so afraid of the outdoors that we had to carry him outside to potty each time and then he would B-line for the house as soon as he was finished. With the help of a trainer he slowly began to turn around. Today (8 months later) he is still kind of weird in the house but has gone to the completely other side outdoors. I think he believes he is a goat though I don't know if he ever met one.

This blog will document Bill's progress and adventures. These days he bravely runs up every rock he can find, happily rolls around in poop (lovely for me) and gets a daily dose of vegetables grazing in the meadows. He's a dog park local, distraction for neighborhood dog training groups and Golden Retriever cheerleader at the lake.