Saturday, September 25, 2010

Alumni Update - Tahoe

From Sarah Guenther - author of a story in Lost Souls: Found! Inspiring Stories About Labrador Retrievers:

At the time of publishing, Tahoe had just recently turned 2. At the time of this writing today, Tahoe is now happy, contented, confident and quite the little ham at age 3 1/2. His biggest milestones have been first, learning not to bark at the innocent people walking by our house and second, he has learned to walk off leash with us when we go to the beach. He is the silliest boy we have ever seen. When he's in the mood for some dog love, he jumps on the coffee table, blocking my view of the TV. Then he gives me a big tail wag and throws his body onto my lap where he rubs his nose into my armpits, snorting and emitting funny playful wookie sounds. He's become extremely close with his big black lab brother, Bettis, who complies with his frequent requests for a good ear licking. His yellow lab sister, Huck, has become his mother figure and she has helped him master the art of free-style doggie wrestling and taught him how to unstuff a pillow in record time. Every moment that passes, we are continually amazed at Tahoe's emotional growth. He's definitely settled into life with us and he has made it quite clear to us that he loves his forever family.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Easiest Goodbye

People often ask me if its hard to say goodbye to foster dogs. Sometimes it is very difficult, like in the case of Camille, who was a sweet, potty-trained dog that Bill adored. Other times the parting is much easier because a)I found the dog annoying for whatever reason, c) Bill and the dog didn't really hit it off, or c)the dog seems so happy to be going along to his or her new parents.

The latter is the case with Charlie, a rescue return who I only had for a few days. Charlie was adopted out to an elderly man, and within a year, the man felt he could no longer care for Charlie. (I wasn't the one who facilitated this adoption, but lesson learned - young, energetic foster dogs should not go to elderly people. There are plenty of older dogs needing homes who would have been a better fit.)

Bill didn't like Charlie because Charlie, like JayJay before him, made crazy growling noises while playing. Although Charlie is fairly dog-aggressive, Bill was the aggressor in our home this time! I had to break them up multiple times.

Even if Bill doesn't like Charlie, we do. He's potty trained, smart, and loving toward people. I was contacted by a man who had never had a dog before but felt he was ready for one now. He seemed like the perfect fit for Charlie, since he lives in an apartment, has no other dogs, and would be walking Charlie on a leash, so after a home inspection, this man was approved and ready to pick Charlie up.

We met last night, and Charlie jumped into his lap and licked his face immediately. After filling out the adoption contract, all he did was stand up, start walking, and say, "Charlie, come." Side by side, no leash necessary (we were in a large, safe field), Charlie and his new dog walked into the sunset, got in the car, and drove off to their new life together. It couldn't have been a more peaceful and happy transition.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jay Jay Takes a Dip

Jay Jay is toy-obsessed, to put it lightly. You could get that dog to serve you his dinner if you hold a toy over your plate. The other night he proved just how toy-obsessed he was when we were in the hot tub. As we sat there, enjoying a "relaxing" evening, Jay Jay continuously threw his toy into the hot tub (it's above ground, mind you, and on his tippie-toes he can just put his head over the edge to look in). My husband finally balanced it on the edge of the turned up cover, so what did Jay Jay do? He jumped up, balanced on the edge of the slippery hot tub, and grabbed the toy off the cover.

From there it was a free-for-all. Jay Jay kept throwing the toy into the hot tub, and finally we decided that if he wanted to throw it in, he had to get it out himself. And...guess what? He did! Occasionally he could jump up and get his mouth around it, but more than once he actually dove right in! Check out the video below (it's hard to see, but if you tilt your screen right, you should be able to get the picture!).

Oh, Jay Jay! You are one funny dog! We'll miss you now that you've gone on to your new home, but at least all of our river rocks are now back where they belong - in the yard - and our guest bed is safe from your "inappropriate advances." :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dog Park Danger

When most people think of danger at the dog park, they think of dog fights or people getting hit by a joyful yet oblivious dog running at top speed. Yesterday I encountered a different kind of danger - one of the worst kinds for me.

You see, while I probably wouldn't be classified as homely, I definitely have frizzy hair, a nose with a slight bump on it from being broken long ago, and I'm pretty short (5'2" on a good day). The one thing I did have going for me was great teeth (thanks, Mom and Dad!). I've never needed braces, I've only had one cavity, and only two wisdom teeth have needed the ole' yank, so I guess you could say that I've been lucky in that department...until yesterday.

As I was leaning over to pet my foster dog at the dog park, a rambunctious Boxer/Dalmation mix came out of nowhere and jumped up on me, slamming his head right into my front teeth. I was tasting dirt, or what I hoped was dirt. But no, it wasn't was fine bits of my teeth! I couldn't believe it - this dog had broken BOTH my front teeth - the only part of my face I really liked!

Luckily I was able to get into the dentist immediately, and my dental insurance covered the fix. They bonded my teeth, and I guess they are kind of as good as new, although I'm still feeling a loss for those little bits of my real teeth that are scattered somewhere at the dog park. My husband has a chip in his front tooth, and the bonding always breaks. I really hope that is not the case with mine.

While this was obviously an accident, it could have been easily prevented. The dog had been with its owner for two years. Why hadn't she trained him not to jump? This is a serious problem on trails around here and at dog parks. We have wonderful off-leash hiking access, but those without dogs often complain that they are jumped on. I always thought it was a dirt issue, but now I see that people can actually get injured as well.

Should this woman be held accountable for her dog? How? Had I not had insurance, it seems she should have paid for my medical bills. Also, I lost half a day of work, which is a problem because Happy Tails Books is overwhelmingly busy right now. There are two morals to this story: 1)Don't lean over when large, jumpy dogs are near, and 2)Train your dog not to jump, or you may be the one paying for someone else's dental work.