Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leon's Future Brother?

I've been in contact with a nice, out of state about Leon who happens to love Cocker Spaniels.  She adopted this cutie pie named Jackson last summer from a Cocker Spaniel rescue.    Sometimes when you simply email someone  I can tell if I'll like them as a person or not.  Courtney is great and I'm really hoping that she and Leon hit it off.     When I tell her crazy, silly stories about Leon it doesn't phase her - in fact she usually comes back with a similar one about Jackson.

Courtney will be in town from Thursday through Saturday for a Friday night concert at the Fox.   We'll be meeting at City Garden Saturday morning since she's staying downtown.   I am so excited!  Joe is with his Dad this weekend but I requested his presence because I think he helps me and the dog with these adoption meet and greets.

She has a beautiful, fenced in back yard, she feeds Jackson high quality food, she currently  has a young and playful Cocker Spaniel and she knows the breed.    Wow - doesn't this sound perfect??    The only drawback is that she's out of state and I have to admit it can be scary to let a foster go hundreds of miles away.    But in those cases I always make sure to contact references and tell them over and over again the dog will need to come back to our group.    When I called her vet reference and told them her name, they immediately knew she was Jackson's human.    That is such a good sign to me.

Sometimes when a person is thinking about adopting a foster of mine, it can almost feel like waiting for a man to call!   I didn't hear from her last weekend and I thought "Oh no, she's no longer interested."   What a familiar feeling.   Then I found out she was considering another Cocker Spaniel and I was heartbroken.   But you know what, I really appreciate it when people are honest and let me know what's going on.    (But isn't that true for life in general!?)     After I found out about the cocker she looked at yesterday she told me soon afterward that he had already been adopted.   I have to think this is a good sign for Leon!!    I would have been happy if she had adopted the other cocker too ... turns out this 7 year old boy came from a Missouri puppymill.    ugh

Let's everyone wish the best for Leon, Jackson and Courtney.    I will rreeally miss Leon - he's such a fun little nut.    But his possible home sounds like a dream come true for this once unwanted boy.

Today was a really rough day at work ... I got called into the office and got to listen to a list of mistakes I made on a loan.    I knew it was going to be a crap day as soon as I read my emails at 7:30 this morning.   I even printed one out and had my friend read it.   She tried to reassure me but I knew what was to come.   ::sigh::    The sucky thing is I still don't think I did anything wrong ... it was a matter of interpreting our policies and I'm proud to say I stuck up for myself.   By the end of the meeting I did get a couple of positive comments from two of my bosses and they realized I wasn't being a total irresponsible slacker but it still really really sucked big time. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sit, Leon, Sit

I am so excited!! I have trained Leon to "sit".    It took me a little longer than I planned due to the crummy weather but just now outside ... IN THE DARK Leon saw me go for my stash of training treats and he sat down without me asking him to.   I then took him to different parts of the yard to see if he would continue to sit.   Sometimes I did have to say the word "sit" but he did it every single time!!   I am so proud of this boy.

This is the first time I've taught a dog to do anything!!  I am super proud of myself and Leon.   There's a young woman in our group, Lindsay, who is amazing at training her foster dogs and her own dog.    She's even trained her cutie pie Remy to lie down when she points her finger and makes a bang sound.  :)   Remy is a great, great dog - he's so amazing even TRex loves him.    He was one of her foster puppies that had a horrible case of mange.   Do you know a vet suggested he should be put to sleep?   How stupid!!  But she gave Remy a chance and he's turned into one of the coolest dogs in the world.    I've emailed her a couple of times asking for advice.       At first, when I was teaching Leon the sit command he was doing great.   But then I noticed he was only doing it in the spot of the yard where I first taught him.    Lindsay pointed out that I should take him to different areas - in the yard and outside the yard to teach him.    I did that last night and tonight.        Tonight I was wanting to get a good pic of Leon and I decided to take my chances - that's when I discovered he was sitting easily.   yay yay yay

It's actually very simple (well when you're watching someone else) teach a dog to sit.   You use a slip lead and keep the leash tight so you can keep the dog near you.   You then take the treat, hold it above their nose and push it toward their nose until they're forced to sit on their butt.  (Because they can't back up anymore)      By holding the leash tightly, they can't just back up and go wherever they want.    Then, once they do that you loosen the leash and pull the dog toward you and start again.    I was told you should only do it a few times each training session.     I've been taking Leon outside to teach him because he can't be around the 50 other dogs I have or he'd get too distracted.   That's why I originally taught him out in my back yard.  

I am so proud of myself and Leon.    I'm excited to try and learn more and help Leon become the best dog he can be.   My next goal will be "Down" and then the magic one is "Leave It."   Professional Lindsay might need to take Leon for a few days to teach him that one.   He's a great dog, but he definitely needs to learn some manners.    And by me, quite the novice, being able to teach Leon "sit" bodes extremely well for this intelligent young pup.

Leon has definitely calmed down - he's still doing some puppyish things but he's doing a lot better.   It might help that he's been getting regular walks and getting plenty of "running around like a nut outside" time.   I can't wait until Leon's perfect family comes along - they're going to be so lucky.  I had a woman interested in Leon last week and when I received the email forwarded by our director, I responded to this woman with a little bit about Leon and asked her to fill out an application.    I then proceeded to receive one of the nastiest emails I've ever seen from someone and she decided to accuse me of "bait and switch," being terse and pretty much forcing her to drive 50 miles to go buy a dog.      I was so mad it's the first time I've ever responded to someone immediately without giving myself time to calm down.  I wasn't rude, but I did let her know that she should be ashamed of herself for being so rude to me when I'm an unpaid volunteer trying to help out a few dogs.   People like that definitely have no clue what adopting a rescue dog is all about and definitely have no business trying to get this sweet boy.     The NOIVE! ;)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Anniversary TRex

On the 21st of March, 2009 (a Saturday) I attended my first and only puppy mill auction.    TRex was up on the table, not being bid on and my friend Michel had gone for a bathroom break.   I sneakily stuck her number up in the air and bid on TRex for their minimum bid of $25.    Nobody else was interested, and we all have a pretty good idea what happens to a dog that doesn't even earn $25 at an auction.     I am sure if I hadn't bid on TRex, he wouldn't have seen the dawn of another day.    On our way home, I volunteered to foster TRex because I was the one that had decided on getting a dog we weren't planning to have.  

It was not an easy road with TRex for the first while.    First of all, JTK was out of the country on vacation with his Dad and Step Mother in Taiwan so I had TRex in my house for a few days without JTK around.   After Joey came home, TRex absolutely HATED him and just barked and barked and barked and barked at him.    (Turns out TRex doesn't like male humans too much)   I also had another foster that came from the same auction, a 12 year old pug named Daisy.   Within a  couple of days being at my house she went into heat and Mr. un-neutered TRex was obsessed with mating with her.   The other dog that I fostered from that auction, Scooter, ended up developing parvo.   He was hospitalized for a week and came back home with me.   Unfortunately, he didn't make it past a couple more days.   I've heard that's common.   I left for a couple of hours and I came home to TRex shaking Scooter's dead body in his mouth.   It was a horrific sight and since I didn't really know TRex, I thought he killed Scooter and I admit I hated TRex with all my heart.

I dropped Scooter off at the vet that day and had him cremated.    I couldn't even look at TRex for days.  I fed him and gave him a home but I didn't want anything to do with him.     I would just walk past him and ignore him because I had so much anger toward him and I didn't want to say or do anything unkind.    Then one day I looked into his eyes and I realized that if TRex had done this thing that is so horrible in a human's eyes it really isn't surprising in the dog world.   TRex came from a place where he fought to eat, drink, mate and even live.   If he targeted the "weak dog" in the pack I couldn't blame him for that.

Before you get too wound up, though, now that I know TRex there is no way in the world he could have killed Scooter.   I've seen TRex get into a number of fights with other dogs and he's tons more bark than bite.  He hardly ever connects, and if he does it's in a cowardly nip on the back and not in a death lunge at the throat.     No way in the world did TRex "murder" Scooter as I had first thought.   Now that I know this dog, there aren't many things in my life that I'm more sure of than that.   He has a sweet and gentle heart - see how he cleans Tina's eyes for her daily??  Much to her dismay.  ha

TRex slowly became more and more "normal".   He slept on the floor next to my bed for the longest time.   I kept a big, thick blanket there and would literally cocoon himself into it.   I would occasionally pick him up and let him get in my bed, but he was so beside himself with joy and excitement about being in my bed that I couldn't get any sleep.   He was insane.    One day I took a nap, and I was so tired I was able to fall asleep quickly and get TRex to calm down too.     Success!  But I still didn't want to share my bed with him because he still got wound up.    I would sleep with him on occasion and then one day he learned how to jump on the bed.   There was no going back from that day.  

TRex is a constant presence in my bed at night - snuggled under the covers whether it's winter, spring, summer or fall!   That's where he also sleeps during the day when I'm gone.    I used to make my bed, but I've given up because TRex will destroy it to snuggle under the covers.  Now I "tidy" it up and make sure it's loose enough to crawl under.    He still likes to cocoon himself, though, so there are many days he jumps off the bed when I get home taking all the covers with him.    Here he is, right now, behind me on the futon.  I keep sheets on the futon and he's managed to undo them so he can curl himself up in them.   Heck .. it's raining outside for goodness sake. 

When I first got TRex, he would wheeze a lot, he was overweight and he had (and sitll has)  a "pimply" chin.   I would call him a NERD and everyone who heard me would get after me, thinking I was being rude or mean.   But, hey, I'm a nerd too so it's definitely a term of endearment and not an insult.   TRex still has his pimples, he's lost a bunch of weight and he only wheezes when he's particularly distraught.  He's definitely a different boy - but you can see those pimples!   You can also see in this picture how his little lower lip caves in a little because he has no teeth.   Doesn't he have the most expressive eyes and  face?   I think it's because he's seen a lot in his little life.

Today he was at PetSmart and Bridgeton and you wouldn't believe the number of people that commented on how cute he is - how cool he looks, etc.   When I used to take him to events I could only take him alone because he is SUCH  a handful.   He would bark at every man within eyesight, he growled and barked at other dogs, and he couldn't be put in a crate.   He does not handle crates well at all - he paces, he barks, he whines, he gets himself so worked up he's in a panting frenzy.   All his front teeth are gone and the other teeth are all "filed down" and I'm convinced it came from chewing constantly on his crate.    Today he let a man pet him, he sniffed politely or ignored other dogs BUT he still flipped out in a crate. ;)   Baby steps, right?  haha     I was worried someone was going to adopt TRex, the foster than nobody has really been interested in.   EEKS.  :)  This picture is of him at another event, chillin in Virginia's chair after she got up. 
Now I love TRex .... warts or pimples and all.   I think he is one of the sweetest and most loving dogs I've ever been around.   TRex absolutely, definitely, most positively loves me.   I don't think I've ever felt so loved by a dog like I have been with TRex.     He loves me and I love him and I make sure to spoil him whenever I can.   This picture will likely horrify some people, but around the holidays (you can tell by the table cloth, dishes and TRex's red & green sweater)  I let TRex up on the table to eat the leftover peas.   One of the other dogs must have been especially mean to him or I felt sad for him, but he got to STAND on the table and eat peas.  hahaha    He must think he's in a different dimension considering the change he's had in his life! 

Puppy Mill Dogs have a chance - but only with someone that will give them all the time and love they need in the world.   I was so happy last fall when we passed Proposition B.   Nw that our dear elected officials have decided to gut it,  I am so upset.  I can't even convey my feelings because I have never been so upset about something like this in my life.   I am so disgusted and so disappointed ...  people have no idea the hours and hours and hours of time people spent to even get the damn thing on the ballot, much let get it passed.  

I sent an email to the bastard that sponsored one of these bills and told him I hope he spends his afterlife being treated exactly how he's allowing dogs to be tortured in Missouri.    I imagine I have now been put into the database of "animal crazies" but I don't care.    If any of these people had spent two years with TRex to see how long and hard it was to get him to be a "normal" dog they would be just as sad as I am.

TRex is one of the lucky ones - now we need to keep working to get as many more out as we can.   If you haven't, contact Governor Jay Nixon and implore him to VETO SB 113.    You know what's especially horrible about this bill??  It prevents the people of Missouri to rise up and work to get any type of legislation on the ballot again about puppy mills.    Not only our they ignoring our voice from last November, they're also silencing us for the future.

Office of Governor Jay Nixon

P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: (573) 751-3222

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What to do with a spaniel named Leon?

Almost every time I think about Leon, that song from the sound of music pops into my head  "How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?" but of course it includes the name Leon instead of Maria.  :)      Leon has a misadventure pretty much every day.   And if I'm lucky, we get multiple misadventures.

Today I was sitting on the couch watching "Behind the Music" about Nelly ... who can resist BTM??    I had a couple of dogs around me and Leon showed up, chomping on something.   No big deal - that's pretty standard for this puppy boy.    But when I bothered to glance over I noticed he had one of my work shoes in his mouth.   UGH   These are "dress up" Crocs which are not cheap shoes.    ugh ugh ugh    I think they might be ok to keep around as dress down shoes, but they definitely can not see the inside of the office building in Westport anymore.    Here's the end result of Leon's work.

Just now I was cleaning up the kitchen and had a couple of apples to throw out.    They're not rotten, but they're close to soft which I  don't like so the squirrels were going to have some apples for dinner.  However,  I accidentally knocked over the bag they were in and a couple toppled to the floor.   I didn't think anything of it and picked the apples up.    APPARENTLY I missed one ... one that dear boy Leon found.    Leon and TRex have kind of passed it back and forth nibbling on it ... I figure it's pretty healthy so I let them at it.   Here's Leon snacking away.   He's made a terrible mess of the futon in the computer area - but I guess that's why I keep an extra sheet on it.    I just turned around and now Suzie is snacking on it - since apples are fine for dogs in moderation, hey go for it kids!   Why do I think if I offered them all a piece of apple they wouldn't be nearly as thrilled as having scavenged one?  :)

My favorite misadventure Leon had this weekend was last night.   I was lying on my bed ready for snoozeville, but waiting for JTK to finish a certain section of his Pokemon game so I could see him off to bed and read some more of our current book "Dormia"  (It's ok ... just a really tough read aloud book with so many fantasy names and places - try saying "Dragoonya"  and "Resuza" and "Barsh-Yin-Binder" repeatedly  haha.)    Anyway, we're all relaxing and I'm watching TV.   Leon jumps on my bed and he's chewing something - I again did not pay attention to what it was.    Suddenly I hear this loud spraying and there's wet crap everywhere!  He had gotten one of my Bath and Body Works home-scent cans and punctured it with his teeth.    It scared the crap out of me but even more it scared the crap out of Leon - he ran and hid behind me! :)   I can not get that smell out of my nose - even though it's a "good" smell it's still a strong smell and one you're supposed to use sparingly ...  not an entire can at once.

I did take Leon outside to start trying to train him.    I am very close to getting him to learn "sit" after a very short time.    From what I know, you can't spend too much time at once training a dog - it needs to be in short spurts so we were only outside about 5 minutes.    He's very food motivated and he's very smart so hopefully we're on our way to getting a well behaved boy out of this.   If not, I'm probably going to ask the group to cover some training lessons for this dear boy.    I know I act like he's terrible ... well he really is. ;)   Nah - he's just a very energetic and happy Cocker Spaniel.  I fostered one other male cocker and I was relieved when he got adopted.   He constantly got into fights with the other dogs so I'm happy to say Leon does not do that.   And I have to admit, he reminds me a lot of JTK.   He's a happy go lucky guy and not really looking at the consequences of his actions, just the satisfaction of his immediate desires.   :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Do you know what flour and dog spit make????

GLUE that's what ... OMG   We are still enjoying the pleasures of Leon's flour shaking fiasco of the other day.   There is still a fine coat of flour on various things and most of the dogs had some nice crusty whiskers and chins.    Who would even dream that dogs would madly eat flour off the floor?   I would have never even thought of that ... too bad I had to find that out for myself.  ha!  Of course, Natsumi and Leon were a little messier than most so tonight they had to be given a bath.     Can you see that disgusting glue stuck in Natsumi's face?  Natsumi was sooooo messy that I actually had to clip  her face hair while I was giving her a bath.  I couldn't get the flour/dog spit/glue out of her furry snout.    Of course, TRex was in the middle of the mix standing next to the bathtub and greedily gobbling up any hair clippings that came his way.     Dog hair AND flour mixed in ?? Now that is a treat right up TRex's alley.   I know .... eewwww   And best of all, I got soaking wet. But you know, after getting such a dreaded chore like that over I have a huge amount of relief!

Natsumi is still traumatized by her combination bath and impromptu hair clipping episode tonight.  Doesn't she look pitiful all wet?     It also takes her forever to dry off since she's got such thick hair.    I gave her a bath over two hours ago and she's still wet1   She hates her baths - I even cuddle her up in the bed afterward but she just shakes and shakes and shakes.   I think that's really common with a dog that didn't have a  home and didn't have the experience of receiving baths.    I'm not saying that dogs from loving homes enjoy baths, but there's this absolute terror that seems to come in dogs that are really unsure of the experience.    It probably doesn't help that she can't see.   My little Nachee was quite dramatic this evening.     I added a new picture of her on Petfinder tonight as well as a different profile .... fingers crossed.   This picture was taken by a group member for Mardi Gras and I love it - she said Natsumi reminded her of a muppet.   I bet she's jealous she didn't get to sing with Cee Lo Green.  ;)

I had to email the gentleman the other day that's interested in Leon and let him know that Leon has been acting quite puppyish lately since he'd be coming from Paducah, KY.    Considering he's a single, older man I just knew Leon wouldn't last 2 days in his house and then we'd have to go through the ordeal of getting Leon back.   Of course, I got an almost immediate email back ... thanks, but no thanks.  :) 

So tonight I changed Leon's profile on Petfinder - I'm hoping that'll do the trick to get his patootie adopted.  I hadn't been able to update it and I've changed it to include his active lifestyle.    Any runners or joggers out there?   Here's a dog that might help you train for a marathon without wearing out.   Please??  Really?  Sure you don't know someone???    haha I don't know how much longer JTK, myself and our 50 dogs can handle the furry, canine tornado known as Leon.  :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Someone take this dog PLEASE

Whut?  Hoo?  Me?  No, seriously.  ME?
OMG .... Leon has turned into the nuttiest of nutty dogs in the past couple of days.   Yesterday, I got home from work and the house was just a mess.    Things were pulled off the coffee table, covers were drug into different rooms, one of the couch pillows had been partially de-stuffed and two previously whole cans of cat food had been retrieved from a high place and opened.     I figured that maybe because Joe was at his Dad's last night and Leon had to be without human companionship longer than he wanted to he flipped out.   Not so much - Joey got home today around 2:40 and guess what Leon had found?   An unopened (NO LONGER) bag of flour.   Yes, we have flour from one end of the house to the other.    It's all over everything ... have you ever tried cleaning up a bag of flour?   JTK did a great job before I got home, but there's a thin layer of flour on everything.    Plus, all the dogs traipsed through it and then chose to plop their flour covered paws on anything with a dark surface.   I found my dresser with a door open and big white paws planted alllllll over a pair of casual pants I have.     Suzie and TRex both have apparently buried their faces in the flour because they have partial partial white faces.   Besides being  impossible to clean, flour is pretty slippery too!   ugh

Leon is in serious puppy mode and with the crummy weather we haven't been playing with him as much as he needs to be played with.    True, we try to throw the tennis ball in the house but living in a small house the round trip isn't that long.  ;)    Leon has someone interested in him in Paducah, KY.    The gentleman is so kind but I'm worried without a dog companion and/or a kid to play with Leon will become even more of a terror than he has been here the past couple of days.   Puppies are not so bad to handle, it's when the puppy is big and can get places I'm not used to, that's when it turns into trouble for me.   ::sigh::  

Leon went to his first adoption event on Sunday and he was beside himself with wanting the other dogs to pay attention to him and play.     Nobody was really interested in playing, though, so Leon proceeded to do this horrible high/shrieky bark for the majority of our time there.   I knew I would only be there a short time and am I ever relieved.   egads   He's a sweet dog but he seriously needs some training.    One woman who met him pointed out that he'd be an excellent agility dog.   Now that's my goal for Leon's future - for someone to take the time to train him and focus all his energy and excitement.

Flour Mess

After the fiasco of yesterday I figured I would start crating Leon. I let my dogs have the run of the house because they don't tear stuff up and they're pretty laid back. But I am not up for coming home to a new and exciting HUGE mess every day so Leon will be crated.    Unfortunately, I could not get my patootie out of bed and was running to late to get it set up.    Lesson learned!

Today was just one of those days ... right before I left work I realized I missed something on a loan application.    It's a purchase and the condominium project has 50% of it rented out, making it out to be a "condotel" and it's ineligible for financing.    Meaning, a  purchase closing that was supposed to close next Wednesday is not closing at all.   Great way to start my working relationship with my new loan officer, eh?    I found out about 10 mins before I left for the day so decided to put that drama off until tomorrow.   If you have a minute, think good thoughts for me ok? :)