Monday, June 20, 2011

Dogs coming and going, and some staying...

Our world has moved on a bit since my last blog. A few foster dogs have come and gone - Tara and Sara and most recently Liam (the foster that almost didn't get away - he was a sweetie - almost kept him!) And we added to our pack in that frame as well. Our newest pup is Bear, a border collie / "some kind of herding dog" mix (direct quote from our vet), and he has been something else. Bear was a stray who had to be trapped by animal control to get him off the streets. Then he endured heart worm treatment (under the care of a great foster mom at her kennel - lucky him!) and managed to make it through with flying colors. Bear came to us a bit scared and unsure, and it took him about 2 months to learn "sit". Bear seems to have endured some not very nice things prior to being picked up, but he is bouncing back really well and now trusts us more each day.

Bear gets along great with our guys and our cats - which is a huge relief. We said we wanted to adopt Bear sight unseen. Something about his picture just spoke to me. His name at the shelter was Asia, and I just couldn't resist him. He and Shadow had the usual dust ups in establishing which male was tougher, Shadow won, but I'm pretty sure Bear threw the round because he doesn't care to be tough or dominant. Works for me. Pepper really likes Bear too, to the point that she lets him snuggle on her. And no one ever, in all the 15 or so that have come through our house, has ever "snuggled" on Pepper. I get a real kick out of watching the two of them snuggle, and play, and then the three of them play and at the end there is black fur everywhere to the point where our tan carpet looks gray/black. Furry carpet is a cheap price of admission to watch these three knuckle heads wrestle - I love it!

Bear, like every other dog we have had in our home, has a few issues. When we leave the house, he gets destructive if we don't crate him. Now, that may sound horrendous - you leave home and return to destruction. But really, it has been kind of funny. The first time we left he ripped apart a book that I had been putting off reading to "develop my career" (yawn, won't miss that one!) and a few magazines that I had no real intention of reading anyway. He also chewed on a chair in our living room, the same chair that Shadow had his way with a year ago. So all in all, he's destroying things we don't really want, or should throw away anyway. No big whoop in my book. So far. Given that we purchased new leather furniture for the den not too long ago, we now crate him when we go out and are working with him on very short time away (like when I go to the mailbox, the one at the end of the driveway, and sometimes I even jog there - and don't crate him).

Why does any of this matter? Because problems more mundane than this get dogs in trouble with their owners, and that trouble sometimes lands them on death row. Right now shelters are bursting at the seams with dogs are no longer wanted, or their owners can't afford to care for them, or their owners just can't be bothered. These dogs aren't perfect. Some need obedience training, some need to learn in home behaviors, some just need to expend lots of energy to be happy (gee - this sounds like some kids and adults I know - and love :) Some just need love, like the aforementioned kids and adults (I'd do another smiley face at the end here but I'm afraid I will get virtual rotten fruit thrown at me for being too cutesy :+9)

Anyway....given that June is National Gay Pride Month, what can you do to help shelter dogs? (Yes, I know the two aren't actually related, just wanted to throw it in here and to see if you were still paying attention :) What can you do to help these death row dogs? Volunteer with a rescue - foster a dog or help at meet and greet events. Volunteer at a shelter - or donate to a shelter or rescue group. Or adopt a shelter dog. Or tell your friends about these rescues that need fosters and adopters. Anything like this is a huge help, it doesn't take a lot of your time, and - bonus - it makes you feel good. And who doesn't want to feel good? So, what are you going to do?

PS - Friday is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. I am trying to get Di to take Shadow to work with her - I think he would love it, don't you?

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