After a lot of long days competing for the Twin Cities’ Hottest Dog, we’re sitting back and reflecting on what really matters today.
- We’ll be able to go to bed early now.
- All my dogs are happy and healthy.
- Foster Maggie is making huge strides after a year and a half with us.
- The contest brought lots of attention to a great organization, Minnesota Sheltie Rescue.
- We truly have the most amazing friends around. Thank you to all of you who supported Jasper and voted your hearts out this past week. We were floored by your support.
Given how much we have to be grateful for, it seemed to be appropriate that this video came across my feed today. It’s a little different from past videos shared here on Friday, but once you hear it I think you will know why I shared it. Gratitude comes in many forms. This kind of gratitude (and relief) is one I think most owners can understand.
Have an amazing weekend and a wonderful Friday everyone!
One of the things I love most about rehabbing puppy mill dogs is watching them bloom and start to become real dogs. They might never become the dogs they were meant to become, but they get close as time goes on. The difference between puppy mill dogs and other dogs is that they spend a lot of time watching and absorbing everything around them before actually trying it themselves.
They act like little sponges, filling in all the holes left behind by their lack of socialization on early life, and then suddenly, a switch turns on and they start to put all the pieces together and act out the behaviors they have seen in other dogs.
Daisy was like this when I first brought her home. When we would go to the dog park, she wouldn’t interact with the other dogs (and most definitely not with people), but would sit and watch and observe them. She would take in their behaviors and the repercussions. She would watch how they played and drank and interacted with each other. From these observations, she slowly started to fill in the gaping holes in her knowledge of how to be a dog.
I still remember how she would watch her friends, Prince and Princess, drink from a water jug at the park. She watched them for weeks, and then one day, she tried doing it herself. It was clumsy and messy, but she tried. She pulled on her past observations of their movements and mimicked them as she attempted to drink water out of the water jug.
Cupcake has always been an observer too. She’s never had an issue with “speaking dog”, but interacting with humans was something she has always been fearful of, until recently. All those years of watching other dogs approach strangers for treats and a butt scratch has paid off. She is starting to mimic their behaviors. If you had asked me if Cupcake would let strangers pet her two years ago, I would have said NO WAY. But now? She does it more than I ever expected. And, with strangers too! She’ll follow behind them and wait for them to offer her a piece.
Maggie is no different. For the past year and a half she has been absorbing tons of information about her environment, dog behavior, and me. It started slowly with just learning the routines and knowing what to do when.
She learned how to put herself to bed at night by opening the kennel door herself. She learned that she gets fed in her kennel and being in it brings good things. She also learned that scritches feel good and now seeks out my touch daily. (I love her little nose nudges for attention.)
But even more recently, Maggie seems to have flipped a switch and decided that she wants to be like the other dogs.
Last Saturday, I updated the Sheltie volunteers (at our Sheltie Meet and Greet) on where Maggie was at in her rehab. I told them that Maggie had “watch me” and “touch” down, she had yet to learn “sit.” I also told them that she still needed a long line on when she went outside because that was the easiest and quickest way to get her inside.
I guess Maggie felt she had something to prove, because Saturday night I held out a treat and asked for a “sit” and she sat, several times! In the past , I had worked on sit without the cue word by holding a treat over her nose (like you do in puppy class) but each time it was met with nervous lip-licking and look-aways. It was too much pressure for her. She would back away or shut down. This time she not only sat, but she did it when I said the word! She had put the two things together on her own.
Then, on Sunday and Monday, I thought I would see if she knew the word “down” and asked for a down while also holding a treat near the floor. She did a down too! Not just once, but several times!
Then yesterday, Maggie’s long line broke in half while I was bring her inside. I groaned because I knew that I might be late for work since I would need to herd her inside. (This has taken me anywhere from 30-45 minutes in the past.) But apparently, Maggie had something else she wanted to show me. She took her usual route around the lilac bush and behind the chairs on the patio, but she went inside all on her own! I was shocked. She has never done that without me herding her in. Holy cow Maggie!
Last night I thought I would see if it was a fluke and let her out into the yard without a long line. Not a fluke. She did the same thing! She went right inside. On her own. And, this morning? She did it again. Could it be we are permanently done with long line? I hope so!
I am so proud of her. Maggie is pulling on all that information she has been collecting for the past year and a half and using it. Her sponge might not be completely full yet, but she definitely has filled a lot of holes. This is the very best part of working with a puppy mill dog. It makes it all worth it. Go Maggie Go!
Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow Java script so I can’t provide a direct link to the linky, but you can join here.
This weekend is my mother’s 80th birthday. Considering what she went through over the past month (major surgery for an esophageal hiatal hernia) it is a birthday my family is truly grateful for.
While my mom was in the hospital, I cared for her dog, Jake, who adores her dearly. They were reunited this past weekend. What a very happy day! Jake immediately took up his role as her guardian and protector. All is right with the world again.
My mother also has several “grand-dogs” who adore her and will be very excited to see her. They love running up to her and getting special pets and attention from her. Who wouldn’t?
Thinking about my dogs seeing my mom made me wonder if there were other dogs out there who loved their Grandmas just as much as mine do. I had to believe there were more. That’s how I happened upon this cute, and nicely edited, video of a dog waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to arrive. It’s very sweet.
So how about your dog? Does he/she love Grandma too?
Happy Friday everyone!
Back when we were kids, my dad had an old time movie projector on which he would play family movies he had taken throughout the years. I remember the flicking sound of the 8mm film running through the reels, and watching the images flash on the screen. We kids loved to watch those old movies, most of them featuring our young family interacting with one another or being goofy in front of the camera.
Whenever dad wanted to get to a good part on the film, he would turn a knob on the projector and fast forward through the boring stuff. I would watch as fleeting images appear quickly on the screen, just little wisps of family and memories flying by at a rapid pace, until dad would stop the projector, pause, and then turn the knob and let the movie run at regular speed again.
To me, time is a lot like that film in the old movie projector. Sometimes it runs at regular speed and you sit back and soak in every little moment. At other times, it seems to go whipping by in fast forward mode and you only get the chance to see fleeting moments of days gone by. But every once in a while, the film stops, and in that moment something changes and you are forced to take stock.
Six months ago, I heard the words insulinoma and cancer and Daisy, and the film stopped. I was forced to take stock, and to take action. I remember those early days and the agonizing decision-making involved. So much happened so fast and yet, so much slowed down too. There is nothing like hearing your dog has cancer to make stop and take notice of all that is around you.
Looking back now, I am amazed at how much time has gone by. In fact, it wasn’t even until today that I realized six months had already passed since Daisy’s surgery to remove her insulinoma. I guess the film in the projector sped up again somewhere along the way huh?
Back in February, I had so many doubts about whether I was doing the right thing by going forward with the surgery. Today, I am grateful for the extra six months with my girl. I am hoping there will be even more.
We’ve made good use of our extra time together.
In the past six months (what I now consider bonus time), Daisy has…
Can I get six more please?