What a great way to start off my New Year! Meeting my friend Eli at the shelter and working with the dogs.
Quick update on Neo - he is a complete LOVE and was very excited to see me today. To tell the truth I was quite excited to see him too. He should get his behavior testing this week and hopefully a spot will clear for him to go into adoptions!
A quick note about Elmer - Turns out I didn't get to work with Elmer today. The Kennel Staff was in the middle of cleaning out their kennels and he wasn't where I could get him out. Next week I will be going later in the day so that shouldn't be a concern. But the excellent news is that he cuddled with one of the employees this week! He just hung out with her in a relaxed way. Not only that but he is being taken into a local rescue as soon has he is neutered! Yipee for Elmer!
This beautiful boy doesn't have a name yet - most in the back room don't. I've seen him many times and have given him treats on my walk through. Today I confirmed what I have suspected. He is blind. I don't have a lot of experience with blind dogs but as we walked and he bumped into things I had an idea. If he was walking toward something I would "Beep" like those big trucks do when they back up. It didn't take him long at all to understand that "Bang" soon followed "Beep". We walked all over in the play yard working our way around obstacles using the sound of my voice.
Dogs handle stress (and fear is a form of stress) by doing one of the "Four F's"...they "Freeze", "Flee", "Fight" or they "Fool Around". I'm pretty comfortable working with the first three but struggle when I am faced with a Fool Around dog. These dogs are hyperactive, jump and bounce all over the place. Basically they appear to be very happy but they are indeed stressed. Today I worked with a Fool Around dog.
Meet Leroy! Thankfully Eli had taken Leroy for a walk prior to me working with him. As I watched Eli and Leroy I was impressed with how well Eli could ignore Leroy's foolish behavior. Believe me I was taking notes!
Between the the Thundershirt and the leash configuration I had a very well behaved dog on my hands! We practiced walking "Let's go", "and wait", and "Look at me". I had Leroy's full attention! When I decided to sit in front of him in a chair he became too excited. Edie-Jane's words of "keep the dog moving" came flooding into my head. As long as we walked and I stopped briefly for TTouches he was calm.
Leroy walked all the way back to his kennel checking in with me and responding to my queues. He sat nicely while I removed his Thundershirt and lead, gave him a treat and wished him a very happy day.
I know I say it all the time but certain things just really surprise me when they work so well. You would think I'd be used to it by now. I was really pleased with my session with Leroy. Maybe Leroy will be a turning point for me and I won't avoid the "Fool Around" dogs quite as much. Thank you Leroy! The animals really are our teachers.
After thought: Today I keep having a certain thought pass through my mind. I keep thinking that IF every single person that has ever loved an animal of any kind did SOMETHING for another animal this year.....the world would be a far better place.