Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Cuddle Factor

When you study or read about the history of dogs, how they came to be "man's best friend," and changed from the wolf to a domesticated laboror and now pet, you'll notice the changes in how they look. 

Dogs in the last 200+ years have undergone extreme changes in looks, function, and form to fit a huge number of jobs desired by humans. Irish wolfhounds truly hunt wolves, poodles are excellent water dogs for hunters (yes, those pom-poms on their hips keep them warm in chllly water), the stamina of Dalmations came from running beneath carriages and between horses for miles, Dachshunds are tough hounds bred to go below ground after badgers. 

Part of the attraction of dogs today is the Cuddle Factor. It's existed a long time and is one reason we put up with the messes of puppies and kittens: they are so cute. It is also a reason (perhaps not the entire reason) we adopt the dogs we do. 

Silverwalk has a lovely, adoptable Beagle named Ava. She is shy, hunkers to the floor when approached but runs and plays with the pack (in the yard or, as we saw yesterday, outside the yard!). Ava got out of the fence (I left the gate open - mea culpa!), but stayed with the Centenary/SEMO volunteer walkers, then, to my delight, she came running when I stooped down with open arms, smiling and asking her to come to me - she raced and walked well on a leash back home. Good girl! Always be positive when a dog comes back to you - even when you're scared out of your mind. 

Ava in Yard

Ava in the Yard

Ava had a couple come look at her. She looked like their beloved Beagle who passed but Ava is not a cuddly dog. This couple decided Ava was not for them; they knew themselves and who they needed well enough to keep looking for their right dog. I've tried to put Ava on my lap and she'll stay till I let her go; then she's gone, looking for a toy or finding her own spot on top of the couch to nap. I think she will always be shy. Her family, who I know is out there, will be people able to handle the fact Ava won't be cuddly - but she will be fun, especially with another dog. 

I recently adopted out a Border Collie, Denali. She is not a cuddler but her new family wanted a friend for their other senior dog, not necessarily for themselves. Win-win for all.

Denali at Home

Denali in her new home

Just now, my 6 month old Beagle puppy, Ethel M., crawled up into my lap to get some cuddling herself. She is getting a good start, though I wonder what her early start was like.

Ethel M. (part of the "I Love Lucy" gang) making herself at home

Some dogs become cuddlers; others never will, like Ava (please prove me wrong). Most people, myself included, enjoy a dog who will cuddle on the floor, a chair, or in bed with their owners. A friend is valiantly working with a former puppy mill dog who is very fearful, won't cuddle - but she is dedicated to him and his well-being from his perspective, not just from hers.

When you are looking for a dog to adopt, consider the Cuddle Factor. Do you want a dog who will cuddle, or are you fine with one at your feet and side throughout the day? You may want a dog to train for obedience, rally, or any number of sports who won't need or want to cuddle. An adoptable dog is waiting to fulfill the need in your heart/life. Those "shelter" dogs? They are as good if not better than any other dog; they lost a home through no fault of their own and know when they have a second chance. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Ethel, aka The Streak!

Young Ethel allegedly complements Lucy, Ricky, and Fred Mertz aka Squishy. After she joined us Saturday, all I could think of was the song, "The Streak," by Ray Stevens. Ethel is the small, tri-color blur in this video. I finally have still photos of her - LOL.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Introducing the "I Love Lucy" Gang

Silverwalk accepted two Beagles Wednesday from the very pro-active, rescue friendly Sikeston Area Humane Society. I had them taken directly to the vet. Both are older - she is 11, he is 8 (really, not old but adult in my thinking).

Someone, a backyard breeder, a person breeding for puppies to swap, or just a very ignorant person, cared little for these lovely dogs, Lucille and Ricky. They are part of my "I Love Lucy" gang: Ethel arrived today from a gassing pound whose part-time ACO is also rescue friendly. She is much younger, reportedly "cute, cute with a 3/4 tail which didn't stop wagging." I'll pick her up in the morning after work since I don't want to bring her in and then leave...

Lucille on arrival in crate with Ricky

Lucille wants to be loved, wants companionship. She seeks me out. Her ears are long, silky; her appetite robust. She is chock-a-block full of heart-worms, intact, with a large, pendulous mammary tumor. We're starting simply: food, shots, flea/tick management, and lots of love. Her heart-worms are so dense, treating her may kill her. Removing the tumor may kill her. Spaying at this time is out of the question - last on our list. She is such a loving, kind, sweet dog I want to throttle the person(s) who used her as a breeding machine without caring for her as herself. Yet, somewhere, there was kindness, since Lucy doesn't shy away from me, she doesn't duck and cover, she seeks me out.

Lucille in yard checking pee mail

Ricky, her consort, is in much the same shape. Densely full of heart-worms, skinny, shying from my hand and yet by today, coming to me if I'm quiet and not demanding. Intact with no tumor but a horrendous cough. He has a similar plan: food, shots, flea/tick, and lots of love. He and Lucille were reported to be "bonded." I see some of that but mostly, I see them enjoying the grass, running and playing with the pack, coming into the house through the dog door without my coaxing them.

Ricky immediately showed his hunter side

Ricky smiling in crate on arrival with Lucille

I remind myself, when looking at and interacting with sweet Lucy and suspicious Ricky, they are what a sanctuary is all about - a haven for those who have no hope, whose time on Earth is limited, but whose capacity for love is beyond belief! 

Monday, April 15, 2013


I had plans for a witty, mischief filled post. It is on the backburner while I and we pray for those affected by the bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line. I don't understand hate; I don't understand bombing to kill and maim innocents. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Gidget, Then and Now

Gidget then.....last summer on arrival 

Thank you, Tena, ACO who saves dogs; Kayla, her right hand "man," and Susan, Gidget's foster mom!

Gidget NOW!
aka Gertie

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dogs Who Escape (You Know Who You Are)

This past week, Shiloh was found on the highway. His Good Samaritan picked him up, scanned the Pethub QR code on his ScruffCollar, and took him to our local Humane Society. Tracy called Pethub, found out I was his "owner," of course knew me, then called and left me a message. Whew - I was in another room when everything was buzzing and ringing multiple times! I have the phone number of the GS so I can call to thank him when my laryngitis is gone.

Shiloh has two collars: one with ID, the other lights up 

I loved on Shiloh (as much as I could with him reeking of manure), then kenneled him at home - gently but definitely.  Both he and Mami are ranging further afield now the weather is better. I need to quickly address safety issues at home. I'm looking into wire toppers for the fence (anyone have directions for this?), a hot wire for the porch, and the TAGG system for both Shiloh and Mami.

Mami - at rest; "What, me jump? Look how sweet I am!"

I posted most of below on my Silverwalk Hounds Facebook page. One commenter thought I let my dogs run loose without a fence. Oh, no, they have an acre fenced in with trees, dog houses, Peanut holes, water, a bunny trail, other dogs to play with, and yet, these two in particular and one other being fostered (and, of course, Keen RIP), either jump the fence, porch, or climb the chain link to get out. I watched now adopted Redbone Coonhound, Hoss, elegantly leap the fence, touching with his hind legs to give him momentum. Hounds - gotta love them even when they exasperate you!

Hoss, fence jumper extraordinaire

A soapbox of mine: NEVER, EVER, yell at or punish a dog when you catch them or they come back to you after running away; in their minds, they have done a GOOD thing ;

  • praise them, 
  • hug them, 
  • give them a treat, 
  • then kennel them to give your heart time to recover. 
Punishing after the fact is useless because they will associate the immediate situation as the one being punished aka the return home, which we WANT. And just how are you "punishing" your dog, anyway? Positive, positive, please.

Dogs who run or get lost are NOT bad dogs nor are they misbehaving (most times); they are doing what is natural to them. Those of us who own/rescue/adopt/foster hounds know this more than some other breed types. Their natural instinct is to roam, hunt, tree or kill prey (even on Easter!). So, when they are VERY GOOD, and come home SAFELY or otherwise, go overboard and make them know what they did was GREAT (in coming home).

When your dog is safely home or otherwise, address the issues from a safety point of view on YOUR behalf:

  • how to fix the fence (I need a topper on my fence so they can't go over as well as the hot wire back on my porch), 
  • only leash handling, etc. 
  • I walk the perimeter of my fence at least every other day; I'm not worried about holes inside; I'm worried if they tunnel to the outside. A young friend and I once were sitting in the field talking, not really paying attention to the dogs unless they came to us. Not far from where we sat, Cindy Lou Who, a Beagle, silently and effectively dug her way under the fence and the concrete block on the outside of my fence, making her escape. I finally looked around and asked where she was - she came back, is adopted, but has not mended her ways. 

I have an underground electronic fence which Shiloh tested, then went through anyway. Him I give to God everyday. If I kept him so secure to be truly safe, it would break his spirit - and one day, I know, it will break mine when he is killed or lost. He's been here since 2007, and I pray he is here a lot longer.

Years ago, my neighbor, who raised/traded/hunted Beagles for years asked me if he shouldn't get after his dog for coming back late or not to his call; I was astonished! Of course you don't; you make them very happy to come home! I had one dog who drove me crazy with her escaping, but she had excellent recall; she would be headed for another neighbor's chickens but if I saw and called her in time, she turned on a dime and came to me. Priceless.