Do you have your dog’s back?

When you take your dog out, whether it’s for a walk around the neighborhood, or a trip to the dog park, or to run errands in dog-friendly stores, do you have your dog’s back? Do you support him in any way you can? Do you expect him to behave perfectly at all times?

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What about when you’ve newly adopted? How quickly do you expect the new dog to behave perfectly? To fit in to your home, your routine, your life? Especially if it’s an adult dog, do you adopt assuming they will be perfection? That they will automatically be everything you want and expect?

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You have probably guessed where this is going, but if you haven’t I will explain…Pace has been returned. Now as a disclaimer, this is not meant to be a judgmental post. It is more about expectations that humans have of dog’s. Promise. So, here’s the story….

I took Pace to his adopters’ house on Tuesday. Everyone was very excited and happy. I went over the paperwork, which includes vet records, brochures we have from local trainers, & other doggie businesses, as well as informational things all dog owners should know. I said, stressed!, how important it was to allow Pace two weeks to settle in. I reminded them that Pace has most likely never been an inside family pet. Everything will be new to him. The first two weeks should be relaxed, all about creating a bond between him and his new owners. I even suggested getting signed up for a training class, as this is a great way to bond, and Pace could use the obedience training…he’s super smart, but again, most likely never had a committed owner that worked with him. I personally taught him how to sit, so what could a previous owner have done? Not much, obviously. Anyway…we went over the importance of using a halter because of Pace’s strength, keeping him on leash at all times, using a crate when not being supervised in the home. I finalized the adoption, said goodbye, and went home.

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Two hours later I got a call from the husband. He sounded frustrated, said that Pace had “marked” in the house about 4 times, including across their dresser. He said that this wasn’t going to work out, they weren’t at the stage in their lives where they want to potty train a dog, etc. I explained that this is not a potty training issue, but that I would do some research and talk to the LHR president for some suggestions. It sounded like the decision was already made though, and that Pace would be coming back. Still, I talked to Angela, and did lots of research. I emailed the adopter a very long message about the importance of allowing a dog time to settle in, reasons why a dog marks in a new setting (insecurity, being unsure…), and ways to make it stop. Everything I found assures the reader that “marking” is a temporary issue. So I forwarded all of the info I had that night…

Wednesday came and went, with no contact. Maybe this was good news? Maybe they realized how important it is to allow the dog time?

Then Thursday morning came, and I got the phone call. He thanked me for the email, and said I was right. The “marking” stopped. He said they had a great day and night with Pace, took him out for walks, spent time with him. He said what a good dog Pace was, and so smart. However, the wife had taken Pace out for a walk that morning, and he got away from her. (How? I’m not sure.) He ran into a man and a rottweiler and “confronted” them. This scared the wife, and made them realize that Pace was just too much for them, too strong of a dog, basically. He seemed to sound remorseful, said again what a great dog Pace is, and arrangements were made for the return. Pace is now back at his foster’s, settling in, again.

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I try my best not to judge. Or to be mad. I will always want a dog to be returned, rather than in a home where he is not wanted. But again, I ask…what do we expect from our four-legged friends? How quickly do we expect a dog to settle in? We should be taking into account what their past was, thinking what they have been through, what their life was like before coming into our homes. We should be thinking of ways that we can have our dog’s backs. How we can make them feel safe and secure; how we can strengthen a bond with them; how we can show them that we are the good guy and that they can trust us. Patience, routine, and training is SO important when getting a new dog, no matter the age. These three things are what will create a lifelong relationship between the dog and the owner. I can’t stress that enough. Dogs are not perfect. Neither are humans. Expecting them to be will only result in a failed attempt of a life together.

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*Pace is a 2 yr old, Australian Cattle Dog mix. He is active and strong, sweet and loving. He is good with other dogs and kids. Pace is adoptable through Last Hope Rescue, in Tallahassee, FL. He is neutered, up to date on vaccines, and micro-chipped. Adoption fee is $125, and transport within FL can be arranged. Please share if you know anyone who might want to show Pace what love, commitment, and patience is all about!! 

 

Meant to Be?

I don’t particularly believe in things being “meant to be.” Not in relationships, or anything really. I think it’s more like being in the right place at the right time, with a little luck and hard work thrown in the mix. Those are my feelings most days anyway. But every now and then, something happens to make me think otherwise. Maybe there really is such a thing. Maybe everything really does happen for a reason. Let me tell you this little story, and you can decide for yourselves….

So I am sure you all know Pace by now. I have talked about him a few times, and I’ve posted him on the Tails of a Foster Mom FB page. But just in case there is anyone that missed those particular posts, here is the short(ish) version.

Pace is a dog that I met during a random visit to the local animal shelter in September. For some reason, I loved him immediately and I asked to take him out to a run. Jayden and I played with him, and loved on him. He was super sweet, so happy to be out, wagging his tail and giving us both tons of kisses!

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Unfortunately Last Hope did not have any fosters available, so there was no way the rescue could take him. I visited the shelter a few more times, and also officially became a volunteer…all the while, Pace was there, waiting to be adopted. I heard that there was an ASF board member that had been giving Pace some attention too. She was kind enough to take him home at night from time to time, in order to let him feel the comforts of home life. Anyway, the  shelter offers a training class for dogs that they adopt out, and if a volunteer wants to, they can take a shelter dog as well. This is in hopes of making the dog more adoptable by helping them learn obedience skills. So, I signed Pace up. We attended class on Thursday, and then I visited with him on Saturday when I had a volunteer shift. Then Sunday came along!

I got a call from LHR’s president, and she said that the ASF board member had someone who was willing to foster Pace, if LHR could pull him from the shelter. So, we all connected, got the paperwork completed, and Pace was free!

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Pace settled in to life with his foster. I heard nothing but great things from her, about how sweet and funny and loving Pace was. Yup…another person, madly in love…I obviously was not wrong about this dog! So fast forward a week to this past Saturday. LHR was having a bake sale/adoption event, and I offered to take Pace since his foster was unable to.

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Pace was a total hit at the event! Everyone loved on him, commenting how sweet and handsome he is. He was SO well behaved, politely saying hello to all of the people and dogs. He sat nicely, and wagged his tail, and got lots of treats too! I know he isn’t my dog, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a bit of pride in how good he was!

At one point, there was someone that came to the event to offer to take pictures. So we were taking the dogs one by one to an area where there was grass, and not so much going on. It was Pace’s turn, so I walked him down and the picture taking started. Then, this very nice man came around the corner, and asked me about Pace. I gave him Pace’s story, and he told me about his dog that he recently lost. He said he & his wife were sitting having lunch when he saw Pace go by, and he just had to come meet him. He seemed to be in love already, just as quickly as I had been. He went to get his wife, and as soon as she came around the corner, she had a big smile on her face too. I filled them both in on everything I knew Pace-related. I told them about LHR, and what our adoption policy consisted of. Right then and there, they wanted to adopt, so much so, that they were concerned someone else would come along and steal him away from them! They have already turned in the application, and as long as everything checks out, Pace will be in his forever home in just a few days!

This is a couple that does not follow LHR on facebook. They had never heard of us, and didn’t know anything about our event. The only reason they met Pace was because I brought him to the event, and walked him past the window where they were sitting. A handful of other dogs had walked by them. I had already gotten a ton of great pictures of Pace myself. What if they had never seen Pace? What if they had finished their lunch by the time I brought him down that way? Was this meant to be? Was it fate? Was it just Pace being in the right place at the right time? What if someone else had walked him down there, who didn’t know him like I do? Maybe they wouldn’t have been sold then. This is a dog who sat in the shelter with TONS of traffic, getting over looked day after day after day.  Yet he is in the rescue for ONE week, and now he has an adoption pending! THIS right here, is why I can handle the things I hear and see. THIS is why I absolutely love being a part of the rescue. THIS is why I love dogs. THIS is what makes me have faith that good things come to those who wait…

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Falling in Love, Again.

Hello friends! Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a great 3-day weekend. We certainly did, although as usual, it wasn’t long enough! One of the things we did this weekend, was visit the local animal shelter. As mentioned previously here, I like to take Jayden up to see the shelter animals from time to time. It is a great reminder of all the dogs (and cats and bunnies) that are in need of homes. It usually sparks a great conversation with my little animal lover about why the animals are in the shelter, who his favorite dog was, what we can do to help, etc. Also, as hard as it is on me sometimes, it makes me feel good to know that these dogs at least got some attention and love. I don’t always fall in love with one, and sometimes it is just a quick visit, walking up and down, saying hello to everyone. Other times, I see one that I particularly like, and I have the staff take them out and we play with the dog in a kennel. This lets the pup stretch their legs, get some fresh(er) air, etc. I also like to take pictures, and share them, since you never know who might come across this post and see a dog that they want to go meet! So, here are some of the dogs that we met:

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This adorable little guy is Beethoven! He is a Jack Russel mix, maybe with Corgi or Bassett. He is TINY, and SO very sweet! He was excited to see me and Jayden, wagging his tail, and giving lots of kisses! If you are looking for a small dog, this is your guy!

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This sweet girl is Betsy! She is a pittie mix, and came to the shelter as a stray. She has those amazing pittie ears, and was very playful! She was much more interested in Jayden than me…which is so typical of pit bulls. They are nicknamed the “nanny dog” after all!

photo 3These were some teeny tiny Chihuahua puppies, all huddled together, snoring away! They were each taken out multiple times, so I am pretty certain they will be adopted soon. I also got to see their two siblings that were runts, over in a special area away from the other animals. Runt Chihuahuas…talk about T-I-N-Y pups!

photo 2Meet Angel! She is an American Bulldog, and as you can see, she has sweet but sad eyes. She was not happy to be in the shelter, but as soon as I made some kissy noises at her, she came right over for some loving! She is another one that was more interested in Jayden than me. It’s actually amazing to me, just how many of the dogs gravitate towards him!

And now for the one that stole my heart….Pace! This is the guy that got lucky on this visit, and we pulled him out for some play time.

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I can not explain just HOW adorable he was! In the play kennel next to us, people had a few of the tiny pups out. There was also an entire wall of barking, lunging dogs, behind us. While Pace was curious, he didn’t once bark back or seem stressed at all. He ran around the kennel, jumped up on the bench next to us, and wagged his tail at us.

photo 2(1)He is definitely a strong pup, and needs some training, but what stray dog doesn’t?! Within just a few minutes, he was coming to me, and was hanging out at my feet. I have a feeling he would be very loyal, and bond strongly to his human. He was also great with Jayden. He did jump on me once…it was actually really adorable, because he just randomly turned and looked at me, came running full speed, and jumped on me…I swear, it was like a “OMG OMG OMG LADY THIS IS AWESOME!!!” Jayden and I were both cracking up laughing! Anyway, after the initial excitement, he calmed down and was just exploring. He even let Jayden love on him, and was just so super sweet.

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I don’t know how to explain it, but if you are in the rescue business, or you frequent shelters, than I am sure you will understand. Sometimes you meet a dog and you just KNOW what an amazing companion they will be. That is how I felt about Pace. He wasn’t phased at all by the craziness going on, and was totally content in his kennel, though just as happy to get some play time with us. I am sure he would be a fantastic family member, and companion for anyone lucky enough to adopt this boy!

photo 4(1)I have emailed the shelter with pictures and my experience with him. They will put the notes on his file, which will hopefully help him find an adopter. I have also emailed his info to local rescues, as well as to my rescue friends, begging people to share him. And now…I am coming to you, to ask the same. If you know of any Australian Cattle dog and/or Pit Bull rescues, PLEASE share Pace! And if you are just a fantastic friend or family member of mine whom I have forced to follow my blog, you can share him too! Whether you share via email, or Facebook, or Twitter, please just share this post. Someone out there MUST want an amazing, sweet, smart dog, and Pace is waiting for them to find him. Remember that this shelter is very full, getting new animals every day, and they are a kill shelter. Pace’s time is limited, so the more shares, the more of a chance he has of getting out of there alive.

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Also, just to give you an update, I AM still planning on becoming an official volunteer at the shelter! I had the interview, and now I just have to attend their orientation. Unfortunately, the two for September happened to be the two times I will be out of town! So, now I have to wait until October. That doesn’t keep me from visiting though, and the staff members are always very nice and happy to pull a dog out for play time!

Well that’s all for today! As always, thanks for reading! Don’t forget to SHARE!!!

*All of these dogs are located at the Tallahassee Animal Shelter. If you would like more information, click on the dog’s name in this post, and it will take you to the shelter’s link for that specific dog. As of Saturday, 08.31.13, they were all there and available for adoption. Though keep in mind, the status of these dogs can change at any time.