Remembering the Past Part 2

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This is a photo of my dog Princess Neka. She was one of my biggest challenges and one of my greatest learning experiences. She came to me as a “frightened of everything” German Shepherd Dog. She had been dumped in the country as a young dog and she had no trust of humans beyond the point of taking food and water. The rescue told me that she would never get along very well with other dogs and she should never be around kids.

I worked with her every moment I could for about 6 months. After just 8 weeks she had 5 new dog friends and was hanging out in my back yard with 3-4 of the neighborhood kids.

Before she passed away she was visiting a Nursing Care Center and she was mentoring several dogs that I was working with that had behavior issues. She was just days away from taking the test for CGC when she passed away of a sudden illness. She was only 6 years old.

Paying it Forward – Update

Back in October of 2012 I had a chance to work with two very nice young ladies. They are hungry for knowledge about dogs and I shared quite a bite of it with them. The sisters, then 5 and 10 years old, both love dogs, but the 5 YO was afraid of bigger dogs. Patchs is a bit “high strung” and that didn’t help.

By Best Friend Patchs

Patchs

UPDATE: Patchs and I spent a few hours per week playing with the girls and the girls got to safety interact with Patchs in a fenced-in area.

I spent most of my time working with the 5 YO because she clearly needed to learn that the dog would not hurt her. I showed her that by just looking at the dog  she could see what the dog was thinking and what it was going to do. Then I showed her how to use her voice and her body to control Patchs.

After about one month, she was no longer afraid of Patchs, and in fact, she started to play fetch and even started playing “chase” with her. Everytime we walk in that neighborhood, Patchs would turn into their driveway. Patchs had a new friend! Even better, every time we would see the little girl she asked us if we could stop to play for a few minutes. I get a big “Warm Feeling” in my heart every time when we get ready to leave because, she asks us, “WHEN are going to come back again!”

As I’ve said before, it’s very rewarding to “pay it forward”. Mentor kids about dogs is exciting for me because I get to watch them learn and when they “get it” their eyes get wide and a big smile spreads across their faces. It’s very cool to see that look when they realize that they can communicate with an animal in a completely natural way.

Teaching kids to properly treat animals (with love and respect) at an early age will build good character that will serve them in all areas of later life. We as adults have a responsibility to give the children in our little corner of the world all of the tools they will need to become not only great pet owners, but responsible members of society.

Teaching them to work with nature (not against it) will help a lot.

RIP Neka – 1 Year Ago Today

Neka came to us as a two-year old stray who was living as a shelter dog. No one wanted her because she had some major issues. First, she was a large dog. Next she was a black dog. But her largest issues were that she was moderately dog aggressive and she was very shy around people. In fact, the shelter told me that she could only be placed in a home with NO other pets and no small kids. That worked for me as I didn’t have either! They also said that she would not be able to be around other dogs because she would most likely get into lots of fights.

Despite these issues, there was something about her that I really liked. From the very first moment, she seamed to be drawn to me, and I to her. So I took her home. After lots of work and careful socialization she was able to play (off leash) with all of the neighbor dogs. After still more work, she became comfortable around almost all humans too. And to the amazement of some of the shelter workers, for the last two years of her life she even had a room-mate.

Today marks the one year anniversary of her passing. The atmosphere around here today is slalom and full of memories, both good and bad. The bad memories are on a very short list. They only consist of her suddenly becoming ill and the horror and panic of her final hours fighting for life. The list of good memories is a much longer list. In the almost four years that she spent as a part of our lives she learned to trust and respect humans and learned that other dogs were something to celebrate and enjoy. She found out that they were friends, not enemies. She was even working on her CGC certification and she was visiting a nursing home several times a month.

As we remember her brief life cut short by illness, she will always have a place in our hearts. Here are a few photos that spark good memories for all who knew her!

A shot of Neka "Chillin" on a crisp Winter's Day.

Neka giving me a sad look because I told her we were going back in the house.

Neka loved the cold. She looked forward to going out and laying in the snow.

What Ever Happened to Honesty

In the immortal words of singer Billy Joel,

Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.

While these words are true for humans, but they are also just as true for our four-footed best friends.

Dogs never lie.

Oh they may know how to play on our emotions … and to some degree every dog knows how to manipulate us to get what they want, but they never lie about it.

As dog owners we all need to learn how to “read” our dogs. With a bit of training and some basic knowledge about body language it is very easy to see what our dogs are feeling at any moment of the day.

If you know what to look for, you can tell when your dog is happy, sad, excited, scared or angry. Knowing what to look for can be critical because It can help you avoid some bad situations when you are out in public. Being able to read your dog will also help you read other dogs that you may encounter during your walks or when you are at the dog park.

Being able to read your dog can also help you when working with YOUR dog!

Not only is it important for us to learn to read our dog’s body language, it is also important to realize that dogs can read OUR body language as well. It is important to know that not only do they know some of the words we use, they also understand our vocal tones and feel our emotions (a.k.a. our energy or ora). Because of this we need to be in touch with our feeling and have them under control before we take Fido on a walk, train him or even interact with him.

EXAMPLE: You’ve had a bad day at work, and you are angry and stressed out when you walk thru the door at home. Your dog will immediately sense this and try to avoid it. But as you walk in to the house you want your dog to come to you. So, not thinking, you bark “COME” to your dog! Sensing your bad mood, the dog tries to avoid you and may not come to you right away. Not realizing why your dog is not coming to you, you may get mad at the dog … and the dog suffers your anger for doing something that comes natural to it … and that is avoiding unstable emotions!

On the other hand, if you take a few moments to remove your work related frustrations and stress BEFORE you walk thru the door, your dog will be glad to see you and come running as soon as he hears you put your key in the lock.

There are many other examples I could use, but you get the idea. Right?

Don’t lie to your dog! Tell him how you really feel, not how bad your day was!

Controversy and Conflict in Our Little Corner of the Dog World

Recently it was brought to our attention that one of our blog friends had “called out” a municipal animal shelter in the area for what this “blog friend” heard was going on there.

We have spent a good amount of time looking into it and thinking about it.

While we want to thank the person(s) for contacting us, (multiple times), after all things are considered, it is NOT our policy to put someone down or ridicule them for what they think, or say on their own blog. After all, a blog is meant to be a place to express ones thoughts and opinions and provoke discussion about them. And that’s exactly what this blogger is doing.

Wrong or right, it is our God give right, and our duty as citizens to question the actions of our government and the agencies that spend our tax dollars. Because we at IDT do not have any first hand knowledge about this specific subject, we can not in good conscience comment on the validity or accuracy of any statements made. That is up to the author of that blog.

What is NOT in question here is: the large amount of passion and commitment  this blogger has in making sure that all animals are treated with kindness and in a humane way.