Wednesday, May 31, 2017

No more smooth criminals

It was a big day for Duke. He got neutered, met a lot of new people, and met a cat. He's currently snoring loudly as he sleeps off the excitement and anesthesia in a crate in my office.

Thanks to Charlottesville Veterinary Hospital for doing the surgery. Clay took him in this morning and dropped him off. He weighed 95 pounds, which was a few more than I would have guessed, but he is a big boy. He's underweight yet anyway, so I expect he could put on another 15-20 pounds before he's filled out to be the dog he's built to be.

Duke was as cooperative as he always is, hopped right into the van and rode quietly to the vet. Everyone there loved him and his exit from the building later in the afternoon was much delayed as everyone had to give him a hug on the way out. He was still a bit groggy but we went to meet a cat before heading home. Duke spotted the cat through the glass door and just looked at it. He seemed happy to have a door separating him from the cat and was not at all anxious to go inside. When we did go in, he walked past the cat, showing no inclination to engage with it. I'm guessing that Duke either had no idea what the cat was, or more likely, had past experience with cats that left him with a healthy fear and respect for the clawed creatures.

He ate a small meal when we got home and had his first pain medication. Starting tomorrow we will begin putting some weight on this dog. I'll have to check my freezer to see if we still have any Satin Balls. Everyone who meets Duke loves him. Anyone interested in adopting him should submit an application to Green Dogs Unleashed.  
It may be hard to see, but there's a black cat on the
inside of this glass door staring at Duke.

He made absolutely no attempt to approach the cat, although he
did notice and was attracted to the cat's food and litter box.

As Deadpool would say, he had "a nice pair of smooth criminals down under", but they were probably the cause of his wanderlust and they had to go. And now a public service announcement from Deadpool:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Duke has a play date

Duke still hasn't had much luck getting anyone around here to play with him. Jack might, but Jack might also be a butt head so I haven't tried that combination yet. Today we went up to the street for a play date with former foster Felix. I was pretty sure these two would hit it off and they did.

Duke is really just a big puppy; he's playful but submissive to others so I knew there wouldn't be any problem with the good natured Felix. It was a warm afternoon, but the dogs played a bit and then we went for a walk through the woods. It was a very good experience for Duke and he continues to impress me. I walked Duke to and from the car without a leash. He hopped into the crate and was ready to go. Duke was friendly with the human neighbors as well as Felix. We were all careful to stay out of the way when the two boys came running past us.

Wednesday is his neuter day so he will be off the play circuit for a few days.

The big ball with rope was new to Duke. He wasn't sure
what it would do, but he enjoyed playing with it. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

This is a good dog

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I don't hold much back when it comes to my dogs. I share the good, the bad, and the ugly. It doesn't make sense to sugarcoat a foster dog's bad habits. They are what they are, and any potential adopter should know about it  up front, at least to the extent that I do. I can't guarantee any dog's behavior in a new home, but I can and will tell you about the experience the dog has had in mine.
TJ (right) has been less than welcoming, but
Duke doesn't reciprocate and doesn't escalate.
I took them walking today to try to forge a
bond of sorts. They were fine walking together.

It's with that mindset that I can say that Duke is a good dog. He peed and pooped in my house the first day. He marked because he's an un-neutered male (until Wednesday) and lots of other male dogs have marked in my house before him. He pooped because he had been on the road all day and it was raining when he arrived here and I didn't get him outside. He hasn't done either on day two, but even if he had, I'd still say unequivocally, that this is a good dog. Bathroom habits are just that - habits, they can be changed and they are not temperament, and that's what makes a good dog.
This is what I was hoping for, nose-to-nose time,
submissive kisses from Duke, and hopefully TJ
will realize that he's not a threat or challenge to
his position in the pack.

I took Duke out for a five mile hike today with Maya and TJ. Pleasant Grove was pretty much empty but we did meet another walker early on who wanted to pet the dogs. Maya isn't really interested in petting from strangers, but she said hello. TJ is good with people and he got his due, but Duke stepped up, leaned in to the stranger and presented him with all the dog anyone would ever want or need to pet.

I love this shot, out of focus as it is,
just for the tails - held high and curled
up over their backs.
Duke passed through half a dozen transporters in the last 48 hours and was calm and comfortable with everyone. He met a baby and small children upon arrival at Green Dogs and he came home with me and settled in here without hesitation. He met a houseful of dogs when he got here and immediately tried to engage in play. Everything I've seen of this dog tells me that he's rock solid, sweet, and lovable. I haven't yet tried him with cats, but I'd bet $20 that he will be good with them too.
I don't think Duke has had much experience on a leash,
but he was really pretty good, no pulling.

Whatever went into his genetic makeup, the outcome is one awesome dog.

Sunday, May 28, 2017


He came from Alabama today. His name is Duke, of course. (At least it isn't Cooter.) He's said to be a bloodhound/mastiff mix and that certainly seems plausible. The bloodhound part seems obvious. He's about a  year and a half old. He was given up because he wouldn't stay at home. He's unneutered. Duh. Apparently 2 + 2 does not equal 4 in Alabama. That is not really a surprise, given that Alabama is ranked near the bottom in virtually everything, yet recently passed a law prohibiting the removal of confederate monuments in the state - a state dominated by redneck republican white trash. But I digress.

Duke is a big, lovable sweetheart. He's a leaner, even with strangers. He's a lover, not a fighter. He's very playful, although his playful overtures have been rebuffed by everyone at our house so far.

Maya gave me this "here we go again look" when I brought him in. I swear she rolled her eyes. TJ acted like an asshole at first, but Duke will win him over. I expect he will win everyone over, except maybe Vince and Samantha who just have no use for any dog that young and that big. He put himself into a crate at one point, so that's my plan for him at night. Right now he's laying on the floor next to my chair, with TJ on the opposite side. Maya said "screw it" and headed to the bedroom. Adjustments will be made, but it takes a few days whenever a new dog arrives.

Clay getting the lean from Duke when they met.

Duke, doing a play bow with TJ. 

Samantha with the wide-eyed WTF look upon
meeting Duke. 
Duke gave Samantha a play bow but that's not going to happen.

Meeting Trooper in the dog yard, which gives
an idea of the Duke's size. He stayed in the dog
yard for a while, but then jumped out.

This is a picture taken by one of the
transporters. He had a lot of different rides on
the trip up here over the past two days, but
everyone remarked on how sweet he was.

Another pic from a transporter. Apparently if he gets too warm,
he melts in your lap.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Jack's Field Day

I started the usual morning feeding routine on Saturday, but I didn't feed Jack, Theo, or Max. Instead, I put them out in the pasture while everyone else finished eating and went back inside. The three were happy to be in the pasture and were anticipating a game of ball, but were confused about the change of routine.

L to R: Max, Jack, and Theo
Jack would be going with me to an adoption event up in Gainesville later, so I wanted to run some of the stupid out of him first. Theo and Max had plenty of excess stupid as well, and Jack likes to run with Theo. We had a good early morning game of ball after I managed to scrounge up the five throwable tennis balls that it takes to play with these three dogs.

When Theo was finally tired of running, I got all three back into the dog yard and then separated Jack into the kennel. After about a half hour of calming and cooling down, I gave him some food and then loaded him into the van for the two hour drive to the adoption event.

Jack was the only real dog there, although there was a stuffed black lab that he kept trying to figure out. Some other dogs came by, and although I didn't let them meet nose-to-nose, Jack was calm and well-behaved. He was very well-behaved with all the people he met and seemed to really enjoy the event. Everything is new to him still, and his reaction to new things is to just observe and take it all in. I was actually quite pleased with him.

Max is beginning to blow his coat, so I have
a major brushing job ahead of me.
Jack showed off his "sit" and "down" as well as ability to both take treats gently from the hand and to catch them in mid-air. He was good with children although I kept a hand on his collar so he didn't jump on anyone.

After about two hours he laid down beside me on the sidewalk, which I took as a sign and he was done and it was time for us to leave. He rode quietly in the crate and was happy to be re-united with Theo when we got home. It was a good day, and although there were no real adoption prospects, I'm happy to say that my relationship with Jack is improving day by day.

Jack, followed by Theo and Max

Shepherds are blessed with the attributes that make them look
smart even if they are not.