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busy February

by Kyler Laird last modified 2009-02-15 16:35

lots of updates

date: 2009-02-12 (3357 days ago)

dogs: Bozo/Bo, Buddy, Dobky, GP, Huntley, Jack, Marley, Marty, Misty/Maddie Bea, Peyton, T-bone/Tiburon/Tibby

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I was sick last week and have been non-stop busy all the time, it seems. I've been neglecting updates so it's time to recover a bit.

Sunday, February 1 started our first draft class at Klondike Canine Academy. I've been asked to help people start pulling with their dogs for years so KCA made it happen. I pulled out a bunch of vehicles and used Morgan, Bob, Dobky, Marley, and Bozo to demonstrate them. By the next class (February 8) students had received their custom-made harnesses so we put their dogs to work with various sleds. We instructed in the barn, taking turns with dogs connected to light loads, starting with empty orange juice jugs and progressing to plastic sleds and even the kick sled and car tire for the especially strong dogs. I closely managed the loads while Allison baited the dogs. Everyone did great! At the end of class we moved outside (beautiful weather!) and let some of the dogs drag some sleds around the agility area.

On February 3 I helped South Central Newfoundland Club Rescue with Rodney, a dog who had been stuck in the Gary pound for awhile. A kind couple met me in Rensselaer where they handed Rodney to me with the information that "He stinks but you'll get over it in about 20 minutes." I left the back windows open for the ride home and the smell was still strong. Rodney was a sweet guy though. At the kennel I let him stretch his legs out back and then I had some calls to attend so I worked on Rodney's matts in the bathing room. He was a little excited at first but after an hour he stopped squirming and I made fast progress. It was quite a hack job but I think I finally got all of the matts. The bath went smoothly after that and then Rodney returned outside to meet the rest of the dogs. Despite being a young intact male he has done well with everyone.

On February 5 GP joined me for an in-home visit with a physical therapist. His size and demeanor suited the situation well. It was relaxing to handle him.

That night we had a CGC class. Kitty handled GP while I took Huntley. Two Purdue students came to work with T-bone! I was talking to rescue about Rodney and was running very late so I just handed T-bone over to them cold but they did a great job of handling him. Peyton was also there with his family. His girls came to visit us a few times as I worked with Huntley.

I'm often greeted at the kennel by Jack standing up behind the grooming half-door, silently keeping watch over everything. His family takes wonderful care of him and it's been a joy to see his transformation from the crusted dog no one wanted to the beautifully groomed and loved dog he is today. On the sixth I came in to see him particularly well-groomed and his mom showed me that she had groomed his butt "poofs" into hearts. Oy!

On the seventh I finally brought my new kart back from the kennel to the house and took it for a test ride. It was freshly modified by a local shop to accept a wagon handle and I'd briefly demonstrated it in the training barn with Morgan pulling. This time I tried it with the team pole and added Dobky. I'm still not a big fan of the team pole configuration and we ran into some problems with it on this short test run but the kart generally pulled well on the street. A couple days later I made modifications to the team pole and harnesses and added Bob and Marley to the front (in addition to Morgan and Dobky in wheel position). We zipped around the Celery Bog Nature Center without any problems. I ran ahead anytime they needed guidance but generally stood on back. Grazie rode most of the way but then trotted alongside awhile. This is going to be fun!

Bozo spent some time in the kennel while Amy was out of town. He did alright but he was, as usual, bouncing off the walls. Although he got along well with Rodney at first, on Bozo's last night in the kennel he kept lunging at Rodney, even while I was holding both of them. Rodney always declined to engage but Bo tore into him anyway - as much as Bo ever does. Bo isn't out for blood so I didn't worry about Rodney's health but I wanted Bo to understand that it was beyond appropriate levels.

I spent much of Tuesday the tenth in Rensselaer with Dad. It was a trying day and I ignored phone calls and messages until I was heading out of town. I had a voice message from a rescue in Illinois who needed to pull dogs from the shelter there so I stopped and called. There were two dogs in the shelter who needed a transport but were alright for awhile. The third dog was with the rescuer's mother, north of Rensselaer, because the pup was quickly returned by its adoptive family and it was easier to drop him there. She already had dogs of her own and this little guy needed to go elsewhere. As we talked about this young male Yorkshire Terrier/Schnauzer mix I realized that he might be just what I'd been seeking. I decided to head north on I-65 to get him. His caretaker had become attached to him already so I tried to avoid stress by leaving quickly. I took him outside and got to know him a bit with a quick walk and some petting. As we left, she called to me that he already knows his name, Buffy? or Buddy?. I decided to go with "Buddy" as he was a good buddy on the way home.

At the kennel I quickly introduced Buddy to the big dogs. He didn't hesitate in the least and easily blended with them. He and GP did growl at each other a bit but that was brief. After they played in the yard awhile I brought everyone into the bathing room because Huntley was sorely in need of a bath too and I decided everyone could use an activity. I bathed Huntley first while Buddy got to know the other dogs better. T-bone was especially playful with him and GP was simply patient. Huntley was amazingly stoic and mellow during the long process of thoroughly cleaning all his fur. Buddy was just as well-behaved as Huntley in the tub but it only took a moment to bathe him and I used less shampoo and water than one of Huntley's legs requires. I took a call while I dried the dogs, then we headed outside briefly. I was already late for dinner with Kitty.

I really didn't want to have Kitty upset during this dinner with friends so I put a crate in the back of the car and left Buddy inside. Buddy didn't make any noise on the way there so I didn't mention him. I took him for a quick walk partway through dinner and then he was quiet on the way home. I left him in the car at home while I tried to figure out what I'd do with him. I'd mentioned to Kitty that I needed to transport some dogs and I asked if it would be alright if we hosted the Schnorkie for awhile. She said that would be alright so I got him from the car.

I brought the crate into the house first and pushed it through the front door into the pack who had already spotted Buddy. Buddy was tethered to me with a long stretch lead and after getting the crate inside I expected to turn and see a scared little dog pulling away from my pack back toward the car. Instead, I looked down and saw that he had walked right beside me into the house and went ahead to greet the pack. It was almost spooky how calm everyone was. Buddy definitely has a way with other dogs. He's getting the routines at our house and even picked up "down to eat" on his own. I crate him next to the bed and he only complains a little about going there. He seems to be house trained and shows no interest in escaping through the gaps in the fence.

Yesterday (February 11) another visitor joined us. Marty is a Poodle mix who has had some difficulties and can't stay with his family. He's been relinquished to IDOG and they've asked me to evaluate him to determine if he's safe enough for their people to handle. I visited Marty in the morning after I let the other kennel dogs out to play. Marty barked at me fearfully through the gate but quieted as I backed into him. I sat with him for awhile but he continued to growl at me most of the time. Finally I left because...

We had another visit to Mentoyne Elementary! We took GP, Marley, and Dobky. Waynetta met us there with Maddie Bea and a Purdue student joined us to handle Dobky. I kept GP most of the time and helped Kitty wrangle Marley. The dogs all did well and I especially enjoyed seeing GP make such a great impression. After our classroom visit we talked with the principal about other possibilities and he was very encouraging. As we talked, several interested students passed his open door and he would invite them to come inside to greet the dogs. Later we all went into the hall and talked with several teachers who stopped to enjoy the dogs. I'm going to enjoy working with this school. Thanks, Waynetta!

GP returned home with us and then went back to the kennel for Buddy's initial vet check. I tethered him to Buddy; GP makes a good anchor. It's rewarding to see GP do so well with a little (young intact male!) dog. After the checkup I let the kennel dogs play a bit and then I returned to Marty along with Buddy. Layla joined me and we discussed his behavior. I was finally able to loop him with a leash and we took him outside for a bit and then to the geriatric room for a little quiet time. Marty seems fearful but not otherwise aggressive. He was not at all disturbed by Buddy. I slipped a couple times when handling the leash and got "air snaps" as a warning when Marty could have easily bitten me. I took Marty out again at night after the other dogs were back in their runs. It'll be awhile before he's comfortable enough to evaluate but I can see him relaxing already.


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