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by Kyler Laird last modified 2008-08-21 13:36

Cocker Spaniel, male

joined us: 2008-07-09 (4858 days ago)

This dog has been adopted.

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written by Kyler Laird

I'm quite aware that I tend to pull dogs who remind me of other great dogs I've known. Conner reminds me of a wonderful dog, Maisie, who has been coming to playgroups since we started them. Maisie is a female English Cocker Spaniel but she demonstrates quite well that a smaller dog can "run with the big dogs." I thought Conner might be similar.

2008-07-08: I learned that the shelter was full again and had orders to make space. I wanted to help but with seven dogs at home I was hesitant. We've had lots of requests for smaller dogs so I decided if I could find one who could fit in with our program I'd pull it. Conner had been at the shelter for months yet was doing well and the staff thought he was a good dog. He's a bit of an older guy at five years of age but he's still quite active. I had Harley in the car (to get a bath at the kennel) and Conner immediately tried to climb in with the big guy - no fear. Conner was a little yappy as we drove and especially when I stopped to check on Keowee. He did fine with Keowee and the kids though.

When we finally got to the kennel and I got him out of the car he immediately relieved himself. Even though he'd gone at the shelter he apparently really needed to go. I appreciate that he held it. He was more relaxed after that and after I completed his kennel card he settled in the bath room (and even slept, I think) while I bathed Harley. After Harley's bath we got Judo and went out to play a bit. Conner did beautifully with the bigger dogs, especially with Judo who is quite pushy with new dogs. After they played I put Judo and Conner back in their runs. They didn't even need leashes; they seemed quite content to be in the kennel.

2008-07-09: I returned to the kennel this morning and let Conner out to play with Judo. Judo pushes other dogs to their limits and he did finally push Conner a bit too much and Conner briefly let him have it. Then they returned to being pals. Judo joined us while I got a rabies vaccine and microchip for Conner. He did have a bit of buildup in his ear but was in good shape otherwise. Conner was easy to handle on the vet's table.

This evening I took five dogs from home (leaving Harley and Grazie) to the park. I brought Judo and Conner out of the kennel and noticed Conner seemed relaxed with everyone on the other side of the fence. I decided to introduce Conner by simply opening the gate. [video] Conner was perfect. He immediately blended into the pack without complaint and confidently ventured out into the playgroup area. He is as comfortable running with the big dogs as he is curling up on my lap.

2008-07-15:  Conner was out at the park with the (ten much bigger) other dogs last night and tonight.  I saw a big change in him tonight.  He was a bit fearful when he first met Keowee because Keowee chased him so much.  Conner seems to have explained his position to Keowee and they're now at peace and Conner seems much more relaxed around everyone.  He is such a sweetheart.  I've worked at getting him to sit for attention (instead of jumping) but I often can't resist picking him up to hold him for awhile.

2008-07-16:  We had everyone out again tonight.  Kitty enjoyed playing with Conner.  I appreciate so much that I never need to slip a lead on Conner.  He follows me wherever he needs to go and even seems happy to go into his kennel.  He's getting along great with the big dogs.

2008-07-28: friends visit by Kyler Laird
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We invited a couple of Kitty's friends to bring their children to meet the dogs. One family might borrow Bob soon.

2008-07-30: Norwood family visit by Kyler Laird
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It's been awhile since the Norwood family visited us. The boys are growing! They got along beautifully with all the dogs. They especially liked Conner and plan to borrow him next week.

2008-08-02: Conner at home by Kyler Laird

Conner continues to do well in playgroups.  Bob occasionally grabs him but Conner is quick to correct him and return to a relaxed state.

Tori and Megan (staff at the clinic) have been taking Conner home at night.  It sounds like he's doing well there, even with the cat.  I think I heard that he chased Mindy's cat earlier but the new cat set him straight.

2008-08-05: Conner on loan by Kyler Laird

Conner visited the Norwood family last night.  This morning I got a call that he'd vomited.  He just started on some allergy medicine yesterday so I suspect that's the problem.  I'm embarrassed that I put a "sick" dog out on loan but they're handling it well.  I called the clinic and it sounds like we'll probably take him off of one of the meds.

2008-08-07: graduation class by Kyler Laird

Kitty and I took Marley and Harley to the last class of the CGC/TD series tonight.  The Norwoods met us there with Conner and provided a couple boys for the socialization activities.  I noticed the people handling Nikki were not having much fun with her so I convinced them to swap me for Harley for awhile.  It was fun to see someone else work with Harley and I enjoyed the challenge of a new dog.  Harley, of course, did a great job and even allowed his handler to dress him in funny fashions.  After the Norwoods left I worked Conner a bit but he was way too distracted and ready for the kennel.  (Yes, I dressed Conner.  I might get photos from Layla.)

After class we let the dogs play and I pulled Keowee, Judo and Peyton from the kennel.  Everyone did well playing together.  I'm really looking forward to running everyone through CGC testing (except Keowee, who passed already).  Harley should be easy.  Judo certainly can be good and he's fun to work.  Peyton needs to be trained.  Conner should be outstanding but I'm not sure if I can get the precision I need from him in a testing situation.  BTW, the Norwoods reported that "aggression definitely isn't a problem for Conner."  It sounds like the boys treated boys do.  And Conner let them, of course.

2008-08-08: playgroups by Kyler Laird

Kitty and I took all the dogs to playgroups, as usual.  The kids were walking Dr. Banker's dog, Zeus, out as we arrived.  He got mobbed a bit but everyone handled it well.  He's getting so big!  But he still acts like a puppy.

Judo, Keowee, Peyton and Conner were already out of the kennel and had been playing for awhile when we arrived. Keowee was too much for a Dalmatian in the large area but Judo was still playing there. Layla ushered us down to the agility area to help with evaluations of a couple Yellow Labs. Grazie, Jarreau, Dobky, Peyton and Dexter quickly entered there while I worked on the gate so we could use the playgroup area with a tree. The dogs roamed while I worked on the gate. Morgan joined Judo in the big area and Harley was invited into the adjacent playgroup. By the time I fixed the gate I had only Bob and Keowee. I wandered over to check on the evaluations.

Everyone in the evals was doing remarkably well. I expected my guys to be a little high-energy for the Labs. There was one outburst. I didn't see what started it but I did see Dexter getting chomped by a Lab a few times and he kept moving away. I called him and he came to me. The Lab had a bunch of white fur in his mouth. I was so proud of Dexter!

During evals a guest joined us to see Dobky. He was more social with her than I expected and she took him for a walk in the playgroup corridors. I was impressed that he did so well.

After the evals I moved my dogs into the area with the tree. We were adjacent to some very small dogs and Dexter was especially interested in them. Eventually I took Dexter on-lead to see them. There was a Boston Terrier with his owner and a smaller terrier(?) girl, Morgan, who was "stay and play." Conner was also in there but he didn't come to see us. Dexter did great with the little dogs. After the Boston left I let Dexter go off-lead with the tiny dog. (We joked about taking a photo and calling it "stay and pray.") Eventually I just opened the gate and let tiny Morgan meet the rest of the big dogs, including Harley who had joined us by then. There were no problems at all.

Oh!  One more brag on Dexter.  We've always had to help him into the Jeep.  Today he jumped in all on his own both to and from playgroups!  I think he's lost a bit of weight and is feeling more comfortable but I'm sure that the peer pressure (literally!) of seven other dogs shooting/squeezing past him helps too.

Good people. Good dogs. It was a good day.

2008-08-15: playgroups by Kyler Laird

The weather was beautiful this evening - sunny but not terribly hot, especially in the shade. We arrived at 5:00 with all eight of the home dogs and the four kennel dogs were already out. Judo, Keowee, and Peyton were playing in the main area while Conner was in an evaluation with a tiny Pomeranian in a small area. Conner was his usual - relaxed and off to the side.

We mostly milled around the corridors for awhile. Layla requested a big dog to introduce to the Pom so I sent Jarreau. He did beautifully, of course. Eventually I also sent Grazie, Morgan and Harley to meet the Pom. I also took Dexter on-lead at first but he did a great job and I quickly released him. Dexter provided a wonderful example of how barking is not always aggressive. Layla narrated as Dexter did a full play bow and barked repeatedly to invite one of the small dogs out from under the chairs. Although he's a bit overwhelming he's always careful with the little dogs.

Bentley, the Dalmatian, arrived soon after we did. Peyton was a little too much for Bentley so Peyton got to join the house dogs in the second area while Judo, Keowee and Mackey worked on Bentley. There were several heated exchanges and the monitors had their hands full keeping control of the situation.

Peyton wanted so much to be with his buddies that he popped the (weak) gate a few times so that he could run in the corridor along the main area. It's not that he's "mean" - he's just so active and driven. He needs someone to give him a lot more attention. I had no problems retrieving him and the others each time and herding them back into their area.

Dobky didn't get any special activity. He obviously would have enjoyed sticking with me the whole time but I wasn't yet comfortable putting him with new small dogs. It's not that I think he'd do anything wrong but I just don't feel like we know each other well enough to ensure that he'd behave appropriately. He's really gaining confidence though. He often goes head to head with the other dogs, not fighting so much as just asserting himself. Morgan has been incredibly forgiving of this behavior. Although Morgan has given Dobky some corrections they've all been minor.

2008-08-17: Conner returns to the shelter by Kyler Laird
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The shelter called a few days ago because a family saw Conner here and is interested in adopting him. They are from the Terre Haute area so we arranged to meet at the shelter today.

I took Oscar, still happy and tired from his run, with me to retrieve Conner from the kennel. I gathered Conner's meds and didn't even bother putting a lead on him. He came out and hopped right into the car. (O.k., he actually scratched at the door a couple times before getting inside because I wasn't quick enough.) Oscar even seemed happy to meet him. Conner is such a fun and easy guy.

On the way to the shelter I just let Conner have the run of the car. Sure, let's say I was spoiling him. I'm going to miss him. He seemed to love the ride and wanted to stick his head out every window, especially mine. He was lively, not out of control, just having fun.

I got a call as I almost reached the shelter a few minutes after they opened. The family interested in Conner was already there. We pulled into the parking lot and I took both dogs inside. I was confident that Oscar would not be a problem.

Conner was an immediate hit with the family, especially the children. And so was Oscar! I was delighted to see them both do so well surrounded by puppies, kittens, adults and children.

There was a delay for Conner's application so the family left after awhile, planning to return soon with their other dog. It'd been weeks since I was at the shelter so I stayed to talk and check out a sweet Malamute on stray side. It was fun to see Oscar show what a great dog he can be. The staff described him as being a little crazy when he was there originally but he was calm and sweet this time.  All he needs is someone to take him on a quick run everyday.  Anyone?

2008-08-20: Conner adopted by Kyler Laird

A family from the Terre Haute area visited Conner a couple times this week and adopted him!

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