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by Kyler Laird last modified 2008-11-09 15:56

Saint Bernard, male

joined us: 2008-06-05 (4860 days ago)

This dog has been adopted and has passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.

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I'm a sucker. I just got Elsa and I'm in the midst of dealing with Nico and his heartworm treatment but I decided to look at another dog who is heartworm positive (and intact!). Jasper County Animal Shelter is packed and they have dogs in their shed...and it's over 86F. I wanted to help.

Harley was left in the outside pen with a note that gave his name and said that he's two years old and heartworm positive. None of the usual rescues had space. It didn't look good. The shelter staff all spoke highly of Harley though. Except for the heartworm he sounded great.

2008-06-05: I quickly drove to Rensselaer with Grazie right before the shelter closed. I thought about looking at a Beagle who was there but decided on the way up that he's likely to be adopted and I'd be pushing my limits to handle Harley. When I arrived I went around back to see the big guy. While the other dogs barked excitedly he watched me and Grazie. As I recorded some video he did jump up to see Grazie and he snagged his paw on the gate. It's a good way to get bitten but I pulled it up and released him. He remained calm.

I put Harley on a long stretch waist lead and let him roam a bit with me and Grazie. We went into the pen and he showed some interest in Grazie but she quickly set him straight. It didn't take much. Back out on lead he stayed close to me and often leaned into me. He wrapped his paw in the lead a couple times and he didn't seem bothered by my handling of him. I hesitated a lot but I knew I was going to take him with me.

Before we left I wanted to clean his bum a bit. I hitched him to a post and gently started the water and he really bucked. Even a light mist seemed to bother him. I continued slowly and eventually I was using the full force on him. He mellowed and he never struck me as being ready to bite or even push me.

On the way home he was mellow but I decided to stop about half way to let him stretch because he seemed restless. When we arrived at the kennel we checked in and went straight to the bath. I had Grazie climb into the tub first and then used treats to get Harley into it. No problem. Then the water. Even a trickle bothered him. I didn't have hours to spend babying him so I just continued to bathe him. He bucked. He jumped. He fell out of the tub (still tethered). It was a whole lot more exciting than bathing Elsa! But we got through it and he seemed almost relaxed by the end. He even let me blow him dry for a bit.

After the bath I turned him out with Grazie and then got the rest of the dogs from the kennel. Judo charged him full-on but he handled it well. Later they had a bit of a spat but it was minor and resolved quickly. (Judo can be a jerk.) He did great with everyone else. He seemed ready to go to his run when we returned and I gave him Gus's huge cushion/bed. It will be interesting to see how he is tomorrow.

2008-06-13: I tend not to write when things are going well. Indeed, Harley is doing beautifully. He is such a sweetheart. It's Friday and he was neutered on Monday. I was told that he was caught climbing out of his kennel the morning before surgery and I still have a hard time imagining him doing that. He's so mellow. He gets along perfectly with the other dogs. I was surprised that a large, youngish intact male could do so well.

2008-06-18: Harley is amazing! He charms about everyone he meets but today we asked a lot of him and he delivered. A rescue Newf staying in the kennel, Joe, showed some aggression toward other dogs so we evaluated him. He seemed especially interested in Harley and was really pushing him around (while muzzled). Harley was extremely patient with him; he didn't back down but he didn't correct him either (like Morgan did). After the eval. Harley had dinner and then joined me with another rescue Newf, Winston (a sweetie), for a trip to the Farmers Market. They both did beautifully with all of the people, especially children, and dogs there.

2008-06-20: Harley completed his heartworm treatment today (started yesterday). He's his usual wonderful mellow self.

2008-06-22: I'm trying to keep Harley from exerting too much so I keep everyone in the playgroup area when he's going to join us. He did have a little dustup with Judo but it was all Judo's fault and no one was hurt. (It was over as soon as I had Judo in the air.) Harley mostly follows me around and sits in front of me for attention...or photos? When I took him back to his kennel I discovered I'd accidentally put Joe, the aggressive Newf in there earlier and I didn't notice (because it was dark and Joe is a big black blob) until Joe was out the door. It was tight with the three of us and me trying to hold both big dogs and get them to their own kennels but they didn't seem bothered at all. Harley is a jewel.

2008-06-23: I pulled all the dogs to play today - including Joe. I kept Joe isolated from most of the dogs but he only seemed reactive to Keowee so I kept adding other dogs to his area. Harley was the first big dog I put with Joe and Harley was perfect. The big guys showed no interest in each other even though they met head-on several times. I'm looking forward to taking Harley out in public some more and doing some training with him.

2008-06-28: Harley met the new dog, Dexter, this evening. They both did beautifully. Harley still sticks to my side most of the time. Sometimes I think about how tempted I was to walk away from this big heartworm-positive drool machine and I have to catch my breath. I adore the guy.

2008-07-01: We need to keep Harley from exerting too much following his heartworm treatment but that hasn't been a problem. He sleeps a lot and even seems lethargic. I decided everyone needed to take a tour of the neighborhood so I used Harley as ballast for Morgan's wagon allowing me to connect two more dogs (Dexter and Bob) leaving only four for me to walk. Harley jumped out a few times but did a fine job overall. (I later realized he needed to relieve himself.)

2008-07-02: In the middle of the night another dog alerted me that Harley was in distress. He was on his side in the dog room. He'd emptied his bladder and he seemed agitated. I first thought "seizure" but if it was then I was just seeing the end of it. He seemed to be fairly responsive to me and within minutes he was up and acting normally. We called the emergency clinic but they didn't seem to think it was related to his heartworm treatment. He had two more seizures during the day. He emptied his bladder each time but the seizures seemed mild and brief. He was treated for heartworm almost two weeks ago and we just started treating him for intestinal worms. I suspect it was too hard on him.

2008-07-04: Harley has been resting a lot but has not had any more seizures. He's had diarrhea since we got him but that seems to be improving. Today we took him to a family reunion with the other six dogs. I decided he'd be fine doing his own thing at the park so I clipped him to a heavy ball. He was able to wander a bit and find his own places to relax - mostly in loose dirt!

2008-07-05: We were at playgroups this afternoon and I left Harley in the entry area so that he could relax in the shade. I trust him completely with other dogs. He is such a mellow sweetheart.

I've been lucky to get a can of food laced with Panacur into Harley each day but today I gave him a can plus a scoop of kibble and he went right through it. I think he's feeling better.

2008-07-07: Harley has been treated for heartworm and is still recovering - he's quite inactive and it takes a lot of effort to move him. Last week we treated him for whipworm - that's made a big difference in his stools. He's not had a seizure since that burst of three. Today I got the results of the aspiration of the bulge on his right front leg (which you can see even in his earliest photos). He has "septic(? sepsis) arthritis." His wrist is arthritic and there's nothing we can do about that but it's become infected so we've started him on antibiotics while we run a couple more extensive tests on more samples of the aspirate. It could be that he's just too tired to do anything but Harley is so easy to handle at the vet; I know he hurts but he doesn't show any signs of fear or malice as we poke and push him.

Harley mostly lies on the tile at the entry of the house. Getting him up to go outside is a chore but as soon as he's out he always relieves himself quickly. I trust him in the house and today I let him stay in his favorite spot instead of putting him in his crate while Dexter and I did a home visit for another rescue and then went to dinner. No problems.

2008-07-08: Harley went to the shelter with me to get Conner. They immediately got along well. Back at the kennel I gave Harley another bath while Conner relaxed. Harley did much better in the tub this time.

2008-07-12: Harley and I have had our ups and downs recently. It was storming this morning but I pushed him out in the rain. He came right back in and then peed on the floor. Ouch. My nephews are here and we took another walk today. Harley stayed in the wagon better. When we returned home I tried to get him outside immediately but I think he headed to the same spot to relieve himself while I was out with the other dogs. The big news, however, is that I haven't noticed any more "eye goobers" on Harley and the swelling of his knee seems to be subsiding.

2008-07-15:  Harley has been doing much better.  I took him to the vet today along with Jarreau and his wrist is doing much better.  We decided to discontinue the antibiotics and give his body a break.  His appetite is improving quite a bit.

This afternoon I took Harley to University place to work the halls along with another first-time team.  Harley got lots of great attention.  He's a natural.  I couldn't ask for better behavior around people (He didn't even drool!) and he's a great height for those who are sitting.  Several people had seen him riding in the wagon a few days ago so it was fun for them to meet him up close.

2008-07-24:  Harley was visited by two other Saint Bernards, Sheba and Drew, today.  They all went to play and then to class in the evening.  Harley was doing well in class but seemed a bit hot and stressed so I took him in the clinic.  On our way through I walked him on the scales and discovered he's gained quite a bit of weight.  He's now 91 pounds!

2008-07-15: AKC CGC test by Kyler Laird

Klondike Canine Academy offered AKC Canine Good Citizen testing tonight and I said that I'd use whatever time was available at the end to run some of the rescue dogs. I haven't done any formal work with most of them and I've been too busy to prepare recently but I wanted to get an idea of how close they were.

Harley was first. He was wonderful as usual and did a great job at everything...except the stay. He kept getting up to come to me. That surprised me, especially because I knew he was hot and tired. It'll be easy to teach that though.

Bob was next and I thought he'd be a little nutty but he did fine. He passed!

Since I had just brought Keowee back to the kennel I decided to try him. Another pass! He was surprisingly good.

I was prepared for utter failure with Judo but he surprised me too. He did much better than I expected but still failed the stay and he also bumped someone with his nose when walking through the crowd. It will be easy to train for those.

I was delighted by how well all the dogs did and amazed that Bob and Keowee passed. Good dogs!

2008-07-24: Harley's first class by Kyler Laird
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After the dogs played for quite awhile Harley joined me in class. Weeks ago Harley did a great job in his AKC Canine Good Citizen test but failed because he wouldn't stay and that was back when he was mostly lying around all the time!

As the pictures show, Harley did great with ringing bell and the weird noisy mask. The heat was getting to him so we took some breaks but he was an easy student.  On one of our breaks I got him on the scales - 92 pounds!  He's gaining quickly.  Yea!

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: Peyton's bath by Kyler Laird
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I arranged to meet some people to introduce Peyton today. I knew that he wasn't smelling great so I loaded the dogs from home (minus Marley who was already being groomed and Grazie who went with Kitty to the farmers market) and headed to the kennel to bathe Peyton.  Wrangling the other dogs took about as much effort as bathing Peyton.

Peyton was clean when I got him so this was his first bath with me.  He was easy.  It was a pleasure to work on him.  The other dogs also did a remarkably good job of waiting while I bathed him.  Then we all went out to play!

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: "152 nails to trim..." by Kyler Laird

"152 nails to trim.  152 nails.  Grind one down.  Move to the next. 151 nails to trim!"

I've been neglecting nail trimming.  I didn't want to try the new dogs until I felt more comfortable with them and I was really reluctant to handle the crazy-long double rear dewclaws on Harley and Dexter.  And I'm lazy.  But Grazie, Marley and Bob have Pet Partners tests tomorrow so I decided to do them.  Then Kitty helped so I decided to do the rest of the dogs.

O.k., it wasn't quite like that.  I was trimming Bob first.  We were outside and I put some pieces of raw venison medallions on the table.  Bob is so easy that I didn't grab any meat treats for awhile.  Then I heard something and turned to see Harley coming off the empty table.  Grrr...  So I decided to switch to Harley.  He struggled a bit at first but Kitty gave him lots of treats (Ewww!  Meat!) and I sat on him.  It took quite awhile to grind down over half an inch from each of his four rear dewclaws.  By the time I finished he was lying on his side and relaxed.  I was sweating.  I cuddled with him for awhile before switching back to Bob.

Bob makes nail trimming so easy.  It's remarkable how calm he is about it.  Since Grazie is testing tomorrow I did her next.  She was happy to get treats during the trim.  Marley tests tomorrow too so I did him next.  That was a breeze, especially with his recent haircut.  He's such a sweetie.  (He's lying on my leg as I type this.)

I was feeling refreshed after Marley so I decided to try Dobky.  He tends to "freeze" whenever he's stressed so I was hoping he'd just hunker down and let me trim.  He was a bit more active than that but he did well, especially for his first time.  He got a lot of meat.

Another set of long dewclaws remained.  I've been wincing whenever I see Dexter's rear dewclaws and it was time to tackle them.  I was expecting it to be quite a chore but Dexter was a doll!  He was so good about letting me grind and grind on him.  He even remained standing the whole time.  I was impressed.  Dexter was the big surprise of the evening.

Jarreau...oh, Jarreau.  He's a handful.  Nothing new.  I finished on Morgan because I can always count on him to be solid.  I'd say that he's stoic about nail trimming but I'm not sure it even bothers him.  He's so confident and trusting.  It's a joy to work with him.  And that's it!  No more nails to trim...except my own.  I really gouged a couple with the grinder.

2008-08-02: Muste's birthday party by Kyler Laird

We were invited to a friend's dog's birthday party tonight.  Since I knew Muste could be a bit territorial I wanted to take mellow dogs.  I chose Grazie and Harley.  They were just right.  Harley was his typical social self, greeting everyone and making friends.  Grazie was about as social as she ever is these days and mostly kept at my side.  Muste snapped at Harley a time or two but Harley took it in stride, simply turning his back on Muste.  Good dog, Harley.

2008-08-05: Harley seizure by Kyler Laird

Early this morning Harley had another seizure.  It seemed like the ones he had a month ago.

We just gave him his monthly heartworm and flea/tick preventives a couple days ago.  Also, I took him for a short jog with the rest of the dogs last night.  He's been acting so chipper that I assumed he was all recovered but I think that was a mistake.

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.

2008-08-12: general update by Kyler Laird

I've hit an especially busy time and I've been neglecting the dogs and my updates. I'm going to stuff this entry with updates.

On Monday I took Grazie and Bob to the clinic for their Delta Society Pet Partner health screenings. I took Harley along because he's still drinking amazing amounts of water. Everyone seemed in good shape so we decided to test some more samples from Harley. (Kitty submitted those samples today.)

For a long time, I've been feeling like the dogs need more than just "free play." Taking them all for walks is difficult but six of the dogs at our house are getting quite comfortable with jogging. (I've been leaving Grazie and Harley at home during our runs.) We've been doing a 5-6K path that loops into campus. I'm trying to get the dogs accustomed to being in public and especially on campus before the students return. They're tired enough and "in the groove" when we reach campus so they don't react much to people around them. I'm hoping that this will be such routine that they'll be comfortable when students return.

Dexter...oh, Dexter. He's rolling on the floor with Jarreau as I type. Marley is in on it too; Kitty just removed a big glob of white fur from his mouth. They are all such great playmates. Dexter frequently initiates play with them and they go for hours.  Dexter is doing great at eating from my hand every meal.  He goes right into his crate when we ask and he doesn't bark when we leave or return.

Dobky is standing into Kitty to be patted right now. He'll do that for several minutes. I haven't worked with him beyond the general stuff around the house and during our runs. I'm trying to get him to be comfortable and confident before I push much more on him.

Bob delights in our runs. He's always in the lead. Such a Husky. Then he crashes at night. I love tired dogs.

2008-08-13: short jog by Kyler Laird

Kitty took Marley to the West Lafayette Farmers' Market this evening and then they went to a friend's house for dinner. With only seven dogs at home I decided to take everyone for a jog but I didn't want to push Grazie and Harley so we just went across the road and around University Place. We ran into some residents in back and when we stopped to talk I think the entire dining staff came to greet the dogs. It was good to see everyone and the dogs behaved beautifully. I am especially pleased that the foster dogs are so social without being overbearing (although Dexter does like to thoroughly greet everyone).

Allison wrote that Keowee is staying with her again and keeping Mackie active. She also told me that everyone's samples came back "normal" today. That means we're still trying to determine why Harley drinks so much. I'm taking him to the clinic for another blood draw tomorrow.

2008-08-15: clinic visit by Kyler Laird

We're still trying to determine why Harley drinks so much. His samples last week came back normal so today we took another blood sample. I was holding him while Danielle drew the blood and I couldn't even tell when she stuck him. Harley is such a sweetie! They ran the blood sample at the clinic and said his readings were normal so we're going to consult with another vet.

While there I couldn't resist taking the kennel dogs out. Keowee is at Allison's house and apparently Conner is staying with Megan and Tori. That leaves just the feisty boys, Judo and Peyton. We had a good time playing in the beautiful weather.

Judo continues to grow on me. He's still vocal and pushy and occasionally has spats with Peyton but I'm quite comfortable with it now. He's just an excited young Husky, full of energy and bluster. I love it when he stops racing around the yard and hops into my arms. He craves attention but he doesn't seem "needy." I'm a little disappointed that others don't seem to appreciate him like I do but I also enjoy having him available to play. Both Judo and Peyton seem to be handling kenneling well. They seem healthy and content and they go right back into their runs when we're done playing.

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.

2008-08-16: students return by Kyler Laird

I played volleyball at Purdue for a couple hours this morning. We had a date for disc golf in the evening so I took the dogs for a run in the afternoon. I extended our route a bit; we went on campus, circled the IM fields on the bark path, went around the RSC, and then along the street in front of Tarkington, continued the bark path around the track, headed up the hill and returned home. Due to construction we had some tight spots on the path and Dexter went wide once, catching a pole and snapping his collar. Oops. At least he was easy to grab. Everyone did a great job running and no one seemed bothered by all of the sounds and activity of students arriving on campus. We're also getting the hang of drinking from the bottle I carry. Everyone can now drink from it without "gacking." And oh, how they did drink. It was warm and they cleaned me out quickly. I might need to switch to my two-bottle pack for these runs or refill along the way.

As we entered Blackbird Farms Kitty's mom motioned for me to come help her. It's garage sale day and she'd sold her grill but the gentleman who bought it needed some help. Kitty was there with Harley and Grazie but her mom must have really wanted me to help with the grill because she wore my belt with everyone attached while I worked. They were mostly in down stays but I was still impressed both at how well the dogs did and that she'd handle all of them.

After disc golf I got dropped at home to feed the dogs and then bike to meet everyone for dinner. As I was feeding Dexter (by hand, as usual) I saw Bob nose over a couple of times as Dexter was waiting to take the food in front of him. When we started doing this such an incursion would have gotten at least a lip curl from Dexter but tonight Bob even nosed Dexter's paw and Dexter just moved it a bit while continuing to watch me, waiting for his command to take another handful of food. I am so delighted that he trusts me to handle the situation.

We returned home late and I had some work to do on the computer but now it's about 11:00 PM local and I'm at the bar with most of the dogs passed out at my feet. I think the dogs have had a full day despite me being gone so much.

2008-08-18: library run by Kyler Laird

We didn't get to run yesterday so I was especially longing to hit the road today. Then, of course, I had an afternoon meeting that ran long. I was hoping to run six dogs to the library to meet Kitty and the other two at a concert there. I fed the dogs late and we were way behind schedule. I didn't want to run them right after eating but after 45 minutes I had everything in order so we went!

This would be a test of how well the dogs do in public. We took the path along Lindberg through Celery Bog and then joined Northwestern at Cherry Lane. There was a fair amount of road and foot traffic but not nearly as much as there will be in another week. The dogs did well. They quickly get the rhythm and Bob is doing well at playing the lead dog and following my calls. I rarely get tripped...unless my shoe comes untied (as it did today).

Coming through campus was a non-event. The dogs pretty much ignore other people. I can usually keep them in line by just picking up the pace if they get distracted. It was a good quick run to the library and then I picked up Harley from Kitty and walked to the restaurant while Kitty drove with Grazie. Kitty got a parking space right by our table so I put the foster dogs in the car with Grazie. The boys stayed on mats by us while we ate. Jarreau and Morgan did great but Marley was constantly breaking his stay. The dogs in the car got a lot of attention from passers-by.  Although Grazie hides in the driver's footwell, the other dogs seemed fine in the car - alert but content and not at all bothered by the busy area.

2008-08-19: dog dinner by Kyler Laird
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Four of our friends came over for dinner and brought a Great Pyrenees and a Standard Poodle puppy. Things went pretty well but the Pyr was a bit overwhelmed by all the dogs. Marley and the puppy, however, had a glorious time playing by themselves.

2008-08-21: Harley comes alive! by Kyler Laird

When I met Harley he was fairly somber. He got even slower following his heartworm treatment. It was common for me to (literally!) drag him across the floor in order to move him. When I let the dogs outside he'd go (barely) to the edge of the porch, relieve himself and return.

Harley has been showing substantial improvement over the last few weeks but today it's becoming especially obvious. Instead of always being so "serious" Harley is now like a big playful puppy. He often pushes the other dogs a bit and invites them to play. He'll sometimes even hop and spin!

I've long worried that Harley's beautiful personality was just a result of his depressed health and that when his health was restored he'd be incorrigible. As he's gotten better I've tried to push him repeatedly by doing things I know he doesn't enjoy (like removing "eye goobers" and grabbing/restraining his paws). I can be fairly rough and get him to show obvious aversion but he never takes it out on me.

This gentle nature continues to show with the other dogs. Harley will push and even gnaw on the other dogs but he does it gently and without any malice. I'm sure the other dogs would respond if Harley was playing the least bit inappropriately but they don't. Instead, they take turns being the aggressors.

Harley has found his voice, literally and figuratively, but he continues to be a good guy. I'm sure he'll be a bit more challenging in some ways now that his health has been restored but I look forward to enjoying Happy Harley.

2008-08-21: AKC CGC test by Kyler Laird

My day has been packed. It seems like there's been one thing after another with work but I was able to take a break to have lunch with some of the people involved with the rescue and discuss our goals for the second year. Getting our dogs ready to pass the CGC will be a big part of it.  After that it was back to handling emergencies right up until our CGC test time. Once again, I'd failed to practice with any of them.

We got to Klondike Canine Academy right before our scheduled time but I needed to pull dogs from the kennel.  Then it was time to test. I decided Harley probably wouldn't need to play so I tested with him first. He did a great job. He's far from being an ultra-responsive dog like Grazie has been but he's a sweet big guy and easy to manage. Pass!

I decided to try another big dog next. I didn't quite expect Dexter to pass but I wanted to run him through the test to see what he needed. The only walks he's taken with me have been high-speed so heeling isn't something we've perfected. He always pulls me until we've run a couple miles. As we walked into the testing area he was pulling hard and I almost turned to switch him for another dog but we gave it a shot. He took quite a bit of handling but we passed! I was especially happy that he did well on the supervised separation. (It doesn't hurt that the evaluator is a "big dog" person and appreciates him.)

Judo was next. Ug. Judo. He is so excitable and joyfully explosive. I love to be with him but pulling him through a CGC test is quite a challenge. I just had to laugh and look at working with him as a test of how well I can do instead of focusing on whether or not he'd ever pass. He did surprisingly well.  I had him a bit too jazzed when we did "walking through a crowd" and his front paws left the ground when he went toward someone. We got a "redo" on that later and I approached it more calmly. He breezed through it. He passed!

This means that most  of the dogs (five of eight) currently in the rescue program now have their CGCs!

I was told we had time for four dogs so I grabbed Morgan to finish. I thought he'd be easy but he surprised me. It was a couple hours beyond his normal feeding time and he was scouring the floor for leftovers. And he was curious about the part of the barn that covers the ground hog den. But he did fine until the supervised separation. He was ready to go home and then he heard Bob barking in the play area and got really excited. Fail. Oh, well. It should be easy to pass with him under better circumstances.

Since we'd moved through the dogs so quickly the evaluator offered to test another. Kitty chose Marley and we breezed through the testing. He takes handling at just the right times but he's generally easy. Another pass!

2008-08-22: playgroups by Kyler Laird
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I returned from the farm just in time to load the dogs and head to the park. The kennel dogs were already out playing. Bizet was with the little dogs. We joined the bigger dogs in the main area. All the dogs there were cool so I brought Bizet over to join us.

Dobky and Bob were a bit too interested in Bizet. Once, when Dobky was chasing Bizet Peyton broadsided him. I could imagine that he was "splitting" - trying to diffuse the situation.

Some young friends joined us and did a great job with the dogs. It was a good night.

2008-08-23: Purdue students visit by Kyler Laird

Toward the end of last semester some Purdue students contacted me about working with the dogs. What a wonderful opportunity! I've always had this hope that I could get students involved with working the dogs and I know there are students on campus who miss their own dogs or wish they could have their own but can't because of their housing, schedules, etc. The students took a couple of the dogs out for tours of campus last year and did a great job with the dogs. I looked forward to their return - and today I got the call!

The ladies were already at playgroups when I arrived. We talked about the current group of dogs and some of the changes coming to the group. There's still a lot to resolve but I'm excited about getting more people involved and getting dogs on campus for socialization. There are wonderful possibilities.

2008-08-28: another run for Harley by Kyler Laird

I've been getting fairly comfortable taking six of the dogs for a run most days. Harley has become so much more active lately that I've been considering taking him with us. I wasn't going to take him tonight but he was so excited I just couldn't leave him again.

Harley was pulling hard at first but then he settled back after about a mile. Then we ran around campus and he was really dragging. I stopped a couple times to check on him but each time he'd start pulling again so we'd resume. As we approached Slayter Hill Harley just dropped. I wasn't about to push him to continue. Kitty was out with a friend so I asked them to provide sag wagon service. Waiting with all of the dogs at the busy corner was a good experience. Everyone seems comfortable with all the activity except Marley is spooked by skateboards.

2008-08-30: busy Saturday by Kyler Laird
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There were a couple evaluations at playgroups today and we were also short on staff so I went for the whole time. Well, I arrived a bit late but I made quite an entry. I unloaded my dogs from the car and was mistaken about one of the new dogs, Lough, (for evaluations) being through the second gate. Instead, he got swamped by my guys in the entry area - quite an initiation. He handled it well, though!

Playgroups were uneventful after that and I had time to talk with Onyx's owner. I had completely neglected her request to try a playmate for Onyx. At first I was thinking that one of the doodles would be good but then she asked about Dexter. Of course! Dexter lived with a cat, has great housetraining, and his original owner was also a young woman. Dexter went home with Onyx. I neglected to mention that Dexter has difficulty getting into cars and I realized it just as I watched him start to enter her car. Then he high-tailed it out of there as I headed for him. I gave him a boost and it sounds like he did fine after that.

I visited Dexter later and took his crate and some food. He'd been doing fine with Onyx and seemed relaxed in the fenced area with Onyx. I just set up the crate and tried not to bother him. I look forward to hearing how he does.

I had Harley and Dobky with me and we headed straight to Global Fest in West Lafayette. Even though it was finishing as we arrived they got lots of attention and they did beautifully. Afterward a bunch of us went to a restaurant in Lafayette. Harley and Dobky got lots of attention while waiting for everyone to arrive and then I hitched them to the fence near the restaurant entrance. They continued to get nearly constant visitors throughout the evening.

I was amazed at how well Harley and Dobky did with all of the people, smells and sounds. I've traveled the country with lots of great dogs for many years so I have fairly high standards when it comes to being in public. Although I would expect my family dogs to maintain downstays in public without being tied, these guys were awesome and didn't seem to mind be restricted by their tethers. They were rock solid not spooked and social but not pushy. These are wonderful dogs. It was a delight to have them with us and they were fantastic representatives for our program.

2008-08-31: Harley's family by Kyler Laird
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Harley has been an outstanding dog. He's better than any dog I've known in several ways and I'd love to keep him. But lately I've noticed him doing things that make me think he needs his own family in order to thrive. Now he has one. I look forward to hearing of his new life.

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