Ugg Learns a New Trick

Ugg learned a new trick while we were away at church today.
He’s been so lonely since his lil buddy, Blue, left on a rescue run.

When we got home about 12:30 Ugg met us at the wooden gate, grinning his face off and tail flapping madly. A neighbor said he was loose in the yard for quite a while, she first saw him around 11:00.  The roof of his kennel is all torn up.  The corner is shredded and there are many punctures to the tarp covering.

I moved Ugg into kennel #1, which is our Max Security cell, with mesh fastened in under the roof along the edges to prevent climbers from getting out. I had to move all the added hardware from his old room to the new one too.  That was Blue’s room since I figured if anyone was a climber, it would be a hyper Terrier.

Ugg discovered early on that he could yank his door into the kennel (twisting the latch) and get out. I installed a heavy chain with anchor shackles until I could order a second latch to mount down low. But even the second latch wasn’t enough so I use both latches AND the chain at night and when I go away.  He can’t get out through the door any more, so he went looking for some other way … and found it. Who’d have thought such a massive dog would be a climber?

I guess we’ll have to go to N.A.C. and find Ugg a new neighbor – and save another life.

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Follow the Leader: Blue Steele Style

Blue and Ugg are our “outside boys”. When Ugg arrived, Blue had already been here a couple of days and got lonely when no one else was outside.

When I first brought Ugg home, Blue growled at him and backed away. Maybe because Ugg is twice Blue’s size, maybe because Ugg stunk, maybe because I was with Ugg not Blue. Blue likes to be the center of attention.

It did not take long for Blue to change his mind about Ugg and they started hanging out close to their shared wall, getting to know one another.

Blue’s jealous/possessive trait kept them from playing in the yard together for several days, but we eventually got that worked out and they now enjoy spending their play periods in the yard together. They have worked out their pecking order: little Blue is the leader and Ugg is his stooge who happily follows him around like Pinky and The Brain.

Okay, maybe not
*that* hard

Today was a hot one, and their mid-day play time was mostly spent laying in a patch of shady grass, because that’s what Blue said to do. In the afternoon we had a short, hard rain that came late enough to cool things off. Too early in the day and rain makes things tropical and sultry once the rain stops.

With the cooler temps and wet grass for the evening play session, Blue invented a new game: High Speed Follow the Leader.

The way it worked is that Ugg would be following Blue around as they sniffed. Without warning, Blue would bolt off at a run. Ugg rose to the challenge and tried to catch up. Blue is much more nimble than Ugg, and when Ugg caught him, Blue would execute a sharp turn — which he managed, but Ugg tended to slew around in a wide turn, if he didn’t lose traction all together and go down to slide on his side along the wet grass.

Blue clearly thought this was hilarious. Ugg continued to play along with the game, not appearing to be embarrassed or frustrated in the least. Indeed, he thought this was a fun game!

Blue would slow to a walk and they’d resume sniffing until Blue sprung another surprise departure on Ugg. Over and over they did this until both were winded and ready for their treats.

Blue indicated their readiness by going to the mailbox where I store outside treats, toys, and small equipment and nosed the door, “I’m ready for my snack, get us our cookies!”

Blue is a little bossy, but really cute. And smart!

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Peanut Butter Moonshine

I spent just under four hours today making just over 1,000 peanut butter dog treats. Ostensibly these are for the Quilts and Canines event on the 15th of the month. In actuality, some will be needed elsewhere before then so I’ll have to make more next week.

The process of making these peanut butter treats left a large peanut butter jar empty. I like to give the empty jars to the outside dogs because they tend to miss out on a lot of treats the house dogs get. But today I decided to give it to Blondie Bear. She’s been feeling down.

There was a time when she and Cochise were the only house dogs. Occasionally a foster dog would earn enough Good Dog points to come in for housebreaking, but the vast majority of the time it was just the four of us and Cochise and Blondie got lots of attention from Marie and me. But then we adopted Josephine. And Buddy. And Callie. And Moonshine is an in-house foster dog. Blondie is pretty laid back and doesn’t get huffy when the others push in front of her to get the People attention. But it hurts her feelings. So I thought it might lift her spirits if I gave HER the peanut butter jar this time.

She was laying on the floor in the kitchen watching me work, everyone else was snoozing in the living room or the den. There should not be a big tussle as the others try to get it away from her.

I set the jar down beside her. She looked at it, looked at me, looked back at the jar. She licked tentatively at the rim and said as she stood up, “Too rich for me. I’m trying to watch my figure.” and walked away.

By now some of the others got wind of the fact that I gave her something that I did not give everyone else and came to investigate. First on the scene was Moonshine. At first she stood off about four feet, her glance darting around the room looking for the others. She glanced at me several times, judging whether that jar was fair game or if I would scold her is she approached. I just watched as I worked.

Josephine was creeping up on the scene from the other side of the table. Moonie decided it was now or never. She stepped up, still casting furtive glances, maybe deciding if this was a trap. It sure smelled GOOD! Josie was stepping closer, so Moonie lowered her head, ever so slowly, still glancing about, and took the rim of the jar gently in her teeth.

She paused, listening, glancing at me, glancing at Josephine, then slowly lifted the jar, turned, and tip-toed out of the room. Once she got into the hallway I heard her claws clickety-clacking rapidly down the tile floor to the bedroom.

I was cutting out treats and loading them on a tray while this was going on. Timing is important in this, especially when I’m doing multiple batches, so I had to keep going until it was time to put that tray in the oven. With that done I took a moment to slip back and make sure Moonshine wasn’t making a mess of the carpet.

She was lounging on a bed, thoroughly enjoying licking every morsel of peanut butter she could reach out of that jar.

As I came to the door she grinned at me, flapped her tail a few times, and stuck her nose back into the jar, tongue snaking out as far as it could to retrieve that peanutty goodness.

That thing kept her happily occupied most of the afternoon! I’m sorry Blondie wasn’t interested, but glad Moonshine enjoyed it. She has started her heartworm treatment and will be getting the injections soon. I’ll have to make sure I empty another peanut butter jar when she comes home from that.

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What we know about Callie

A good deal of info has been posted to Facebook about Callie and her history by the people involved in her rescue. The following is my distillation of those accounts.

Callie was originally the family dog of a couple with kids. It appears Callie was kept pregnant much of the time and they sold the puppies. The couple split up and he left, leaving Callie and the kids with her. She claims Callie was his dog, and it seems she took out her feelings about this break-up on Callie, exiling her to existence outside the home, with little or no care.

The Mom and kids went away for 3 weeks, leaving Callie outside with no shelter, food or water. A gentleman who lives nearby took pity on Callie and started leaving food, water, and a blanket for her to lie on outside his door. When he passed away, his son came to clear out the house, found Callie and took her home with him. They fell in love with her.

Callie was pregnant and close to delivering. While Callie seemed gentle and calm, she did snap at the family’s Boston Terrier when he got too close once. The husband feared that their kids might get in the middle of a dog fight if they let her stay and took Callie to the Humane Society of Jefferson County.

H.S.J.C. placed Callie with one of their long-time foster homes until Callie’s puppies were delivered and weaned. They had no incidents, indeed they loved her.

Once Callie came back to H.S.J.C. to seek adoption, she tested positive for heartworms. Being a “pit bull”, being seven years old, and now being H.W. positive could have been her “three strikes: you’re out” that would send her to the euthanasia room. But because everyone loved her so much, members of the shelter staff determined to save her. Donors were contacted for the funds needed to pay for her H.W. treatment and Marie and I agreed to foster her through treatment and recovery.

This is what rescue is about: people working together, each doing what we can, to save the lives of abandoned or abused furbabies like Callie.

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Josephine’s Urgent Request

Josie's request

‘Scuse me, I have a request.

Josephine came to us with a request. We were sympathetic because poor little Josephine has had a hard road through life. When she became known to us she had been a pregnant stray, was mangy and terrified of being in an animal shelter. She came here as a foster dog for rest, healing, and sanity.

After working with her for a while we decided that the best thing for her … was to stay here.

Since then, she has met many foster dogs. She really liked some of them.

Fosters are sent away once they are healed and trained. That’s how fostering works. Recently Josie heard us discussing plans for our current foster dogs, became upset, and approached us with an urgent request …

Josephine’s Request from Doug Bittinger on Vimeo.

Callie has been here for treatment of heartworm since December 2017. By the time treatment and recovery is complete, she will have been here for nearly a year! That’s almost unheard of in our type of foster care.

Callie is settled in and convinced that this is home. Marie and I have been discussing what it might do to Callie if we put her in a crate and shipped her off to another rescue who would then try to find her a permanent home. She’s been abandoned before. Maybe she’d be okay as long as she found another home quickly.

Callie is a Pit Bull — is it realistic to hope for a quick adoption? Not really!

By their true nature, Staffordshire Bull Terriers (A.K.A. Pit Bulls) are wonderful, gentle, loving companions who were once known as Nanny Dogs because they were the preferred breed for affluent families who wanted a companion for their children. Really! But today it is this breed’s turn to suffer persecution by ignorant people because of what HUMANS have forced these dogs to do.

Callie is a sweet, gentle, affectionate, goof. We love her. She loves us. And all of our dogs have accepted her as family. We might as well make that official. We’re signing the papers on Friday.

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The Lion Queen

Callie and Rainy had an issue with one another over a plush toy that Marie found. Others got involved as well. Will they be able to resolve it peacefully? Who will be, The Lion Queen?

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Altering S.S.P.

It has been S.S.P. (Standard Sleeping Procedure) forever that Blondie Bear inhabited the snuggle bed at the foot of our bed and Cochise preferred to sleep in the corner by the wall. During times of high stress (heavy rain, thunder, fireworks, hunters on the mountain at night, etc) Blondie would slip around and sleep beside my side of the bed. Here she could prompt me and I could slide an arm over and scratch her head when she needed comforting. Yeah, I know: we’re not supposed to do that, it just encourages fearful behavior. But she’s my “sweetface baby girl” and I am a softie sometimes. Especially where she is concerned.

Blondie’s Safe Sleeping Spot

When Cochise passed away, Blondie began sleeping along side the bed every night. She’ll lounge on her bed until we’re all settled, but once we’re ready to sleep, around she comes. This could be a problem with mobility as I get up at night to tend to dogs clickety-clacking along the hallway — potentially needing to go outside. But I know she’s down there, so I probe gently with my feet as I sit up. Blondie stays real still, letting me discover where she is not so I can find floor and stand up. That’s trust!

I have to think she is still missing her best friend and is seeking solace in staying close to me at night. Most of the time she does not seek skritchies. Once in a while I am awakened by her big square nose poking me gently, but most of the time she is content with being close.

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Foxy Lady’s Graduation

Foxy

“I’m ready to ride – let’s ROLL!”

Foxy has done well in her civilization training, so I gave her a reward. Yesterday I took Foxy with me to run errands. We went to the gas station, the drive-through bank (where she got a big cookie), Western Auto, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, Ace Hardware, and Westgate Tire Pros. She went in with me everywhere but the gas station and the bank (because I didn’t go in either).

Everyone was friendly to her. Many loved on her and told her how beautiful she is. She ate up all that attention! She rode well and behaved perfectly in all the stores and with all of the people.

After SIX stores, she’s ZONKED!

I also went to Wilton Springs Hardware, but I dropped Foxy back at home first, that was going to be an extended shopping session and she was getting tired.

Foxy will be leaving us tomorrow: headed out east somewhere. I’m told she has been accepted by a Husky rescue. That is a good thing: they will make sure she gets placed with a home that is aware of and able to accommodate the quirky personalities of Huskies.

They are wonderfully affectionate and entertaining companions, but they are also vocal, brilliant, and have opinions about EVERYTHING. Huskies are energetic dogs who need an active lifestyle. Those who cannot appreciate these qualities will be frustrated by them.

Foxy is a good girl. Beautiful too. I’m sure she will find her forever home quickly.

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All Hail the Chief

Cochise BigDog, also known as Cochise the Amazing Talking Dog passed away on Thursday, May 3rd around 9:30 PM at the age of ten years.

Cochise was a great companion to us for six of those years, an amazing mentor to 63 foster dogs, an effective Guardian of the Realm, and a great ambassador for rescue dogs everywhere, for he too started out abandoned in a shelter, heartworm positive and scheduled for destruction. We saved him then, now it’s time to let him go. Farewell my Bestest Boy, you will be missed.
Continue reading

Bed Check

Callie is a sweet, gentle, lovable gal. She is a Staffie mix after all. She gives us almost no trouble at all and so she has earned the right to be a full-time, free-range house dog — except when we leave the property for an extended period of time. But that’s not Callie’s fault.

Josephine likes to play rowdy. If I’m here I can monitor that and shut it down before anything gets torn up. When I’m not here, she and Blondie sometimes knock into things, moving furniture around a bit, but rarely tear anything up. If Callie gets into the mix, Callie likes to play tug-o-war. Dog beds are handy tug toys because all three can pull on it at once. That leads to tearing. Tearing leads to stuffing poking out. Stuffing poking out gets everyone excited about pulling out all the stuffing. We’ll arrive home again to find an “exploded” dog bed. Not good!

So when Marie and I are both going to be gone a while, Callie gets crated. But she doesn’t mind. Continue reading