Wednesday, September 29, 2010


OK...I just have to vent. Last night I taught a puppy class at a local pet supply store. During the class a familiar face rounded the corner with her 2 pit bulls. It was a face I knew from various dog events. A pet person with ZERO dog handling skills. My stomach sank as she waved hi and was peeking at the class in session. First, I must say I am not breed bias...I have many friends with pit bulls and see some great pits come through the shelter. I am also not naive to the power of these dogs and personally know that this woman's dogs have been aggressive in many situations and that she lives in denial that she has potentially dangerous dogs.

I continued to teach and she continued to shop. There was no drama and I sighed with relief. The class ended, I passed out homework and went to help a student pick out a harness for her poodle.

Then I heard what made me cringe. A set of deep growls and yelling. Shit. I ran across the huge store to the counter and by the time I got there it was over.

One of my students (with a wonderful aussie puppy) was paying for her treats, when Dummy's boyfriend brought one of the pit bulls up to the puppy where it tried to pin the puppy up against the counter snarling then Dummy herself DROPPED the leash of the second pit and it ran up to puppy to get into the mix while my student used her leg to block both dogs from her pup yelling for them to get their dogs. Dummy just STOOD there and didn't even try to recover her dog....aarrgghh! The staff where all circling and the situation was quickly diffused and the Dummy couple left.

The aussie puppy was fine ( luckily, he lives with terriers and can blow stuff off easily). Its people like this who give bully breeds a bad name. Whats scary is that she is clueless (or maybe just doesn't care) at her lack of dog skills. Its only a matter of time before her dogs do serious damage.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shelter Dog Enrichment

I have been somewhat obsessed about 'enrichment' since I first heard about it years ago when Zoos where feeding bears in cardboard boxes and giving monkeys hammocks and toys.Thank god the days of barren cages are long gone! This past spring Bill and I visited the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans and were so happy to see that every animal had some form of enrichment in their enclosures. Our favorite was an orangutan who was playing with a big blanket and several boxes. We could have watched him forever.

At the shelter, once the dogs are walked, fed and the cleaning is done, the staff works on enrichment. This is a dream come true for me! This week I did noseworks with a happy-go- lucky pit mix who decided that destroying the cardboard box was too much fun. I also made various Kong's and placed food in empty cereal boxes using all kinds of ingredients.

Now I have been introduced to you tube videos of what other shelters are doing for enrichment and I am hooked! Here is the latest video, and one of the volunteers is picking up the supplies so we can add this extra fun for the dogs.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Interesting week at the shelter

This week has been INSANE! Besides my volunteer coordinator duties at the shelter, I am now part of the kennel staff 2 days a week. Working in the kennels is by far, a more natural environment for me that the volunteer office. I would much rather enter my zen state of mind cleaning 28 kennels than answer the normal 50+ e-mails I get everyday. I was also able to wear my vet tech hat which I haven't done in a LONG time, treating the sick dogs in the isolation ward. I even received kudos by the well seasoned kennel staff for befriending (and medcating) an Akita that no one else wanted to work with. Enrichment is extremely important in keeping a shelter dog busy and sane, so I made enrichment toys for the dogs using empty cereal boxes, peanut butter and dog cookies. It was great to see the dogs enjoying their 'toys'.

I also had 4 classes to teach this week, prepare for a dog walking class and a new volunteer orientation at the shelter AND I have 2 new classes starting tomorrow.

I was hoping to take time in Sept to trial with Liam and that plan went right out the window. The new plan is to work as much as possible in Sept and some time off in October for puppy. Gimli and I are starting our Comp Ob classes next month, so we will see where that takes me :) .

With this new change in schedule, I am going to have to cut back on my teaching gigs to possible 2 locations instead of 4 just so that I can have some face time with the hubby! I am happy to be busy, but when it rains it pours!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Enough is enough...

I blogged last month that we should stop whining about the heat...ok...UNCLE! Mother Nature, you win....please stop this. When schools close in Maine because of the know its friggin hot. Maine has NEVER closed schools due to heat. Its September 2nd and it feels like the surface of the sun outside and the air is like a hot, wet, wool blanket. The weather guys says it will be cooler after the hurricane passes. I am crossing my fingers that he is right as I am now a big whiny-baby. waaahhh!