Tag Archives: adoption

Doggone it!

Rescue Doggos 1

Chapter Two

Continuing my search for a dog, the next rescue centre I tried was just how I remembered it, when I adopted Little Monkey, Madam and TJ from there many years ago.

Everyone was very friendly and very helpful. I got to walk round all the kennels and go in those that had dogs I was interested in.

Rescue Doggo 2 – Blackie

The first time I went there, I liked this dog, Blackie, and he liked me. But he was far too big. He just reminded me of my first boy, Jack. Happily, he was adopted not long after I saw him.

I also liked, Snowy, a white retriever cross, shown below. His story was that he had been owned by a gardener, but when the dog became infested with fleas and suffered an allergic reaction, losing all the hair on his back, the owner brought him in to be treated. The people here at the rescue centre sorted out all his problems, but the owner no longer wanted him back, so they kept him and neutered him, ready for adoption.

Rescue Doggo 3 – Snowy

Like I said, I quite liked him, but wasn’t sure. I could see that his teeth were bad, which meant I was looking at several thousand Rand straight off to get them sorted out and cleaned. Also, he had had a lump removed when they neutered him. Although it wasn’t cancerous, it made me think there would be more in the future and also that the dog was older than the 7 years that they thought. Finally, he was allergic to flea spit, which meant he was probably allergic to other stuff too, like many Golden Retrievers, particularly some gorgeous ones I know from dog class. This would mean special expensive food. Later I read the updated info about this dog on their website and they said that he got along fine with other dogs, if they knew the rules, and if they didn’t, he would show them! Reading between the lines, this dog would be more work than I was looking for at this time.

Rescue Doggo 4 – Snowy

So I was not totally committed to Snowy, but would have taken him for a walk to see. However, he was adopted while I was dithering – and I was fine with that.

I realised I was just not ready to adopt another dog yet. I needed more time to grieve for Little Monkey.

Rescue Doggo 5 – Chappie

In the meantime this same rescue centre organised a dog walk on my local green belt. Anyone could go along, make a donation and walk a dog, if they wished, with a volunteer. So my husband and I went along to support them. We ended up walking this little dog, Chappie.

Rescue Doggo 6 – Chappie

Though he was the right size, he was young, only about two years old, and also quite an anxious dog. You might not be able to tell from the blurry photos, but I calmed him down by getting him to sit and holding my hand on his chest.

Rescue Doggo 7 – Chappie

He visibly relaxed, but he was using up all my energy! So he wasn’t the right dog for me either.

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I went back to this particular rescue centre twice more, looking for two specific dogs. One had since been adopted, but this Border Collie cross, Miss Feisty, was still there.

I was so sure that this would be the one that I prepared our home in advance, so she could come back with us. I got out all the dog mats and bedding, food and bowls. I took a de-flea tablet with me and many treats, and in the car I put the dog towels, safety harness, lead and collar.

Rescue Doggo 8 – Miss Feisty

They are so accommodating at this place that they said I could take the dog home for a week to see how it went before deciding. We got to see the young two year old Border Collie cross in a special play area. I did all my checks with her; things I do to assess the dog and her reactions to me, such as touching ears, feet; and other things. She passed, and even if she wasn’t overly affectionate, that was fine.

So I was all set to take her home, when the guy helping us suggested we take her for a walk on the beach*. Even better!

Rescue Doggo 9 – Miss Feisty

So we put Miss Feisty in the car, strapped her in and headed for the nearby beach. She wasn’t used to travelling in a car and turned round so many times that she twisted her lead into a knot! Once at the beach I got her out of the car and tried to walk calmly down to the sands, but she was super excited and pulled a lot on the lead. They use a harness with a double lead, so it is very hard to stop them pulling with this, but I did my best.

Rescue Doggo 10 – Miss Feisty

Once on the beach I walked around slowly so Miss Feisty could sniff all the seaweed and lovely doggie smells. Farther down the beach I could see other dogs from this rescue centre being walked off-lead. They all looked well behaved and calm. I didn’t want to let Miss Feisty off the lead, as she didn’t know me and I didn’t want to risk her running off!

As the large German Shepherd crosses approached us, I wasn’t worried at all, as I could see that they were minding their own business and quite calm. Suddenly Miss Feisty lunged at them, barking, clearly meaning to attack! This was much worse than Little Monkey, who would have reacted and leapt in the air out of fear, never aggression.

I corrected her instantly by turning her away and making her sit. Fortunately, the large dogs passed us by, no problem, but it would have been a different story had they decided to react to the lunge! My husband said, “Well that’s all right; you corrected her and she listened.”

Rescue Doggo 11 – Miss Feisty

But no. It is fairly easy to correct behaviour such as pulling on the lead. Wanting to attack other dogs is far more serious, as it’s the innate character of the dog and would take a lot of work to change. Ten years ago, I might have considered adopting her (though none of my six were this bad). However, I am not prepared to take this on any more. I simply don’t have the energy. So it was a no to Miss Feisty.

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It is both physically and emotionally draining to keep going and looking at these dogs. It exhausts me. Many people won’t go to rescue centres because they feel so sorry for the dogs there. Yes of course I feel sorry for them and wish I could give them all a home, but it is much, much worse on the outside, as you can read below. All these dogs are very well cared for. They are fed, groomed, given veterinary care, have their behavioural problems addressed and are oh so loved. This particular centre has a high turn around and finds many good forever homes for its dogs and cats every month.

I haven’t given up and still view all the dogs available on their website. So far the dogs are either too big, too small, too young or too difficult.

I am looking for a calm, middle-aged dog, with minimal problems. Every rescue dog has some baggage, but it depends what exactly, and how much effort and energy is required to change the behaviour.

And I’d rather have no dog than the wrong dog.

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So in the mean time I thought of something else to do while I was waiting for the perfect Doggo for me, and you can read about that in the next chapter.

If you missed the first chapter, you can read it here – Waiting for Doggo!

 

ALL THE DOGS MENTIONED IN THIS POST HAVE SINCE BEEN ADOPTED. HOORAY!

 

*There used to be grassy areas around this rescue centre, where you could walk the dogs and get to know them a bit better. The townships have since grown around the rescue centre, right up to the gates. We were advised not to walk there any more, as dog walkers had been mugged. So the beach it was. 

Another thing while I’m talking about the townships. Most of the dogs in the rescue centre come from the township. When you adopt a dog, you save that dog and also make room in their centre for another dog in need, which can be taken off the streets. They always say, you are saving two dogs by adopting one.

Sadly, the dogs they are rescuing these days are often severely malnourished and emaciated. With the economy so bad, people in the townships can barely feed themselves, let alone their dogs; yet they keep the dog, tied up in their yard, for security. The dog cannot forage for food for itself and slowly starves. 

 

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Waiting for Doggo!

Doggo Waiting Patiently on Mat

Chapter One  

It’s been seven months since Little Monkey went to play with Mr Spaghetti Legs and all my other dogs; Lady, Jack, Madam and TJ.

I have been looking for another rescue dog. While I wait for Doggo, my toy dog sits patiently on his mat, like Pinocchio, waiting to be turned into a Real Dog!

There are many rescues to choose from, here in Cape Town. I thought you might like to come along with me on my quest.

Rescue Doggo 1

My preference is for a calm, middle aged male, weighing under 20 kg. (But fate has a way of laughing at your plans and I might end up with a young female; who knows!)

LM weighed 23 kg and I had to help her in and out of the car as she got older. One time her back legs collapsed in the middle of the road and I had to scoop her up quickly and carry her to the kerbside. I rubbed her legs and she was good to go again. However, my days of scooping up 23 kg are limited, which is why I am looking for a smaller dog.

Rescue Doggo 2

First I went to the rescue organisation from where I adopted Mr Spaghetti Legs (and Lady and Jack before him.) It was under new management with different methods, but the dogs were still very well cared for and in good shape.

However, all the dogs they showed me were far too big and strong. They were street dogs with mixtures of Pitbull, Boerboel, Labrador etc and way bigger than LM, even though I told them what size I was looking for now.

Rescue Doggo 3

The manageress told me that dogs are not pack animals, so that’s why they were mostly kept in kennels on their own. This does not help them socialise.

Also, any clip you ever see on street dogs shows them forming into packs, round the rubbish tips etc. They do not go it alone, if they have a choice.

Rescue Doggo 4 and Cows

The whole experience was draining and I won’t be going back. I had been sure I could just walk in there and find my new soul mate, as I have done six times in the past.

But it wasn’t a total loss, as at least I got to see a few rescue cows up close!

Cows 2

There are other places to try and that’s where we’ll be going in the next chapter.

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post script: Waiting for Doggo is a pun on the Samuel Beckett play, Waiting for Godot. Thank you to everyone who has been asking about my search for a new dog.

post post script: They only used positive reinforcement here, so the dogs did what they liked instead of listening to the volunteers, who were trying to coax them with treats. Someone who does not normally follow me may start ranting about this and I won’t be responding. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I have no problem with that, but this is a post about searching for a new dog, not dog training methods. Positive reinforcement is perfectly fine and I use it myself, but to only use it with no correction does not help the dog.

If a dog is jumping on me, scratching and bruising my arms (which is exactly what happened here), I am not going to give it a treat when it finally decides by itself to get down. However, while there, I respected their methods and let the woman with me sort it out. She offered the dog a treat and repeatedly said, “Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! . . . ” It did not sit. I walked away and it jumped on her!

To stop a dog jumping on me, I walk forward into its space, tell it calmly, stop that, and get it to sit. It’s done in a second, and the dog and I are both happy.

Scifihammy and TJ

You’ll recognise the photo above from my About page; My Tail Too.

Old TJ jumped on us when we first got him. He desperately wanted attention. I taught him in one day that if he stopped jumping up and sat nicely he would get instant attention. Thereafter, whenever I turned around, little TJ would be sitting beautifully, waiting for attention. I always gave it to him. In the photo above I have just returned from dog class with Little Monkey. TJ has missed me!

I learnt dog behaviour from all my dogs; particularly Little Monkey and Madam. After all, a dog knows how to communicate with other dogs far better than we do!

 

Mr Spaghetti Legs Learns to Rock

Mr Spaghetti Legs learns to rock

Mr Spaghetti Legs learns to rock

Can an old dog teach a new dog tricks?

Sure.

Even when the old dog (Little Monkey) is nine going on two, and the new dog (Mr Spaghetti Legs) is at least twelve?

Absolutely!

It is so much easier to teach your newly acquired dog the ropes, when you already have a dog that knows how to behave. The new dog watches the old dog, and learns. They may not know why they have to sit at the kerb before crossing the road; why they are not allowed down the passage; why they have to sit nicely for their food; just that this is what the pack does here, and so they copy them.

When I adopted Little Monkey, I already had two old dogs, TJ and Madam. They used to sit nicely for their food, and raise one paw to say please. When this new young dog arrived, they suddenly became desperate for their food at meal times, and sat up and begged with both paws in the air. This is what Little Monkey saw and copied. She now stands right up on her hind legs like a circus dog, before sitting nicely for her food.

Little Monkey loves to show her enthusiasm for life by leaping in the air with all four feet off the ground; in the mornings, or at meal times, or when I come  home, or simply just because. Old Mr Spaghetti Legs, with the pinched spinal nerve and wobbly back legs, has watched and learned.

This morning, he too tried to leap in the air in excitement. He got his front legs off the ground at least. I know that if his body matched his spirit, he would have flown!