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