Tag Archives: rescue dog

Oh You Little Monkey!

Little Monkey - Always ready for Mischief

Little Monkey – Always ready for Mischief

I always say I won’t adopt a dog that I can’t handle. I have to be able to lift her into, and out of, the car by myself. I have to be strong enough that she won’t pull me down the street, when instinct takes over, all her training goes up in smoke as she goes haring after a cat or squirrel. This is one reason why Mr Spaghetti Legs is smaller than Little Monkey.

However, LM is still giving me a hard time!

The other day I’d walked my dogs most of the way round the block. I’d intended to go a little farther to the park, but the wind was cold and old SL was hobbling, so we kept it short.

I was waiting to cross the road when a car pulled up on the opposite side, and the guy asked for directions to a street nearby. I crossed over and started discussing with him where the road was. It’s a bit of a rabbit warren around our neighbourhood so we were having quite a chat, me with me head in the passenger side window, my dogs waiting patiently at the side.

Next thing LM bounds forwards, barking, and pulls me right off my feet. Fortunately it was a grass verge, but still! There I am, stretched out full length, and scrabbling to my feet, trying to reel her in at the same time, when she lunges forwards and pulls me over again!

I finally get her close enough and shove her into a down.

What caused all this? A neighbour had come round the corner with his small little floor mop dog, and LM freaked out! I mean really? *Still, after all these years? (I’ve had her over eight years.)

Freak over, she’s fine again. And get this, my neighbour is apologising to me! Of course, I apologised back profusely, but people are beginning to realise poor old LM is just anxious and overreacts. Once stopped and given time she’s fine again.

But the end result of all this is that she has wrenched my right wrist quite badly, and also my arm and shoulder. I can feel it all seizing up as I type this!

Next dog I get will have to be a Teacup Yorkie!!

 

*post script: Why does LM react this way? Before I adopted her, she was unsocialised for the first 18 months of her life. She missed out on all the important things a dog needs to learn, to be sociable and get along with other dogs; such as meeting lots of different dogs (and people) and exploring many different environments. A more balanced, confident dog may have coped with this lack of socislisation in its early life, but LM is an anxious dog, way down the pecking order of the pack, at the Omega end. She will never completely overcome her early upbringing, though we have made huge improvements.

What would LM have done if she had escaped the lead? She’d have run towards the little dog barking, stopped a few metres away, turned and trotted back to me. I think you’ll all agree this is not normal behaviour!

Why does LM freak out? She goes into instant terror when she sees another dog suddenly appear, from round the corner etc. She takes much longer than the average dog to understand that the new dog is not a threat. (Lack of puppy socialisation.)

That being said, she is superb at reading dog energies, and half the problem is that most of the dogs we encounter are not balanced. Their owners think their dogs are fine, but what I see, and what LM certainly sees, is a dog out in front of its owner, pulling on the lead, in the position of pack leader; a dog with high energy, or anxious energy; a dog all over the place and not listening to its owner. The calm, confident dogs we meet on our walks are very few and far between. Mr Spaghetti Legs is one, but of course, Little Monkey is not!

Portrait of a Dog #9

Little Monkey

Little Monkey

I Love you Mum!

Little Monkey after her bath – eagerly expectant of a treat!

post script: Disclaimer! For all those (one) of you who notice that the choke chain is on incorrectly:- It was placed round her neck correctly, but she leapt in the air and jumped around like an Idiot, till it had moved to the other side. I only ever use this old choke chain for her bath, while her usual soft collar is washed and drying on the line with her lead. She has a lovely red material collar which you will notice in all her photos.

 

Mr Spaghetti Legs is Naughty!

Mr SL - Sleeping like a baby

Mr SL – Sleeping like a baby

Well, he finally went and did it! Look at what Mr Spaghetti Legs did to his bed!

Mr SL's bed

Mr SL’s bed

Making my bed

Making my bed

He “makes” his bed by scratching at the covers and biting and lifting the material. In the morning I find the mattresses strewn round the kitchen. See You made your bed now lie in it 

Massive hole

Massive hole

He has now made that small hole into a massive hole. This morning I couldn’t find the towel that goes on top of the mattress. Eventually I found it – crumpled up inside the hole in the cover

And what does Mr Spaghetti Legs think about all this? As you can see from the first picture, he is blissfully unconcerned; sleeping on the bed airing out on the stoep – which just happens to belong to Little Monkey!

 

How to – with Little Monkey. No1. Exit the House

I suppose you simply switch on the alarm and leave? Let me tell you how it goes with Little Monkey.

First, catch the dog. Little Monkey knows when it is walk time. So she takes the opportunity to hare madly round the garden, rushing up to you every circuit and leaping up to springboard off your body with her feet.

Once I’ve stopped this and got her inside and sitting on her mat, we can progress to the front door. More leaping in the air all four feet off the ground. Sit again. Pick up the lead. Leap. Sit! In the meantime put Mr Spaghetti Leg’s lead on. He is now standing nose to the door ready to go. Finally get the lead on Little Monkey. SIT!

Open the door. Dogs must not move. I get my keys, hat etc Dogs must stay calm, and the Idiot sitting. When I am ready, Little Monkey must look at me, then I nod, and we calmly exit the front door.

Now we face the same procedure at the security gate. Little Moneky knows to instantly sit, and to wait. I unlock the gate, and slowly open it. Dogs must not move. I then close the front door, we calmly exit the security gate and I turn around and lock it. This procedure must happen even if there is a squirrel in the garden, and Little Monkey desperately wants to chase it.

So far so good. We are one metre into our walk.

Next, a slow amble down the garden path. Dogs to the side, No pulling on the lead. Any of that and it is an instant sit and wait all over again. At the little side gate (where there is no gate any more) I go through first. No pulling. Now we are at the garage doors. Little Monkey sits, loose lead, and waits. I let Mr SL stand, since he is old and wobbly and does not pull on the lead anyway.

I open the automatic gate a little. Dogs do not move. When I say so, we walk forward and I go through first (sticking my head out and looking up and down the road for DOGS!). There is a lamp post right outside our house. Instant sit for Little Monkey.

Great! The walk is about to begin. How many sits and stays was that?

This process is repeated throughout the walk. Any time the Idiot freaks out at something, or leaps in the air because she’s seen another dog, I reel her back in, sit her down and pick up my finger that she just broke off – again. The walk can take a very long time. But doing it this way every single time is the only way to calm Little Monkey down. If I mess up just once, and miss a step out, I have to repeat it another thousand times before she does it automatically again.

This could all have been avoided if Little Monkey had been socialised as a puppy.

 

EINA!!!!

Eina! Pinkie

Eina! Pinkie

Once again I am reduced to tears by Little Monkey on our walk. I’m sorry – but the photo just does not do justice to how sore my finger is!!

A few weeks ago, Little Monkey nearly detached my left pinkie, when out of the blue she decided to lunge at a motor bike passing our house at the start of our walk. She has never reacted to any bikes before, in the 7 years I’ve had her, so I was totally unprepared. Instinctively, I tried to restrain her – when she darted into the road after the bike, and my poor little finger on my left hand paid the price. It was  purple and swollen for days. It had still not returned to normal when the Idiot damaged it again today.

Firstly, it is winter here, and a massive storm (stretching from Cape Town to Johannesburg – 1400km)  is passing over the country, bringing cold temperatures, heavy rains, and gale force winds in its wake. Still, I walk my dogs.

Whilst getting ready at the front door, Little Monkey does her usual leaping in the air, all four feet off the ground. She is more rambunctious than usual – and Eina! my poor pinkie pays the ultimate price. Eish – it is sore neh?

Well, a few expletives later and I am on the walk with the Idiot and Mr Spaghetti Legs (what did you get yourself into, my boy, when you came to us??) Just round the corner of the block, Little Monkey takes that huge intake of breath – you know – when you hear that blood curdling “ghghghghgghgg” before she lets go with a whooo-ooo-ooo wuff wuff wuff! And lunges at a gate. Again with the pinkie!! This hurt so much I did actually shed a few tears!

What was going on? Well, there, behind the railings, where usually there is nothing – was a dog! What was it doing? Absolutely Nothing! It just normally wasn’t there. Little Monkey was isolated and unsocialised for the first 18 months of her life – until I adopted her. This is what she does. This is what she will always do.

So yeah, I shed a few tears, as I controlled Little Monkey, reeled her back in, calmed her. My finger really hurts. I will tape it to the next finger – again – for a few days.

In the meantime, there is always wine!!!!! Cheers 😉

post script: What does Eina mean? It is Afrikaans for “ouch” – but actually conveys a lot more meaning!

Portrait of a Dog #5

Mr SL Says Hello

Mr SL Says Hello

Study in Black and White.

Old Mr Spaghetti Legs! Why is his portrait only appearing now, as number 5?

He’s been with us for 8 months, but he is so respectful that he did not look directly at me until just this last week! I wanted to catch that, and here it is at last.

A little of Mr SL’s story: He was removed by the police from his owners on the streets of a town, as he was severely emaciated. He was cared for at an animal rescue organisation for 10 years 8 months, until Little Monkey picked him out as her perfectly compatible companion and he came to live with us.

People feel sorry for Mr SL, for living so long in kennels. Of course I do too, but he could have had a much worse life: of neglect, abuse and starvation. As it was, he was given food, shelter, walks, companionship, both canine and human, vaccinations, medical care when needed, and LOVE LOVE LOVE. He was sorely missed when we took him away.

Dogs live in the moment and I try to follow their example. Still, it took Mr SL 7 months to really relax, and accept this is his home now. And another month to look at the camera and say “Dog biscuits”! (cheese)

Portrait of a dog #4

Still Life - Madam

Still Life – Madam

Still Life

Madam; Miss Independent; the most stunningly beautiful of all our dogs; the one everyone automatically went to stroke; and the one most likely to bite you! (Granted – the one time she did bite me, I had accidentally shut her tail in the door – so fair enough!)

She was about 7 years old when we adopted her from a rescue organisation. She had fur that constantly grew along her ears, legs, tail and undercarriage, with “bantam chick” fluffy feet. The fastest of our dogs; she could even catch the much younger Little Monkey. She was independent from the first, and quite happy, in later years, to spend the day on her own, snug on her bed in a little niche, round the back of the house; appearing for walks and meal times.

From her I learnt that even a pack animal like a dog may prefer to be alone.

 

Portrait of a Dog #3

Seeing Eye to Eye - Madam and Little Monkey

Seeing Eye to Eye – Madam and Little Monkey

Seeing Eye to Eye

The Alpha and Omega females call a truce and share a bonding moment; stalking. These two dominant females studiously ignored each other most of the time. Madam, the old alpha female, had spotted a squirrel in the garden. As the younger alpha-wannabe (Little Monkey) walked past, she noticed Madam’s stillness and turned to join her in a moment of silent hunting.

 

Portrait of a Dog #2

Trust of an Old Boy

Trust of an Old Boy

Trust of an Old Boy

TJ was about seven when he came to us; a street dog from a rescue centre. He was blind in one eye and had an old wound in one back leg; a very badly healed compound fracture. Most likely he had been hit by a car, and received no medical attention. The shin bone had set like the letter T. He slipped into the pack as if he had always been here; never complained, and took all life had to throw at him with a quiet dignity.

From him I learned acceptance.