Tag Archives: TJ

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.

.

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!

 

Hunting the Cape Lion

TJ - the Cape Lion

TJ – Heart of a Lion

What is the Cape Lion?

The Cape Lion had black-tipped ears and the male, a massive black mane, reaching behind its shoulders and right under its stomach. The last of its kind was killed in 1858.

There is some debate as to whether the Cape Lion ( Panthera leo melanochaitus ) was a distinct subspecies of lion, many maintaining that it was simply a southern variation of the Transvaal Lion. It was large though, weighing up up to 230kg and 3m in length.

Some zoos (eg in Russia) claimed to have descendants of the Cape Lion, but there has been so much interbreeding it is unlikely that a pure Cape Lion will ever walk along the Cape of Africa again.

 

Fight!

Lady and Jack Play-Fight

Lady and Jack Play-Fight *These are trained stunt dogs – do not try this at home!

It was 5.30 on a pleasant Spring evening, with the sun mellow rather than blistering. I sat out on the stoep with my glass of ice cold white wine and breathed a sigh of contentment. Just a short interlude before starting the evening meal.

Little Monkey was running round the garden with various toys, shouting, “Look at me Mum!” while the old dogs were up on the stoep with me. Madam the old girl came up for attention, so I gave her a quick pat on the head and she went away. Then TJ came up, and he got the same brief pat. Next second Madam has launched herself at TJ!

I jumped up and took my wine safely inside; not too bothered about the dogs. Maybe twice a year there was a little tiff and a reasserting of pack order. It was never aggressive or vicious, and never any injuries. Little monkey had now joined in, surprisingly on the side of Madam. Usually the two females squared off with a “There can be only one!” attitude and Little Monkey and TJ were best friends.

But this is all instinct. Attack the wounded, the weak, the sick, the old, the different. When it was TJ who had the underhand, the two girls joined forces.

Then Madam tripped over the chair and was down. Instantly the two other dogs laid into her. And though there was a lot of noise and teeth, it still wasn’t a serious fight. We’re talking seconds here.

But enough is enough, and I stepped in to separate them all.

Since Madam seemed to have come out the worst from the engagement, I shut the others outside and checked her over. Though there was no blood, unfortunately she had a six centimetre gash in the ruff of her neck. An unlucky accident; maybe Little Monkey got her fang caught in the collar when going for the thick neck mane.

I looked at the clock. Quarter to six. The vets shut at six. I downed the rest of my wine in one and rushed Madam to the vets for stitches, pain killers and antibiotics. Although she felt pretty sorry for herself, she was all right, and all the dogs were fine with each other again. Never a dull moment with three dogs.

So much for the interlude!

post script: I don’t have any photos of my dogs fighting. Not surprisingly, I rush to grab the dogs, not the camera. This photo is the best I have – great friends mock-fighting.

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.