April 2nd 2013 6:07 pm
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Angie went for a weekend visit with a couple that were thinking of adopting her. Despite never even trying to get out of my fenced yard or any of her other foster family's yards, she escaped from the backyard of this couple early Easter morning. I went to their house and walked the neighborhood around noon and again yesterday evening with Claire and Yuki, hoping to draw Angie out if she was still in the area. No such luck.
This morning she was sighted near Ohio Valley University so I drove there at lunchtime and called for her while walking all around the campus. I drove around the area, too, while calling and whistling for her. Again, no luck.
I am worried about her. If any one is in the Vienna, WV area and sees her, please contact me and tell me the location.
March 17th 2013 3:12 pm
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This past week my family visited so Angie had lots of new socialization opportunities. She'd met my mother once before so I was not surprised when Angie asked my mom for loving on their second day here. She frequently seemed surprised by my dad and would bark at him, but by the end of their visit, her barking was very short and infrequent, only if he startled her. He worked hard to win her over, with treats and lots of attention to Claire and Yuki but she remained a little suspicious of him throughout their visit.
The big surprise was how well Angie handled my brother, who is disabled and uses a walker to get around. Although my dogs have never been fazed by my brother, I do know that sometimes dogs can find people who move in less typical ways or use assistance to be scary, so I was a little worried about how Angie would react. I should not have been. From the first day they were here, Angie was not at all afraid of him. By the second day, she would climb onto the couch with him and by the third day, she was soliciting attention from him. My brother, by the way, absolutely loved that Angie trusted him but not my dad.
In Angie's defense, my dad used a lot of power tools and made a fair amount of noise. He also moved around throughout the house much more than my brother or mother, and, having diabetes, might have smelled a little off to her, too.
With all the excitement from our guests, when I had a party Friday night, I crated Angie were she could see every one arrive but was in a separate room from the action. She barked a little when guests were arriving, but so did Claire and Yuki. She was calm and quiet in her crate, and when I let her out to greet the last lingering guests at the end of the evening, she was bold enough to sniff every one and even accept some pats from one of the guests before she decided that was enough. Even then, she simply went onto the couch with Claire, rather than outright leave the room.
So we can add to Angie's list of skills and traits that she is good with people with disabilities - or at least, with the one she has met.
February 11th 2013 2:21 pm
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I know that every one is looking for love around this time of year, and Angie is no exception. She cuddles up to me and the other dogs and has even begun making friendly gestures towards my one hiking buddy, even though she had not seen him in weeks and weeks. Still working on the down command. She has the general idea but is still putting the idea and cue together. Soon, I hope.
She has decided that she hates to be in the crate. I can't say I blame her as my work schedule is more intense this semester and so she is frequently spending 12 hours a day in the crate. I wish it were not the case, but at least she is not living in a crate, as she would be at the humane society. She goes in looking dejected, not fighting at all, but clearly not pleased.
Yesterday Angie got a partial bath, mostly just to hose off the mud that she picked up while we were hiking. All three dogs were brown with sticky mud. I forgot the leash, so I had to simply hold her collar and bathe her one-handed. The screaming, fighting dog that I bathed the first time is gone and while I would never say that Angie likes getting a bath (only dogs with skin conditions like Yuki apparently enjoy baths), she has progressed past the fighting stage, past the stage of being convinced she is going to die a horrible death, into the stage of quiet resignation.
After her bath, I consoled her by trimming her nails. She really does seem to enjoy that.
January 30th 2013 5:07 pm
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Some one did express interest in little Angie, but I don't know what happened because she/he never set up an appointment to meet her. Sad, really, because that person missed out on a great little dog.
What is new for Angie in the past month is that she has "sit" down pat. She sits to get out of her crate, sits to go through the doorway, sits for her dinner, sits for anything I can use as a reward, really.
On walks, I ask for sit when we are confronted by one of the aggressively barking neighbor dogs secured in various ways in their yards. We are still working on that, but it is paying off. She reacts to them but it is much easier to get her to calm back down and walk, rather than barking and lunging back at them. She briefly started trying to chase cars, but getting her attention and asking for a sit before they are close enough to really get her excited has paid off, as this week she has simply watched the cars go by and then turned to me for her treat.
Sunday we hiked with two friends of mine who Angie had never met before. Although she initially barked at them in the parking lot (they were dressed for the snow and hats and gloves are still weird to her), just a few yards onto the trail, she settled right down and was fine, even off-leash. When CH started playing on the frozen pond, running down the hill and sliding across the pond, she got excited but let me refocus her attention pretty readily. After playing a bit with Claire and Yuki, she got excited by CH again and at my quiet "Angie" came over and sat without any further instruction or coercion.
So that's what is new with Angie. More progress towards being a well-trained and well-rounded dog, which I hope will make her that much more appealing to some one.
January 5th 2013 8:55 am
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Angie had a good Christmas, though she did not travel with me, but stayed with another foster family in the area. I am pleased to say that they enjoyed having her and found that she got along fine with their cats. She seems happy to be back in my house, though not as frantically happy as when she came back from her failed adoption.
I really hope that Angie can spend the majority of 2013 in a forever home. She's such a good little dog. She walks well on leash. She knows to sit and does so quite readily these days. I am thinking I need to start on some new commands for her, especially since she has clearly learned move, at least as it applies to the bed. She is completely housebroken and has learned to ask to be let out. She comes when called and does well off-leash when we are hiking. She gets along with other dogs and - apparently - cats. Although she is skittish with new people, she is doing quite well when I have people over; it is just outside that new people get her going. Surely there is some one out there that wants to adopt such a loving little girl?
December 16th 2012 2:01 pm
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Angie is doing great with the Christmas tree in the house. She found it very strange when I first put it up but my dogs are nonchalant about the tree so she has mostly ignored it. A few ornaments have made their way to the ground, though I don't know if they have fallen on their own or been bumped by dog noses or tails.
I am going to visit family for Christmas so Angie will be staying with a new foster family. I feel a little bad for her, since she has stayed in so many places since being confiscated from her original owners. She started out at the fairgrounds with all the other hoarder dogs before coming to my house. She stayed with another foster family here for part of my summer trip and at the humane society for the other part. She went to a rescue in PA and lived with a foster family there before getting adopted. After her adopters returned her, she stayed with yet another foster family before being returned to me. She really needs a forever home to call her own.
December 2nd 2012 4:52 am
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Yesterday I took the three dogs hiking with a friend and her dog. The first time Angie met this particular dog, Zoey came on way too strong and terrified poor Angie. Since then, however, they have met several times and every time, they have been quite fine with one another. We had not seen Zoey for quite some time and I was surprised by how excited Angie was to see her yesterday.
Angie also seemed excited to see Zoey's owner, who commented to me that Angie was nothing like the dog she used to be. Yes, she is still skittish with strangers, but she is much more calm around strangers who are not trying to touch her. When we ran into the ex-husband of another neighbor (recognized only because he had her dogs with him), Angie ran up to say hi to the little dogs and did not react to the man at all, even though she was within touching distance, for probably five minutes. Then, for unknown reasons, she started barking and darting towards him. But, just one word from me and she quit that behavior, came over to me and sat politely for a treat.
To me, this is a real mile stone. I don't see the daily changes that the neighbors are commenting on - and several of them have made that comment, that Angie is so much calmer and more confident - but sometimes I see the progress when we have an event like yesterday.
So whoever decides to take Angie off my hands will be getting a much different dog from the dog I took in as a foster all these months ago.
November 25th 2012 2:45 pm
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Today I took Angie downtown to walk along the river with Claire and Yuki. I was a little apprehensive how this would go, as Yuki sometimes has fear aggression issues with strange dogs and is therefore not the best role model for Angie. We did have a bark fest when one dog, a rather tense-looking shepherd mix, walked past but given that dog's body language, I rather expected it. The upset over the Golden retriever was unexpected but mild. Angie proved willing to be distracted by treats, which is a new development for her. The people walking by bothered Angie not at all, even though they were all (except one) strangers. She was very interested in the new scents and scenes and though she was very alert whenever we saw a new person, her ear and tail position remained good.
Only twice did she get over-excited, when runners went past us. The first runner clearly upset her. When we saw another runner, I asked for her attention and she did turn away a few times to check the runner out, but quickly returned attention to me and the treats. The third runner she attempted to jump on, but it was a neighbor about whom Angie has started to feel cautiously friendly, so I am not sure what would have happened if she hadn't hit the end of her leash and flipped back to me (thank goodness she was on the harness and not a collar).
Towards the end of the walk, I asked Angie for a sit. She doesn't know the command yet but she knows to sit when I hold a treat in my hand. Despite traffic, wind, and all the distractions that come of being in a new location, she sat reliably multiple times along our walk, even when I was not asking for (or getting) a sit from my dogs.
Whoever adopts Angie will be getting a great dog. And at this rate, one who is moderately well-trained. Perhaps that will make up for the skittishness.
November 10th 2012 8:33 am
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As it turns out, Angie is paper-trained. I had a newspaper on the living room floor that was supposed to go into the recycling bin. I came home from work to discover (immediately obvious by the smell) that some one had diarrhea. I found all the mess conveniently located on the paper - easiest clean up ever! Addition of pumpkin and yogurt to Angie's diet for the next few days and that diarrhea cleared right up.
The other exciting news on the Angie-front is that Angie is learning to sit! I tried working on this with her early on but she was so resistant to sitting that I quickly abandoned the effort. Given her skittishness when I first starting fostering her, I did not want to try to force the issue at all. Two nights ago, though, when I was working with Claire on her newest trick (I say "beep, beep" and she walks backwards), Yuki came over to get in on the treat action and Angie joined him. After a few minutes of observing the proceedings, Angela offered a sit! I have not put a command to it yet, but she is sitting more than 50% of the time if I show a treat and hold it near her.
It's been a fun two days, working with all three dogs on new tricks.
And who knows, maybe knowing a few tricks will make Angie more attractive to a potential adopter. I'd love her to have her forever home before Christmas.
November 4th 2012 6:46 pm
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Yesterday I took the dogs hiking with my friend X. Our friend JP ("Uncle JP" to the dogs) was supposed to join us but canceled at the last minute, so I thought it would be just the two humans and three dogs. Angie has hiked with JP and X several times now, so I was looking forward to a low-key afternoon.
When we got to the trail head, there was a crew working on the park, a crew comprised of some people I know, people who wanted to check in with me, pass information to me, get information from me, and pet the beautiful dogs. Yuki was all over that, Claire just wanted to hit the trail, and Angie was... calmer than I expected, given that 5 of the strangers (to her) were men, many in hats and heavy work gloves, with beards, or other perhaps unusual features. She approached a few of the people, but backed away as soon as they tried to pet her. Given all the activity and the fact that we were in a strange place, I was pleased that she stayed calm, quiet, and did not give the impression of any more skittishness than Claire-dog (Claire is aloof but not fearful of strangers; you can almost hear her say, "How rude; we just met!").
On the trail with X and X's friend, Angie was free and happy, chasing Yuki and Claire and whatever else. She checks in more regularly with me when I have people with me on the trail - but since Claire and Yuki do, too, I am not sure if she is nervous about the people or just following the other dogs' lead. X's friend was impressed with the manners of all three dogs, coming when called, checking in periodically, and not pushing past when the trail narrowed but waiting to pass when the trail was wider again.
After the hike, our local councilman nabbed me at the trailhead and wanted to chat. As he is renowned for having much to say (and all of it interesting, I must add), I let the dogs out to explore a bit. When he tried to pet Angie, that turned out to be the moment all the novelty of the day became too much for her. She barked at him, circling from a safe distance, and refused to enter the car until I opened a door on the opposite side from where he was standing. Once there, she quieted and was fine in the car while I said my goodbyes.
Today I have not asked Angie to step outside her comfort zone at all - I don't want to overdo it and though she was great yesterday, yesterday was far more than I had planned or wanted for her. Today instead we have been hanging out in the house, hunting millipedes in the back woods, and get relaxing. She even has coped well with Yuki's lack of desire for play today (he worked at the field station with me this afternoon, and herding college students is hard work).
Angie has come so far since May: from a nearly feral dog to one who is house-broken, paper-trained, walks well on leash, and is learning to trust people. I really hope that some one soon realizes how great she is and adopts her.
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