Likes: Walks; chicken-basted rawhide; ear rubs; chasing Mom around the yard; playing Hide-and-Seek; cat watching; visiting Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie Gloria; ladies who talk to me and pet me.
Pet-Peeves: Thunderstorms, fireworks, the vet, Mom leaving the house without me, strangers who crowd me right after we meet.
Favorite Toy: Mom. And my talking treat ball.
Favorite Food: Chicken- or BBQ-flavored Everlasting Treats, peanut butter, or anything else that's edible.
Favorite Walk: Mozart Park, because we get to run across the grass. And anywhere around Wiggly Field.
Best Tricks: Telling time, expressing disappointment, and Hide-and-Seek, because I find Mom every time. I also dance for my meals and am the best leash walker in the world.
Arrival Story: ADOPT 2010 CONTEST: Mom found my picture on Petfinder.com. Mom and Dad wanted a Mastiff or a Mastiff mix. I'm probably part Bullmastiff so I came up in their search (I have a Ridgeback's head, but I also have a 37-inch chest). I was in foster care at the time, and I was really skinny and kind of pathetic looking, but Mom liked my soulful eyes and my floppy ears -- she still calls them "beautiful." She sent my listing to Dad with a note asking if he thought I'd drool a lot. Dad replied by saying, "Who cares?! Look at his face!" They called Adopt-A-Pet that afternoon, and Dad even emailed my foster Mom. I was going to be Mom and Dad's first dog ever, so they had lots of questions. When they found out I was already 8 years old, my foster mom asked if they still wanted to meet me. Dad said, "Of course. Why wouldn't we?"
The next day, Mom and Dad came to meet me for the first time. When my foster mom opened the door, I poked my head under her arm to see who was there and I saw them. They looked like nice people, and they seemed to like me right away. Plus, they brought me some really tasty treats so I decided they had to be pretty okay. I was a little nervous because my foster mom left me alone with them, and at that time, she was the lady that took care of me, but Mom and Dad didn't push me, and I really liked when they talked to me, stroked my coat, and gave me treats. After a while, my foster mom brought some papers to them, and everyone got really excited and started hugging. I got excited, too! We all went upstairs to meet my foster brothers and sisters. They were barking and jumping all over my new Mom and Dad. They seemed to get a kick out of it all, and so did I. Toward the end of the night, when I was standing alone, smiling and watching all the other dogs run around, I saw Mom was across the room by herself. When she saw me, she knelt down and opened her arms really wide. I walked over and put my head on her shoulder -- I don't know why, it just felt right. She hugged me, kissed my head, and whispered that she loved me. She said I was family and that we'd be together forever. I wasn't exactly sure what the words meant, but I knew I liked them. I stood there for a long time, enjoying the hug and Mom's soft voice saying my name.
Although I didn't leave for my new home right away, I had a feeling something was up. The next day, I romped around my foster mom's yard like a puppy. Until then, she didn't even know I could run like that.
Almost a week later, on March 14, 2004, I came to my new home. The rest is family history.
Bio: ADOPT 2010 CONTEST: I was rescued by a wonderful woman named Elaine. I had been wandering around the Chicago neighborhood near Wilson and the Expressway. I was confused and hungry; I couldn't figure out why I was alone. I still had my collar on but I wasn't wearing my tags, and there was no way I could find my way home. Elaine came with her car and took me to her house. I was nervous and rode the whole way to Rogers Park standing on the front seat, facing the wrong way. Elaine and her roommate Dawn gave me food and a warm place to sleep. Their downstairs neighbor even gave me milk and pizza! (I liked those meals a lot, but as it turns out, they didn't like me very much AT ALL.) About a week later, I went to live with Joy, who became my foster mom. She took me to the vet and although it wasn't very much fun, they fixed me up really good. I am incredibly grateful for all that Elaine, Dawn, and Joy did for me. Without them and Adopt-A-Pet, I never would have found the terrific home and the loving parents I have today.
Forums Motto: Great Big Mama's Boy
Favorite Songs: "The Most Wonderful Time of Jake's Day" (a.k.a. "Jake's Mealtime Song"), "I've Got You Jake," and inexplicably, the theme from "I Dream of Jeannie."
Favorite Thing to Eat That Isn't Food: Snow
Favorite Thing to Do in My Sleep: Run. And hump. (I get all my best exercise when I'm dreaming.)
If I Were A Superhero My Name Would Be: Captain Smartypants
We had company yesterday. Our friend Bubba's mom came over for lunch. They live just two doors away from me and Fargus, and she brought her brand new baby with her! At first I thought she was holding a really nice smelling package, because he was all wrapped up and I couldn't see him very well. When Andie finally unwrapped the blanket, I couldn't believe what I saw: There was a teeny-tiny person inside! He had little arms, little legs, and little tiny hands, and he made the funniest gurgling noises!
I've got to tell you, I was awestruck! I just couldn't stop sniffing him and looking at him. He was so ridiculously cute, and seriously: Who knew that people came that small?! I couldn't stop smiling when I was around him -- unless I was busy sniffing him, because that takes concentration -- and everywhere he went I went, too, because I wanted to be close by in case he needed anything. He seems to sleep a lot (just like me), but before he fell asleep for his last nap, I kissed him on his ear.
Bubba's so lucky to have a little baby brother! The whole time the little guy was at our house I kept looking at Mom and smiling, then looking at him, then looking back at Mom with another smile. She knows that means "I really, really, REALLY want one of those!"
Mom said she'd buy me a new treat ball instead. *sigh*
Holy-moly, I am such a busy guy these days. In addition to going for chiropractic manipulation every three weeks with my favorite girlfriend Dr. Julie (she gives me LOTS of treats and makes my creaky old bones feel young again), I'm doing hydrotherapy, too. I had no idea what it was, but it's supposed to help make my back legs work better (because lately I've been feeling kinda shaky and falling a lot).
I had my first visit last Thursday, and it was definitely strange, but not in a bad way. Mom and Dad got to be there with me, and even Fargus came along for moral support. I met Alexia, my hydrotherapist, and she gave me treats and put this groovy yellow vest on me. I generally like clothes, so the vest made me feel quite stylish. Anyway, Mom helped my butt climb up a little ramp and into this tiny glass room. I got another treat from Alexia, and when I turned around, Mom was on the other side of the glass. I was a little confused, but I wasn't scared; I could see Mom and hear her talking to me, so I knew everything would be okay. Then I noticed my feet were getting wet, and then they were completely covered in water! Now I usually prefer my water in a bowl, but this water was nice and warm... but it was getting higher! My ankles were wet... and then my knees... and then my elbows... and then my shoulders! This is very odd, I thought to myself, but it's not entirely unpleasant. Then just when I started getting comfy in the water, the floor started moving under me! I tried to swim but the water wasn't deep enough, so I started walking (I didn't want to float away from Mom!). Alexia held on to me so I wouldn't slip and fall under while everyone cheered me on (Dad said, "Go, Jake!," and Mom told me, "Jake is strong and beautiful!"). After a while I got the hang of it and really started motoring along. I was so proud of myself!
It turns out that water-walking is surprisingly hard work. When I was finished my legs felt like jelly, but I got to rest for a while while I got a warm, soapy shower from Alexia. She even let me lie down while she was scrubbing. (Thanks, Alexia!)
Looking forward to my next visit...
Jake (Just Call Me Hydro Dog) Ortolano
P.S. To see me in watery action, go to page 5 of my DogsterPlus Photo Book for pictures, or click here for videos: Clip #1, Clip #2.
On Saturday we walked through the park. I like our little park just fine -- there's lots of grass to romp on and lots of trees to sniff -- but this weekend it was very different. The first thing I saw was the big cart full of hay and the two giant black dogs pulling it. They were HUGE and very quiet, and they had really tall legs and long faces. Mom said they're called "horses," and I say they're the strangest looking dogs I've ever seen! I could have watched them all day -- until I found THE PETTING ZOO, that is! A chicken stared at me and I stared back (Mom made me leave when she saw me lick my lips), then I said hello to a little black goat and saw a long-necked furry thing that Mom said was a llama. Just when I was too excited to ever want to leave the petting zoo, I saw them: PONIES.
For those of you that don't know what they are, ponies look just like horse dogs, but they're smaller and cuter and they walk in a circle with little kids on their backs. I was mesmerized! I pulled at my leash to get closer to the mysterious mini horse dogs, but Mom would only let me watch them from a few feet away. I wanted to meet them so badly I was shaking. I kept smiling at them with my ears perked up to try to get their attention, and when they started walking, I tried to follow along. Mom says I made quite a spectacle of myself because I dug in and refused to leave. (She had to almost pick me up and point me in the right direction.) When we finally got going and I saw Dad and Fargus wating for us at the corner (Fargus isn't allowed to be around horse dogs), I ran as fast as I could to meet them so I could tell them about all the neat things I saw. When I finally got there, Daddy said he could tell from the look on my face that I'd had a great time.
The next day we went to the park again. Although I could still smell them, the ponies and all their friends were gone. It made me sad, because I really wanted to talk to them and find out how I could become a pony and give rides to little kids all day. Mom says I'll just have to wait 'til next year. 8O(