Likes: Abby is one of those dogs who like almost everything. Some of her favorite things to do include riding in the car, digging in the sand at the beach, playing with empty plastic bottles, backpacking and camping, and going to living history events.
Pet-Peeves: Abby doesn't have a lot of pet peeves. Some things she does not like are getting brushed, having a bath in the tub, people not petting her, and our "evil cats" running amok in the house. She'll actually let us know when they're up to no good!
Favorite Toy: Abby is a rather strange dog when it comes to playing. She does not like playing indoors, but will go at a ball outdoors. She doesn't like fetch but will retrieve if asked. Recently, she's discovered the fun of playing with empty plastic water bottles.
Favorite Food: Abby used to be a very picky eater until we switched her to a natural raw diet. Unfortunately, after our move, we were no longer able to find the same variety of ingredients. We have since switched to Taste of the Wild, a high quality grain-free kibble.
Favorite Walk: Abby doesn't have a favorite walk - anywhere we'll take her, she'll be happy to go. We walk a lot in our neighborhood, the local parks, and many of the area hiking trails. She enjoys backpacking along with us and carries her own pack and equipment.
Best Tricks: Abby aknows nearly 70 commands and tricks. Her most famous trick is throwing away the trash - I'll have her pick up an item, take it to a trash can, and drop it in. Needless to say, she gets to help with the household chores, too...
Arrival Story: We had been fostering dogs for a while before we got Abby.
We enjoyed Fostering and learned plenty about dogs, their behavior, and dog training in the process, but we did not have any foster dogs that truly clicked with us and fit what we were looking for. When Brian's work schedule changed (he was assigned to Army recruiting duty), we decided to take a break from fostering since we didn't think we would have enough time to care for a dog.
However, that didn't keep us from looking at the local shelter websites. One afternoon, I was browsing the website for the animal control facility in the next county over, and Abby's photo jumped out at me. She looked like a beautiful German Shepherd. It just so happened that Brian had the next day, which was a Saturday, off from work, and we decided to drive to the shelter to go see her - prepared to bring her home if she felt like a good fit.
When we got to the shelter, the noise and smell was overwhelming. There was quite literally a dog in every kennel in the shelter, and all were barking and jumping at the chain-link doors. The dog in the kennel next to Abby's, a Malinois, was growling and barking. Abby, on the other hand, was curled into a ball in the corner of her filthy run, ignoring all of the noise. We went to fill in an application, which is required before you "meet" any of the dgos at the shelter, and got to visit with her in a back room stacked full of crates. (It was the only room they had available for meet-and-greets.) Abby was very sweet. She was highly interested in her surroundings and excited to be with people. She breezed through our temperament evaluation with ease and was just an all around good girl.
We made the choice to bring her home that day. The only thing we were worried about was the fact that she had not been tested with cats, and we were taking a risk bringing her home to our two who don't have the sense to run away from a dog since they were used to dogs. We figured, even if she did horrible with cats, we could train her to leave them alone. Either way, it was nothing that couldn't be addressed. We finished the paperwork, grabbed one of the free collars the shelter had available, and headed home.
After getting back home - she did great in the car, too! - we first took her to the leasing office to introduce her to the staff and add her to our file, and then took a walk around the neighborhood so we could get to know her, and she could get to know her new surroundings and go potty before going inside. She was very interested in our cats when we first walked in, but quickly understood that cats are not for chasing or biting. We've not had an issue with her around our cats since, and she even put up with quite a lot when we brought home 8 week old Finn in summer of 2008, who gave her a very hard time.
Bio: Abby is a purebred German Shepherd dog from imported German lines. At 3 years old, she was dumped at the animal control shelter by her previous owner, who provided the shelter with no information about her other than her age, her name, and that she was "too much to handle" - which, frankly, is very difficult to believe because she's very smart and extremely laid back.
Fortunately for us, she had an ear tattoo. Although there is no one central tattoo registry for dogs in the United States, our diligent detective work paid off and we were eventually able to find another dog listed at a dog show whose tattoo scheme was similar to our girl's. I contacted the breeder and found that yes, he had done the tattoo, and yes, he could give us more information about her lines and background.
Forums Motto: Working Dog
Abby's Accomplishments: CGC (AKC Canine Good Citizen)
TDI (Therapy Dogs Int'l, Inc.)
HIT (Herding Instinct Tested)
Abby was the 2007 poster dog for "Take Your Dog to Work Day", an event put on by Pet Sitters International.
Abby was the 2008 "Patriotic" category winner of the Dogster 4th Annual World's Coolest Dog & Cat Show.
2006 - 2008 Army Recruiting Mascot
2007 - 2008 Therapy Dog at Sunrise Assisted Living Facility, working with a special program for the memory impaired
2008 - now TDI Therapy Dog, working at the US Army Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) on base (and occasionally visiting other units)
Please mark your calendars and let your friends, family, and blog readers know that March 13th is K-9 Veterans Day. You can click here to read more about K-9 Veterans Day and what you can do to help make this an official event in your town, state, and in the United States.
K-9 Veterans Day, started by Vietnam dog handler Joe Wight, is a grassroots movement that tries to draw attention to our nation's working dogs and their contribution to our country and our armed forces, and to get them the recognition they deserve. We have three holidays to honor our human soldiers - Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, and Veterans Day - but none to honor our four-legged troops who have, in the last seventy years, saved countless thousands of lives through their special abilities and training, working as sentry dogs, scout dogs, tracking dogs, messenger dog, explosives dogs, and mine and tunnel dogs.
K-9 Veterans Day, however, doesn't just seek to remember our military working dogs, but also all working K-9's, whether they are working for police departments, the fire department's arson unit, border patrol, or at our nation's airports. Even therapy dogs working with our wounded soldiers are part of the group of canines behind honored here.
Joe's website has some ideas for things you can do to celebrate K-9 Veterans Day this year, and the most important of those is getting the word out and asking people to sign the petition to make this an official day in the United States.
I've created some graphics you can download and use on brochures, fliers, your blogs, your websites, and wallpaper on your computer, to help raise awareness. You can download them for free here, and they don't require a link back to me, but a link back to Joe's website would be great if you use them on your page.
I just got a nice paw mail from Lexie asking me to play tag by posting the questions (and my answers) and tagging some of my friends in return. I don't usually play tag because I don't use my Dogster blog very much, because I have a regular blog here, but what the heck.....
Whats your favorite toy?
Mind you, I'm not really "into" toys like some of my dog pals, but right now I have two favorite toys: my big fluffy sheep and my duck. Mom bought the sheep for me at Wal Mart just after Easter, and even though I pulled the eyes out of it when I was bored, I still play with the sheep. It also makes a great pillow to rest my head on. Mom got the duck from the pet store and it makes a loud honking duck sound.
What Jobs do you have?
At home, my main job is making sure mom and dad don't get cold at night, because I sleep on the bed with them and keep them nice and warm. I also make sure nobody steals the couch and that the cat doesn't get in trouble.
I also go and visit soldiers on base so they can pet me and play with me. Mom calls me a "therapy dog", but I'm just having a good time, so I'm not even convinced I'm actually working. When we lived in Northern Virginia, I visited an old folks' home instead of the soldiers, and worked with people who had Alzheimer's and other memory impairments. They were pretty funny sometimes and never remembered my name, but they liked me just as much. I do think I have more fun with the soldiers, though, because I don't have to be quite as careful and calm all the time as I did at the old folks' home.
In northern Virginia, I also worked as a mascot for Army Recruiting and I even got an "Honorary Recruiter" certificate in my name. We would go to some of the bigger events in the area, like the big air show at Andrews Air Force Base and the Army Ten Miler and talk to people about the Army. (Don't let them fool you, they just wanted to pet ME!)
What are your favorite places to go?
I like going anywhere at all, as long as it involves riding in the car. I get so excited about going places. When mom takes the keys from her box by the front door, I know it's time to go in the car and I literally bounce up and down and am ready to go. I'm happy to just go to the grocery store if I get to ride in the car!
What are your favortie things to do?
I like snoozing on my big dog bed in the living room, curling up with my cat pal Finnegan, going places, and meeting people. I love meeting lots of new people.
Tag 7 Friends
Well, I don't usually tag, but if any of my friends would like to do this, please feel free to do so and consider yourselves tagged. :)
If you're checking out my blog here on Dogster, you might be disappointed to see that it's pretty empty. That's because I have a real blog, outside of Dogster, where I write my updates and post pictures (something I can't do on Dogster). So make sure to check out my real blog at the link below -