April 18th 2009 9:23 pm
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I got a brag, got a brag, got a big ol' brag!
I took him to town for a socializing walk. We went walked through the town center down to the creek which made the boy very happy - TONS of good smells and things to pee on.
We wandered a bit more and made our way back to the plaza where my car was. I was really happy with how well Hugo was responding, his automatic back up into "heel" position and his auto watches.
As we were walking through the parking lot, a woman and man pulled up almost next to us and rolled their back window all the way down to reveal their 60pound-ish dog!
I did an about face with Hugo who did one jump whine thing towards the dog before following me. The people were talking to me, and I got a safe distance before turning around. Hugo was able to watch me, then the dog, then me - treats and praise for the boy! My responses to the people in the car came second.
This was a super experience. The dog was way within Hugo's normal threshold and he did awesome!
They left and we continued up the side of the parking lot, taking advantage of some large rocks for Hugo to jump up on. Suddenly I heard a man behind asking, "Does your dog bite?" I turned, and a guy with a big bandage on his nose was walking towards us. "Well, he's a bit socially awkward . . ." I started. Right then, Hugo jumped off the rock, stumbling and falling, got up and happily boinged toward the guy. I laughed and said, "Well, he'd like to meet you, so the trick is not to look him in the eyes and let's take it from there."
Hugo loved him. I've never seen him respond to a complete stranger this way, and I was even more surprised because the guy didn't look "normal" with the big bandage on his face. Hugo did tricks for him (including "watch"), let him pet his head (only the most trusted can do this - he still ducks), and then he tried to jump up and kiss him! "I see what you mean about him having a beard fetish!" the guy laughed. Yes. My boy has a beard fetish. If he could have, he would have climbed up on this guy to lick his beard.
He was really impressed with Hugo's "tricks" and we talked about obedience classes, agility classes and trainers. The man was fantastic with Hugo, and has a Bernese at home. She broke his nose when she woke up from a nightmare and charged/head butted him.
I thanked him profously for being so understanding and helpful with Hugo and couldn't wipe the smile off my face. And, about 5 people comment today on how handsome and well behaved he was (including a sheriff).
I'm thinking the DAP diffuser, although I didn't get it intentionally for Hugo and Jasmine, is having a positive effect on them too. Regardless, I'm super pleased and gonna be riding on this cloud for a while!
November 8th 2008 6:49 pm
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I haven’t been back to the reservation that Hugo & Jasmine came from since the day we drove off with them and their siblings. Today, I returned. As I rounded the corner heading to the tribal hall, there was my dogs' mother Leila, chasing a car that was driving away (it was her "mom"). And I was wondering when or if I'd see her! Not far behind was her son Hoyt, from her first litter. I got out of the car and there they were. Not knowing what I’d find or how many rez dogs, I'd come equipped with dog treats and dry food; both Leila & Hoyt were very interested. ;)
As far as rez dogs go (conditions for them are most comparable to Mexico or "3rd world" countries), they are doing pretty well. But, their lives are not what I'd wish for them. They are outdoor dogs who have been vetted once (when they got fixed - part of the deal when I took J&H's litter). Leila's coat is terribly matted, Hoyt is limping, they're both underweight (especially Hoyt) and are used to people being unkind to them (lots of flinching). When their human family members showed up, they wagged. Interaction with them was being told to "go lay down" or "go on."
I fed them a bunch and took their pictures. Both dogs warmed up to me pretty quickly and they got lots of lovin'. The only unmated part of Leila is her head, and it's as soft as J&H. Of all her offspring, H&J’s brother Titus looks the most like his mom. Hoyt is colored like Jasmine and has the same "butt print" mark on the fur on the top of his head. He also has the random white hairs in his black coat like Jazzy. At first I thought he had shepherd ears that had been damaged on the tips, but once I got to petting him, I found they are Shar-Pei ears - all crinkly and hard like my Hugo's! His front legs are thicker like Hugo's too. And all the dogs have their momma's eyes. Seeing that was really touching and made me smile.
I learned a lot too. Leila & Hoyt "patrol" a particular part of the reservation that I was on. Another rez dog came into the area, and Leila (appropriately named after Mohamed Ali's daughter), wasted no time in going over to him and letting him know he was on her turf. Hoyt was there as "backup." There was a brief exchange that ended with the other dog retreating and Leila marking turf.
The dog came back, I went to see what he was getting into (he was in a bit of a gully), and Leila & Hoyt followed me. The dog retreated into the brush and Leila followed after him, marking turf at key locations.
Her owners later told me that she is "very territorial" and they they've returned home to find her not only fighting coyotes, but she and Hoyt taking on a pack of 5 rez dogs on their own. This was the only other rez dog I saw today, but I heard about 4 of them just beyond what I assume is Leila & Hoyt's turf.
The girl is one tough cookie, which has apparently also allowed her to be choosy about her boyfriends. From what was told, the father of both her litters was the same dog. That fits with what I saw of Hoyt today and his 2 siblings who I met when we rescued H&J’s litter. I kept looking around for signs of their Shar-Pei poppa, but no luck.
I’m really grateful for the time I shared with my pups’ momma and brother today. I cried and laughed. I thanked her for keeping her puppies safe and told her how happy my friends and I are to have them in our lives. I took LOTS of photos so I can send my friends who have H&J’s siblings pictures too. I wished them the best and thought how wonderful it would be to give them a better life. But at least for one day, they were spoiled, appreciated and loved.
October 30th 2008 7:29 pm
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It started in the morning on Sunday. 7am and a coyote was barking 2 doors down. It continued for 20 minutes which was strange, especially during the day, so I went to investigate. 4 coyotes being turfy - I chased them off. They came back 2 hours later and left again.
On our afternoon walk, Hugo, Jasmine and I ran into 3 of them. Now my dogs all really, really, really don't like coyotes. Not many dogs up here do, but when H&J were puppies, their mom fought coyotes off to keep her litter safe, so J&H have a good reason for not liking them. So they went off, looking like Kujo and his sister. When this happens, the coyotes usually leave.
Not these. They stood their ground and started barking back! I decided we'd walk towards them, and surly they'd go. NO! They started to come towards us!
That was it. I let Hugo's leash go (no worries, they're attached around my waist), picked up rocks and wood off the ground and threw them at the coyotes as I charged them. Then they scattered.
During this, J&H completely stopped barking, kind of like, "Oh, she's got this." I spent time afterwards calming them down, letting them sniff and mark turf, and we walked home, healing and stopping to do tricks the whole way.
I was really surprised by the coyotes' brazen behavior. They've tried to attack my boyfriend's dog when we were all walking in the forest before, but he was a senior citizen. My dogs are pretty formidable in comparison. Next time, I'm not going to waste time, I'll just go into "defensive mode" so it will be less stressful for the dogs (they both slept with me on the bed last night - not something they normally do). And I forgot my Bat Girl utility belt at home that has my "coyote rocks" in it. Maybe I'll add an air horn . . . .
By the way, they came back with reinforcements around 11pm, and again at 5am the following morning. The howling is something else. They'll no doubt be coming through for a few days.