April 12th 2009 6:26 pm
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I've been doing a lot of reading since we started the adoption process. A LOT of reading. And of course we did a lot of looking at different dogs on Petfinder.com. A LOT of looking. At one point we weren't sure if things were going to work out timing wise with Coco and I was looking at another dog who was still down South, named Honey. I was very drawn to her. She is a Carolina Dog/Shepherd mix. I had never heard of a Carolina Dog before, so I started doing some reading. What intriguing dogs!
I corresponded with Honey's foster mom and was really wondering if I wanted to pursue Coco. From her web posting I was questioning her size (she was listed as a large breed, Chocolate Lab/Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix) and her possible personality as I did more reading about Chessy's. In the end I decided to go ahead and meet Coco as we were all approved for her and she was being fostered in the state.
Of course we fell absolutely in love with Coco. She is certainly not big enough to be Lab/Chessy. I would certainly say Lab and something. But that tail, that fabulous fishhook tail - where did it come from? And her personality - she bonded with her family pack almost immediately. She is extremely social with other dogs (and is submissive with them) and children, does well with other adults though is a bit shy at first, she is very neat and clean, she's not had one accident, she's low odor, incredibly smart and eager to please, figures out how to get over/under objects, has a very strong hunting instinct to the point where I'm not sure we'll ever let her off leash.
We've only been lucky enough to have Coco in our lives for a little over a week, but the more I get to know her the more she reminds me of what I have read about Carolina Dogs. But, except for the tail and her size she doesn't fit the looks at all. I have scoured the net for pics of Carolina Dogs and they all have the distinctive black nose and much bigger ears than Coco's and the light coloring.
I have seriously thought about doing a doggie dna test but as yet Carolina Dogs are not among the breeds tested for.
At this point I don't know if I'm just seeing in Coco what's been on my mind because of my interest in Carolina Dogs, or if she does in fact have a healthy dose of CD in her. I have no problem with mutts, I love them. I'm a mutt myself :) as my maternal grandmother was adopted and we do not know her heritage. I am 16th+ Native American and even with that small amount many people say they can see it in my coloring and some of my features, so even if Coco doesn't have a lot of CD in her I bet it could still affect her personality.
Coco is amazing and that's for sure, what her heritage is will never be certain, but she is a perfect fit for our family and I am very grateful that she is our forever dog.
April 12th 2009 6:56 am
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Hi there again Gary and Jill,
Don't mean to overload you with updates, but of course Coco has a lot of firsts with us right now. (I'm saving these emails for her scrapbook). We went to Aaron's cousin's house last night to play cards. We go there at least twice a month and we also go camping with them in the summer. Coco got to meet Harley, an approximately 120 lb English Mastiff who is almost a year old. They had so much fun together! Coco was tired at first and not wanting to play after a long car ride and then walk in the woods on Aaron's family's land and then a romp with half a dozen family kids. I also think she was feeling a bit shy inside Harley's house. She stuck pretty close to Aaron and I until she had a nap and finally decided it was ok to eat in this strange place. Once Coco came out of her shell she and Harley romped and rolled and had a great old time. They were both tuckered out by the end of the night and I'm sure Harley slept really well - I know Coco did!
Pictured are Coco, Harley and Jazz (the great-grandma of the group who kept barking to make the "kids" behave)
April 12th 2009 6:54 am
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Hi Gary and Jill :)
Wanted to send you another update. Coco is doing awesome. We love her so much. She and I get up every morning and go for a 20 to 30 minute walk. She is starting to get used to all the smells in her new neighborhood. We got a head harness to keep the pulling down, she doesn't love it but tolerates it and I think she's beginning to associate it with walk time, as we only use it when we're going to go out on the road.
She is such a smart girl! She already knows to sit to have her leash put on or taken off. I have been giving her a probiotic capsule and an omega-3 capsule daily and am amazed that she eats them like a treat - no need to hide the pills in anything for her!
She is doing great in her crate. We left her out on Sunday and Monday and she did fine, but she was getting under the gate we had put up between her area and the living room [FYI retract-a-gate was useless - $100 down the tubes]. She wasn't getting into trouble but we were trying to keep her out of the living room to avoid the possibility of trouble. On Tuesday we modified the gate, but she still managed to get through, well over (34" high gate!) and got into a bit of chewing trouble. So for her safety (she chewed up a flashlight among other things and was gnawing on the batteries) and the safety of the house we are keeping her in her crate for now when we are not home - she stays out of it all night though and does just fine. She does not seem to mind her crate at all.
I come home for 30 - 45 minutes at lunch each day and we play in the yard - I got her a 30' leash for playtime. She is very energetic for 15 minutes or so and then is just content to lay and be petted and loved. I have attached a picture of her during playtime. Sometimes she will fetch a toy, but other times she rolls around and waits for me to come to her and scratch her belly. Hmmm..I think we are training each other :)
She does really well with our son [age 11]. He is no alpha pup :) but she is so sweet with him and listens to him better than I'd thought she might. She and my husband have bonded well too. He does nighttime walking duties - just bathroom outings. And he is also the one who will get down on the floor with her and love her all up. She is so cute always checking to see where her people are, if one of us leaves the room she is back and forth checking on us all.
She and our cat are coming to an understanding. I really have no fear of Coco hurting the cat, but she really has a hard time leaving her alone. She is learning though. Squirt still hisses and swats most of the time, but I have caught her sniffing Coco a few times and I think in time she will get used to having a dog in her house.
I found a great article on teaching your rescue dog to be alone and am going to start working on doing some training with her on that next week while I'm on vacation.
There is a great place to walk in Gardiner called The Rail Trail. She and my son and I went for a walk there yesterday. She got to meet several other dogs and their people all thought she was beautiful and such a good girl - and they are right!
Hoping you are having a wonderful weekend. See you soon.
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