The continuing adventures of Colorado the Wonder Dog

I’ve met the anxiety ridden dog everyone told me about.  I can see how someone adopting her,  thinking that an adult dog doesn’t require the amount of attention a puppy does would be overwhelmed.

Of course I am not swayed by any of that.  In me Colorado has found the most stalwart of friends.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading on dealing with dogs, especially ones with “behaviour problems”.   Patience is a must,  but you must also be aware of your own feelings and emotions.    I have a developed an every morphing set of rules to help Colorado settle in and be the happy dog I know she can be.

Rule #1:  Love her openly and unconditionally.

Rule #2:  Never yell,  never hit,  never let her see your frustration.   If you have to,  walk away, leave, whatever.   She’ll still be there when you return.

Rule #3:  Crying, stressed dogs get ignored.  Calm dogs get adored.

This might sound cruel but look at it this way.  Have you ever been on a plane experiencing rough turbulence?   If you have you may have had the presence of mind to see that many passengers watch the cabin crew and take their emotional ques from them.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that as a medic I had a pretty relaxed attitude.    This was invaluable during emergencies.
The reason for this is that people look to the experts.  If they are calm then there’s no reason to panic or worry.

So Colorado sees that her human is so not-worried that he doesn’t even notice her raising the alarm,  so everything must be cool.

She has never had any of stress attacks last more than 30 seconds.  (except when out for walks, but we’ll talk about that)

A very important part of this is to not feel sorry for her.   Again, on the face of it this might seem cruel.  Here’s the thing.    Dog’s can key into human emotion.   I read an article talking about how it is like one of our 5 senses.    If you feel sorry for her,  she’ll sense it.    If you feel sorry for her,  then there must be something going on where you need to feel sorry for her,  so she gets stressed.    Its a circular thing.   The key here is empathize,  don’t sympathize.  (understand that she’s stressed but don’t buy into it).

This is very hard for me.  Cruelty, especially to animals makes me angry.    When I see my lovely,  adorable dog acting out due to some past trauma I want to see red.   But I cannot.

Rule #4:   I (the human) am the alpha.  the pack-leader,  the Boss.   This is a fairly easy role for me,  but dogs are different.   Little things to us are big things to them.    I will never let her in or out ahead of me.   She’s getting really good at this to the point where I don’t make her sit before opening the door.    If she bolts ahead of me though I pull her back and make her sit.
This was actually the easiest thing to teach her.

So,  Saturday morning I met the stress-dog.  I took her out for her morning walk.   Up to Downie Street which can be fairly busy and back down Norfolk.   I should’ve known to turn back when she started acting out but I didn’t (live and learn).    There’s wasn’t much going on, except to Colorado who wanted to be be everywhere and see everything.   I could feel the frustration growing in her and couldn’t get her to calm down.

I finally got her home,  she was freaking out during the last hundred yards or so.   I stayed calm as I tried to calm her.    I couldn’t get her to settle,  but I observed and learned.

I got her in the house,  unclipped her lead and walked away instead of giving her a cookie like I usually do.   She followed me,  whining but within a minute or two settled down.   I gave her a cookie and praised her and it was a happy, excited dog who ran to the couch with her prize (turning around twice to make sure I was following).

This is her less than an hour after that meltdown…

The weekend was a bit of a roller coaster for her,  but I have the rules in place.

Saturday we spent a lot of time in the back yard throwing around her ball and frisbee.

Saturday night I managed a short walk with her before she started getting anxious.   I turned around right away.

The Sunday morning walk was worse.   I made it half a block before she went ballistic over other dogs.   So I brought her back and once again calmed her down.

Sunday afternoon I had her out in the backyard with a harness I’d bought for the car,  just to try it out.   I noticed that when she ran the length of the training leash,  and pulled taut that she immediately came back to me.   I made note of that.  I took her out a few times and played with her in the front yard to get her used to the street and the sights and sounds.

Sunday night’s walk was a success!  We went farther than ever and she was well behaved for most of the trip!

Monday she was too wound up for our nightly walk.   It was bitterly cold and it only last 20 minutes and went for a block…..most of it was “Colorado-sit!”,  and being ignored.   I noticed that as we approached the house that she started behaving so I turned off to take her around the block and she immediately started acting out again.

It was pretty exasperating,  but shortly after we got home she jumped up on the couch and gave me a kiss…so it was all good 🙂

Tuesday I spent most of my time with her.   Playing and observing,  trying to get into her head.    I got her a tie-out so I could put her outside on her own before walks so she could run off any excess energy.

That didn’t work at all.   Last night she knew it was time for her walk.  I put her out while I got my coat on and turned around to see her jumping at the door.   I dressed quickly and grabbed her green leash (which she knows is her “going for a walk” leash).   She saw that and lost all interest in frisbees and balls.

So,  praying for the best,  I clipped her green leash on and headed out.    We went 5 or 6 blocks and she was pretty good.    I tried a different tactic when she started acting out.    Instead of stopping,  I pulled her in beside me (she actually knows “heel”) and walked faster only letting her wander away from me when she was well behaved.

Worked like a charm!  I was exhausted though 🙂    By nature I’m an ambler.    I don’t walk fast but I had Colorado almost at a jog for a fair distance.

When we got home she was keyed up!   Happy,  playful and bouncing around.   I groaning inside (as it was 12:45am).    But,  when I went to bed and turned the light off she plunked herself down beside me and went to sleep!

This morning I only had time for a 2 block walk as I had to get to work.

So yeah,  things are working out just fine 🙂

I have pictures and video but they’re on my computer at home.  I wanted to finish this and post 🙂

Colorado! The dog, not the state. To be more precise MY dog :)

For the life of me I cannot think of why someone hasn’t snatched this darling young lady up before!

In the OSPCA parking lot she postured impressively!   I moved my car before taking her so she wouldn’t think that she was going back.   When I climbed out of my car you’d think that her intention was to tear my head off.

I was not fooled for a second!   🙂

She was a bit distressed as we pulled away,  but there were plenty of dogs about and she settled quickly.   I was expecting some jumping around on the way home and selected a route where there would be very little for her to see.   Hence a pleasant 5 minute trip home.

Of course until she realized we were at our destination.   She was excited and a little hard to control.   I made her sit while I got out of the car and called her.   I walked her up and down the street for a bit,  trying out different commands.

She knows sit,  and I’m pretty sure she knows stay…but she merely chooses not to.

My upstairs neighbour, Deb,  came out to say hello.  Deb is Bella’s mom.  Bella, is a hyper-active, joyful 2 year old Blue Heeler.

As I’m going to work tomorrow and Deb will be home part of the day I gave her my card so she could call me if she heard anything alarming.

I had Colorado sit while I unlocked the door.   I was impressed as it was obvious that she was making an effort to be good and sit…when it was the last thing she wanted to do.

I opened the door and saw that Socks was close by,  back arched and backing away.   I kept the lead on Colorado so I could control first contact.

Both cats calmed surprisingly quickly!

I took Colorado around the house and then let her off the lead so she could explore.

Canine and felines merely eyed each other and went about their business.

I sat with Colorado on the couch for awhile and let her settle in.

I’m very impressed with this dog.   Her foster mom, Barb,  has done a great job!  When offered a treat,  Colorado takes it daintily.  She comes when called and once she settled was actually pretty relaxed.

We’ve had play time in the back yard, which was an odd game of fetch the ball and then sniff all over the place.  (That was Colorado doing the sniffing…not me. Although I was doing a fair amount of fetching!)

She’s wandering around now. I’m half-ignoring her so I can see how she deals with it. Earlier, when she wanted attention she would cry. Now she’s being pretty mellow.

Anyway, time to sign off for a bit.

Here’s a video!

A New Friend…

Image
This is from the OSPCA Adoption page

Meet Colorado.  She’s a 3 year old German Shepard/Collie cross and tomorrow after work,  she’ll be coming home with me!

As I’ve said previously,  I have been considering getting a new dog for quite some time.  In the past few weeks it was feeling more and more right.   Like the energy a canine companion brings into one’s life would fit right in.

I went to the Perth County OSPCA yesterday here in Stratford.

While I was interested in knowing more about a beagle named Maggie and Colorado the only things I had set in my mind for my new friend was that they get along with cats,  and that they could be left alone while I was at work.

I also wasn’t really interested in a dog that could easily find a new home.  I have the patience,  the fortitude and the resources to deal with a dog that needs a human willing to go the extra mile.

Colorado is at a foster home so I couldn’t meet her yesterday, but Barb, her foster mom was there so I had the opportunity to talk to her.

The message was the same from the staff and the volunteers who knew her.  She needed a forever home,  but her human had to be patient and relaxed…and dedicated.

Once I adopt a dog…that’s it.   She’s mine.  As I said in my previous post that even if it comes down to kidnapping Cesar Milan so he could help us that’s what I would do.   It won’t come to that of course, we have several very good dog trainers in town.   And I’m almost certain it would be less trouble to just book an appointment and pay them instead of trying to smuggle an unwilling dog whisperer into the country.

Anyway,  I met Colorado tonight!   She has some anxiety problems and doesn’t like being driven to the shelter.   I heard her coming down the street and was concerned a dog was in distress.

Once she was out of the car though she was fine.  I waited across the parking lot so Barb could bring her to me.   Colorado pulled the leash hard and growled as she approached me,  but I wasn’t concerned.

I ignored her and talked to Barb until,  after a few minutes she sat down quietly beside me. (Colorado, not Barb…Barb remained standing)

I talked to Colorado then,  giving her some attention.   She responded well.  Once I took the leash that dog wanted to move!  So yes,  she’ll need some leash training.   No problem there.  I’m stronger than she is…at least for the first few minutes 🙂

Barb and I talked while Colorado bolted around the off leash area,  investigating, running to and fro.  Within minutes she seemed relaxed and happy dashing to and fro.

I watched her interactions with Barb.  I was a stranger to her,  she wasn’t hostile or aggressive to me,  and she responded well to me so I was more interested in how she interacted with her foster mom (because that gives me an idea how she will respond to me when she’s familiar with me).

It wasn’t long into our visit that I made the decision.  Colorado is going to be my dog.

I’m picking her up for a visit tomorrow after work.   I’ll be able to see how she is on her own while I’m at work on Friday,  and I booked next Monday and Tuesday off so I can work with her (I do plan on getting up and leaving for an hour or so each morning though).

You’ll be hearing quite a bit of my adventures with Colorado I hope.   About the only thing that would ruin this is if there is bloodshed between Colorado and the cats.

But the cats have been around dogs,  and Colorado has been around cats.   So I think everything will work itself out.

PETA…hurry up and fade away already….and take the hot, scantily clad girls with you….

I’m not sure if PETA is stupid,  or if they think we’re stupid.   It really depends on whether or not they believe their own bullshit.

You’ve likely seen the pictures of the hot scantily clad women holding up signs supporting PETA.

Recently when Toronto’s Mayor,  Rob Ford had a public weigh in for some weight loss thing,   a couple of PETA girls showed up in lettuce bikini’s to try and foist some vegan treats on the mayor (who was having none of it).

Let’s look at this whole scantily clad woman publicity stunt thing.

PETA AsiaPacific Lettuce Ladies
PETA AsiaPacific Lettuce Ladies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So,  there are these women who will strip down to their skivvies and stand on a street corner waving signs because I eat meat.

Why the hell would that make me want to stop eating meat?    If I stopped eating meat, well,   then the girls would leave their clothes on.

That is operating under the presumption that I can be enticed by a pretty girl  (which I discuss here),   and that I don’t have an internet connection,  and don’t know how to use google, or any other search engine to find the location of nearby strip joints (most of which serve steaks, burgers and other things that used to be alive).

Personally,  I’m 46 years old.   I’m not bloody pathetic that a pair of boobs is going to sway my opinion one way or another,   and they most certainly will not get me to stop eating meat.

So yeah,  if their intention is anything other then getting attention that particular publicity campaign is a complete and utter fail.

Now,  when one thinks of what they call themselves  “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals” you really have to wonder how they define “ethical”,   or  “people”,  or even “animals”.

Surprisingly there’s been little hue and cry over the fact that the State of Virginia recently published the kill figures of PETA’s “Animal Shelters” in that state.   Its beyond shocking…its fracking appalling.

The PETA website explains the reason for their policy here.    If you read the comments,  their tribe of followers support them,  and the rest of us are big meanies

If you read the article (the pictures are horrifying….likely deliberately so….to keep people from reading the article closely)  you will see the claim that they took in well in excess of the 2K animals reported in one year,  but in fact took in 10,000 animals to care for them and sent them on to loving homes (or something….what they claimed happened is really irrelevant….as they don’t provide records to back this up).

The fact that they more often than not….like more than  than 95% of the time would euthanize an animal within 24 hours of intake.   Because they didn’t want it wandering the street or something….does it really matter why?   Its pathetic,  its barbaric,  especially from an organization that decries activities that reduce animal populations SO THEY DON’T STARVE!!!!

If you read enough of their tripe you will run across the assertion that most of us buy our pets from disreputable breeders and puppy mills.

This is an interesting article about the State inspector’s report.

The PETA philosophy is their founder Ingrid Newkirk’s whacky philosophies on various things animal related are almost comedic.  But one of the most disgusting things she’s ever said was:

Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation.
— Ingrid Newkirk, Harper’s, Aug 1988

Newkirk obviously is so blinded by her self-righteous ignorance that she forgets that our domesticated animals were domesticated centuries ago.   Domestic animals belong in the wild just about as much as humans belong in caves.   But Newkirk thinks they’d be happier running wild….fighting for food,  fighting to survive…instead of sleeping on the couch in a climate controlled home being waited on hand and foot.

She obviously doesn’t get that dogs are pack animals,  and that they view we humans as their pack.  And cats…well,  does anyone really own a cat?   I have two and I’m pretty sure I’m at the bottom of the totem pole in their minds.

Its as natural as breathing……as a species we live together quite well….but because there are bad owners and bad things happen Newkirk thinks that domestic animals should be phased out.

It makes me wonder how she feels about human babies.    Human beings get abused all the time,  and there are a few bad parents out there.    Following Newkirk’s logic  people should be euthanized as well.

There hasn’t been a big hue and cry over the PETA Death Camps in Virginia.

I wonder why that is.

Maybe its because with all their shenanigans they really have no credibility as an organization.   The population at large views them as a non-entity.

What I’m saying is that it appears that PETA is irrelevant.

I’ve actually been planning this article for some time, but I posted tonight because its appropriate to do so.

My regular readers will remember how devastated I was when my beloved Cocker-Spaniel Shelby passed away.    I am not ashamed to say that I have cried over his absence in my life every single day since he passed.  I miss him terribly.

But,  that being said,  I noticed a few weeks ago that I began to miss him more.   I talked this over with Dr. N who suggested that it might be an indication that I’m ready to bring another dog into my life.

It is a huge decision and I pondered it,  but after a month or more of consideration I decided that yes,  it was time.

I went to the local Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals today  (hey…it was staffed by people….hmmmm people who have the ability to lay charges and rescue your animals if you don’t treat them ethically…..I guess that makes them people for the ethical treatment of animals).   I didn’t have any sort of dog in mind,  I’m more interested in making the connection.

I’d also rather not adopt a dog that has a good chance to be adopted quickly.    I’m far more patient then most people,  I’m very laid back,  and I have the resources to get my new friend almost anything he/she needs.   The only two hard and fast requirements were that the dog get along with cats,   and that I can leave her alone while I’m at work.  So why not give a dog a forever home when they otherwise might miss out?

Let me be clear here.  The choice won’t be made lightly,  but once its made…that’s it.   I will do whatever it takes to make it work….even if I have to kidnap Cesar Milan and bring him up here to help us.   No dog I adopt is going back to the shelter unless there really is no other option.

I walked through the kennels.  They only had 5 or 6 dogs.  Some I recognized from their website.    There was one guy I was going to ask about,  but he growled at me and backed away when I walked by his kennel.   He was a beautiful terrier but he was terrified of me…so sad.

I asked about one dog in particular from their website.   She’s in a foster home but happily,  the woman fostering her was there so I had an opportunity to talk to her.   I’m not going to say who,  but she sounds like a wonderful dog.   We’ve arranged to meet tomorrow night and I will say more then.

I know not all shelters are run like this one,  but the dedication the staff and volunteers had towards these animals was impressive.

And to think….if these animals had been turned over to a PETA shelter,  chances are good they would never have the chance to be taken into a loving home.

I will let you know how the meeting with my prospective new friend goes tomorrow.

The Oppressed Rise Up!

“With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on.”

-William Morris:  The Well at World’s End

So come on old friends, to the streets
Let’s be 1905 but not 1917
Lets be heroes, let’s be martyrs, let’s be radical thinkers
Who’ve never have to test drive the least of their dreams

-Frank Turner:  Love, Ire and Song

I was going to quote the lyrics to Love, Ire and Song in its entirety, but didn’t to save space.

I thought to quote William Morris because of the irony of how that quote applies to the thing that’s caused today’s rant.

For the past…well,  for a few weeks,  I haven’t cared enough to keep track of how long,  thousands of university students across the province of Quebec have been “on strike”  over the provincial government’s plan to raise tuition by $1675 over the next 3 years,  bringing annual tuition to $3800.  I just did a quick google search and saw that the annual tuition for York University in Toronto is $6,003 for a full time undergrad program.  Yet as far as I know there are no demonstrations in Toronto over tuition.  I dunno, maybe they’re busy studying….

There hasn’t been a lot of violence in these protests,  but there has been some,  forcing some schools to seek injunctions and hire security to prevent protestors from damaging property.

The students complain that the government won’t back down on the tuition hike and some are angry that the government won’t even discuss their latest demand.   That a university education be free.

Apparently university students in Quebec don’t watch the news and are completely oblivious of the state of financial affairs plaguing governments around the world.  Or maybe they’re not and feel that the population in general would welcome huge tax hikes,  or perhaps the decimation of health care in order to fund their degrees.   Some of them laughably argue that if you eliminated corruption in government that those funds could be used to fund their education.

I’m certain there is corruption at all levels of government, everywhere, but really… I would argue that graft and corruption in government has been around just as long as the world’s oldest profession  (which,  when you think of it would be “hunter/gatherer”  not prostitute).   Back in the days of the cave man,  Grogg would give Ugg an extra helping of mammoth meat if he’d back him up at the clan meetings,  and so on and so forth.

Its human nature,  if you think about it.   Its not going away.

In skimming their literature I see many suggestions,  such as universities seeking more private donations and a larger financial stake from the government.   I don’t see any recommendations on what services the government cut.

Sadly,  in today’s day and age you need a degree to get a decent job starting out.  Honestly,  I think that a degree that leaves many unprepared for the working world.  I’ve had the misfortune of having to work on projects run by recent university grads and I have to say I usually didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.   The most persistent theme in these projects is their seemingly complete obliviousness to things they didn’t know,  and,  that their project was not the only one I was working on.    I will blog on that later,  I’m digressing.

The city of Montreal is being held hostage by striking students.   They march with the deliberate intent of grid locking downtown and being as disruptive as possible.

How many average people,  you know,   receptionists,  shop workers,  cleaners have they prevented from working and therefore disrupted their ability to earn an income and put food on the table?  People without large bank accounts fed by people seeking to corrupt government and society in general to fall back on?

Perhaps the protestors are thinking that the populace will rise up with them against the tyranny of government!   I’m thinking that the populace in general will start hoping the police start breaking out the tear gas and rubber bullets.

Now, some of them are actually using the term “Quebecois Spring”….let me re-phrase that..

Some of those arrogant, shit-heel, pus-heads compared themselves to the thousands of  people in the Middle East who rose up against oppression and changed their worlds for the better.

These self-righteous jack-asses are protesting having to pay more for education than they pay now,  an amount that is still considerably less than most other university students in the country!

The Arab Spring was a courageous groundswell of rebellion.     Those people faced arrest, torture, execution for outrageous acts such as “having an opinion”,  or “speaking out”,  or “knowing that guy who has an opinion”,  or “minding their own business”,   or “being gay”,   or “being female”.

Quebec has one of the richest,  vibrant,  permissive  cultural histories in North America.  When I think of Quebec I think of poutine, strippers and revisionist history,  I also think I’d like to go and post a sign with the English and French text exactly the same size so that I could be charged for violating their language laws.

But even if I did that sign thing,  I’m almost certain I wouldn’t piled into the back of a police car never to be seen again.

Yet they,  the privileged,  idealistic,  arrogant bright bulbs behind this protest don’t seem to get something very important.

The Arab Spring was a revolt against oppression,   unreasonable quashing of ideas,  ideas, and freedoms.   But in Quebec it is they,  the rebels,  who are preventing those among them who want to continue their education,  preventing general citizenry with the misfortune to live and or work in downtown Montreal from doing so in peace,   preventing 100’s,  maybe 1000’s of everyday Quebecois from going about their daily lives in peace.

In light of that,  if there is a “Quebecois Spring”,  who will take the role of oppressors?   The police?  The government?

When you consider that the Arab Spring was a popular uprising by the general population,  it stands to reason that it won’t be the student protestors who rise up….they will be cast in the role of oppressors as it is THEY and not the police or the government preventing people from going on with their lives.   But of course,  in the narrow field of vision of the idealistic there is no room for the broader reality.

But really…if you’re going to go comparing yourself to the Arab uprisings….do yourself a favour and go read about what’s happening in Syria you arrogant f**ks