Monday, March 26, 2012

Champ's Story

Champ's integration into the family went much faster and smoother than we ever anticipated. He and Brutus sleep right next to each other sometimes and Wolfie has stopped growling every time Champ comes near him. We're giving all three dogs lots of love and affection and treats.

And Champ has made himself right at home.

Yes, that's a Queen size bed.

His original owners gave him up when they moved. The first couple to foster him had a problem. Right after they got him, the husband had to go out of town for a week for work. When he got back, the dog (then known as Cheup) had bonded with the wife so much, he saw the husband as a threat and was overprotective of her, giving the husband a nip. That didn't go over so well and they returned Cheup to the shelter. The next people to foster him raise chickens and they discovered he liked to chase chickens. Well, what dog wouldn't? As Ron said, if he were a dog, he'd want to chase chickens, too. But fortunately for us, those people didn't see it that way and they returned him to the shelter. So we got him, and we think he's fantastic. He's bonding with both of us equally and we don't have chickens.

He's very smart and what he doesn't already know, he learns quickly. He came to us already knowing the commands "Sit" and "Shake." The other night, I saw he had a plastic jar lid in his mouth that he'd gotten out of the trash can and I told him, "Drop it" and he immedately dropped it. So either he already knew the command or he knew he shouldn't be getting into the trash can.

And of course he's quickly learning Guard Dog Duties from the other dogs. When they're all inside and they hear a noise outside, Champ is sometimes the first one to reach the sliding glass door, ready to go out and investigate. And of course he's learned tapping on the door to come in or go out.

He's very sweet and loves giving and getting affection. He's also very calm and laid back.

We've come to the conclusion that he's half Newfoundland and half Black Lab; Ron Googled pictures of dogs of that mix and they look exactly like Champ. Also Newfs and Labs tend to have very calm demeanors.

Satchmo is taking it all in stride.

Princess still spends a lot of time on top of the cabinets over the refrigerator so she can keep an eye on things.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Dog Hunt Saga Continues

We decided we should get a new dog sooner rather than later. Wolfie is 10 and Brutus is 8, so we need to get a new one they can train before they get too old. The dogs have always trained the new dog and the results have always been very impressive. Brutus has the bark of a much larger dog and is very alert to sounds outside. It wouldn't be such a rush if they were younger, but Wolfie is already starting to stumble occasionally. Plus the house seems empty with only two dogs, if you can believe it.

We went to the animal shelter a week ago and as of a few days ago, we thought we were going to be able to adopt our first choice (really, our only choice), Roscoe, a very sweet, young German Shepherd. We showed up there yesterday, checkbook in hand, ready to take him home, but due to miscommunication and no communication on several levels among the staff at the shelter, he'd already been spoken for by the Search and Rescue people, who have first dibs on all German Shepherds there (and are allowed extreme flexibility when it comes to deadlines, but that's all I'm gonna say about that).

Mad and sad, we took another look at all the other available dogs there, accompanied by one of the workers there who was sympathetic and not at all surprised by the lack of communication that led to our situation. She knew all the dogs and their personalities, pointing out the ones who were sweet; a lot of them were sweet. It's sad that there are so many dogs at the shelter, and most have been there for many months, but they didn't meet our requirements. One of the major requirements is that they have long, or at least medium, fur so they can be outside in the cold weather for extended periods (during the day when we're at work).

So we left the shelter without a dog.

But there are other places to find a dog, and we'd already started looking online when we left the shelter the first time (a week ago) and knew there was a strong chance we wouldn't get Roscoe.

Petfinder led us to German Shepherd Resuce of Central Colorado and we found several good possibilities. Ron filled out the extensive application form today and then we called the three people we'd put as references to let them know. It's a good thing we did, because the rescue people didn't waste any time! They called us not long after, and they had already spoken to two out of three of our references as well as someone at the vet's office.

After speaking to Ron for a little while, the woman was ready for us to drive up to Buena Vista today to pick up Osa. Another one of our picks, Liam, is not good with other male dogs and Thor has a very strong prey drive and would kill the cats instantly, so those two were definitely out. But Osa sounds perfect; she's only 8 months old (so she'll live a long time) and is already spayed and housebroken. Her former owners had to give her up when they moved to an apartment that didn't allow dogs. She has the same dark coloring as King did, and she looks like she'll grow up to be as big as he was; just look at the size of those ears!

Unfortunately, Ron is on call this weekend, so we can't make the drive up to Colorado (when he's on call, he has to stay within an hour of Taos, preferably less). But we had already planned a trip up to Denver next weekend and it's not too far out of our way to stop by Buena Vista on our way home on Monday; we'll just take a different route, down 285 instead of I-25. We take a risk that someone will adopt her before then, but they seem to have an abundance of German Shepherds available. Wish us luck; we'll keep you posted