Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dog..er..I Mean, Human Training 101

Colleen with Shorty
Yesterday was fun, informative and oh so educational.  Colleen, who oversees the Molly's Dogs, as they are affectionately called, arranged for a dog training demonstration with Lisa Berkenstock, dog trainer extraordinaire.  My nephew, Eric, and I were part of a 12-person class, where we learned so much about how dogs think and react, and why they do the things they do.

Because the rescue dogs that come through the Almost Home network have unknown backgrounds, and chances are high they arrive stressed and fearful, it is especially important to handle these dogs with care. 

Lisa Berkenstock
Lisa recommended the Freedom harness, which allows the dog to be tethered comfortably without choking him, and provides a pleasant walking experience.  She focused on proper walking and how to divert the dog's attention when he might be showing signs of aggression towards another person or dog.  She also explained some great ways to accomplish better behavior at home (of the dog, not you) when guests arrive.  She answered questions and gave her expert advice.  Her credentials as a Veterinary Behavior Technician, and her years of experience working with dogs were obvious.  She knows of which she speaks!

Andrea and Gloria
But this was much more than just a classroom under a pavillion.  We had a few Molly's Dogs to work with, and we each took a turn following Lisa's instructions on how to hold the leash properly, put ourselves between our dog and those approaching, and how to best get the dog's attention away from them so we could reward him.  Lisa demonstrated how to find the right distance, away from those approaching, where your dog will accept treats or food -- a huge motivator for dogs.
Training in Action

Eric Training with Gloria


The Molly's Dogs were great.  They entertained us, showed how smart they are as they caught on so quickly, and I think everyone felt a lot was accomplished.  This is one of the times when I can say "a good time was had by all".
Shorty Waits His Turn

Brownie and Eric Take Each Other In
Buckeye Taking a Breather


We humans learned a lot and spent some time with canines, which is important to each of us.  The dogs enjoyed their time in the park, the sunshine, the grass, and the attention showered upon them.  I suspect, though, that the best part for them might have been those yummy treats they received for a job well done.

Gloria - Don't You Just Want to Take Her Home?

Don't forget you can check out the adoptable Molly's Dogs at the link at the top right of this page.
You may also click on www.mypetsteacher.com for more information about Lisa Berkenstock.  She is a Certified Veterinary Behavior Technician, with over 30 years of professional experience.  She holds a BS in Biology from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture, and is also a licensed veterinary technician.  She is a state representative for the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians and an adjunct professor at Manor College, teaching a "Breeds and Behavior" class to future veterinary technicians


Sunday, July 20, 2014

True Heroics

Due to sudden unavailability of drivers for the June 28 - 29 transport from South Carolina for Darlington Express, one person stepped up to make sure all the dogs and cats made it to their destination in the north.  Belva, a volunteer who transports regularly, was firstly responsible for getting some cats who had been dropped at the Humane Society, onto the transport.  Their fate, had they remained at that Humane Society, would have been very doubtful.

Belva in the back of the van
Furthermore, Belva was one of the van drivers who was making the long haul from South Carolina to Pennsylvania.  Once she learned of the unexpected shortage of drivers, Belva bravely made the additional commitment to stay overnight that Saturday night in Pennsylvania, and to deliver all her barking buddies to their rescues, which took her all the way to Buffalo, New York on Sunday!  This was way beyond the call of duty, and Belva is a real inspiration to those who care for the welfare of homeless animals and are dedicated to finding furever homes for them all.

 Here are some of the rescues Belva changed her life around for that weekend.  Although they are caged, it's the only safe way to transport, and of course it's a small price to pay.  Being left behind just isn't an option for anyone with Darlington Express.


Then, of course, Belva had to make the long, long trek back to South Carolina.  But she didn't return empty-handed.  Supplies had been donated to the South Carolina shelter, so she packed her van and headed south.

Paige Has Turned Over a New Leaf!

Linda, who coordinated the June 28 - 29 transport from South Carolina to Pennsylvania and points north, sponsored Paige, who was on the put-to-sleep list in June.  Due to Linda's sponsorship (i.e., she paid for it), Paige was rescued and transported to One Life to Live in Scranton, where she will be nurtured, trained and put up for adoption.  Much better than being put to sleep!

Lucky Paige has started a new chapter in her life, thanks to the generosity of Linda.  Another hero in the making!

The Perfect Doorstop

I've always thought Doorstop and Meatloaf would be perfect names for cats.  They look like a "meatloaf" when they are laying down with all four paws curled up underneath them and you view them from behind.

The reason I think Doorstop is a perfect name is exemplified by my friend Diane's cat, as pictured left.  Dubbed Indy in honor of Indiana Jones, Indy in his youth would race around her house, either chasing after imaginary crooks, or trying to out run one giant boulder.  That was several years ago.  As you can see, Indy has mellowed, and now presents himself as the perfect doorstop.  He doesn't look too concerned about the bad guys here, does he!  In fact, he's the epitome of relaxation and contentment.  Too bad he has such a rough life -- as shown below.  I know, I know...you feel real bad for him, don't you?  Let's unite to appreciate all feline doorstops everywhere!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

What's in a Name?

A rose called by any other name still smells as sweet.  I have long speculated how rescued dogs get their names.  Some do come with a name, if someone is forced to give their pet up.  But others who are strays arrive without designations, so I often wonder, and discuss with my friends who are into dog rescuing, how the dogs get their names.  Take Coleman and Colin whom I wrote about last week (see below), for example.  Did someone just pull two names out of the air?  Did Coleman look like a Coleman?  I certainly don't think so.  And I believe Colin is a British name.  Did his brother look more British, ergo his name?  Did someone just think two names that started with the same letter would be cute for two dogs who looked so much alike?  If so, why not more dog-like names, like Boomer and Bowser, or Rocky and Rover?

I have voiced my theory to my friends.  I now voice my opinion publicly.  I think there is a long list of male and female pet names in alphabetical order from which various rescue groups ascribe the next dog's name.  There is no thought put toward finding the perfect name.  After all, most rescue groups are usually overwhelmed with barking buddies or frisky felines to take an extra second to figure out a marvelous moniker.  It takes far less energy to look at the next name on the list and dub the dog.  Their energy is far better spent on rescuing efforts, of course.

Hence, Coleman and Colin adhere to my theory nicely.  I adopted two cats years ago who were sisters and came with the names Daniella and Daphne -- names that fall perfectly in line with my hypothesis.  Daphne was a beautiful, dainty gray and white tabby cat, so I kept her name because it suited her.  Daniella, on the other hand, besides being quite a mouthful, did not suit the other one at all.  You know her today as my Riley, a mottled sweetie with a coat of many colors, without a regal bone in her body.  Daniella just seemed much too high-falutin' for my scraggly little charge.  So she became my Riley, or more technically speaking, my Riley May.  She took to her name without complaint and so it's been for almost 19 years.  And she's still going strong.
Bocephus - AKA Fido, Spot -- Just call me yours!

But I digress.

All of this brings me to the reason for this post.  Dearest, darling, bouncing Bocephus is currently at Molly's Country Kennels.  Really?!!?  Bocephus?  Please, please, somebody rescue him quickly from his fate of being known as Bocephus for another week!  He deserves better!  "Fido" would be a step up!  Even "Spot" has a better ring to it!  Okay, okay, it appears he has no spots.  But he certainly has no bocephuses either!   In fact, it sounds like a horrible disease!

Anyway, Bocephus -- may I call him Bo -- is a medium-sized lab mix, and does best if not around other dogs. You may read more about him by clicking on the link below.  Please keep Bocephus in your kind thoughts, if nothing else, as I think he needs all the help he can get.  After all, I don't think"Bocephus" will even fit on a dog tag!



Cocoa Takes a Vacation

Another friend of mine, Linda, decided that she and her husband should fly off to exotic Costa Rica for ten days, but couldn't take Cocoa, their cat.  So, while Linda and Ramon were jetting to South America, lavishing in the luxury of resort life, enjoying the sun and exotic drinks, Cocoa got to lollygag at Moxness Manor.  She and SuzyQ got along quite well, and Cocoa seemed happy to have a friend to play with, when all was said and done.  Cocoa went home today.  My SuzyQ is still looking for her.  And speaking of names, Cocoa?  For a black and white cat?  I must ask Linda about that!


Aha!  A room with a view!
What do you mean no room service?

Are those birds in those eaves?
















I hope I get a chocolate on my pillow tonight!



I don't need no stinkin' roommate!

OK; I'll humor SuzyQ by playing Hide 'n Seek
SuzyQ: Which one should I read next?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Spark of Sparky


Sparky is currently residing at Molly's Country Kennels, awaiting her new family to take her to her new furever home.  She's sweet, laid-back and has no issues.  She needs a cat-free foster home temporarily, unless her new family finds her soon.  Here's a link to her web page.  I don't know how she managed to create her own web page with those short arms!  She's small but mighty, I guess.  Maybe sparks will fly when she meets you, or maybe you know someone who would be pleased to make Sparky their little sparkler.