Trained?

Growing up in India I had a love-fright relationship with dogs. (Pick your jaw up. We all grow up only at 30, and sometimes never.) These changes were not frequent, but depended on those around me, and of course on the dog itself. (No matter how much you love them, always make an informed approach, or no approach.) If there was a person in my close and constant surroundings that was extremely scared of dogs, somehow being the fool that I am, I would be scared too. Remove this person from my surroundings, and this would eventually change to my default state – I love you dog. I don’t care what flea bitten, diseased situation you come from – you must be loved.

Anyway, a question I heard a little too often (I attribute some of these occurrences to myself too), was “Is he/she trained?”.

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Who’s askin?

Now as a pet parent my instinct lies in responding with “to/for?”. Until I raised my very own bundle of crazy I never realized that maybe what the people in my land are trying to ask the dog community in general every time they stop of their members is, “Is he/she tame?”

A dog can be trained to Sit, Stay, Hug (yes, my fabulous boy knows how to Hug is parents), Roll over, Search and to Rescue. Which subset of these is the right answer to “Is he/she trained?” When is a dog considered “trained” enough for that answer to be “Yes”?

But is he/she tame?  India has a lot of stray dogs. They are much less now since awareness about Spay/Neuter and Rescue is very prevalent, and many groups are working tirelessly to increase this awareness, and to increase adoptions. So it is most likely that a dog on the street who has a human leashed to him/her is tame. He/she may or may not know any commands, in which case yes maybe some training is in order, but this dog is tame. And I think this is where the confusion of tame/trained stems from. It’s even more confusing that many strays are tame. Many strays are also “trained” meaning they know one or two commands atleast.

Is your dog child “trained”?

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Adopted, Tame, Trained, Spoiled, and Loving it!

Fun little confusing question! I have to say we humans sometimes are neither tame, nor are we trained to do anything useful. In Dwight Schrute’s words “We need a new Plague.”

 

Seeing double

How many black labs can you spot?

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Little adoptable Sasha came to spend the day with us today. Yes I am getting a reputation for running a bed and breakfast for black homeless dogs.

Sasha will be going to Lab Rescue of Florida most likely but I know that if her Foster mom can see her find a great home closeby, she’d be elated! So I decided to share some pictures.

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She is funny! Her Foster mom termed this as ‘half assing’ 🙂 I could tell she wanted to be on the couch but also chase Kahlua.

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Sasha butt! It is funny how this girl selected the same spots that Midnight used to select in this house, including walking all over me and specially stepping on my very full bladder with a vehemently wagging tail and half a toy in my face.

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We have a couch for every dog that visits or stays here. Not necessarily for every human.

Well, the dogs played and tired each other out. At some point every human and canine existence that belongs or was visiting here,  was  fast asleep occupying whatever comfortable surface was available.

It was a true Sunday!

Email cauzicanfl@gmail.com if you think you can be that awesome home that little Sasha needs.

Colored.

According to the official National Black Dog Day website, the day was started because“too often, black dogs are overlooked because of many stigmas such as; the color black is evil

We just pure evil.

We just pure evil!

(the same stigma that cats have), black dogs do not show up as well in photographs as muti-colored or light colored dogs and black dogs look scary and intimidating because you cannot see their facial expressions as easily …

Oh I just SO intimidating!

Oh I just SO intimidating!

and..

My foster sister's expressions are SO unclear!

My foster sister’s expressions are SO unclear!

Oh and look how BADLY we both photograph ...

Oh and look how BADLY we both photograph …

This special day is devoted to creating public awareness about these beautiful, shiny fur babies that offer just as much unconditional love as any other dog and deserve just as much love back. …

My temp ma wuv me

My temp ma wuv me.

Please adopt a black dog and show the world how much light they have inside and out!”

Why so serious?

Why so serious?

Sneaky Saturday-Tail of two black dogs.

These two have a funny friendship! He lets her have ANYthing she wants. Then sits by her like this and looks at me, asking me to be the bad guy and get it back for him. Yet, he sits by her crate when she is in it (and she is in her a lot due to treatment). And she yelps when I take him out and don’t take her( and I have to because she needs complete crate rest). She doesn’t do this when only I leave. It’s only when I take him away with me.

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Adoptable midnight going to town with a bone while foster brother begs mom to fight his battles because he won’t take away from his foster sis 🙂

Midnight does great with other dogs.
Comment on here if you would like to adopt her. Please share away! 

Have a super Saturday!

The girl with the black dog who looks like Kahlua

I ran into her in the dog park all the time when our kids were 3-4 month old identical black puppies. Her’s a little bolder, mine being one to find solace under a park bench. Others in the park said “He is not trained” or “He is not well socialized”, but never her. She was always nice to him. If one of our kids weren’t from Pensacola and the other from Cairo, I would’ve sworn they were brothers. But only blood doesn’t make brothers.

Both our timings changed and we stopped meeting at the park.

Suddenly last year, after I read about Pittie Parties on Morgan’s blog and added her (Morgan) on FB, my mystery girl added me on FB. That’s when I first got to know her name. I always knew Jango 🙂 Sweet, cuddly Jango whom I’d hug at the dog park. Little Jango (now not so little) would jump into the kiddie pool while Kahlua watched from a safe distance.

Katelyn. Organizer extraordinaire, strong advocate of shelter animals. I’ve watched her for a long time slaving over the cause. Blood, Sweat, Tears and Dollars. It’s not often you come across such a selfless human being. I watched for a year, attended all her events and supported her from the sidelines. Now, I am lucky to officially be volunteering with her.

It is personal. Rescue is always personal. It’s hard to not make it personal. I was only aware of all the million things I saw her do for animals, until I read this: her account of how, through her plain generosity, she convinced a random guy to get his dog fixed and not let him run lose on the thoroughfares of Tallahassee. In my eyes, this is such a BIG win. This is true rescue. This is true love.

I am lucky to know her. I call her my friend and I call Jango my half-son. I don’t know if I’m crossing any line by doing that. And I don’t care 🙂 She is such a wonderful human being, as are all the volunteers at Cauzican Care, and you don’t come by those everyday! They all should know they are appreciated, and that they have a friend in me.

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The creature in our couch!

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Ma, don’t look now but there is a creature in our couch!

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It’s chewing on the bone you bought ME last week!

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There was no creature. It’s just River! Our beautiful adoptable Chocolate Lab Mix!

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This is MY bean bag now! The monster dog can go sit elsewhere!

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Dude, that monster dog is just WEIRD.

 

If you are interested in adopting River, please contact Cauzican Care, or leave your information in the contact form below!

For the love of {black} Lab

Ok, so it’s not rocket science to infer that I have a soft spot for black labs. I think that soft spot came about when I went to adopt Kahlua, and he was laying in my lap while his litter mates pranced everywhere (one grey and one more black) and Laurie (the lady who manages the shelter where I got him) told me of how black dogs are the least likely to be adopted. I think the exact minute of this soft spot’s creation was when she said “They don’t know they’re black” and Kahlua simultaneously made this face :

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So yes, there is a silly sort of judgemental-ness slash racism when it comes to adopting dogs even. It’s true, and it’s unfair.  Let me tell you something about black dogs –

They’re as cute, as cuddly, as obedient, as smart as whatever as you as the handler decide they can be. Just like all dogs. AND, they don’t stain as easy 🙂 Black is beautiful and black goes with anything. So all this racial pointlessness can please just take a hike.

I think my pack will consist of alteast one  black dog at all times. Just because, look how cute!

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And have you seen a more winning smile than this?

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And have you seen such complete and utter cuteness in one place ?

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And most importantly, do you think this cuteness belongs  in a shelter ? I don’t. In a perfect world i’d have unlimited resources and adopt all the cuteness myself but we don’t live in a perfect world. We have to try and make it perfect. So why not start by contacting Friends of Wakulla County animal control (FOWCAC) for Jerry (first lab) or Tiffany and Tara (lab pups) and giving them the perfect homes they deserve ?

If you don’t mind, i’d really like to hear from you about what you think about such posts. You see, I’m trying to solve a puzzle about how I can actually help these animals be adopted, and need to know how much sharing actually helps.

When does all that sharing, yield no caring ?

This is a slightly grim one. I’m pretty sure I might upset a reader or two, but when you feel the mercury rising, please try and remember, we are on the same side – the one that wants every animal to be in a safe, happy, healthy home and all shelters to be completely, absolutely, one hundred percent empty.

So what am I getting at ? Simply this: How much sharing (on Facebook specifically) is too much sharing when it comes to trying to get people to notice and adopt shelter animals? I know, the right answer should be “You can never share too much. You never know who catches whose eye and whose life changes “. I said this too and I do believe it’s true. However, is there a saturation point your friends reach ? Do you believe that some may have actually blocked your updates simply because they are all the same ? I do. I’ve been teased before by good friends that all my updates are really all just Pupdates. And I know that they haven’t blocked them, because they’re my real friends, and not just my Facebook Friends. And I also believe, that there are others that have blocked my pupdates.

So does “Sharing is Caring” really, actually work? How much is too much before you’re labeled or stereotyped and consequently filtered? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care about being classified,  filtered, screened, blocked whatever. My point of this rant is this – are people really listening when I share a puppy that’s on death row ? Or is it just another one of ‘Shalini’s dog mania posts..’  ? Am i really reaching out to potential adopters/rescue-ers ?

You know how you have that one really old grand uncle like Uncle Leo from Seinfeld who always seems to tell the same stories? You know how you don’t meet his eye at a family gathering? Or how you’ve planned an escape route for when you do? It’s kind of the same thing. If we as rescue advocates constantly are sharing updates of only this genre and striking conversations only about the same things, and with the same people,  how many people are really listening ? It pains me to think that there is a glass ceiling. It won’t stop me from continuing to share, or continuing to write, or trying to educate, but is there perhaps some way to keep the audience gripped ? To keep their eyes from glazing over as they scroll your timeline or speak to you in person ? Is  there a way to break what they think is a monotony, and what to us is saving the life of a shelter dog ?

I read every dog’s story that a friend shares, or one on a page that I’ve Liked. I really do. And then I want to share it. I eventually end up sharing it because of  the ‘you never know’ factor. Plus, who am I in this gi-normous, complexi-cated universe to decide that my action of sharing won’t yield any useful connections ? Just a tiny spec in the labyrinth of possibility for that animal. But I do think twice. About the monotony of my shares. About the effect, or the lack thereof, it has.

I will keep sharing, in the hope that it is working in some small way or the other. But I wanted to put this out there. I want to see if anyone else feels this way, and I would love to hear from you.

I saw these beautiful animals on the Friends of Wakulla County Facebook page today. And guess what ? I’m gonna share them with you! The pictures are by the wonderful Betsy of Betsy Sasnett Photography. Please contact them if a fur baby grips your heart, or if you can foster. You will be saving not one life, but two. So please, share away!

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My name is Casper. I have the most soulful eyes ever, right?

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Say what? You’re coming to get me? Ask for Cara!

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My name is Justin. You can just see how loving I am. So what are you waiting for?

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I’m Wiona and I smile !

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I’m Ashley and I’m really little. I’m Wiona’s daughter. We shouldn’t be in a shelter, should we? So email FriendsOfWCAC@gmail.com to come get us!

Monday M(C)uteness

It’s here again isn’t it? That…. Monday. 

So you go to work, why do I need to get out of bed?
Don’t we all love Mondays ? No. Well, they will pass like every other bad phase. Good luck to all of you who have Finals this week!
Please see some of Mariah’s stunning captures of yesterday’s Pittie Party organized by our marvelous Katelyn of Pitbull Worldwide! Remember, most of the pups pictured are up for adoption! Contact Last Hope Rescue FL to adopt them.
Ok, so it wasn’t exactly a Mute post. But I had to mention all this adoptable cuteness! So the point is Muoote.

I don’t like this dog anymore

I hate that sentence. Yes, I am talking about owner surrender. And this post will be pretty preachy so I apologize in advance.  I do hope that you will not only listen but also help fend off the ignorance.

I am angry, and disappointed in humans who come up with the stupidest of reasons to ‘give back’ their dogs. This particular bout of anger stems from a recent story a friend told me about how she came in contact with these ‘surrenderrers’ and what their attitude was like – toward the dog and then toward her for trying to help. I don’t wish to shame them in this post but I do want to highlight a few things one must do before they decide that ‘the dog is bad’.

1. The dog is never bad. You just need to teach them what to do and what not to do. A simple Internet search on “Positive Reinforcement” is what you need. Dogs never do anything to intentionally anger you. You just need to tell them what does and what doesn’t.

2. They need to expend energy. If they chewed up the sofa while you were gone, you should probably have exercised them before you left and left them a stuffed Kong to be busy with while you were away. They were bored, probably even anxious about you leaving, and they had energy to expend. Tiring them out and keeping them distracted discourages this boredom and anxiety.  If they chew in your presence, one firm NO in a low voice like a growl, is enough. No screaming, no shouting, no drama. If you have an explosive temper, learn to control it. It’s part of growing up. (Gosh I am angry today, aren’t I ? )

3. You need obedience training. Yes, you, not the dog.  It is really more for you. For you to understand how to train them. I learned through my first behavioral training to make my dog take me seriously when I need him to. The biggest problem I faced as a new parent was to not speak to him as a person. “Kahlua.. please could you not chew on the comforter.. i love you .. ” .. Wrong! Sharp “NO”. Job done. He even comes over to say sorry. The classes will teach you how to use the pup’s food or play motivation to teach them commands like “Sit” or “Stay” .. or even “Give me a hug!”

4. Regular checkups – I cannot stress this enough. Annual (atleast) for adults and as and when puppy shots are needed, for the little ones. A stitch in time, does save nine.

5. Heartworm Meds – this is not optional. Heartworms may be treatable but they are the quintessential example for prevention is better than cure. One monthly pill. That is all. It could save his life.

6. Flea and Tick Meds – would you like to be constantly itchy? Would you like the possibility of  having a disease transmitted to you every time you went for a walk in the woods? I thought so. Get the meds.

7. Too many kids & too less time & now a puppy ? This is a tough one, but not impossible. Remember, you chose to bring the puppy into your life. If you did so for your kid, you should have read the fine print that you would need to do all the work. It is true. And it is not anyone’s fault. But, you should know what you are walking into when you do this. Anyway, Two year old ? Teach them to put food in the dog’s bowl. Eight year old – they can let him out in the yard to conduct business. Twelve and above – short walks can be their responsibility and the Sixteen year old can even drive him to the park and take the Thirteen year old along (please check your local dog park’s minimum entry age- yes, they do have them).  I don’t claim that this is easy. I admire you for doing this if you do. But all I am saying is the dog is a responsibility too – one that you chose to have. So let him be part of the pack. If you can’t, don’t dump him at the shelter. He will be put to sleep. Find him a good home, and keep him with you and happy until then. It does not take too much.

8. This dog is much too large and I can’t handle him anymore. Really? Did you not know what he was when you got him? No. I adopted him. Not an excuse. The shelter will give you some approximation of what the dog is, and usually a Chiuwawa will not grow into a Great Dane. Yes, 8-10 lbs might fluctuate either way but you know what range of size you are bringing home. Did you look at the paws when he was a puppy? That should give you a clue. So suck it up and treat it like the joy it really is. Further most larger dogs are calmer, less talkative and need less bathroom trips.

9. You will not believe I have actually heard this. “He poops too much”. Noone said to expect little silver pellets. Grow up. Get a bag and pick it up.

All they need is a little devotion, a little time, a little love and a little training. If you think you cannot financially, emotionally, or mentally provide this, do not get ahead of yourself and bite off more than you can chew.