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Archive for September, 2009

RePoe wanted to follow me today in the house today with no lead. No hiding. He came up the stairs and stood at the gate while everyone else ate supper. He stayed on the landing so I fed him there (the first time he ate outside of his crate) and stayed there when he had finished. He asked to come through the gate with his body language and his eyes.

So I opened the gate. He came through the kitchen and pranced down the hall to his crate in the bedroom.

That was a huge step forward for RePoe.

Just as I was basking in the glow of that happy moment, Mark came in the driveway with the new addition.

PUPPY BREATH!!!

What a wonderful day…..

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It’s been 12 days since our English shepherd foster arrived. I’ve been gone for 5 of them, leaving Mark to handle him. He’s done a great job.
RePoe has made some progress. He’s sleeping thru the entire night with no barking or rustling about. He’s sitting or standing in his crate while we leash him up. He’s infrequently cowering in the back any more.

He’s pretty curious, but not interested in our pack yet. He’s only been exposed to very undersized English shepherds, most of who were his relatives so it’s understandable.

Big steps happened Monday, my first day back.

RePoe took three steps. They only amounted to a few inches, but they seemed like miles.

I was sitting cross-legged on the floor after we had worked for a while. He was standing with his side to me trying to digest lesson we had just finished. The lesson, by the way, was mostly people are good things and he can be near them. If you had popped in off the street to watch, most likely you would’ve said it was akin to watching paint dry.

While he was mulling things over, I very carefully reached out and did something most dog owners do all the time without thinking. I scratched RePoe’s butt.

I’m pretty sure it was the first butt-scratch he’s had in his entire life.

He stood and tolerated it. I stopped after a few seconds.

Then he did something I never expected. He slowly and deliberately picked up his hind right foot and moved it closer to me, followed by the rest of his body, keeping his side to me.

He was asking for more. Who was I to let him down? After all, he’s been let down his entire life. I, of course, reached out and scratched for a few more seconds and stopped.

Again he moved his right hind foot closer, followed by the rest of him.

I again obliged, this time scratching his butt and up his spine a bit. Once more, I only pushed it a few seconds before I stopped.

It appeared I had him right where I wanted him. He moved his foot once more, but couldn’t get any closer without putting it in my lap! He was willing touching my foot!!

He was BEGGING FOR BUTT SCRATCHES!!!!!

Of course, I accommodated his wishes. And then I pushed him even a little further.

I got to pet him. Not just a quick chest scritch-a real, stroke-the-entire-length-of –his-body petting! Mind you it was only a couple quick strokes, but it was progress.

While I kept my outward demeanor, quiet, calm and collected, there was a celebratory festival going on inside!

Wahoo!!!!

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I met him Thursday, Sept 10th. A small, bright-eyed bundle of fur trying his best to plaster himself to the back of his travel crate while avoiding direct eye contact and being as doggy polite as he could be.

He’d started out the day before many states west of here in a life very different from what’s in store for him. He’d spent hours upon hours on a bus being transported to a bright future. He just doesn’t know that yet.

Poe is an English shepherd seized from an animal hoarder who was charged with animal cruelty/neglect. She eventually pled no contest and a whole slew of dogs got a second chance (see www.nesr.info).

He’d spent most of his life in a small horse-wire kennel run floored in about a foot of mud and sh*t, with some sort of dirty wooden box for shelter.  No bedding.  He likely never got out.  He may have been in a run alone or with one or more other dogs.

I don’t know how old he is. He’s an adult. My personal guess is 2-3. It’s hard to tell from his size, though, because he’s about 35 pounds.  A typical adult is about 50 pounds.

Right now his number one job is learning humans are good things. He’s catching on pretty quickly. He wants to believe it so that’s very helpful. Our number one job as his foster family is to help him at his job by being good leaders and teachers.

We’ll be posting updates about Repo (his new name) and following his progress.

For now let’s just say Full Speed Ahead to the Future he deserves. Note that Full Speed in this case means Repo’s idea of Full Speed. NOT ours.

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