Feeling warm, happy, & sleepy
Feeling warm, happy, & sleepy
I read an article on the front-page of the Chicago Tribune today. It was entitled, “Unwanted, Feared, Abandoned” and it went on to elaborate about how Pitbulls are pushing the animal shelters to their limits capacity-wise, and more Pitbulls are being euthanized. This is for a number of reasons; which I will put into my own words and not in any particular order:
1. Overbreeding by unscrupulous puppy mills for money.
2. Owners not wanting to take the time to train their dogs properly. (“They have too much energy”)
3. Owners do not want the dog after it reaches a year of age (“It’s not a puppy”)
4. Dogs kicked to the curb for not winning in dogfights.
5. The economy (people cannot afford their pets, have had to downsize their homes, etc.).
6. Dog bites (There are more Pitties now, so dog bites have risen proportionally with the increase in population).
* * *
Did you know that there is no such breed as a “Pitbull”? Pitbull is a generic term used to describe a powerful dog with a large head and a strong jaw. It encompasses American Staffordshire terriers, American Pit Bull terriers (not pitbull) and Staffordshire Bull terriers, as well as mixes of these dogs. In some areas, “Pitbull” dogs are identified by appearance alone.
The outlook is grim; however, there are a number of no-kill shelters specifically for these “bully breeds” cropping up. That last part is good news, because owners are giving up their dogs at a high ratio. We need more education for owners and more safe places for the dogs to go.
I encourage everyone, everywhere, to practice responsible pet ownership. Research the dog (or cat! or whatever!) that you are considering getting, and think through whether or not it will be a good fit with your family. Factor in children, as well as your housing and/or yard situation. Think honestly about the time you have to spend with your pet. Spay and neuter, and train, train, train, your dog.
Today’s article gives me Paws for Thought. I hope you think about it, too.
Woof! Love, Maggie
(October-Early November, 2013) The Alpha Male came early the next morning with a bowl of food and water. I ate hungrily, lapped up all the water, and was let let out into a dog run in the large backyard. Several other dogs, some my size, others much larger, were already out there.
I walked warily around, sniffing, ready to mix it up, if need be. But the other dogs weren’t looking for a fight. Everyone did their business, and we were herded back inside the house. We were crated, then brought out to work, first individually, then in groups.
I was with a pack of large dogs and huge German Shepherd police training dogs. These shepherds were half my age and twice my size already! I figured I’d better watch my step and keep my hair down.
From that day on it was work, work, work. Sit. Stay. Heel. About turn. Back. Down. Recall. Figure 8. Finish. All the commands I had learned in Obedience school, over and over and over. Then bang! Into the crate, another biscuit, and lights out. Mom still did not come to get me. I knew I’d been booted out for good. I was devastated, but felt the need to survive.
Soon, other elements were added to my days of never-ending training: invited to jump on the couch or counter, I was then met with a loud noise and a sharp, “Off!” This applied to chairs and the beds, too.
Sneakily, I decided to chew through my lead (the Alpha had switched it from the leather one to my regular, nylon one) but was unpleasantly surprised to find that it tasted indescribably awful! The Alpha had sprayed it with “Bitter Apple”. Yuck! What was worse, if I jumped repeatedly, or tried the old “Hairy Bullet” on the Alpha, he sprayed the noxious stuff into my mouth. Horrible! I soon straightened out in regards to chewing and Hairy Bullet-ing.
It wasn’t all bad, though. My crate was actually my respite from all the other dogs. And exercise time was my favorite. The Alpha Male would hold a long plastic pole with a bit of fur connected to the end, and swing it all around. We dogs would jump and run and grab for that pole with our jaws, and then hang on for dear life! It was a lot of fun. I really got into good shape, too. That playtime was a terrific stress reliever after working so hard all day long.
But I was lonely. There was no soft dog bed. No table scraps (in fact, he only fed me once, in the morning). No Jamie to say, “Hi, Mags!” in that sweet voice he uses. No Dad to greet when he comes home at darktime. And no Mom to curl up with on the human bed, her hand draping over my belly, cooing soft words if I twitched or stirred in the night. I told myself I had to get over it, that those days were gone forever. This was life at bootcamp.
* * * *
By now, you’ve probably read, “The Homecoming” and you know that my family DID come get me. And not just Mom or Jamie…the whole family came out to retrieve me. I’d just like to say a few words about this whole experience.
I never want to go through this again!
At home, life IS different now. Much more regimented. I sleep in the crate. I eat once a day. And several times a day, Mom or Jamie or both work with me on commands. Dad is putting an exercise pole like the one Daryl had together for me so I can get constructive play in the backyard.
Also, they are going to tether me with a 30 foot-long lead in the back so that if I DO smell a rabbit, I WON’T bolt through the fence. That is, unless they make me a dog run. Mom thinks I’ll have more yard if we use the tether. I will not be left out all day, just for those times when I want to spend some time outdoors. When I’m supervised, I’ll be able to run around freely.
Laurel still comes and gives me walks. She stopped by the morning after I came home to say hello, give me a couple pets, and go over commands with Mom. So all my instructions will be consistent.
I haven’t barked once at the small dogs. Mom wants us to officially sniff n’ greet in the Forest Preserve. I do try to jump on the furniture, and today Mom had to spray the Bitter Apple in my mouth when I tried to destroy a new dog bed. We are all working on my behavior together.
I was very unhappy to find out that 4 Paws Playhouse, the doggie day care that Mom wanted to send me to, has right on their website: “No American Staffordshire Terriers, Pit Bulls, or Akita type dogs are allowed.” We are all very upset about this Breed Discrimination. I don’t know how people expect dogs like me to get socialized if we are not given an opportunity to socialize. Kind of like needing experience to get a job, but no job will hire you to give you the experience you need (in human terms). It’s frustrating.
I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten all caught up on the blogging I’ve missed. You have all had some wonderful blogs, and I’ve missed all of you dreadfully. You are my WP family, and when I say, “Woof!” I mean it. Sending each and every one of you a big tail wag, and a dogsmile. I’m so happy to be back!
I’d like to thank Vanessa from farfetchedfriends and Jules and Laurel for being so helpful and understanding while I am having issues with Maggie. I believe Laurel is correct when she says that Maggie is back to her healthy weight, has recovered from whatever it was she had been through; and having her puppies taken away. I wasn’t going to blog about this, but Vanessa assured me that “the blogging community is real and not like FB where all the news is always good” – so this blog is a direct result of that comment.
That having been said, and also understanding that my dog has some “youthful vigor” – I must confirm, she has been more than a handful. Her behavior since adoption has gone from OK to worse to worser. (don’t you love the way kids talk!) And now she’s becoming a destructive force in the house. Yesterday, she knocked over my glass lamp, chipped the unbreakable laminated floor with the force of it, and ran (away from me) hitting the wall and knocking out a chunk of plaster down to the stud.
The number one, main thing that is going on is that Maggie is not listening to her commands. And it’s not like she doesn’t know them!
For example, when she did the above destruction, it was because she had stolen a sock and refused to give it back; subsequently running through the house like a wild thing, with her chain whipping behind her. The lead does not stop her from behaving badly in the house. It is merely leverage, an easier way of me stopping her in these mad chase scenes.
Jamie says Maggie thinks it is always playtime and Maggie plays ROUGH. Yesterday, she bit Erik twice. Playfully, and it did not draw blood, but – still. One cannot have a 55 pound Pitbull, who is very fast, chasing you down, leaping on you, and putting her mouth all over you.
Yesterday was not a good day. Maggie charged the fence in the back yard at about 11:30 in the evening and spent 30 minutes wandering around in the woods and the swamp, while Jim and I hunted her down with a search light. Jim eventually captured her by waving a jar of peanut butter around. Her constant misbehavior is… grueling. As of today, the house has been on lockdown.
The solution (I hope): Boot Camp, which starts October 30 in the evening. I am hoping for good results. If not, we have to make the decision to re-home. That’s another can of worms.
Another reason for Maggie’s misbehavior, again, with a tip of the hat to Laurel, is that she is comfortable here. She knows she has a good home and that we love her, so she is taking full advantage of the situation. Maggie is one smart cookie, and she wants to be in charge.
I put Maggie in the PetsHotel for the weekend. We have to get the house ready for Erik moving back home, which is completely impossible to do with the dog around, and we are having some guests over Sunday, and I can’t trust the dog around people. She loves them too much, and is too exuberant around them. Like Jamie said before, it’s always playtime and playtime is always rough. Someone’s bound to get hurt and I can’t let that happen.
So…that is the news. I wish it could be better. I am hoping that there will be a good family dynamic in place when Maggie returns from Boot Camp and that these problems will diminish and some of them, go away entirely.
All of you in the WordPress community have supported my dog so much. I want you to know she is a good girl, loving, loyal, smart, and doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. But, she has to learn her place and right now, she’s spending too much time thinking as a human and not acting like a dog.
I appreciate all your good thoughts and wishes coming Maggie’s way right now. I know that if she was here, she’d send you all out a Woof! and a tail wag and a nice face-washing.
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