Tag Archives: pit bull mix

My Love Affair With All My Canine Companions

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Alex, Sarris, and Dexter (Left to Right)

When I was a child living in Ecuador, dogs, as well as a menagerie of animals that belonged to my grandmother, were part of my every day life.  What I didn’t know then was how important dogs would be in my life and how much they would teach me about love, patience, determination, and so much more.

My love affair with dogs started with a funny looking dog that belonged to my mom.  His name was Bambino and although my sister said that he was ugly, to me he was a handsome dog.  I’d take him for walks; pick him up and cuddle him like a baby; and take him to the beach.  One day a dog attacked him and severed his spine so my mom had to put him down.  My whole family cried.  But, and this did surprised me, although he was not my dog I was heartbroken.  So much so that I made a promise to myself, “I will never get another dog because I don’t want to have my heart broken, period.”

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Alex, Sarris and Dexter, “Are we eating any time soon?”

10 long years went by and I kept my promise, but this changed on a trip to Ecuador.  Cynthia felt in love with a puppy that we named Casey, and although I tried to dissuade her from taking this tiny ball of fur with us she would not budge, and so my love affair with dogs resumed.  I am not going to lie, I’ve had my heart broken multiple times since then, and I’ve felt the loss of all those canine companions I met along the way, both the ones that were mine and those that belonged to my clients, but you know what?  The only thing I regret is waiting 10 years to get a dog.  Funny, or ironic, depending on how you look at it.  I’d rather go through the pain that I know I will face every time I lose a dog rather than not having one in my life.

One Month With Bella – BARCS ID# A21561474

1monthToday, Monday, is exactly one month since we picked up Bella from BARCS, and to say that she has changed a lot would be an understatement so I’d like to share her progress with you and hope to get some feedback.

Walking – She did not know how to walk.  She pulled every which way, and she was so bad at it that while attempting to walk her a day when we had a lot of snow on the ground, I ended up flat on my back while holding on for dear life to her leash and at that moment I said, “That’s it, I give up on this dog.”  Yes, I actually said that.  I never had a dog be that bad at walking.  That day while talking to my girlfriend, Cynthia, she mentioned me flat on the white snow while dressed in dark clothes and you know what we did?  We laughed like crazy.  Nowadays, Bella, for the most part, walks next to us.  That is progress:-)

Feeding – While I put their food together, at the beginning, Cynthia had to put a leash and collar to restrain her from going to the other dog’s area while they were still eating.  Bella also used to make this grunting/piggy noises that would start as soon as she saw me take our their dishes.  What about now?  She still makes those funny noises, but not until she hears the kibble going in her little dish, and we restrain her by using voice commands.

Pacing – Even after we took her out for a walk, she would pace in a frantic way.  She had a lot of anxiety and pent-up energy in her.  Now she seems to be much more relaxed and comfortable, and the amount and intensity of her pacing has greatly decreased. I love to see her walk around the house relaxed and content.

Training – Bella is attending a Basic Training class that will last 5 weeks, and to be really honest, I thought she was going to be the worst student ever.  Sorry, but that is how I really felt, but you know what?  On our first class, last Saturday, she did great.  She got almost all the commands correct, received compliments from one of the trainers, interacted well with people and one child.  I was so proud of her.

1month2Doggie manners – She almost stepped over Alex when they were sunbathing on the deck.  Right now she is more aware of her surroundings, but she still needs some fine tuning in this area.  She also, once, took a Nylabone from Alex’s mouth.  Alex just looked at me like, “What was that?”  I don’t allow Bella to do that because that can cause a fight.

I will probably start taking her to BARCS adoption events in the near future.  With that in mind, let me share this with you.  A student from Animal Behavior College told me that she volunteered for an adoption event for, I forgot the name of the organization, sorry, and the dog she was handling after a couple of hours made her hands red and raw from pulling.  That is something I want to avoid with Bella.  When she is ready to go to an adoption event, I want people to see the amazing girl she really is and not walk away because all they see is a hyperactive, crazy, out of control dog.  I will not set her up to fail.  It is up to Cynthia, Alex, and I to do the best that we can to get her ready to go to her forever home, but not until she is ready.

If I were asked, how’s it living with a foster dog?  I’d reply, “You will never have a dull moment, and you’ll have plenty of laughter, lessons learned, tears shed, frustration, and moments when you question your own sanity for embarking in such a difficult, arduous, sometimes, heartbreaking journey, but this was something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do it now.”  So, the succinct answer to your question would be, “Challenging, heartbreaking, and rewarding.”  I know, I know.  I could have started with that.  Have a great week.

Introducing Bella, Our First Foster Dog – BARCS ID: A21561474

Bella1The above beautiful specimen is Candie, our very first foster dog.  We changed her name to Bella since she is truly beautiful and we thought this named suited her better.  Let me start by saying that I’ve been reading other blogs of people who are fostering dogs and many of them have had set backs as well as success with their foster dogs.  Some have decided to stop fostering for a variety of reasons, all of them valid in my opinion, while others are still at it.  Regardless of whether you are the former or the latter, thanks a million for doing it.

Bella2Bella has been with us for 8 days and here’s some information about her and a progress report:

  • DOB: 11/24/2010
  • Breed: Pit Bull Mix
  • She is extremely smart and knows how to sit, wait/stay, go to bed, and come
  • She’s crate-trained and housebroken.  No accidents at all
  • Amazingly sweet with people and all she wants is to be with you and be petted all day if you have the time
  • Still working on walking on a loose leash.  Very good progress so far
  • She shaked uncontrollably when I was about to feed her and Alex.  Food seems to stress her out.  Now she still shakes, but less than before and she is able to wait rather than pace around the kitchen until I have their food ready
  • Bella responds best when the correction is done with your voice.  Harsh corrections, rough handling, popping of leash, etc., are not recommended for her.  She is a big strong girl, but she is very sensitive.  Although your voice needs to mean business it has to be done without a harsh tone otherwise she’ll shut down completely
  • She is not suitable for a first-time pet parent

Bella3My model, Bella, was falling asleep on me so I had to capture it for you to see how funny she looks when she does that.  We are not sure yet if she is ok with other dogs.  At the shelter, she was a favorite with a lot of the volunteers and she played very nice with other dogs, but we have to see how she does when living with other dogs in a home environment.  We’ll find out in a few days.

Bellalex4By the way, Alex is doing better with her leg.  She is walking about 12 minutes, and when the brace is removed at night-time she does not limp, but we don’t want to push it so she’ll continue with bed rest and short walks for a while longer.

To foster a shelter dog is a challenge, many of you know that first hand, and I will continue to blog about it and hope that I get input from pet parents and foster parents as well.  Share your stories, please.  Also, please remember that not all foster dogs may be suitable for your home just like not all dogs would be a good fit for your family.

If you are interested in adopting Bella, this is the information you will need to apply for her:  She is with BARCS, ID# A21561474.  Wish us luck and let’s hope this horrible weather changes soon.  Have a great weekend.