Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It was last Tuesday, the third Good Pup! class at Pup Scouts. We're working on the usual, basic commands and good behavior. Loose leash walking. Sit. Down. Come. My personal favorite: Leave it.

Our patient and talented trainer Holly, got out the long leash and announced that we were about to work on Come, only this time - from a distance. I checked my treat pouch to make sure I had enough to distract Diesel from what I thought (shame on me) would be his downfall. The other dogs.

Thankfully, we walked away from our classmates a pretty good distance before starting. I was still unsure. I peered into his eyes though and said the words: "Diesel, come." Without the slightest bit of hesitation he launched into this cartoon-style peel out where his legs were going like a freight train but his body wasn't moving. He was suspended in time and space. When he finally did get his feet planted he was over to me in about two seconds. It was hysterical pretty much every time he did it. I was laughing so hard the third time that when he came sailing into my arms he rammed his whole head in the treat pouch and cleaned it out. He didn't stop wagging that night until long after we were home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


So, there's a little fox in my neighborhood.
I suspect he's the one looting my tomato plants.
Both dogs spotted him this morning on our walk
at about the same time he spotted us.
It's a wonder there's any skin left on my elbows at all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to school

Diesel posing in the dining room chair he claimed at Beverly's house

Obedience school may turn out to be the greatest thing that ever happened to Diesel. Except for the actual getting in the door part that is. And the leaving. During class Diesel is a dream. He's figured out exactly how to get the pay off and really the biggest roadblocks have been that and him joining in in on any and all barking. He is without a doubt the best barker of the bunch so once they get started he's more than happy to show off his skills. It's fine.

The room we have to walk through to get to class is like a small gym. It's set up for agility and there is typically one or more well-behaved dogs off leash, running the course. This drives Diesel mad. Last night we arrived early and when we walked in and he did his thing, everyone felt compelled to move to the other side of the room. I didn't blame them. I would've moved too. Fortunately though, we got to watch the agility class for a few minutes and that was great. Once Diesel calmed down, he was totally fascinated. I mean fascinated in an "I really think I could do that" kind of way. We may be early birds next week too, just to be the audience. Despite the little behavioral issue, I can see him becoming more confident and relaxed. It's really a lovely thing to watch. He was always a good dog, don't get me wrong, he was just limited in the ways he could express all that big dog energy. Meanwhile, we're just here, laying on some foster love and keeping a keen eye out for energetic adults who might benefit from seventy pounds of goofball inspiration.

Oh and if anyone is looking for a new high powered dog treat... try BilJac frozen dog food. I don't know what's in it but apparently it's like crack cocaine for dogs.

I've taken a little hiatus here to install some new software (Lightroom) guaranteed to keep me busy for the next decade cataloging pictures. The good news is: Among other things, I've found a few old carny dog shots that were lost in the cyber-filing cabinet. The bad news is: I may never leave the house or do dishes or for that matter, eat - again.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don't. Stop. Don't stop.

She walks slowly up to him from behind
careless and refined.
Her feet fall perfectly in line with his
she hesitates in the stillness

Side by side, their eyes meet.
She pulls back then just enough to make him quiver
and presses her face ever so gently into the side of his jaw.

She whispers...

Next thing I know, it's like a WalMart riot in the middle of my office floor. I've had to get out a whistle. After about a week I managed to get some control over the situation but now they're switching up the time and place.

Fortunately we all went a-dogsitting this last weekend at Aunt Beverly's house (pictures to follow) and the two of them got to get some of it out of their system ripping through the yard and engaging in all manner of Smackdown-type maneuvers. It's really a joy to watch although when they get running I feel like all the humans should have a helmet on.

We're off to obedience school tonight. I hope Diesel can hang with the other dogs and not be too stressed. If he can make that particular hurdle, I suspect he'll be an honor student.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Boot camp

I do not have a fenced in yard at my house so after summer camp there was/is Boot Camp. He's been here two weeks now so I feel compelled to give you all the Cliffs Notes version of how things have progressed. We do after all, need to get busy finding him a permanent home and I'm happy (and a bit relieved) to say that behaviorally, he has a ton of good qualities working in his favor.

The first forty eight hours (after the honeymoon week at Beverly's) we were attached by a leash, he and I. If he made a move, I knew it, even during the night. What with all the regular exercise, he slept through the night from the beginning and once he recognized the routine - house training and crate training were a breeze. Mind you he isn't all that excited going into the crate but he doesn't mind it once he's in there, even sleeps there voluntarily during the day. Stella taught him about the crate and the "going outside" as well. All I did really was dole out leashes and open the door regularly for a few days.

Walking them together is a challenge but we're managing pretty well. I started out with short distances. They outweigh me by ten pounds and since Diesel has been walked very little in the past, it's conceivable that I could get caught off balance and wake up in Wilson County so I do try to be cautious. Also, for those who believe in karma, I once laughed at a woman who went cartwheeling into a ditch behind two out-of-control dogs chasing a squirrel, so there's that. I figure I'm getting a skinned elbow for that at the very least and for the record, I shouldn't have laughed, she could have been hurt very badly - it just looked so much like a cartoon I had no choice. Anyway, together or separately, the two of them have done remarkably well in just a short period of time.

Maybe the best news of all is that my dear friend Christine, the one with the oh-so-well-behaved dog pack, has offered to sponsor eight weeks of obedience school for Diesel. Hooray! We start next Tuesday and I'm really excited because he appears to be such a quick study. If he gets adopted and moves to Rhode Island - maybe we can donate the remaining classes to some other needy mutt.

Here is a wonderful poem about dogs by Charles John Quarto.

Here again, is the link to Diesel's Petfinder page as well. I suppose I should just put it in the sidebar until that kid moves on to greener pastures. Let me know if you all hear of anyone looking for a new best friend.