Sadie

I very briefly mentioned the possibility of Sadie being rehomed in my previous post.  It’s been about a week since her owners first brought it up with me (via text), and I’m out of that weepy/murderous/relieved phase of emotions that wells up at the thought of them getting rid of her.  Enough that I can talk about it, at any rate.

I lie.

I just wrote out the most vitriolic post, and I’m not going to post it.  Suffice to say, Sadie’s owners make me SO ANGRY.

a dog with a great recall, despite the fact that it is practiced only twice a week.

A very shortened version of the list of their crimes:

They don’t: walk her (at all), have her fixed*, train her, socialize her, trim her nails, feed her decent quality food, know how lucky they are to have such an amazingly sweet tempered dog in spite of themselves.

I suspect they don’t: keep her up to date on all her shots, love her.

I suspect they do: hit her.  I know you should focus on a dog in the ‘here and now’, but I don’t pet her on the top of her head, because even the gentlest approaching hand in the above/side of head region causes her to flinch down.

They do: want to breed her (probably with the idea of making money, because they are stupid), have a 15(ish) year old son, but choose instead to pay me (barely) to walk her.  I suspect he would have preferred a ‘tougher’ looking breed.

They are considering getting rid of her.  They think youngest son’s asthma could be increased by Sadie (as opposed to the two long haired cats in the house that require less time/money/energy to maintain in good health… interesting**), and, while they’re still unsure of it, let me know this.

SO full of making-you-allergic, it explodes out my ears!

I want to tell them that it must be Sadie that’s causing their son’s breathing issues.  Whatever excuse for her to not live with them.  I want to tell them, not a problem, just give her to me.  I want to be sure that in their next lives, they are treated just the way they treated Sadie, but I can only hope.  I want to take her home and get her fixed and teach her that getting her nails cut isn’t too bad, and teach her to ‘down’ and ‘stay’ and ‘leave it’ and ‘play dead’, and not go on the couch, and get rid of her food guarding, and maybe do some agility with her, because she’s super smart.

I live with my parents, and my dad is about to go in for a knee replacement surgery.  They might love having Gwynn, but they aren’t interested in being a two-dog household.  I would love to take her, but the best I can do for her is try to find a good home for her, and, if necessary, keep her for a few weeks (and training her a lot!) while looking for that home.

Yup, definitely not out of the weepy/angry phase… relief might come back into play once they determine once and for all that they’re going to get rid of her.

*this is not a comment on all people whose dogs are unfixed, or who intend to breed their dogs, this is a comment on irresponsible, stupid jerks who see their dog as a possession they can make a profit off, instead of a living creature and part of the family.

** I like cats a lot, don’t get me wrong.  But in the grand scheme of allergens, cats are generally higher on that scale solely due to their cleanliness.  All that allergen-filled saliva-bathing does a number on your sinuses.

Rules to live by

I think it’s great when a whole family piles out of the car with their dog (or, even better, walks the three blocks to the park), ready for a few hours of fun in the great outdoors.  The amount of time children spend not-playing-and-running-around is something I find disturbing.  Any family time spent in the great outdoors is a huge plus in my opinion.

However – the dog park is for dogsOn a gorgeous sunny spring day, it might just have 20+ medium-to-large sized dogs running around and wrestling and chasing a ball and sniffing things.  They are excited.  Super excited.

You then put a kid (short, high-pitched, very energetic person) into the equation.  Given the choice, I would require people to be over the age of 10 if they’re going to be inside the fence.  The ones who are well behaved and pleasant are far outnumbered by the ones causing a ruckus.

We’ve had some great weather, so everyone’s emerging from winter hibernation.  Forgive the rant, but I’m about ready to explode, and I need to vent.  Blame it on having been stuck without my dog-walking time for the past week, due to a nasty ankle-roll that still has me hobbling.  We’re back to making trips, but my ankle still hurts too much for me to do much more than walk to the dog park and back.  If I could go somewhere else, I would.

In the name of not making me angry, some rules – for parents, for people under the age of 15, for whoever finds themselves at a dog park:

ONE: Don’t run.  Don’t run screaming, giggling in your high pitched voice,  waving a toy (or something that could be seen as a toy) over your head, don’t run at all.  Go outside the fence if you need to run so badly.  Do you know what an excited dog does when they see running?  They RUN.  A dog running after a child could easily catch that child if they wanted to.  They probably don’t… it’s just a game to them.  Having a dog chase them at high speed makes kids yell in their high pitched voices, and run more, making all the dogs in the area worked up.  So, when I yell across the dog park at your screaming kid to “STOP RUNNING”, don’t give me a dirty look.  Watch, as your child obeys the order, and the three or four dogs that were chasing him (leaving a good 10 ft space) stop running, and wander off.  Yes, I should have been able to grab Gwynn and make him stop following that kid (and yes, the other dog owners too), but I’m still lurching slowly around like Igor from a badly rolled ankle, so anything I do, I do slowly.

why are we running? Doesn't matter, I like it!

TWO: If you wave something excitedly over your head, dogs will try to get it.  Especially if you’re squeaking it while trying to get your own dog’s attention.

THREE: Kids like sand.  But this is sand in a dog park.  It has only been open for about 6 months, but it is still Dog Park Sand.  Please stop your kid from rolling in it.  Please?  Not only is it unhygienic, but a kid lying (or sitting) on the ground is in a position to get hurt if a pack of dogs come running through.

dogs who are not paying attention to where you are...unless you're running, that is.

FOUR: If your child is scared of dogs, DO NOT bring them into a dog park to cure that fear.  It won’t cure it.

FIVE: Don’t give your child the leash, don’t let your child leave the dog on leash in the park, and don’t let the child pick up the dog.  If a small dog is a bit anxious of bigger dogs, you can bet he’ll be more anxious when the other end of the leash is held by a very excited little girl.  If that little girl then picks up her fuzzy bundle (holding the anxious, squirming dog at large-dog-face-height), those dogs will think that dog is super neat.  When you see your child hysterically screaming for help while holding Fluffy up and being surrounded by young large dogs trying to jump up to meet Fluffy, DON’T just stand 20 ft away, laughing.  There are so many issues with this situation.  Where are the big dog owners?  Why aren’t you helping your child?  Yes, your kid shouldn’t have picked up the dog, he was fine on the ground until she shortened his leash so he couldn’t go anywhere, but now it is your problem.  Why did I end up holding your dog so that the little girl could escape the four dogs (thankfully NOT Gwynn) trying to investigate her small dog?  EDUCATE your CHILD in dog safety.

SIX: Not just for children, and I actually think the worst offenders are the adults.  Don’t give my dog a treat without my permission.  I don’t understand why you think this is a reasonable thing.  It IS NOT.  What if that strange dog has allergies?  Not to mention that you just rewarded him for shoving his nose in your pocket, jumping up and barking.  And, lady who gave Gwynn two whole chicken-jerky-strips (probably the same brand as got him terribly sick in the fall) – seriously, I will BREAK YOU.  You have no idea the wrath that is currently hobbling double-time towards you, and no, you don’t get to act all ‘wounded innocent’ because you ‘didn’t know’.  Of course you didn’t know, you didn’t ask.  Of course he likes it, he’s a dog, and it’s food.

All I ask is that people teach their children how to behave around dogs that are not their own.  Do you have any rules you think should be initiated for people in general who are at the dog park?

Pawsway

For those Torontonians (or visitors to Toronto) who are not in the know (like I was about a week ago), I wanted to talk a bit about Pawsway Toronto.  Will there be pictures?  No… but maybe later I’ll post them in a 90% picture post.  I’ve just been an epic fail lately, about getting pictures off my camera, and this post has been sitting in my drafts since last week, when the trip to Pawsway actually happened.  So… no-picture-post!

We piled up (four people + Gwynn + one hatchback = one back seat down and a very effective new way of going on trips with Gwynn!) in the car and headed downtown (ish… it’s on Queens Quai, near Rees Street) for some free agility at Pawsway last Monday night.

The building is long and thin and entirely dog-friendly.  There is a cafe at the front, where you can grab food indoors with your dog.  There are interactive and informative displays about dogs and cats, and there is a small shop for dog and cat toys, treats and equipment.  You continue down this long narrow building through more pet displays and a pet memorial, and come out into a two-storey high room with a big rubbery mat on most of the floor and (if you’re there at an agility time) agility equipment set up.  They had a ramp, two jumps, a teeter totter, a suspended hoop/tire thing, a curved tunnel and a straight tunnel.  Unfortunately for us, the curved tunnel had to be taken away after our first (picture-less) run-through.  And entirely my fault, I’m ashamed to say.  Right after I tossed a treat into it to lure Gwynn into going through, the woman walking me through the agility process gave me a horrified look and said “We don’t put treats in the tunnel!  It distracts the dogs who know how to go through the tunnel and makes them stop and sniff around!”

so i liked... it's got a few pics

 

Oh.  Well, that makes perfect sense, and is really quite obvious if I had actually used my brain at all!  *Here I am, feeling like a complete noob and thoroughly embarrassed* 

And the next dog to run through, with tons of agility experience, did just that – she stopped to investigate the lingering scent of liver-treat.  So they took the tunnel away.  I figured they’d spray it with a cleaner and bring it back, but I guess they didn’t think that would work, so we lost the use of the big tunnel for the rest of the class, making me feel even more sheepish about it.  I could just crawl into a tunnel and die!  I’ve learned my lesson, I swear!

The people there were helpful, walking me through all the obstacles and giving me tips on how to improve my luring Gwynn through the course.  Gwynn handled everything like a champ, and definitely got really into going over the equipment.  He quickly got the nick-name ‘Leggy’ by the staff, since we had to raise the jump height  every time it came up to our turn, and then lower it when our turn was over. 

Gwynn picked up on what we were doing so quickly that the staff recommended that I start labelling what we were doing for him, so that he would recognise things and be able to do them on command.  He was surprisingly focused, considering how much he loves dogs (and how many dogs were in the room, to start off with), and was really doing well.

He also fell in love with one of the staff, whose hands smelled so strongly of bacon treat that he wouldn’t believe that she didn’t have any.  This happened midway through our run-through – he swivelled away from the course after the first jump and then sat right in front of her.  She backed off and he very carefully squat-waddled closer to her, so that he remained mostly-seated while approaching her.  “Please, I’m sitting!  Just give me the BACON!”  When he is especially hopeful for treats, his posture improves even more, and he takes up less than a square foot of floor-space.  My grade three teacher would have approved of his posture.  She once suggested to the parents of my class that they should strap rulers to our backs and their own  for a few hours every evening.

The building is great – lots of exits for getting your dog out to do his business, and lots of ‘oops’ mop-and-buckets (for if he doesn’t warn you early enough about his business needs) and plenty of fresh water dishes. 

They have a ton of organized events – small dog and large dog off-leash play times, agility, Rally-O, and a variety of other activities.  They have certain times set up for free sessions, and the rest of it seems fairly inexpensive. 

The only thing I’m not impressed with?  Their website.  Their online calendar doesn’t clarify what times classes are free, and what times they are paid for, and they don’t give the prices anywhere that I’ve been able to find.  I was lucky to find out that they have free sessions through Meetup.com, and to find out when one of those sessions is.  I have no problem paying for classes, but it’s nice to know beforehand.  I’ve emailed them through their contact line, but haven’t heard anything in response yet.

The location is beautiful, tucked in right next to the water, with a wave-walk right next to it.  Parking is a bit sparse, but there is a pay-parking lot at the corner of Rees Street and Queens Quay that has plenty of parking available (though expensive – $15 flat rate!), and is about a block from Pawsway. 

I’m definitely going to be trying it out again, though next time I’ll try to take advantage of some of the other things in the area – go for a walk afterwards and enjoy being at the waterfront, and maybe grab a snack at the dog friendly cafe.