Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Doggy Stalkers

Bailey was an only doggy child for many years. His best friend was a black lab who was considerably older than he was and they would spend hours together. Bailey would run and play showing off while the older dog watched in amusement. He lost his friend about a year before Katy came to us. Bailey did not handle the only dog status as well after that.

Our new neighbor got a lab puppy last spring. Bailey was so happy. He wanted to make friends and soon became a dog stalker. If the dog was out, Bailey wanted to be out. He would stick his nose under the fence desperate to catch any notice of the dog.

This was one of the reasons we realized Bailey needed a friend. We applied for a rescue dog and Katy came to live with us. The two became fast friends and I thought the doggy stalking issue was solved.

In the beginning, Katy was terrified of the Lab next door. His loud bark would send her running for the porch. Now she too has fallen under his spell and has become a doggy stalker.

Yesterday we realized the winter has eroded some of the dirt from under the fence and Katy has discovered she can get more of her snout under the fence than Bailey can. Our dogs have become like crazed fans trying to catch a glimpse of a favorite star.

Our neighbors are great people and we do not want them to find our dogs annoying. Controlling this obsession is a priority. I cannot help but thinking this is my sister's revenge for not having teenage daughters.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bailey and Curling

Bailey and my husband have a long tradition of enjoying sports together. Bailey has his favorites. He loves football and basketball. The Winter Olympics have always been a favorite of his.

My husband rarely watches just one sports program. Clicker in hand he can find a way to watch the maximum number of sports at once. Normally Bailey does not seem to care. He will watch what comes.

Bailey did assert himself during a curling match, though. He and my husband were sitting on the couch. My husband had been switching back and forth between the hockey game and curling match. Bailey was taking an unusual interest in the curling match. He reached over, tucked his paw around the clicker, and rolled on top of it to prevent any future changes.

Some will complain that dogs should not be dominant. However, neither my husband nor I could stop laughing long enough to maintain control. Bailey got to watch the end of his curling match and then went outside to play.

Katy and Bailey now watch sports together with my husband. Katy has not shown any special preferences. It will be interesting to see how she and Bailey handle the next Olympics.

Friday, March 25, 2011

They Left it On the Field

There is a sports expression about leaving it all on the field. Well the dogs adopt that attitude when going to playgroup. They never fail to come home exhausted after a day of playing with friends outdoors.

Even the next day activities are a bit lighter than normal as they rest up from the previous day's outings. A few good squirrel chases and perimeter checks are necessary, but indoor play is drastically reduced.

By the following day all batteries are fully charged and system ready to play. This down day is a great day to get my writing done.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Snakes in the Grass Puzzle Toy

We were looking for puzzle toys for Bailey's birthday. He had an odd reaction to Kyjen PP01056 Hide-A-Squirrel Pet Toy, Large that he had received earlier. Instead of wanting to get the squirrels out of the house. He fought hard to get them in the house. When we removed one to try to get him to play with us, he stubbornly tried to push the squirrel back into the tree stump. To keep us from pulling the squirrels out, he would pick up the tree and carry it off. He does occasionally take one out to play with, but for the most part, he likes to keep the squirrels in the trees. This seems to mirror his real life ambitions. He has no issue with the squirrels in the tree. However, when they get on the ground or his fence, they must be herded back to the trees.

The Kyjen Snakes in the Grass Puzzle Plush Interactive Dog Toy had some added benefits. Two of the snakes are attached and only one can be removed. This means Katy and Bailey can play with the toy. So far, Bailey is not letting Katy near his new toy. He picks it up and carries it off when it appears interest is shown. However, the attached snakes would give Katy something to grab and that would provide her with a shot at playing with the toy.

We had to use some treats to get Bailey engaged with this toy. I guess snakes do not provide the same natural interest as squirrels. Once he found the treats, he has become very possessive of his snake house. Perhaps Katy will have a chance to play with him and the toy soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Doggie Daycare

I started going while Mom was still teaching. Dad would drop me off in the car every morning and Mom and Dad would pick me up after work. Puppy care is so awesome. Not like the kennel at all. Kennel is not cool. Big, loud, scary, no game time, cages, not cool. Daycare is awesome.

Mom has all these funny names for it puppy care, camp, school, and each time it is something new. All I know is that when Mom started working on the computer instead of in that brick building with kids, I stopped playing every day and now go about once every week with Dad and Katy in the car to meet my friends.

Bailey is the star of playgroup. Everybody loves Bailey. I am not so keen on this doggie group thing. I am used to being by myself and it is hard to deal with all these dogs all day. I do have a few new friends and the lady is REALLY nice. She gives cookies and she gets the other dogs to play with me when I am left alone. I like the games she teaches us. I can run really fast, faster than Bailey, so I know I will get good at them.

I heard something disturbing the other day. Bailey said that sometimes he sleeps there when Mom and Dad are away. He hates the kennel we had to stay at when I had fleas and the house got fixed. He said he had to sleep there once and it was scary. He says sleeping at daycare is like having a big doggy sleepover. I am not sure I would like a sleepover, but Bailey says it is not so bad. I did not think the kennel was so bad, but Bailey was really scared when we were there. So, I guess staying at daycare must be fun.

My favorite part is when Dad comes to pick us up. He is so silly. He gets as excited as Bailey when he sees us. He is so happy when we bark when we see him. He seems sad if we do not notice him.

Katy, it is my turn to talk. What do mean a squirrel? Sorry have to go squirrel patrol.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sheltie Snow Dance Rewarded

I thought we were making real progress towards spring. The dogs seemed resigned and even enjoying the chance to play outdoors in the grass. Then it snowed yesterday and the dogs could not get enough. I hope that this will be the last of their snow cookies.

I was actually hoping we the last of the snow would melt and we could get outside to work in the gardens. I was planning to take pictures of our crocuses and other perennials emerging. I was also hoping to get the vegetable gardens ready for our spring planting.

Spring planting will have to wait as the dogs get another chance to enjoy the snow.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Storing your Dry Dog Food May Prevent Bug Problems

Shortly after Katy came to use we realized she was infested with fleas. We contacted the vet who suggested we hire an exterminator. It was one of those bad news good news scenarios. Bad news was that we had to hire an exterminator. The good news was that our house got one of the best cleanings it got since we moved here. We decluttered and cleaned. What we would not do for ourselves, we did for the dogs.

When we hired the exterminating company, we knew that we wanted them to look at another issue. Once we were on that path, a contract would cover us to have them check us out for all main pests.

We have had a fly problem for many years now. I have always associated it with our plants or perhaps food. These bugs are annoying and I had never been able to trace the source. Since we had the expert there, I asked. His question surprised me. He asked us if we used dry dog food. When we answered yes, he asked us how we stored it. We have always put a chip clip on the bag and stored the unused bag in a cabinet. Sure enough, the cabinet was the worst source of the infestation.

These bugs are sometimes called cereal bugs. They come into your home in grain products. When stored in sealed containers they do not infect your home and spread. A simple trip to Wal-Mart to purchase two plastic containers, one for the open bag and one for the bags being stored has kept us bug free since our extermination. I only wish I had known about this when we started on this journey. It does not require expensive dog food storage containers to prevent this problem. There are many inexpensive options available at your local markets.

The good news is not only were we free of fleas, but we also got rid of a long term annoying problem we likely would not have pursued had we not had the more serious flea problem.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Bailey Protects Katy

Saturday we went shopping for Bailey's birthday. We visited several of the local pet stores to get the best selection and price on the items we were looking to buy.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog Bailey loves to shop. Katy would much rather shop from home if the option was available.

I grew up with four older brothers and at times Katy and Bailey's relationship makes me laugh. It does remind me of that big brother to little sister relationship I remember. Bailey and Katy are both loyal and annoyed by one another at times. However, nobody gets between them. Bailey may tease his younger housemate, but nobody picks on Katy.

Bailey and Katy have both benefited from the stores that allow pets. Katy has developed better social skills in her outings. Bailey loves the interactions with humans and dogs. I like meeting other pet owners and find most are responsible about handling their dogs in tight quarters and potentially challenging situations.

The larger dogs usually are more cause for concern than the smaller dogs as they tend to be harder to avoid. Yesterday, Katy realized the smaller ones can be intimidating and Bailey came to her rescue. Bailey and my husband had fallen behind in an aisle as they were checking out some items of interest. Katy and I were moving ahead. I wanted to price a few items. A small white powder puff proceeded to jump out at Katy and lunge at her. Bailey quickly moved up the aisle and put himself between Katy and the powder puff. As the powder puff tried to get around Bailey, he looked like a basketball player using defensive moves to block it from getting at Katy. The minute Bailey arrived on the scene Katy dived under Bailey's stomach.

If Katy had not been so scared, it would have been the sweetest moment I have observed between them. He might steal her toys, but nobody messes with Katy, but him. Bailey never showed his teeth or any aggressive moves. He just kept blocking the dog from approaching Katy. I slowly moved the two dogs back and the dog's owner finally retrieved her dog stating she is not normally aggressive.

Katy pressed up close to Bailey for the rest of the trip and Bailey showed no signs of leaving her side.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Bailey and Katy

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

This is such a fun holiday. Mom and Dad play our favorite music. We love Celtic Woman, Celtic Thunder, and have recently gotten hooked on the High Kings. Dad always plays the CD's in the car on the way to playgroup. We love it when he puts the DVD's on the TV and we can sit in our favorite spots and fall asleep to the music. These DVD's are so much better than the scary stuff Mom likes to watch.

The bears Mom has out as decorations are a bit freaky. They are almost as tall as we are and they are not real. We keep poking them to check, but they are still fake. What is the significance of bears for St. Patrick's Day? There were other bears there for Valentine's Day and then they switched. We are very confused.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chuck It Balls

While we were out shopping for Bailey's birthday, we bought some items for Katy as well. Katy had limited experience with toys when we got her. She has transitioned to playing with Bailey's toys, but has trouble holding on to some of his larger toys. I grew up with smaller dogs that never had trouble with tennis balls or the toys Bailey plays with, but they all played with toys as puppies. Katy has struggled with keeping the toys in her mouth.

At one of the pet stores we were at yesterday we explored the Chuckit! Ultra Ball Small 2-inch, 2 pack. These toys come in multiple sizes. We bought the smaller ones for Katy and the medium ones for Bailey. Katy was thrilled. For the first time she has a good grip on the ball when she grabs it and the ball does not fall out of her mouth when she plays.

We also bought just the Chuckit! Tennis Ball Small 2-inch, 2 pack. My disappointment with these, as with all the dog tennis balls we have tried is they do not bounce. However, Katy has been chasing these around the house as we toss or roll them to her. She has an advantage because Bailey is finding the smaller balls harder to pick up and this gives her a few added moments to get and hold on to the balls when she plays.

We saw the Chuckit! Pocket Ball Launcher (Colors Vary). We do not have any issue in throwing the balls for the dogs. If we launch them too far, they will be in our neighbors' yards. We have had that issue with Frisbees, so we try to avoid it with our tennis balls.

One suggestion I would make is to shop around for price. My main reason for buying these balls was the smaller size and the durability of the medium sized ones we bought for Bailey. I like the idea of being able to wash his outdoor toys as the tennis balls can get pretty dirty in the mud. We visited several stores and price and selection do range.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Snow Gives Way To Land

As I mentioned in an earlier blog Katy and Bailey are struggling with the change from snow to mud. This will be Katy's first spring with us, but Bailey has had a few transitions. He loves the snow packs and he loves the summer grass. He is no fan of the spring rains and mud. Katy is showing no signs of enjoying the transition either. They are both clinging to the last bits of snow.

Soon this will only be a fond memory of winter play.

I suspect they will find plenty to entertain them this summer. The squirrels are already emerging and the chases have begun. While they will regret the loss of snow, they will find other amusements.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Why Katy No Longer Goes to the Vet Without Bailey

One of our first tasks when we brought Katy home was to take her to the vet. She was fully vaccinated and had been treated by the foster's vet, but we wanted to establish a relationship with our local vet before Katy needed care. We wanted to get her started on Frontline, which we did not realize at the time was far more important than we knew.

Therefore, an appointment was made and my husband got Katy ready to get in the car to go. Bailey lost it. He made every non-violent protest move he could make to keep Katy from getting her harness on and then being able to get to the door. He actually tripped my husband who landed on the floor. Bailey was terrified Katy was being sent away and doing everything in his power to prevent it. The vet has a small outer office and we were not sure how comfortable she would be if we took both dogs. Bailey cried and paced the entire time Katy was gone. I have never seen him so distressed, not even during our worst storms.

Katy was fine with the whole thing. She was not thrilled with the exam, but not many dogs love the process. However, she was amazed at the attention Bailey showered her with when she arrived home and she made the most of it.

Our Vet asked my husband where Bailey was and on hearing, his concern about bringing both had no issues with it. Now Bailey goes to the vet with my husband, but Katy always has an escort.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Surrendering a Dog

I may have a different position on this issue than others. As someone who has rescued two Shelties, I do believe that it is better to surrender a dog one is not willing to care for than to continue to make the dog suffer for sins it has not committed. This is not the position many hold. Some believe taking on a dog is a relationship that is similar to the “until death do us part” vow taken by couples at a wedding. Bailey and Katy have taught me why this can be a dangerous vision to have.

First, let me state I am a firm believer in educating people about the challenges of dog ownership, specifically of taking on a puppy. I think it is important families and individuals understand the challenges as well as the great joys that come with taking on the responsibility of a dog. What is done up front and at the time of an adoption to help people adjust is very important. Getting people help with training, obedience, and finding affordable vet care can make a rocky start a lifelong companionship. However, not everyone is cut out to be a dog owner. No amount of encouragement to research the process upfront can persuade people to do it.

Bailey was an impulse purchase by people who had no experience with puppies. He was a typical puppy. His owners had no idea it would be like bringing a baby into their home with teeth and no diapers. At four months, they had enough and found a sheltie rescue to turn him over to for placement. Some would condemn them for their actions. I was grateful. They gave us an amazing gift. You rarely find puppies in breed rescues. Most people do “hang on” to their dogs through the puppy stage. Some do emotional and sadly sometimes physical damage to a pet before determining they are not cut out to be dog owners. While it would have been preferable that they researched prior to purchasing, I am grateful that they realized they were not capable of handling his needs before neglect or abuse occurred. I am also glad that instead of dumping him at their local shelter they were responsible enough to find a breed rescue. Instead of being caged, Bailey stayed at a foster home where he was house broken and screened for placement.

We know less about Katy’s background, but while we would have missed her life, it would have been kinder if someone had acknowledged that she was more than he/she could handle before she was two. We are still working to fully housebreak Katy. Her accidents are fewer, but at two, this is a clear indication that someone failed in their duty as an owner. She was never trained to walk on a leash and was unable to respond to her name when called. We changed her name to be closer to the only word she would respond to when we brought her home.

Unlike Bailey, I do not know the specifics of Katy’s history. I am glad that she was released to rescue at two and not made to wait longer to find a home that would treat her with love, respect, and dignity. I only wish someone had made the choice earlier.

I cannot be angry with Bailey’s previous owners. They could have dumped him at the local pound. They chose to be responsible and deal with a breed rescue, which increased Bailey’s chances of finding a permanent home. This time prospective owners were screened to determine if they did understand the challenges and obstacles of owning not just a puppy, but a Sheltie puppy. I do find myself more frustrated with Katy’s owners. Her neglect is not as bad as many stories we have all read, but still clearly not necessary, when other options were available to find her a loving home.

I take my responsibility as a dog owner seriously. This is not a casual commitment entered into lightly. I see these as a death do us part relationships. However, I realize Katy and Bailey were not in healthy relationships before they came to us. Sending those dogs into a quality breed rescue was perhaps the most responsible choice their previous owners made.

I would much rather see other dogs in unhealthy or unsustainable relationships surrendered than to continue suffering out of some kind of misguided belief that the commitment cannot be broken. When dog and human are miserable finding a better home is the right choice.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

Bailey turns eight today. It does not seem possible that our first is eight. Now I sound like my friends with children. However, it does seem like yesterday we were driving back from Connecticut with a carsick puppy and beginning our lives with this amazing dog. It does not seem possible that he could possibly be eight. The calendar keeps us honest, though.

Last weekend was cold, wet and rainy, so we decided we would take the dogs out birthday shopping this weekend. I want to see if we can find some of the puzzle toys that will keep the two of them entertained. Of course, Bailey will get some bones as well. We all know that this will start a game of grab and go with Katy. There are no individual purchases for these two. Both share what we buy, even when we buy duplicates. There is no concept of individual ownership.

I do like the pet stores that allow the dogs. We do visit Petco and some of the local dog stores allow the dogs to travel with their owners. Bailey and Katy do not match the human stereotypes. Bailey loves to shop. He could spend hours in the store pursuing toys and treats. Katy wants to get what she needs and be gone. If she could use the Internet, she would do all her shopping online. She sees no benefit to the social aspects of shopping.

Happy Birthday Bailey!! May you spend many more happy years with us.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holding on to Winter

I need to get some pictures of our glaciers receding in the back yard. The porch is now clear. We even have retrieved some of the Christmas decorations that have not been in view since before Christmas. Others are still hoping to be unburied soon.

Katy and Bailey saw the last of their snow beach leave the porch last weekend during the rainstorm and two sadder dogs I had not thought to see. Bailey usually looks forward to the spring. He is not a fan of melting snow and prefers the green ground to run on. However, this snow pack was original in that it was high, it was hard, and it lasted a long time. The height allowed him access to sites, sounds, and smells he has not had before. He could almost see glimpses of the dog next door he has so longed to meet. He had better scents of him than ever before. The squirrel in the low hanging branches were more afraid then ever before as the top of the fence was not quite so out of reach to a quick moving Sheltie as before. Not that we were in danger of a fence breach, but for the first time Bailey has had glimpses of the other side and he liked that sensation. Losing his advantage has not pleased him.

We do not believe Katy had known much of an outdoor life prior to her foster experience. She loved the snow. However, this melting slushy mess is not scoring any points. The mud and water have even less appeal to our resident princess. She wants her ice pack back.

I do think they both will be happy when spring brings out the grass and owners willing to play outdoors more frequently. It is this awkward time of change frustrates them. I think they would prefer a theatrical set change. Lights down, ice pack gone, lights up and a nice green lawn ready for spring and summer play. Unfortunately, not the way Mother Nature works in New England.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sheltie Toy Boxes

Even before Katy came to us, we had two toy boxes. One used to store indoor dog toys and one for outdoor toys. The outdoor toy box is just a box that we put the dried outdoor toys in to keep them from being dragged out to play with in the house. The indoor toy box serves a similar function to children's toy boxes. It stores the toys the dogs are not playing with and makes cleaning a simpler task. We use a recycled plant box that is low to the ground and open so the dogs can identify what items are in the box.

Prior to Katy's arrival Bailey had pretty much ignored the indoor toy box except on vacuuming days. The days I vacuum, I take all his toys and pile them in the box so I can clean the floor. After I am done, he takes his favorite toys and removes them back to the floor to reclaim the space.

Family, friends, and my husband and I have bought many toys over time. After Christmas, I cleaned out the broken toys and those that were not good for play. The box is still full. Cute dogs attract dog gifts.

One of the warnings we got from the rescue about Katy is that she was bone protective. She would engage over bones. She showed little interest in toys when we got her, but they were right, she wanted bones. We made sure that she and Bailey had bones. When she became confident enough that there were plenty, she and Bailey became more engaged in using the bones as a way of enticing each other to play. As she got more confident with bones, Bailey got her interested in toys.

As she started to enjoy the toys on the floor, she was curious about the indoor toy box but hesitant to approach it. As her confidence has emerged, she has reintroduced toys to Bailey that he had long forgotten about and abandoned. Only a few nights ago she started a game of tug with a toy that I know was at the bottom of the pile. She had been on a quest to find something interesting. As she has shown an interest, Bailey has discovered new treasures in his toy box.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shelties and Fleece

A few years ago, my Aunt and I bought yards of sports themed and other printed fleece to make blankets for Christmas presents. She sewed hems on the fabric and these blankets have become popular items. My husband has several from his favorite sports teams. We drape the couches with them to reduce the amount of Sheltie hair that becomes a permanent fixture on the furniture. When guests are coming it is easy to take the blankets off for an extra cleaning and give our guests a few less Sheltie hairs on their clothes.

The shelties have become very attached to the fleece blankets. Bailey was the first to discover the comfort of these blankets and realize with a little encouragement and nudging he could have them perfectly aligned for his comfort. Neither Katy nor Bailey seems to realize that the blankets are not theirs, but designed for human comfort and warmth. Bailey was thrilled when he got his own Patriots blanket, made from a remnant for his birthday. This only confirmed his suspicions that he was entitled to all the fleece, not just what my Aunt made for him. My Mom aided his belief by bringing him another fleece blanket that we keep on the bed for him.

The fleece blankets have proven a better alternative to his original attachment to our afghans. I had to have a crochet afghan repaired before I realized he was even near it. He had taken to cuddling with it and catching his claws in it when my husband used the afghan on the couch. With the abundance of fleece, his attraction for yarn products has been reduced. He would much rather a fleece blanket to a knitted or crocheted afghan. Since his claws do much less damage to the fleece, I am glad he made this choice on his own.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Sheltie Snow Cookies

Katy and Bailey love their snow cookies. They rush out after each storm sticking their noses into the cold snow to scoop up fresh snow. We dupped these snow cookies because they pursue these snow treats with as much delight and enthusiasm as any dog treats we buy. They seem thrilled with the idea that they can have as many as they wish without restriction. There is no need to ask for them, they merely scoop them up and enjoy.

Bailey has always had an issue with drinking water. Snow cookies in the winter and ice cubes in the summer help combat dehydration. Since Katie's arrival and her embrace of the multiple water bowls we keep around the house, Bailey has improved his water drinking habits. However, I do not believe either dog would surrender the joy of fresh winter snow cookies.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shelties Respond with Their Version of First Aid

As herding dogs, Bailey and Katy feel very responsible for the safety of the herd. Since we have no sheep, they have taken to herding the local human population. They consider the safety and preservation of their herd of the upmost importance.

Bailey is very concerned about the health and welfare of the local inhabitants. When he finds a human on the floor, he feels it necessary to poke with a cold nose to determine that the human is awake and aware. He is quick to respond to anyone who falls with this treatment. Those who fall asleep can find themselves provided with a warm sheltie foot warmer to ensure body temperature will not decrease while sleeping. One can expect that when an injury occurs in the house Bailey, followed shortly by Katy will be one of the first to arrive on the scene. This has led to some interesting explanations to repair people who will call out when working. The dogs see these responses as a call for help and then require reassurance that the people truly do not require sheltie first aid.

Katy is more determined and will use a paw to get a response from a human she is concerned is unresponsive. Humans should be able to respond with a pat on the head, or she becomes concerned that there is obviously something wrong with the human. Why else would they be unable to respond to her test?

After determining that the herd member is alive, shelties provide what they feel is essential in all situations, a toy. No matter what the situation or injury, expect at least one or more toys to arrive when injured. If not acknowledged, the toy will continue to be presented. I have yet to determine if this is a just a nervous dog action or a basic dog neurological examination. If the person is able to grasp the toy, it does indicate basic neurological responses. If not, further assistance will be required. We have not had any basis to test this theory.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Katy Discovers Her Inner Sheltie Princess

Bailey came to us at sixth months. While he had abandonment issues, his confidence grew as he came to trust and believe he had found his forever home. We know quite a bit about Bailey’s history, some of which I will be writing more about in the future. One of the best choices his owners made was to realize that they made a mistake. A sheltie puppy was far more work and responsibility than they were prepared to take on. The best choice however, was not to surrender him to a local pound, but to contact a sheltie breed rescue where he benefited from foster care. The foster Mom that he was placed with understood sheltie behavior and worked with him prior to his placement with us. We had the rare blessing of adopting a housebroken puppy.

We know less about Katy’s life before she came to rescue. She was two and came to us infested with fleas. Her past seems to have been similar to Bailey’s history. She did not suffer from physical abuse as much as neglect. Based on her lack of socialization, her fear of humans, and her lack of experience with the world, her comfort with her crate, and other habits I suspect her owners had little time for her. She seems to have spent most of her time in her crate.

Katy has slowly adapted to her new life and freedoms. It has been so exciting watching her slowly claim her rights to her new freedoms. I never realized how much joy we would gain from each small step towards her acceptance of her new home and freedom.

Bailey has always had sensitive paws, so we have had his nails done professionally for years. We decided to treat ourselves by getting having the groomers trim the nails, bathe, groom, and trim the dogs recently. Bathing Bailey has always been a challenge. Bathing two of them becomes even more of a challenge as they try to protect the one “under attack.” I expected two pouting dogs on their return to the house. While Bailey met my expectations, Katy came home a new dog. She had discovered her inner princess.

Bailey reacted the same way to bathing at the groomers as he had at home. He barked miserably as Katy was hauled off for grooming. However, Katy discovered her inner princess. She seemed to enjoy the pampering. She came home with confidence we had never seen in her before. While Bailey let loose his displeasure, Katy pranced around the house showing off her grooming. She has never tolerated any accessories on her. In fact, she tore one of Bailey’s favorite bandanas off his neck on Halloween. When she came home with a green flower attached to her, I expected it to be gone in an instant. Instead, our princess protected it and showed it off all day. She seemed disappointed when it finally fell out of her hair. Our princess has emerged and we could not be happier.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sheltie Fascination with Wii Fit

We started using the Wii Fit at the end of January. Surprisingly, the dogs have found the experience fascinating. Each night they settle down for what we have labeled fitness TV. It has become their "reality TV" must see television. Each has a favorite spot and they settle in to watch us push ourselves through the various exercises.

The dogs are mostly passive during routines except during the step aerobics sections. I have no idea what it is about the step aerobics, but this particular routine seems to invite involvement. Every time this module begins, the dogs decide to engage. Katy is the most engaged. It has become necessary for the dogs to go outside during or be engaged in play while someone is working out to one the step aerobics sections. We have not been able to identify if it is the music, the beeps, or the movements that engage the dogs. It is strange because no other programs seem to interest to them. I would have thought the obstacle course noises would be more disturbing, but they sleep soundly through the beeps and noises.

The dogs have been great motivators in our exercise program. When evening approaches they have a creative way of reminding us it is time for their favorite exercise program. With shelties as exercise coaches, we have not missed a night.

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