This picture explains our little man perfectly! We get to spend lots of time with him while his mama travels and have learned all of his hobbies and interests. Here he is schooling Aya in a game of chess at the park in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood!
Out-U-Go! staff meetings typically involve bagels, coffee, orders of business and staff members sharing some of their experiences working at Out-U-Go! It usually becomes clear that some of our Pet Parents’ homes produce more stories than others and at a recent meeting, one particular household of dogs proved to have A LOT of stories (mostly about poop). Of those stories, one sticks out in particular…
To protect their anonymity, let’s refer to the dogs as Penny and Gretta G. Now, Penny and Gretta share a special flare for life as well as anything and everything edible and not edible. As such, it’s not uncommon for them to crap on the floor… but hey, even the best of us have the occasional accident.
Like most dogs, these two shed a lot so their owner purchased a Roomba to keep the hardwood floors clean while he’s at work. If you don’t know, a Roomba is a Frisbee sized robot vacuum designed to roam the house cleaning the floor while you’re at work. Between a mid day visit for the dogs from Out-U-Go! and a hard working Roomba, this Pet Parent had a lot to look forward to every time he opened his door after a hard day at work.
One day, like all days, Penny and Gretta’s owner kissed his two beautiful dogs goodbye, released the Roomba to do its thing and drove off to work. A few hours later our walker arrived to find a house full of diarrhea and a hard working Roomba.
As it turns out, the standard Roomba is not equipped to clean a house full of diarhea, but not due to any lack of effort. By following the parallel diarrhea tracks around the living room and noting the skid marks of partially-dry diarrhea with wheel tracks through them, our walker could clearly see the Roomba’s morning long effort to vacuum up diarrhea. Because the Roomba has a sensor that determines whether an area is clean or whether it needs more vacuuming, it diligently attempted to clean several areas with back and forth motions until the sensor read clean. Had the Roomba been mounted on a WWI tank it might have had a chance, but alas, the standard model uses plastic wheels and the sensor never read clean so back and forth it went. Despite giving it the old college try, our walker wasn’t able to get the floor completely clean, just like the Roomba.
Upon hearing of this incident, our office staff picked up the phone and called this Pet Parent at work to inform him of what happened. He responded with mostly curse words. Penny and Gretta bounced back fairly quickly and were ready for their mid-day walk the very next day. The Roomba, however, was never the same.
One of my clients recently had a “Salsa Party”. Not a party with just salsa dip, a Salsa dancing party. She had me come over and stay with her pup Blu while she was getting set up and while the party was going on.
For the two hours before the party even started, I wore Blu out. We first played in the yard for about half an hour. Blu has lots and lots of energy and LOVES to play fetch! She doesn’t always want to drop the toy, so I make sure I have another one ready to throw when she brings the first one back. I won’t throw it unless she drops the first toy; an exchange. She is getting better about dropping because she really, really, really wants to play and if she manages to get both toys, I refuse to play until she gives me at least one. (Also, I won’t chase her… which she really wants me to do.)
Then we went for an hour long walk. Since I’ve been learning training techniques from Blu’s trainer, Charmaine with Collins Canines, I worked on some of those with Blu. Blu’s a very clever and curious girl with the attention span of a gnat so getting her to focus is quite a challenge! She has some fear, so we worked on making the world a much less fearful place with lots of praise and hotdog pieces as rewards. We also worked on her pulling. We did the “stop & start” method, which is just like it sounds. As soon as she starts pulling, I stop. Once she stops pulling, I start walking. This makes for a very slow walk. But since she wasn’t quite as hyper because we started with romping in the yard, she only pulled for a short while then decided to walk with me. She was still sniffing everything along the way, but beside me instead of trying to get to things miles ahead of us.
Once we got back to Blu’s house, her mom was all decked out and looking lovely. I took Blu in for some water, but we still had some more time as the DJ had just arrived and things were still being set up. Since I didn’t want to take her on another walk and the backyard was getting all ready for the party, I got the long leash out and we played for another half hour in the driveway and the front yard. I could tell that Blu, the pup with endless amounts of energy, was getting tired. We went inside & up to her mom’s room where we were going to be hanging out during the majority of the party. We played a tiny game of fetch with a toy that was up there, but she fell asleep almost immediately.
She did have a few moments of waking up to a sudden noise downstairs a bit panicked, but I calmed her down and she fell back asleep. (And I got to work on some writing!) After about two hours, she woke on her own and needed to go out. Now her mom’s room is on the second floor, and while she has no problem getting up there, the stairs are steep and her mom usually carries her down. I decided to work on making the stairs less scary. I set hotdog bits on each stair and coaxed her down. It took about 15 minutes to get her to even start going down the stairs, but once she did, she made it all the way down.
We went out, she did her business and, since most everyone was sitting and talking, I decided it was a good time for her to meet the guests. Since part of her fears have to do with strangers, I led her around slowly while praising and let the party goers, who were willing, give her bits of hot dog. I continued to feed her treats too. She did so well!! By the last person, her tail was wagging and she was giving the offered hands lots of slobbery kisses. What a good girl!
Over the Fourth of July Holiday, I was scheduled to visit with two dogs I had never met, Molly and Clementine.
I’d been told that Molly, the Boxer Mix, could be a little wary of strangers and skittish with sudden movement or loud noises. Good to know.
That first visit, as I got out of my car, I could hear thunder in the distance. *Bada-Boom!* I walked up the steps to the apartment feeling the heaviness of the air. About halfway up, the barking started.
In an attempt to soothe the barking dog, as I unlocked the door, I sang in a soft yet high pitched voice. “Hello Ms. Molly and Ms. Clementine! I’m here to walk you and feed you and we’re gonna be good friends.”
The snarling, barking face that greeted me as I pushed the door open, did NOT want to be my friend. But, just beyond Molly was Clementine.
It was a strange juxtaposition! Clementine was practically dancing in place, she was so excited to see me. She ran to my other side and there she was – ears forward, running up to me and trying to lick my hand. On the other side was Molly – ears back, hackles up, teeth bared, snarling, barking and backing away.
I put my hands in my pocket, averted my eyes from Molly and kept singing. “Nothing to be scared of. I want to be your new friend. Let me give you a treat!”
Since Molly wasn’t rushing me, I moved very slowly to the kitchen table where the treats were. (Of all the times… I forget to have an emergency treat in my pocket like I usually do!) They both sat, though Molly still looked freaked out. While they were distracted with the treats, I fed them their dinners and read over the notes the pet parents left me. Then I took Clementine for a walk, hoping Molly would see how much fun Clementine was having and be okay with me.
While we were outside, I noticed that the weather had gotten worse. It hadn’t yet started to rain, but it is pretty dark and I could see lightening in the distance. Clementine didn’t seem to mind.
I gave them treats when I got back in and, since Molly seemed to be chilling out, I moved very slowly to put her leash on. Two things happened almost simultaneously: I heard a loud *Bada-Boom!* and Molly bit!
Fortunately, she only got my shirt.
Time to call for backup. (One thing I really like about Out-U-Go! is that if something goes wrong, I’m not alone.) Amanda, the Top Dog, was on a visit herself. We discussed the situation. She was baffled. She’d met Molly and had never seen her behave like that. But just talking to Amanda helped me think clearly. As we talked, I continued to give the girls little treats. Molly was no longer barking or snarling, but she was still fearful, stress panting and, every few seconds, her body would jerk… as if something was startling her.
That’s when it hit me. Though I couldn’t hear it, I realized there were fireworks going off in the distance. That combined with the thunder and this strange person in her house was terrifying her! I understood the situation. But what to do…
Thinking back to my work with not so friendly dogs in the shelter, I decided to try to lasso her with the leash. I pulled the leash through the handle end and looped it over her head. It worked!
We managed to walk and, even though it was sprinkling, the thunder was closer and I heard more fireworks, she did well. She finished up her business and we got back inside. While walking, the leash managed to get caught under her collar so I couldn’t just drop it to let her slip out of it. But I wasn’t taking a chance and putting my hand anywhere near her mouth. I found a long wooden spoon in a drawer and slid it under the lasso. It came right off. Phew!
The next morning, I come in with treats. Molly barked, but then settled down quickly. No snarling at all. Over the next few visits, she got more and more comfortable with me until I was able to cuddle with her in the living room. She even put her head in my lap while I wrote notes!
Just goes to show, you can’t judge a dog by the first meeting. Especially when Big-Bada-Booms are involved!
Out-U-Go! and Boulder’s Natural Animal hospital are teaming up again on an awesome event for charity! Doga, otherwise known as Yoga for Doggies, will be featured. On August 6th from 1pm – 4pm, we’ll all be hosting the Doga Day for Charity, a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. For just $5 you and your pooch get:
- A Doga lesson with Yoga instructor, Steph Schwartz, of the Bali Yoga Retreat
- A massage for your dog by certified canine massage therapist, Lisa Simmerman, of Stella Earth
- Fresh-baked dog treats from Paws Barkery
- Grilled hot dogs, sodas, water, chips, and treats for the humans
What a deal, right?!
This will be a great time for pups and people regardless of doga or yoga abilities and experience
When: Saturday, August 6th from 1 PM to 4 PM
Where: Outside of Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital at 685 S Broadway in the Table Mesa Shopping Center
Who: Co-hosted by Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital (www.bouldersnaturalanimal.com) and Out-U-Go! Boulder (www.OUTUGO.com)
What: A cooky, crazy canine event to raise funds for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley
The Highlands Street Fair 2011 was a blast! This event gets better every year which is why we were so happy to help our friends down the road at Out-U-Go! Denver host an awesome booth.
Thousands of local residents toured 32nd Street in the Highlands to visit with a lot of the businesses from the area. The Out-U-Go! booth was very popular- hundreds of people enter our raffle to win free dogs!
We’re already looking forward to next year!
Stay tuned for information about Out-U-Go!’s next awesome event- DOGA for Charity
Bailey is one of the happiest-go-luckiest dogs around. She delights in everything, and though she barks at other dogs, it is usually in a spirit of play. But one day as we were both trotting along wagging as usual, she suddenly froze, turned every hair into a hackle and raised it, and began snarling and barking like I truly never imaged she could. This was one very frightened and upset dog. And there was nothing there. I looked and looked in the trees or along the roof lines for anything unusual, but there was nothing, not even a squirrel. Then whatever it was went away, and she looked at me and resumed her wagging, apparently quite pleased with herself for scaring off whatever it was she saw. Who knows, maybe she saved my life from legions of phantom trolls. I don’t think so, but I didn’t want to risk being ungrateful, so I told her she was a good girl.
Bisou, Sally and Dudley have all behaved like this. My reaction in each case is at first professional, as I look for some other dog or danger to avoid. But then it’s instinctual. Before they were anything else, dogs were, for humans, an extension of our senses. They smell what we can’t and tell us about it. They listen while we sleep. They sense the world and bark about it, and we ignore them at our peril. And since we’re tuned into dogs like they’re tuned in to us, and they are also tuned to the invisible or impossible world (or not) then they are our furry points of access to that world. Being extra-tuned to dogs is my avocation as well as my occupation. So when a dog is as spooked as Bailey was, I get a little spooked too. My hackles go up. I tell her “hush girl, its okay”, but it comes out like a nervous question. In the end the phantom trouble departs, and we go on our way, neither species able to comfort the other, but both still determined to try and face the world together. And ghosts or no ghosts, this is itself a truly amazing and almost mystical connection. At least usually. Some dogs are harder to connect with, but this is simply because they aren’t really dogs, but aliens from a distant galaxy sent to infiltrate us. Or perhaps they’re aliens enjoying one of the galaxies best retired lives. You can’t tell me they’re not.
Out-U-Go! & Boulder’s Natural Animal are once again teaming up to host Boulder’s next awesome outdoor charity event! Our last event, the Pampered Pooch Spaw Day for Charity, was such a huge success (we raised over $1200!) that we’ve already begun organizing Doga for Charity! Stay tuned to our Facebook page for the exact date and time, but this awesomely fun and hilarious event will take place this summer outside Boulder’s Natural Animal hospital.
All funds raised will be donated to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.
Plan on a day of fun in the sun, canine massage, food and drinks and…. DOGA!
Any pup can participate, no matter how long they are able (or not able) to stay in one place
The team at Out-U-Go! and Boulder’s Natural Animal are looking forward to keeping everyone posted as more details develop, but based on the level of success we had with the Pampered Pooch Spaw Day, we think you’re in for a treat!!!!
Ask someone this simple question and you’ll likely receive a complicated answer: Do you believe in ghosts?
You might hear “well I don’t know but I had this friend…” or “you certainly have to keep an open mind” or “we humans really understand so little about the universe” or “I grew up watching Ghostbusters so…”
At least you’d hear that from me. I think if there were spirits and echoes and djin floating through time and between realms and amongst us all the time, they wouldn’t much care whether or not I believed in them. Although maybe spooks and spirits are just like Peter Pan or Santa Clause or Polar Bears in that our very belief in them keeps them flying. Pugs and Bulldogs are kinda like that too – just a decade of human indifference (i.e. no more caesarean born puppies) and they’d pretty well just disappear. Still, I gain nothing by declaring that I think it’s all pathetic simple-minded hogwash, which is how I would declare it if I ever had an experience that led me to reject the possibility of the impossible. I don’t know what such an experience could be, and I’m not sure I want to. Besides, it’s more fun to talk about the opposite kind of experience. An “encounter” if you will.
Oak Park is an old town with a lot of history. I walk dogs around a couple of big cemeteries that are full of almost two centuries worth of the former forms that carried lives, loves, passions, dreams, and even whole worlds. I walk with Sally by a castle of a house, complete with gargoyles and turrets, which has a plaque out front stating, “On This Site in 1887–Nothing Happened”. Oh, but what about in 1886, when a runaway horse cart killed a child and set off generations of feuding and tore the town in two? Or 1973, when at a celebration for the end of Prohibition, a young couple snuck off for a kiss (not noticing the plaque or anything else) , a kiss that would lead to a home full of children who will themselves travel the world and pull with them a cosmic spider’s silk forever connected to that spot? Or in 1354 BC, when a man with a spear killed a really big bear all by himself and was just so happy that his dancing created a metaphysical sinkhole on precisely that spot? I dunno. The point is, Oak Park is as psychically-charged as anywhere, except maybe that hotel in ‘The Shining’.
People might tell you all of that. But if you ask the dogs I walk if they believe in ghosts, they’d say “arf”, meaning, “heck yeah man I seen ‘em”. It’s widely reported that dogs can predict earthquakes, detect cancers, find their way to loved ones across thousands of miles, and look cute all the while. Cats get all the credit for being ethereal (or just plain spooky–look up Oscar the Grim Reaper), but dogs have mystical goods too, and in my opinion, are way less up-tight about it. Do all animals have these gifts? Do we humans have them too? Lost and forgotten in the clutter of our own modern minds? Has intelligence replaced intuition? Are dogs in possession of or possessed by their preternatural abilities? Is this a cause, or an effect, of their sleeping 18 hours a day?
Now I’ll grant that Josey is a little unique to begin with. I won’t go into the details, but one of her more singular idiosyncrasies is the urge to constantly look over her shoulder as we walk, as if we’re being followed. Sometimes, exasperated after towing her for several blocks without her even looking where we’re going (look a fire hydrant! hey some mud! for goodness sake your missing everything and it’s for your sake we’re doing this, come on!) I’ll indulge her in a little break so that she can sit and have a good long look behind us and finally satisfy herself that there is nothing back there. She’ll stare, then look at me, then back again, then be ready to go, only to peer back again after a few steps. Now maybe there’s a speck in her cornea which makes her see spots. Maybe the bright light dazzles her after hours in a dark house. Maybe Josey is just being weird, true to her m.o. Or maybe, all the while, she is staring dead into the dead black eyes of a mailman who is floating behind us; eyes that shimmer with eternal malice for all dogs, ever since he died of a rabid bite over 80 years ago. He cannot avenge himself physically, which is why he follows us and makes me haul poor Josey around. I’m sorry already.
But it gets weirder. To be continued………
Below we have compiled some awesome facts and incredible myths about our “bully” friends. Unfortunately there is an overabundance of pit bull type dogs in America’s shelters in large part due to the widespread myths and misundertanding surrounding these dogs.
Myth #1: “Pit Bull” is a breed
Fact: Pit Bull is NOT a breed. It’s a generic term often used to describe all dogs with similar traits and characteristics known to the public as “pit bulls”. When we use the term “pit bull” here it should be understood to encompass American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Take this test and see how well you are able to pick the “pitbull”: http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/findpit.html
Fact: No more vicious than Golden Retrievers, Beagles or other popular dogs! According to a recent study of 122 dog breeds by the American Temperment Testing Society (ATTS) pit bulls achieved a passing rate of 83.9%. That’s as good or better than Beagles (78.2%) and Golden Retreivers (83.2%). http://www.atts.org/stats1.html
Myth #3: Pit Bulls have “locking jaws”
Fact: Studies show that the jaw of the pit bull is in proportion to its size and is no different than any other breed of dog. There is no evidence that any kind of locking mechanism exists in the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Myth #4: Pit Bulls turn on their owners
Dogs, as a species, do not perform behaviors “just because”. There are always reasons for behavior, and when aggression becomes a problem the reasons can be such things as improper handling, lack of socialization or training, a misreading of dog behavior by the owner, or, rarely, disease. Aggression, when it presents in pet dogs, follows specific patterns. First occur warning signs, then more warning signs, and finally, when those signs are continually ignored or misinterpreted, the dog resorts to using its teeth. When an
owner is startled by a sudden, aggressive outburst, it is because they have been unaware of problems that were brewing. This is true of all dogs, not just Pit Bulls. Pit Bulls, indeed no dogs, “turn” on their owners.
Myth #5: The only thing Pit Bulls are good for is fighting
Unfortunately, a large amount of attention has been brought to the fact that the Pit Bull was originally created for fighting other dogs in the pit. Since the breed was selectively bred for and excelled at this task, there is a common assumption that fighting must be all for which the breed is good. The truth of the matter is that the Pit Bull is one of the most versatile of canines, capable of excelling at just about any task his owner asks him to complete. They are routinely used for: obedience trialing, conformation showing, weight pull, Schutzhund (a German sport which requires dogs to perform in obedience, tracking and protection phases of a competition), agility, and have even been known to participate in herding trials, search and rescue work, and a variety of other tasks including police and armed services work. But fanciers will argue that the task this breed performs best of all is that of beloved companion. http://network.bestfriends.org/9261/news.aspx
Out-U-Go! is fortunate to have many loving Pit Bulls in our pack. As a matter of fact, I am the proud parent of a Pit Bull named Berkeley Moon who became a certified therapy dog in 2008. Berkeley currently visits Naperville area schools to assist students with their reading.
For more information please take a look at the following sources and organizations, and hug-a-bull today!