Jul 31, 2007

And in Some States, Merely a Misdemeanor

I wonder how long it will be before I get used to seeing suffering. This week was particularly unbearable. Sage was so emaciated, I was shocked he could even stand up. And Angel's tumor had become so large, the skin around it was broken, exposing a football-sized mass of blood, bone, guts, and bacteria. At Give a Dog a Bone, we frequently see the victims of neglect and cruelty, but rarely do we see the perpetrators. Maybe that's for the best. If Michael Vick is guilty of the crimes he's been accused of, he deserves worse than anything I could inflict. Had his property been in San Francisco, his surviving dogs would now be in custody, in our care. So instead of hoping for justice that can never be served (no matter what Vick's sentence, it won't erase the torture these dogs endured), I'll throw the tennis ball for Trixie, one of the many pit bulls at ACC now. Living in a tiny kennel, with 20 minutes in the park on a good day, it's hard to believe she is one of the lucky ones.

Jul 10, 2007

More of What We Do

A lot of the GADAB dogs have to be interacted with through a kennel door - they've either not been cleared by the staff behaviorist for direct human interaction or they've failed a temperament test. In either case, we take maximum advantage of the situation to work as closely with the dog as we can. A lot depends on them. If they're shut down or scared all we can do at first is use short visits to gain their trust. If they're more affiliative we can engage them in all sorts of behaviors and even train them to sit, stay, fetch, and high-five. Junior, seen here, is an example of the latter. We've trained him to retrieve a ball and release it on command. The back-scratcher on the floor in the foreground is used to scratch his ears as a form of reward.

Jul 1, 2007

What We Do Here

Teaching ours dogs new behaviors is one of the many things we do at GADAB. Training custody dogs, especially puppies, gives them much-needed mental stimulation and focus, something that can be very fleeting in the din of a noisy, crowded kennel. For dogs cleared to go outside to the shelter park we often introduce them to agility behaviors such as the obstacle run you see little Beefcake running through here.