Oct 27, 2010

OPPOSABLE THUMBS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Why, yes, I have gained a few lbs.
Thank you for asking.
   Skinny, skinny, skinny. Oh, skinny. That would be the first thing one noticed. The second would be her way of greeting pretty much anyone. An over-the-top, where’s-your-face-you-need-a kiss black whirl of a dog. What’s a collar? What’s a leash? WHERE’s the food?
And how do I get the food? That pretty much summed up Spirit’s primary interest, as any dog who’s been starved will tell you. Around a year old, she was the epitome of unchanneled energy with the attention span of a gnat. Was there really going to be a person who wanted to take all that on? Challenging, grabby, exasperating at times, the meaning of focus completely eluded her, and there was never a doubt in her mind that any possibility existed of her not getting whatever she wanted. There was something though, none of us can define it, but all of us can see it. Spirit had it.   
And the right person saw it.Then he did everything in the right order. James visited Spirit over and over again, he made sure that his life partner was on board with getting another dog, consulted with his male dog’s trainer, Kelley Filson of DogEvolve, who then choreographed a meet and greet between Spirit and Bruno. Does everything have to run smoothly from the get-go, or can dog/dog relationships evolve, given time and care, lots of monitoring by their guardians, and a fabulous trainer? Who’s to say?
 
BFF 4ever

Ultimately, Bruno and Spirit. But not alone. Two very different dogs, with two loving guardians, who patiently and firmly, led both dogs into a relationship that worked for both of them. Every day, there was a good long training walk with Alice of Go Ask Alice Dog Training, and under Kelley’s innovative guidance, Spirit gradually learned Rules To Live By. She learned how to play with other dogs. And she learned some pretty cool tricks as well. Spirit can jump rope with the best of them. She may always be a scavenger, but I theorize that, biologically, her brain failed to learn how to properly communicate with her stomach in those early days of never having enough to eat, and having experienced enough starving dogs who come into the shelter, it seems to hold true. No science involved here, just observations.

About those opposable thumbs? Well, I was Spirit’s designated dog sitter, and was warned by one of her guardians about her sleeping habits. Seemed that Spirit had picked one side of the bed to be her own, and once she settled in, she planted herself as if she had roots growing through the bed. No grouchiness, not touchy or bratty, she just simply morphed into a rock with roots. So I needed a plan, since Spirit’s side of the bed was the one with the bed lamp, and I like to read in bed. Here’s what I did, every time I dog-sat her. With my OT’s, I turned the doorknob to shut Spirit out of the bedroom, and got ready for bed, covers turned down, everything I needed in place, and then, again with my OT’s, I opened the door. Spirit, of course, was just on the other side of the door, ready. I raced her to the bed, leapt in just ahead of her, pulled the covers up over both of us, and she, forever the loser in this particular situation, settled for snuggling as close to me as she could get. Not a bad deal for many of us – pittie snuggles are as good as it gets.

Wait, I'm getted adopted???
End of story? Not quite. Everybody moved to New York. But the family was not yet complete. When James and Rob were shown a photo of a young dog by a friend whose daughter was fostering the little guy from Oakland Animal Services, and were told his story, they knew immediately where his forever home would be, as they had been discussing adopting another pit bull. They learned that about five months prior, “firefighters responding to a call of “shots fired” arrived on the scene fully expecting to find a human in need . . . "but were hard-pressed to find any victim at all. That is, until a careful search of the Oakland address led firefighter Ryan Minnagen to a black-and-white pit bull puppy suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.” Little Remy had been shot five times, in his front leg, pelvis and back.
After meeting Remy for the first time, Rob recognized another match. And after Remy’s surgeries, convalescence, and another plane flight by Rob, this time with Remy, for the first time, the dogs in the household outnumbered the humans.

 Sweet dreams, babies.

All happy, all healthy. Once more, it’s about the love, baby, but don’t forget about the how, the time, and the R+ training. Whether you get a trainer or go to classes with your new dog, you're off to a good start.       
Take a look at these two. Life’s good, right?

1 comment:

Katie said...

Awesome story. You don't hear of these too often any more. People are too afraid of Pit Bulls and don't want to go near them. A lot of people don't know that it is how they are raised that depends on their attitude and personality. Of course, they are still a dog, with wild traits, just like every other dog you could get, so if it is treated wrong, of course it will try to protect itself.

Once again, wonderful stories and I can't wait to read more. =)
-Katie