Goofy Cat

In the spirit of a recent post of our cat Xena snuggling up to my wife while she's on her laptop, here's a picture of our most recent addition, Loverboy, who was fighting with this blur of an empty water bottle this afternoon.

Julie found Loverboy a few weeks ago, after someone dumped him in the park at the end of our street. He was only 7.5 lbs when we got him - fur and bones, but he's gotten healthy in the short time we have had him. His coat is now shiny and beautiful instead of the matted mess he was, and he's put on about 5 lbs. Someone didn't take care of him.

Although he's a beautiful and affectionate cat, we'll probably not keep him. We are overloaded with animals now (five other cats and three dogs), and it's difficult with this many. We'd love to find him a new home, but we're also not in a hurry to give him up! :-)

Sleepy Cat...

These pictures were so cute, I had to post them...

This is Xena, our appropriately named "warrior princess" cat... who is cuddling up to my wife while she's on her laptop... taken this weekend.

She's being more of a princess in these pics than a warrior... but, trust me, she can be a warrior, too!

Sylvia has new owners

You may recall my post with pictures of Sylvia a couple of posts back...

Well, also on Wednesday of last week, Julie and I brought Sylvia to her new owners in North Canton.

Sylvia's a nice dog, but she's not a good match with our three senior dogs. Integrating her with the other three didn't go well, and she was unpredictable, especially around the cats.

We're happy that we were able to find a good match. The people that took her are experienced dog owners, have had just about every breed of dog, and they only have one other dog, a german shepherd mix, and no cats.

I'll update the blog with some updates as we get them.

Our new foster dog - Sylvia!

These are pictures of the new dog we're fostering. Her name is Sylvia, and she's a one year old Pitbull/Basset Hound mix. We were originally going to foster Sylvia in January, but she had mange, and she ended up being fostered by the woman that arranged to have her pulled from the pound in Southern Ohio where she was scheduled to be euthanized. That woman couldn't keep her any more, so Julie and I felt that we should step in, now that she no longer had a foster home.

As you can see from these pics, she's a bundle of energy, and cute as a button.


Cesar Millan is my new hero!!!

Buster, our Boxer/Pitbull mix, is difficult to walk on a leash, but we're trying some new techniques we've picked up watching The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic Channel. Buster's walking on a leash needs a lot more work, but he's already improved a lot.

Cesar Millan, who hosts The Dog Whisperer, has become an inspiration to my wife and I. He's coming to Columbus next month, and we're going to see him. I can't wait! We've learned so much by watching his show. He teaches us that bad dog behavior is most often the fault of the behavior of the owner. Just by watching him and following his techniques, our dogs are better behaved. His techniques also teach you something about yourself, and not just about the dogs you are training. The importance of being a  calm, assertive  in your interactions with dogs also teaches you how it changes how you feel about yourself and gives you greater control of your surroundings. It's remarkable!

Our new dog is Stella!

I've also been negligent in updating you on our new arrival...

After seeking some help naming her, we've named our new dog Stella.

We've had Stella for nine days, and she's an absolute angel! That sad face has been replaced with a VERY happy face!!! She's well behaved, and starting to show some energy.

After picking her up from the shelter, we discovered on the way to the vet that she's deaf. This doesn't in any way change how we feel about her. In fact, she is very calm and obedient and is adjusting into life with us and our two other dogs and four cats very easily. She had one piddle a few days after we got her, but has not had any other issues since.

I'll post some pics of Stella in the next entry, but the saddest of faces has been replaced with the happiest! Wait until you see!

She does need regular walking. She was pacing a lot over the weekend, but a long Sunday night walk seemed to cure her of it. We don't walk our animals as much as we should. More on that in my next entry.

Bruno (Harley) update...

I have been wanting to give an update on Bruno, but I got sidetracked a few times.

After spending more than a week in a kennel with the Bullieangels rescue, and being evaluated, Bruno has been adopted by a woman who has over twenty years experience with bulldogs in upstate New York. She'll work with him and get him over his fears, and she has deep pockets, and will call in behavioral specialists if needed.

Bruno, who has been given back his original Harley name (and I will refer to him as Harley in the rest of the article), was abused by his original owners. We suspected this, but the rescue confirmed it. He acted like he was just waiting to be beaten. He would cower in the corner, especially around men. That would suggest that his two attacks of me were triggered by fear, and probably also had to do with the testosterone that was still in his body after his neutering. The new owner is a sixty-five year old woman who lives alone, and only has a son-in-law who comes over from time to time. She'll limit his exposure to men until he can be rehabilitated.

That was two weeks ago... we haven't heard anything about him since, but we'll be checking on how he's doing soon. We assume he's adjusting to his new surroundings.

Harley came into our lives for a reason. We didn't realize it then, but it's now pretty clear that he came to us to help us appreciate our need to understand dog behavior and to help other dogs. Julie has an interest in becoming a dog trainer, and I don't know if that ever would have happened had not Harley came into our lives. And I also have an interest in it, too. I support her getting an education to become a trainer, and look forward to seeing her eventually shift to this new career.

Introducing our new dog... isn't that the saddest face???

We're trying this dog adoption thing again...

My wife persuaded me to try the dog adoption route again after the very recent problems we had with Bruno. I wanted more time, but my wife can be very persuasive when she wants to be... :-)

We went back to the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter with the intent of adopting an older Beagle she had seen on Petfinder, but she was adopted just as we got there. Then, she also saw a Spaniel mix that was good tempered, and she was adopted, too. The first several dogs we looked at just weren't a good fit, but I kept seeing this girl, who I saw on Petfinder, that Julie kept passing up. On Petfinder, they had her listed as a male, which is why she didn't give her much thought. We met her, and she was just a doll. After looking at another dog, we decided to take her for a walk and introduce her to Buster and McKenzie. That went PERFECT. She was great on a leash, and she was submissive to Buster and even to McKenzie. She was also very sweet and affectionate. We decided that she's the one - there really wasn't any other choice that made any sense.

They think she's an American Eskimo mix... with what we don't know. The American Eskimo makes sense, since she seems very obedient, which is a trait of the Eskimo breed.

She's about six, and needs to be spayed before we can pick her up this Saturday. That will give us time to prepare for her arrival. We don't anticipate there will be any problems this time, but we'll still be cautious when introducing her to the other animals. We'll give her time to adjust.

We haven't come up with a name yet. Some of the ones we're considering are: Annie, Lucy, Sally, Libby, Blondie, Mandy, Sophie, Angel. There are a couple of forum threads here that are talking about it, too:

Forum Thread 1
Forum Thread 2

If you have any good ideas for a name, please let me know!

Bruno - not the story I thought I'd be telling...

Bruno, as you can see from the pictures, looks to be a sweet dog... and he is... but he is a dog with serious issues.

We brought Bruno home last Tuesday night, and, after my wife, Julie, and I raised our voices to each other (although we weren't arguing or threatening to each other or to Bruno), Bruno cornered me in the bathroom and attacked me. Bruno bit my left arm.

We could have called the dog warden, who probably would have put him down, and we almost did, but fate got in the way and we were unable to get anyone to come. Afterward, Bruno acted like nothing happened, and spent a few hours trying to make up with me. We decided that him going to a pet rescue would be a better alternative. Wednesday night, we visited two members of Love-A-Stray, a rescue organization my wife and I have rescued several animals through, and they gave us some advice on him, but were unable to place him. We also contacted Bullieangels rescue, who gave us more advice.

Thursday night, after getting home for the evening, Bruno came over to me in the living room and jumped on the Powerbook I am writing this blog entry with. I reacted by trying to move the laptop away from Bruno and telling him to get down from the loveseat we were both sitting on. Bruno got that same look again and attacked me again. Learning from Love-A-Stray, I tried to fold my arms and turn away from him, but that didn't work. I then tried to put him on his belly, but that didn't work either. I finally grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and threw him into his cage.

This second incident left me with more bruises and a bite on my left arm, several scratches, deep bruises and a bite on my right arm, scratches on my abdomen, and a deep cut on my right leg, just above the ankle.

Needless to say, we couldn't keep Bruno. Either he felt threatened, was defending my wife or was trying to establish himself as the alpha male. We don't know, and we may never know. Most people would have put him down after the second incident. Instead, on Friday night, we transferred him over to Bullieangels Rescue, who specialize in English Bulldogs like Bruno. He'll be evaluated by a behavioral specialist who works with problem bulldogs, and get the care and the help he needs to be the dog he should be.

It appears that Bruno was either abused or came from an environment where there was abuse. No one would know but the people that had him. I am happy that he'll get the help he needs.

I found the whole experience very disappointing. We were very hopeful about Bruno. I took the attacks personally. If he was establishing that he was alpha male, that felt very emasculating to me, since that meant that he thought I hadn't done anything to establish that I was the alpha of the pack. I have since come to realize that I shouldn't have. He was reacting, to what we may never know.

To add to the strangeness of the "Bruno" week... when we dropped off Bruno at his new home, we watched one of the strangest things we've ever seen. Bruno humped... the air. And actually... umm, you know... he did it to completion, if you know what I mean. I can't get that sight out of my head, no matter how hard I try.

Bruno the English Bulldog update...

Unfortunately, thanks to some ridiculous Cleveland rush hour traffic, needing gas at the wrong time, and being called into a meeting with my boss just as I was about to leave at 4pm, I was unable to pick up Bruno on Monday from the shelter. By the time I got there, it was 5:05 and they had closed. Although I don't have any information, I will attempt again tomorrow. I am very disappointed in myself for not getting there before they closed at 5pm, but God knows I tried. That traffic was some of the worst I had ever seen in this city, and it should be a shock that I actually got that close to making it. In actuality, I called them back (and so did my wife) at about 4:50 and 4:55, and they were not answering, so even if I had shaved a few more minutes off the time, it wouldn't have made a lot of difference.

Hopefully, I will have a better story to tell Tuesday night.

Our latest addition to the family... Bruno the English Bulldog!!!

My wife, Julie, and I are animal lovers. Julie's been rescuing dogs and cats for many years now, and since we've been together, we've rescued four animals. Romeo, a stray cat, who didn't get along with our four cats, so he had to go to a no-kill shelter; Maisy, a Pitbull/Lab mix who was a sweet dog and got along famously with our Pit/Boxer mix Buster - who is now home on a farm in Huron, OH; Ginger, a Shepherd/Pinscher mix who came to us a very scared basket case but left us a wonderful dog and went home with a young couple with two young daughters in Amherst, and Chelsea, a Sheltie/something mix who we found and had a skin allergy and no hair on her tail, but turned out to be one of the most wonderful dogs ever, who completely recovered and has just recently been placed with a family in Oberlin, OH.

For our next foster, we had started looking at Bulldogs, but they were VERY hard to find, and we came to realize that, if we could find one, we might want to keep him for good because of their wonderful temperament and compatibility with our lifestyle. They're SO cute... when you see one, they just put a big smile on your face!!! However, they CAN be expensive!!! Puppies go for as much as $2400 and they are also prone to health problems, such as breathing difficulties and infections. Nevertheless, we pressed forward.

Julie was considering several dogs, but had given up the possibility of adopting a Bulldog or fostering a dog this weekend, until last night, when we found an updated entry on Petfinder. As luck would turn out, the local Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter just got in a Bulldog. We couldn't BELIEVE our luck. Here was a beautiful English Bulldog, in good (although not perfect) health, and he was only a few miles away!!! We got up early and headed for the shelter, and were the first ones there... and I am happy to say that we'll be adopting a new little boy Bulldog!!!

Thanks to a random stop at a Carvel store for a coffee, the girl at the counter gave him the perfect name: Bruno. I'll be picking up Bruno from the shelter on Monday, after he's seen the vet and been neutered.

He's the sweetest little love bug!!! He showered me with kisses. He's met Buster and McKenzie (our Sheltie) and they got along pretty well, although we'll have to keep a watchful eye on them. There will probably be some dominance issues that will have to play out, but they got along really well, so much so that he was kissing and licking both of them, too.