Dogs as Art

While I do have some dog-centric art in our home, I don’t feel like there’s too much or even enough yet. (The hubby might disagree). The thing is, until recently I had lots of photos of other dogs in our home.

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Recognize any of them? This is a portion of a collection I’ve gathered from participating in fundraisers, whether it’s been for Handsome Dan or Strut Your Mutt or even smaller fund raisers for blog dogs.

Well, I finally found some frames I like and made some prints of the Peaceabull boys to adorn my shelves and will be planning to commission some more art this year.

Hmmm…is this post s hint of some sort?

Happy Birthday, Baby!

For some reason, the day always creeps up on me faster than I realize and this year was no exception. I guess it’s because it was so close to Thanksgiving this year and yet so appropriate, because I am  thankful.

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Three years ago today this little family entered my life.  To help a pregnant mama dog get shelter and be present while she gives birth was amazing.  That one of those puppies became mine is wonderous, and having two of the others still in our lives is incredible.

Ray has taught me so much about dog ownership and forced me to become a different person.  After having volunteered for this long, I can safely say he was one of the “worst” puppies I’ve ever met:  He was smart and challenging and high strung and high maintenance and loving and clingy but all mine.  Mama’s boy.

Life with Ray has been a crazy ride and the last year and a half or so has been so rewarding just to be able to see how far we’ve come as a team and to mark our progress with another passing year.  So to  my little heart dog, I say “Happy Birthday.”

Birthday Boy!

Birthday Boy!

 

 

In the Interest of Fairness

I’ve known that PetSmart had BDL pretty much ever since I had Ray, so close to three years.  While I know it is wrong, I didn’t really give it too much thought for two reasons.  One, there isn’t a PetSmart doggy daycamp near us and even if there were, we wouldn’t use them.  We are so in love with the care, attention and socialization that Julius receives at Paw’s-n-Claw’s that we wouldn’t go anywhere else.  And two, it’s hard to get past the fact that PetSmart does a lot for homeless animals.  Even for homeless Bullies.

Proud to be a Pit Bull

Proud to be a Pit Bull

There’s a huge push this week to urge PetSmart to rethink their policy to reflect a more open admission that is based on temperament and not on breed/looks.

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After all, people look at these two and think “they look the same to me,” but they are as individual as a fingerprint with their own personalities, likes, dislikes and behaviors.  Neither is better or worse than the other, but they are different.  A passive solution would be to boycott PetSmart but to be honest, I don’t shop there very often at all.  I’m there more often to participate in adoption events and there have been only two instances that I have not handled a “bully” at these events.  Would PetSmart notice if I discontinued shopping there?  Nope.  Will I continue to handle dogs at adoption events held at PetSmart?  Yep, however I won’t be spending money there nor am I asking you to boycott, that is a personal choice for everyone to make individually.  I am asking you to voice your concern if you believe that all dogs should be seen as individuals.

Discrimination is discrimination and whether you would take advantage of their day care, or Pet hotel  or not, I urge you to stand against this by posting your pictures to the PetSmart Facebook page with the hastags #SeparateIsNotEqual #WhyCantIPlay #EndBDL #PetSmart

 

Ray’s Rebuttal

So, my little brother thinks he’s sooo smart, eh? Here are some examples of why I disagree. He’s always goofing off when Mama tries to take pictures of our my handsomeness.

Derp Face

Derp Face

And he gets these looks on his face that just seem so…simple.

Simpleton

Simpleton

And he has no dignity.

Really?

Really?

But I guess even though he’s silly, he IS my little brother and I love him a lot I guess we might as well keep him.

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20130819_204740Because like Mama says, we are yin and yang.  He puts himself out there and meets people like a good ambassador so that I don’t have to.  I prefer to take my time and hide behind my Mama for a while, so we suit each other just fine.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang

 

De-Myth-Tify

The interwebs are full of information about nearly anything you want to educate yourself on and you can very easily find both sides to any story if you dig deep enough. Being that we are, of course, Pit Bull advocates I tend to read articles more geared toward how wonderful my chosen companions are.

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I love those articles that debunk myths that keep circulating which further inflame the BLS propaganda. For instance, Pit Bulls do not have locking jaws, though a friend has told me this year that their vet told them otherwise.

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But the myth I really, really want people to stop sharing is the one about the Nanny Dog.  Although there are scads of pictures from back at the turn of the twentieth century with children and their Staffies, there is no written reference to these dogs being bred or raised to be nanny dogs.

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In fact, anyone who would leave their children in the care of a dog-any breed of dog-really needs to think long and hard about the consequences.  Children and dogs are some of the cutest things on the planet but while you can often predict what certain behaviors will occur in a dog, I know for a fact that a two year old is a loose cannon.  Our human baby absolutely loves her “goggies” and all of the visiting dogs from the shelter, but believe me, she is never left unatteded with any of them.

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Julius, who is very social and good in so many situations, knows he can just get up and walk away when he’s had enough “baby time.” Ray, who tries so hard to be socially appropriate, will let the baby sit with him, but often nervously licks his lips or rolls over. We keep the interactions brief and safe for Ray so that they stay just as safe for the Muffin.

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I love my dogs and I trust my dogs, however I know that they are dogs. Nothing has happened in our home to spur this post and everyone is fine but while I’d love to say, “yeah Pitbulls are so awesome that you can hire them as baby sitters”, but that would be irresponsible and ridiculous. Until they learn to speak words and tell us they don’t like something, I need to be their voice and keep them safe.

The Walk of Life

I’m feeling a bit teary-eyed as I reflect on yesterday’s walks with my boys and after having read a few archived posts. As Ray and I have been perambulating around the neighborhood lately and I’ve been marveling at how well we’ve been progressing, I’ve secretly been dreading knowing that Julius needs leash work. Badly.

 

The last time I took Juli for a walk, the muscles in my back and arm got a darned good work out, so I was hesitant to take him out again. Which means he wouldn’t get training and practice, which means I wouldn’t want to take him out…so he wouldn’t get practice…

 

Butt, Butt, Butt

Butt, Butt, Butt

So what would someone do if they, say, had a dog who used to be a nightmare to walk and one who still is? Oh, and the combined weight of those dogs was, say 160 pounds of big muscles? Surely the sane person wouldn’t decide to walk them together!

 

Playing around with the clips

Playing around with the clips

Well, fully expecting that Ray’s good manners would osmosize to Julius and that this outing would be a short disaster, I leashed up the dogs and set out down the block. And it was bad. The good news though is that it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, so I thought about what the challenges were and brainstormed my new game plan.

 

Freedom Harness

Freedom Harness

Julius pulls and skitters back and forth across the sidewalk which made for a tangle of legs and leashes. I had them both on just their martingale collars with my double clip Freedom leashes. Clipping Juli to Ray was a bad idea, clipping the leashes together to make a longer one was a bad idea, walking in the heat of noon was a bad idea, walking home while it started to rain was a bad idea.

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Fully heartened by the midday walk being less of a failure than I anticipated, I decided to take an evening walk with the boys, Asia, and the baby (because we’re all about the distractions.) Reevaluating the hook up situation, I knew Julius needed his harness back on, but previous outings didn’t make for any less pulling and though I was using the stopping method, it was going one step at a time. After clipping the leash front, top, to this, to that, we finally figured out that using his Freedom harness and only clipping to the front worked wonders. The walk actually went so well that we went further than planned and were rewarded with tired, happy dogs upon the return home.

 

We can do this!

We can do this!

I fully intend to make this a regular part of our routine and believe that a happy ending is in sight.

Yay for Ray

I almost want to say that I’ve never enjoyed a walk with Ray more than the one we had last night, but in reality, most of our walks lately have been surprisingly enjoyable and gratifying.

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We started off the day with a visit to PetSmart for no other reason than go give Ray an outing and a chance to work on his social skills. Since Julius has Day-Play, he doesn’t often get to go “shopping” like Ray unless we stop quickly on the way home. This visit to PetSmart was relaxed, Ray got to sniff around the parking lot for a bit before we walked inside. He ignored the beautiful peach colored Standard Poodle who was checking out with his/her people and we ambled around the store for a bit. One of the store employees was working with a lady and her Keeshond and I heard someone gasp at how handsome Ray was as he walked by. We encountered the lady and the Keeshond several times. They would stop at the end of an aisle we were in, she would ask her dog to sit several times and then finally walk away. At one point they seemed to loiter at the end of the aisle making me unsure as to whether we were supposed to discontinue looking at the merchandise and move away or if they were gauging something. Ray continued to ignore them. I finally caught a glimpse of them darting into an aisle as we approached (I often do this myself) as I heard her say to her dog, “I don’t trust you to not react.”
We ended up purchasing a few sale stuffies headed for certain destruction and returned home to share the bounty with Julius.

Later in the evening, I felt like taking a walk and Kevin suggested I take Ray. I actually was intending a longer, faster walk but knew that Ray would enjoy himself and since I had a new doggie water bottle I wanted to try, we headed out. Upon leaving the yard, the first thing I spotted was a couple walking their Shepherd-type dog on the other side of the street. I turned towards them so that we would pass on opposite sides and she immediately asked to meet Ray. Only she asked from across the street and waited for the answer!  (WOOT!) I said Ray was a little dog selective, but that he would love to meet her and she left her pretty blonde dog with the hubby and came over to meet Ray. We chatted a few minutes and she asked if he was a full “American Pit Bull Terrier” and I gave her Ray’s breed blends while she loved on Ray then we all continued on our paths.

Towards the end of our walk as we tend to wind down, we encountered some neighbors who I chatted with a bit and Ray took this opportunity to lie down in the grass and relax. We then headed back home where Ray gloated to Juli as only a big brother can about his adventures about the neighborhood.

 

Bully Bash

“I might pick her up after work for a sleep over,” I said to Jessica. “That’s fine, just text me if you decide to, I’ll be here.” Then after work, I texted her, “I forgot I have to pick up Julius, I guess Tora will have to stay in the kennels tonight.”
Her response was simple and yet I still felt crushed. “Okay. Thanks for letting me know.”
I couldn’t let it go and since traffic was light, and I picked up Julius easily, I called our long suffering Shelter Director yet again. “If you’re going to be there for a little longer, we’re on our way.”

She and Tora met me and Julius at the door and we decided to do a brief interaction out front and when it became apparent that the combined 160+ pounds of dog were going to get along, we let them play out in the yard for a few minutes where 8 year old Tora became a bouncy happy spring chicken (or perhaps a cougar with her platonic interest in that young stud gelding).

Familiar pose, different bully.

Satisfied that the Pitty Van would survive the boundless joy of these two, we loaded them up and I headed for home where Asia was already preparing the house with gates and closing Ray off for a while before any introductions could occur. Julius and Tora bounced about the yard and after a bit we decided to do some brief intros with Ray. I put Julius in the garage for a while and Asia and I did some leashed brief meets with the two American Bulldogs. Ray, who has way fewer social skills, seemed eager to meet this buxom beauty, but was somewhat over stimulated (though not nearly to previous degrees) and he did snap at her a couple of times. Tora, in her eternally sunny manner, just ignored Ray’s rudeness. We decided to let Ray decompress for awhile upstairs and after about an hour, he was happy to be downstairs with the rest of us, though behind a gate.

Asia, who is obsessed with Miss M, loves, loves, loves Tora.

So, how did our Bully Bash go? Well, Tora (or Big Girl, Big Mama, Mama as she responds to) was probably the worlds most perfect and appreciative guest. She wore a huge smile on her face the entire evening, and was eager to do anything we asked of her, which mostly consisted of receiving treats and lovings.

Please do not notice the poor condition of our yard.

So if you don’t want an affectionate dog, don’t adopt her. She settled on her mat and helped cook dinner without being a beggar-face, so if you want a rude dog, don’t adopt her. She got along really, really well with Julius (my rock star) and did really well with Ray, so if you aren’t looking for a friendly, mature dog with lots of life to live and lots of love to give, don’t adopt her.



Sweet houseguest

I love how she just found a cozy spot in the kitchen to settle in for the night, but upon learning she would be sleeping with the girls, she just grinned from ear to ear and settled in like the perfect dog she is.

American Bulldogs-Johnson type and Scott type.  Oh, and the AmStaff.

When you first meet this Big Mama, and move to pet her, she lays low on the floor and wiggles her tail, but after about an hour, she was confident and readily accepting of attention and even nudged Julius out of the way (nicely) to get her share of lovings. She is not a resource guarder as well as we can figure, because she and Julius were taking treats together, and he even stuck his big head in her breakfast bowl and she just backed up to let him have a taste. She did really well with the baby and with friends who stopped by and although she is 8, she has so much life and love yet to give. People often say they won the jackpot with certain dogs, but with Tora, you’d be winning the Powerball Mega Millions. So if you don’t want to win the Powerball Mega Millions, don’t adopt her.

Connections

As we continue nesting, we had a big adjustment to make in regards to heating. Our former home had radiant ceiling heat and therefore, no vents and ductwork. Since we now have a furnace and our new home had been vacant then redone, we decided it would be prudent to have the furnace and all of the ductwork cleaned.

One of the challenges when having work done in the home is making sure workers are not intimidated or fearful of my boys. Maybe I’m naïve, biased, or just a loving dog mommy, but how could anyone be intimidated or fearful of these faces? Ray’s nutmeg eyes are always so open and earnest while Juli’s onyx orbs are open and eager for love.

Anyhow, the worker showed up recently to clean the ducts and as is Kevin’s nature, he began finding out all there is to know about this person, namely not only was he a dog lover, he adopts and his wife wants to foster. As a result, Kevin called me to say his new friend adopted a Pit bull type from the shelter a couple of months ago. I said I would have to have met her, because I knew all of the pit bulls that came through there in the last year. Haley, he said her name was, a brindle girl. The only pit bull that was there around August was Rapunzel, who I was walking when I met Julius. “Are you sure they didn’t adopt from ACC,” I asked Kevin?

No, he said she was transferred from ACC to SPCA and that’s where they adopted her from. This sent me back to my photos in my phone. What Pit bulls would I have been walking around that time? Why couldn’t I remember Haley?

I sent Kevin a picture of Rapunzel and got a message back. “That’s her. She was called Rapunzel in the shelter, they call her Haley now.”