As Told by Julius

Hey there blog readers, Julius here.  I recently discovered that my big brother Ray had been invited to write on Mama’s blog in the past and Mama has even allowed other dogs to write for her.  Sometimes I hear the family say that I’m simple and just overshadowed by my brother who is “very, very smart.”

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But Mama and I have a little secret.  She says, “Ray, you’re so smart and Juli, you’re so sweet,” but then she whispers in my ear, “Juli, you’re smart too.”

If you ask me, I’m the perfect, well-rounded dog.

I’m handsome and suave.

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I’m also friendly and a good role model and when I volunteer for the Allen County SPCA Mama brings home foster dogs I welcome them and show them a good time.

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I also get to go fun places like doggy day play where I play with other dogs and am what Mama calls an Ambassador.  Does Mr. Bigshot Ray get to do that?  I don’t think so.

Kitties love tolerate me and I’m good with babies.

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I also get to go to Pack Walks on Sunday morning not because I need to learn better manners or because Ray’s legs hurt but just because I’m the special one, I’m sure.

And let me just leave you with a couple of nuggets to mull over.  Fifteen months ago I had decided to get the heck out of my neighborhood and into a warm home with fluffy pillows. so  when I found my Mama wandering the streets with Rapunzel I made up my mind to blow that lemonade stand and see just how far my charm could take me.

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So, I ask you…simple or simply brilliant?

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.

Gotcha Day!

Adoptaversary letters are pretty popular and I had every intention of writing one to Julius, but then upon further reflection I realized that in the most literal of terms, he was never officially adopted and that he knows he is loved. I whisper in his ear every morning, every afternoon and every evening how much he is loved, cherished and how lucky I am to have him in my life. I tell him he is the best thing I’ve ever found on the street. I fully believe he loves his life as it is today.

 

So… the letter. This letter is to the woman who offered Julius a chance at a better life.

 

Dear Gxxx,

One year ago a happy, dusty, collarless, mangy-looking little puppy came bounding into and nearly back out of my life. Whether I found him or he found me is up for debate, but what is crystal clear is that he was the sweetest, friendliest dog I’d seen in a very long time ever.  Among all of the stray black dogs, who are a “dime a dozen,” he had that special something -something that made him worth “rescuing.”

 

The Little Foundling

The Little Foundling

We both know the details of how he came to live with me and for those who don’t, they can be found here and here. The message relayed to me was that you thought I could give him a better home. I remember telling the story to my sister who began wailing, “What a good person!” over and over again. I was feeling warm until I realized she was referring to YOU, not me. You gave up the sweetest dog in the world to give him a better life than the one he was destined for so I’d like for you to know, I’m eternally grateful.

The "Freedom" Ride

The “Freedom” Ride

Julius (your Smokey) lives in the house with me, my husband, our daughter, granddaughter, his doggy big brother, Ray, and his kitties, Jae and Miko.

Same dog, different year.

Same dog, different year.

 

He sleeps in bed with his humans, sometimes with the girls, sometimes with me. When he sleeps with me, he creates a huge nest of pillows in which to settle, but by morning, I always find either his head or his snout pressed against me. I believe that even in his sleep, he likes to be assured that his Mommy is nearby.

 

Julius eats two regular meals a day-breakfast and dinner like clockwork. He has grown from a gangly six month old with patchy, dull hair who wolfed down all available food to a sleek, fit, muscular young ambassador for his type. He now knows what food he likes and what he doesn’t like. He now “knows” that he has options available.

Top Dog

Julius has an embarrassment of riches to occupy his time. He has antlers of nearly every shape and size, a huge basket of stuffies, bags of treats that have yet to be opened in the pantry, and a whole crew of friends at his doggy day care. Yes, your Smokey my Julius goes to doggy day care where today, there will be a party for him in honor of the new life you’ve allowed him to lead. He will have all of the trappings that come with a party, but he will have no gifts.

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His present is his present. He lives in the here and now, he enjoys his life and we love him. Dozens of people have asked to have him, buy him, or breed him, but all are turned away. Julius is truly a precious boy and our lives are richer for having him in it. So to you, I say “thank you.”

 

I’ve actually designated July 26th as his Gotcha Day, but that will fall on Saturday.

The Results

There were some good guesses.  We got some comments here, on Facebook and via text messages and the top guesses were about what we thought made up a Juli-bean and boy were we shocked by the actual results.

We always thought that there was some Labrador in Julius.  His larger size, big feet and love of splashing about in the water made the Lab part a good guess.  An incorrect guess.  When we brought Ray home as  a very tiny puppy, I guessed that he would top out at about 55 pounds.  After all, his mama was 39 pounds at the time she was spayed, although she was tallish.  I never thought he would grow and grow to be over 80 pounds. 

Likewise, when I found Julius, he was not skinny or underfed by any means and at his neuter, weighed in at 36 pounds.  I figured that he’d end up in the 60 pound neighborhood.  He  sometimes seems taller than Ray, his neck is longer and his head/snout is longer.  Knowing that most dog dna tests don’t have the screening for an American Pitbull Terrier, I was hesitant to administer the test because I was a bit worried that the results may come back with a big “mixed breed” and no other info.  Plus, keeping him and his ‘dna sample’ away from his brother was a bit of a challenge.  Nevertheless, I finally got a good sample and sent it in.

So a little bit about the dnamydog test results:  the certificate they send has five levels which recognize percentages found in your dog.

Level 1 recognizes when a dog’s DNA contains a majority of one specific breed (75% or greater).  A dog will only report with a Level 1 breed if they have a high percentage match to a single breed in thier DNA.  Most mixed breed dogs will not usually have a breed in this category unless one or both of thier parents are pruebred.

Level 2 reports breeds that may be easily recognizable in your dog.  Each breed listed makes up between 37-74% of your dog’s breeds.  Dogs with a large mixed ancestry will not normally have breeds reporting at this level.

Level 3 identifies breeds that have between 20%-36% off the listed breed(s).

Level 4 represents 10%-20% of the breed DNA.  Dogs with large mixes may have a number of breeds in this category.

Level 5 represents the lowest level of breed in your dog occuring at 9% or less.  These breeds still appear at a low and measurable amount in your pet’s DNA and were likely carried over from several generations.

The total of the breeds found in hte levels will always equal 100% of your dog’s DNA breed composition.  For example a dog with 4 breeds reporting at Level 3 (20%-36%) and 2 breeds reporting at Level 4 (10%-20%) will not have breeds reporting at other levels or the total would be greater than 100%.  –info via the mailed analysis certificate.

So I’m sure there can be room for error and he doesn’t fit the “breed standard,” but everyone who guessed Am Staff plus something was partly right; without even more rambling, Julius is

a Level 1 American Staffordshire Terrier. 

And I really thought there would be some seal in the mix somewhere.  How shocked are you that my little foundling appears to not be a mixed breed at all?

Meet Ruthie

Ruthie is a one year old Am Staff mix with a huuuuge block head and an even bigger heart.  I got a cryptic Facebook message about a new resident at the shelter whom I was sure to love and the bonus was that she loves to kiss.  Powerless to resist, I high-tailed it to the shelter and saw Ruthie.  She was still “red” meaning I couldn’t touch her yet, but as I sat drooling on the window and obeying the rules, the staff took pitty on me and said she had in fact been processed and I could take her out. 

Oh, the kisses she gave and the joie de vivre she exhibited!  This gal loves life and will take you on an adventure with her.  She covered me (and my new coat) with slobber evidence of her happiness and just all out seemed to be happy.  She pulled a bit on the leash but stopped and checked in at the appropriate times, so with a little bit of work she will be a great leash walker in not time at all.  With luck, she will be adopted before I really get to know her, but otherwise, stay tuned for more updates.

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.”

"Love me Tender"

Hello, Furiends!  My name is King and I would like to start off by thanking my brother from another Mother, Ray, for letting me have so much face time on his blog.  I know his friends have been missing his mug and I appreciate all the love and kindness I’ve been shown while I await my forever home.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself because there are things I’m just now discovering, too.  Up until about two weeks ago, I thought I was one thing, but it turns out I am another.  I was a part of a pack and there were 8 of us in all.  We were all chi-wow-ahs, I thought, but it turns out I’m something called an AmStaff.  I think that means really big chi-wow-ahs.  I’ve spent my whole first year of life thinking I was one of them, fitting in our nice little world but then my family said we were moving.  I didn’t realize that meant we were not all moving together to the same place.
They took me to a “homeless shelter” where the big hearted people there said they would find me another home, even better than the one I had before, and in the mean-time, they would take care of me and give me the things I need.  They even made sure my jingly bits went away.  I guess that’s ok, because I feel fine.
I found it to be very confusing there for awhile.  Lots of other dogs were telling me about themselves and lots of different people came to see me.  Ray’s mama comes to see me a lot and she said I could call her mama until I get my own.  She takes me for long walks and helps me mind my manners, even though she calls me Mr. Perfect a lot.  When we walk she makes the “uh-uh” sound and I’ve learned that when I hear that sound we stop walking.  I always stop and look at Mama to see why we’ve made the uh-uh stop but I think it’s just because she wants to see my handsome face so as soon as I show her my handsome face we get to walk again.  Sometimes we stop and I sit for a cookie.  The first couple of days, when she showed me the cookie, I wasn’t sure that she would give it to me but she gave it every time and all I had to do was sit!  She says I’m a master at something called “loose leash walking.”
I’d be happy to take that cookie!
I think we are going to learn other ways to get cookies too, if I’m here long enough.  Mama says she hopes we won’t have time but when she says that she seems kind of sad.  She says she loves how I greet her in a polite way.  I don’t jump on her and I don’t ever do sharky mouth, even when I’m looking for cookies that might be in her hand.  I’m just starting to ask her to play with me, but she is kind of a girl, so I take it easy with her and when she says “give Mama a kiss” I know exactly what she means.  I like to give kisses!

Anyhow, I’m ready to go to my home, but just as a little hint, my collar makes me look like I might belong in a peaceabull place, don’tchathink?

A note from Ray-Ray:  “if you are interested in adopting King, please contact the Allen County SPCA.  Now, please, before King becomes my little brother.”