Sugar

Sugar was a 1 ½ year-old boxer pit bull mix. I found her while taking my neighbors on a tour of the shelter. She had a litter of two-day-old puppies with her in the kennel. She’d had them in the shelter right before I picked her up.

It took a little convincing, but Kelly said we could bring them home. Sugar was an excellent mamma. We had to lure her out of the shelter with one of her puppies because she wouldn’t go anywhere until she was sure they were with her. When we got her home and were getting everything situated she crawled into the puppies box and laid right on top of them; because she was nervous about the other dogs being near them. For the first week we could barely get her away from her puppies long enough to go to the bathroom. She would go out and do her business then rush back to her puppies.

Once we had moved her puppies her personality started to show through a lot more. She would snuggle on the couch with Ireland, the little girl who Kelly babysits. She would also get really excited for our morning walks. She would run around the front room, jump into the air, spin in circles and bounce in and out of play bows.

CAWS took Sugar in after we moved her puppies, and she was adopted by a nice young couple. She seemed very happy the last time we saw her.

The Puppies

Sugar’s puppies were the hardest group of puppies we’ve done so far. I attribute the difficulty to the fact that we took them during the winter, and weren’t well equipped to do so. When we took on Mia’s puppies it was the middle of the summer, so we were able to keep them outside most of the time. We weren’t quite so lucky with this group since we got them at the beginning of December. They stayed in a crate at the foot of our bed until they were big enough to walk around. Once they reached that point we moved them to a fenced in area in the laundry room.

Things didn’t get too bad until they were about 8-weeks-old then things started getting out of hand. They made such a mess of their run that it had to be cleaned everyday if not twice daily, and that didn’t even take care of the smell. It was extremely hard to keep them clean as well. We would take them out clean the cage, and give them baths, but as soon as we put them back they would poop everywhere and get it all over themselves. They also couldn’t go outside without freezing, so they ended up with a lot of pent-up energy. Any time you would walk by they would cry and jump up on the fence.

We were finally able to move them to Furburbia which was better equipped to handle them once they were 12-weeks-old. They still managed to make a good sized mess once there though. We drove them up to Furburbia, and right as we got there one of them puked all over in their crate. We took them in and bathed them, and as soon as they were clean and in the kennels they pooped everywhere, and got it all over themselves. We ended up bathing them twice.

I’m sure they’ve since been adopted, but we couldn’t keep a very close watch on them.

Lucy and Duo

Lucy and Duo were 8-week-old blue heeler puppies that we took from Kelly’s sisters house, and fostered through Wag-n-Train Dog Rescue. They were fun, but we didn’t have them for long they were adopted out at the Mini Super Adoption during December.

Oakley

Oakley is a 2-year-old pit bull mix. She was originally brought into CAWS as a puppy, but two years later she turned up in the shelter again. I actually pulled her from the shelter for another foster home, but they fell through and I ended up with her.

Oakley had a great personality. She loved to chase her tail and would do it any where she thought there was space. Which to her was everywhere. We ended up moving her out after about a month to make room for a mom and puppies. She’s been adopted out since then.

Nala

Nala is a 2-year-old Chocolate Retriever. I originally met Nala in one of the training classes that I attended with Ozzy. She was very afraid of other dogs and protective of her owner if strange dogs were nearby. In the end that’s what caused her to be given up. She kept starting fights with the mother-in-law’s shih tzu, and they couldn’t find a way to stop her.  Though the term given up is putting it very simply. She wasn’t accepted into CAWS because we were full and not taking owner turn overs. We refered her owners to another person that felt they were qualified to take care of her. About a week after taking her that person dropped her off at an adoption event and didn’t come back for her. She ended up going home with a very kind-hearted lady named Margo. Nala was very fearful of any dog she didn’t know, and eventually ended up biting Margo when she got between Nala and one of her labs. After that Margo asked me to take her. So I ended up with Nala right after she’d gone through four homes in a little over a week.

Nala did quite well with my dogs. There were a few spats, but after the first week things calmed down for the most part. She did very poorly with dogs from outside of our household though. She had decided I was her new owner, and that she needed to protect me from other dogs. She attacked a few dogs that approached me when I wasn’t expecting her to be nearby. After a few weeks I was finally able to let her socialize with other dogs without issue.

She still kept her fear of dogs in enclosed spaces, and seemed to have a habit of putting herself in tight spots. She would wedge herself into small spaces or corner herself then growl at the other dogs when they came near. We would have to show her that she could remove herself from these situations. Though she never seemed to pick it up on her own.

We eventually got her accepted into the Wag-n-Train rescue. She was eventually adopted by one of their fosters that took care of her while I was at a conference in Vegas. She is doing really well as an only dog in their home. She’s even getting along with the cats. One of  her new owners is a veteran, and she is really helping in his day-to-day life.

Boozer

Boozer is a 1 ½ year old American Bulldog Labrador Retriever mix, I think.  CAWS took him in at the spring 2010 super adoption. I don’t know much of what happened to him between the time CAWS took him in and he came to my house. I know he was adopted out, but  ended up in the shelter again because he was confiscated by animal control. His adoptors were treating him so badly that their neighbors called animal control, who confiscated him. From what I heard they were leaving him tied up in the yard during the day with no food or water, but I can’t be sure of exactly what happened.

Boozer did pretty well when he first came to us. He was good with other dogs. He did try to tell Ozzy he was the boss once but only for about 2 seconds before he changed his mind, and the attempt left him with some funny lines across the top of his head for a while. He did really well in the house too. The one issue he did have though was a chewing problem which lead to the destruction of one of my hand made blankets. 3 times… I know that was probably my fault, but I like to give the dogs chances to prove themselves once they appear to have themselves under control. So I ended up leaving the bedroom door open more often than I should have.

On October 19th of 2010 Boozer took off while I was taking the dogs to the back yard for a potty break. I jumped in the car to try to catch up before he got far. I got about a block down the road when he came running back up the sidewalk. I opened the car door for him and he climbed in. He had a little trouble getting in the car, but I didn’t think any thing of it until I got him back home and noticed the blood on my seat cover. I got him out of the car and found a cut on his front right ankle. It was somewhat deep but I figured he just cut himself on a peice of wire or somthing, and wasn’t too worried until I got a look at his left side. He’d run down to one of the main roads, and had gotten hit by a car!  He had roadrash and several deep cuts all up his left hind leg.

I put him back in the car right away, and headed to one of CAWS’ vets in Salt Lake. It took me almost an hour and a half to get him to the vet. The car had been most of the way empty so I had to stop for gas and it was rush hour.

Once we got the vet they got him right into the back and started looking at him. I sat in one of the exam rooms for about half an hour, before they came and sent me to get dinner while I wated for x-rays. The x-rays showed that he’d probably been drug under the car for a little ways, and it had dislocated his right hind leg. He had to stay at the vets over night so that he could have the leg put back into place in the morning.

Kelly and I headed up early the next morning, and Boozer was super excited to see us. His hip had been splinted into place, he had a bunch of staples in his legs, and he had to wear a cone. He also had to stay in a crate for two weeks, and could only come out to go to the bathroom. We were trying to keep the leg in place, if it came out he would have to have surgery on his hip. He did pretty well on his two week stint in the crate, but to no avail the hip had popped out of place. He got the staples out when we took him in to check on the hip, but he had to continue wearing the cone. The poor guy spent over two months in that cone.

Boozer had to wait quite a while for his surger but finally had it on January 10th. They went in and cut the ball off his feemer so that the leg would sit in place better. He had to spend the night at the vets that night too. He’s done really well since the surgery. He runs and plays with the other dogs and even goes to class.

Kelly has also aided him in learning the habbit of trying to sleep under the covers. You can’t lift the edge of the covers without him trying to shove his head in, so he can snuggle down to the bottom of the bed.

Small Pieces of Fact Can Misinform

I was thinking about this on my walk this morning. I met someone who owns a mastiff. He told me about how people are afraid of the dog even though it only ever tries to love people. This made me think of the stereotype around pit bulls, and how people walk out into the road to avoid walking past Kelly when she’s walking one of our pit fosters. I couldn’t think of why people would think of him as threatening. He has a gimp leg, and one look at his face will tell you that he doesn’t have a brain in his head. I thought about this while I was finishing my walk, and realized it’s groups that take small bits of incomplete information and pass it off as fact. Take dogsbite.org for instance. They publish a dog bite study that they pass off as fact even though I find it to discredit itself in its own introduction. I only mention dogsbite.org because it is the group I was thinking of this morning. This can be found other places especially in politics.

Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada September 1982 to June 25, 2010

Compiled by the editor of ANIMAL PEOPLE from press accounts since 1982, this table covers only attacks by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry, as designated by animal control officers or others with evident expertise, who have been kept as pets.

First off I’ve never heard of any valid study that is taken as a complete truth based on media reports. They also say that it only covers dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry determined by animal control officers or others with evident expertise. Yet these experts failed to identify some of the breeds which means they could be wrong about the others. It also means that the breed determinations weren’t based on DNA testing. This for me is a large red flag. I personally have not met a animal control officer, shelter worker, rescue worker/volunteer, dog trainer, or any other person that claims they can identify every breed in a dog. The words I hear most associated with a dogs breed are ” Our best guess is…”

Due to the exclusion of dogs whose breed type may be uncertain, this is not a complete list of fatal and otherwise serious dog  attacks; but there have been very few qualifying attacks by dogs of uncertain ancestry in recent decades.

First off they admit to not including all dogs in the study. Even if there are few qualifying attacks not including these attacks makes the data set incomplete, and less valid.

The ‘%/dogs” column states the percentage of each breed of dog among 3.2 million classified ads listing dogs for sale at web sites during the first half of 2010. Similar data has been collected in many previous years, but has not previously been included in this table. If a percentage is not listed for a breed or mix, it either appears to be too low to calculate or too difficult to isolate from other variants of the breed or mix.

I also can’t understand the idea of basing breed percentages on classified listings; because these dogs aren’t in their “permanent” homes which means they may not be an accurate representation of dogs actually in people’s homes. Would you base population statistics on the members of dating websites? They’re also based on ads only for the first half of 2010 which means that dog bites from 1982 are based on unclear population percentages from the first half of 2010. If this is the case how do they control for popularity of breeds over the years before 2010? It also doesn’t include mixes that they couldn’t identify thereby making the data set even more incomplete.

There is a persistent allegation by pit bull terrier advocates that pit bulls are overrepresented among reported dog attack deaths and maimings because of misidentifications or because “pit bull” is, according to them, a generic term covering several similar types of dog. However, the frequency of pit bull attacks among these worst-in-10,000 cases is so disproportionate that even if half of the attacks in the pit bull category were misattributed, or even if the pit bull category was split three ways, attacks by pit bulls and their closest relatives would still outnumber attacks by any other breed.

The report and their website both show an obvious bias toward pit bull. This bias is also apparent in the fact that they include the breed “Pit mix unknown” which by their standard shouldn’t have been included. I have yet to see a mix that doesn’t have some dominant traits of one breed or another. So the inclusion of this even though it’s only 4 attacks skews the data even further.

Another issue I noticed while writing this is that the “dogs X victims” column and the “individuals” columns don’t always match. Take the pit mix unknown breed that I mentioned before the columns are Number of Victims: 4  Children: 2  Adults: 1 Deaths: 0 which doesn’t add up. You can’t add 2+1 and get 4.

Buddy

Buddy is a pure white Boxer, and wasn’t def like most white boxers. I’m not sure how old he was. He was a dog that we pulled from SUVAS. He lived with Stacie for quite a while; then I’m not sure what happened to him. He got kicked out of daycare right before I got him, and he only came to me because he chased his foster’s cat. 

Buddy was a great dog though I can’t say much for his intelligence. He was really great with kids, listened pretty well for the most part, and did really well with other dogs. The reason I question his intelligence is because he would smash his face into fences while barking at dogs on the other side. Because of this he constantly had scabs on his face and head. Add to that him having to wear sun screen and you have one mess of a dog.

Buddy was adopted, but I’m not sure when or where he went. He was moved so that Boozer could move in.

Jack

Jack is a 4-year-old German Shepard. He is fully papered, well-trained, and the first dog rescue I did out-of-pocket instead of working with a rescue. I met him in the shelter when I went to check on Ruby. His family surrendered for being “too big.” You could tell just from looking at him that his world had been destroyed. He wasn’t eating, and just sat at the back of his kennel and shook. I tried contacting several rescues, with no luck, to see if they would allow me to take him. After a little while I worked something out with the women at the shelter, and brought him home.

When I was picking him up from the shelter he huddled in the back of his kennel shaking, and growling at me. I was afraid he might try to bite me, but once he realized I was there to take him out he calmed down. He was really good on a leash so when I took him out to my car I didn’t keep a tight hold on his lead. As I was trying to unlock my car he gave a tug on the leash and escaped. That lead to a chase involving inmates police officers and shelter workers. After about 30 – 45 minutes he gave up and ran back into the shelter. I loaded him into the car and we were on our way.

After I got him home it became apparent that he had some health issues. His former family hadn’t trimmed his nails or gotten him enough exercise. It cause him to adjust how he walked giving him a very obvious limp. His testicles were infected, and he was under weight. The great people at the NMHPU Spay Neuter Clinic provided me with antibiotics, and trimmed his nails back to a normal length while he was under anesthesia since the quick on all of them needed to be cut. After having all this done Jack was a completely different dog. His limp subsided and he started to walk correctly on his feet again. He also started to play frisbee.

Soon after Jack was adopted by a family, and his presence help them a lot. After about a month I got a call from his family saying their land lord was going to charge them a $1,000 fee to keep Jack in their apartment, so they had to give him back. He was back for one day when they couldn’t handle being without him any more. In that one day they had managed to get their doctor to register Jack as a companion dog. Allowing them to avoid the fees from their land lord.

Jack was one of my most favorite fosters, and I nearly kept him when he came back. He’s with a really great family now, and may be moving back east where he’ll have a large yard.

Ruby

Ruby is an American Pittbull Terrier and I’m not sure of her age. She was a former CAWS rescue, but she ended up in the shelter again after biting a stranger who came into her back yard while her family was gone. Her family had left her in the back yard while they were gone, and the man came in and started to mow the lawn. Ruby is terrified of lawn mowers and ended up biting the stranger.

Ruby’s family had said they would take her home after her time in quarantine, but never showed up to take her home. We had thought she’d been taken back by her family until Stacie found she was still in the shelter. Ruby came to my house after being in the shelter for 15 days. She did really well with all my dogs and was a very sweet girl. About two weeks after she came to me she had to be moved to make room for Buddy. Who had been kicked out of daycare and needed a home without cats.