…are strolling around the neighborhood every day. Since I returned from my last inpatient stay last summer/fall I really stayed on the ball, not walking the dogs is a rare exception from the rule. My form of the day decides how long our walk is.
Dealing with Sam still can be difficult. But my biggest fear, not being able to handle him, didn’t come true. I deal with the tricky situations the best way I can and am able to calm down quickly afterwards. And the daily excercise is good for all of us.
During the last months, I attended seminars about handling difficult dogs. My goal is to understand Sam better, because this will help me to react in the best possible way. Sam has two faces: At home, when everything is quiet, he is very cuddly and listens to commands very well. Outside, or if somebody comes near our house, he is tense and anxious and tries to scare away every human (especailly the mail man, cyclists and joggers) or dog by barking loudly. We try to show him that these situations are not dangerous, but his fears run deep.
It’s a good thing Janet is the complete opposite. Her good spirits and zest of life make us all very happy. Two problematic dogs would be too much for me to handle, but so everything is balanced out.
Since I was a little girl, animals had a positive effect on me. It doesn’t matter if it were budgies, hamsters, horses, cats or dogs. I don’t care what happens to me some days, but our furbabies always are important. On the other hand, some pets from the shelter found a new home and live with us now. Win-win!
It is very hot today, and walking the dogs was very exhausting. We were rescued by an ice cream parlor 😁.
While waiting for our treats, I learned that my favorite soccer team had won its first game of the season (Cologne, of course). An older Gentleman next to us was also a fan, and so we sung a colognian song together.
Because of the heat I will not cook today. The permanent heat is not funny anymore.
Janet is the one in our pack who sometimes is a little bit neglected. Jackie is a Diva, and Sam gets lots of attention due to his behavior.
She is not young anymore, approximately ten years old, and she likes a quiet environment. She looks for a place where she is out of the trouble, but can hear anything what’s going on.
When I check on her, I am met with a soulful gaze, and when I talk to her, she wags her tail. Of course it makes things easier for us that she is so easy to handle. We take care that she has quality time with us, when everything is about her.
She seems to be happy here, and we hope we will have many more happy hours with her.
I may not talk much about our cat Jackie, but she is still with us. We cuddle every day, and this is very good for my mood.
Today was her yearly check-up at the vet. I tried not to think about the fact that my heart cat Jackie was with us the last time, otherwise a few tears would have been shed.
But everything is alright, Jackie is healthy, even though she is fourteen years old now.
We drove home in a good mood, and I became aware of the fact that the bond between me and our furbabies is very strong.
And one thing is sure: We walk this way together until the very end, in good and bad times.
It has been a while that I mentioned Sam. This is because making progress takes lots of time for him. But progress DOES happen, and this is what matters.
For a long time, it was a real challenge to take Sam on a walk with other dogs. We had to use a muzzle, and he nearly panicked when other dogs came near him – or even worse – wanted contact with him: Then he yowled, growled or bit.
Every Sunday the shelter organizes a walk. My husband participates with Sam an Janet. Janet is very easy going with other dogs. She is not dominant, but she is always friendly and very clear about what she wants or doesn’t want. What makes her a good teacher for Sam, who grew up without contact to other dogs in a killing station.
On these Sunday walks mostly the same dogs and humans are there. So Sam noticed finally, that nobody wanted to harm him. He calmed down, and we didn’t need the muzzle any longer. Last week all humans agreed to let the dogs play together without a leash on a meadow. And the miracle happened: Sam behaved as if he had done this all the time. He very kindly asked other dogs to play with him, and ran around absolutely carefree. One dog tried to make eye contact with him, he just ignored it.
We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
There is still a lot to do, so it is nice when progress is made, and this was a big step!
And when he looks at me like on the picture above, I think we will reach a lot more with him in the future.
I went to a cat exhibition thirty years ago. Even though I was a child back then, I could see that the animals didn’t feel well. The cages just were piled up, and the cats had nowhere to hide. Many animals were restless and stressed.
So I wasn’t sure what to expect today.
But as you can see on the pictures above, times have changed. Every cage offered places to hide. Every cage had privacy protection left and right. Every cage provided water and food. Most cats did what they would have done anyway: Lie around and sleep.
We also took a look at the dog exhibition, were the pedigree dogs were graded. Most of the dogs were relaxed. Many of them had their own cage with them, where they could feel safe.
The visitors were allowed to bring their dogs along. We left our dogs at home, because we thought it could push Sam too hard. But the most dog owners had been right about their four legged companions, and many dogs were cool. There were designated dog toilet areas and vets.
All in all my impression today was, that the animals are treated better today than years ago. If that is correct, it’s a step in the right direction.
My motto for this year’s A to Z is “Animals in my life – stuffed or alive”.
In the picture above is Sam’s yellow ribbon, not very tidy, but well worn 🙂 . A yellow ribbon or bandana on a dog is a sign that this dog needs space. The dog can be in training, and every distraction would complicate the learning process. The dog can be old and therefore easily be overwhelmed. The dog can be recovering from illness or surgery and just not be in the mood to play. There can be many reasons to ask for space. More information about the idea behind this can be found here: Yellow Dog.
In Sam’s case, he still is very unpredictible. On some days he tolerates other people, dogs, joggers and bikers well, on others he just can’t stand them, barks and would try to chase them away. Even though we are very careful and attentive, we don’t take any chances, and more space makes the situation easier to handle for us humans and Sam.
In my opinion it’s a good idea if everybody can recognize a struggling dog from a distance. Pedestrians know that it wouldn’t be a good idea to pet this dog, and other dog owners are given enough time to put their dogs on the leash, so the meeting doesn’t escalate. Win-win for everyone, I would say.
So, the next time you see a dog wearing yellow, think of the possibility that this dog isn’t just a fashion victim, but that it maybe needs space.