JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

A Dog Story

Long, but worth it…………………………..

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They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie as I looked at him lying in his pen. black-lab The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.

I’d only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open.  Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt.  Give me someone to talk to.

And I had just seen Reggie’s advertisement on the local news.  The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn’t look like “Lab people,” whatever that meant.  They must’ve thought I did.

But at first, I thought the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie and his things, which consisted of a dog pad, bag of toys almost all of which were brand new tennis balls, his dishes, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.  See, Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off when we got home.  We struggled for two weeks (which is how long the shelter told me to give him to adjust to his new home).  Maybe it was the fact that I was trying to adjust, too.  Maybe we were too much alike.

For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls – he wouldn’t go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes.  I guess I didn’t really think he’d need all his old stuff, that I’d get him new things once he settled in. But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn’t going to.

I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like “sit” and “stay” and “come” and “heel,” and he’d follow them – when he felt like it.  He never really seemed to listen when I called his name – sure, he’d look in my direction after the fourth of fifth time I said it, but then he’d just go back to doing whatever.  When I’d ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.

This just wasn’t going to work.  He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes.  I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell.

The friction got so bad that I couldn’t wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff.  I
remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the “damn dog probably hid it on me.”

Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter’s number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter..  I tossed the pad in Reggie’s direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I’d seen since bringing him home.  But then I called, “Hey, Reggie, you like that?  Come here and I’ll give you a treat.”  Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction – maybe “glared” is more accurate – and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down with his back to me.

Well, that’s not going to do it either, I thought.  And I punched the shelter phone number. But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope.  I had completely forgotten about that, too. “Okay, Reggie,”  I said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice.”………
_______________________________________
To Whoever Gets My Dog:

Well, I can’t say that I’m happy you’re reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie’s new owner. I’m not even happy writing it.  if you’re reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter.  He knew something was different.  I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time… it’s like he knew something was wrong.  And something is wrong… which is why I have to go to try to make it right.

So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.

First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier.  Sometimes I think he’s part squirrel, the way he hordes them.  He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there.

Hasn’t done it yet.  Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll bound after it, so be careful – really don’t do it by any roads.  I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.

Next, commands.  Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I’ll go over them
again:  Reggie knows the obvious ones – “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.”

He knows hand signals: “back” to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and “over” if you put your hand out right or left.  “Shake” for shaking water off, and “paw” for a high-five.

He does “down” when he feels like lying down – I bet you could work on that with him some more.  He knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat” like nobody’s business.

I trained Reggie with small food treats.  Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of
hot dog..

Feeding schedule:  twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening.  Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.

He’s up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they’ll make sure to send you reminders for when he’s due.

Be forewarned:  Reggie hates the vet.  Good luck getting him in the car –  I don’t know how he knows when it’s time to go to the vet, but he knows.

Finally, give him some time. I’ve never been married, so it’s only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He’s gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can.  He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn’t bark or complain.  He just loves to be around people, and me most especially. Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.

And that’s why I need to share one more bit of info with you….

His name is not Reggie.

I don’t know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie.  He’s a smart dog, he’ll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt.  but I just couldn’t bear to give them his real name.  For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I’d never see him again.  And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything’s fine.  But if someone else is reading it, well… well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It’ll help you bond with him.  Who knows, maybe you’ll even notice a change in his demeanor if he’s been giving you problems.

His real name is Tank. Because that is what I drive.

Again, if you’re reading this and you’re from the area, maybe my name has been on the news.  I told the shelter that they couldn’t make “Reggie” available for adoption until they received word from my company commander.  See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could’ve left Tank with… and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq, that they make one phone call the the shelter… in the “event”… to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.

Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed.  He said he’d do it personally.  And if you’re reading this, then he made good on his word.

Well, this letter is getting to downright depressing, even though, frankly, I’m just writing it for my dog.  I couldn’t imagine if I was writing it for a wife  and kids and family.  But still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family. And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.

That unconditional love from a dog is what I took with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things… and to keep those terrible people from coming over here.  If I had to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so..  He was my example of service and of love.  I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.

All right, that’s enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at
the shelter.  I don’t think I’ll say another good-bye to Tank, though.  I cried too much the first time.  Maybe I’ll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.

Good luck with Tank.  Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight – every night – from me.

Thank you,
Paul Mallory
_____________________________________
I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.  Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me.  Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies.  Flags had been at half-mast all summer.

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.

“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly.

The dog’s head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes brightened.

“C’mere boy.”

He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor.

He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months.

“Tank,” I whispered.

His tail swished.

I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him.  I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.

“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me.. Your old pal gave you to me.”

Tank reached up and licked my cheek.  “So whatdaya say we play some ball?  His ears perked again. “Yeah?  Ball?  You like that? Ball?”  Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room. And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.

by DaisyDoyle – AARP Dog Blog Group

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 16, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Adoption, Pet Friendship and Love, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Funny – No Treats From Obama: We All Need A Laugh!!

Posted:  Just One More Pet

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August 16, 2009 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, pet fun, Pets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’

Most (or the average) dog understands 165 words and gestures+ and 20 to 40 commands, but many can understand a lot more!  The same article states that even though most dogs have the cognitive ability of 2 to 2.5-year-olds, their social consciousness—an awareness of people, their ranking within the family and such—is as high as an adolescent or teenager.  It also seems that dogs and apes have some of the same basic emotions such as fear, anger, disgust and pleasure and are able to deceive.

dog-reading

Our canine friends are smart! Research has shown that most dogs understand 165 words or gestures, can add up to five, and that some dogs learn how to deceive their owners. It is a known fact that children don’t develop such a habit until much later.  Some “super dogs” can even learn up to 250 words, a capability found only among humans and language learning apes.

Math, for those young or old, has been a sore point for many but scientists have found out through experimentation that dogs can understand simple math. TheStar.com (2009) found this out by evaluating dogs’ confusion “after they watched a specific number of treats get dropped behind a screen, then discovered that the actual number of treats was more or less than expected.”  Canines can count up to 5 and spot errors in simple arithmetic computations.

Quoting four studies on spatial problem solving abilities of dogs, Coren said the canines can understand the location of valued items (treats), better routes in the environment like fastest way to find a favorite chair and how to operate simple machines.

It is also interesting to note that dogs have a sense of fairness but not equity. In TheStar.com (2009) Stanley Coren, an expert on dog behavior and professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia states: “when researchers had two dogs perform simple tasks but only rewarded one, the unrewarded dog lost interest in participating.” However, he goes on to say that when one of the dogs is fed a “superior” treat, both stayed engaged, equally.

Again, The Star.com (2009) Professor Stanley Coren also states that dogs understand at least 20-40 commands or more.

The same article states that even though most dogs have the cognitive ability of 2 year olds, their social consciousness—an awareness of people, their ranking within the family and such—is as high as an adolescent or teenager. In other words, they are very interested in who is moving on, who is sleeping with whom and how others around them are being treated—and where they fit in.

Weber (2009) suggest that dogs and apes have some of the same basic emotions such as fear, anger, disgust and pleasure. But he also noted both animal groups are missing some of the more complex, learned emotions such as guilt. These kinds of emotions are “learned” and require more in-depth thinking.

What is interesting to any dog owner is that because dogs have been domesticated for so long, they can understand words and gestures. I can remember the many times when we owned a collie named Lady, how she would react to certain phrases and gestures such as, and “Are you hungry?” “Time to go potty,” and “Lady, what have you done?” and my favorite, “Lady, time for a bath.”

Most dogs also know and understand when we’re feeling down, when we’re ill or when we’re happy and respond appropriately. Because they have been domesticated for so long, they instinctively can spot our emotions and then respond to help us out.

Researchers have also found that intelligence seems to vary according to breeds, generally, but there is always an exception.

Hounds and terriers are less intelligent, while retrievers, border collies and herding dogs are more intelligent. And, it seems that smart dogs need more attention; much like children who are smarter and always seeking the attention and approval of their parents, siblings and friends.

The intelligence of canines is dependent on various factors including their breed, environment around them, training imparted by their handlers, and like with humans an occassional unexplainable intelligence factor, he said.

“Border Collies are number one; poodles are second followed by German Shepherds. Fourth on the list is Golden Retrievers; fifth Doberman; sixth Shetland Sheepdogs and finally Labrador retrievers,” the canine scientist said.

“There are three types of dog intelligence: instinctive (what the dog is bred to do), adaptive (how well the dog learns from its environment to solve problems) and working and obedience (the equivalent of ‘school learning’),” he said.  But as all parent know there is a lot more that goes into their children’s (2-legged or 4-legged) intelligence and sometimes the standard means of measurement do not tell the whole story.

Professor Stanley Coren also suggests that most dogs are capable of deceiving.  And anyone who owns or has owned a dog, knows that there are times when they do something wrong, they will go to great lengths to hide the guilty deed such as hiding a broken object, running away from the scene of a crime, etc.

Dogs can do many things that their wild relatives, such as the wolf, cannot do and this is because of their close association with humans; that bonding and domestication from being around us so long.

“Their stunning flashes of brilliance and creativity are reminders that they may not be Einsteins but are sure closer to humans than we thought,” the researcher from the University of British Columbia in Canada said at the 117th annual convention of American Psychological Association in Toronto on Saturday.

The American Psychological Association has more than 1.5 lakh members of psychologists, researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.

Professor Coren, canine researcher, who authored the book ‘How Dogs Think‘ said, “Canines use this intelligence to intentionally deceive their fellow dogs and people to earn their treats.  During a play the canines are as successful in deceiving humans as we are in deceiving them.”

And finally there are abilities like sensing a long list of illnesses and even death, by both dogs and cats, that we are just learning about; things humans cannot do.  So judgeing their level of intelligence by ours may not be totally fair either.

References:
The Star.com (2009).Rover’s as smart as the average tot. Retrieved August 11, 2009
from: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/678720
Weber, B. (2009) Pooches, people have more in common than previously thought: scientist.

By: Ask Marion/Just One More Pet


How Dogs Think How To Speak Dog

GoD and DoG

August 16, 2009 Posted by | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet and Animal Training, Pets, Success Stories, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Be Kind To Animals (And Report People Who Aren’t!!)

Ya know…There is a lot of animal abuse going on these days. And it just makes me sick, every time I hear  about those poor, defenseless animals, being abused.

What makes people do things like that? They must be out of their minds, to hurt all these furry little creatures, that are so sweet & loveable. What did these animals ever do, to deserve such treatment?  Let’s put a stop to this, now!! ! If you see or hear, of any abuse on these animals, please notify the authorities, immediately.

I have 5 dogs & 3 Cats, and some baby kittens. My dogs are…3 Chihuahua’s & 2 Beagles. My one Chihuahua, Molly, I rescued from an animal abuser, back in 2001.

She wouldn’t come near anyone for at least 2 month’s, she was that scared. After 2 month’s, she started coming to me, only. It took her, a whole year & a half, before she would go to anyone else, besides me. She was so scrawny looking, when I first got her, in 2001. She was a year old then. And now she’s so beautiful and loveable. There are still times, when she won’t go near someone, but she’ll always be that way, because animal’s are a lot like children. And, they all, never forget, how they’ve been treated. But, animal’s can sense, when not to go to someone, where children can’t sense that, but they as well, never forget what happened to them, which also makes them afraid of other people. And it’s really disgusting, that someone has to be abusive, like that!  Let’s put a stop to it now!!! Help fight, all this abuse!!!

Carol – AARP Dog Group

Carol is certainly right… and in order to change things we must all stand up and be heard, be their voices (or more sometimes) as the ASPCA says. Ask Marion/JOMP

Posted: Just One More Pet

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August 16, 2009 Posted by | animal abuse, Animal and Pet Photos, Animal Rescues, animals, Fostering and Rescue, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pet Adoption, Pet Blog, Pet Friendship and Love, Political Change, responsible pet ownership, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cow gives birth to calf with two heads

Jean-Baptiste Collard, a Belgian farmer, got the shock of a lifetime when one of his cows gave birth to a calf with two heads.

Published: 12:15PM BST 12 Aug 2009

Cow gives birth to calf with two heads

The mutant moo-er has two separate heads but only one brain, meaning both heads react simultaneously and in unison Photo: BARCROFT

Mr Collard oversaw what he expected to be a normal birth with the help of a local vet at his farm in Flamisoul, Belgium, last week.

But he got more than he bargained for. The mutant has two separate heads but only one brain, meaning both heads react simultaneously.

It also has four eyes and two mouths but only one pair of ears.

Surprised Mr Collard said: “I called the vet because when my cow was in labor, I noticed the birth might get complicated. The calf seemed too big.

“The legs came out first, so we put a rope around them and pulled the calf out, as usual.

“But then the vet cried out: ‘It has two heads!'”

“I immediately thought: ‘what an exit present for me, I’m thinking about retiring and now this happens’.”

“After an hour, I could slowly give it a bottle of milk. That’s when I noticed both tongues react at the same time. The vet later explained this is due to the fact that the calf only has one brain.

“I hope it goes well with my new calf, I’m already attached to it, it’s like a baby to me. And I see the mother is also crazy about her.”

The mother and calf are presently both well but the future of the calf is uncertain.  But for now… the calf is loved.

Source:  Telegraph.co.uk

Posted:  Just One More Pet

August 16, 2009 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, Success Stories, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , | Leave a comment