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Monday, June 25, 2012

My First Two Weeks at Work

Working with dogs all day is HARD WORK!

I've got bruises from them jumping on my legs

My back kills me from bending over to pet them

and bathe them (Chloe post-bath)

Trying to keep peace among 92 dogs is challenging...

and for one minute spurts, boring
(Only one minute...I'm not kidding)

But with Westies like Chloe and  Dobermans like Cooper

Boston Terrier's like Sophie

Bloodhounds like Duke

Rottweilers like Fields

Cairn Terriers like Holly

chocolate labs like Brighton and Bailey

Shihtzus like Lily

St. Bernards like Rio

and his brother Jack

and of course my all time favorite...pit bull puppies like Zeus

Does it surprise you that 


Abacus update - Remember my enrichment dog? Last week I took him to his new foster home and he could not be happier. He gets along great with his three new dog siblings too.

He loved his new pool and thought it was funny to chase me with the hose. 

Yay Abacus!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Enrichment Buddy - Abacus

Stray Rescue started a new program called Rehabilitation and Enrichment Program (R.E.P.). Volunteers are assigned to dogs who have been in the shelter for over a year or who are doing poorly in the shelter - losing weight, spinning, etc. - or in the case of the dog I was assigned to, both.

To help make the dogs more adoptable, volunteers are asked to spend at least five hours a week with their dog, take them on outings, to training class, and on overnight visits if possible. The hotel near the shelter offered to let us use their rooms for overnights with the dogs if we can't take them to our homes. Blues hockey player Barrett Jackman is a huge Stray Rescue advocate, and since he leaves for the offseason, he's offered his St. Louis home (with a caretaker) for that as well.

I was assigned to Abacus. He is labeled "staff approved volunteers only." That means only certain volunteers are allowed to walk him because he humps and nips people and bites at the leash. He is crazy. He's not mean or aggressive, he just has so much energy that he doesn't know what to do. In his "apartment," he jumps up one side and down the other in a sort of rhythmic fashion.

The first time I tried to get him out of his apartment he bit me in the upper thigh as soon as I opened the door. My heart was absolutely pounding and I slammed the door shut. How am I going to enrich him if I can't even get him out! But I love a challenge and was not about to let him intimidate me. So I opened the door again and let him know who was boss. He jumped and jumped and tried to run out. But I stood tall, blocked him with my legs to prevent him from escaping, and demanded that he "SIT!"

And he did.

As soon as I leashed him and walked him out he was an angel.

We got in the car and headed to the park. Apparently the water looked inviting because he jumped right in. I still had him by the leash, so I fished him out and he gave me a look like, "What'd you push me in for?!"

After hanging out at the fountain, I gave him an antler to chew on; he loved it.

See the halter he has on in this picture? He had it on because if a regular leash was used, he pulled so hard that he choked himself. And rather than having to take it off and put it on twice a day for his walks, they left it on 24/7. His skin was rubbed raw under his legs. I insisted it be taken off, and it was. Stray Rescue is amazing and they do a wonderful job, but with so many dogs, sometimes a special advocate is needed. Which is why I love this R.E.P. program!

Even though he looks happy here, he's so much happier without the halter.

For a few days in a row I picked him up and took him to the park. We practiced loose leash walking and he did great. If he strayed from my side at all, I gave him a little tug and he walked right next to me. He looked up at me so proud that he was behaving. He honestly reminds me of a 6-year-old with ADHD.

Yesterday I took him to a restaurant called Luvy Duvy's, where the servers bring dogs a plate of food and bowl of ice water. I could tell he'd never been to a restaurant. He wiggled his whole behind and wagged his tail, jumping on the table and knocking chairs over like a bull in a china shop. He acted friendly and wanted to say hi to everyone, but until I get to know him better I have to keep him close to me.

It took 15 minutes for him to settle down.

Using his bacon, cheese and chicken platter, I worked with him on "leave it." At first he wondered why in the world I would leave a perfectly good piece of bacon sitting on the ground, so he thought he'd help out by trying to pick it up. He finally figured out that if he did leave it he would eventually get to EAT it!

The server, who knew I was a Stray Rescue volunteer, came over later and said my lunch was free and that the owner wanted me "not to give up on the dog." It was so unexpected that I got teary.

I showed Larry this picture and he said, "He is not a cute dog." Okay, well maybe not in the typical cute dog sense, but I think he's adorable.

We piled back in the car after lunch. He laid down, so I thought he'd go to sleep, but as soon as I stopped at a stop light or stop sign he shot up in the seat, like "Do I have to go back to the shelter already?!" I wanted him to relax, so I drove up and down the highway and stroked his sweet head while he slept.

Poor Abacus just needs someone to love him. If I can be his little bit of heaven by showing him love until his forever person comes along, I will do that for him.



Thursday, June 7, 2012


Guess who got a job? Moi.  I interviewed yesterday at The Watering Bowl (TWB), a doggy daycare and boarding facility, and was hired on the spot. My friend Donna knows the owner. They had 78 (78!!) dogs running around. When I walked into the yard, all 78 of them came up to me and either sniffed me or jumped on me. It was so funny. There were two Great Danes, a mom and son, who were as big as horses. They had every kind of dog you could imagine...Bull Dogs and Dachshunds and Chihuahuas and Golden Retrievers and Pit Bulls! I think I'm going to love it.

Google Image (not from Watering Bowl)
WHO let the dogs out: Me! Me me me me me...meeeee!

WHAT I'll do:  Walk around while the dogs play, monitor them and prevent play from getting too rough, give baths to dogs whose owners want them cleaned before picking them up, check dogs in and out at front desk, feed dogs who need to be fed three times a day, clean poop and pee from yard, take pictures (at least two of each dog) and post on TWB Facebook page.

WHERE:  In South County - about 20 minutes away without traffic. Could be 30 or 40 with traffic. They're opening a new place in Brentwood in three or four weeks, so hopefully I'll get to work there since it's closer to me.

WHY I got a job:  Eric just started college, so I need to at least help him pay for it. He'll have to get a loan if he doesn't end up getting a basketball scholarship. Jason was accepted yesterday into Washington University School of Business Master's program...and it is not cheap. My tuition reimbursement from Wash U. would have come in handy just about now :(  Too bad I quit.

WHEN:  I start tomorrow 1:30-8:30. I told him I only want to work part-time, but I think it's going to be between 25-30 hours a week.

HOW much: $8/hour (brutal) and  HOW am I going to go on vacation with Larry and go on our cross-country motorcycle ride and go to Lake of the Ozarks with friends and spend the winters in Florida:  Win Powerball.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Our Month in Pictures - May

I hope your head doesn't spin when looking at these was a busy month!!

Here we go...

I went hiking with my friend Donna. We took her dogs this time instead of Stray Rescue dogs. They needed some fun too :)

This is her dog Funny Bone. Donna adopted her from Stray Rescue and kept her name. She's hilarious. She wanted to sit on my lap, and she's not exactly a lap dog, as you can see...

Donna and her pack. And she has two more at home!

Her son's dog Newton, who is visiting for the summer, and Funny Bone

My Stray Rescue friend Kelly had a doggie playdate at her house. A neighbor came over to see what the heck was going on

I went on a Stray Rescue hike and was paired up with Bitberger. I've never met a dog with more personality. He was an absolute riot. He sat in the front with me on the way to the trail

Donna took this of us on our way there. Ha!

 Bitberger after the hike. He was sprawled from the back seat to the front

A random pic I took of a St. Bernard in the back of this little car. It was so funny

I went with some Stray Rescue friends out to lunch. The shelter encourages us to take dogs out for a few hours or for the whole day, so we took Shaq with us. That's me with Shaq. He's awesome!

We took them to a place downtown called Luvy Duvy's. Every dog gets his own special plate. Check out this feast of bacon, cheese, chicken chunks and chips

 Another lunch date with Stray Rescue friends and shelter dogs

My friend Kelly has 7 dogs right now - 4 of her own and 3 fosters. I try to take her fosters out when I can since she works full time. This is Huber. I love him. And he loves the water. But I didn't let him go in.
(Conway Park) 

I took this adorable picture of Huber, and Kelly submitted it to SR to be his bio pic on the website. They changed it right away and he has some people looking at him tonight! I hope he gets adopted. He's such a good boy.

My friend Donna got in the middle of a dog fight (her own dogs) and we took her to the ER. She ended up having stitches in her ankle, back of her leg and in her hand.  She is one tough cookie. And so am I...I watched while they cleaned and stitched her wounds and didn't even faint.

I hooked up my friend Katie (hi Katie!) and her husband Jeff with a new rescue puppy. Is he not the cutest thing you've ever seen?! They named him Johnny Cash. Not sure if they'll call him Johnny or Cash. Most of their dogs have had musician names - Crosby, Garcia, Marley, Nash

Why does my dog think she's allowed on the table?

And in the serving tray?

Stray Rescue renovated the shelter and look how cute the new bathroom signs are...

Custom vending machine

My stepdaughter Julie's friend Jen got married. I've known her since she was 14.

Julie's friend Gina's dad (Jim) and Larry masquerading at the wedding reception

And last but not least, Eric's graduation, which was held in this beautiful cathedral

 You can see Eric's tall self in the back

Checking his diploma to make sure he really graduated...

Yay!!! He did it!

Krista, E, and Me

Graduation dinner with Krista, Brian, his wife Marlys, Alyssa, Eric, Jason and Larry

Oops, one more thing..

Eric played in the Missouri All-Star game. They lost in the semi-finals, but it was an honor for him to be invited to play. #10

I forgot to say on the other post that the night before Eric was leaving to go to Mizzou, Phil Pressey called and asked if Eric could pick him and Alex Oriakhi up from the airport at 8:00 the next morning and drive them to Mizzou. So somehow Phil Pressey sat in the back seat of Eric's Jetta behind 6'9" 240-something pound Alex and 6'11" Eric for the hour and 45 minute drive. That must have been an interesting ride.

Was that a whirlwind, or what?

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