Archive for October, 2008

Paws For Reading

October 18, 2008
I Hate My Therapy Dog Uniform

I Hate My Therapy Dog Uniform

Yesterday I trotted Stella down to the library to do Paws for Reading. This is a program where kids read out loud to your dog. Since most dogs aren’t real picky when it comes to how quickly a kid reads or if their pronunciation is proper, kids find it to be a non-threatening experience. This is especially true for kids who are self conscious about their reading skills.

The way it works: There are usually four dog therapy teams. Kids come in, 20 minutes at a shot, and read to your pup. It’s one on one. One kid to one dog. Usually they allow the kids to pick which dog they want to read to. Interestingly, just like adults, kids gravitate to a huge variety of different dogs…

Some like ’em fluffy
Some like ’em small
And some like ’em skinny
Skinny and tall.

Aside from some rooing over another Grey who was working, Stella was a superstar. And since Stella is tall, I had one little boy actually sitting underneath her crosslegged as she stood. Fool that I am, I did not have my camera and no, my phone, purchased back in the Stone Ages (18 months ago) has no camera. The pic here I took from home where I could force Stella to put on the uniform for five seconds while I snapped a picture. I’ve come to learn that Stella hates clothes so the $25 I spent on the uniform, aside from this photo, was pretty much a waste.

In regards to Hannibal TeethFace, she’s gone for now. But she’s never had issues with people. And, in fact, seems to love kids–must be the equal height issue. Not for one second do I ever worry about her around a child. They can pound her, be up in her grill, grab her by the neck–and not one sign ofTeethFace–ever.


A Picture Paints…

October 10, 2008

…about 750 words or so in my case. So in order to save a few, here’s a pic of TeethFace sleeping.

Reality Bit. Twice.

October 8, 2008

No, Stella didn’t bite anyone. But both she and I got bit last Friday by an elderly dog that just freaked out.

Here’s the deal. Stella got toothy and protective of me and her treats. The older dog didn’t take kindly to her and bit her on the snout–twice. I was collateral damage and got whacked in the finger.

Stella seemed to be unaffected. In the dog world I’m guessing this is a pretty minor deal–maybe one step up from a growl.

As for me, I’m on antibiotics for what appears to be a pretty small wound but I’m told that dog bites, especially to a hand, are not to be messed with.

This was a learning experience–big time. Yeah, the treats were working great in gaining control of her and getting her to come my way when she was getting too amped. But in a relatively narrow, crowded environment, treats can be a cause of stress and can accentuate possessive behavior. And in a narrow, crowded environment, Stella’s propensity to get amped is huge.

I realized that taking Stella to a beach, one without a huge amount of running room other than along the shore, can be very uncomfortable for her. *We* love the beach but maybe, in many instances, it’s been stressful for her to negotiate. Take her off the beach and put her in a nice big open space and there’s no growling, no TeethFace. No Hannibal Lechter appearances.

So no more beach unless we proceed with a lot more caution. And maybe it’s best to only do the beach once in a while and head towards more open spaces.

Dogs are always honest. Stella, now that I understand a piece of the puzzle better, has been saying to us, “I”m not comfortable here.” She’s been saying it in lots of ways. But I dunno–we’ve just not been listening. Last week was an eye and ear opener. Finally, we listened. And maybe, finally, those lambs will stop screaming.