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Saving Ollie - Part 2 in a series about a shelter dog with serious behavior problems

Click to read part 1
Ann and Meredith returned Ollie to the shelter soon after our visit. AAF’s Executive Director, Eric Johnson, asked my advice about how to proceed. In other shelters I had worked with, the answer would have been obvious: euthanasia. At AAF, however, that option would not be considered before making every effort to improve Ollie’s behavior.

For now, I’ll dodge the question of whether committing resources to dogs like Ollie, rather than euthanizing them to make room for more “adoptable” dogs in need of scarce shelter space, is good policy. I’m hoping to clarify my thoughts on that issue with this series of posts. I’ll start with the first issue that any shelter considering keeping a dog like Ollie must evaluate: risk.

 

Finding the Time to Train

Most tasks must be scheduled and planned, as we all have very busy lives. Like any dog owner, I’m sure that you’ve had difficulty finding the time to do the training you’d like to do. There’s work, the kids, the spouse, the house, the garden and more!

 

Your Dog is Barking -- Are You Listening?

Two years ago on a bitterly cold February night, the terrier across the street from my father’s home began to bark uncontrollably, much to the puzzlement and consternation of her owners. In an attempt to determine what was bothering Winnie, they opened the door and let her outside, where she promptly raced across the street to my father’s garage (something she had never done before). When her owners went to retrieve her, they found my father lying on the garage floor with a broken leg.

 

The Outermost House

You’ve flipped through all the magazines in the waiting room, and heard the stories of countless animals as they filtered through the veterinary clinic with their owners. They arrive and leave again, bidding you good luck, and yet breathing a silent breath of relief that it is you who remain. The hours of waiting grow long when your pal of fourteen years is in the throes of an uncertain surgery. And so, you find yourself wandering the hallways, reading the numerous memorials, awards, and diplomas that paper the walls – anything to take your thoughts somewhere else for a few minutes.

 

The Dune Chronicles (second in an ongoing series)

It was 4 pm on a sun-drenched autumn day. The sun had begun it’s descent, making the temperature perfect for a four-mile trek in the Northern California hills. The dusky sky was ripening into a mottled rosy-violet curtain that would gradually darken to a deep blueberry hue. Flecks of silver stars dotted the atmosphere and a sliver of silvery moon was making an early appearance on the horizon.

 

Mojo's 13th Birthday

Mojo is my baby. Sure, he’s a 120-pound, fur-covered baby, but my baby nevertheless. He’s a gorgeous combination of malamute, german shepherd, rottweiler and wolf. Long, thick black hair with sparse tan markings, tall and long-bodied. Amber eyes and a thick, bushy tail, just a bit wolfy-looking. When he stands on his hind legs, he is taller than I am—okay, with me being 5’2” that’s not saying much, but still. Mojo doesn’t stand on his hind legs much these days; today is his 13th birthday.

 

Dog Training Secrets No One Else Knows

If I told you that I had a special gift for seeing through your dog’s behavior and pin-pointing the problem and solution almost instantaneously, would you be intrigued? What if I told you that I could impart this wisdom to you and enable you to communicate clearly with your pet, so as to control that pet’s behavior? How much would you pay to learn the secrets of dog training from an intuitive and gifted master?

 

Saving Ollie - Part 1 in a series on a shelter dog with serious behavior problems

I had little optimism for Ollie’s future as we concluded his initial behavior consultation. Homes for 140-pound dogs who bite people are in short supply, and Ollie seemed about to lose his. Ann and Meredith (not their real names) had adopted him from a shelter less than two months before our appointment. Their relationship started out wonderfully. The big goofy Harlequin Great Dane quickly bonded with his new family and spent his first 2 or 3 weeks charming their friends and neighbors. Then his behavior took a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse.

 

The Dune Chronicles: A little background….

When the time came for me to select my first new puppy in many years I proceeded slowly and carefully and put a lot of thought into it. Choosing a new dog to be your companion is a big decision, and as someone who works with animal shelters and their resident animals I have seen so many pairings gone awry. I know it is important to really think about lifestyle and expectations before getting a dog; and then there is lots of research to do to find the dog the will be the best match.

 

Dog Food Ads: Hope or Hype?

Dog Food Ads: Hope or Hype?

Have you ever seen that dog food commercial where the puppy scampers up the wooden porch steps to the adoring child? Thanks to the magic of television, the dog is then an adult, walking up those same stairs to the now-teenager. Fast-forward another few years and the dog is a senior, climbing slowly toward his loving adult owner. Do the math, and you know what comes next—reaching for the Kleenex.

 

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