Posts Tagged ‘dog’

My Mom and Her Dog Solo

April 10, 2014

I’m here in Oregon with my mom. She is still doing well, but she says her muscles are getting weaker and her eyesight worse. Despite this, her spirits are still up. Something happened regarding her dog Solo, though, that has got her down and I don’t know what to do.

My mom spent most of her life in Oregon before moving to Missouri a few years ago. Now with this diagnosis, she wanted to go back home to Oregon. So we got her a plane ticket and she flew ahead and is staying with a dear friend while also getting to see my sisters and brother and her niece and nephews. My stepdad stayed behind in Missouri to wrap up things at their property.

The plan for my stepdad and their dog Solo was that after my stepdad received their social security check, which was supposed to include a year’s worth of back pay, he was going to buy a vehicle, rent a trailer, pack up all his and my mom’s stuff, and drive with their dog Solo to Oregon. I was going to go along to help with the long drive.

The check never came, so my stepdad and I bought plane tickets to Oregon instead. I arrived Tuesday. He was supposed to arrive yesterday with Solo. He did arrive, but unfortunately the airline wouldn’t take Solo. They said her travel crate wasn’t airline approved. Luckily, the friend that had brought my stepdad to the airport was able to take Solo back home.

At this very moment, Solo is still in Missouri staying all by herself at my mom and stepdad’s old place. Their friend lives very nearby and is coming by a few times a day to feed and care for her. But otherwise, Solo is all alone.

My mom and stepdad are currently trying to figure out what to do. The coordination of all this is tricky at such a long distance. Can they count on this friend to do the legwork on finding the right crate and on making another four hour round trip to the airport to drop Solo off? I hope so. Not only that, this friend has to make sure he doesn’t forget Solo’s traveling paperwork and that this trip happens within a specified period before the paperwork expires. Otherwise, he will also have to take Solo to the vet again to get re-certified. And my mom and stepdad have to find a way to send this friend enough money to cover the crate, gas expense, and plane ticket expense.

I honestly can’t see this friend doing all this. I may be wrong, but I am still worried. I can only imagine how worried my mom and stepdad are too. This is what I am thinking of doing. After I get back home to Kansas on Sunday evening, I can work on getting an airline approved crate. I can also try to find the time to make the five hour trip to my mom’s old place in Missouri. I’d have to stay overnight, then make the two hour drive to the airport with Solo myself. From there, it is another three hour drive back to Kansas.

Finding the time to do this is tricky. I’m still packing our things for our move to Iowa. And I also have to coordinate painters, flooring people, landscapers, etc. in order to fix up our house so it can be put on the market. I WILL do whatever I need to get Solo reunited with my mom and stepdad. But if anyone has any better ideas, I’d love to hear them.

I think I’ve told you that Solo is a special needs dog and that she came from a terrible dog hoarding situation. As a result of her rescue by my mom and stepdad, Solo is highly protective of them and very close to them. She needs them as much as they need her. My mom especially needs her.

Update on Solo
My mom and stepdad found two friends in Missouri who can help out. One friend is going to find an airline approved crate. And the other friend will take Solo to the airport. Yay! :)

How to Deal With Your Dog’s Destructive Behavior

March 13, 2014

Puppy biting shoe

As you may have suspected from my previous post, I am taking a bit of a break from blogging in order to spend time with my mom. So what I have here is a great and informative article written by Helen Cole:

It’s normal for dogs to chew, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When chewing becomes destructive, however, you must control the behavior to keep your pet safe and your belongings intact. Learn more about why your dog chews to prevent this inappropriate use of teeth:

Reasons for Destructive Chewing and How to Prevent It

Dogs chew for a variety of reasons. Puppies do so while they are teething to relieve pain and help adult teeth break through, according to the Humane Society of the U.S. By providing your puppy with an appropriate chew toy, you help her feel better while also teaching what what is appropriate to chew. Anytime her teeth get too close to a furniture leg or other off-limits item, interrupt with a loud noise, such as a clap, then offer an appropriate toy and provide praise when she takes it.

Kong offers a line of chew toys for puppies. They feature soft rubber and are freezable to provide numbing relief. You can find these products at pet supply stores.

A poorly trained puppy can grow into a destructive chewer. That being said, certain circumstances can cause even a well-trained adult dog to chew. They include:

  • Medical issue — A poor diet or intestinal parasite can lead to pica, an abnormal desire to eat substances not normally eaten, which can be mistaken for inappropriate chewing, veterinarian Dr. Kristy Conn points out. She also states that gastrointestinal problems can cause nausea, which can trigger chewing as a way to cope. She recommends seeing your vet to rule out such issues.
  • Separation anxiety — If, in addition to destructive chewing, your dog whines, barks, paces and forgets his housetraining when you are away, the cause may be separation anxiety, according to the ASPCA. The organization offers a lengthy description of this behavioral problem as well as ways to deal with it.
  • Boredom — If you rule out a medical issue and separation anxiety, simple boredom could be the cause. Try upping the physical and mental stimulation you give your animal. Add another walk to your daily routine or hit the dog park for off-leash play with other dogs. Food and treat puzzle toys engage a dog’s mind. Nina Ottosson toys, for example, require your dog to use his mind — plus nose and paw — to get a treat.

No matter the reason for destructive chewing, you must control both your dog’s behavior and access to items you don’t want chewed. Move what you can out of reach and spray taste deterrent on what you can’t, such as furniture. Crate your dog when you cannot provide supervision.

If you catch inappropriate chewing in the act, the Humane Society recommends the same actions as given for puppies. Never punish after the fact, as your dog cannot associate the correction with something done even a few minutes ago.

A Separate Issue: Fabric Sucking and Licking

If your dog doesn’t chew but instead sucks and licks on your fabric furniture, the above advice works as well. Instead of using a taste deterrent spray, which could stain the fabric, invest in removable covers for your furniture. Wayfair.com, for example, sells machine-washable futon covers that are easily replaced.

Back to me, Dawn. I have been lucky these past several years in that I’ve had very little problems with Maya and Pierson chewing on things they are not supposed to. The last time I had issues with a chewing dog was with Sephi in 2002 when the little devil dog chewed up all my bibles! What are some crazy experiences you’ve had with your dog chewing?

Help Working with Different Leash Reactive Behaviors

March 3, 2014

Does your dog react when he’s on a leash and sees another dog? The first thing to do is admit you have a problem.

Dog Pierson Sitting

Hi. My name is Pierson and if you’re a dog, I’m probably not going to like you. (Well, unless you’re Maya. I love Maya.) It’s nothing personal. If you’re a big dog, I go into protect-mode. If you’re a little dog, my prey-drive kicks in.

Dog Maya on the Chair

Hi. My name is Maya and I love other dogs. Well, except Pierson. Okay, I like him most of the time, except when he’s being a pest. Then I just tolerate him. But anyway, when I see another dog, I just get so happy that I start barking and lunging.

Pierson not liking dogs and Maya loving them both cause a leash reactive behavior. But because the causes are different, they require a different approach. To be honest, I have had more success dealing with Pierson’s aggressive behavior than with Maya’s excitement behavior. Just how do you deal with a crazy Labrador with GLS, anyway? (BTW, GLS stands for Goofy Lab Syndrome.)

If I see another dog while walking either Maya or Pierson, the first thing I do is cross the street. Because it has been more difficult for me to get their attention with the look command while still walking, I also make them sit. I give the look command and reward. I do this a few times until the other dog is passed.

This method works very well with Pierson unless the other dog reacts. He has made a lot of progress. However, this method is not working as well for Maya. When Maya gets excited about something, it is very difficult to distract her. She is so intent on what she sees (the other dog), that I couldn’t tempt her with a big juicy steak.

With Maya, I need to add another element to her training. If I see that she is going to start reacting, I need to turn her around and go the other way. So far, this is working, but it is not always possible for us to turn around. And I’m curious to know how doing this will eventually help her learn not to react. Any ideas on what training methods I can use for Maya? Keep in mind that when Maya gets excited, nothing, and I mean nothing can distract her. Not treats, not collars, not commands, nothing.

Challenges of a Leash Reactive Dog

February 13, 2014

Progress
Pierson has made a lot of progress with being better on his leash when he sees another dog. Two things helped. First, we cross the street when we see another dog. I have Pierson sit and I use the “look” command to distract him. He gets rewarded with lots of treats every time he pays attention to me and not the other dog. Second, I was fortunate enough to find a group of people who were willing to get together once a week or so to help work with our dog’s leash reactive behaviors. We walked our dogs at a distance from each other and the distance depended on our dogs’ own individual thresholds. Pierson was always last in line and furthest away. But by the end of fall, he was able to get within a few feet of those other dogs without reacting.

Pierson Group Walk Group Photo

Everyone is proud of Pierson’s progress.

There have been four major challenges in trying to overcome Pierson’s leash reactive behavior:

Challenge – Walking Two Dogs
Pierson’s leash reactive behavior is due to his high prey drive. He could even be called aggressive, although it is difficult to imagine such a cute ball of fuzz with a girly bark as aggressive. But that is what it is. He whines, he barks, and he lunges. Maya’s leash reactive behavior, on the other hand, is due to excitement. She loves other dogs and really wants to go say hi. She barks and lunges too, but only because she is so happy.

Needless to say, I can’t walk Maya and Pierson together. Maya’s happy bark makes Pierson’s aggressive bark more intense, and vice versa. So in order to properly work on their behaviors separately, I need to walk them one at a time. By the way, the “look” command does not work on Maya when she is excited. I need to find a different training technique for her.

Pull No More dog harness

First I walk Pierson, then I walk Maya.

Challenge – Loose Dogs
One day when I was walking with this group down a nature trail, someone coming up from the other direction had two dogs not on a leash. When the dogs saw us, they ran towards us. Their mom called them but they didn’t listen. They ran straight for Pierson. In order to keep something terrible from happening, I quickly picked Pierson up out of the way. Luckily the two dogs were small. That would not have worked if the dogs had been bigger. The lady was apologetic but she didn’t really grasp what had almost happened. Luckily, the group of people I was with explained to her just how close her dogs had come to being injured. Having a good recall is extremely important, and this trail was not an off-leash trail. I think the reality of the situation sunk in and I hope she learned her lesson.

A similar situation happened in my own neighborhood. A Lhasa named Barkley is often allowed off leash in his front yard when his mom is out with him. I have met Barkley a number of times and know that he usually has a great recall. But one day, there was just something about Pierson that he had to investigate head on. I picked Pierson up out of the way. Barkley’s mom kept saying that Barkley was friendly. I told her I knew that, but my Pierson was not. She finally understood. And the next time I met her while we were both walking our dogs, she called Barkley back and put his leash on while I went across the street. She complemented me on being so responsible.

Challenge – Other Leash Reactive Dogs
Pierson is very good about paying attention to me when we cross the street and I use the “look” command. It works most of the time. The only time it doesn’t work is when the other dog is also leash reactive. If the other dog reacts, Pierson does to and no amount of bribing with treats will distract him.

Pierson on a Leash with Look Command

The “look” command helps me to distract Pierson whenever we see someone else walking their dog.

Challenge – Winter, Fewer Dogs
We are getting a little out of practice this winter. Even though I still try to walk Maya and Pierson every day, we seldom see other dogs. In fact, we have gone over an entire week without running into any other dogs. I fear Pierson will be greatly out of practice when spring arrives.

Do you have a leash reactive dog? If so, what are your challenges?

See what other people with leash reactive dogs are doing to manage the behavior in the WOOF blog hop below.

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The Rest of Pierson’s Gotcha Story – Part I

January 27, 2014
Pierson at Pierson Park 1

Stray dog living at Pierson Park in Kansas City, Kansas in December-January 2012.

On January 10th, Pierson’s official Gotcha Day, I told you about how he was finally caught after living in a park as a stray for nearly a month. But his adventure didn’t stop there. Coming into a strange new home took some adjustment. So let me tell you the rest of Pierson’s story.

Take Him to the Shelter?
When we first started trying to catch this stray dog, my husband didn’t think it would be a good idea to take in a stray. He was worried about bringing in a dog with unknown behaviors and unknown diseases. He suggested that if we catch this dog, we should take him to the humane society, let him go through the adoption process, and then adopt him. There are some no-kill shelters in the Kansas City area, so it was not an unreasonable request. Also, considering he was a stray, it would give his previous owners a chance to claim him.

Pierson Playing with Toy 001

The day Pierson first felt comfortable enough to play in his new home.

No, I want to Keep Him
But when I finally got Pierson in the car, I did not want to take him to the shelter. So on the 40 minute drive home, I began to think of reasons why we should just keep him. For one, it was unlikely he would be claimed. He had no collar and already been living in the park for three weeks. And an officer who had also been trying to catch him said she called local shelters and no one had reported a dog of his description as missing.

Prepared to Beg
When I got him home, I introduced Pierson to Maya. He didn’t like her, but at least he didn’t outright attack her. There was hope. So I called my husband at work, prepared to present my argument about why we should keep him rather than let him go to the shelter first. To my surprise, it didn’t take much to convince him. All I had to do was give Pierson a bath and take him to the vet.

Maya and Pierson 006

Pierson loves to chase and Maya loves to be chased.

Fleas and Ticks
I took Pierson to Pawsh Wash, a doggie boutique with half of the store dedicated to grooming. I could pay someone to bathe Pierson, or I could pay a smaller fee and use their facilities to bathe him myself. I opted for the later. Pierson was so well behaved during his bath! I must have been there for an hour-and-a-half combing him, bathing him, and pulling out all the ticks. One of the staff at Pawsh Wash helped me even though I had opted to not to pay for the full grooming service. I believe it was Chelsea who helped me. One of the other staff members helped me pick out a good nutritious food for Pierson. Chelsea and all the Pawsh Wash staff are PAWSOME!

Vet
Next stop was the vet’s office. It was an easy visit. Except for the fact you could feel his ribs, there were no visible signs of illness. Blood work was done and vaccines were given.

Maya & Pierson 005

Pierson warmed up to Maya rather quickly.

Smart Dog?
Remember the post on the 10th of this month where I told you we got Pierson because my husband said he wanted a smart dog? Someone asked if my husband was satisfied with Pierson’s intelligence. My husband has very little experience with dogs, so he didn’t really know what he meant by a smart dog. But he is very happy with Pierson, despite a few mishaps. What mishaps, you ask? Come back for Part 2 tomorrow where I tell you about Pierson’s emergency room visit three days after we brought him home.

Rocky Goes Over the Rainbow Bridge

January 26, 2014
Rocky the Dog on Couch

Rocky has gone over the Rainbow Bridge.

My mom just called me. She said her dog Rocky died in his sleep last night.

Rocky was very special to my mom and stepdad. Like me, my mom has had dogs her entire life. That was, until she lost Beethoven, her poodle. After Beethoven, she swore she would never get another dog because it hurt so much when they left. But then she met my stepdad. After they married, they went searching for a dog together and opted to search through Craig’s List.

Now I know you’ve heard bad things about getting dogs on craigslist. But this was before a lot of people posing as rescue groups sold their dogs there. And before there was a known problem about people in dog fighting getting bait dogs off unsuspecting families looking to rehome their dogs. Rocky was from an actual family who was trying to find a home for him because they realized they didn’t have time for him and being tied up in the back yard was no life for a dog.

My mom and stepdad fell in love with Rocky right away. One special trait of Rocky is that he was so lovable. I mean really really lovable. If you didn’t like dogs and you met Rocky, he would impose himself on you until you learned to love him. And there was just something about his black eye, black lip, and his small ears compared to his big head. He was just too cute.

Rocky What's Up?

Seriously, how could you not fall in love with this goofy face?

Portrait of Rocky's Happy Face

Rocky has one black eye and one black lip. Silly-cute.

Another special trait about Rocky is he was not very bright. My mom and stepdad often joked about how dumb Rocky was. But they made fun of him lovingly. They didn’t care that he wasn’t smart. He was loveable.

Rocky Standing Over Mom

Rocky like to be on top of things, like laps, shoulders, etc.

Rocky also had a cute way about hogging the bed. If my mom went to bed before my stepdad, Rocky would lay next to her. Then when my stepdad went to bed and try to get Rocky to move, Rocky would grumble about it for a bit before he’d decide to move.

Rocky Sleeping

Rocky would complain if he was told to move from his spot on the bed.

Yes, Rocky was a very special dog. My mom and stepdad are understandably upset. Me too. I’m crying as I write this. It is going to be strange visiting my mom next time and not having a 75 pound dog rest his head on my shoulder or try to climb in my lap. We will all miss you Rocky. I’m glad your passing was peaceful and I am positive you’ve found some friends to play with over the Rainbow Bridge.

Rocky and the Snowman 2

My mom’s dog Rocky and his twin brother.

Tips to Help Keep Your Dog Happy and Stress Free During the Holidays

December 20, 2013

I wasn’t going to write a holiday pet post since everyone else is doing the same thing. But Ryan Novas offered to write one for me and this is a great article:

Cat Under Christmas Tree

With all of the visitors, travel, food and general stress that can come along with the holidays, they can be hard on a person, so just imagine what all of this is like for a dog who doesn’t even understand what is going on!  Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take that may help your dog deal with all the stress and stay happy.  From keeping your pet away from ornaments and wrapper paper, to keeping them on their routine, here are 5 things you can do to help keep your pet happy through the holidays.

1. Keep your dog away from the Christmas trees and presents

Bows, bells and boxes might mean presents and ornaments to us, but for a curious dog, these may just be things to explore and chew on.   Maybe you spent an eternity picking out the the perfect pair of dog slippers and then wrapped them up.  However, it may only take your furry friend just a second or two to tear off the wrapping paper and turn them into their newest chew toy. You may want to keep the room with the tree and presents off limits to the dog until everything has been cleaned up and put away.

2. Keep your dog on his or her routine

With everyone zipping around from one party to another, cooking, eating, and shopping, it can be hard to keep a schedule.  Despite this, keeping to your dog’s normal routine can help bring a little bit of normalcy back into their lives.  Try to make sure you are still feeding and walking your dog at the same time every day, as the familiar structure can be a relief to them in times when they may be feeling ignored.

3. Have a plan for when guests arrive

Some dogs are terrific with guests, and others aren’t.  You probably know which one yours is, and acting accordingly may save everyone human and canine plenty of stress .  If your dog is just jumpy around guests, take them for a walk, play fetch, and get them tired out beforehand.  If this isn’t enough to keep your dog on his or her best behavior, you should probably just have him or her secured in another room with a closed door before anyone sets foot in your home.

4. Let guests know the rules for your dog

Just like it is important for your dog to be on his or her best behavior around the guests, it can also be important to let your visitors know what is and isn’t ok to do with your dog.  This can mean letting adults know it isn’t ok to share bits of food with your dog during the holiday feast, or letting kids know not to pull puppy tails.  Taking these preventative steps may help make everything go smoothly and safely for your dog during the holidays.

5. Give them something special

Even if you follow all of the above steps, your dog may still get stressed out during the holidays.  So, why not show a little compassion and holiday spirit by doing something special for them?  Maybe give your furry friend that extra treat, a long belly scratch, a new dog toy or invite their friend along to the dog park.

Maya Playing with Killer's Toy 4

Maya is never short on toys to play with.

Even though most people consider the holidays something to look forward to, they can also be stressful.  Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to make them easier for your dog.   From keeping them out of areas with sparkly lights and gifts that can become chew toys, to letting your guests know what is and isn’t ok, these tips should help you to keep your dog and happy and safe through the holidays.

Alternatives to Giving a Pet as a Gift

December 16, 2013
			<link href="http://www.petautosafetyblog.com/pet-care/general-information/1659-instead-of-a-puppy-or-kitten-under-the-christmas-tree/" rel="canonical" />
Christmas Puppy

Puppy for Christmas?

The original article was paraphrased from an article I posted here previously and rewritten on PetAutoSafetyBlog. It was a good article and worth repeating. Pets are great, but they may not be the best Christmas gifts. Here is why and what you can do instead of giving a puppy or kitten instead:

Picking out a Pet is a Family Event
If you are considering giving your child or loved one a puppy or kitten for Christmas, consider giving a gift certificate or a promise note instead. This way the entire family can get together and decide which pet is perfect for everyone. If done after Christmas, this will also help all the pets which have ended up in the shelter because they were given as gifts and not wanted. This happens more often than you think so waiting until the entire family is ready and can decide together helps both your family and the pets that found themselves homeless.

Picking out a Pet is a Personal Experience
You wouldn’t go pick out someone else’s wedding dress, would you? The puppy or kitten you think is perfect may not be the ideal pet for the person you are picking it out for. Even if that person described every detail about what they want in a pet, it’s like finding the perfect wedding dress – the right pet is chosen based not just on a description but also on emotion. Also, that person may not really be ready for a pet. By giving a promise note instead, they can choose when the time is most right for them. The holidays are already overwhelming. It might be best not to overwhelm things more with a little fur-ball of mischief.

Give a Stuffed Animal with a Promise Note Instead
If you know for a fact that a certain person really wants a puppy or kitten for Christmas, giving a stuffed one along with a promise note instead is a very creative idea. This allows them to pick out a real live pet themselves and you have still given a gift on that very special day.

Give a Donation in Someone’s Name
Now that you know how many pets are abandoned after the holidays because people weren’t really ready for them, you can give homeless pets and a person you care about a gift by donating in their name to a shelter or rescue group. If someone you know lost a pet recently, giving the gift in their pet’s name is an even better idea.

Promise to Volunteer
If a good friend or family member wants a pet but you are concerned a pet may be too much for them to handle, give the gift of agreeing to volunteer at an animal shelter together. This way, the person can see how much work is involved in caring for a pet. They might discover they don’t really want a puppy or kitten after all, or they might find out they are allergic to animals. Also, if the person doesn’t have time to get together with you, this might be a sign that they wouldn’t have time for a puppy or kitten either.

Please don’t buy a pet for Christmas this year. Consider the above alternatives instead and save one of the animals who were given up because someone wasn’t ready.

Pierson’s Bark Control Collar Experience

December 2, 2013
PetSafe Bark Control Collar

I bought this bark control collar, PetSafe brand, from Petco.

I really don’t like the idea of using “shock” collars in training. I don’t necessarily disagree with the use of a static correction collar so long as they are used responsibly and not exclusively. But I just haven’t been able to bring myself to use one. At least, not until this week. On Black Friday, I gave in and bought a bark control collar for Pierson.

I’ve been trying several techniques, including these tips on how to get your dog to stop barking. But Pierson just doesn’t get it. He wants to bark and when he wants to bark nothing has been working to stop him. Since I have roommates with a three-month old baby, I realized that I’ve got to take more drastic measures. I can’t imagine what it’s like for my roommate to finally get her baby to sleep, only to have Pierson bark at a falling leaf or some other trivial sound.

Another situation where it will be important for Pierson not to bark so much will be when I move. In a year or two after I get my degree, I will likely need to relocate for a new job. And I’ve decided that I do not want to live in a house. I want to live in an apartment where someone else is responsible for maintenance and for mowing the lawn. In order not to annoy neighbors, it will be important to keep Pierson from barking so much.

Pierson Petco Antlers Why

On Black Friday, Petco was giving away free antlers. I got a pair for Pierson along with his bark control collar. Pierson usually likes getting stuff from Petco, but not this time.

So now I have a new bark control collar with six levels of static correction. It is a PetSafe brand and I bought it at Petco. A testimonial printed on the box says it helps to dramatically reduce barking by the second day. Yeah right, I thought. We’ll see about that. But believe it or not, it has really helped.

It was so funny the first time Pierson barked and got a mild static correction. The box says the static correction does not hurt the dog, but may startle them. Startle is right. He jumped straight up in the weirdest fashion. I know I shouldn’t have laughed at him, but I just couldn’t help it.

By the end of the day, Pierson was being more careful about what he barked at. He still barks at certain things, but only once or twice, three times at the most. Or he would whine or give a quiet yip instead. Such wonderful improvement compared to his usual barking fits.

I don’t necessarily recommend a bark control collar except in extreme circumstances or when all other methods fail. In fact, I feel a little guilty about resorting to it. I keep asking myself, Is this method really necessary? Am I taking a shortcut to proper training? But on the other hand, I am really enjoying the peace and quiet. And he doesn’t seem adversely affected by it. He is still his happy go-lucky boy.

Have you ever used a correction collar? Tips? Advice?

Please note, this review was not sponsored in any way. I bought this product with my own money with the only expectation that it would help curb Pierson’s barking. Sorry I don’t have a photo of Pierson wearing the collar. It is difficult to see through all his fluff.

Thank Goodness for Maya

November 29, 2013
Maya in Pet Kennel

Maya was three months old when I got her, and about 20lbs. What a cute little booger she was!

Maya’s adoption papers put her birthday as August 25th, 2007. However, it wasn’t until right after Thanksgiving of 2007 that I got her. So while I am giving thanks for all my blessings this holiday season, I have an extra special reason to be thankful – my Maya Papaya.

Sephi had been my only dog for many years. I’ve wanted another dog for some time, but kept putting it off. Around October of 2007 my boss started allowing me to work from home. This gave me more of an opportunity to take care of another dog.

I did not go through a shelter or rescue group because I had a misconception about them not allowing a person who lived in a one bedroom apartment to adopt a large dog, especially if that person already had one large dog. (I knew I wanted a larger dog, at least Sephi’s size.) My misconception arose because I used to work at an animal shelter years ago, and their policy was very strict about this.

So I did an online search, which led me to craigslist, and that search led me to an adorable Labrador puppy named Dixie. It was love at first sight, and not just because she was so cute. A Labrador was the perfect breed because I needed a laid back breed that would be unlikely to challenge Sephi’s strong alpha characteristics. (I had tried taking in a stray dog I found running around the apartment complex only to have him and Sephi constantly fight with one another. I ended up giving the stray dog to one of the maintenance people who worked at my apartment complex.)

I contacted the woman who posted about this cute Labrador puppy on craigslist right away, and got a quick response. I less than 30 minutes after speaking to her, I made an ATM withdrawal for some cash and drove on over to meet Dixie.

The first thing Dixie did was jump and lick like the maniac puppy that she was. The woman said, “Oh, she never does that!” And she kept saying it over and over again as though she thought I wouldn’t want the puppy if it was too rambunctious. Perhaps someone else had taken a look at Dixie and decided she was too much. But I know puppies and had no problem with Dixie’s excited behavior. My mind was made up.

Maya Puppy

How could you not fall in love with such a cute little stinker?

I spoke to the woman a bit about why she was giving up the puppy and she said it was because she just didn’t have time for it. I noticed the woman had two toddlers and an infant to care for and completely understood. This woman had her hands majorly full. I asked her if there was anyone else showing interest in the puppy and she said no. So she gave me Dixie, the rest of Dixie’s food, and Dixie’s adoption papers. I gave her the money, which was the exact same amount she had paid to adopt Dixie, and we were on our way!

On the way home, I realized I should have gotten a dog seat belt for Dixie. She kept trying to climb in my lap and I ran a red light while trying to push her away. Thank goodness nothing happened!

Maya in Car Wearing Dog Seat Belt

Phone photo of Maya’s second trip in the car after I got her a dog seat belt. She’s always had such a big nose.

When I got home, I started trying to think of a different name for Dixie. Check out my post on how I came up with the name Maya.

Here we are, six years later, and Maya and I are as happy as can be. I shudder to think about the kind of life Maya could have led if that woman hadn’t decided to give her up. Maya is much happier, I am much happier, and I’m sure that woman was much happier. All-in-all, it was a decision everyone was thankful for.

Maya Puppy Wearing Bow

Maya was a gift to myself.

I want to mention that if you look for a dog on craigslist, be very careful. There are breeders out there posing as rescue groups. I paid $150 for Maya, which was a reasonable adoption fee for a dog that was spayed and had her booster vaccines. I received a copy of her medical records along with her original adoption paperwork. Generally, breeders posing as rescues charge a lot more and call it an “adoption fee” but don’t include spaying or neutering and may or may not include vaccines.

My Dog's Adoption Papers

Maya’s adoption papers. She was actually adopted at PetSmart and I have a copy of that document too. PetSmart doesn’t adopt out dogs, but they invite rescue and shelter dogs over on the weekends.


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