Incoming …

Sorry to have missed the Denver folks who were planning to come visit at the Golden Petco Expo.  Between our schedules, pressing committments, inclement weather and gas prices, we were unable to attend.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to connect with our dog families in the near future.  Seeing the little ones with their new owners is apsolutely a joy!

Last week we had a new arrival.  An owner surrender, he was relinquished for not getting along with the 19-month old baby in the house.  In keeping with tradition, he was given a Tibetan name, “Tashi,”  (Ta-shee) meaning prosperity or lucky.  Tashi will undergo a complete rescue exam and a neuter Monday morning as we get him ready to put for adoption.  

Tashi is a laid back little guy and has settled into his foster home like he’s always lived there.  Almost without fail, our fosters move seamlessly from one home to the next.  They live in the moment, accepting of whatever befalls them.  Given love, attention and the structure of routine, they quickly adapt to their new surroundings. 

Tashi, a white Apso with black mask, is three years old.  He gets along well with other dogs and, despite never having seen or been around a cat, does fine with Michelle’s cat.  Oddly enough, we find this true of the majority of our fosters.  Apsos have often been described as being “cat like” in their temperament (aloof).  Perhaps they connect on some deeper level at first meeting!  While Tashi is not crazy about his crate, he is crate trained … and housetrained.  Yes, that is not a misprint … he is housetrained.  He also loves to play ball and will entertain himself with it even after he’s worn you out throwing it for him.

If you’d like more information on Tashi, please contact me at ApsoRescue@aol.com.  He’s going to make someone a wonderful companion!

A New Arrival …

… is always exciting! 

Tomorrow, if all goes as planned, “Bentley” will become the latest foster in rescue.  An unneutered three-year old, he will be looking for a new home that can spend more time with him.  While we gather as much information as possible on our intakes, there’s always the unknown.  How will he do with other dogs … how will he come through his neuter … how will he react to his first grooming in rescue … what will he think of the resident felines … will he sleep through the night … is he *really* potty trained and crate trained … does he like children or do we need to find a home that limits his contact with toddlers … is he a hearty eater or a picky one?  So many questions!!

These little ones arrive in rescue and we treat them just as one of the pack.  They are expected to behave and, with training (some more, some less), they usually live up to our expectations.  They thrive on attention and structure.  It isn’t long before they settle in … and it’s like they’ve been here their entire lives.  Every now and again, a foster will return for an extended visit.  They walk through the door and move seamlessly from their house to ours again, like they never left. 

I used to think my dogs couldn’t live without me — wishful thinking on my part.  After all the fosters that have passed through my home, I’ve come to realize the canine is much more adaptable than we give them credit for.  Indeed, it is this adaptability that has ensured their survival through the ages! 

Welcome, Bentley … we look forward to getting to know you.

UPDATE:  Well, things *didn’t* go as planned, unfortunately, and, for the time being, Bentley will not be entering rescue.  Bentley managed to run away from home on the eve he was to arrive in rescue.  We hope he finds his way home again, safe and sound.  If anyone happens to find a little grey/white Apso in Lochbuie, Colorado, please contact us!

Treat Me Like a Dog …

“Furbaby” … the word sends chills up my spine.  While we love our four-legged companions dearly, we must never lose sight of the fact our canine companions are a species unto themselves.  Many of the surrenders we get into rescue are there because the owners lovingly, yet mistakenly, anthropomorphize (attribute human form or personality to things not human) these cute little dogs, not realizing that the Apso is one of the most dominant dogs in a small package.  Give them an inch and they will take a mile … you can bet on it!

Jan Warren, active in Dalmatians since 1988, was a guest columnist in the December AKC Gazette.  She is an AKC judge and has served as an officer, committee chair, and show chair for several kennel clubs, including the Dalmatian Club of America.  She has graciously given permission for reprint of her column submission …

Treat Me Like a Dog

At a recent show, I was dumbstruck by the sight of a girl walking a Chihuahua fully attired in a flowered sundress with matching bonnet.  While many folks saw the embodiment of cute, I was appalled.  In my opinion, this dog didn’t look cute — just plain foolish.

Unfortunately, this notion of turning our dogs into furry people appears to be growing out of control.  We see them sporting the latest fashions, pushed in strollers, and slung in totes.  Day care, therapists, and even pet psychics are available.  Dogs are not people!  Yes, we do have some traits in common.  However, a trait or two does not a human make, and when we expect our dogs to act accordingly, we set them up for failure.

Dogs are thinking, emotional beings but not in the same ways we are.  Their lives are governed by instincts with which we cannot reason.  While we strive to provide them with the best of nutrition, they are still predators born to the chase.  We should not be surprised when they go for a cat, squirrel, or even another little dog that crosses their path.  We should not be offended when our intact male dogs makes eye contact and bristles at another boy.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they have a poor temperament or are aggressive.  They are males with the male need to defend their territory against a possible sexual interloper.  We can train and socialize our dogs to the best of our abilities but, in the long run, genes will win out.

Yes, I believe in training and socialization.  We cannot allow our dogs to mark their territories in our homes, bark incessantly, or run loose, terrorizing the neighborhood.  However, training should be tempered with the understanding that in certain circumstances, nature will take precedence.  Anyone who has had an intact male dog living with a female in season knows no amount of reasoning will calm his need to breed.  You either live with the howling, slobbering, barking and panting — or temporarily relocate one of the parties.  Telling him “next time” or “not this girl” will not appease him.

Dogs are unique in the animal world.  No other creature has ever been designated “man’s best friend.”  There’s something special in the makeup of a dog that has earned him this one-of-a-kind title.  It is his joie de vivre, his unconditional love, his unswerving loyalty?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Dogs are all these things and more, because their joy, love and loyalty are not contaminated by human traits of bitterness, vindictiveness and betrayal.  By attempting to remake them in our image, we are demeaning the very character of the dog.

Think of it this way:  How exciting and fascinating is it to be able to develop such an intimate relationship with an entirely different species?  Let’s celebrate those differences and try to look for the good, savor the moment, be content with what we have, and who we are.  In this way, maybe we can both, as species, become a bit better than we would be without each other.     ~~ J.W.