A Day with a Homeless Dog

A Day with a Homeless Dog

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Leo: Shelter Life vs Foster Home

Dogs are amazing, especially my man Leo. Yes it is another blog about Leo and he continues to prove to me why I will never give up on him. Maybe you have read my previous blog about him and maybe you haven't. What you need to know is that all dogs deserve a chance and Leo most of all.

To make a long story short, Leo became a resident of the Kansas City Animal Shelter back on February 13th, 2013. He was just a young guy at 9 months old. All we knew is that he was abandoned and he would become a KC Pet Project dog. He grew up in the shelter environment for over a year. 

What we learned from Leo while he was a KC Pet Project dog:
  • His stress levels where high early on and he was easily aroused.
  • He didn't have any basic obedience training.
  • He did enjoy playing with other dogs, but his high energy and rowdy play style did overwhelm some dogs.
  • Leashing him and getting him out of the kennel was a task that was difficult for some volunteers.
  • He did not walk well on the leash, pulled hard and had to be harnessed.
  • He was very mouthy both when playing with other dogs and biting on the leash during walks.
  • He was jumpy and did not know how to greet people properly.
  • He showed signs of resource guarding.

I had experienced most of those behaviors with Leo. Yes leashing him up was often difficult. He wanted to be outside so bad. I always had to harness him during walks and would bring a rope toy sometimes so he could hold on to a toy while we walked. I did get him to sit, but he does like to jump up when he gets excited. He does love playing with other dogs and that is probably his favorite part of the day. He is great at fetch as long as you have two tennis balls. He did get a little mouthy once or twice when I had the ball.

Shelter life will make a dog crazy. Leo needed one on one attention, someone to work with him and who could be patient. Adopters constantly passed by his kennel. He wasn't a good fit for someone with small children and he really needed someone who was dedicated to training him and giving him the physical and mental stimulation he needed.

Fast forward to Apri1 1, 2014. Leo finds his angel! Audrey, a KC Pet Project volunteer, took on the task of bringing Leo into her home. We needed someone to find out how much his behavior could improve if he was in a home environment. I don't know if she knew what she was getting herself into, but I am so glad she said yes to Leo. I have been getting updates and I know the first couple of days Audrey second guessed her decision, but the many volunteers supporting #TeamLeo encouraged her to stick with it and I know she is glad she did.

What we have learned from Leo while in his foster home:
  • He has shown no signs of food aggression. Audrey can take away the kong, his food and doesn't have a problem.
  • He has improved leaps and bounds with his leash manners. He has is moments, but for the most part it is a loose leash.
  • He has become far more patient. He will sit and stay and has learned to lay down. He doesn't jump to take the treat or toy from your hand. He is getting better with this every day.
  • He can actually be calm and lay down and just relax. He is not so aroused and stressed.
  • He sleeps with his foster mom in the bed at night and he is a big cuddle bug.
  • He pretty much hates being kenneled and it takes some effort, but he will go in with some work.
  • There is still work to be done with his jumping and mouthing. She is working with him so he can learn how to greet properly.

Audrey has become dedicated to helping Leo become a more adoptable dog. She has fallen in love with his cute face and wrinkly forehead. She wants him to succeed just as I do. We are both very determined to find him a place where he can continue his training. Maybe it is a rescue group who can help him even more with the one on one training. Maybe there is an adopter out there who can continue improving his behavior and work with him. We both want what is best for Leo. He has waited far too long and now that he has began to show improvements in a foster home, we want to see it through.

I write these blogs because I care about every dog I meet. Leo has a piece of my heart and I can't say thank you enough to all the staff and volunteers who WILL NOT give up on him. He has what it takes to be an awesome dog, who will give him the life he deserves?

Friday, March 21, 2014

One on One Doggie Time!

There are so many ways to volunteer with KC Pet Project. One of the most important of course is just walking the dogs and working with them one on one. It isn't very often that I really get to focus on one dog and really get to know them. Most Sundays I am there organizing photos to make sure all the new dogs get photographed by a professional. In between I might be helping other volunteers or potential adopters. I am always running around trying to get as much done as possible. I have also been trying to get to the shelter early so I can help with playgroups. It is such an important part of volunteering. I love making sure as many dogs as possible get outside to play in the morning so they are more relaxed in their kennels when potential adopters come through. It is a race to get them all out, and honestly I meet them I know their names, but I don't get that one on one time to really understand their personality. Today was a little different.

It was so great to see four ladies helping run dogs to Leslie during Sunday morning playgroups. I decided to get some one on one time with the dogs that don't do so well with playgroups. These dogs might be best as the only pet, or they may do much better with dogs once they're out of the shelter environment. Either way, I wanted to spend the day getting to know these dogs and let them have a good time outside with me. If you click their picture you can see a video of our time together.

Fresca is SO SWEET and so adorable. She actually arrived at the shelter back in December, and I am sad that I didn't get to know her until now. Looking back at her photos she looks shy and scared, but this girl is far from that. She also seems to have gained some weight (she could still use a few extra pounds). We went outside to play and she had fun. She would take laps around the yard and then come back to check in. She sat for treats and was so gentle. Fresca took in all the attention I gave her and leaned in for more loving. She is a great dog and I hope someone sees how wonderful she is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAeJySNBbxY&list=UUC0_xTL7sgVRniPAfeALGwAKona! What a handsome little boy. He has spunk, personality, and energy. I could tell while watching him in his kennel that he might be a handful. He was ready to jump out from the top kennel =) Good thing he is only 35lbs! He is totally fun. I think the kennel is just stressing this boy out and he wants to be with people. He came right up for more attention, and loves to run around and play with the toys. I couldn't get him to sit because he was a little distracted, but I know he wants to learn. I hated putting him back in his kennel, he's such a sweet little guy. I hope that adopters take some time with him outside of the shelter to see how cool this dude really is.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH1IsdCk1tc&list=UUC0_xTL7sgVRniPAfeALGwATango looks tough, but this guy is a cool dog. His athletic build and cropped ears might make him look a little intimidating, but he is a sweet boy. He listened really well and did great at ignoring the rowdy dog in the play yard next to him. Tango wanted my treats and sat for me. He ran for the tennis ball and then played with every other toy he could find. He has a lot of good things going for him, and although he might be best as the only pet it would be totally worth it. I am pulling for him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKJJ5UM6jeU&list=UUC0_xTL7sgVRniPAfeALGwAFaster than a speeding Bullet? That is not how this guy got his name. Bullet actually came to the shelter with a bullet lodged in his neck, close to his ear. He is pretty amazing and so is the vet staff at KCPP. They were able to remove it and Bullet didn't seem to be fazed by it all. He is a pretty awesome boy and funny too. He LOVES any and all toys. He goes straight for the toy box and picks out every toy to play with. He loves to see how fast he can shred the stuffed toys. He loves to roll down the turf and scratch his back too. If you are looking for entertainment, Bullet is your man. He is strong and beefy, but is easy peasy when it comes to play time. He can entertain himself with all the toys. I really hope someone will consider this big guy. The volunteers love his personality and can't wait to see him in a happy home.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjcwW_EO9Lw&list=UUC0_xTL7sgVRniPAfeALGwAI fell IN LOVE with Kennedy. This precious girl will melt your heart. Her gentle eyes and sweet face are just too much. She prefers to be close to you and getting loved on as much as possible. Her sweet spot is under her neck, you could scratch and massage her for hours and she is one happy girl. She sits and I heard she is an angel in the car. Kennedy would be perfect for someone that is looking for a best friend that she can spend her days with. Naps on the couch, cuddle time while watching TV, car rides on a nice summer day. This girl is too great to pass up!

It was really a great day on Sunday. Being able to focus on one dog and giving them that attention they need. Dogs just want to be loved and I am so glad I spent the extra time getting to know these dogs. I will share their videos and pictures in hopes that someone will see them and adopt these special pups.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Volunteering in a Winter Wonderland

Three inches of snow and freezing cold temperatures can't keep me away from the shelter, especially not when 30+ dogs are waiting for their glamour shots. I knew there were plenty of dogs who would be excited about playing in the snow. Sunday was pretty freakin' cold and the wind didn't make it any better. I couldn't imagine missing a Sunday and not seeing my favorite pups!

En route to the shelter my car showed 8 degrees, the roads were a little iffy, and I wondered how many people would be showing up to help with photographs and getting dogs out for some playtime. I had my layers on, hat and gloves ready to take on the weather and make it a productive day with the KCMO doggies. It was great to see Kandace and Abby already at the shelter walking a couple of favorites.  There have been days when it is me by myself, so three was a good turnout for photo day. I was just hoping the dogs would be on their best behavior and we could get through all their pretty faces in a few hours. Kandace and Abby had done this before, so I knew we would be fine.

Courtney got all set up in the garage and we started to roll through the list of dogs. My first little guy was Mamba - totally cute and loved the snow. I am usually not one for small dogs, but this one was cuddly. I was not surprised to hear that he was already adopted. Nutmeg was a fun-loving pup. She made it difficult for me to get her out of the top kennel, she kept rolling on her back for belly rubs. She was a spunky girl and did great on her photo shoot. I don't think she will last long either. A handsome Beagle named Napoleon was next. He is older and seemed to have some cataracts, but they didn't bother him at all. He pranced around and enjoyed the snow. Unfortunately, he is going to need some updated photos to really capture his handsomeness. In the midst of all this photographing, Scott came to the rescue and helped us grab some more dogs.



We had a system and everything was going great. We weren't going to have any trouble getting the photographs done, so I was hopeful that we would be able to get a few dogs out for some playtime too! I was so happy that Tara, Sharon, Kristin, and Matt also showed up to help finish off the photographs. Best of all, we even got some updated photos of our longtime dogs. 

I met more amazing dogs - Choco was a little scared, but he was a total love bug once he became more comfortable. Shasta was a sassy pittie. She was so excited to get attention and have her photos taken. Bylette was a sweet Rottie mix who seemed to be a little under the weather. She did great on the leash and was such a lover. There are so many great dogs at the shelter right now and not a lot of adopters. I am going to try and stay positive and hope some of my longtimer favorites will get a home soon - they deserve it!

After the photos I spent some time with my favorite longtimers. It was pretty cold outside, but I wanted to give them at least 5 minutes in the snow to romp around. Blythe just wanted to play with the tennis ball the whole time. She liked the idea of Sharon trying to chase her. She's such a sweet girl who needs to be the only dog in her forever home. I don't think Leo even realized how cold it was out there. That boy never gets tired. He had a good time running around with the ball and trying to find it in the snow, but he calmed down just enough for me to give him a few butt scratches. Leo is such a handful, but I keep hoping his perfect match will come find him soon. Matilda was dying to go outside. She hadn't been out for awhile since she had been on meds. I didn't think she would last long in the snow, but she loved it. She wanted to play tug with the leash and did a few sprints around the yard in the snow. Matilda is another energetic girl who doesn't show well in her kennel. I hope someone gives her a chance, she deserves it! Tesla, our athletic pittie, loved doing sprints around the big yard. She sat pretty for me so I could throw her the ball. She had a great time getting out her energy. She gets to start Pit Bull EDU classes soon to help make her more adoptable - fingers crossed! Last was the stud muffin himself, Reuben. This big boy is fun and goofy and loved digging at the snow. He kept hiding the toy from himself and I would help him find it. He enjoyed himself and I enjoyed watching him. You can see for yourself just how much fun they had.

It is cold these days, and it isn't always much fun being outside. If you wear the right clothes and layer up, it isn't that bad. The dogs don't need to be out too long, just enough time to stretch their legs and play in the snow. Even if you have just an hour, the 5 or 6 dogs that you get out will be SO GRATEFUL! I hope to see more volunteers out with the dogs and playing in the snow!