Sunday, November 04, 2012

Of Course It's About Dogs

Today's post will definitely give you  your fix if you're craving doggie news. It seems like my life the past couple of days has been entirely doggie centred. No different from most days I suppose, but yesterday was an extra dose of dog.
First thing's first, I said I'd bake cookies for a Guide Dogs fundraiser that was to be held on Saturday-AKA, yesterday. I thought I'd bake the treats in the morning in order to ensure freshness, but both batches were a bust. My Garlic, Cheddar Chicken bites didn't bake long enough and then my Pumpkin Peanut Butter cookies baked too long. That'll teach me to try to multi-task while baking for an event.
 Despite my baking fiasco, I was ready to be picked up by 11.45 to head to the venue.  I spent an afternoon at a working dog show, attempting to raise funds and awareness for Guide Dogs UK. The event was quite interesting as I've never been to a dog show before and I certainly got my fill of various breeds of dogs. Of course I was working very hard fundraising, but part of fundraising is chatting with people right?
...and petting their dogs...right?
I saw some of the coolest breeds, including a Mastiff who weighed 240 pounds. That dog was a stinking pony! He was beautiful though. I also got to pet one of those dogs who look like they have dredlocks. I can't remember what they are called...some kind of Afghan something or other. I asked how long it took to bathe one of them and was told that it can take anywhere from two to three hours.
There was also a lot of beautiful Border Collies, Huskies, Great Danes and Newfoundlanders that I just had to pet. Oh, and I can't forget the champion Pyrinese I got to pet. She was beautiful.
We did manage to raise some money, but I think most importantly Guide Dogs was recognised as being out in the community and was maybe given some publicity. I also think it's good to put faces behind the organisation and there were at least three  guide dog owners there with their dogs. I was there too, but certainly minus a guide dog. I was impressed by all of the dogs' behavior considering how many strange dogs were about, sniffing/barking/peeing on things. The three workers did their jobs and for the most part, kept their noses to themselves. A few of the puppies in training were a bit more excitable, but that's to be expected.
It was interesting for me to see each dog/handler team and the various breeds. Not one of those dogs were the same. There was a female Golden Retriever German Shepherd cross. Apparently Guide Dogs has had a lot of success recently with this mix of breeds. She was lovely. There was another female, but she was a Golden Retriever Lab cross. She was adorable with gigantic front paws. I've seen a few of those at LDB and they all seemed to be great workers. Then there was a male Flat Coated Retriever. I had never seen that breed before so it was a treat to pet him.
My guide dog trainer, and dude who is currently looking for my replacement dog, was my eyes for most of the afternoon. He was also my driver and we got to talking. Apparently, a week or so ago a potential dog came up for me, but only three days after my trainer heard about him, it was discovered that the dog has skin allergies. He's being tested to see what exactly he's allergic to, but it would seem that I will miss out on this one. The trainer sounded disappointed. I asked him if it were a food allergy and he said they weren't sure yet. I feel as though that if it were a good match and it was only food related, that I could deal with it. It's nothing to have a dog on a good diet and I don't mind cleaning ears frequently. I clean my dogs' ears about once a week now.
The trainer is always hesitant to give out dogs that have these conditions for a few reasons. First, a person who has been waiting for a long time may think that he/she can take on a dog with that sort of issue and will say yes, only to discover later that he/she really can't handle it. Then, everyone feels guilty/bad and the person just ends up on the waiting list again.
Second, it's hard to tell how an allergy, or something of that nature, will progress. If we can control it  with food now, will it stay that way for all of its life or will it become worse and worse?
Roscoe has food allergies and we control it by feeding him a fish based food, or raw feeding, and treats that I've made. Anything else and it flares up. However, I can see where the trainer is coming from and he is the expert. Fingers crossed that someone else comes up soon or that it is discovered that this guy's allergies aren't that bad and that diet can fix it.
That said, if it were discovered that his allergies could be controlled by diet, it doesn't mean I'll like him. Here in the UK, we get to meet our potential dogs first and decide whether or not we think he/she will work for us. If we think so the dog goes away for six weeks to complete his/her formal training and then we go into training with him/her. I very much appreciate that I get to be a part of the selection process. I just have to make sure that when the time comes for me to choose, I attempt to be as objective as possible.
So that's where that stands.
Mr. G has also sent an update as to his busy life as "Archio dog." It would seem that he is working in the archaeology field with his new dad and mom and being very helpful when it comes to digging; maybe a bit too helpful in some spots. His jaws of steel have also worked their magic and he has managed to destroy a hard hat...a hard hat! You know, the things that are supposed to protect your heads if machinery fall on them? Either that hard hat sucked or Glacier's got some impressive chompers. My vote lies in the latter.
As for the crew that we have now: Otis is growing like a weed. He turned four months old today and despite several growth spurts he's still quite small. That said, it's surprising how heavy he actually is. With how cold it's been out he has needed a sweater to do his business outside. We felt a bit ridiculous getting a sweater for a Bulldog, but Otis is now the proud, or not so proud, owner of a "Build a Bear" skull and cross bone hoodie. He looks damn cute in it. It was cheaper to buy him a hoodie from the children's store than to get him a dog sweater. Once he grows out of this hoodie we'll have to buy him a dog specific coat, but for now, he will keep wearing his Build a Bear hoodie. So cute!
And what about the other two?
Let's just say Roscoe has been nicknamed "Ranger Roscoe" and Hermione has been deemed "Hermione, the great Huntress." Whenever I go for evening walks, I always take both Roscoe and Hermione. It's kind of dark down on the cycling path and I feel safer having the bigger presence of Roscoe roaming with us. This evening I took the two out for an off leash run and both dogs assumed their respective roles.
Roscoe was off scouting through the under brush and popping out to check on me while Hermione was off holding perfect points at birds, squirrels and bugs. We stopped to talk to a woman who has a JRT named Florence, who was shocked to see Hermione point at a fleeing squirrel. She may be a toy breed, but her hunting instincts are still there.
Otis isn't quite big enough to accompany us on our longer walks, so we haven't determined his sudo personality yet, but if I were to call him anything right now it would be:
"sleepy, lazy Otis."
He definitely lives up to his Bulldog breed description.
As for Hermione the Great Huntress, she didn't catch anything. Probably because she was wearing her bear bell so that I knew what she was up to. Ranger Roscoe didn't seem to think there was anything threatening in the under brush. We have seen foxes in that general area and so I get a bit nervous walking later in the evening, but there are way less people you have to navigate at those times. As everyone knows, I am probably one of the worst cane users in the world. That not only applies to university campuses, city streets and shopping centres, but also to bike paths. So, our walk was quite relaxed and uneventful; despite the fireworks going off in close proximity. Neither Roscoe or Hermione were bothered by the loud bangs or bright lights. I'm not surprised by Roscoe's lack of reaction, but that seemed odd for Hermione. She's a nut about everything. Maybe she felt safe with Ranger Roscoe at her side. ;)
So, was that enough "doggie dish" for you?


torie said...

Awww sorry to hear about the match. I can understand why they wouldn't want to give a dog with alergies to someone. My friends dog is alergic to grass, and has dermatitis. The poor girlie has to have injections every month, and wipes and sprays every few days. Oh and tablets three times a day.

I love meeting the dog first. I don't think i'd like your systim you had over in canada!


Jenny said...

I'd love to go to a dog show like that. There's so many breeds of dog I'm dying to touch and see what they look like.
That dog with the dredlocks was probably a hungarian Visla. They are cool! I wouldn't like to groom one though.