I’m probably insane for doing this. Insane for bringing a high drive puppy into a home with six other dogs and three of the six being seniors (even if they refuse to act like seniors!) but I honestly don’t think I can help it. I keep looking at my older dogs and frowning over the fact that they’re getting older and by getting older, I worry far more that if I attempt to do things with them, I may invariably break them by asking something because they don’t know when to say ‘No, this is too much for me.’ and not perform the requested action. They’re far too stubborn to quit and so I have to, essentially, force them to into retirement. It sucks for me and it definitely sucks for them because they loathe seeing me work the younger dogs and not them. Sure, they still get their work time but it is typically halved and not so intense.
You see, I knew that with five of my six dogs being at least five years old (or soon to be six), that it would be time to start looking for the next level of my sanity testing to be brought home – especially knowing that we had recently adopted our beloved senior boy, “Grandpa” Gus and that his time with us is limited by his quality of life since he is quite the old codger and hasn’t had the easiest of lives lived prior to joining the chaos of our home (which he is loving every moment of – especially if it means antagonizing the other boys!).
I had begun looking prior to even knowing that Gus would land in our home. I knew what I wanted in a dog and what breed I was after. That dog had to be drivey – almost nutty with drive if I could safely manage it – and an APBT. I, as always, looked to my favorite selection of working dog breeders for these options. The unfortunate problem however is that working dog breeders rarely breed and rarely place dogs that they wouldn’t keep themselves if they had room. I, however, lucked out with personal friends (and one of my favorite breeders!) – Howard and Beth.
You see, Howard and Beth breed only when they’re looking for the next addition to their program and so it’s lucky if a litter is born every three to four years. I had, thankfully, begun my search right around the time they were whelping a beautiful APBT litter (and an AmStaff litter but I am not ready for an AmStaff just yet!) out of two beautiful, traditional type APBTs. The whole litter was black and white and many of the puppies had flash. I couldn’t help but drool as the puppy fever became stronger and stronger.
I watched them all grow. I liked the girls but I had my heart set on a little boy because my best buddy and best working dog was, after all, a boy and that this puppy would have some gigantic paws to fill if he was ever going to be even half as good as my still working partner, Ryker, which I know will be easy with what his phenomenal breeders have produced in the past and looking at the very girl they entrusted with me almost four years ago.
I have finally succumbed to madness. I have added a new puppy to the fold of six crazy, refusing-to-chill-with-age adult and senior dogs but I know, in the end, it will be worth it. This wonderful little bundle of naughtiness, attitude and pure piss and vinegar will go places and do things and may even surpass those gigantic paws he has to fill but I may pull my hair out along the way. I am happy to say, it will be worth it and to introduce to you Howard’s WMK Counting Stars who will be known around these parts as Orion. Welcome home, little man. We are glad to have you in all of your naughtiness (and yes, you will not have anyone younger than you to terrorize for a while at least!).
This has been a roller coaster of a year. We’ve had a lot of changes come into our life and shared with you, our beloved blog readers, from potentially moving out of state to switching jobs and opening up our home to new furry friends. We are grateful that things have flown smoothly through these transitions and hope that your family is experiencing times of joy in this season of giving and thankfulness. Thank you for being readers and visitors of our blog for whatever reason life has brought you here.
With all of this giving thanks and giving spirits, we encourage you to go out into your community and share that love with those less fortunate – be it a needy animal or person. Volunteer at your local animal or homeless shelter, soup kitchen or food bank. Donate money, food or clothing to someone less fortunate or consider adopting a family – including their pets – for this holiday season.
It has been a few months since we packed up the dogs and gear and made ourselves at home within Mother Nature’s splendor. After a particularly rough week, it was decided that a relaxing day trip into the wilds of the state park was just what the doctor had in mind for the cruddy week blues. It didn’t take long to single out Island Lake’s trails as our destination. It was, after all, new and relatively close location for us.
Island Lake State park offered two natural turf (dirt) trails for hikers and mountain bikers to enjoy. My husband and I opted for the slightly shorter Yellow Trail because it was later in the day and we didn’t want to be on an unfamiliar trail in unfamiliar territory well into the night. I wasn’t willing to be that brave this go around.
Once we arrived at the trail head, we reviewed the trail map and marked any particular issues – which were pleasantly few in number for such a long trail! Next, we loaded our pack and the packs the dogs would carry (which was primarily our water, portable bowls and other dog needs for them and first aid kit, snacks, camera and other gear in ours). Once everything was packed up, we checked the packs for comfort and security on dog and human alike before we hit the trail.
I was happy to find it was a well-marked and even had distance markers every half mile or so. After we separated from the Blue Trail, we were granted relative peace and quiet from the plethora of bikers and finally had a moment to give the dogs their head on the trails, which they had been itching to do since we got there.
Ryker and Mika had been testing their leads until we were finally clear of the bikers because they’re used to hitting the trails and getting some much needed and desired freedom to romp. Thankfully, we’ve worked on trail etiquette with them for quite some time and the experience has served well. They stayed within visual range and checked back in often. Every so often, we would have to move ourselves off the trail to accommodate a biker or two but for the most part, they were able to enjoy their freedom.
The whole 4.91 mile trek went off with only one hitch – a very dog reactive black German Shepherd who caused a bit of a scene after we had moved off the trail with Mika’s alert that we had company. Other than a nasty threat displace and an issuance to the owner of the dog to get his dog under control, we were well on our way once
more with both dogs having been phenomenal about handling the nasty behavior.
We arrived back at the trail head after the sun had set with two very tired and happy dogs and two utterly relaxed and rejuvenated people. It really was perfect medicine for the cruddy week blues and I, for one, cannot wait to repeat that awesome time on another set of trails with my dogs and other half at my side in the near future!
Breed(s): Pit Bull mix
Age: 2-4 years old
If you’re looking for a dog with go, this boy is your man. He’s got energy in spades and loves to go, go, go. He’d make a great running buddy or a dog who could go for hours playing tug or chasing a toy.
Blue has a few quirks, though. He doesn’t particularly get along with all other dogs he meets. It would be strongly suggested that he go with a previously introduced submissive female dog just so he isn’t set up for failure but the right boy may work as well provided the new owner is willing to work with him. He also hasn’t been tested with kitties but with his level of prey drive, that may not be advisable.
Blue is in definite need of some obedience training and a patient owner. With his go, go, go attitude, he also can be a bit intense for the average person handling him but he makes up for it in his amazingly sweet demeanor and adoration of the human-types who spoil him rotten at the shelter.
If you’re interested in adopting Blue, or any of his kennel mates, he is available for adoption through the Taylor Animal Shelter which is located at 25555 Northline Road, Taylor, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by phone at (734) 374-1354 or by clicking the link to the shelter above.
Update: Pulled by rescue!
I have searched for a very long time to get my hands on a decently conditioned copy of this book. Each and every time I managed to come close it seemed to slip through my fingers. This book was, after all, a pit bull-related book so I just had to have it. I continued my seemingly fruitless search for it until I stumbled upon a copy for sale in the one location I had never expected to find it – a dog show. I had finally managed to get my copy!
Diane Jessup, the author, has been around the online pit bull community for as long as I can remember. In many cases, it was a love or loathe relationship for many forum goers with a woman who is every bit the bulldog – a tenacious individual who has stuck to her guns be it hell or high water.
Diane and I have butted heads on numerous occasions on numerous online communities over one topic or another. More often than not, we have had to agree to disagree even if we had accepted the other’s point of view. Overall, though, Diane is a very good representative for the breed – even if we rarely see eye to eye. Her love, adoration and respect for her beloved bulldogs shines radiantly throughout this entire novel.
The Dog Who Spoke with Gods takes place in the Pacific Northwest. It showcases the love of a once feral pit bull named Damien who unluckily lands himself in a collegiate animal research laboratory and a young premed student named Elizabeth Fletcher. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, this dog and the bond they form will lead her to question her beliefs that she has kept steadfastly throughout her life as that bond between human and canine grows.
This book and its plot had me on pins and needles throughout the entire 360 pages. I laughed. I cried. I, ultimately, prayed for the storybook ending that Damien and Elizabeth deserved. It was well worth the emotional roller coaster I was on for the entire book. It was well worth the wait to obtain and read this fantastic and emotionally expressive book. I would highly recommend this book for any dog enthusiast’s collection even if they do not own a pit bull.
Breed(s): American Pit Bull Terrier
Age: 2-3 years old
Princess is a very sweet girl who has been dealt a very crappy hand. She was originally brought into the shelter as a court case dog when her owner went to jail. Her house brother, Tank, was already adopted into a loving home which left her behind. Princess, however, has a few issues that she’s come in with that can likely be linked to previous care and ownership practices because of lack of training, socialization and rules in the home.
Princess is dog selective and can be nasty toward other dogs if given the opportunity to be. She also is incredibly agile and can get herself into a lot of trouble by being able to scale fencing with ease. She has been labeled RESCUE ONLY by the shelter because of her behavior concerns but it would be worth an experienced home’s time to check her out if they are willing and able to work through her behaviors because she is a very sweet dog even if she’s not keen on other dogs and small animals.
If you’re interested in adopting Princess, she is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at email@example.com or by phone at 313-205-1732.
Update: Headed to Rescue!
Dog aggression and reactivity is a reality facing many of today’s dogs. It’s not pretty. It’s not fun to deal with. It can be downright dangerous in the hands of someone unable to handle the situation. The worst thing of all? It’s a common trait in many dogs and many breeds, especially in the breed that I love and cherish – the American Pit Bull Terrier. Many people want to sugar coat it, deny it and avoid talking about it like the plague however, burying one’s head in the sand doesn’t do the dogs who have this trait any justice. They aren’t bad dogs. They just don’t necessarily want or need other doggie friends.
Dog aggression toward other dogs isn’t, as I said above, necessarily a breed specific trait but it is incredibly common in the American Pit Bull Terrier and related breeds. Why? Well, this breed was specifically bred for the specific purpose of being a canine gladiator many moons ago. Often people want to deny the actual history of the original bull-and-terrier crosses and the associated breed traits but the reality is there. They were bred for battle against another animal and/or another canine. They may have performed other duties in home and often times, pit dogs were fine until actually put into the pit as they knew their job and one would have never known the dog had the abilities it did unless one was in attendance at a dog fight.
That being said, there are varying levels of a dog’s sociability toward other dogs. These levels, originally posted by BAD RAP, describe a dog’s level of tolerance toward other dogs and can range greatly from dog to dog and breed to breed. These tolerance levels have been classified into four different levels: dog social to dog tolerant to dog selective and finally to dog aggressive. These levels can be influenced heavily by handler involvement, environment and level of training/handling of that particular dog and is one of the key reasons it is important with dogs who border on more extreme levels of reactivity to be continually supervised and never set up for failure by throwing them into chaotic situations like visiting a dog park. (I’ve already ranted about dog parks here.)
Most pit bull-type dogs tend to fall in between dog tolerant to dog selective as maturity sets in, as is the case with many dogs. They get fed up with the shenanigans from puppies and other dog social dogs and prefer dogs that they match in temperament and behavior – just like many human beings! Unfortunately for many pit bull-type dogs that end up in shelters or euthanized, their owners failed to recognize or accept that Fido didn’t love every other dog out there, got snarky and unmanageable and, ultimately, failed by his human being for having traditional breed traits and no one to set boundaries or reinforce good behavior and how to behave even if they’re in a situation that could lead to a reaction.
That being said, dog reactivity/aggression should not by any means to be confused with human aggression. Human aggression is one of the worse offenses dog kind can commit because it brings into play human laws and human emotions and will often lead to the ultimate solution – euthanasia. I, personally, do not tolerate this type of action from a dog. If a dog shows serious injury causing aggression toward a person (adult or child), then there is only one fate in my book. With so many stable-minded dogs of all breeds available, one who harms a human being should not exist in this world because the risks associated with it do no one any good – least of all the dog or person involved in such a vicious attack.
Ultimately, in the end, it will be up to the person to maintain their dog in a situation. They will need to understand, accept and acknowledge breed traits and tendencies and react accordingly. Setting up a dog for failure in any circumstance is simply unacceptable and irresponsible. This act of irresponsibility will lead to other consequences for those who pride themselves in being responsible for their dogs through breed specific legislation and other regulations that are aimed at being reactive to situations of owner failure. Thankfully, there are many, many resources available out there to help and educate on all things breed specific on the Internet by trusted resources like BAD RAP and DINOS.