Friday, May 24, 2013

I will paste a photo of the newest members of our family when I get a chance but as it stands now, we have a new dog we brought into the family this winter. With Beckett having found a better home for his needs, we still needed another dog to now accompany Abby. Abby was supposed to be the accompanying dog for Beckett initially but ended up being our sole dog after Beckett moved away.

I had been searching for a companion dog for Abby since Beckett left, knowing full well that once I found work again, she would be home alone by herself. As fate would have it, she wasn't destined to be a lone-homebody dog at all. Out of the blue, our trainer Kim posted a picture of a cute little black Puli that was being adopted out. I instantly loved his look as did Darrin. The big deal, making sure Abby liked him and he was a suitable dog for our family dynamics. We applied for the adoption but in the mean time took Abby over to meet this dog, who's name was Ziggy because he was a dog that would grow up to look like he had dreadlocks. We didn't like the name and after we discovered he and Abby were the best of friends, and we were accepted as his new home, we changed his name to be Beckett. Seeing that Darrin and I loved the name and we truly didn't get a chance for attaching to the first Beckett, we renamed Ziggy to Beckett and it only took about a week for the transfer to be complete. Abby and Beckett are great dogs. High energy and maximum rough play without fighting. They can total a living room faster than 4 three year olds!

During the winter there was also another adoption but he didn't come to our place right away. Actually as I type this, Toddy, my new horse is wrapping up a month's training at John Barrett's in Hunter River where both Toddy and I went through training processes.  This weekend Toddy is coming to the property and I have to get ready for him. It has been an expensive month but the training and the insider riding trainer tips I have received have been invaluable. I feel completely in sync with Toddy and I think we're both learning the ropes together at the same time. That is just fine with me since I don't intend to be a wild cowboy and Toddy isn't all that happy about running full out anyway! LOL

The time is moving along so rapidly and the dear friend whom I've had the pleasure of knowing for a few years now and who also shares the adoption experience, has terminal cancer and has been a wonderful inspiration through this whole process. Jessie was the one who introduced me to Toddy in the first place knowing full well I would fall in love with him and somehow find a way to include Toddy into my life.

There are few people in my life who truly know how much of a life dream this has been for me. I first picked up the desire for having a horse when I did some work with my ex- father in law over 20 years ago. Now I actually have my very own 'forever' horse that will grow with me and grow old with me. Darrin has been there every step of the way with constant support even when he couldn't understand why I wanted it so much. Life is indeed filled with wonderful moments that make everything seem perfect.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Postcards from the Edge!

A note from Beckett's new home states that he is sleeping on the bed, at the foot of course, coming and going out in the yard off-leash, allowing him to be petted while on-leash and a number of other wonderful things. As you can tell, being cute just comes naturally to this guy!

A few days after getting the update from Beckett's new home, I received a letter from the Wheatens In Need rescue association letting me know that the quest to have the laws changed so Millers could no longer encage the dogs completely in wire and be stacked above each other had not been passed. The committee hearing the arguements from the lawyers on behalf of the puppy miller were well represented and the rescue association was asked to keep it to 15 minutes and to keep emotion out of the statements. In the end the 6 member board upheld the puppy miller's abilit to continue on. The vote was 4 to 2.

I think that when this happens the hearings should be held at a Puppy Mill locations so the board members can make informed decisions rather than dismiss the responsibility out of hand.

End of March 2012 and so much has changed for our family and for Beckett in the year. Last year in the cold of winter and driving through a snowstorm to get Beckett to this year with Beckett living in a spacious loving home with three other dogs has been a long road but worth it.

I'm adding some of the pictures now of Beckett in his new home. Abby, the second dog we adopted wasn't rescued from a miller, she was turned over from a home that couldn't handle her, more accurately, a home with another older dog that couldn't handle her being there!

Abby has found her forever home with us. She is, like any other younger dog, always requiring a watchful eye and you would be amazed at what she finds to get into. For the most part, she's more adorable and loving than a trouble maker.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Beckett is off to new adventures

Well, it has been just over a year now and so much has taken place with Beckett. I hadn't posted much on the background because, in all honesty, it wasn't going well and we didn't feel it was appropriate to "air our laundry" as they say.

Right now Darrin is home with the dogs, probably having a very difficult time with it all. I'll post much more at a later date but this blog entry is for John who is beyond wonderful for opening his life to Beckett. John lives in NS in a rural area and works with dogs already. There are puppymill survivor dogs already in John's life and Beckett is going to be a new addition to that little pack of John's very own. It breaks my heart to believe he wasn't going to be better off with us regardless of how we adjusted things around his condition. With John he has what will be a perfect setup for his long-term recovery. Some day I hope he is that happy dog that jumps up on your and licks you. It is the quintessential hook that every adoptive dog owner dreams will be their experience.

So, for John, here are some of the things we want you to know about Beckett and his current level of experiences.
Beckett will surprise you with how quickly he catches on to new things. For anything that he has had a bad experience from his past, well, that will be something to forgive him for.

Beckett is still very afraid of anyone coming at him face on. Always approach him with your side to him. Even better, let him see your back first. He will not stand directly in front of you. I'm thinking he was kicked a lot when he was in the puppymill.

He has been taking Resolve medication every other day to level out his "edge" response and he may be fine to take him off this once he has a bit of comfort at your house. We thought it best to keep him on it until he was with you because it has an uptake of about 3 weeks before it seems to kick in.

Beckett is very afraid of anything chasing him. If you drop a long lead he will run from the rope or lead.

Beckett loves other dogs, especially male dogs. We have never seen him aggressive other than in the play mode.

Beckett will stay on his bed and at night we sort of corral him into a smaller fenced area. You may eventually be able to crate him but please do not try it for a while. Any trauma takes him about two weeks to recover from. Immediately after he will act normal but within a day or so he is showing stressed actions such as peeing or chewing on things.

He loves to sit on the sofa and on occasion he will hop up on the end of the sofa if you are at the other end. Ignore him or he will hope down just as quickly.

Beckett will walk on a lead but must always be on the right side. If he gets on your left he will circle around behind to get back on your right again.

He has been trained to "touch" meaing if you want him to come to you, you kneel down and turn sideways (again not face on) and say "Beckett touch" and he will come to you and touch an outstretch hand. It is his way of interacting but on his terms.

To clip on his collar, and I've placed a small lead that will hang down to allow you to get clipped on without having to search for the ring, you need to call him by asking if "Beckett, go for a walk?" He will come behind you and you will need to kneel down again. Touch the floor where you want him to be and say, "Beckett come" or "Beckett collar" . He'll come to you but do his dance of 3 steps to you, two steps back.. a few times.
(If he is rushed or too nervous he will poop a bit.. don't try an use paper towel while he is unclipped.. he has issues with it from his past)

Beckett loves the car and going for a run. He is fine in the car and when you want to clip on to him to get out, you touch the consol and say "Beckett Collar" and he will step up on to the consol between the front seats and allow you to clip on. He then recoils to the back seat again until you are out of the vehicle and he'll then launch himself past you and the door until he is out in the open.

So many little things that are Beckett and know I'll think of a dozen more once I post this. That means watch for Beckett II postings!

Once again, we thank you for opening your home and your heart to a very important part of our lives.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doggy Threapy now under way

As it stands, Abby is becoming more "ours" every day. She just turns herself inside out to greet us at the end of our workday as we arrive home. Beckett isn't so involved but he's there at the gate in his own way saying hello. With Abby we can open the gate and allow her to run a bit around us to burn off some of that excitement. Beckett... well, he's not there yet either.

It has been a few weeks now and we are settling into a pattern with the dogs. Beckett still reacts quite oddly when we are out for a walk with the two of them. He still is honestly afraid of her and will get behind me in order to avoid Abby's advancements to play. These would be the same advancements that they just mutually displayed while playing on the back deck.

Abby is indeed more aggessive in her manner and while this isn't an issue for their interaction outside on the deck and their run, it is when they are in our presence.

On the training front, Abby is getting conditioned to be brushed and Beckett is being introduced to it as well. I may have to advance his involvement by keeping him on a leash while attempting to brush down his back. He will allow me to extend my hand and brush his chest.... key here is 'extend' myself. He won't come too near yet.

We have accepted that Abby will indeed take a spell to train and are taking the necessary precautions. We have installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs, we keep all doors closed when we are not in the room and nothing is allowed to be kept near the edge of the cupboard! She's tall when she stands on her back legs, even gets higher when she has a nearby chair to launch herself from too!

Some training with both dogs is meant to have them recognize not only the commands, but to recognize their names when being called out. One of these times Beckett will sit too in order to get a treat. Abby already has 'sit' and 'down' pretty much mastered, it's getting her to do it when she doesn't want to that is the trick.

Many things in the house now have the mark of Abby's presence. My rubber boots were the latest on a long list of items. Beckett used to just take them and store them near his bed. Abby wants a piece of everything. As Darrin pointed out this morning, Abby is still much further ahead of where his Jack was as a dog and was left at home. Apparently wall trim was not off limits!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Devil dogs go wild... news at 11!!

I wish Darrin had taken pictures of what he found when he arrived home early yesterday, but I'll do my best to set the scene.

On day 3 of our new dog's inclusion into our family, Abby the 7 month old Wheaten who had arrived safe and sound, had begun to show her ture abilities.

So this is how it went down. I had two voicemail messages on my cell phone, b0th from Darrin asking me to call him. His voice was fairly low and the words were hinged to an unmentioned secondary message that you just knew was lingering out there. If this had been a telegraph back in the 40's I would have opted to not open it. Since it was Darrin and I was going to find out as soon as I got home anyway, I decided to call and take the impending news and let it lessen in it's impact like waves do on a shore line!

As it turns out, Darrin was greeted by the two horses in the yard as he drove into the property. Lucky for us our yard is positioned within what was an old grazing field so it's pretty much a lawn within a field surrounded by a tree hedge anyway.

Then as he went into the house his eyes surveyed what was 'doggy gone wild' day! Both Beckett and Abby had managed to get through the wire corral we put up that morning. Nothing was out of bounds for these two apparently. Based on the damage we are assigning blame in the following manner.. top of the line headset destroyed = Beckett (past record works against him), pillows everywhere = both dogs, laundry hauled downstairs= Beckett but we're sure Abby helped lessen the load, poop up stairs = Abby (was not really aware of the 'no poop' zone by that time), Poop downstairs = see previous Abby note, all chewed footwear = Abby (Beckett is a hoarder but doesn't chew), pee downstairs = Beckett/Abby and power pack from Darrin's laptop in the hall = Beckett (past record from having destroyed mine is working against him).

All in all, counting my two hearing aids, Beckett is up to nearly 6000 since we got him and Abby is really only a couple of hundred at this point but she's still just starting out.
I don't know why I'm not more in the mood to skin them alive but maybe it has to do with my awareness that Abby is 7 months old and truly will not be given sentencing for being BAD until she is two and has been trained better. Beckett, well, we're not sure really what goes on in his little head.
Beckett has shown the most peculiar reaction to Abby. We thought for sure he'd be all over her like white on rice from the very moment he spotted her. It hasn't been that way. He acts like she is going to hurt him and runs away, physically will run away if she advances at him in a playful mode. He spent the first evening (raining and windy) mostly out on the deck. The next day when we left them at home, I thought for sure one was going to come out of it with a battle scar as they worked out the who's who of the house. When we left I had set up the motion sensor to record movements on my laptop.

That night we were blown away by the play these two engaged in all day long. From the time we left to the time we got back. They must have been exhausted by the time we got home.

It's late now so I'll wrap this up. I doubt if this is the end of my on-going stories but it's enough for now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Abby is the new family member

It has happened. We finally have a companion dog for Beckett. In reality, we always wanted two dogs and believe it or not Beckett was SUPPOSED to be the adult dog that we adopted to help ease the life of a puppy we intended to purchase this coming fall.

Oh my a person's life can take a quick turn in a moment's notice!

Beckett is the dog that needs the companion in order to advance and now Abby, the 7 month old, is going to show him how to play and trust people through example.... we hope!

We have been checking out dogs for the last 3 months and one after another just wasn't what we wanted or wasn't suitable for Beckett. Then Abby came on the scene just as we were giving up hope on finding one before the summer was over. Initially her owners wanted to give her up but then changed their minds just before Abby was to be picked up. That was a heartbreak for us since we had our hopes wrapped around her coming to us. The fact of the matter was that you couldn't fault the owners because she was still in a loving home in spite of what put her on the adoption list to begin with.
We did get her.. this video is Abby and Beckett on day one of being left alone in the day area. They have a ton of space (although we have plans to expand out on to the field next year) to romp and play without having too much possibility for destructon. I know I'll end up eating those words.

I'll post more pictures and stories as the days ahead unfold. For now it is good enough to know that they are a good match and we hope to have them both for a very very long time.

Keep checking in.....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dog days...

This is Beckett going through his "touch" command exercises as a means of him advancing to a human for a purpose. It lessens the fear and anxiety of a moment if he can focus on something to do when nervous.

Before I get into this too much, I just want to say to those that read this, it is MY mind in here, not a platform for social acceptance reviews or such. It is what it is, and a true snapshot at any given moment in our experience with Beckett.

We are in the midst of trying to adopt another dog, but this one is not a Miller dog. I couldn't deal with two. I have this one project thank you very much and I don't know how I've made it this far some days! Both Darrin and I have always thought two dogs were necessary in our house and for that reason, plus Beckett really needs a companion, we're working hard to find the perfect second dog. Abby is presently being 'sought' for us but her adoption fell through a week ago so we're not going to count our chickens until they hatch, as they say. She apparently is once again going to be given up. We'll see...

You know, my life with Beckett has become sort of a win-whine setup. LOL He had made me realize how awful a lot of dogs have it, and for the most part for entirely preventable reasons. I use the word "awful" but it doesn't even begin to describe what he must have gone through. It is bad enough when dogs become victims of the human condition such as economic or physical hardship but with the millers, the situation is entirely preventable. Maybe if I explain OUR personal journey with Beckett others may understand why I am going to these lengths when a lot of our friends think we're insane to continue to put so much into a dog.

Our little guy has had his entire life flipped upside down from the start and now he has to work more than most people will ever know just in order to be 'almost' normal. I can say he now knows what 'happy' is because of the processes we have undertaken and the pure stubbornness of myself and Darrin to not give up. (gawd knows there are days I wonder how I will get through it... I'll explain that in a moment)

Just as you would expect a human to never be the same after being caged from birth, you honestly can't expect an abused miller dog to ever be normal. We will never be able to trust Beckett to just run and play freely without precautions. I could be wrong, but I won't set my sights on that. I am truly hoping that he gets over his fear biting once he has had a companion dog in the family for a spell, and he will want to be handled just from seeing the other dog enjoying it.

Before we go to bed, we still block off the kitchen area because, for some reason, Beckett will still pee on one of the corners. We put everything up high as if he were a two year old child because Beckett still roams at night and gets into things when left open. This is a miller experience condition as I understand it, since it was the time the dogs were without the threat of humans. Anything with our smell on it is considered fair game because, although he doesn't want to cuddle with us, our belongings are fair game! We are weaning him off his 'meds' now because he has gone past the constant bio-release response when he's scared around us. We gush at the gentle lick of his tongue on our foreheads when we kneel before him like he was royalty, we laugh at the goofy dodge game he plays while never actually touching us while out for a walk, and we name things we do so he isn't startled. He knows what a "patcha" is when we want to stroke his coat at arm's length a "paw" when we need to touch or untangle his leg, and what "ear" is when one gets stuck over on it's side and is driving me nuts. I never had to "think" so much when trying to live with a dog.

Here is a perfect example of how your reactions get tested when dealing with an extreme case of "Miller dog" in your home. Last night Beckett began to howl at about 1:15 am. I thought he was having a bad dream so I got up went to the top of the stairs and called down to him saying "it's all right.. go night night" then went back to bed. An hour later he began to howl again and I knew it wasn't a dream this time. There must have been coyotes out on the back property so I went down stairs and slept on the sofa so he'd settle down and sleep on his bed. Near dawn I went back to my bed only to be awoken by Beckett licking my hand that hung over the side of the bed. I remember thinking "awww... that is sweet. It's the first time he came into the bedroom and he's licking me.. how great is that" .. then reality set in. I realized that Beckett had come into our room as part of his boredom from roaming again. This time, he had taken both of my very expensive hearing aids and chewed them into tiny pieces! In my mind I'm seeing dollar signs and a total loss of ability to work until they get replaced. My job is in sales and if I can't talk on the phone, I am lost!

Normally I would have lept out of bed and freaked out. Instead I instantly realized there was nothing I could do at the moment and therefore just shoved the rising anger and frustration back inside as I gently slid out of bed and spoke to him in the "sweet" tone. There you have it. One second your world is fluffy and sweet with the thought of the dog having reached another level of comfort around you and the next second, the horror finding out that you've lost 3500 worth of vital electronic merchandse. I remember days long ago when my dogs just 'were' and they wrapped their lives around ME! LOL