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Sunday, July 27th 2014

7:37 AM

Silent Times


The silence here is deafening. People only visit if they happen to think about it and realize it's been awhile since they checked in. People are leaving this site, and that's one of the biggest reasons why. I sure hope the techs get the email issues sorted out PDQ...
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Saturday, July 26th 2014

9:15 AM

Looking At It

  • Feeling: headachy, tired due to gray, cool, damp weather
  • Current Weather: Mostly cloudy. Barometric pressure: rising. 15C. Forecast: Sunny. High 22C

Observations

On the whole, Diesel is a very good dog. He is calm, gentle, and he showed a definite eagerness to please during his first training session.  After observing his behaviour over these first few days, he does have some issues. Some will naturally resolve over time; others have to be dealt with right away.

The Walk


Diesel pulls like a fury on the walk. He does not follow, he is constantly on alert and looking around him, and he is making all the decisions about when to stop, when to go forward, which direction to go in, and etc. The result is that his humans - understandably - tend to become a bit frustrated with him, and that makes the exercise unhappy for him and for them.

At Home

Diesel is very good at home. He is respectful of Charlie's and Glimmer's space, he listens very well to Karis and Paul, he is extremely patient with the girls when they play with him, and he is quick to learn and respect the rules, boundaries, and limitations set out for him by everyone in the house. During the first training session, Diesel showed that he is eager to learn, and that he is happy to have a job to do. This is very positive, as it paves the way for rehabilitation and proper training.

Behavior

Diesel is very insecure where Karis and Paul are concerned. When neither of them are present and he is given over to my care, he whines and paces from one end of the house to the other, searching for them. He will not listen to anyone, nor will he relax, until they are home again.

The Good News

While Diesel does come to our pack with issues, he does understand and respect the rules, boundaries, and limitations Charlie and Glimmer have given him. He had to learn the hard way from the foster's cats that cats are to be obeyed at all times, but he did learn, and those lessons guide him with Charlie now. When Charlie warns him he's about to get smacked, Diesel immediately steps back and gives Charlie space.  His ears are up and forward, he does not go into a calm-submissive state, and he gets a very intent stare going on that earns him immediate correction from me, BUT: he respects Charlie's space and he doesn't push the issue.

Diesel has shown that he wants to learn, and that he wants to please his humans. When he is given the "watch me" command, he obeys immediately, and he stays focused on the person giving the command so he can respond to whatever will come next. There is no question that he can be rehabilitated and taught everything from basic obedience to more complicated tasks such as scent-recognition, search and find, and so much more. Diesel is highly intelligent; the sky is the limit when it comes to teaching him new things.

Karis and Paul definitely have their work cut out for them with Diesel's rehabilitation and training. But, if they are open to learning how to be strong pack leaders for Diesel, and if they practice what they learn, they and Diesel will be truly happy.

Rehabilitating dogs is much easier than training humans. This is because dogs don't hold onto things like we humans do; they don't hold onto ideas and conceptions about anything except what they learn through repetition. Also, we humans tend to try to use human psychology on our animal companions when we're trying to help them and teach them.  Well, human psychology does not work on dogs; you have to use dog psychology - especially when dealing with situations such as Diesel's. Many humans don't understand that, and they get upset when they see someone correcting their dog in a way - for example, through touch - they don't feel comfortable with. They don't understand that proper correction involves touch, and that when used correctly, touch helps the brain snap out of whatever negative state it's in so it can move forward into a more calm and balanced state. Many humans also don't understand that everything their dog does - whether marking while on a walk, pulling, or any other unwanted behavior - is a decision their dog is making, and if they don't take control of those situations properly and consistently, their dog is never going to follow them. Not because the dog doesn't love them, but because he or she sees their humans as pack mates instead of pack leaders.

I'm starting to ramble, here. The point is that Diesel is an awesome dog with tremendous potential for fulfilling whatever role his humans want him to take on. There is no limit to what he can learn. The only limitations are whatever his humans might be carrying.
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Friday, July 25th 2014

8:28 AM

Home to Stay

  • Feeling: migraine, fibro flare, but happy happy happy
  • Current Weather: Mostly cloudy. 14C. Forecast: Cloudy. Rain beginning this morning. High 18C

The morning has come chilly, overcast, and breezy. But that's okay, because today marks the beginning of a new chapter in all our lives: Diesel - the pit bull Karis and Paul rescued last year, before moving in with us - is here to stay. It was Roger's decision, and it took all of us by surprise, including me.





Diesel has been fostered for the past year by Paul's friend Luke, who has four dogs and several cats. He agreed to foster Diesel until Karis and Paul were able to get on their feet and get into a new place. Well, it's taken this entire past year for Paul to find - and hold - a good, steady job (which he has finally managed to achieve), but finding a place of their own is proving to be a real challenge. But, they have goals, and they're working towards them, and Roger is doing what he can to support and encourage them.

Diesel has come to live with us because although he was not abused in any way at Luke's home, the environment itself is very, very unclean. Diesel was supposed to be neutered yesterday, so we picked him up Wednesday night to make transporting him to the clinic much easier. When we stepped inside Luke's home, both Karis and I nearly gagged from the stench. I told Roger I was concerned that Diesel might get a post-surgical infection, and he said it sounded to him like he should have more than a couple of days of recovery time at our house. I agreed with him. Then, before I knew what was happening, Roger started asking me questions about how Charlie and Glimmer have been coping with Diesel's presence. I thought he was asking because Diesel would be staying with us a little longer to make sure he was completely healed. I had no clue that Roger was thinking about adding the dog to our family. That never even crossed my mind - because, for one thing, Roger is nervous around big dogs, and for another thing, he's really nervous around pit bulls.

When he told me that he was making the decision to have Diesel live with us permanently, I lost it. I started crying, and all I could say was, "Really? You're not going to take it back? Really? Really?" He just chuckled while I cried on him and said, "No, I'm not going to take it back. He's been through enough; he deserves to be with a family who will give him what he needs, and we're it." I must have cried on him for a good five minutes. The worry I'd been feeling was lifted off of me, and the relief of that was overwhelming. I've been attached to that dog since the first time I laid eyes on him...

More importantly, though, Karis and Paul were both overjoyed beyond words - and very close to tears - when Roger told them his decision. They actually hugged Roger and thanked him. Paul handed Roger a beer, and when Roger took it, Paul grabbed him and hugged him and just kept thanking him over and over while trying not to cry. He and Karis love Diesel so much, and they've missed him so much...

In the time Luke has been fostering Diesel, Karis and Paul have been giving Luke money every month to show their appreciation to him for taking the dog in. On top of that, they've also been providing for Diesel's needs. When I first wrote about this issue, I didn't know that they'd been doing that. They are also working on finding out whether or not Diesel's jaw and legs can be fixed, as they were all broken by Diesel's original owners.  Diesel endured a horrific life before Karis and Paul rescued him...

It's been a very long, hard haul for Karis and Paul - longer and harder than I realized. But things have changed dramatically in the past few months, and honestly, I am very, very proud of Paul for continuing to push through all the obstacles and challenges he's had to deal with - including the ongoing ass-riding both Roger and I have given him. He has been constantly measured... and now, he has proven himself to be a man. He has taken on a ready-made family and is working hard to provide for them. He has goals he is working hard to achieve. He cares - he cares about his family, he cares about us, he cares about himself in a more unselfish way than he did before... And he is proving that every day. How could I not be proud of him?

Diesel gets along really well with both Charlie and Glimmer. He is respectful of their space, he doesn't force himself on either one of them, he submits completely to Charlie, and he accepts that Charlie is the true pack leader in this house. He somehow understands that Glimmer is unsure about him, and instead of getting aggressive with her because of her weakness (dogs will always attack weakness in other dogs), he shows her incredible compassion by letting her come to him. When she does, he becomes very still for her until she finishes taking his measure and walks away from him. Then, and only then, will he move - and if she's still close, he moves slowly so he doesn't scare her. He is truly an amazing dog, and an incredible gift to all of us.

I could write about him all day, but I won't. The point is that Diesel is home, and none of our lives will ever be the same...
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