Sunday, September 30, 2012

rumor has it

Olive met a very nice man named Larry this weekend and his wife Karen. They said they were looking for a friend for their cute elderbull boy Zoolander. Zoo came to them from BR waaay back in 2004, back when he was very shy and needed extra special love to help him enjoy the world. It seems Larry and Karen have a fondness for tender hearted dogs with stories and an extra talent for helping them along, because Zoo is about as happy as any dog can be today.

Gosh. I wonder if we have any girls with special stories that need a home? Who could we possible introduce them to? While we're racking our brain thinking up possible matches, we thought you'd enjoy this photo of Olive having a little get-to-know you moment with Larry and Zoo.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tula sends her love

Tallulah (now Tula!) stopped by the other day with her new mom and her new boyfriend Shiner to say hello and to let us know how very happy she is with her new life and her new friends and her new yard with squirrels to chase and even the horses that she gets to see almost every day are nice too, and by the way mom got rid of one of the dog beds since she and Shiner would rather just share one together anyway and gosh darn everything worked out just like you all said it would so thank you very much for the love and good vibes!

Friday, September 28, 2012

the latest victim of .... the STAIRS

"Help! I've fallen up the stairs and I can't get dowwwwwwn."

"No I can't. Really - I can't. Too far."

"WHA! You're leaving me? NOOOO!"

"...I think I can. I think I can. I think I can..."

"Wait! Wait for MEEEEEEEEEE!!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Willy sez...

I tug, and you smile at me tugging, and I am best-ever happy.

Farnam's friend

Farnam decided that he really liked Lisa during her visit to the barn. Especially her feet.

Tippy the tripod pup was here for the day on the eve of going home with her new adopters. (Don't worry - She's been properly renamed to Betty)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bye Bye Boom Boom

Tim's saying his goodbyes to Jibboom after class today in this photo, but what's she looking at? Check it out. She's staring right up at her very own little boy, named Elliot.

Boom will be living with Joe and Megan -- and best of ALL -- their two kids. She was destined to be with kids (thank for helping us know that, Kiki!) and it certainly showed when she met this family at our Open House last weekend. We couldn't be happier.

Enjoy your new life, Jibboom. It was a joy and a pleasure to spend Summer '12 with you.
For old time sake, here's a replay of her first play session with Gurdy...

does she look sad?

Just maybe, she's thinking about all the times she had in this yard: Zooming through the tunnel with a toy in her mouth, taunting on the pause table, jumping at the hose, snuggling into her kennel with a fresh bully stick.

Miss Diva is set to go home today - a real live home. I didn't realize how much I'd miss her 'til Tim told me the home visit was completed and she was good to go. This little vixen really got under my skin when she first came to us, then with time she got right into my heart.

She was red hot reactive and horribly socialized to dogs when we first met her -- it was the key reason we took her in. While we were evaluating her at her shelter back in May, as luck would have it, she showed her worst side right when the shelter director walked into the room. We saw it in her face - Diva had just screamed her way onto the short list the next time they needed space. Tim and I looked at each other and sighed -- we had no choice but to take her.

When she came to the barn she was horrible with her mentor Elliot - stabbing at his face like an anti-social speed freak. He held steady. Play sessions were short and heavily monitored and every bit of training included rile/recovery work. We managed, shaped, scolded and praised - day and after day. Progress was slow. One day Elliot finally had enough and took her by the head and shook her, giving her a permanent scar. She screamed bloody murder. It was a turning point - "Ah ha! Dogs get mad when I do stupid stuff." Since then, she's started using her brain when she plays and has built smooth and solid relationships with all of the boys and most of the girls. She's now the 'dependable one' - she listens closely when we give her direction. She's a flirt pole show off. She calls right out of exciting play and backs off when dogs tell her to back off. She earned a roommate and has been kenneled with Farnam - good practice for her new dog brother who she'll be sharing her new home with.

What a difference a summer makes.

Goodbye little girl. I knew I'd be happy when you finally found your family, but I never knew how choked up I'd be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I think he's starting to bloom

I'm not talking about the flowers in the garden that the dogs love to sniff and "water". I'm talking about our Texas elderbull who you read about in an earlier blog I'm worried about Jimmy.

At last Saturday's Open House event, I noticed Jimmy enjoying the attention of the folks he met and he was very interested in the children he saw there. It also helped that Lisa, Olive's first friend from the OC was handling him and apparently had an over-nighter with Jimmy at the guest cabin (that Lisa was quite the busy lady during her recent visit!). Then during my next shift at the barn, I noticed a definite twinkle in his eye and when Jimmy hit the yard, I swear his inner puppy came out, and the leggy elderbull romped and ran in the greatest of spirits. There was most definitely a smile on that horsey face of his! And periodically, Jimmy would return to check in on his new friend, Lisa.

Here he is taking a quick play break AND getting in a quick chin scratch - you can practically see the twinkle in his eyes.

And before bed-time, Jimmy picked a couple of toys to keep him company. He chewed on that blue bone toy with the enthusiasm of a young pup then flopped exhausted to wait for the lights to go out.

So am I imagining it? Could it be true? That like a tender flower, our Jimmy is starting to bloom?

Olive's first friend

This is the first person who ever allowed Olive into her heart, back when she was twisted around from nearly two years of solitary confinement in a SoCA animal shelter.

We know for a fact that Lisa's got a good eye for seeing to the core of a stressed dog's funk, because Olive was a mess of PTSD-like behaviors back then. But of course Lisa saw the real Olive and decided to try and convince anyone who would listen that she was still alive, just slightly buried underneath that stress.

Olive adores Lisa - as you would guess. Even back in the shelter, when she couldn't muster the courage to lift her head or kiss her on the check or accept her toys, she loved her.

So much has changed. The girls had a reunion this past weekend that included a pajama party in the guest cabin and major zoomies in the yard. Fun! Lisa remarked on how bold and pushy Olive is now and how smoothly she navigates the drills at training class. And Olive was more than happy to show off her stuff.

Thatta girl Olive!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

rock hunt

Olive came by for a little visit this weekend and spent some time sniffing all around the flower garden.

"Hmm. I smell Gurdy and Willy and Astro and Diva and Boom-Boom and Oscar and Elliot and Catfish and Tallulah ...."

Me: "You darn dogs! You gotta stop pissing in the garden!" *shaking fist in air*

Olive: "Okay." Sez while quickly letting out a wee spray for the others to enjoy.

Me: "TIM! We need a fire hydrant back here ... Or ... a ROCK!"
Tim: "Okay. Let's go get us a rock."

It turns out that selecting a rock is much harder than we imagined.

It's a lot like looking for the very best pumpkin at the pumpkin farm. Every rock looks exactly like its neighbor until you start getting to know them as individuals. Then, they show you so many different personalities that it gets overwhelming.

Round gray rocks, colorful chiseled rocks, humble rocks, statuesque rocks. How do you choose?

We spent almost half an afternoon getting to know the homeless rocks, imagining as best we could how each one would fit in.  The workers left us to ourselves -- there was no meet-your-matching going on in this place.

After getting mad at ourselves for spending too much time on our rock hunt, it finally dawned on us that we needed to put each one to the test. The butt test. So we spent some time going 'round and 'round sitting on nearly every one.

"Hmm. This one is too pointy. And this one is too round."

"Lookit - This one has a great place to lean and put a coffee cup!"

Finally satisfied, we bought us a rock. Two, to be exact. One for my butt, one for yours. We heaved it into position next to the tiny oak tree where some of our dogs are buried. Olive gave it the sniff test and approved. 

But the real test was comin' up....

Jimmy woke up, stretched his long legs and blessed the rock as only an elderbull can do. Mission accomplished.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dance with us! October 27

Let's face it, we all really NEED to stomp our feet and hoot and holler and spin in circles and grab hands with strangers and laugh too loud. At the barn. Where the dogs already know we're a little nuts.

So here's the gig and - gosh - we sure hope you can come.

It's a Special Foot-stompin' Celebratin' Fundraiser for BAD RAP in honor of what happened five years ago this October. That's when a soon-to-be famous group of dogs left Virginia and landed in the golden hills of California. Five years!

Come join us in celebrating the five year anniversary of the Vick dogs' homecoming with a foot stompin' Home Sweet Home Hoedown on October 27 in Oakland! With us will be noted author Ken Foster, with fab stories from life in New Orleans and a big stack of his brand new book, I'm a Good Dog. 

We'll have a hoedown style BBQ, drinks, live music and a caller for some serious barn dancing, and a pack of the canine celebs ready to shake your paw - all at our beloved Rescue Barn in the Oakland Hills.

Meet Jonny Justice, Teddles, Uba, Audie, Zippy and Amazing Grace and congratulate them yourself on five years of being at home, doin' good PR deeds for pit bulls everywhere since leaving VA. Of course the barn dogs will be there too.

The only hanging question you should have is: WHAT WILL YOU WEAR?

To buy tickets: Hoedown!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Josie lets go, then so do we

Josie didn't really need that leg anyway.

Three weeks ago, her damaged front leg had to be removed when vets determined it could not be repaired. Two weeks ago, we 'met' her new home - a young family in Oregon who had room for a three-legged whipper snapper. And yesterday, we all said good-bye to our littlest patient.

 Just like the leg. Easy come, easy go.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jilly is a Mythical Creature

Jilly is the first pit bull I've ever had in my house who actually enjoys water. I know water-loving pit bulls exist, but I've never participated in the fun.
My dogs consider the hose an evil rain snake, but Jilly sees things differently.
There is nothing that makes Jilly happier than chasing the stream around the yard, leaping and biting the water and getting soaked.
My dogs watch from the safety of the back door. Silly Jilly! Pit bulls are made of sugar and melt when they get wet!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

simple pleasures

snuggle with a little friend...

sunbathe with a lovely chew toy...

take long naps.....

- three of Jibboom's most favorite things to do!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

astro charged

This is me Astro on my new toy the spring pole. The people here said I need to get in shape since I haven't been working out in months and months and my muscles got all mushy. So I tug at this rope for a few minutes every morning and evening. Tug, tug. Pull, pull. Stretch, stretch. It's a smart rope -- it likes to tease me by jumping all over the place. Pesky rope. I'm not sure how this is getting me in shape, because almost every time I play, I get really tired and need to take a nap. The people sure have strange customs here, but it beats chewing on my fur all day, which was how I entertained myself in the Texas place.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Diva, playin' the field

Overheard in the school play yard....

Diva "Psssst Willy! Your little brindle girlfriend has left you for another guy. Waddaya think of that? Pretty rotten, huh? So ... Doya wanna go steady then?"

Willy, "Uh. You're cute, so Okay."

(Don't tell Willy, but we caught Diva whispering the same to Astro, Farnam and Elliot. This belle of the ball has a pack of boyfriends all to her little self right now. Suh-weet!")

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gurdy has left the building

Miss Hurdy Gurdy waddled her sassy little self down the long driveway of the barn for the last time today on her way to bold new adventures. She's going be shacking up with BR alum Salvador and learning about the way of the world from inside a real live house.

The hope is to get this little miss on track with being a CGC star and -- maaaaybe -- even a therapy star like Big Sal. Her deafness affords her a devil-may-care attitude around even the loudest distractions, and her sunny outlook is perfect for charming every human she meets -- So why not? We'll just have to see if she can learn how to sit her happy butt still in exciting places. :-)

We will miss her something fierce around here! No more wee silly nugget circling our ankles and demanding a constant party in her honor. Sob! Fare-thee-well Gurdy. Thanks so much Jackie and Greg and Sal for giving her your best.


A busy day at the barn yesterday.

Astro got a spring pole. Farnam got a nice walk to strengthen his wobbly legs and some training. Diva got to be everybody's play session party girl.

Yomai did her first (nearly) solo shift and organized the chaos like a pro - an important step towards being a full fledged team member.

After ten days of decompression time, Jilly (once named Magellan) had her first full contact intros with Uba and Lulu. That ten days made all the difference and our once overly-defensive girl felt right at home with her new dog friends. 

Shown with Uba, who is smooching barn crew trainee DeAnna.

We threw Jimmy an old dog party with elderbull Lulu and Honky Tonk. He thought Lulu was sexy for about five seconds, but cookies turned out to be way sexier.

Jilly's reward for being such a good girl with the dogs was a game of bite the water stream from the hose - a most favorite game. Here she shows us her "I'm-getting-my-spay-stitches-out-now" face. Yay progress.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Foster Puppy

1. Sleep in on the big bed.
2. Morning sunbathing and yard inspection with Auntie Scout.
3. Long walk in the park with Uncle Jake to sniff things and observe how to be a big boy.
4. Dress up in a silly outfit so your foster people can giggle at with you.
5. Hugs from Auntie Scout.
6. Practice the good boy stuff, like 'sit' and 'look' and get treats.
7. Evening nap with Auntie Scout and Uncle Jake. What a nice Aunt and Uncle to let the little squirt share the big bed!
Roscoe is enjoying the good life as a foster puppy, but he'd love to enjoy all this fun with his forever family.  Come and meet Roscoe and his sisters Addy and Magpie next Saturday, September 15th at the BAD RAP open house.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm worried about Jimmy

Everyone on our dog handler team has a special talent or three. One of my well practiced skills is that I'm really good at worrying about one or two select dogs while they weave through our program. Right now, I'm worried about Jimmy.

He came from the Spindletop case so lord knows how long he's been waiting to get started with his life, but he's a senior so it could've been ... Years? There's no telling what he saw or how he was housed or if he had any friends or what he experienced during that time. The owner of the now defunct Texas rescue knows, but she's not talking. So we're left to ponder what the dogs decide to confess to us.


Right now, Jimmy's not telling us much of anything, except that he likes his food and his dog bed and sniffing the ground and going for walks. People don't matter too terribly much. We're aren't scary, we aren't bad -- We just aren't.

Is he waiting for someone? Is he senile? Is he enjoying himself or just biding his time?

While everyone else is tossing toys and looking for fun, Jimmy just stares out a lot. When it's his turn for exercise, he kicks up his heels and cavorts around the yard momentarily like one happy puppy. When he starts pacing in Lost Man circles, we put him back ...

Then ... it's back to staring out at the world from his vantage point. I figure he must've done the statue act so much in Texas that he's come to believe that's what he is.

Statue Man - staring out. For years.

He performs obedience like a trick pony -- Everything perfect. "Here's my paw. Here's my down. Here's how I can jump on the pause table. Here's how I wait for my food and look into your face until you say 'Okay.'"

Then .. he's back to being all alone in his little head. Never a tail wag or sparkle of recognition.

Here's where I worry: Who will want our Jimmy?

Will he find someone to love him even if he doesn't slobber 'Hellos' when they come home from work?

Will they understand that he's just a little bit different?

I know I shouldn't worry, but it's what I'm good at.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

one toy: three dogs

Run Willy RUN!

Mine! Mine!

Neener Neener Neener!

Nuh-Uh. Go'way!

Oh DOH! .........