Tuesday, September 24, 2013

the help

Barn blog readers know that young house-dog Elliott is a regular member of the Barn Crew, helping with the training and assessment of barn dogs.  And now, it seems, from within the ranks of the barn dogs, another volunteer has stepped up, a volunteer with her OWN special skill.....

Excuse me Aunty Barn Lady......can I help you with those dishes?

Take that sticky spoon there with  peanut butter on it.

That gunk might block the drains but being an environmentally conscious dog (and a smart one too), I can help to dispose of it.

Please hold that spoon out.right.there.

Mmphffff....slurp, slurp, slurp, mmphffff......

I think the spoon is just about ready for you to wash now, Aunty.

Thanks Darla, you're a great helper!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kasbah rocks, Darla rolls (the ball)

All I’d heard about this new Barn dog Kasbah was that he was "a bit of a handful." So when I found out I’d be handling him at a Pit Ed Class/Open House, I was nervous. Kas the Spaz indeed lived up to his name. Clearly a sweet dog, but one who’d never who’d been required to be polite or deal with impulse control. 

The crazy thing is, when we talk about Kasbah now, it’s not about how far he’s come or how well his training has gone. All of that is true, but Kasbah’s lasting legacy is that he is the greatest play partner a dog could ever hope for. He’s so much fun, so energetic, yet totally appropriate. He plays fair, doesn’t get his feelings hurt, and is happy to handicap himself with smaller pups.

Establishing boundaries and pouring on that training sauce didn’t just turn him into a well-behaved little man – it allowed his star qualities to shine through.

Kasbah won’t be at the Barn forever, and of course that’s a good thing. So is it luck that one of the new arrivals, Darla, seems to be a naturally gracious play pal as well? To see her and Kasbah in the yard together is pretty much dog poetry. Or maybe it’s like a good dancer who elevates the rest of the troupe – in this case, Kasbah makes his partners look like they can really tango. 

Could be that Kasbah’s style has rubbed off on Darla; more likely, she's savvy in her own right. Either way, it’s nice to know we’ll have another play-wunderkind around when he’s moved on. Check it out:

Kas has the ball as Darla approaches and Puddles (at left) referees.

And just like that, Darla's got it!

Queen of Dog Mountain, Darla flaunts her prize.
And... down it rolls. Let the game begin again.

PS. Just looked over at another window on my computer screen and saw the BADRAP update. Kasbah has been adopted! eeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mighty Tiny - Lasts, and firsts

MTeeee has left the building! It sure was an experience hosting him here. He kept everybody including the dogs on their toes with his terrier-style bravado and made us slap our foreheads and laugh several times a day. We still don't know what his breed make-up is, but we're sure he broke the mold when he was born.

Here are some of his final moments and big firsts. So long, feisty little man!

Last mountain climbing mission to the barn's treat stash.

Last bath with Mr. Tim.

Last play session with Bonnie the Pup.

Whoops. Apparently he's not quite done mountain climbing for treats yet.

Last time you get to pester Uncle Elliot.

FIRST training class! Show us what you know, Mighty Tiny.

First real home with his proud new dad.
Congratulations to both boys on finding each other.
We wish you many happy adventures in the years ahead!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

double trouble

Here's a sweet picture of our two pups looking rather innocent and well behaved ....or are they?  Let's look at the evidence, shall we. 

First, notice the wet and muddy footprints on the porch, and hmmmm.....are those 2 sets of damp looking slightly muddy paws? 

Now let's do a little rewind.  Oh, what do we have here? 

Someone's on the lookout while the furrier of the two stands on the table to take a peek through the open cabin window - no doubt plotting to steal any stray cookies conveniently laying around.

As we scroll back further through the photographic evidence, look what else we uncover! 

Over in the garden behind the tall plants where you might almost miss seeing them - why it's 2 rascally pups! 

Mighty Tiny is standing guard again while Bonny takes a little dip in her own little wading pool aka drinking fountain for some of the bigger dogs aka garden water-feature. 

It's elementary Watson - the source of those paw prints on the porch are our very own dynamic duo....not so innocent, double trouble in fur.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Leveling the playing field

I still remember being astounded, and then giddy, the first time I witnessed self-handicapping during dog play. That is, when a bigger/stronger/faster dog holds back a bit (or a lot) in order to make it a more fair — and more fun — game for the smaller guy.

The phenomenon is downright adorable, and with Mighty Tiny around, I get to see it all the time. The latest was yesterday’s three-way-tug fest between Tiny on the left, Kasbah in the middle, and Bonnie at right. When he first arrived at the Barn, Kasbah had a thing or two to learn about impulse control. But you’d never know from this scene  Kasbah could've easily yanked the toy right out of Tiny's mouth:

A few seconds later, Tiny has not only pinned the big dog to the ground, he's literally rubbing Kasbah's face in it as Bonnie looks on. 

And then as if planned, Bonnie strategically seizes the moment and runs off with the prize. I think Tiny and Kas are too busy rolling around and giggling to notice that it's gone.

Tiny, who's still a puppy, was even tinier when he first showed up at the Barn a few weeks ago. Soaking wet, he weighs about as much as one of Rhonda's dew claws. But here they are, tuggin' it out. With one whip of her head, the big girl could've sent Tiny flying. Instead, she keeps it challenging enough for her to feel like it's worth it, and easy enough for him that he stays in the game. Finally she seems to tell him, "Hey kid, can't win 'em all." Fair enough.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

work.......play (happenings at the barn on labor day)

Mighty Tiny:  Hey, aren't there puppy labor laws about having to work this hard?

Isn't this supposed to be a holiday?  

And yes Aunty, I do talk a lot but look.... I am LEAVING IT!  See how good I am? 

Now when can I get those yummy treats?



Puddles:  Hey Aunty, can we play with this flirt pole, please please please please?  Can we, huh, can we??

late night tete-a-tetes

Recently had the chance to do a midnight shift and was not surprised to find that, late at night, the Rescue Barn is a cozy and peaceful haven. The barn residents do what many of us do in the evening - they relax and enjoy a little quiet canine conversation before getting tucked in for the night to drift off to sleep and dream happy doggy dreams.

Mighty Tiny and his lanky friend Kasbah exchange secret hopes during their pre-bedtime tete-a-tete and wonder.... what their new families will be like?

Harpo rests outside young Bonnie's kennel, watching intently as she lays back and contemplates the future - que sera, sera.                                                                                                                                 And our junior volunteer......

....oops, she couldn't quite make it to the end of the shift.
She too enjoys the comfy couch and dreams a little dream of happy pooches and equally happy kids. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Awkward Family Photo Day at the Barn

Rhonda strikes a regal pose, Kasbah plays coy behind the lavender.

Getting the giggles out...

Smile pretty.

 *YAWN* Are we done yet?