Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Fest!

Took the pups to our annual Christmas Fest held in the middle of town. Everyone knew we were going somewhere as we broke out the rakes/brushes to pretty them up. Everyone got a squirt of "smell-good" and a bandana to wear. THAT means there's a R-I-D-E guaranteed :) Even Grady got excited and did his foot stamping thing.

It was chilly enough for you to see your breath and the dogs. After our short ride, we put everyone's cruise control on (prong collars) and off we went for the little walk to the city central. Lots of folks got out of our way upon seeing the trio of Newfie's walking down the sidewalk. One lady said is that Molly and what's her name? I said nope...then thought, wait, they're here?

Molly and Jasmine are two girl Newfies owned by a family who frequents craft shows/festivals. How cool that they might be here. We quickly found them and snapped some shots after spending at least an hour catching up.

Sophie, Bava on the ground, Grady, Jasmine and Molly

Grady, Sophie, Jasmine and Molly

Grady, Sophie with an excellent flogger, Bava, Jasmine and Molly

Bava, Sophie, Grady, Jasmine and Molly

There were other dogs there as well, two Chihuahua's that thought they were bigger than the dogs and did kind of freak them out when they walked right up to the Newfs. Also, lots of people with questions.

Grady really surprised us, a little girl was there who walked up to him to pet him and he jumped up to try and lick her face. Really neat to see his personality come out.

The next day, Sunday everyone had some form of grooming done. The result was very tired dogs - two in particular.....

Grady Comes Home - Part II

So, now we're at this place called "Home." The two people calling themselves Mum and Dad took me out of the crate they had me in for my safety and led me to a gate. Inside the fence was a big back yard with trees, a chicken pen with real live chickens for me to sniff, places to pee and grass to eat.

Mum immediately began raking me with some of her grooming tools and Dad snapped a picture of her doing it. Can you tell she was surprised at the number of mats she found on me? She thought that I wasn't tutored!

(click on the pic for a full view!)

I can't believe she's putting that picture up for people to see!

Shortly after figuring out that was just a huge mat, Dad opened up the gate and let a big black beautiful dog who looked just like me into the yard. I was so shocked to see someone like me! We ran at each other and had to sniff and follow one another to make pee-mail. What a wonderful place this is turning out to be! Dad went back inside and another dog like us came out, only it was a girl who is brown and white, a Landseer. She's so pretty! We all ran around the yard and Mum kept chasing after me with rakes and combs and brushes and scissors.

It started to get dark, so Dad brought the boy and girl dog inside and Mum took me to the garage where they started working on getting me cleaned up.

We worked on Grady's mats with combs, conditioner, scissors (had to cut a LOT of hair from between his legs in the back, from around his feet, ears, tail), rakes, and brushes. I had the dremel out and worked a little on some of his nails which are long. The poor guy was so worn out from the whole day he actually fell asleep and started snoring while we were working on him. He was flat out on his side snoring.

We got as much of the mats and hair off without making him completely bald and stood him up for a wash. He let us wash and condition him, dry most of him off, added some leave-in conditioner, towel and blow dry again and into the house we went for sniffies. No one bit anyone, no one growled, everyone was quite well behaved.

We got cleaned up ourselves, dressed in sweats/jammies and ordered a pizza. Grady slept in Brandon's bathroom overnight, no accidents and a new life began for him.

We kept watching him to check for signs of limps, weird behavior; anything underlying that would signify we did a major goof in bringing this guy home. He doesn't know how to walk very well on a leash and is always eager to pull ahead of the other two who seem happy to plod along with us. Except for the occasional stiffness after a nap he doesn't seem to limp. Period.

I took him to work with me the Tuesday following us getting him and one of the girls offered to keep him with her when I had to use the restroom. He pretty much stayed in her office the rest of the day much to my amusement. She sent me an IM saying someone in here is snoring :)

I'd scheduled an appointment for him for Wednesday which was an off day for me. We'd been given his belongings that he came with, a knotted leash and a chain collar with three tags on it, one was a name tag with the phone number of his previous owner and the other two were rabies tags.

I attempted to contact the shelter we got him from twice to try to acquire his vet records as I didn't want our vet to duplicate any shots/vaccines he might have already had. Once, they asked for my fax number, the second time, my email. I never heard back from them. So, I braved calling his former vet which I'd not wanted to do in the event they contacted his former owner. That might have been weird.

Hi, I'm Melissa ***** calling about a dog my hubs and I just adopted from a shelter. I gave the gal who answered the rabies ID number and she pulled him right up. 'Yep, we've seen him, he's up to date on all his records,' she said. 'He's not due for more shots til next June, can you give me your vets fax? I can send over all his info.' Hallelujah! I immediately asked her if she could tell me his age. She said, 'Sure! he's a June baby, of '03.' So, he's 6.5 years old.

Brought him to the vet the next morning. He was very nervous. He whined a lot and paced, then finally laid down while we waited. They did a heartworm check on him as we were told he'd never been heartworm tested, negative but the poop they "stole" from him did test positive for Coccidiosis. They put him on meds for that, listened to his heart, checked out his body, weighed him (129 lbs) and sent us home with a good feeling about this guy.

We survived Thanksgiving and have finally started seeing Grady's personality start to emerge. He "talks". He will sit close to you or just outside the door and make these little "boof" noises. Slowly they start to increase in volume, but are never a full blown bark. They're all "boof's". He also stamps his front feet in either exasperation or excitement or a combo of the two. Very endearing. He loves drinking water and that's about the only time he has drool or floggers hanging from his funny shaped lips. He seems to have a perpetual pout, his slightly crooked teeth accentuate it and give him the appearance of a child or an older man looking disgruntled or upset at something. He hasn't yet given up what...

We're also seeing some of the stuff he probably lived through. Being as he can't talk and tell us his life story, all we can do is guess at the behavior he exhibits. Balking at being led into a room or into the house by the scruff if no leash or collar is available to hold on to, backing into only one room of the house until his feet are completely off the wood floors and onto the carpeting, scooting on his butt thru the kitchen door from wood floors onto tile, hiding in the laundry room or my bathroom in the dark and remaining as quiet as he can, the exuberance he shows when he's outside on a walk and the stride he maintains or tries to accomplish; very long legged stride, tail wagging, lips flying, tongue hanging out, ears slightly back in a happy look, feet reaching way out to cover more ground, he's missing all his upper incisors and a few molars too but for the most part, his teeth are pretty clean, tartar build-up seems to be only on one side...He LOVES having a pillow to sleep on and I think he's starting to realize he's HOME.

(Clockwise from left, Bava, Grady and Sophie)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Grady Becomes an Alabama Dog - Part I

My name is Grady. I'm a black Newfoundland dog with two white toes and a white chest. I'm new to Alabama but I think I'm going to like it. I'll let my new Mom tell the story.

Brandon (hubs) sent me an IM around noon on a Thursday. We were having our Thanksgiving lunch for the office and things were sort of slow. The IM contained a link for a pet on Petfinder.

Gads, what is this I thought? Every now and then we'll look at Petfinder and see what's out there for adoption. Never know what you'll find. Looking back at me from my monitor is a dog who looks a LOT like Bava, hair was grotty looking but he was definitely a Newf. Lots of Petfinder ads advertise dogs that are Newf's come to find out they're really a mix of some variety. This guy had to be a "real" Newf.

I wrote back, OMG, he looks just like Bava! He agreed. I said okay, so why did you send this to me, grinning big as I was typing. 'Oh I don't know, he does look like Bava though.' We gabbed back and forth for a little while and I casually said, well I can call them and see what's going on. Maybe we can help find him a home?

I went outside with a pad of paper, his info written down and settled down on the hood of my car to call the shelter. I explained what my call was in reference to and they said oh yeah, he's an owner surrender, he kept getting out of the yard he was in and they got tired of putting him back in or some such. She went on to explain that being as he's a working breed, he's very intelligent yadda yadda. I said Yep, I'm mum to two Newfies. 'Oh!' she says, 'So you know what they're like!' Yep.

Can you give me more information? 'Yes, he's up to date on his shots, he's neutered, loves the water, had his bath already and he's approximately 6 years old.'

I kinda felt like someone had thumped me on the head. Wow, a 6 year old Newfie given up. This sounds strange. So, I asked what he was like with other dogs. 'He's in a pen with 7 ladies right now and he's doing fine.' What about male dogs? One of my Newfie's is a male, neutered. 'Oh, he's been around them and he seems fine with them.' I said what are your hours/days open? She told me the days/times and said if I was interested in coming to look at them, they wouldn't bring him to the two locations where they were doing adoptions that Saturday. She also asked me for my information and seemed pleased Hubs and I had experience with the breed. I gave her my info and said I'd probably see her Saturday.

Called Hubs back and relayed the information I'd gained on him. He seemed like me in disbelief that this handsome looking dog was in "jail" at his age. We went for a walk that evening in the dark with the two other Newfies and I casually brought it up, still not sure how he felt about the possibility of us having another dog in the house. Mowglie isn't exactly male dog friendly and all we had to go on was what we'd been told and what his "ad" said about him. He said the decision was up to me. I sort of felt like this was a trick question and he knows I hate making major decisions like this. Part of me was feeling, okay, fine, we'll go tomorrow on my off day and get this poor baby out of jail even if it's just to hold him for someone else looking for a Newfie to love. The other part was like crap...what do I do? Another piece of me was thinking what on earth am I doing thinking of going to bail this guy out?

I posted on a dog forum we mod on and was quite vague. One of our friends jumped and said something to the effect of we need more details, do it! :) Others gave their experiences, some wanted more information. I'd kinda made my mind up already but wasn't ready to give in to the decision. I still had a few hours to make my mind up.

Hubs asked me before we'd decided to go to lunch if I'd called the shelter back. I said yes, I left a VM with the director of the shelter (who'd called and left ME a VM) and had asked her to call me back, I'd thought of a couple more questions concerning him. So I brought my pad of paper with me, a pen and my phone and we went out. I tried calling her later and finally got a phone call back. I wanted to know how he was with cats. 'Fine,' she said, their main room where they process intakes has some cats in residence and one of them crawled all over him and he was fine with it. I said that we'd see her the next day.

Hubs asked me what we were doing, I told him my decision and set my alarm for the next day to go off early. We had a 2.5 hour drive to go get this boy. I consulted a very dear friend of mine and told her the situation and she and I agreed even if all we'd wind up doing is getting him out of jail (which wound up being a kill shelter btw) and finding a suitable home for him (She and I have done a home visit for a Pyr) then we can call it a happy thing to do. Spirits lifted even more in this crazy decision I finally went to bed after extra loves on all three dogs and telling them that another dog would not take the place of them that's already in my heart.

Hubby came in before I'd gotten out of bed and said we have to get over there quick. He'd done some research on the place and it didn't bode well. I got up and got going. He packed the crate in the van, we took Bava's leash/collar and a slip-lead with us, printed out our directions and began the journey.

The closer we got the more trepidatious we felt about the whole thing. We finally found it and not going into too many details, we were wondering what on earth we were doing. Happy faces, here we come.

There were a couple folks inside and some outside all with missions it seemed. No one gave us a nod or acknowledged we were there for about 15 minutes. One of them finally looked up and said is someone helping you? mmmNope. We told them our purpose for being there and a light bulb went off. Aha! 'Are you the folks from Alabama?' Yep. 'You were told you could come get him today?' Uh, yep....(puzzled look at this from me). They sort of went back to their activities and we were left mulling around for a few more minutes. Finally they got their act together and one of them said, 'go get the dog for them.'

We waited like anxious parents waiting for their baby to be brought to them from the nursery for the first time. I couldn't stand it and went to look out the window to look outside at the kennel where they'd disappeared. Out of the doorway comes one of the volunteers with this big, shaggy, sadly muddy Newf. He did have a slight grin on his face. I said Oh my gosh! It's a Newf! He is a Newf! In hindsight I'm sure that sounded ridiculous to them but hey, Mowglie was advertised as a Newf Mix and he has NO Newf in him.

We went outside and they handed off the leash to me. He promptly leaned on me and carefully I brushed a hand over his dirty grayish coat. Hubs took his leash and ran his hands over him too and said to me quickly, 'Hey Melissa, go do the paperwork and let's head out.' Mmm that sounded "urgent-like" to me. Intuition told me something was not quite right way back in the back of my head so me in my excitement said okay, let's do this! He handed off his checkbook to me to pay the adoption fees and off we went to do paperwork. We were told animals are not allowed in the office as they've had some sick dogs and didn't want to contaminate any other animals.

I think Hubby's eyebrows disappeared as did mine. Paperwork was done, check written, they couldn't find his file - odd, obligatory photo taken and we got packed back in the van with a dog in the crate and off we go in the misty mid-afternoon for our journey home.

Hubs relayed to me how he'd found HUGE mats in between the pups back legs. His feet, back, legs and parts of his belly had mud balls on them, the gray look to his coat was dead hair and dandruff. Chunks of hair were coming off him while we were petting him and all I could think was man, I want my rakes and combs and I want to clean this guy UP!

We scooted down the road and stopped at a pet store for a bowl, collar and leash for him, also toys. Every dog has to have toys, this guy was no exception. We did a food stop for us, a pee stop for him, another stop for food for everyone and finally got home. We both took our shoes off outside to prevent ick from the shelter from being traipsed through the house. I put Mowglie up to allow the new guy to check out the back yard, grabbed up a brush and a rake and some scissors and off we went so we could introduce him to the other two Newfies in our lives. Hubs got the camera and a new chapter began for us.