fly-by

April 11th fly-by

Fort Pearce OHV area, Utah

April 25th fly-by

I was sitting outside (Hurricane Mesa) reading when I heard an R/C airplane spun up in the distance.  I looked for it and but saw a thick cloud of bees instead headed inbound from about 10′ away.   I sat very still and figured I’d take my lumps if they came.

They were about in a 12’x12′ formation a couple feet off the ground, and about 30′ long.  It was like a black cloud hugging the ground  .   The edge of the organized mass of them was about 3′ away passing right to left.  Stragglers went right by and behind me.  No bites or stings, and none bounced off me that I could tell.

I watched as they continued across the field toward the canyon.  Looking for water?  Splitting off to make a new colony?

April 28th fly-by

I was reading today when Muffin leapt up and started growling.  I got turned around and saw two retriever-type dogs bouncing into camp.  They were in good health and had collars w/tags so I figured they were with someone I couldn’t see or hear.  They weren’t built heavily enough to be bear or javelina dogs and weren’t wearing armor.   Hikers?

Muffin and the dogs greeted each other and did fine.  They ran off.  Others came in, visited, ran off.  I didn’t like it but it didn’t seem immediately dangerous.  Then again, I didn’t know how many dogs were out there or what they’d do in a pack.  Who hikes with what appeared to be a half-dozen dogs?

Finally left alone, I was about to return to my lawn chair when a chow mix came bolting through the scrub trees, growling, teeth bared.  Muffin was at the end of her lead and couldn’t maneuver much – she reacted in 100% murder mode, which is disturbing to be near even as a member of the home team. The trespasser was about to get an unpleasant reception involving, I judged from Muffin’s tone and physical presentation, throat, entrail and/or leg removal.  I wasn’t looking forward to any of it.  Here we go.

As the chow dog arrived on scene at a dead run I stepped forward, leaned in, and smacked the living crap out of it on the side of the head.  It was hard enough to partially rotate/deflect the dog (probably not the wisest move to get that close to it, walking stick was leaned against the other side of the van).  The chow yelped in surprise and ran off to reassess the plan.  I retrieved the walking stick and waited.

The owners must have heard the unfriendly interaction from some distance because a lady started calling the dog.  You could hear the eye-rolling in the “come here, Princess.  You naughty girl…”.

The walkers (like mall walkers only on a trail) eventually passed and didn’t look over at the camp or offer “sorry my dog is aggressive and was loose in your camp” or “sorry we are idiots”.

I don’t want to shoot anybody’s dog, but I will if I have to.  The shovel was nearby and the .380 was in my pocket.

D minus 11 – work, dogs

Lots going on recently.

work and retirement

The biggest thing is I am retiring from work on Dec 31st.   It’s earlier than I had planned, but my work schedule has been increasingly terrible with no end in sight.   In a way I am grateful for the bureaucratic inertia and stupidity that encouraged me to look at all my options again.  It’s like Kafka only with a happy ending.

Because of the holidays, I’ve only got a few real working days left.  I work this weekend, a half day next week, and the last two days.  In all cases, the office will be abandoned as all the Normal Office People have taken off.  I am also on standby duty answering emergency calls while the office is closed for Christmas but I can do that from the camper.

immediate plans

In January I will make a run to the DFW area to visit family before heading out.  I’ll go back out west after that.

a doggo of my own

This is Muffin (nee Candy Corn), a 50-something pound pit/boxer mix I had walked many times at the shelter.  Because of the holiday/weekend schedule I could adopt her now, ahead of my retirement proper.  She’d been at the shelter for 10 weeks, and had been transferred there from the ELP city shelter before that.  I think her eagerness and strength were a bit much for the average family perusing the used dog lot.  She put her front paws on people when she had visitors and could easily push down a small child.

Once out of the pen she settled right down and rarely gets on people.  If you are sitting or lying down, though, expect to have her in your lap.  She is housetrained, responsive to small leash inputs, and nonreactive to other dogs.  We were walking in the park yesterday and a loose beagle ran up on her from behind — she was relaxed and they goofed around for a bit.  We walked by the dog park there and didn’t mind that other dogs ran up and barked wildly at the fence line.  Mutual sniffing ensued then she walked off.

This is in line with my observations at the shelter:  the most relaxed and attention-craving dogs were the pits.  They looked stereotypicaly scary but were dying to be touched by a person.

Muffin’s other good habits:  doesn’t tear stuff up, hasn’t gotten into garbage, sleeps right next to you, doesn’t bark except when people are around the camper, hops right in the van.  Not farty.  🙂

This morning we went to a farmer’s market where she was well-behaved and got some love from strangers.  Later we walked by the best local El Paso brewery, Deadbeach, and she walked right onto the patio.  Arm twisted, I had an excellent sour beer as we sat in the sunshine.  Bartender and a customer to see her and she did great.

Life is good.

holidogs

ie, holiday dogs.  I like to be at the shelter on holidays.  It is quieter (good for me),  I can get more dogs walked (good for them), and the dogs are not as wild from passer-by overstimulation.

Lady M was the very shy dog I walked a few weeks ago.  She’s being overlooked for adoption because she usually hides like this:

But she can see the door of the office from one end of her pen.  She saw me this time and wagged her tail a bit.  I went to her pen and she didn’t run until she’d said her hellos.  Then old habits kicked in like the above.  She came out long enough for us to take a walk:

Continue reading “holidogs”

Hallowags

This stately creature is Canada, a mixed breed of some kind.  Back end looks like a GSD and the front end looks like a terrier or hound.  He was marked “contagious ” so I didn’t take him out.  🙁  Those eyes!

This Dobie was about 30# overweight.  Her energy level was high and she was sprightly so I think she was confined and could not exercise.  She has a lot of heavy callouses that suggests she was sleeping on a hard surface.   The ear crop looks like a DIY job that went lopsided.  Intact dobie ears are so pretty and soft I don’t know how people can bear to cut them.  At least she has her tail.

Didn’t spend much time visiting with Dagger, this black GSD mix, since he really had to go to the bathroom.  I saw this expression and knew what it meant…  We had a good walk.   He’s bright and attentive like most GSD.

This lovely, giant Dane was the most skittish dog I’ve ever been near.  She crept up to me but reacted to every touch with a full-on jerk.  Even when touching, lifting, and touching again.  After several minutes she reacted less and less.  I varied pressure and graduated to some itsy-bitsy-spider touches.  We went for a walk and she did great;  strolled alongside, no pulling or weaving.  She’s ready for a patient and low-stress home.  🙂

Jack, a Rottweiler mix, had been tormenting me all day.  Every time I (or a potential adopter) would walk by he’d go nuts as if he were a Bad Dog<tm>.

Just before I left I had enough and the two of us were going to figure it out.  I came to the kennel door and he went wild as expected.  I didn’t react.  Pushed the door a bit more and his demeanor shifted.  Opened almost enough to get in and he backed up / sat down.  Interesting.

I squeezed in and shut the door behind me and he was totally happy to have a visitor.  We sat together until the excitement eased a bit (wiggling, Operation Facelick).  We went for a walk and he acted fine.  I noticed he was quite thin, which I hadn’t seen when he was acting up — too many other factors to juggle.

I put him back up, washed up, and got ready to leave.  When I walked out past his kennel he spazzed out again and didn’t seem to recognize me from 3 minutes before.  Boundary aggression maybe but I think he’s just wound up from being caged.  I don’t think he’d be crazy like that in an adoptive home.

Oh, while I was in the large dog kennels, a nice pitbull named Max was adopted.  🙂  He was kind and always happy to see people.

I decided I had to make a pass through the small/medium kennels.  I was really whipped and my back was hurting so I spent about 10mins with Pumpkin sitting in my lap.

pumpkin-54483-pet-images-1
shelter pic

 

She was quite small, maybe 15 lbs.  Nice animal, I think she was terrorized by being across the aisle from a very barky bull terrier (bud light breed with the egg-shaped heads).

I hope she finds a home soon and can get away from the noise.

los perros

I’m going to have to start doing these the day I work with the beasties, b/c I can’t remember their names a week later…  mostly.  Good news is we got all the big housebroken dogs walked.

Yet another happy pit.  This one was goofy and affectionate.  Ready for a home.

This pitty doggo had a base-of-tail injury with stiches, hence the cone:

Continue reading “los perros”

late July dogs

Sorry, forgot my phone this time.  🙁

It’s for the best because the dogs I had required all my attention;  some were very fearful, some were escape-obsessed, etc.  The pics below were taken by the shelter.

Japan

First dog I took out was a small female lab mix, Japan:

She’s been at the shelter for a few months.  Not sure why, she was friendly and walked fine on the leash.  As is my current practice, I sat with her for 5mins or so before getting her out for the walk.  This gives the hyper face-licking and other excited behaviors a chance to fade.  Once the dog loses direct interest and starts looking around at other stuff I figure it’s time for walkies… Continue reading “late July dogs”

stubborn walkers

There were only 4 housetrained dogs in the Large kennels, so I figured I’d get to some of the non-housetrained animals.

Nope.  Each of the four was a difficult walk, taking much longer than normal.

Lower left is a greyhound mix.  Body was 75% greyhound but had none of the GH temperment.

Lower right was Apollo, a beautiful pit.  He wanted to interact with people but was scared.   Note the lack of eye contact in both of his shots;  when sitting with a dog like that I look away to keep from spooking them.    He never got any closer than the door but he did eventually lay down in the blue bed.

The payoff for the hard afternoon was seeing this adorkable puppy: Continue reading “stubborn walkers”

dogwalking: first outing

61tmsu2bdoal._sx90_The animal handler shirt allows volunteers to take the beasties out for walks, etc.  I picked up a 6′ slip lead (the red one on the right) like the staff and more experienced volunteers use.  Nicely made and easy to get on/off the dogs.  It’ll work with large and medium dogs.  It’s light enough for small dogs but still stiff and too bulky for the wee ones I think.

95% of the snaps I take on walks look like this:

Continue reading “dogwalking: first outing”