Friday, October 31, 2008


Ah! Figured out how to put pictures on here! Yay!!!
Ruffles -- Read his story below. ;)

The Challenges of New Beginnings

A few days ago, I received an email from a woman working with the Yonkers shelter asking for help with a Chow Chow who had just arrived as a "owner surrender."

"Ruffles" (an odd name for a male dog) was given up because his owners are "moving to California."

"Moving" is in fact, one of the most common reasons cats and dogs are given up to shelters. It seems many people, when deciding what to bring with them when they change locations do not decide in favor of their pets. One cannot help but wonder why dropping pets off at shelters when one makes a move has become so acceptable in our culture?

In any case, Lila (from the shelter) informed me that "Ruffles" was a very "nice" dog, but he wasn't doing well in the shelter.

Though scheduled to be neutered this past Monday, staffers were unable to slip a leash over Ruffles and remove him from his indoor/outdoor run. The Chow was scared and backed off, each time evading the leash.

"Perhaps he's not used to be walked on a leash," I suggested to Lila. "You know there are many people who either keep dogs in yards and never walk them or simply open doors to let the dog come and go in a yard. Such dogs can be hard to leash because they're not used to it. Try approaching Ruffles sideways or with your back towards him. Go slowly and don't stare at him directly. When the dog is relaxed, then slip the leash over him."

Lila was appreciative of the suggestion and told me the shelter had a trainer coming in the next day. Hopefully, the woman would be able to get a leash on Ruffles and walk him.

"Can you call the former owner?" I asked. "If so, ask if Ruffles was an inside or outside dog. Ask if they regularly walked him or just let him out in the yard. Ask how the dog is with grooming, kids and other animals. Profiles are really important to get from former owners. This gives you a true picture of the dog and the environment he came out of. I suspect with his fear of the leash, Ruffles was rarely, if ever walked. Most dogs associate the leash with the postives of walks."

Yesterday, Lila called and told me she had indeed been able to contact Rufflel's former owner.

As speculated, Ruffles was not a dog who was regularly walked, but rather allowed to go inside and outside between home and yard. The owner added that Ruffle's was great around young children and other dogs. He had no guarding or aggressive issues, but was hard to groom due to being "too playful and jumpy." The dog had been given to the family as a "gift" when a small puppy.

Lila added that the trainer who had come to the shelter yesterday was able to remove Ruffles from his pen (per the way suggested) and walk him. But, since he's not used to being on a leash, Ruffles tends to zig zag and pull. He will need some work on leash walking.

Ruffles will be neutered in the next couple of days and then I have to figure out how we get him from the Yonkers shelter and where exactly he will go.

I suspect Ruffles would have a difficult time "adjusting" to a Manhattan apartment and all the stresses and noise of the city. I have already advertised him on Petfinders and hope to find a foster and/or adopter out of the city. S/he will have to be dog experienced and know how to deal with a dog who is not yet used to leash walks. While it is usually a pretty quick process to get dogs to respond positively to the leash (once they understand they are going for walk), walking calmly and in a straight line can take longer. -- this despite how quick and easy Cesar Millan ("The Dog Whisperer") makes it seem.

Ruffles is a beautiful red Chow who seems from his picture to be in top condition. (The owners, to their credit, at least took him to a groomer before leaving Ruffles at the shelter).

I sense, as Lila says, Ruffles is a "good dog." But, like most animals losing their homes and having to adjust to a whole new set of circumstances, the early going won't be easy.

Just like its not so easy trying to figure out how to put pictures on a new blog site. ;) -- PCA


Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Testing, one, two, three" as they say.......

I am in the process of trying to import my old blog from AOL to this one.

So far, it doesn't seem to be going too well.

The old posts are gone, I can't seem to upload pictures and one attempt to post a new entry also failed.

So, not to waste to much creative energy or time writing some profound thought that disappears into cyberspace, I am simply going to try to publish the inane and see if it shows up!

Here we go.......