Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009 - Part 2

Lets review.

Claudia and Lori have bonded with this lost soul, Buddy. They believe he is non-aggressive, and simply afraid. They want him out of here at all costs, and want to give him a fair chance at life.

Vikki also wants the best for Buddy; wants him out.

Greg Beck would like to see Buddy have a fulfilled life, but obviously has many valid concerns.

Here is the sticky part. Buddy has been deemed unadoptable, and aggressive. The Devore Shelter has lawyers. They are put in place to protect the shelter. No harm done there. In fact, we can all understand, and appreciate this concept. Shoot, everyone has lawyers. Even I have lawyers. It is their job to protect their clients. We are grateful for this.

According to the lawyers that protect the shelter, if they are to release this dangerous dog into the public, there must be rules, boundaries, and limitations. Sound familiar? Ok. I’m good with this. So what are they?

Vikki has to sign a release to the shelter. Claudia has to sign Vikki’s contracts/release. Claudia and Lori have to sign my contracts/release. Ok. Legal documents signed. Easy.

Now, here is the fun part. Allegedly,.. yea, I do like that word! Allegedly. Thank you Kathy Griffin. “Allegedly” Buddy is so aggressive that I am not even permitted to see him while he is locked away in cage number 88. He’s behind steel, but like Hannibal Lechter, I am not allowed to even see this dog that I am agreeing to help release, and give life to. Interesting, eh? Nope. I asked. They said no. Yes, you heard correctly. I am agreeing, sight unseen, to take on the responsibility of rescuing, rehabilitating, and saving a life, but I am not even allowed to walk back there and see him through the kennel. Really? Oh yea. Does that make any sense? NO! What is this dog going to do to me through a steel kennel door? Can we say “red tape”? This makes no sense at all, and is one of the silliest things I have ever heard; but lets go with it. This is one of the rules the lawyers (?) came up with, and it wont hurt me one bit not to see the dog, so we just let that one go. I know that it doesn’t matter what this dog looks like, I’m taking him out of here anyway. Perhaps they were just concerned that once I saw him I would change my mind? Perhaps they were just concerned for my safety? No matter. Let’s stay positive and choose to believe that their hearts are in fact in the right place, and safety was their first concern. They are just doing their job; don’t shoot the messenger right?

According to lawyers (allegedly), this dog MUST be released to a qualified Trainer/Behaviorist. If no qualified Trainer/Behaviorist will accept responsibility for this dog, then he cannot be released to the rescue, and to me. Oh yea. He can ONLY be released to a rescue, and then to me. I get to play the part of the qualified Trainer/Behaviorist.

But can I just see what kind of trouble I’m getting myself into? Pretty please? Nope. Can’t see the dog. Not allowed. Lawyers Rules, Boundaries, and Limitations. This is what I do, this is what I specialize in, no big deal, I’m taking him on no matter what, just thought it would be a nice gesture.

So, when can I take him? Oh, I can’t. Allegedly, he can only be released to a rescue so long as there is a qualified trainer/behaviorist that is willing to take him on. Ok, here I am. I am willing to take on Cujo. Bring it. Wait, he must be “delivered” to me? Ok. So here is my creative mind going to the scene where Hannibal Lechter is being transported; I have to giggle for a moment. Ok, so I’m not allowed to put him in my car and bring him home; he MUST be delivered. My daddy told me there would be days like this. I think his exact words were, “life is not always fair.”

Again, there is no judgment here on my behalf. Remember when I talked a bit about “red tape” and not passing judgment, sometimes these things seem to work out? So, in my mind I think, this is strange, but ok. Lets go with the flow. When can you deliver him to my property? They don’t know. Approximately? Nope. They have to wait for an Animal Control Truck to come in, load him up, and then drive out there. Sigh. Ok, so I will just cancel my day, rearrange my clients, and drive around the Inland Empire all day. Fantastic. Are ya feelin’ the love and respect?

I just wanted to do a good thing and help this dog and these lovely people out. If we are going to make things difficult, please, don’t make them difficult for the only person that is volunteering to do the right thing sight unseen. What’s that saying, about shooting the messenger? So off to home I go. Stop and get dog food on the way, get home and take care of dogs, etc. Wait for Buddy, he will be here sometime today, when a truck is available, and Greg can assist an Officer to bring him to me. Sigh.

Reminder: Not all things that seem to be bad really are. No sense in being negative and judging. It did give me time to stop and get dog food right? Put gas in the car; take care of my dogs, etc. It worked out just fine.

I think it must have been about 3:00 pm, or a bit after when they finally arrived. Open gate, Animal Control Truck drives in, close gate, say hellos, lets see this dog. It was sort of like Christmas! Yes, that is how I choose to remember it! Like Christmas; you get to open a package and you have no idea what you are going to get! Sort of like the toys in the Fruity Pebbles box. (Oh yea, you are never too old for Fruity Pebbles. Don’t judge me, I’m sure you eat them to!)

Truck opens [drum roll please]…. That’s Buddy? Really? Him? Boy did he look bad. Bloody mouth, growling, mangy, tangled and matted, backed in a corner, scared for his life. Ok. So finally, this is Buddy! Ha! Merry Christmas to me! Under all this mess he is actually a pretty cute dog. Not a happy one, but not bad looking – I’m thinking positive here. Sure he needs a tune up, and a fresh coat of paint, but he has possibilities!

Step 2: Get snarling, growling, fearful, ticked off dog out of Animal Control Truck. Ok. I have my trusted nylon slip lead that you commonly find in vet offices and grooming facilities. No problem.

By the way, Mr. Millan, where are you getting them for .35 cents? I have looked and cannot find them that cheap. Can you share please; I need a new lot of them!

Animal Control Officer sitting in air-conditioned truck. Just so all of you know, she was very sweet. Truly a very lovely person, and extremely helpful. I can’t seem to remember her name right now, but she had good energy, and a great sense of humor.

Greg Beck standing a few feet behind me in the shade; I guess that’s what you call “having someone’s back?”

I open door to Buddy, he displays his, “touch me and I break your face” smile. Fair enough. I lower my eyes, not challenging him, slide myself in between the door, and the truck so he can’t rocket himself out and take off. I have leash in my hand, and I slowly take my time getting my hand closer to him as the minutes go by. And the minutes do go by. Greg and I have conversations in between. A waiting game ensues. Buddy is not happy, does not care whom I say I am, and wants nothing to do with me, and he has no problem getting his point across as I cross his line in the sand. Here comes the first set of piranha like bites to my hand. Ouch. Fair. If I were he, and had been on his journey, I would have done the same thing. The good news is he only used his front teeth and did not use his canines or back teeth. Bad news is he used an awful lot of force and it hurt. Score - Buddy 1: Jen 0.

My hand stays in the same position. If I had pulled my hand back he would have won that space, and possibly tore the flesh. My hand stays in the same place and lets him have at it. He realizes I’m not backing off, and he can’t win. Let’s stay positive. I’m (my hand) maybe 12 inches from his face. He’s not happy and I’m not backing off. I’m not challenging, but I hold my position and I visualize what must happen. He must come out of that truck with me on my terms. If he were dominant, and confident those bites would have been full mouth bites and I would have had stitches. The fact that he was insecure, and fearful was a plus. I am grateful.

Ok, onward and upward with the leash attempt. I get a little closer and here comes round two of several lightening fast piranha bites to my already sore hand. Double ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark. That’s also gonna leave a bruise, and some swelling. At this point I’m smiling because again, lots of pressure, but no canines involved, no back teeth, no full mouth bites. No ripped flesh, no punctures, just lots of pressure with front teeth and bruises. Clearly, if he really wanted to rip into me he would have. He was merely expressing his displeasure with this whole situation. Can you blame him? Score - Buddy 2 : Jen 0

Round 3. As Greg and I have idle chat about the situation, he says, “Awe, just through the leash around his neck.” Or maybe he said, “Can you get the leash around his neck?” Or, something to that effect. Don’t quote me, but you get the idea. I jokingly make a comment about not being able to throw well at all, but since I’m about two feet in front of him lets give it a shot. Score! The slip leash is around his neck and I pull just a bit tight so it wont slip off, but not tight enough so that he can’t breath of course. Time for a little victory dance! Ha! Score - Buddy 2 : Jen 1!

As I go to give him a light tug in my direction, my come hither doggy look, Buddy turns to the leash, chew, chew, snap. Victory dance is over. Leash is snapped clean and we are back at square one. Sigh. Score - Buddy 3 : Jen 1.

Yep, it is certainly that time. He can and will easily snap through nylon and leather, so we must go to the snare pole. Keep in mind that he has had some horrific experiences on this thing, but lets also keep in mind that it was invented for dogs just like Buddy. Safety first. By this time we have also been standing out here in the direct sunlight for sometime between 30-45 minutes, the Animal Control truck running, I’m inhaling fumes, Buddy is inhaling fumes, and Greg and the Officer don’t have all day to hang out. I’m sure I could have whipped up something for dinner, but I’d bet they would prefer to get home at some point and see their families.

The snare pole it is. This was my first experience actually using one. I have seen them, I have held them, I have played just a bit with them, but I have never actually put one on a dog and hauled his frightened and fighting self out of a truck. The Officer was kind enough to give me a lesson, and awesome enough to assist me on my first try! Thank you! Goodness, I wish I could remember her name.

So here he comes, fighting, biting, kicking and bleeding out of the truck. Alligator rolls, and all. Ok, so we can’t get Buddy to walk on his own, and I can’t blame him. There is no doubt he was under quite a bit of stress to say the least, but we had to get him out of that truck eventually, and into my kennel run. A little pull, a little waiting, a little fighting, a little dragging (as safe as one can be) we finally get him back into my kennel run which is directly under my kitchen window and just a few feet out of my back door.

Interjecting again here for a moment. I know there may be some lovely people out there that will say something to the effect of, “if you just would have been more patient you would not have had to drag him, or if you would have offered treats, he would have followed you, you should have taken your time with him.” Fair enough questions to ask. Here is what you need to know. We already tried treats. Nervous, fearful dogs wont take food. Especially not from someone they do not trust. We were in the direct sunlight, it was hot, and there is no shade from my driveway to my back patio, and it is a long driveway. Had I taken more time Buddy could have been overcome by the heat, and he could have burned his paws badly on my driveway. We needed to get him back to the kennel run where it is shaded and he has a kiddie’s pool to lounge in and lots of fresh water! Had the weather been perfect I would have ordered up some pizzas for Greg, the Animal Control Officer, Lori and Claudia, pulled up a few chairs, and offered Buddy a beer. That was not an option. Enough said. [wink, wink]

End result; there is smeared, splattered, and dropped blood all the way down my very long driveway, into my back yard, down the walkway, through the patio, and into the kennel run. My cute pink shirt is splattered with blood and now becomes a rag, and my hand is beginning to tighten, swell and bruise. Fun. Staying positive, the hard part is over, and Buddy is now in my back yard in his safe haven!

We all celebrate a slight victory dance! Claudia is now the proud owner of a brand new rescue dog, Buddy’s life has been officially saved, I am now the proud owner of a brand new rehabilitation case, my first blog, and Greg was able to assist in the rescue, re-homing, and transportation of one less dog his shelter has to euthanize. Whew. We all thank each other, shake hands, give good-luck wishes, lets keep in touch, and the rest of all that good stuff.


  1. Cesar went through 12-15 leashes on a show yesterday; at one point the dog had several on at once. He was trying to leash a feral white shepherd that made her home on a California ranch and had bonded with horses there. I wondered myself why he used leashes that a fearful dog could chew right through. She escaped, ran off, later returned, and was captured. The sole purpose in getting the leash on her was so the mobile vet could spay her. Great show, happy ending, many lives saved by altering the dog. Cheap nylon leashes, I wondered if they are homemade. Fearful dogs are not motivated by food, but we do the best we can under the circumstances at the time, so I must refrain from interjecting my two cents worth. More to read, curious where all of this blood is coming from. I’m thinking from his mouth, but reading this in order of posts.

  2. Yes! I remember that episode. Thank goodness those leashes, the ones used at vet hospitals, and grooming salons, are inexpensive. Depending on how you buy them in bulk they are about a $1 a piece. I know Cesar has mentioned they are .35 cent leashes; wishing I knew where he gets them that cheap!

    There are a couple of reasons why I keep them handy. They are less expensive then my good leather leashes, so if they do get damaged its no big deal. Second because they are nylon they are a bit stiff so it makes it easier to "flip" them over a dogs head quickly. I also give them to my clients and use them as quick back up leashes when needed or just moving dogs around.

    You make a good point, most fearful dogs will turn and chew right through them! I wasn't sure what Buddy was gonna do. I figured he would not be happy with me, and I figured he may pull back and struggle a little bit, and of course there is the option of him snapping the leash, and I did think about him coming up the leash at me. All the normal things to think about, but all worth a try at saving this guys life.

    To answer your question about the nylon leashes being homemade, nope, I'm not sure if I'm describing them correctly, but they are the same ones found at grooming salons.

    Fearful dogs are definitely not motivated by food. They are indeed to fearful to eat. I did try for nearly 45 minutes. I brought out the good stuff, Dick Van Pattens Natural Balance Dog Food Roll! He smelled it and looked at me like, heck no am I taking anything from you! Fair enough! It took Claudia and Lori days to build up what I was trying to do in minutes. I truly wish he would have taken treats and allowed me to take him out gently. It was very hot, we had no shade as I mentioned and I was very concerned about him being in the heat.

    Thank you very much for reading about Buddy!

  3. Even though I'm part of the story (I'm Lori), I can't wait to read more of this blog! You've done a great job with it. Thanks for sharing our story with others, Jennifer. I think you found a new niche.......writing!


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