dirtdorphins's blog

Posted on Mar 27, 2016 10:51 PM

dirtdorphins said:This is the story of the nail trim, expanded a bit to demonstrate more of the scope…not a recommendation or endorsement of anything, just a true story about one of my dogs, and why I did what I did. They all have a unique story of their own.

I got Logan, a white German Shepherd Dog, when she was about 6 months old. She was a very sweet puppy and seemed perfectly ‘normal’ most of the time, but she had a history of dramatic freak-outs and was already an accomplished fear-biter. She found great success getting her people to stop doing whatever she didn’t like by screaming like a banshee and biting them. They were going to shoot her and just be done with it. She had not been abused *per se*, although she had been admittedly kicked in self-defense and handled roughly in an attempt to ‘toughen her up’. She was fairly well ‘socialized’ with other adult dogs who put her in her place regularly and her life experience was limited to living outdoors on the farm where she was born. Her littermates had all been sold off by 10 weeks of age and she was reportedly unworthy of her bloodlines, for some reason. She was undernourished and food obsessed.

She had the most annoying, high-pitched, yowling scream as if she was being skinned alive the whole way home in the car. She didn’t trust me at all, and had no apparent clue that I was ‘saving’ her from anything. To make matters worse, my GHs really didn’t want anything to do with her and were not very accepting of her. I had my work cut out for me. She had no concept of house-training and a hair-trigger fight-or-flight switch.

Just one example to illustrate: I swear she watched me carry in a bag of misc. supplies and set it on the floor in the bathroom…then about an hr later, she saw it differently. Her switch flipped and she was in full freak-out mode in the doorway, hackles up, snarling, frothing, screaming, and lunging at the ‘intruder’ in the bathroom. Hilarious, really, and I had a hard time not laughing as she decompensated even further when I introduced her to the harmless bag.

Poor thing, I didn’t mean to torture her with life, but I guess that is essentially what I did until she figured it out. I could not take her to work with me, so she mostly lived in a crate for a few months until she learned the house rules and the GHs decided to help train her instead of kill her. I took her everywhere else I could, though, to expose her to as much of the big world out there as possible, *something* every day. We started with just driving around because that was so traumatic. I took great pains to make sure we ended up somewhere fun for her. After a few trips to visit one of her siblings across town (a client of mine paid good money for her brother) she liked the car. Then, in addition to regular yet varied fun, we mixed it up a bit and visited pet stores, farm stores, dog parks, obedience classes, strange neighborhoods, vet clinics, etc., anywhere that would have us. She was consistently terrible and it was embarrassing. We bonded though, and she got better at dealing with new things and acting like a well-behaved and well-adjusted dog as we practiced. Eventually, she actually became well-behaved and well-adjusted (except the food obsession). We made good progress despite my mistakes. It took about a year and a whole ton of no-so-pleasant experiences mixed in with the good ones, but she turned into a levelheaded dog that could handle anything and she never offered to bite another person after the first and last time she bit me.

The ‘nail trim’:
I had trimmed her nails twice before, without incident, so I wasn’t overly cautious. I had just finished the GHs, and Logan assumed her position on the floor. She seemed fine. I rubbed her belly and took a front foot without resistance, trimmed the first claw, moved on to the second, and she suddenly erupted into a violently squirming, screaming, devil and shredded my left hand that was holding her foot. I didn’t let go and she continued to bite, claw, and kick me with wild abandon as we wrestled until I managed to restrain her in such a way that she could no longer move and she couldn’t bite me. It all happened within seconds, but there I was, shredded and bleeding profusely all over this screaming white beast…I was soooooo very angry and I just wanted to put a little more pressure on that neck and choke her ‘til that screaming stopped, but I forced myself to just breathe. Hopi, the bitchiest GH, came over, got right in Logan’s face, and said some sharp barks and low growly things that got her to quit screaming. I tried to talk sweetly and reassuringly to her…repeating the mantra “you’re okay”, which had already become the command phrase for calm down/don’t freak-out, until we both believed it. It took about 20 minutes, which is about the fastest time for recovery after the adrenaline flow of the fight-or-flight response anyway. Then I finished trimming her front feet claws, and then I let her up, gave all the dogs their post-nail-trim treat, and went and doctored my wounds, cried, and cursed. Then I cleaned up all my blood in the carpet, put a muzzle on that dog, tied her head to the futon frame stanchion, and trimmed her back feet claws—all the while talking sweetly, telling her how good and okay she was. When she tried to dance around and take her foot back, I just held it gently until she quit and then went on trimming. They all got more treats and we went for a good run.

Honestly, it wasn’t about the nails. They weren’t even long and I was just shaving the tips. It was about her learning that she was not going to succeed by freaking-out and biting me AND that I wasn’t going to hurt her no matter what she or I did. The next few nail trims, I skipped the shredding part and just muzzled her, tied her short, and did them standing, because I don’t like getting bit any more than anyone else. After that, she offered to lie down and hand over her paws for belly rubs instead, so we went back to doing it that way. And, like I said, that was the last time she ever tried to bite anyone.

In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t used the word ‘okay’ for that because I prefer that word for other meanings…but, thankfully, she didn’t end up having any trouble distinguishing between the two meanings in context, because she became a damn good mind reader, too.

Fortunately, by the time I acquired someone's kids, she had turned into a great dog and folks who didn’t know her history were never able to guess. Well, except that she may have been starved or something, because she really had a thing for extracting any quasi food substance out of garbage. In the end, she accidentally suffocated herself going after the essence of cheeze-puff dust in one of those giant plastic containers after a windstorm blew one in our yard. It still breaks my heart, but in a way, it was a fitting end for her and it relieved me of that obligation to choose her time to die. She was 13 and had very painful hips.
Here are some crappy scanned pics from back in the day

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And now it quit raining and I am going to take my live dogs out for a romp Smiling

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more sandy pets
Posted on Mar 27, 2016 10:47 PM

dirtdorphins said:Sorry--had some stuff to do and Tank is feeling left out--

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He is a Border Collie/Aussie-mutt rescue from the same shelter. Got 'em together -- didn't change their names (after the geriatric pack took their place in the grave garden--I'll show them and that another time).
He is the Supervisor of all things and I give him 98% of the credit for raising Duke to be decent.
Here are some pics of snow pack in July and his massive water dish:
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Tank always gets the 'takedown' but he never wins the chase
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They are good boys Lovey dubby

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...and it is time to go run the mountain, in the deep snow and freezing cold, so that they can keep their good figures and easygoing dispositions

dirtdorphins said:They are awesome dogs!!
Realized that I should have introduced the cats first for Caturday, oh well
(The cats were acquired from some barn in the midwest that had waaaay too many cats in about 2005. They were farm cats for me and these are the two that survived the great horned owl invasion, coyotes, and other to make the move west. Although they are welcome in the house, have their own door, and spend a significant amount of time sleeping out of the elements, they are still outdoor cats by choice, which means no litter boxes -yeah!- and no scratched up furniture)
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This is Moe. He is genuinely the most photobombing cat evar, so he shows up a lot.
Trying to take a pic of this late blooming, fantastic smelling, 'Orange Tremor', and there's Moe in the way...messing up the focus
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Random pic of the new rock garden being consumed by an amaranth forest...and he's in there too
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He's a lover and a fighter and thus his ears are torn up and about half the time that he shows up in a picture he's looking wounded...but he still looks pretty good for an old cat.
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He was helping with snow pics the other day...and that was a fall blooming iris that just kept going 'till we froze. (cool. never had one before)
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CVA, on the other hand, does not jump in front of the camera. (have to go w/ the acronym, name not very PC)
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but just look at those glowing white ears
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They all jump on me, anytime I fall down to rest
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dirtdorphins said: Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby greyhounds !!!
Mine didn't like rain either, but they were pretty tough about it as long as they got to come back in. Their favorite part about getting cold and wet was always getting towel-dried off.

here is a pic of my dead dogs circa '02 Crying ```(this stupid emoticon should have some tears at least)
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They are not dead there; just tired--after a long day of rockclimbing in the Black Hills. (haha--greyhounds are not great rock dogs, but there's plenty to do on the ground while guarding the gear)
I got the greyhounds in '93 (rescued from the kennels of junior surgery lab while in school because I fell in love with the fawn one (Faith) and couldn't bear to let fate take its course; the brindle (Hope) was a random pick). The white GSD (Logan, with black on her face after cleaning the grill) found herself homeless and needing to be raised by greyhounds in about '98. She became the fastest shepherd on earth for many years.
When I took the greyhounds home--oh boy--steep learning curve on everything! Adult dogs with no experience out in our world--they had to learn that they could walk on different surfaces that they had never seen before, how to navigate stairs (hilarious btw) and get in and out of cars, etc.; their social skills with people, each other, and other dogs were also underdeveloped. Fortunately, I had a good friend with good dogs and we succeeded in helping the hounds become much more well-rounded and dog like, all the better to fully enjoy their very long second-lives.
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Sorry for the crappy photos, didn't have a camera back then--just scanned these two off the wall.

Hopi died in '08 at 17 years of age when osteosarcoma of the shoulder became too crippling for her to get around and assume her favorite position on the couch (or anywhere else). Here she is a few weeks prior to that:
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'Mamms' (don't ask me where that came from), aka Faith, died in '09 at 18 (almost 19) years of age after she blew a spinal disc (I had put her back together so many times before, but I just didn't think she could handle another long, drawn-out 'rehab'. Here she is all skinny and rickety at 17, and again, at 18, skinnier and ricketier still.
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Logan eerily killed herself exactly one year later, to the day and within an hour of the time (she was 13yo). Epic heartbreak.
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dirtdorphins said:Awesome Gator! Thumbs up
and gator tails
can't top it, for sure, or even come close

but I'll share a few from my former life...
here is Elwood riding my motorcycle and Jake under the rosebush
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and my friend's pony, Thunder, trying to come in the garage, while her companions eat
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and Tom following Helen...incessantly... and Tom
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dirtdorphins said:Skamp is a pretty impressive deer hunter!

I wish mine didn't like birds--
sorry for the crappy phone pic, but this is what they brought in the house and let go at 3am

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He flew around for a while wreaking havoc, but we were able to catch him and set him free. He survived.

That big orange thing in the cat sandwich was my big game hunter; literally took out coons, woodchucks, opossums
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His official name was Pesto Sauce, but he went by every derivation of pest...pestilence, pestivirus, pestifer...

regarding biters...
Worst ever were the ferrets belonging to a roommate, back in the day. Lived free in the house and had nests under the couch and under the bathtub and ??? Mostly, they slept a lot. They had a thing for biting feet and would ambush anyone who dared to walk around with bare feet or get in/out of the shower. Worse, though, was the fact that they were nocturnal hellions and would weasel up into sleeping people's beds and sneak under the covers just to bite feet. Not Cool!!! Flying ferrets and a blue streak--and they'd come running right back for more. Oh sure, they were cute and entertaining...and easy enough to calm down hanging them by the scruff...but still,

Had a variety of other small mammals (rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, chinchillas, etc.,) as well as reptiles over the years. If there is a competition for intelligence and companionship traits among them, for me, rats definitely win...although I had one yard rabbit as a kid that ranked pretty high

Moe thinks he's helping
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We are both happy to be getting good and filthy again today Smiling

dirtdorphins said:Chatty bunch indeed! don't know if I can catch up??

Amazing transformation with Molly, Jonna! Does my heart so good to see Lovey dubby THANK YOU!!!

Leda, looking forward to pics of Charlie!

So very sorry to learn of the loss of beautiful Cuddles, Marylin. Double sad for Scout.

The the agonizing vacuum that they leave behind in us at the end of their short and sweet lives is probably the biggest downside to the whole relationship. As a kid, after my first two significant pet losses--my cat and my horse--I swore I would never put myself in that position--to be so heartbroken-- again. Hah! Then I realized that not only do I need critter love, I also can't exactly hold back on loving critters.

This here generic black cat, distant cousin of Midnight,
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just came in from outside, covered with snow (yes, it's *$%^&*@#! snowing right now) and afflicted my lap with his sweet, wet catness. He is no replacement for my two other beloved generic black cats, or the orange one, or the untold tabbys, or the calicos, but I am equally smitten by him just the same, such that I dread the heartache that I know will come all too soon and enjoy him immensely while I can and extra if I catch myself thinking about how old he's getting.
Same story with the current dogs.
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btw, I am literally surrounded by death and dying everyday. Have been for years, one way or another, in every iteration of my career path. It sucks. No doubt I am calloused.
I think that's at least part of why I grow things and cherish and celebrate life, in *all* its fleeting forms--

up next is dog fun at the river

dirtdorphins said:It was too cold and muddy for the annual spring bath, but we went to the river yesterday anyway, instead of the usual mountain run. And brought the camera.
No waterfowl were harmed.
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We don't have gators or crocs--just barbed wire, broken glass, and all manner of 'burs', worst of which is puncture vine

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He can swim, sort of, only when he has to--
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dirtdorphins said:Thumb of 2014-03-25/dirtdorphins/1b5649

just a good picture of "let sleeping dogs lie"
I like to bother this one though, because he is just so darn cute *and* agreeable

(Tank, Logan-the white GSD, and Faith-the fawn GH, were all surrenders for biting people. Circumstances don't always dictate a death sentence and all three are/were awesome dogs for me. My boyfriend always says he could get the Dalai Lama, the Pope, or Gandhi to punch him in the face...)

dirtdorphins said:Thumb of 2014-03-25/dirtdorphins/204c40

Filthy Cat! Hilarious!

dirtdorphins said:Seriously--I cannot keep up with this thread!
Someday, maybe, I'll take the time to tell the story of the freeky-dog turned rock-solid, comment on urinary incontinence and allergies, throw in my 2 cents on language, thunderstorms/fireworks/drugs, and whatever else ya all come up with in the meantime--or not. It is, after-all, SPRING Hurray! *finally* !!!

Here, though, is a picture of seven mountain goats as seen from my front yard tonight:

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Not pets--but so very cool nonetheless nodding

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stuff from sandbox
Posted on Mar 27, 2016 9:49 PM

dirtdorphins said:Greetings,
Duke is an Anatolian-mutt rescue. He is the epitome of exuberant Big Grin and very difficult to discourage and/or photograph when bouncing
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here are some pics in the sand for the sandbox:
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Tah dah!

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