Weim lives matter!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Rescue Rant (or how can some people live with themselves)

You call me to ask for help for your 10-year-old Weim you've had since he was a puppy.  You've fallen on hard times and you don't have time for your dog any longer because you're busy visiting and taking care of your son who is in a coma after suffering a traumatic brain injury in an accident.  I understand where you're coming from and offer help.

As I begin to gather information about your dog you tell me he isn't neutered, he hasn't been to a vet in over 5 years, he isn't up to date on his shots and he is limping on one of his legs because there's something wrong with it.  I try not to judge your situation.

You say you'll send me a photo of your dog so that rescue can start to find him a home, you never send it.  You get impatient with the intake person from rescue and give her a difficult time, you're evasive and just downright hard to work with.

You threaten several times to dump your dog at a shelter if he isn't gone soon and you threaten to have him put to sleep.  Then you report that he's had diarrhea for several weeks and is losing weight, but you don't have time and can't afford to take him to a vet.

Rescue offers to pay for a vet visit to see what's wrong with your dog, finds a vet near your home and makes an appointment.  You take the dog to the vet, but are rude with the staff, tell them just to put the dog to sleep and don't even stay with your dog for the visit, you say you'll pick him up at the closing time of the vet's office.

The exam reveals a dog whose ears are so infected that the stench can be smelled from a distance and the ear scope can't even be inserted because of all the gunk built up from years of neglect.  Your dog's nails are so long they have bent under and he has trouble walking.  His liver is so swollen it protrudes from his side.  Since you're not there to speak for your dog the rescue people take it upon themselves to have the tests performed to determine just how bad your dog's situation is and when it's determined that the best course is to put the poor dog out of his misery, you can't even be reached by phone to take part in the decision.

Then you have the nerve to be upset with rescue for doing what you should have done, give your dog the release from the pain and suffering he has been enduring while you ignored him.  This was your family pet, your friend, your companion.  How you could ever get to the point that you could ignore his pain and his needs is beyond me.  Your selfishness and callousness is totally beyond anything I can understand.

I'm sorry for your son and his situation and I'm sorry for your dog and how he was treated, but I no longer have any compassion for you or your situation.  Please never get a pet again, you don't deserve the loyalty or love that they give so freely and willingly.

Rest in peace Blue.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Big Fish in a Little Sea or Tonka's Kind of Famous

Tonight I took Tonka on a walk around our neighborhood and along the way we stopped and played fetch for a while in a field by a school.  As we continued on our walk we encountered a lady walking her boxer.  This person had met Tonka a few weeks earlier and commented on how much Tonka has grown.  I told her that next Sunday Tonka will be leaving and going to his new home and she commented that she had heard at the local Petco that Tonka was going to New Jersey to live.  I was surprised she knew this, but apparently she had been talking to an employee at Petco who had met Tonka at the adoption fair and they found that they both knew Tonka and had discussed his adoption and future home.  It's really impressive how many people have come to know Tonka in the time he's been in our home and we've loved sharing him with so many people.

Further along our walk Tonka found a very long stick that he decided he could not live without.  The stick must have been close to 4 feet long and had to be heavy, but he picked it up and worked so hard to carry it up the hill where we were walking, even holding his head up very high to keep it from dragging too much.  It's amazing to watch the effort this little dogs puts into his "work" and how serious he can be about getting what he wants.  He carried the stick all the way to our yard, where I added it to the pile of sticks we have been cleaning up in the yard from the storms of the past week.  Tonka was disappointed to have to give it up.  There is a small collection of pine cones and little sticks on our porch that we've made Tonka relinquish before he enters the house.

This is our last week with Tonka and I think it will be a quiet one for several reasons, but we'll enjoy the time we have left with this silly puppy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tonka Goes to School!

Last night I decided to take Tonka on another field trip to get him some more experience in new situations and venues and to continue his socialization.  Since I can't really enroll him in a class at this point (he'll be going to his new home July 29th) I took him to a class I used to attend with my dog where dogs at all levels of competition obedience attend, but each dog only does the exercises that he is ready to do.

Luckily, we were welcomed in to join the class and Tonka's fun began.  The class consisted of mostly large dogs, three German shepherds, a Lab and a couple Staffordshire terriers, but there was also a Jack Russell terrier and a dachshund.  Tonka immediately made friends with a male Staffordshire terrier and if they had been allowed they would have engaged in a great time of play, but we were there for class.

I kept Tonka to the side of the class, working his sits and downs and playing with his tug toy and chicken.  He kept his eye on what the other dogs were doing but was willing to continue to listen to me and do his work.  I've been starting him on a bit of heeling and also sitting at my side, rather than in front of me all the time and we also worked on these exercises.

The highlight of Tonka's night was when his friend Marge and her dog DelC arrived to the class.  He was so happy to see his friends and you could tell that DelC was happy to see him.  I think Marge was pleased to see that Tonka's training is continuing and that he remains a very good student.

This evening I took Tonka on a short walk between the rain storms that we're having here.  He continues to be a busy dog and quickly found a stick to carry along the way, and then, when we got to his favorite pine tree he dropped the stick to find a pine cone to carry the rest of the trip.  As he carried the pine cone he also found a walnut attached to a small branch and he managed to pick that up and carry it, never dropping his prized pine cone.  It's not unusual for Tonka to work at carrying two things at a time, be it toys or pine cones and it is a very funny sight to see pine cones poking out both sides of his mouth.

While we walked thunder rumbled in the distance and a few rain drops fell, but Tonka didn't seem to notice and showed no reaction to the sounds he heard.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

More Adventures for Tonka

Today I took Tonka to the Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club where they were holding obedience run throughs in both buildings.  I thought it would be a good time to introduce Tonka to an environment similar to a dog attending a class for the first time at a training facility.

When we first arrived I gave Tonka time to take care of his "business" in the yard beside the building.  One of my friends, Ellen, brought her young, black Standard Poodle, Ava, out of the building and Tonka and Ava quickly took a liking to one another and engaged in some wonderful dog play.

Then we went inside the first building, where Tonka started meeting other people and seeing a variety of breeds of dogs.  Although he was excited, he stayed in control and even sat at times, always watching the activity going on around him.

Next I took him to the second building where there were quite a few more dogs and two rings running at one time and much less room to separate Tonka from everything else going on.  Again there were many breeds of dogs and Tonka was getting even more excited.  I had put some treats in my pocket before entering the second building and I started asking Tonka for sits and downs, luring him a bit to lay down and in no time he settled and calmed.  I took him near the gate to the second ring where I sat on the floor with him and alternated between trying to play with him and practicing his sits and downs.  He was stimulated enough that his tug toy was not very interesting to him, but the food did keep his attention and we continued our practice session of the sits and downs.  For a 5-month-old Weim he did very well, especially considering it was his first time in this type of environment.

Before we left I took Tonka back to the first building where he got to play off leash, practicing recalls and just having some fun.  Then I put him in one of the crates in the building and left him there for about 10 minutes, hoping he will learn that he can be in different crates, in different areas without needing to worry.  Although he whined a bit, he also relaxed and soon was laying down.

On the way back home we stopped at Mingo Creek County Park and I took Tonka down to the creek and let him play in the water a bit.  He showed no fear and enjoyed fetching sticks and running through the shallow water and the rocks.  This was a great introduction of water to Tonka.

Here's a few more photos from Tonka's stay at my friend Marge's house that she took of him.  The Golden Retriever is her dog Holly and the Lab is her dog DelC.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tonka Attends a Petco Pet Fair

Today Tonka once again represented his breed for Tri State Weimaraner Rescue by attending an outdoor pet fair at the Petco in Washington, PA.  Tonka attracted attention to the booth with his cute puppy face and then charmed everyone who met him.

The South Strabane Fire Department set up their fire truck right beside our booth and one fireman really fell for Tonka and would watch him when I took a break.  

Tonka was introduced to water in a small child's pool and he wasn't too sure about it when I first placed him in the pool and gently splashed water over him to cool him off.  But when Catfish, a Greyhound rescue, layed down in the pool, Tonka seemed to think it must be all right and he started to walk in and out of the pool, greeting Catfish as he walked through.

Tonka relaxed in his crate and impressed many people with his nice manners and his calm demeanor.  Once again it was a great day of socialization for the young pup.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tonka Takes a Vacation

While I went to Ohio to join my family for a few days at Put In Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Tonka went to the home of a friend who has trained and showed dogs for years.  Marge has a young Labrador Retriever and an older Golden Retriever and a fenced-in yard where the dogs can play.

Tonka fit into the household easily and before I left the day I dropped him off he was already busy playing with the Lab, DelC, and had found some great toys to chew and squeak.

Marge says Tonka did very well while at her home, he adjusted easily to the change of environment and to the new dogs he met.  She agrees that he is a special dog who will need training and guidance, that he is a dog who wants to please and needs to be busy and have a job.  She is afraid that if he is not given enough mental and physical stimulation he is the type of dog who could get destructive if his energy is not focused in a positive way on learning new skills.

Tonka enjoyed his time away on vacation and I'll share a couple photos of he and DelC hanging out together.  I'm so glad he had a chance to play with another dog besides my Rocky, as all this socialization will help him in his relationships with other dogs in the future.

Tonight I took Tonka to a local park where he played and met more people.  Tonka was really curious about the children playing nearby and was hoping the young boys would come play with him.  A young 2-year-old girl did come to visit him and threw his ball for him to fetch.  Tonka did well and did not jump on the small girl and with the ball in his mouth he was too busy to even think about mouthing her arm.

Everyone who met Tonka tonight thought he was the cutest dog and he made lots of new friends.

Tonka is quite tired tonight after all his adventures and he's sleeping contentedly in his crate.  I'm so glad to have him back in the house and he and Rocky are glad to be back together.

What's In a Name?

Whenever a rescued dog goes to his forever home one of the decisions that needs to be made is whether he'll be given a new name or keep the name he is known as when in rescue.  As with most things, there are many differing opinions on what is best for the dog.

One view is that since the dog is starting a new life, he should also get a new name, sort of as a complete break from whatever he had gone through in his prior home.  Another idea is that since the dog has lost everything else from his past and his name is the only familiar thing he has it is best that he keeps his name.

I don't profess to know what is best for these dogs, but I have a feeling that as long as they go to a great new home they don't really care what name they go by, as long as they get the love and care they deserve.  

I have so far, with my rescue dogs, kept the names they came with and that's worked out well for us.  The only name I really wish I had changed was our first dog, our Lab mix.  Her name was Sister and sometimes it was a bit awkward to talk about having Sister in the basement or walking Sister, people might have thought I treated my family in a rather strange way. My other two dogs, my Weims, are Frankie and Rocky and those are two great names that were easy for us to adapt to and we had no thoughts of changing them.

So what's going to happen for Tonka when he goes to his new home?  We'll have to wait and see and hopefully it won't be long till we know.  I've had several people comment that Tonka is a great name and they wouldn't change it.  I don't know if they said that hoping that, in some way, it would sway me to think they'd make a great parent for Tonka or if they really loved the name.  I did not name Tonka, he came with that name from the Western PA Humane Society, so I have no particular attachment to the name.

I've been lucky enough to get to name a couple of my fosters over the years, but if they come with a name that they seem to know I don't change it, leaving that decision to their new family.  The first rescue Weim I named was a puppy picked up as a stray and found in a kill shelter in Youngstown, Ohio.  On the drive to the shelter I decided that if the reports we had were correct and she was a blue Weim that I would call her Indigo and that's how she was known throughout her time in rescue.  Her adoptive family kept the name and she is now known as Indy or Indy Sue.  Another dog I named was the rescue I had earlier this year, a 9-month-old female who was named Blue Belle by her first owner.  She seemed to have no attachment to the name and she is not a blue Weim, so the name just didn't seem right and at our home she became known as Fiona and she has retained that name to this time.

I've given some thought to what I might call Tonka if we had decided to keep him and so I'll share a couple of my ideas here.  

Since Tonka's favorite squeaky toy has been his stuffed chicken and we spent a lot of time tugging and playing fetch with that toy there's a chance it would have had an impact on a new name for Tonka.  While playing with Tonka and the chicken the song, "Sic Him on a Chicken" kept going through my head.  If you've not heard the song, it's a cute country-type song by The Zac Brown Band. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcbdSpjOiyg 
I thought a good name for Tonka might be Zac Brown, of course, calling him Zac.

Another idea I've had for a name for Tonka comes from the fact that part of my job involves working for the Pirates and attending the majority of their home games.  This year the team has taken on the Zoltan "Z" sign as a symbol of great things happening and it's worked like a charm for the first half of the season, as they're in 1st place in their division and playing really well.  So, of course, the name Zoltan would also have to be given consideration to commemorate the great season of the year Tonka was born.

I also have a name picked out for the puppy I hope to get next year and if I had kept Tonka the puppy would be out of the question, so that's another name that would have come into consideration.  Since I don't want to give any ideas to others out here, that name won't be revealed unless I do get a puppy and he/she ends up with that name.

So I hope that Tonka's new family gives his name some serious thought.  If they are not comfortable with his name and just don't feel it fits for them or for him at 5 to 6 months old he'll easily adjust to a new name and in no time totally forget he had another name.  He'll also be glad to keep the name Tonka if that's what they decide to do.  All he wants is someone to care for him, give him LOTS of attention and love and to keep him in a happy home for the rest of his life.

Tonka has been staying with a friend since Sunday night, as I was away for a short family vacation.  He has been playing with Labrador Retriever and also living with a Golden Retriever, so he's getting new lessons in dog socialization.  He has been learning to adjust to a new situation, being in a different home, and from what I hear it is going very well.  I look forward to picking him up later today and am anxious to see his reaction when he sees me again.  I bet he's grown a bit in those few days, too.

I'll let you know how Tonka is once he does get back to my home.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Super Smart Puppy

Tonka continues to do well, growing and playing and just generally being a happy dog.  We are fortunate not to have many loud fireworks celebrations around our house and so his first 4th of July was a calm, easy experience.

This morning, though, Tonka did a rather amazing thing that I want to share.  Most mornings, schedule permitting, Tonka has free time in the house where he can play with his toys or spend time on the couch in the living room.  This morning, part way through that time, he got up off the couch and went into the kitchen, out of my sight.  He reappeared a few seconds later carrying the red leash that I use to take him outside (it was on the floor by his crate).  He jumps up on the couch, with the leash still in his mouth, and sits down and looks at me.  So I put on my shoes and put the leash on him and take him outside, where he proceeds to pee and poop.  Up to this point Tonka has not given any indication when he needs to go out, we've just taken him out frequently and he's done very well at not having mistakes in the house.  If this is his indication that he needs to go out, it's pretty clear and shouldn't be missed or misinterpreted by anyone.

Tonka continues to play with my Weim Rocky and it's fun to watch their play as it advances, getting a bit rougher as Tonka grows and also involving more toys in games of keep away.  Rocky even got his favorite glove out of the toy basket and allowed Tonka to chew on it a bit, quite a compliment to Tonka to be given that privilege.

I hear a thunderstorm coming into our area, we'll watch Tonka to see his reaction, but none of the storms here have bothered him to date.  He is really a well-adjusted pup who, up to this time, has shown no fears or problems.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tonka's Big Day at the Steel City Pet Expo

Tonka attended the Steel City Pet Expo on Saturday, June 30, 2012 to let his admiring public get a look at him.  Tonka and Chula, a long-hair Weim, were the main attractions at Tri State Weimaraner Rescue's booth at the pet expo.

Tonka drew in crowds of people and made many new friends as he happily greeted people and snuggled up to anyone who would let him.  He was well behaved in his crate, but preferred to be out getting all the attention he could.

You can see Tonka in his crate in the back of the booth in this photo.

In the afternoon Tonka was pretty worn out and a cover was put on his crate so that he could get some much needed sleep and even while he slept people would sneak up to take a peek at the sleeping puppy.

One potential adopter drove in from Ohio and Tonka met him and his lovely dog.  A young lady from Philadelphia stopped by to meet Tonka and she even said that she has Tonka's photo hanging up in her cubicle at work.

Besides getting some new toys from the give-away at the PetSmart booth Tonka went to a grooming booth and got a pedicure (nails trimmed and finished with a dremel).  The groomer said it took longer to do Tonka's nails because she had to play with him for a bit.  When we were packing our SUV to leave with Tonka a lady stopped by to give him some treats and a new Kong toy, which he already loves.  Even some of the show staff stopped us on our way out of the building to get some Tonka loving to end their day.

Shorty and his dog Hercules from the show "Pit Boss" on Animal Channel were one of the attractions at the Steel City Pet Expo.

A big thank you to all our friends who stopped by the booth to meet Tonka and support Tri State Weimaraner Rescue!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Video: Tonka playing with my Weim Rocky

Tonka has been getting very well acquainted with my Weim Rocky and they've really started some good play.  The video tonight is after they had been playing for some time, so they were not as animated as they are at times, but it's still a fun video.  Watch to the end to see some good teeth snapping fun!

Friday, June 22, 2012


This video of Tonka is pretty rough, especially at the beginning, but if you bear with it for a few seconds you'll see some video of Tonka playing with a ball or two and if you can hold out till the end of the video there's some real cute footage of Tonka sitting and then a head tilt.  I know in the past people have liked seeing the fosters in video, but it's tough when it's just me, the camera and Tonka.  Hope you enjoy this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Today Tonka made a return visit to the vet for a booster shot that he needed.

While we waited in the exam room for the vet to come in I played with Tonka with his tug toy.  We weren't playing particularly hard, but all of a sudden he started to make odd motions with his mouth, like he was biting on something or something was stuck in his mouth.  I know he's always picking something up, so I started to search his mouth to find what he had this time, but could find nothing.  He continued with the strange movements of his mouth and so I looked again and this time found a tooth!  He lost one of his baby teeth!  This was a first for me, since I've not had a baby dog for over 25 years!

Once again Tonka showed no fears of any of the people he met or the procedures he was put through during his exam.  He was very fidgety, as any puppy would be, but his reactions to being restrained to have his ears checked and the shot given were as normal as could be expected of a young dog.

Tonka received a clean bill of health and he had gained another 3 plus pounds since his previous visit just a week before.  This pup is thriving and growing and it's time for him to find his new home.

Tonka made me very proud at the end of the visit when he showed just how far he has come in his training.  The vet had a treat to give him and she told him to sit.  Yes, he sat, took the treat and sat while he calmly chewed the treat.  Then he did a repeat performance for a second treat.  What a good boy he is.

Watch the Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue website if you or someone you know is interested in adopting him as I think he'll be listed for adoption in the next few days!  Hope he finds a great home!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tonka Playing

It's said a picture is worth a thousand words.  I'll let these photos speak for themselves.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Update on Tonka

It's been about 10 days since I posted about Tonka and that's because there hasn't been much to say.  Since Tonka has been sick I've kept him at home to keep him from spreading his cold to other dogs and to make sure he's not stressed and has a chance to get over his sniffles and sneezing.  Although he's been on antibiotics over 10 days he still has a bit of congestion and is still sneezing.

Monday I took Tonka to see our vet to get more medicine to make sure we wipe out whatever is going on with him.  This was his first trip anywhere for over a week and it was fun to have him out and about.

He showed no fear of anything at the vet's office and there was no shyness as he met each of the staff members at the office.  Tonka carried his tug toy into the office from the car and I played with him while we waited for the vet to come to examine him.

The visit with the vet went very well, as we found that Tonka's congestion is not deep in his chest or lungs, but it's more in his nose, so I'm hoping that means it won't be long until his sniffles go away.  His temp was normal and his suture from his neuter surgery was looking good.  He got his nails clipped and his ears looked at and did very well with all the handling by strangers.  Apparently Tonka is eating well, as he has gained 8 pounds in the first two weeks he's been here, he now weighs 28 pounds!

Following the exam both Dr. Gill and the vet tech played fetch and tug with Tonka and I think this visit to the vet ended up being a good experience for this young pup.

Tonka loves toys and loves to play fetch and tug.  He plays and plays and plays until he gets worn out from all the running.  When we take a walk he likes to carry his favorite squeak toy in his mouth, his chicken.  Today he carried his chicken during quite a bit of our afternoon walk and even held it tight in his mouth as he chased butterflies in a field.

This weekend I'm planning to take Tonka out and about more.  I think he needs exposure to new places and chances to meet people so we'll avoid meeting dogs for another week or so, but start finding new places to explore and enjoy.

Hopefully I can get some new photos of Tonka to show how handsome he is and how he is growing up.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Transporting Oscar and Millie  

Today I drove to Cambridge, Ohio to pick up two Weims who are on their way to foster.  Oscar and Millie ended up in a shelter when their owner died and these two sweet Weims shouldn't have too much trouble finding new homes.

They quickly made friends with Dan when I stopped by the house on the way to New Stanton to transfer them for the next leg of their journey.

Oscar is handsome and loves to be close to people.  Millie is so sweet and loves chew toys.  They were both easy to handle on their leashes, even together, and with a bit of manners training they will make great additions to someone's family!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


It seems like every time I pick up a puppy from a shelter they always come with something extra, a case of kennel cough, and it was no different this time.

Poor Tonka, he was just neutered on Tuesday and now he's a sick little boy.  I started noticing some congestion and sneezing, so on Friday morning, when I was sure it wasn't just my worry-wart nature imagining what wasn't there, I called the Western PA Humane Society and they said I could pick up some antibiotics for him.

So this means Tonka will stay with us a bit longer than originally planned, as we'll have to make sure he's totally healthy and not able to infect any dogs that he comes into contact with at his new home.  Tonka is such a sweet, wonderful puppy that we don't mind keeping him around, but he needs to start his new life with his forever family as soon as possible.

Luckily, I always quarantine foster dogs that come to our home for a few days to a week or more depending on the circumstances they are coming from and so my dogs have had next to no contact with Tonka and should not get sick and I hope that that is the case. 

I'm disappointed that Tonka will be remaining in quarantine and not joining the rest of us for our evenings in the living room until it is safe for my dogs to be around him.  I am happy, though, that we were able to set up a puppy apartment for Tonka in the basement where he should stay happy and safe during his healing time.

About a week before Tonka came to us I had ordered and received an ex-pen in anticipation of getting my own puppy next year.  We also have a very large crate, large enough for a Great Dane, that we use when we have dogs staying for a day or two.  We fastened the ex-pen to the large crate so that he has the use of the crate and also a wonderful play area so that he is not stuck in a small crate for the majority of the day.  Tonka is paper trained, so we put down papers and are allowing him to have some freedom while he is sick.  It's an easy area to clean and it seems to be working out very well.

At night we have a smaller crate we put Tonka in and last night we brought it upstairs since it was a very chilly night.  He sleeps well in the smaller crate and never makes a mess in it.  Once he's well and able to come upstairs full time we'll keep him in the smaller crate and get him fully potty trained, a process that I think will be easy as he seems to have the basic idea.

We take time to exercise him outside as often as possible and I go downstairs to play with him a couple times a day.  Tonka continues to work on his sit, bite inhibition and name recognition.  He is a fast learner and loves attention.  He also loves to play tug and fetch with his toys and this morning I added a ball to his collection of toys.  

This pup is nothing but fun!  I see no signs of separation anxiety, food aggression or other problems often seen in dogs that come into rescue and I just can't imagine why and/or how someone could give him up.  He's the best!  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Start of Tonka Training

Tonight Tonka began his lessons in socialization.  Dan took him to the neighbor's house and he met two adults and totally charmed them.

I took Tonka on a road trip to a little park near our home and put him on a long line so he could run and play a bit.  I brought a tug toy and a squeaky toy with us so that we could have some play time and I found that Tonka likes to carry his toys as he walks along.  He also enjoys playing fetch and a bit of tugging.

I worked with Tonka on bite inhibition with a treat in my hand and he caught on quickly to the idea that once he quit mouthing and chewing at my fist the treat was given to him.

Then I started working on getting him to sit for a treat and in no time he was sitting pretty quickly and even staying still to eat 2 or 3 pieces of kibble.

While we were training a man and his young daughter walked up and wanted to meet Tonka.  Tonka showed no fear at the newcomers entering his area and in no time was playing with the young lady, Allison.  She threw his toys for him and he joyfully brought them back, they played chase and Tonka really enjoyed the attention.  Allison even had Tonka sitting for treats.

After a short car ride I brought Tonka back home and we haven't heard a peep out of him.  A tired puppy is a good puppy and we have a good, tired pup tonight.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Introducing...    TONKA

I'd like you to meet Tonka, a four-month-old Weimaraner puppy who was turned in to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.  

Yes, I have a full tail and I love to show it off!

I just brought Tonka home last night after he spent the day having surgery to be neutered.  He is a happy, sweet, active Weimaraner who loves to explore and play!

Such a sweet face.

We had a very good first night as Tonka slept through the night and kept his crate clean.  This morning he ate well and waited to go outside to take care of his morning business.  What a good boy he is.

I'm looking for a great new home?  Do you love Weims?

Tonka is in the possession of Tri-State Weimaraner Rescue and if you think you'd be interested in adopting him or maybe one of the other Weims they have please go to their website and fill out an adoption form.  http://www.tristateweimrescue.org/adoption-process/

I love to run and play!

Watch here for updates about Tonka as he settles in to our home and gets to know our Weims.  He is such a cutie, I know we're going to enjoy having him around!

I'm sure I'll grow into those ears, give me time!
Exploring the yard at my foster home.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fiona's Fabulous Family

Yesterday Fiona moved to New Jersey.  This has been quite a journey for a young Weim who started out in Northwestern Ohio, moved to Western Pennsylvania for a month or so and now goes to her forever home in New Jersey!

It was a very rainy trip and even the meeting of the new family was a wet occasion, but no one seemed to mind the dreary weather as the thought of meeting Fiona and getting her to her new home kept everyone's spirits up.

Fiona shares her home with two adults and their children, as well as her new canine sister Charly, a three-year-old Viszla.  Here's a couple photos of Fiona with her new family before they headed out for home:

Wishing Fiona and her new family a very happy life together and many years of companionship and good health!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fiona Frolics in the Field - The Movie

These videos are a bit rough, it was just me and Fiona out taking our walk, but they give you an opportunity to see Fiona moving and having some fun...

INTERMISSION:  Grab your popcorn and ice-cold soda and then enjoy part 2.

Fiona's First Film - A Video of Fiona and Rocky Playing

Fiona and Rocky having some fun.

Fiona's Second Day of School and More

Fiona attended her second class of basic obedience training on Friday night.  I was able to give her a bit more exercise before class than I had the first week and I think that may have helped Fiona's behavior a small bit.

Fiona once again did very well in class doing all that was asked of her until, again, all the dogs started moving.  Right now that is just too much stimulation for her and getting her attention on me, even with the use of food, was very difficult.  At one point I pulled her out of the group of circling dogs into a quieter area to try to get her attention back on me.  Again, this is puppy behavior and she is very much a puppy.  It also shows that she needs someone who will take her places and show her new things so that she will learn to be calm in all environments.  I could tell a big difference in her at just the second class, that she was calmer and more settled than the first week.

Fiona did her sits and downs and she worked on the beginning of the sit stay.  We did more work on the "leave it" command and she was ignoring a treat in my open hand and looking for the treat that would come from my other hand.  We also started to work on getting Fiona into heel position, which will be very helpful for getting ready to walk beside me.

During part of class I put Fiona in a crate, just to give me a break, and I stayed right beside her.  She never made a sound and even played a bit with a toy that was made for her by one of my friends (Thanks, Pat).  I must say that Fiona maintains her happy attitude all during class time and her tail is wagging and she has a very happy look on her face.  She loves to be a part of things and wants to please.

At the end of class Fiona got some time to play in the building once the other dogs had left and she enjoyed getting some extra attention.

Fiona continues to enjoy our daily walks through the fields and is getting more and more fit.  Yesterday she spooked a deer and watched in amazement as he ran away.  We continue to work on her recalls on the 40-foot line and she is pretty good about paying attention to me, although it's sometimes hard when there are birds she'd much rather be watching.

At home Fiona is really enjoying her play time with my boy Rocky.  She has learned that his favorite thing is his dog bed and she loves to tease him by laying on his bed and daring him to get her off of it.  He barks at her till she jumps up to play with him again.  They play pretty roughly, but both seem to know the limits of their games and they are truly enjoying each other.  I just hope Rocky isn't as sad when Fiona leaves as he was when Gretchen left, he had a bit of a hard time dealing with her absence.

Fiona continues her diet and is looking very good.  She seems very healthy and has a beautiful coat.  I get so many compliments on what a pretty dog she is.

Monday, March 12, 2012

So You Think You'd Like to Adopt Fiona?

Let's talk frankly about who Fiona is and what she needs going into the future.

Fiona is the type of Weimaraner puppy who, if she was at a shelter, would get adopted out to an unsuspecting family and be returned within two to three months.  She is a very pretty, eye-catching pup, who is athletic, energetic and needs to be kept busy.  She is a solidly built dog, very strong and her nickname in our home is Tank.

Fiona is a very smart pup and learns quickly.  She is housebroken and has only had one accident in the over two weeks she has been with us.  Now, I must admit that we are careful with Fiona and try to help her be successful in her house training efforts.  Fiona is allowed free run of the house only when we're prepared to keep an eye on her and she goes from her crate right out the door to do her business before she is loose in the house.  She has started to go to the door to indicate that she wants to go out and she has even made some whining noises to make sure she gets her point across.

Fiona is crate trained.  In our home she is in the crate unless she is supervised and although there are times she'll whine and cry, for the most part she is pretty calm in her crate.  Because my husband is home during the day she has not been left in the crate for over 4 to 5 hours at a time since she's been here, if even that long.  Sometimes she'll dig at the floor of her crate, but other than that she's been good.

Fiona seems happiest when we go for her exercise in the big field near our house.  I keep her on a 40-foot line, but that gives her a lot of freedom and she runs and plays, sniffs and hunts and is always looking for birds.  I've used this time in the field as a chance to teach her to come and when I call she returns to me, sits and gets a treat.  Today we went to a small park and she got a new experience as we crossed bridges over a high, fast-running creek.  She likes water and has walked through a small stream without hesitation.

Fiona's worst habits right now are her mouthiness, batting with her paw and jumping on people.  When she gets excited she just can't contain herself and if you reach to pet her your hand will be in her mouth very quickly.  We are working on correcting these problems, but it's going to take time to change these old habits that are really ingrained in her conduct.  Because of these behaviors Fiona would not do well in a house with young children or older or frail people.  She needs people who can approach her calmly and will not tease her by playing "games" that involve enticing her to bite at hands.

Fiona loves to go for rides in the car, but she is not a dog I'd want loose in the back seat of my car.  I have a barrier in my SUV that separates the back of the vehicle from the front seat and Fiona rides behind that barrier.  She never lays down, she's always on alert.  She barks at cars, she barks at people and she sometimes lunges toward cars as they pass.  I'm trying to log more time with her in the car, hoping that she'll start to relax and not be so hyper vigilant and I think that in time she will be a better passenger in a car.

Yes, Fiona barks.  We have two Weims that rarely bark at home and so it's been a bit different to have a barker in our home.  She has a very loud bark and it can be very menacing if she thinks there is something dangerous lurking in or around the house.  She has barked when the ice falls from the ice maker in our freezer, barked at dogs on TV, barked at noises that are new to her.  Hopefully, as she is introduced to more noises and has more life experiences she will bark less and less.  I want to make it clear that she only barks when there is a reason in her mind, she is not a constant barker and is quiet most of the time.

Fiona has showed no aggression of any kind while she's been with us.  I pet her and have reached into her food bowl while she is eating.  She plays with my 8-year-old Weim and is submissive to him.  I would not put Fiona in a home where there is an older, frail dog, as she plays hard and might cause harm to a dog that could not handle her rough play.  She showed no stress at her first night of dog classes when there were 8 or 9 other large dogs in the room with her.  She has met many people and seemed to love them all.

Fiona would be a great dog for someone who lives an active life and wants a dog to join in those activities.  She could do agility, she would make a great tracking dog, she'd love to go hiking and she'd make a good hunting companion if properly trained.

Fiona really needs a home where there is an adult who has time to spend with her, give her attention, make sure she gets exercised and who will take the time to work with her and train her.  She is a dog who I would probably put a no-pull harness on if she were my dog, but, even with that harness, I would continue to work with her and in a year or so she could probably be walking on a leash with a flat collar.  Given the proper care and training Fiona is going to be a great companion for someone.

If you're still interested in adopting Fiona, I suggest you read all the posts I've logged since bringing Fiona into our home, starting with her introduction on February 22nd.  She is a great pup and deserves a wonderful home.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fiona Goes to School

Last night was Fiona's first night in the Basic Obedience class at Golden Triangle Obedience Training Club.  It was quite a night for a young Weimaraner who was basically on sensory overload, but all in all she did pretty well.

When Fiona came to me she knew one command and that was to sit.  It was obvious that she lived a very sheltered life where she saw the same things day in and day out and was not exposed to very many new things.  She did not get much exercise and was allowed to eat all she wanted.

So entering a building with about 9 or 10 other dogs and 15 to 20 people and all the smells, noises and activity that comes with those things was very exciting to her.  And let me say that that excitement never abated and she was happy and playful the entire hour.  

I didn't have time to make a list of all the different dogs in the class but I know there was a Collie, 2 German Shepherd Dogs, 2 black labs, a Golden Retriever, a very reactive Boxer, a Giant Schnauzer and a Puli, so she had quite a variety of dogs to look at.

To prepare for class I had taken her on a short walk in the morning and then taken her to the field at the fairgrounds around 5:00 to run off some of her energy. Then, to make sure she'd be a little hungry we only gave her half of her dog food and green beans at supper.  Pretty good ideas, but she could have used double the amount of exercise.

My challenge was to get her attention on me as much as possible to keep her from barking, lunging at the other dogs (in a totally playful manner) and so that she could try to work on the exercises that we were to teach our dogs in this first class.  With the help of some pretty good treats I had moderate success with her and I was pleasantly surprised that she actually could hear me when I talked to her (as opposed to listening to those puppy voices in her head saying, play, play, play).

Through this I have to keep in mind that Fiona has only been with me for 2 weeks and in the past month she's lost her home, lived in a vet's office for 10 days, got spayed, took a 5-hour car ride, had her name changed and is now in a new home with new people and two strange dogs and she is, after all, a nine-month-old Weimaraner puppy.

Earlier this week, actually on Tuesday, I thought it might be a good idea to teach her to "down" so that she'd at least have two commands that she'd know.  So for four days I worked on teaching her to down from a sit.  The first day we were having no success, her little rump just flew into the air instead of staying on the floor, but then when I used my favorite method to teach a Weim to lay down, putting them on the bed and using the same method as on the floor, she caught on in minutes and would repeatedly lay down for me (something about the soft bed seems to agree with Weims).  Then we worked the second day on the bed for the first few repetitions and then she was laying down anywhere I asked.  

Now I was ready for class, because if she ignored my down request at class I could use the old stand-by line, "Well, she does it at home."  Oh, how many times have we heard that!

Thank goodness, I didn't need to use the excuse, because Fiona not only sat when asked, she downed and she caught on very quickly to the game of having a treat in one hand and learning that when she quit mouthing my hand with the treat in it that she got a treat from the other hand.

The only area where Fiona had a problem was when the class got too stimulating for her and it was pretty much impossible to keep her attention on me and that was when we tried some loose leash heeling across the room.  She was just too interested in the other dog moving beside her and wanting to engage the other dog in play.

I was exhausted at the end of the class from the constant effort of keeping her attention on me and keeping her in her own space.  She is a very strong dog and if there's something she wants she's going to give a good effort to get to it.

The positives from the night were that she showed no signs of aggression either to dogs or people, even when put in a totally strange environment.  She was able to adapt to the situation enough that she listened to me and followed commands.  She showed she is a quick learner and a willing training partner.

On the other hand, Fiona showed that she still needs a lot of work on her social skills both with dogs and people.  A few people who wanted to meet her helped me tremendously by following my request to not pet her on the head, but to calmly try to pet her behind her head, as she still sees hands coming toward her mouth as toys to clamp onto with her puppy teeth.  She still needs work on not jumping up and batting with her paws, in addition to the mouthiness she shows.  But, hey, it's only been two weeks and these are puppy traits and she is a puppy, so we'll continue to work on getting better and better.