Weim lives matter!

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!