Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
The support of every one of our blogging friends has been astoundingly comforting. We have cried through reading your comments, which have made us feel better even though each one inspires a new flood of tears.
Thank you for caring about Booker and about us.
Thank goodness that we found the strength to make a hard decision instead of making excuses for dangerous behavior and tempting fate. That would have been a crueler ending all the way around.
Friday morning, Booker came sheepishly out of his kennel. He knew he was "in trouble" for something, because he had to spend the whole night in there. He certainly didn't remember exactly what he was "in trouble" for. H-Mom hadn't trusted his behavior overnight, and also was worried about a frozen pizza-related bowel explosion.
He ate his breakfast and then was thankful that he was invited out the door for a quick ride to the dog park.
His last morning, he chased Bella, the husky, in circles around the giant lawn and lost her in the woods, when she slipped past him and left him waiting for her in the palm fronds -- he was poised expectantly and she was already on the other side of the park. Booker trailed and treed a "raccoon" on the roof of the tiki hut shelter, barking with determination. He peed on the vending machine, more than once.
Sandy, a friend of H-Mom, who is the companion of Annie the little corgi - also a rescue dog - has volunteered for years at the Humane Society. She was very supportive and also had the advantage of knowing Booker and having watched his rehab-in-progress. Others at the park shared a story of a man who worked in Husky rescue --- a real breed pro --- had worked with a young female for over a year and then had her turn on him in a vicious attack. He was also heartbroken to decide that the best thing was to have her euthanized and released from past demons.
No one wanted anyone at the Humane Society to second-guess H-Mom. The personnel there are so used to people dropping off pets that just don't fit their lifestyle any more. This wasn't a case of a pair of chewed expensive shoes, or pee on the carpet, or barking (LOL ... absolutely not!) or of simple "pet ennui" ... so Sandy went with to the Humane Society.
All the dogs had had their hour romp together. Booker was happy, panting and tired. He hopped into the car and flopped out.
The Behaviorist at the shelter talked with H-Mom at length and concurred with every decision ... everything had been done that could be done, and Booker didn't need to head into the realm of "dangerous dog," with legal and health issues, which is the place that he had tried so hard to get out of, but just couldn't.
He was treated kindly and with compassion by everyone at the H.S., euthanised privately with H-Mom soothing him, and left for the Rainbow Bridge with nothing but dignity and hound-dog grace.
Everyone at the H.S. was crying along with H-Mom, she got hugs all around, and many soothing words. One volunteer talked about a dog she had adopted who, after many months, just snapped and almost killed her cat. Then turned on her.
There will always be glimmers of failure and guilt, but the knowledge that we did the right thing is steadfast.
Friday was rugged, fighting back tears all day and evening. Saturday morning in the wee hours, we had an overwhelming sob.
Now we are calm. There is a hole in our hearts and we know that there is the place for a new companion. Booker left us with unbounding appreciation for the sound of a tail thump on the sofa, a wet nose on your face in the morning and a sideways glance that says, "I've got your back on this one."
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Well my heart is breaking tonight and I am fighting back the tears. We had another DOG INCIDENT ... my daughter left a frozen pizza on the counter (stupid yes I know ... but we are the HUMANS and it is our house ...) and Booker grabbed it and then had an absolutely terrifying rage episode -- he lunged at my daughter on her way from her bedroom to the kitchen and bit her foot. He released his grip and clamped down on her calf. She called me, hysterical (afraid and hurt and confused ... she was crying and crying) and I had to call David to go home and deal with the situation ---
He got there within minutes, and Booker was in the kitchen RAVAGING the frozen pizza. Booker charged out of the kitchen and attacked David at the front door. He bit him twice. He made punctures in David's motorcycle boots. What would he have done on bare flesh? Booker tore his jeans. Booker wouldn't listen, he wouldn't acquiesce, he was a snarling, biting, barking terror. He doesn't "just growl," or "just snap," he ATTACKS. Like an insane cujo attack dog ready, trained, willing and fully capable of killing a mountain lion. I have no illusions about my ability to "control" him. If I would have been the one to run home to save the teen-human from Booker, he would have attacked me too. He crosses a line and he loses all sensibilities and ability to "behave."
David managed to wrestle Booker into his kennel. Jail. Booker sat there for hours, staring into the living room, glassy-eyed.
Booker has rage syndrome. Abuse, starvation, brutal hunting training. Something clicked a crazy switch in this dog that is not un-doable.
I am a realist.
Food is his trigger. He is dangerous. He should never have been deemed "adoptable," but who would know until he was in a normal, family situation. There was no pizza on the counter in the vet clinic that nursed him back to health after he was found abandoned.
Now. This is a dog that I have worked so hard with ... SO HARD. We have had the professional trainer consult. I have FIXED every single one of his issues, and believe me, there were many -- lunging at bicycles, going demonic over open car doors, food bowl aggression, toy aggression, pulling on the leash, manic fence-chasing at the dog park -- you name it, I have worked my ass off with this dog. I am really good with dogs and I have no illusions about what to expect or how to train one.
We were ready to sacrifice shoes to a chewer. Swab the decks after accidents. Do short sessions of obedience training that require repetition that could drive you nuts. Manage our environment and spend every minute anticipating behavior and misbehavior.
And I really really love him. omg He is my RESCUE dog and I really put everything into rescuing him. I spend hours a day with him, from the dog park to on-leash walks to training training training. He can hold a SIT STAY in the hallway while I walk all the way down to our condo and come only when I release him. At the dog park, I shout GO HOME and he goes to the gate to wait for me. EVERYONE at the dog park (and there is a "regular" crowd of about 10 people for the 7am time we go) has made comment after comment after compliment about all the work that I've done with Booker and how much he has changed, improved, how admirable he is.So tomorrow I am going to take him to the humane society and have him put to sleep. The rescue that we got him from said that if ever we cannot keep him, we have to call them to take him back. But they SHOULD NOT rehome him. He is dangerous. It's just a matter of time before he really does some damage that requires a hospital episode. He couldn't be trusted with young children, not at all. Or with visitors.
I don't have to rationalize this. He has a serious, untenable mental defect.
arrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I am going to cry all day tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Booker was acting all buggy last night. We went for our 9:30ish walk and he was just ... off.
On the way home, I noticed the full moon.
What do you think? Is there a connection between dog behavior and a full moon? Man-Dad says "yes" ... his dogs have always been a bit loopier when the sky is shining with a huge yellow-white orb.
The moon was illuminating the New River last night, making the yachts glow. This morning, it was still hanging in the sky, almost at the western horizon.
Booker is at doggie daycamp today. Working out his weirdness. He was just too agitated to leave him in his kennel. I am at the gallery all day and the street is starting to come to life (is "season" finally here?) It's a bit unsettling here for Booker; he gets cranky when his nap attempts are constantly disturbed by people making dopey faces at him through the gallery window. The guy with the pitbull yesterday, who walked past and then backtracked to encourage a "window fight," put us both over the edge.
So dog camp is a good idea for today. And maybe H-Mom will get a SALE at the gallery today.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
7 Things I Plan To Do Before I Die
1. Go 'coon hunting one more time so that H-Mom and Man-Dad can see how good I am at it -- Man Dad has to bring his gun and flashlight
2. See a Treeing Walker at the Westminster Kennel Club
3. Steal a whole ham from the kitchen
4. Eradicate fleas and ticks from the earth
5. Make all humans treat their animals HUMANELY
6. Pee on every single vertical surface in Fort Lauderdale
7. Hear the Teen-human say "I love you Booker"
7 Things I Do Now
1. Bark a lot, loudly
2. Chase all the other dogs at the dog park, barking the whole time
3. Find imaginary raccoons in the trees at the dog park, and bark like a wild dog
4. Tell the other dogs in the building that I prefer a PRIVATE elevator, by barking loudly
5. Fling lots of foamy white slobber when I bark
6. Pretend that I'm barking by inhaling and exhaling and making my cheeks puff in and out and looking like I'm in a silent film, barking
7. Bark in my sleep, but only in a low rumble
7 Things I Can't Do
1. Maintain a level head and calm temperament at all times -- every once in awhile, I just SNAP
2. Make my nose stop leading me to things that get me in trouble
3. Resist sneaking on H-Mom and Man-Dad's bed when there is thunder
4. Pretend that I don't care when I hear the deli bin open in the refrigerator
5. Fetch a ball more than one time, maybe twice, per session
6. Pee it all out, in one big leg-lift, because I always save a little bit for the next tree and the next and the next
7. Stay away from my blog-friends ... I'm addicted
7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex
1. Girl dogs who are a little bit bossy, even a little bit bitchy
2. Hair that blows in the wind
3. A vaguely aloof air
4. A girl who runs like an antelope and actually pretends like I can catch her
5. A girl dog who is polite around my H-Mom and KNOWS that H-Mom belongs to me
6. A dog who knows how to make me jealous by paying more attention to BRUTUS the studly one-year old Doberman ... don't ask ...
7. A girl who doesn't even flinch when I bark
The picture above is of Kaylee, my best girl friend. She is such a show-off. I try to look like I don't really care, but everywhere she goes, I am just a few paces away. See me acting like I'm really more interested in some odor in the grass? Nope ... I've got my eyes on her at every minute. Isn't she beautiful?
7 Celebrities That I Admire
1. Droopy, the star of Dumb-Hounded. He looks like a Treeing Walker to H-Mom.
2. Elvis and Leon, the hound dogs in Black Snake Moan-- H-Mom spotted them when she was watching the movie with Man-Dad and she shouted, "Look at the Coonhounds!"
3. Old Dan and Little Ann, the hounds in the children's classic Where the Red Fern Grows
4. All the hounds working in Search and Rescue, especially the awesome Bloodhounds
5. Duke, Jed Clampett's Bloodhound on the Beverly Hillbillies
6. Huckleberry Hound, with his southern drawl and plodding determination
7. Elvis Presley, because he said he wasn't nothing but a hound dog, how cool is that?
7 Things That I Say Most Often
You've got to be kidding, right? I say everything often!
2. Awhooo Awhoo Awhoooo
4. Woo Woo
6. Wo Wooooo Wo Wo Wooooooooooooooooooooo
7. Awhoo whoo whooo
If I had it my way, I'd always be talking, who CARES what I'm saying!
7 who get to do this now
If you haven't done it, go ahead and go for it!
We need another:
very unusual one!
Shout out if you fit the bill ...
Saturday, October 11, 2008
It's a great photo. Truly a "Booker" moment. Who could resist those eyes. That lazy hound dog attitude. He would inspire donations. He would encourage adoptions.
They emailed. The photo is perfect for December. Booker, calendar dog.
Man-Dad is already figuring out the list of people who get Coonhound calendars for Christmas presents. There is excitement in the air.
But H-Mom used the photo online and before she did, she changed the resolution, so that it isn't suitable for print use. And she didn't save a copy of the high-res photo.
Now. The challenge. Recreate a moment.
That's why she was up in Booker's face the other day, taking photos when it was really nap time.
We tried again this morning. Me and Booker. The sofa, the lighting, the red and green holiday blanket. Booker was feeling unusually submissive. He kept rolling over for belly attention.
H-Mom would pull his leg one way and his rear end would go the other.
She would adjust his ear and his tongue would fall out.
She tried to tempt him into photographic submission with a toy and his eyes slid to half-mast.
It doesn't matter. This hounddog is full of personality.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
H-Mom was trying to get a photo of Booker's nasty teeth. They are Hillbilly Teeth: broken, missing, worn down, chipped.
Booker was patient for about 5 minutes.
Then enough was enough. He growled and snapped.
Enough photos. And this was worse than being at the dentist. Who wants a camera in front of your embarrassing teeth.
Especially when it's just about time for a nap.
Back off with that camera.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
The whole day had been a drizzly mess, with off and on rain showers, but you know H-Mom ... what's a little rain?
We made it west along the river to the Andrews Street drawbridge, over and then halfway back home on the north side of the Riverwalk.
Then the sky opened up. A downpour. A deluge. H-Mom ran for one of the gazebos and tucked up along the protected side, Booker with his tail tucked between his legs looking at her with an "I told you so" hound dog look. It was Booker and H-Mom and a WTF with a bottle of vodka and an assortment of black garbage bags, watching the sheets of rain roll past.
This was not one of our 10-minute tropical downpours. This was a soaking of oceanic proportions. It was not ending in 10 minutes, 20 or 30. This was hours worth of rain.
H-Mom called home to report in. Not lost, just under a quasi-shelter. But definately stuck. Man-Dad was in Chicago, so he couldn't help. The teen-human doesn't have a license yet. No cash for a cab, and what cab would smile upon a soaking wet coonhound?
The WTF was sucking on his bottle and saying something about DOGS.
H-Mom decided to brave the rain. Booker wasn't so certain and was having some serious wavering of confidence in "the leader."
H-Mom ran for the 3rd Avenue drawbridge. The street underneath it looked dryer, at worst. It was raining so hard that after five steps, H-Mom couldn't even see where she was running.
Under the drawbridge, there was a convention of 15 WTFs. It was a WTF downpour party. With strange blankets and smokes and bottles of off-brand alcohol. H-Mom and Booker huddled under the pigeon nests, with the thumping of cars and trucks crossing overhead.
And then the teen-human called. She was coming to the rescue, with a golf umbrella and soaking wet sneakers.
But she went the wrong way. It was all very confusing. Booker was trying to convince H-Mom that we lived in a different building. A closer building. The rain was completely disorienting.
Somehow we all met at home. Wet beyond imagination.
This morning, Booker greeted H-Mom's "Let's go WALKING!" with some skepticsm.
"Walking with you," his eyes said. "What an offer."
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
This was a dog park morning. It is great to watch Booker run. He used to be sore and lame after a good run at the dog park, but he has built up his muscle tone and his stamina and now he has no problem getting off the sofa after playing hard in the morning.
Run, and bark. At the dog park, Booker is free to use his "outside voice" -- with no restrictions. It is called "Bark Park," after all. We deliver!
Inside, it is important that he keeps barking to a minimum so that the neighbors don't call security. They have visited once or twice, in the first couple of months of Booker living with us, and we have to keep the barking under control.
But there is no replacement for a good leg-stretching, muscle-singing all-out run. A brisk walk on a leash will get business done, but Booker's natural gait is much snappier than the one he uses when walking at my side.
Booker is the unofficial coach and referee of the dog park. He loves to run after a group of dogs, barking as they tear across the grass, and then stand at the edge of the resulting rumble, barking, making certain that everyone knows what terror the other dogs are engaged in.