Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hoping This Was a Win-Win

Yesterday we did something that was painful, but I hope it works out all the way around. We took one of our dogs, Sandy (a/k/a "Poo-Poo Head" on Scruffybutt's blog) to Operation Kindness so they can find her a good home. We couldn't find one for her. It's just sad to know that she is going to be caged for a while until the right people come along.

Since we moved in July, we haven't had a fenced yard for her to run around in, and I can't take her on a run with me or bicycling (circulatory problems), so she wasn't getting near enough exercise. That was one problem.

The big problem was that I could never teach her to stop barking when I told her to. We've had several dogs over the years - all SPCA finds - and I thought I knew how to work with dogs. But I just couldn't teach Sandy a thing. When I tried to put her in training class, even the instructor couldn't teach her to sit. But you know, I do realize that the fault is never with the dog; it's always with the owner. This particular dog just needed a lot of one-on-one time and much more time and patience than I've got. She isn't stupid, just ... stubborn. We tried different kinds of anti-bark collars. We had a "dog whisperer" come over and work with her (me), and that was when I realized that I just don't have the time and patience that it would take to MAYBE teach her to stop barking when she's told to. Plus, we'd have to build a fence, which is an expense that just isn't worth it right now.

She needs a home where she'll get lots of exercise and won't have someone screaming "No!" at her in exasperation, like I did.

Operation Kindness screens people very carefully, so I know Sandy will have a better home.

And I won't get in a bad mood every time someone comes to visit and we have to shout over the barking. And I know the neighbors will appreciate it because you could hear Sandy from across the street when she was inside our living room! Plus, I might be able to visit with people in the 'hood now when I take our other dog walkies.

And in the long run, I know she'll be happier.

But it wasn't easy to do this at all. We'd agonized over it for at least a year.

One immediate change we've seen around here is that Katy, our cat (a/k/a "Fuzz-Face" on Scruffybutt's blog) isn't afraid to come out now (she sort of lived in Tom's study/library.) I couldn't teach Sandy to stop barking at her, and of course that scared her to death so she'd hide. Now, she looks at Scruffybutt, Scruffybutt looks at her, and that's it. So far, so good. I think they might end up being friends.

Yesterday on my walk with Scruffybutt, I saw a loose dog three times her size come trotting toward us. When Scruffybutt saw her, she nearly yanked my arm off because she was trying to charge this big ole dog! He turned tail and ran off. She still kept growling and pulling on the leash. He stopped several yards away and turned to look back at us. She's still carrying on like she wants to kill him, and I'm saying, "Okay, let's go, let's get outta here!" Thank goodness I had her with me. :) She is SO terrier. She has no concept of her size at all. It was pretty funny. I've seen her stare down a Rotwieiller at the vet's office before.

I hope Sandy gets in a home where she can be the only dog and get lots of one-on-one attention.