Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Rehab

You hear and read a lot about people going to rehab these days. Not unlike those people, some dogs have issues that need to be addressed. Some dogs bark too much, others bite, while others are afraid of almost everything. Someone once told me that the first step to a successful rehabilitation is to admit that a problem exists.

My problem is that I am not really good with other dogs. This is the reason why I have to stay by myself at Stray Rescue. However, I am determined to work on this problem and to become a canine-loving dog once again.

There used to be a time, when I loved other dogs. I always enjoyed meeting them, playing with them or just hanging out with other dogs. Unfortunately, I made some bad experiences and have been fearful ever since. So now, I am living by myself and also get to go on walks by myself. While I enjoy to be the only dog and having people's attention and affection all to myself, my goal is to be able to get along with other dogs again.

Today, I took the first of many small steps of my rehab program. I got to meet another dog. However, he was very quiet and he smelled weird. He did not smell like other dogs. If anything, he smelled like one of the toys in the yard. His reactions were also rather special. Maybe it was a robot dog, but I enjoyed meeting him nonetheless. I made sure to be friendly with him. I even kissed him on the mouth. He did not seem to be really interested in playing or running around with me, but I had tons of fun!

Meeting my new friend
I am looking forward to continuing my rehabilitation. Apparently, I will be able to go on walks with other dogs soon. I am determined to make this rehab a success story!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Here is what you have missed



It has been a while since my last blog post. I apologize for that. I blame my lack of thumbs. The staff and the volunteers at Stray Rescue have kept me busy these last weeks. So instead of recounting every single day, I will share some of my highlights with you.

Probably the best thing that happened to me during these last two weeks is, that I got to move to a different apartment within Stray Rescue. I used to be in the intake room. That is a big room with many single dog apartments. Although I liked the company of the other dogs, I sometimes would have preferred a more quiet environment. Especially around feeding and walking time, the intake room can get really loud. I loved my two neighbors in the intake room, Macintosh and Burke.

Macintosh is a Terrier Mix, just like me. He is a really good-looking guy with a sweet personality. So I was not surprised, when he told me, that he would finally get adopted. He already left the shelter and is in his forever home. I miss him sometimes, but I am sure he enjoys a great life with his new family, so I am really happy for him.


Macintosh

My other neighbor was Burke. They say he is a Hound Mix. I don't know if that is true, but he is certainly a good-looking guy. He has lots of energy and is always ready to go for a walk or to play in the yard. He is still available for adoption, but you better hurry. A handsome, funny guy like him is not going to be around for long. Just follow this link to find out more about Burke. http://www.strayrescue.org/adopt/burke

Burke
Burke

Okay, so back to me. As I mentioned earlier, I got to move to a new apartment and I can tell you, it is wonderful. I am upstairs in a room all by myself. They told me that eventually a human would be using the room as his office, but I don't mind. I am actually looking forward to some company. I do have to stay in a kennel inside the room, but that is okay. The kennel is comfortable and the Stray Rescue staff makes sure, that it is clean and that I have plenty of food and water. It is like staying at a nice hotel. Every time when I am out on a walk, the maid comes and cleans everything and re-stocks the minibar. I also enjoy to just lay in my crate and chew on some toys.

Playing with a toy in my crate

I have been on plenty of walks these last two weeks. Although with this heat wave, I am always looking forward to returning to Stray Rescue to lay around in the air-conditioned office. Orlando is doing his best to keep me cool when we are out together. We usually make sure that we walk in the shade and he brings water and a small bowl, so I can drink while we are out and about. We also take regular breaks to either just relax or sometimes he makes me do tricks. I like doing tricks because I get rewarded if I do them right. The reward depends on how difficult the trick is. The more difficult, the tastier the reward. Orlando once tried to reward me with carrots, so I just stopped doing what he wanted me to do. He should know that I am a carnivore, I don't like that veggie stuff unless it comes as part of my meat. I do really well with the commands "sit" and "down" and we are still working on "stay". I can already do it for a few seconds if there are no distractions.


Me, doing "sit"

One other thing that I learned is, that fountains can be a double-edged sword. I am not the biggest fan of swimming, so to me a fountain is basically just a big water bowl. So one of these days when I was out on a walk with Orlando, I had a drink at the fountain across from Union Station. Orlando wanted to help me, by forming a bowl with his hands and giving me some water. However, that seemed to take too long, so I decided to drink directly from the fountain. Unfortunately, the surface I was standing on gets slippery when wet and so when I leaned forward, I ended up falling into the fountain. Although I don't really like swimming, it actually felt good to be in the water. Orlando helped me to get out of the water and the sun dried my coat quickly.

Me, all wet after taking a bath
Okay, that's it for now. I hope I will have time to blog more soon. Until then, make sure to keep yourself and your four-legged friends hydrated!

- Sasha

Friday, June 15, 2012

My trip to the Gateway Arch

Wow, what a day I had yesterday. I went on one of the longest walks I can remember. It took me all the way to the Gateway Arch and it got even better afterwards.

The day started like so many others. I had a nice dream about chasing squirrels and just when I was about to catch one and eat it, I woke up. My neighbor Burke is up already and he is so noisy in the morning. So instead of tasting squirrel in my dream, I wait until breakfast is served. We get Purina One which is one of my favorites. I don't really know if squirrel would taste similar to my regular dog food. Probably, otherwise they would have no reason to run from us dogs.

After breakfast my buddy Orlando showed up and brought me a Kong toy. I started chewing while he leashed me up. We left Stay Rescue and walked down Washington Avenue. I like this street because as most women I enjoy window shopping. My favorite places are pet supply stores, dog grooming salons and butchers.

When we left Washington Avenue we came to a strange park. It looked like a regular park but it had a large fence around it. Inside, a dog was walking and sniffing around. He did not have to wear a leash. When we got closer the dog came up to the fence and started to bark. Orlando told me to keep quiet, so I kept my mouth shut. We continued our walk and stopped in a little park in downtown St. Louis. We both had something to drink and then Orlando feed me some turkey breast slices. He had me do tricks like "sit" or "lay down" before feeding me. I did really well and was rewarded with lots of turkey breast. I love that stuff and that it is healthy makes it even better.



After our break we continued to walk towards the riverfront. If there is one thing I do not really like about downtown, it is the countless red lights. There is hardly any traffic on most streets but some light says it is not okay to cross the street. Now, I am confessing right here that I am a notorious jaywalker. Orlando is more careful and he makes me stop all the time, too. Despite that, we reached the Arch grounds and I decided to celebrate by rolling in the grass. That seemed to amuse some tourists and I almost got as much attention from them as the Arch.

I really like the Gateway Arch. Did you know that at 630 feet, it is the tallest man-made monument in America? Unfortunately, I am not allowed to go up, so we walked through the park instead and Orlando took some pictures of me in front of the Arch.



Time was really flying by and we had to start walking back towards Stray Rescue. We made a stop at Citygarden, because I like that place so much. I was once again very popular. People came up to me and told me what a nice, good-looking dog I am.

Our next stop was at a weird place. There was a man with a grill just off the sidewalk. The air there smelled really good. Orlando talked to the man and handed him some paper. In exchange, he got something wrapped into aluminum foil. I did not know what it was until I sat down and Orlando unwrapped a sausage. He ripped little pieces off and started feeding me. At that moment I knew what doggy heaven must be like. It was the best sausage I've ever had.



It was getting hot and I really did not want this trip to end, so I made sure a took plenty of breaks on our way back. I even convinced Orlando to stop shortly before we arrived at Stray Rescue. I knew I had to thank him for this trip, so I gave him a big kiss. I hope I get to do this again some time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tuesday and Wednesday

The weather here in St. Louis is back to hot and dry and so Orlando comes to Stray Rescue in the mornings. Tuesday was a great day. One of the staff members took me to the yard in the morning and for a walk afterwards. I thought, okay, that is it until later in the afternoon. I was wrong.

Orlando took me for another walk in the morning. It was getting really hot, so he wanted to keep it short. However, I had other plans. Something was telling me, that I should go to the park across from Union Station. So i just pulled Orlando along. He seemed to be impressed by how well I was coping with the heat.

At the park, a couple came up to us and the man seemed to be very friendly and asked if it would be okay if he petted me. Of course, that is okay! I love to be petted! He was surprised by how nice I was. Orlando pointed out that I am available for adoption. Unfortunately, the couple was from out of town, so that would not work out.

The man said though, that he has a friend in St. Louis who might be interested. So he took a picture of me with his phone and sent it to his friend with a link to Stray Rescue's website. I made sure to look good in the picture, so I lay down in the grass and smiled.

Upon our return to Stray Rescue, Orlando and I went to the yard and played for a while. I was glad that there was some fresh water, because at this point I was sweating under my coat.

Orlando and I played our own form of soccer. He tries to dribble past me with a tennis ball and I am trying to not let him pass. I am clearly better than he is. He says that I have an unfair advantage because I have four legs. But I think he is just a sore loser.


On Wednesday, my walk in the morning was shorter and I did not get to play in the yard in the morning, so I was hoping that Orlando would take me out again. I thought it would not happen, when I saw a staff member starting to hand out our afternoon treats. I normally get a Kong toy filled with peanut butter. In case the human readers of my blog are wondering how that tastes, let me tell you, it is delicious!

So I was just getting really excited about my afternoon snack, when Orlando showed up, leash in his hand. I knew what that meant, so I grabbed my Kong, he put me on the leash and out of the building we went. It felt like Christmas and Easter at the same day!

This time I carried the Kong toy myself, until there was no peanut butter left. Once I had licked it all out, Orlando got to carry it for the rest of our walk.

I have to tell you, this heat is starting to get to me, so when we came back to the yard, I mostly just lay around. I played a couple of rounds of fetch with Orlando but afterwards we decided to just hang out for a bit. He took the following picture of me, that shows how exhausted I looked.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sunday and Monday

I am sorry for not blogging for a while. I could come up with some excuse for it (the internet was slow, my neighbor's barking keeps me up at night, I had the flu), but I am an honest dog. I was way too busy chewing my Kong toy these last few days. They say, these toys are almost indestructible. Well, I am on a mission to prove them wrong and I am proud to say, that I am actually making some progress.

So, you probably want to know how I have been. Well, this weekend has been quite relaxing for me. I enjoyed the nice weather while out on walks.

Orlando and Kim took me for a walk on Sunday evening. Actually, Orlando took me for a walk. I felt bad for Kim, because she had no walking buddy, so I let her carry the Kong. I think she liked that.



After a little walk we returned to Stray Rescue and went to one of the yards. There, Kim brought me some water, which I highly appreciated. Someone told me that it is important to stay hydrated, especially for dogs.

In the yard, we played some games. I really enjoyed fetching tennis balls and playing tug o' war. I am really good at both of them.

Monday was just a regular day, except that the weather cut our morning walk short. Nobody had any interest in staying out longer than necessary. Orlando and Kim came by in the evening and took me out. I had more energy than the day before and I was just excited to be out. I fell in love with a little patch of grass right in front of the FBI building. I just rolled around in it on my back.


After the walk, we went to the yard, where we played games and Orlando had me walk next to him without a leash. I did a really good job on that. It is not much harder than walking on a leash. I just have to make sure, I do not get distracted.

When it was time to go inside, I decided to trick Orlando into playing another round of tug o' war with me. I grabbed the leash and started pulling on it and Orlando held on to it tight. I got really excited that my trick worked so well. Unfortunately, it didn't last for long though. He simply let go of the leash and so I lost all interest in the game. Since it was getting late anyway, I walked quickly back to my apartment in the shelter.I could tell that all the other dogs were jealous that I got to stay out late.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Visit to Citygarden

Yesterday was definitely a busy day. So busy actually that I just now get the time to blog about it.

As part of the enrichment program, I get to go to new places. This helps to socialize me and prepares me to live in a non-shelter environment. I am a very curious dog, so everything new fascinates me.

Orlando picked me up at the shelter in the morning and at first, I thought he is just taking me for a walk. I got really excited when I realized that he is taking me towards Union Station. I have not been that way very often and I was really looking forward to see that area.

It was a typical hot Saint Louis day and so I tried to walk in the shade as much as possible. Thankfully, the Gateway Mall is basically one big park with many trees. Orlando seems to like that there are benches, so he can sit down while I roll around in the grass nearby. Today he brought water and a little plastic container for me, so I can stay hydrated while out and about. I noticed the first time he gave me water, that Orlando spills the remaining water once I am done drinking. So during our next little break, I turned over the container with my nose after I was done. I can really be a helpful dog.

Our walk continued down the Gateway Mall towards the Arch. After the Courthouse building we came to a very nice part of the park, called Citygarden. There are many statues and some fountains. I was more interested in the sprinklers in the grass, though. Orlando actually took me into the grass where the sprinklers were. I enjoyed getting wet, because it felt really refreshing. I made sure Orlando got to enjoy it, too. I skillfully pulled him towards the sprinklers, so he could cool down, too.



Afterwards, we found a bench in the shade and just sat down for a bit. I kept staring around and taking in, what was going on at the park. I wasn't bothered by pedestrians or by kids that were playing nearby. I just looked and sniffed around and enjoyed the nice weather. I also made sure that I was sitting close enough to Orlando, so he could pet me.

We went for a little walk around downtown Saint Louis. I walked very good on the leash and was friendly to everyone we encountered on the sidewalk. I noticed that humans react very different to meeting me on the sidewalk. Some of them seem very friendly and even tell me, what a good-looking dog I am, while others seem to be afraid of me and keep a lot of distance to me. They must think I am an evil dog, although I am very friendly to people. If that happens, I just try to walk as nicely as possible, because I do not want to give anyone a reason to be scared of me.

I do get excited when I see other dogs. I saw several small dogs in downtown Saint Louis. However, I do not bark or try to scare them. We even met a little Chihuahua that barked at me and I just kept my mouth shut. Apparently, we will soon start walking with other dogs at the rescue and if that goes well, I might soon be ready to meet other dogs in the street.

In downtown Saint Louis we met Kim. She and I hit it off immediately. Although she seemed to have a lot of respect for me and would not come too close for me. Once we were at Citygarden, I approached her and licked her hand to show her, that I like her. That made her smile, which I think was a good sign. I hope to see her again soon.



The coolest thing about Kim is, that she has a car. She ended up giving Orlando and me a ride from Citygarden back to Stray Rescue. I like going on car rides. So when the door to the backseat opened and Orlando told me to go in, I jumped right in.

During the car ride I was very excited, because I could see what was going on outside. I tried to climb into the front seat to get a better view, but Orlando told me to stay in the back, so I obliged.

Once back at Stray Rescue, I almost ran back inside. I just had to tell everyone about my visit to Citygarden and how much fun that was. I hope to go back there soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Rehabilitation Enrichment Program Day 2

Something strange is going on at Stray Rescue. I have to spend less time in my apartment and instead get to go out more often. But let me start at the beginning of the day.

I woke up this morning and felt a little sore. The two walks in the morning were followed by another walk towards the evening. I am glad the temperature dropped a little bit. I have way more energy in mild weather.

This morning I was one of the first dogs that got to go on a walk. One of the staff members took me out right after eating breakfast. I like going on walks early for two reasons. It is not as hot as later in the day and I often get to see other dogs around the neighborhood.

The walk was shorter than the one I had yesterday, but I did not mind at all. When I returned to Stray Rescue my Kong toy was waiting for me and I still felt a little bit exhausted from the day before.

One hour after returning, the curtain in front of my apartment opened and Orlando stood in front of my apartment. He held a leash in his hand. I wanted to tell him, that I had already been on a walk, but then I changed my mind. I might as well go out again. So I grabbed my Kong and almost ran to the exit door. Orlando followed me and opened the door. 

Once outside, I pulled on the leash as strong as I could. I had to get away from the building as quickly as possible. Otherwise someone might tell Orlando, that I had already been on a walk. However, he kept stopping me and told me to walk next to him, instead of pulling on the leash. Since I did not have time for long discussions, I did as I was told. I was relieved when we turned around the block and out of sight of Stray Rescue. It was 9.30 am and I was on my second walk of the day. I was one happy dog. As a reward for Orlando, I dropped my Kong toy, so that he could play with it for the rest of the walk.

We walked around the neighborhood and went to the same area as the day before. On one of the streets I found some chicken bones, but Orlando pulled me away from them and told me to "leave it". I didn't offer any resistance because I was still full from breakfast. "Leave it" is a phrase Orlando tells me, when I am doing something that I should not be doing. I follow this command most of the times and normally I get compliments for following commands or I get petted.

Today I found another amazing spot of grass, so I rolled around a little bit. Orlando snapped a picture of me and he lets me use it for my blog.


Afterwards, we walked back to Stray Rescue, but instead of heading for the entrance, we went to the yard. We had one of the smaller fenced yards, so there was no doggy pool. However, there were a lot of toys. 

After some sniffing around the yard, I walked over to Orlando. He took a tennis ball and threw it for me. I ran after the ball, grabbed it and ran back to Orlando. I made sure to keep a safe distance from him because  he looked like he wanted to take the tennis ball away from me. Once he realized that I would not give him the tennis ball back, he picked up another tennis ball and threw it. Now I had to make a decision. I could either stay with my tennis ball, or I could run after the other one, that was bouncing through the yard. I went for the bouncing one. As soon as I returned that one, Orlando threw the first tennis ball again, so I had to run and get that one back now.

After a while, I changed my strategy. I took the one tennis ball I already had and went running after the other ball. However, despite my best efforts, I could not fit both of them in my mouth. At that point, I decided it was time to take a break and I just lay down in the shade with my two tennis balls.


Orlando sat next to me and started petting my head. Normally, I am not a big fan of getting petted, but I was too tired to move and being petted did not feel too bad. After a while, I actually started to enjoy it. I rolled on my back, so Orlando could scratch my belly. It felt almost like being at the doggy spa. Not that I would know, what doggy spa actually feels like, but I imagine it must feel something like this.

Now, it was my turn to do something nice for Orlando. I decided to show him one of my favorite tricks. Luckily, he decided to pick up a frisbee and throw it. I ran after it and was almost able to catch it. I had better luck on one of the next throws, when I was actually able to jump up and catch the frisbee mid-air. Orlando was really impressed, I could tell.

After some more doggy massage, it was time for me to cool down inside. So I was leashed up and we walked back to the building. My plans for this afternoon are a nice long nap, followed by some Kong chewing, eating dinner and then I am going for a walk later this evening.

Thank you for reading. Woof!