Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rehabilitation Enrichment Program Day 1

Today started like any other day at the shelter. I woke up and after some stretching I started chewing on my Kong toy. Most other dogs in the shelter wake up and bark, so the other dogs wake up, too. That's not me, though. I am happy with chewing my Kong toy.

I am in Phase 1 at the Stray Rescue shelter in St. Louis, so I live in a single apartment. I like to live by myself, because I don't really get along that well with other dogs.

I was one of the first dogs in Phase 1 to be taken for a walk today. At 8:40 am the curtain opened and a volunteer opened the door to my apartment. I just kept chewing my Kong toy, while the volunteer leashed me up. My neighbors were going berserk at the same time, because they wanted to go for a walk, too. Once outside my apartment, I paraded down the hallway to the exit door. All the other dogs were so jealous.

Now here are some things you need to know about me. I LOVE my Kong toy! I bring it on walks and carry it in my mouth. At least for 30 yards, then I normally start to enjoy the scenery and all the smells. So the human on the other end of the leash gets to carry my Kong toy. I think they enjoy, that I let them play with my toy.

Another thing about me is, that I am full of energy. I mean, I am a two year old Terrier Mix, aka a Pitbull. And I spend most of the day in my apartment. Although I like my apartment and appreciate the twice daily maid service, I would prefer to just run around all day in a big house, a yard or even better, my own personal park.

So, when I do get to go on walks in the morning and the evening, I tend to be a little hyper-active because I have so much energy bottled up and I just get very excited when I am outside. Sometimes I fight the human for the leash. However, if they tell me to sit, I usually stop doing it.

Back to my walk this morning. So this volunteer, named Orlando, took me for a walk. Since I haven't seen this one before, I immediately tried to take advantage of his inexperience. I dropped my Kong toy, so he got to carry it for me. I fought him for the leash and stopped when he told me to sit. And then I just started pulling on the leash, because obviously, someone has to make the decision on where to go.

Orlando followed my lead, although he did stop me a couple of times when I was pulling on the leash too much. Normally, I would just walk nicely for a few steps afterwards and then continue to pull. We walked down Locust Street and went to one of my favorite spots. The empty lots between Locust St and Washington Ave. I really enjoy walking on the grass. Many dogs come to this place and so the grass is full of interesting smells. I could spend hours wandering around over here.

After a while we continued down Locust Street and then turned around, towards Olive Blvd. There were many other dogs and so we returned to the empty lots off of Locust. There we stopped in the shade of one of the buildings and I had some time to sniff around. And let me tell you, I liked that place so much, I just started to roll around. Orlando must have thought I looked really cute, because he took his phone out of his pocket and snapped some pictures of me.

Once I was done rolling around we walked back towards the shelter. At that point, we were already out for 45 minutes, which is longer than my usual walks. And to my surprise, I actually felt a little bit tired. Must be this warm summer weather. As a result, I decided to take the path of least resistance on the way home. I only pulled on the leash occasionally. For the most part, I walked right next to Orlando and he seemed to be happy about that. He kept calling me "good girl". When I did pull, he would have me stop on the sidewalk. Then I would normally remember, to walk next to him and not to pull on the leash.

Once we got back to the shelter, we saw a couple of other dogs. It was good to see some of my buddies and I got really excited once again. Also, I know that a new Kong toy would be waiting for me in my apartment, so I was in a hurry to get back inside. When the leash came off, Orlando said goodbye and threw the Kong toy, that he carried the entire walk, into my apartment, so that I now have two Kong toys.

I was so exhausted, I drank some water and then just lay down and chewed my Kong. My neighbors were out on walks, so at least I got some quiet time before they returned.

Later that day, the curtain opened again and Orlando was standing outside the apartment again. At first, I thought, that he would take one of my neighbors out for a walk or to the yard, but when he opened the door to my apartment, I got really excited. He put me on a leash and back outside we went. It was definitely too early for my afternoon walk, since it was just before lunchtime. This time we took a different route on our walk. We walked south on Jefferson and then walked around the block.

We made sure to walk in the shade of the trees as much as possible, because it was getting really hot and I was still a little bit tired from my earlier walk. I also remembered, that is is easier, to walk right next to Orlando, instead of pulling on the leash. He called me "good girl" repeatedly, so I must have done really well. Although the walk was way shorter then our earlier one, I was really glad when we returned to Stray Rescue. Seriously, I can't believe there was a point in my life when I did not have air conditioning.

In front of the Stray Rescue building, I found a tennis ball, which I picked up and brought back to my apartment. There, I found yet another Kong toy. So I now had three Kong toys and one tennis ball. Unfortunately, the tennis ball was taken away from me.

I will now enjoy the afternoon in my apartment, trying to figure out, which Kong toy I like best.

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