Skye was a lot more scattered, and took a break right at the end to say hi to the judge, but she had a total blast. She did get to meet a few of the dogs, including another pit who has done agility for many more years than us. In the end, we had a great time, and I got to watch some crazy herding breeds fly through the course like is was nothing. This aussie did a u-turn on a dime- she looked like she hardly touched the ground...
Apparently, all that silence was because he was saving up the noise making for yesterday. Parker is terrified of the forced air and the normal dryer used in grooming, and he makes the most ungodly noises that I can hear from outside in the camp yard. He barely tolerates his front legs being shaved, screams when his ears are plucked, and cries if scissors go near his face. All of which are a part of grooming a schnauzer. On top of this he will try to bite (anyone but me), so I get to hold him for the bad parts. Poor Bubba, right? Well this little pathetic soul has an even more pathetic story. It was a dark and rainy night...
Oh wait, that's not right. Imagine the white, fluffy bundle of joy that is an 8 week old Parker and a young, blond girl overjoyed at the prospect of getting a puppy of her very own. Awwww... right? Well, this little girl's family already had 2 dogs, a spayed female German shepherd and an unaltered male Pomeranian, both adults. But her older sister got the pom as a puppy, and now it was her turn. She'd walk him and train him, and blah blah blah. So they buy the "purebred" mini schnauzer, bring him home, and have a grand old time.
Fast forward 1.5 years.... Parker is now a wild man. His coat is matted to the skin because he hasn't been to a groomer, but they have given him haircuts at home using scissors to get rid of some mats. Unfortunately, he squirms a lot and sometimes gets cut. When people come over, he jumps up and down barking hysterically, then runs laps around the house. He is too hard to handle, so neither male dog are walked. Like the pom, Parker is not neutered, and both dogs have begun to mark in the house. As a solution for the house training issues, a 4'x6' pen is set up outside with a little doghouse for the boys during the day, and they go in crates at night. Rain or Shine. Of course with winter coming up the plan was going to have to change.
I come into the story long before Parker. The older sister is a friend of mine since high school, and I love her very much, but the facts of Parker's story speak for themselves. I was asked to help them train the dogs so that they wouldn't mark in the house, but the pom is too old to be a good candidate for neutering, and no one in the family is willing to walk the dogs more often than once a week. While the family went on vacation, I dog sat. I required them to get all 3 dogs vaccinated, as it hadn't been done in some time, so that I could bring the small dogs to work. First, I shaved Parker, and I wish I had a camera. His coat was so matted it could have stood on all 4 legs and support the body. He went from being a perfectly round, dirty little sheep, to a scrawny little poodle. The groomer, my boss, and myself had to muzzle him and hold him to pluck his ears for the first time in his life. The buildup was so intense that the ears were inflamed and infected underneath. I'm sure it was extremely painful, but such a relief to him afterward. At home, I started walking the dogs 3 times a day, and had 0 accidents when I left them gated in the kitchen (it rained all week). Sadly, I noticed minor resource guarding between the dogs, who shared one bowl. Parker would take a mouth full of food and run, eating it in his crate before going back for another. I started some basic obedience work with him, and he seemed bright and eager to please, and quickly replaced jumping and barking with sitting. When the family came home, I offered to keep Parker if they ever decided to rehome him. Turns out, that was their plan anyway, but they were going to give him to the girl's boyfriend. Luckily I was considered a better situation, and they let me take him.
And they lived happily ever after? No, there is more. But this is turning into a long story, so I'll throw in a photographic intermission...
|Parker the Puppy|
|Growing back the hair|
|Finally back to normal!|
Luckily, we had the support and the funds available to make option #2 the only option. The 3 month quarantine was intense, involved a rigorous enrichment schedule and behavior plans for each dog, and a lot of headaches in the winter. We had a good number of pits in that group, along with a puppy, a greyhound, and a few very shy and nervous dogs. All of them come out of it in good health and found great homes, and probably have a great immune system to boot. Parker's quarantine was not as rigorous, but he could not be around other dogs or set foot in the shelter for those 3 months. Somehow, he didn't seem to mind. We did a lot of training, he had a growth spurt and reached a normal weight, and we basically had a blast. Parker still loves going on walks more than anything, loves me more than anyone, and dreads being groomed. His initial anxiety about being away from me has settled down, and he is generally a confident albeit odd little dog. He continues to improve, but I do need the occasional reminder that he is a work in progress just as much as Skye is. Don't tell the jealous pit bull, but Parker will always be my #1, even if he doesn't give me sloppy kisses and insist on cuddling at every opportunity.
|The dreaded haircut|
|The reason for the hair cut|
|My little big man|