Tuesday, November 2, 2010

60-pound Doggie Missile

From Cheryl, Reggie's new foster mom:

I have decided that Reggie is a pup. That is the only explanation for his energy....we could run our house on Reggie power. I find that the best way to make him tired is to tire his mind.

He continues to show NO signs of aggression or shyness to any human he meets. He thinks that everyone is on earth to play with him and love him. He also continues to meet other dogs with an energy level that makes other dogs flinch, well all except some (smile), like Romeo the most non reactive dog I have ever met!

He is fully crate trained, car rides, potty trained, everything...our work will continue in the doggie intro area. We took Reggie for a walk with Porter and Lucy. He has a hard time concentrating on any commands when there is another dog present. He had no aggression as always, but in the yard Lucy hides in the corner to stay out of the way of the doggie missile going 50 mph. Porter ignores him. He would do great with a dog that could match his energy, I am working on calming him down just by training to do other things. My strategy is to get him to pay close attention to ME.

So, on that note, I will continue to train him. My hope being that in learning to learn training from me that will transfer to his forever family and cool his jets a bit. :)

We have not had emails on Reggie yet. Not to worry his family will find us tho. There are so many Pits out there. He is however, the cutest by far! We do not mind one bit having him here. I love him and consider him one of my boys. I would love to include him in my pack, he has taught me so much. I love to watch those beautiful eyes! I know, I say this every time, but I feel it. I can totally see a dog like this in our pack. For now I will enjoy him and pretend that he is all mine!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Moving On

Today Reggie moves to a new, long-term foster home, one that will be able to keep him until he is adopted by loving new owners. I'm sad to let him go. But Tucker needs his home and family back and Scott and I just aren't around enough to give Reggie the attention and training he needs.

Meanwhile, we've had the opportunity to show Reggie a whole new kind of life--one of regular meals, cozy beds, and lots of love. As do most dogs, he's responded positively and blossomed into a curious and fun-loving companion. He loves frozen yogurt Kongs (no peanut butter, please), oatmeal stout, and cherry tomatoes. He likes to sleep late, have his belly rubbed, and wrestle with Memphis. He snores softly when he's content. 

Reggie has some dog aggression issues to work on (walking past a yard with a barking dog is quite the adventure) but I'm confident he can overcome this--he learned to live with Tucker and to play with Memphis. He loves to run; galloping along next to a bicycle will be a favorite pastime if he learns not to kill both himself and the rider in the process.

What a sweet little man! I'm sure gonna miss him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More New Things

Yesterday was another big adventure that started when we got ready to go for a walk, both dogs harnessed and leashed. I opened the garage door into the driveway and was being stared down by a stray pit bull. There was all kind of excitement and lunging and pulling. The rest of the walk was mostly good but interspersed with challenges.

We picked up Tori and Memphis, who was on her best behavior to show off for her new friend Reggie. Reggie pulled hard when we passed other dogs, but by the end of the walk he was trotting merrily along beside me.

Now that the edge was taken off by the walk, we turned Memphis and Reggie into the back yard for another play date. They started with a vigorous game of chase. When that turned into teeth-baring wrestling, we introduced the inner tube for tug. Both dogs were worn out at the end and I remembered a phrase I learned in obedience school once--"a tired dog is a good dog!" Reggie was mellow for the rest of the day.

In the afternoon, I took a bowl out to the garden to harvest the remaining bits of summer produce--a few small eggplants. tomatoes, chard, and peppers. Ever curious Reggie stuck by my side, watching. He sniffed a tomato as I picked it, then reached over and gently plucked a ripe cherry for himself. He must have like it because he reached for another and another. Note to new family: fence Reggie out of garden!

I forgot to mention yesterday that Memphis showed Reggie the pleasure of a good belly rub. The usually wiggly red fellow rolled over in my lap and let me rub away.

Reggie still sleeps in the kitchen. When I put him to bed last night, I sat with him for a few minutes of massages and belly rubs before turning out the light.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What a Day!

Today was a BIG BIG day for Reggie! I've been away at work since Monday afternoon and had plotted a Pit Bull Play Date with my friend Tori's dog Memphis when I got home this morning. First I walked Tucker to the dog park so he could have some one-on-one time with mom and feel important. And perhaps more importantly, Tori galloped Memphis with the bike to tire her out a bit.

As expected, Reggie and Memphis pretty much loved each other at first sight. They have similar play styles (rough-housing) and were thrilled to be allowed to play hard (with close adult supervision, of course). Tori is a pro, having adopted the highly energetic Memphis earlier in the summer, and arrived with a spray bottle, training treats, and an appropriate toy--a used bicycle inner tube.

After a long session of wrestling, occasionally interrupted by the adults when things started to get too rough, we forced a rest break. This is the first time I've seen Memphis on the "leave-me-alone" end of things. Reggie was panting, but unwilling to let go of so much fun.

Then Tori introduced the inner tube. Tug is a favorite game for Memphis, but Reggie didn't quite understand what to do until Tori gave a demonstration--then Reggie jumped in and started the longest game of Pit Bull Tug I've ever seen!

Finally it was time for Memphis to go home. Reggie was so disappointed! I'm pretty sure this was the most fun he's ever had and he probably thought that if he let her go it would never happen again (we already agreed to another play date tomorrow).

I was sure he would be tired once he took a break, so we went inside. He and Tucker have had some brief interactions before but we've mostly kept them separated due first to Reggie's kennel cough and later because growling always ensued. But when we came in, I left the gate open between the kitchen and living room and let the two dogs wander freely. Reggie has had over a week to observe Tucker and get that he's the Big Dog in the house. Being tired should settle him down a bit.

Well, the dogs have been getting along just fine ever since. Reggie is thrilled to be able to follow me every step and Tucker is annoyed that this other dog is taking over his house. Reggie shows submission by licking Tucker in the mouth before he steals his toys.

Another first: Reggie went down to the basement. He has access to the basement from the kitchen, but has never been down the stairs, preferring to watch from the top. Today when I went downstairs to get my bike for a ride, he seemed more curious than ever, especially when Tucker went down. But he would get his front paws as far as the third step before backing up quickly.

After I carried my bike up to the garage, I sat down at the top and said, "let's go together." I scooted down one step at a time as Reggie followed. But then he hesitated. Then Tucker barged through on his own way down--and Reggie followed! He checked the whole place out and now follows me if I go down there.

We also practiced some obedience training today. Along with the usual Sit, we worked on Stay, Let Go, Off, and (Lay) Down. He's quite stubborn when he doesn't want to sit. But today he grasped the concepts of Stay and Down for the first time! Tucker was instrumental in demonstrating--he hits the ground hard and fast, front legs splaying out to the side in his eagerness to earn a treat.

And both dogs sat quietly (but impatiently) while I stirred an egg into their supper kibble. Now he's snoring softly by my side.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More About Reggie

In the week we've had Reggie, he's come a long way:

He loves having beds to lay down on and grass to run around in.

He mostly settles onto his bed in the kitchen when I'm working in there, but he is quite interested in the fridge when I open it.

We've been giving him his antibiotics rolled up in a piece of ham or wedged into a cube of cheese; but he's smart and he's figured out how to eat the treat and spit out the pill.

He enjoys having a massage while he eats.

He always greets me at the door when I come home and loves to give kisses.

His leash manners are improving. He knows sit and come. We're working on lay down, off, leave it, and wait or stay.

Reggie will make a great companion for an active person who has plenty of time to spend with him.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sweet, Beautiful Boy!

When I got home from work on Friday afternoon, Reggie was excited to see me but greeted me with non-humping enthusiasm. He walked nicely on leash through the neighborhood. He ran madly around the back yard (he's not supposed to run or jump while he has stitches, but I didn't have the heart to make him stop when he was having so much fun).

He lay quietly on his bed in the kitchen while I worked. At suppertime, I put food in his bowl outside and started to walk away. He stopped eating to see where I was, then seemed torn between going with me and finishing his meal. So I sat and massaged him while he ate. I think he's getting a bit spoiled already!

Friday night, we decided to try letting Reggie sleep indoors. It was the weekend, so if we missed some sleep it wouldn't hurt too bad. He has a habit of putting his paws up on countertops and chairs, so I patrolled the kitchen for things he might steal to eat or chew. We needn't have worried; he nestled into his bed and slept soundly.

A few days made such a difference. Reggie was settling into a routine and feeling more confident and comfortable. He eats up attention and returns affection with enthusiastic kisses. He's getting better at sit, but quickly pops up to lick your face as fast as you can say "good dog."

Formerly Known as Damu

Reggie's given name was Damu. The day before we were to meet him, Scott and I were wondering what Damu meant, so I did a quick Google search on my phone.

It should be no surprise that the owner of a poorly treated, intact male pit bull gave him a "name for the Bloods to call each other," according to Damu "comes from a Swaheli word meaning 'blood-like.'"

Damu is possibly a reference to the red color of his coat, but it isn't a term I feel comfortable saying very loudly in our neighborhood. "Reggie" seems to fit just fine. He learned his new name quickly and responds eagerly when called.

Adventures in Fostering

Reggie arrived on a  Tuesday, freshly neutered and having spent the better part of the week in the shelter. This may have actually been an improvement over his previous not-so-great living conditions. He was surprised to be invited inside the house and reluctant to accept, but once inside, busied himself inspecting every corner.

He was especially fascinated by Tucker's basket full of toys. He soon settled onto a dog bed (we have one in almost every room) to chew on a plush "tree stump" that comes with squeaky squirrels.

After an hour or so, we wrangled him into a harness for a walk where we would hopefully introduce him to Tucker. He pulled relentlessly on the leash and peed on everything within reach in a typical male dog fashion. The meet-and-greet involved lunging and growling, so we opted to keep the dogs separated via a gate between kitchen and living room. Reggie could have the kitchen and garage, Tucker could have the rest of the house. One at a time in the back yard.

This is our first venture into dog fostering and despite being responsible owners of a well-mannered dog, we were immediately and woefully unprepared for the demands of an unruly pit bull. Foster friends provided a crate (that after a week remains unoccupied), harness (necessary to control a strong dog), and gate tall enough to not be jumped over. Our yard contains Tucker who has no desire to go anywhere (we adopted him from the Humane Society and it didn't take him long to figure out this was a pretty good place to be), but there are numerous structural weaknesses that even a novice escape artist could crack.

Having lived in his own poop for quite sometime, Reggie was smelly and in need of a bath. But the instructions from the neutering demanded no baths, running or jumping for nearly two weeks. I used a warm washcloth to give him a sponge bath so we could stand to pet him.

Reggie's most apparent trait was a strong desire to hump. Give him a hint of attention and he wraps himself tight around your leg. This was mildly amusing until I was in the back yard with him and thought I might not break free. After a mighty struggle, I regained control and sent him to the garage for "time out."

At suppertime, I gave him a scoop of Tucker's food and sat with him while he ate. He seemed to enjoy the company and didn't react at all when I rubbed his face and had my hands near his food. When his bowl was licked clean, he expressed his extreme gratitude by trying desperately to hump my leg again.

That first night was a little rough. We couldn't allow Reggie in the bedroom with Tucker and weren't sure what he might destroy if left alone in the kitchen, so we relegated him to the garage with a bowl of water and cozy dog bed. We learned that he has a tendency to squeak when he wants something, but he finally settled down and we didn't hear much from him til morning.

I had to leave early the next morning for a four-day work trip, so set my alarm in time to help with dog duties before I left. Scott did the usual routine for Tucker (breakfast NOW) and I let Reggie outside and fed him breakfast. He was eager for attention and responded by jumping up and giving kisses. The most-used phrase in our house this week was "Reggie, OFF!"

I was sad to leave the sweet boy so soon but knew he would be in good hands with Scott. We also have a neighbor who owns a pit bull and agreed to come by every day to let Tucker in and Reggie out.

Most disturbingly, he had an occasional cough that worsened overnight. He was hacking continuously and coughing up piles of foamy mucus. Foster friends to the rescue again: Charles picked up Reggie and took him to the vet. I was anxious to see him again on Friday evening.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome to Reggie's Blog

Reggie is visiting our home as a foster dog.  I started his blog so interested parties can keep up with his progress. Hopefully my time blogging for Reggie will be short as he will find a loving forever home soon; perhaps his new mom (or dad) will take over the blog for him.