Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Little Dog Makes a Huge Impression!

Bea-Bea Update!!!

This very cool puppy has come a very long way, and grown some as well!

Bea-Bea is becoming more, loving, and focused every day. She's well house trained, and loves her crate- good stuff happens there! We haven't done much leash work, because she comes running ever time she hears her name called. The only time she gets out, and she does, it's to be near me. Bea-Bea looks forward to lots of "mushy-time" when we're relaxing at night. She is super social with dogs, loves the kitten, and has learned how much fun people are too!

I'd love to see her go to an agility home, she's primed and ready for an experienced "shaper." Bea-Bea shows some interest in the ball, tug toy, and Frisbee, but much prefers to run alongside the others that participate. Bea-Bea really looks forward to running alongside the golf cart, and has a good vertical leap too.

She easily clears the baby gate, but has fun stalling on top of it now; she's very athletic. I'm not an agility guy, but I'd love to see someone put her through a more agility specific evaluation. It's not a requirement, so long as she goes to an active home, but...

Don't wait too long for this one; if I do start working agility, I may have to keep her myself!

This Australian Cattle Dog Mix has been this weeks focus for me, and the "canine crew" here at Sit & Stay. Ezzy, Esmeralda, first came to my attention when I saw the collective cry for help to bail her out of a S Florida shelter. This posting was a "call to arms" to the performance/rescue dog community at large; it bounced from coast to coast.

The chain of communication and custody is a short list of people that consistently go above and beyond to improve the lives of every dog they can. Thanks to Stacy Bonner McIlvenn, Andrea Rigler, Chris Engel, Karen Dale Avick, Holly Ryerson, Gisele Veilleux, and Caroline Tart. Caroline helped Ezzy with the last, four hour, leg of her journey here, her new foster home.

When they arrived at my door-step, Ezzy was reluctant to come inside. With a little coaxing, and some nudging we finally got her to her own room for that first night. I don't think she's been indoors much in her first year of life. I set her up with her own dog bed, complete with night-light, fresh food, and water. She tucked herself into the furthest corner away from the baby gate, and successfully hid from my "crew" until potty time the next morning.

It was a little tough not getting emotional that first morning. Ezzy was literally rattled; her little 30lb frame was visibly shaking. Amazingly she ate the cup of food I left her. However, it was roughly an hour before Titan, my Border Collie, seemed to have a calming effect on her. That ,in my mind, was the beginning of her new life. By mid-day she showed signs of a dog learning to be comfortable in her own skin.
That "first day" I ran into a little complication, when I praised her for doing her business outdoors. My "Izzy" got so excited that she blind-sided me with a reverse vault off of my mid-section. The name "Ezzy" needed to change; I wanted to make a connection to the disc dog community, but "Disc" is too masculine...ha,ha! Okay so how 'bout "bee?", no, that will bring Titan running! Maybe "Bea-Bea"; she loves it, and I only get one dog when I call it out! For the most part, I didn't do much more than allow her to assimilate herself into our routine the first day. That included moving into her own crate in my room at bedtime; she wasn't happy.

Bea-Bea's second day started with a game of "I'm not touching you." She'd approach, sniffing a foot away, then haul butt in the opposite direction. I broke from my usual restriction to the day rooms for everybody, so the sweet little girl could move into my space of her own accord. Basically I set her up to move a room closer to me each day; by day four that restricted area would find her with me. At this point she's got no real social skills, but she hasn't displayed any anti-social behavior whatever.

By the third day, Bea-Bea started showing a real sense of belonging. This step in the right direction began with her "air tag" game right out of the crate. Then she moved outside with the pack, and relieved herself immediately; she is housebroken. Three days here means exposure to tons of new stimuli. There are people in and out, as well as other dogs, and tons of activities. Bea-Bea loves to run along side the golf cart, and shows no intention to break out to leave us. I've been running her slowly, because she was spayed right before she left the S Florida shelter. By the end of the day she's touching her nose to me before she darts away. Bea- Bea's not aware, but she's also been funneled another room closer.

Her fourth day with us was a breakthrough day. Not only is she now mouthing me in a hit and run fashion, but she's looking to me for direction. In addition, Bea-Bea has no issue with walking in her crate on her own. That first night she did a hand-stand, quite naturally, rather than allowing herself to be nudged inside...funny stuff! Once more her free roam zone has been choked down, finally to one large room with me and the others. On this day Bea-Bea discovered the TV.
I'm kicked back watching the tube, zoning, when I realize she's trying to find the source of those sound and movements behind the set. Then she came over to me, as if to ask for an explanation. Of course, she took-off when I tried to touch her...almost. Well, I lost interest in watching TV, and got a big kick out of the repeated tilting of Bea-Bea's little head. Her perfect ears were moving independently, and her blue/brown eyes were bugging-out. She's very alert, but her nervous energy is diminishing into a more focused, playful energy.
Day five of Bea-Bea's stay with us started with a walk on lead to our driveway gate; about 5 minutes. She started off between my feet, then against my left leg, and finally in the heel position quite naturally. When we got to the gate I praised her tons, and let her off lead to follow me back to the house. She's really starting to enjoy the security of home life, that was so alien to her on "day-one."

Now I'm tethering her to me with a slip lead, in short intervals. She's showing less resistance to my touch every day. This week I plan on working more one on one play. It was apparent from the beginning, this young dog somehow spent a year devoid of positive stimulus. Bea-Bea's current favorite recreation is butterfly catching, there are dozens out today. She's so intense, and seems to enjoy getting some air under her...? Now, this very athletically built little girl may have a performance life ahead of her. "B"... "off Titan!", is super fast, and agile!

I'm very proud, and honored to have been mentioned with the likes of the performance, and rescue "personalities" that made this pups rescue possible; no pressure. This week promises to be full of more new, and fun adventures, for this playful piece of molding clay. By the way, she's also good with "Murphy", the kitten.


  1. I so enjoyed reading your blog about Bea-Bea. She sounds like a wonderful dog that is finally getting the chance to enjoy her life and have some fun and of course, feel the love you and your pack have for her.

    You are doing wonderful things there, Jessie! Keep it up!

    Barbara Rogers Gibbs

  2. GREAT post Jesse, I can't wait to come visit her and see how she'll react with my crew. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the updates and pics.

  3. That was very well written. I felt like I was there watching the story unfold.

  4. I'm so happy i could help with her!

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  6. Jesse, I wonder how many people with a full plate and a full house would be williing to do what you have done with Bea-Bea. You have saved her life every bit as much as those who physically pulled her from the kill shelter. You have revived her spirit and uncovered her joy. Because of you, she will find a forever home. Thank you!

  7. I've had the opportunity to watch Bea Bea's progress on a fairly regular basis, and it is amazing how far she has come in such a short time. The first day we met, she wouldn't come within 5 ft. of me, although it was apparent that she wanted to. She would wag her tail and play "keep away"...if I offered my hand to smell, she ran off! Pretty much the same behavior the next time I saw her, but she would come a little bit closer. About 2 days ago, she came right up to me and sniffed...she still would not let me pet her, but that's ok because THIS folks is great progress! I suspect that the next time I see Bea Bea, I will be allowed a pet on the head! :) You've done a great job with her Jesse!