Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pack Drive Revisited

Time watching the dogs in Puerto Rico has raised more questions in my mind a about dog behavior.
I can understand why a well fed dog will go out all night to hunt. A pack cruising the neighborhood I get completely.
The dogs are up and down our steep seventy-five foot driveway each time any of the neighbors in their four house spot does anything. Very little escapes them, trust me on that anytime we try to do something with Bonita the others appear.
Like most dogs if you have company these dogs are in the thick of it. Bonita is on the sidelines but amazingly close. The dogs appear very interested in what the people in their spot are doing. This makes so much sense.
When we are here there is really no need for a dog to go off in search of food. I am so well trained I pay off like shaking a piggy bank. Them leaving our porch; what's the motivation there.
Dogs that hang around faithfully each day and seem to be like a pack go off alone to spend time with other dogs. This is different.
The behaviorist question would be, how are they being reinforced for this behavior.  
Stormy goes around pissing on everything, so for the longest time I thought he was territory marking; only he never gets the girl and bigger dogs flood in to do the deed, so what would be the point.
Socially would be my answer, pack drive doesn't seem to factor here if the everyday buds are the pack.
If you see a bunch of stray dogs around, you think they go together. When I began to see dogs I recognized in unusal places, I just thought it odd.
Stormy having a nose to butt two miles down the road does not make sense as a territory confrontation.
Dogs with a spot in a certain distance move about a larger territory without fighting resident males. It is that distance to which I refer to as their territory. Males from outside the territory provoke defense from any male big enough or tough enough to defend his spot.
Blondie visits about a mile away. The last couple of weeks I have seen her in the company of a yellow lab x female among others. At first I thought she walked a mile away from her puppies to get food. Hah, with my kitchen practically next door, I don't think food is the answer. If people feed, there is already a dog in that spot. Today there she was again standing with the yellow lab female.
From almost a mile away she was on my carport when I got out of the car. The girl is fast.  
When two dogs would be gone at the same time, it was reasonable to think they went together, then I noticed them coming back alone. This was interesting to me that the pack didn't return together. I began to notice them leaving separately, which seems somehow unwild dog or wolf like. That's more coyote like except for the visiting other dogs part. 
By learning more about dog behavior when they are not under our control, perhaps it will help me improve our relations with our best friends. Aside from that I find the extent of their travels interesting. I hope you do as well.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Communicating With a Disability

Last year about this time Stormy went up the hill to visit the farm he came from, where he got into a terrible fight. According to our neighbor, Mike, he was almost killed. The little guy drug himself to Mike's garage where he laid under a car recuperating for two weeks. Mike brought him food and water.
We arrived a couple of weeks later in March; Storm had a few bald patches and a broken tail. It comes out from the butt maybe an inch then hangs. The most he gets out that tail is a little swish. He has had problems with the tail before when he was hit by a car, so I think the fight exacerbated a preexisting condition. Now, the once beautiful flag tail is a limp hanging rat tail.
How does this affect his signal sending ability? What is a threat display without the signature upright tail or the stiffly wagged tail? As long as I've known this dog he has failed to achieve full tail erection, yet he is the cock of the walk.
Last week we passed him on the road about two miles away. Storm was facing north, a scarred up bull terrier x was facing south. They stood about four feet apart. I could tell it broke Stormy's concentration, when we drove past. In order to get there he had to pass the following breed crosses: 2 Akitas, 1 GSD, 2 Chows, and a few Rotts.
Mike calls him the tough guy. He says that Stormy dominates the Akita that lives next to him. This is the Akita that Storm would be on our property barking insults down at this big dog. Maybe he can pass through all these big dog territories because he doesn't raise that tail. These are not all young dogs along this road, so I refuse to buy that the little border x terrier is kicking their butts.
There are enough dogs with this limp tail syndrome that I wonder if it isn't part of the signal.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simply Not Simple

The dynamics are amazing. Dogs obviously are not the simple creatures they are made out to be. How exciting about Bonita!!! I wonder if an antihistamine would sooth the itching. It seems crazy to me that your neighbor lady is so devoted to the dogs yet does not want to touch them.

Happy birthday to Kirt!!!!!

The above is taken from comments to Everybody Needs A Spot. Good idea, Miss Vet, what do you recommend, dosage.  Thanks, I'll let you know how it works out. I have seen a lot of skin conditions. I forget what is what, but it didn't take us too long to figure out it was this wicked vine after a couple of our friends got into it helping us clean up the place. Our one friend just kept saying, "It's intense." So this was a large clue. Our neighbor lady probably does not know what is causing the dermatitis; she just doesn't want to get it. And as inconceivable as it is, not everybody likes to pet dogs as much as we do.
Bonita's moment at the party was just that a moment. How many moments must she have before she can overcome an intrinsic fear? Sometimes the enormity of what this pup has to overcome staggers me. The first six months she was never touched; any idea how screwed up a human child would be without touch. That is not a fair apple to apples comparison, but still. I've counseled people with dogs that hadn't been socialized to this or that; there's always a thread you can connect through. People have kicked her, so her only thread is what we're doing now. I have always wondered how firm the imprint period is with remedial counseling, now is the opportunity to find out.
My fallback position with a dog has always been to strengthen my relationship with the dog so that pleasing me is more important than anything. In order for that to work the dog has to trust you completely; hmm no cigar on that one.
It is our understanding of dogs that is simple. We put our energies into training them or getting them to fit into our chaos. We consciously recognize few of our friends' body language signals. Our dogs are way better at knowing our body language than we are theirs; why is that?
So many of my responses to the dog's signals are subliminal, the other day Bonita just stood in front of me, tail wagging. I looked at her without thinking I said, "Okay, I'll get you something." I realized that I must be responding to her because when she did it my mind was far away. What would draw me out of deep thought to say that to the dog? What was the look or combination that caused me to respond? I'll bet you know the look. We are trained to it by those poor simple creatures.
The social life these dogs appear to have is nothing I would have imagined. A few years ago a woman who worked for me said, "I thought I knew dogs before, but I knew nothing." Very often being here makes me feel like that. It's humbling.
As interesting as these guys are, the dog problem here is horrific. This island is blessed with some great people who rescue dogs. Tomorrow I will be doing my first interview of the dog saviors of Puerto Rico.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Everybody Needs A Spot

Does Blondie stake claim to your neighbor? Is that her "family"? Or is she protective of just her puppies? You had written before that the dogs had fended off would be thieves from your house. I find it very interesting that the dogs are so protective of their territory with humans. When people visit you do the dogs allow them to come and go?

Dogs travel miles to find a spot. A spot is a place unoccupied by another dog, where the dog does not get chased off. Spots where the dogs get fed leftovers are prime. At night the sounds of intruder alerts are frequently dogs coming into the area looking for a spot. Resident street dogs and pets in the yards will raise a ruckus, no one wants to share. Eventually the dog finds a spot.
Humans control if the dog gets to stay, so when a dog is permitted to stay it becomes loyal to the humans in their spot. Their territory seems to be larger and overlaps other dog's territory. Blondie and Stormy live in a four house spot.
Yesterday as we drove to pick up my husband's birthday cake, I saw Stormy two miles away standing on the side of the road having a standoff with a bull terrier mix. I think that's how far his territory goes. He seems to tend it regularly. He also goes hunting at night frequently.
As you drive along you can see where the dogs have taken a spot. They are laying in front of the gate on the street side. The pets are on the inside of the gates. When I first came to Puerto Rico I thought people let their dogs out during the day and the dogs were waiting for the people to get home to let them back in the yard. Most of these dogs are lucky to get leftovers.
All four of the families in Stormy & Blondie's spot feed them. When the neighbor lady locks her gate at night, the dogs are in her yard. She would like a dog of her own, but her property is steep and would be very expensive to fence so these guys couldn't get out. I don't see things changing at her house.
Mike is our closest neighbor; his house is on the opposite side of the road at the bottom of our driveway, next to his house is his mother-in-law, then the neighbor lady. These are the Stormy & Blondie families. Mike has a number of small dogs, his wife loves Pomeranians. When they return from work late at night, they always have a snack for Stormy and Blondie.
The mother-in-law is a cat lady. Her gate is always closed. The cats walk through the gate. Stormy likes to chase them, she fusses with him. He doesn't seem to take a word from her seriously, she's a cat lady. Each evening when she has leftovers, she or another occupant of the house will come across the road with the garbage and the grub. The dogs always know when food is coming.
The neighbor lady, whose house is next to the mother-in-law, buys dog food. She really likes the dogs. They are most faithful to her. She is steady, always there. The one thing she will not do is touch them. This drives Blondie wild. When I went over there to see the puppies, Blondie wiggled and wagged her tail. She submissively approached the lady, who whacked at her with something each time she came for affection.
The dogs are itching and scratching due to a vine, called pica-pica. It's all over the hill. The burn and itch is said to be intense. We don't know what to do about it other than kill what's on our property. This seems to be the culprit of the dog's poor skin/coat condition. We have never seen them in as bad a shape as they are in this trip. The dogs go through the bushes or roll where the seed pods have dropped. We brush them, and then pet them. So far I haven't gotten the itch from them.
Ours is the fourth house in their spot. When we are home, as we say in New Orleans, "Let the good times roll." We feed twice a day. I've studied nutrition for years, so a balanced raw diet like I fed my champions back home is what these dogs learn to love. Diet is another interesting subject we'll discuss later. We brush and touch these dogs; that seems to be what they love the most. Kirt brushes them and powders them with Gold Bond Powder every morning. Blondie squeals with glee. She gives the best happy dog signals. I do soft tissue therapy, straighten spines. If street dogs had money, I would be rich. Therapists know how much dysfunction our pets compensate for; I've always wondered about their "wild" cousins. All I can say for them now is ouch
Our property is not fenced. We are higher on the hill than the other houses, so the dogs have an excellent vantage point from here. It's when we are not here that I think the house becomes more open territory. The other houses are in a row. Ours is on the other side of the road comparatively it's isolated. It becomes one of the vacant houses where the ghost dogs congregate. A couple of times when we first arrived there have been up to a dozen dogs on my porch, when I turned on the light they scattered.
The dogs are loyal to all humans living in their spot. How they protect us is a discussion in itself.
Last night our company came for Kirt's birthday party, the dogs barked as everybody got out of their cars. When we greeted our guests, the dogs wagged their tails like pets and greeted them too. Whenever there is a party on this hill, these dogs are in the thick of it. They have learned how to hang back enough that they don't get shooed away. These street dogs have great party manners.
Personally, I believe that we are all more than our biology, that dogs are more than a collection of drives. I believe in the magic that God created. Last night was a beautiful example of that magic. Bonita and Blondie were here for our party Storm has been taking off at night returning in the morning. Blondie laid in the center of everything as usual. Bonita hung just in the shadows, until birthday cake. My friend's eighty-eight year old mother wanted to give her cake and ice cream to Bonita. I took Blondie off for an adventure. After my octogenarian friend fed Bonita, she stroked her on the head. A second later Bonita realized she had been touched and backed away, but for a couple of seconds Bonita allowed a human to touch her in the middle of a party. How encouraging is that!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

We Celebrate Our Love

We celebrate our love of dogs all over the world at week end events like the "Sato" Show in Mayaguez. Villa Michelle, a local shelter hosted a rockin good party in the rain. Three legged dogs drinking with pit bulls, sweet little doxie girls hanging out with rottweiler boys; it was a sight.
An Argentine Dogo walked through the crowd somewhat stiffly, but no one misbehaved; except a dog that looked like a long haired corgi. He was pissing on everything, kicking dirt. His displays were a tad over the top. The older couple who had him handled everything so calmly, so well, he'd haarrummp; they'd distract. He just never got the chance to tell the world what a big guy he is.
Goldens in full regalia did not seem to understand why kids were not lined up to pet them. We wondered what breeds were getting the most pets from kids. That would be the costume breeds. Outfits on dogs are a hit with kids.
Dogs bring out the best in us. Our faces soften, we are sweeter when they are with us. Thank you God for the gift.
Find out more about the sato show host.

Babies & Stress

Thursday morning the neighbor lady invited me into her yard to view Blondie's colorful lot hiding under the house. My neighbor pat the ground calling them. Halfway under the house is a retainer wall, It is open in the center. The four little critters came to the opening, stood there and us.How big they are for three weeks.!
Blondie whelped the litter under a banana tree, then moved the pups to under the house a couple of days later. My respect for Blondie's mothering skills grows. They look perfect; can't wait to meet them.
Later in the morning my neighbor's great grand daughter visited with her husband and baby. Puerto Rican families visit frequently, so the dogs greeted them.
Later the baby got fussy, then cried so long I felt like going down there to see if everything was ok, of course, I didn't. It was probably colic, but it is hard to listen to a baby cry. It grabs every maternal fiber in your body. Blondie was pacing outside the door.
Often in classes I've told people to help their dog calm down, that stress makes a dog stupid. It is not an elegant way of putting it, but its true. They get a vacant, nobody home look in the eye, then their behavior changes.
Blondie started barking when the baby cried hard. She was upset.

In this picture Blondie is barking at me, something she has never done before. Look at how big her head looks. She is in complete protection mode, her stress level is soaring.

Blondie charged across the road and to the bottom of my driveway where she is standing in this picture. This girl is in full threat display. She has no idea that it is me she's confronting. Stressed out of her mind is what I thought as I took the photo.
Once within twenty feet of me, she recognized me. Her behavior became submissive. What emotions she was going through as she wiggled and whined, who knows.
How profoundly affected Blondie was by the stress of the baby crying is interesting. She was out of her mind, suppose I had done the wrong things. How long might it have been until she recognized me?
The implications for chronically stressed dogs, well that's a whole other story.
Have a good Sunday, we're going to a sato show.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Social Skills

Let's talk dog:

Mel's comment on jealousy has me thinking about imprint period, writing the program if you will, and how plastic/flexible biology is. It is the limits of this plastisity that intrigue me.

When the first wolf that crawled into a cave motivated by hunger to snatch a morsel of food, how comfortable could that non imprinted wolf ever get? Konrad Lorenz wrote about cave children playing with wolf cubs. His writing helped me visualize the domestication process, our long journey to partnership with another species.

The level of dog training, I believe, is at an all time high. I read the entries on my friend, Mels, f.b. page. The types of exercises and games trainers are using today, awesome. We are in love with our relationship with dogs. The greatest part in all of this is that the dogs are eager participants as well. I love to watch a handler and a dog perform when they are "on". That is a transcending moment. My heart beats faster just remembering.

Research reports of the 1960's showed the imprint stage to close around four months. The question becomes how well was the program written. Can Bonita become a pet? Or will she be a ghost dog, living in the shadow hoping for a morsel but never wanting to be pet or stroked by humans.

The same research showed that puppies needed to be with canine family seven weeks to learn their own language. That's not quite the way the report put it, that's what I take it to mean. Frankly, I think that is the minimum time required for a dog to somewhat know his own language. The dysfunctional way many dogs get along on the play ground is ample evidence.

One of my developing theories is that the better a dog is at its own language; the better it will be learning what we want or our language. I applied this theory to raising a beautiful dog named Shaker last year. At eight weeks a well bred, well raised boy came into my life. He was bright, inquisitive, just bold enough; in short he was a golden retriever. Last summer we had a ball.

The rules for the experiment were easy: no training, play only. I can't have a jumping puppy so we taught sit. The only "command" was the stop what you're doing sound. Good dog was the phrase of the day; that of course is something that should never change. Shaker went through a very brief time of not caring if he pleased, that is so seductive he could not resist for long. We hung out. I loved him and I was always alpha.

Sadie our GSD was patient when he chewed on her tail or chased her ball. He was good for our old girl. She had a new zest for life. His family extended beyond his breed. His confidence grew in my yard. My cocky young upstart went to day care next door. The first day a soft coated Wheaton taught him that all dogs are not as patient as Sadie. The Wheaton flipped Shaker on his back and "raaughhed" while snapping his teeth and nipping skin. My little woo-woo boy whimpered then was oh, so submissive and respectful. It looked like Shaker getting his butt kicked. I trusted the Wheaton not to overstate his case; he didn't.

Shaker's mastery of his own language grew with his day care experience, which I controlled to maximize his development. What I wanted in Shaker was a dog so skilled in his own language that he could facilitate shy dogs becoming part of the day care group. The boy knows how to make friends; we'll see how testosterone affects that.

Over the years I've truly seen the importance of socialization during imprint, so we took him to the park to see babies and play with little kids. Rock & roll on Friday night at Starved Rock State Park was Shaker's thing all summer or was that being handled by drunks? Shaker watched fireworks. He wagged his tail through everything.

Shaker is the exact opposite of Bonita on everything except her canine language skills. She must also have a fair bit of human body language in her bank of skills. She knows our body language as non -threatening. We walk and move within inches of her. Bonita lets my husband, Kirt closer to her because I reach out and touch her when she lets her guard down.

One night a couple of males I'd never seen before were on our veranda and challenging Stormy for the territory. Tippy toes, stiff upright tail wags, circling occurred before one boy urinated on my porch. I hate pissing on the porch. I came flying out of the house to stop the challenge. As I walked past Bonita, she crouched and slinked off. I run around her, dance and do goofy things, so I have to think she could read the aggression in my body language.

Bonita presents a great learning opportunity for me. Her four siblings were three weeks old yesterday. More to come.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What is Jealousy?

The following is taken from an email from a friend:

I wonder what you think about dogs and jealousy. I go back and forth between what I think and what "veterinary" science based behavior wants me to think... I'm conflicted. Maybe the perceived jealousy is just glorified resource guarding??? Hmm... I've been pondering this one for a while.

That's what I love about you, Mel. You go right to the heart of the matter.

Our DNA, tells us how similar we are to other species. Science teaches us that things go from the simple to the complex. What in the world were they thinking the day some scientist decided that something so base as jealousy or envy was a higher emotion. That jealousy is a human trait and dogs resource guard makes them sound like the superior species, doesn't it.

Lord, could you just hear a dog saying, "I am not jealous, I'm just resource guarding."

Do we understand how emotions evolved, not by a long shot. We know things go from the simple to the complex. Where it goes from a reflex and becomes an emotion, who knows. I remember when people would have said it impossible for a gorilla to love a cat. Koko the gorilla convinced me she loved her cat named Ball.

So just pass your test and keep an open mind. All I can tell you is what I see; maybe you'll be the scientist who figures out what it means.

What I can tell you is I had a litter of Bullmastiffs that could hold a grudge. I had 3 females about 12 weeks two of my friends were each taking a girl for a couple of weeks for socialization getting ready for conformation. Before my friends arrived the scrappy sisters were at it. They were heavy breathing, snorting pissed off. I had a devil of a time separating them. Two weeks later when all were reunited they started fighting like it was a second ago. I don't stay mad that long. Was that the perpetually pissed off drive?

Let me describe another observation. In the early years at Carrvilla my mother would come to visit. She was an attentive grandmother to the dogs; each was given a nice big bone. Some would be opportunistic if a bone was unattended, but they settled with their bones. She makes her favorite, my Tyr, wait until the very end because she has something special for him. He was such a good dog he would wait even being alpha male in my yard. Grandma gives her favorite this three foot humongous thing. Tyr laid down to have a good gnaw. The other five dogs stopped chewing to watch the alpha chew. Before long he got up and took his bone to a private spot to chew. This was a dog who was rarely more than five feet away from me. The rest resumed chewing. So what was that? I don't know, I just watched it happen.

A few weeks ago Blondie and Stormy both made Bonita scream in pain a full ten minutes or more after they all ate their fill. This surprised the heck out of me.

When we first arrived we fed the two older dogs and slipped Bonita food while they were occupied gorging. They had her too afraid to make a move on the food even when I threw it thirty feet away. Not to mention how afraid of me she was. I lured her around the corner so they didn't pounce on her. If I verbally corrected them, she would freak. She needed food so badly. Within a couple of days I stopped the adults from terrorizing her while she ate. By a week she was allowed eat within twenty feet of them. So a couple of weeks later when they attacked her well after dinner, what was that??

Over the years I've developed the three yipe check. If you hear a dog yipe, it gets your attention. If the dog yipe, yipes your focused because dogs don't yipe, yipe for nothing. If you hear yipe, yipe, yipe check it out.

We've had spoiled dogs in day care and board that do that to get attention, but you get to know who they are. If the three yipe pattern repeats, we always come running.

When Bonita yipes and screams in pain, we throw the dogs off her. That's a human thing!

I thought I could sweet talk her, give her food and build a relationship, most dogs fall in love with me. I had to get control of that because I got tired of clients telling to take their dog because it loves me. I know how to smooze dog. Without food I can entertain and take Blon & Storm off on an adventure.

Stormy has allowed me to verbally control him in a stressful situation. The only controls I have instilled in the big ones is what I like and what I don't like. I am a full subscriber to the K.I.S.S. philosophy of life.

A neighbor's mare wandered on our property with her yearling daughter. Neither was well handled. The mare liked to kick, seemed to be good at it. Stormy is a car chasing Border Collie x terrier. You can guess what he was doing in a serious way. This is a brave little dog. I took charge by telling him what I liked. When he charged the horses, the aaahhnnt sound is effective as a stop what you are doing sound. As soon as he stopped I plied him with good dogs, came by my side and waited for direction like a trained dog. I was so impressed because he chose to follow my directions. That wild filly and her old crank mother could have kicked the tar out of both of us.

Blondie adores me and will do what I ask if she understands what I want and is in the mood. The solution – more reps. She is such fun.

Bonita only goes so far with me. There are encouraging moments, but has the socialization ship sailed? I was so thrilled the other day when she gave me the play bite. I can get her going with lip licks and yawn. She gives them back to me. Working with her has taught me about another group of island dogs.

The ghost dogs are the ones who never get close to us. There is a beautiful dog, red coat with black fringe. Zorro is a ghost dog. I see him for a few seconds, then he vanishes. We see these dogs hunting in the fields, at abandoned buildings, places where people don't go. I think these are the true feral dogs, the ones who were born to street dogs and had no interaction with people during imprint.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Most of us who watch dogs, know their body language on a subliminal level. My staff at Carrvilla are wonderful at reading the dogs. When clients are out for our dog park, I hear them make very insightful comments. We dog lovers recognize this language.
Now, why do I know that? What is the break down of signals or the core signal to a sequence? At Carrvilla I am always human in charge/alpha with all the reponsiblity inherent. Here in Puerto Rico,I've been the back ground noise in the dog's world.
When we are not here, the dogs come up possibly: for the breeze, to hunt, to get away from the street and maybe humans. Our neighbor, Mike, told us that sometimes the neighborhood pack gathers here. One night a couple of boys decided to break into our house. Mike said he didn't call the police because "The dogs took care of them."
When we are here, its always been Stormy or Stormy and somebody in the neighborhood. Storm spends a lot of his time with us, but goes when & where he pleases as do the other two. I don't use treats often, mostly I work on my body language. When I work/play with these guys and I'm not getting their cues, they walk away from me.
The only force I've ever used was with Blondie, when I threw her off her daughter. That was over quickly, Blondie got the message. The dogs here are well under control because people will knock them up the head.

All the street dogs I've met have ranged from friendly/submissive to fear/submissive. Then there are the lucky beach masters, who ignore you completely when you're trying to feed them. Most of the dogs are just so hungry they would wag their tails for Atilla the Hun. 
 The dogs will play games as long as they understand what I want and feel like doing it. It's an opportunity to up my game, since the whole energy dynamic is different with these dogs.
Here's a shot of Blondie protecting her home, my neighbor lady's house. She is stressed out of her mind. More later

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh, Let's Take Another Look

This picture was actually taken first. Blondie has just learned sit. Its a light bulb moment for her. The only control I've worked on with the dogs is the stop what your doing sound and good dog/praise.
Here I am talking to the dogs in my happiest, sweetest voice. Bonita won't even look at me.
At this point I'm confident that I can keep Blondie from breaking. How far do I have to go to get Bonita to go for the treat?
Now, look at the subtle change in Blondie's posture, how down into her sit she is! Ready to spring? Her head is under my hand.
Notice in the top pic how even tho Blondie seems to be totally focused on me how open her ear is. It seems to me that submissive folds are a tad more fold that Ms. Blondie's is. Bottom pic her ears are forward toward the treat and Bonita.
Maybe, Blondie's previous attacks have taught her daughter not to take food. It's all subjective.
The fun part is when we guess right the reply is like speaking to e.t.. The lip licking and yawning that Boni and we doing to each other emboldened her to play nip at me. It wasn't about defense; it was pure puppy.
I guess the sad part is that dogs throw at least hundreds of signals at us each day. They always seem so tail waggy, dare I say happy when I get one right.
 It's like playing charades. So what do you think?

What Do The Pictures Tell Us?

My good friend, Mel, sent this response to the question, "What do the pictures tell us?"

Today's pictures... your Blondie has the softest look staring up at you. Wow. Your puppy on the other hand looks much more comfortable than your earlier pictures but seems quite conflicted. She looks as though she is prepared to spring away at at any moment should she feel the need. She is quite intensely watching you. Curious yet skeptical. If you turn away does she move closer? It reminds me of the scene from Dances With Wolves when Two Socks is starting to take food from his hand... One of my favorite movies. Makes me wonder what it was like to "tame" the first canids that joined man.

Mel, you hit the nail on the head Bonita is the picture of conflicted. And, yes, my fantasy would be to be the Jane Goodall of wild dogs in Africa. I guess this crowd will have to do.
One of the things I used to teach you in class was to stand up straight. I love the comparison between the two photos based on my posture change alone.
Top pic all three of us are focused on the food in my hand. I am coaxing her to take the food from my hand in her mother's presence.

In both pics Bonita is under the control of her mother, not me. The bottom is interesting because the downward look and head tilt is to appease mom.
When Blondie isn't around this is my little shadow. She struggles with her fear. First thing in the morning Bonita's little tail flies. She walks in circles while I tell her how good she is. makes her tail thump. She doesn't not yet know the joy of being stroked by a human hand. This morning Stormy heard me talking to Bonita & joined us. He loves being thumped.
Bonita does this, "rrrhagg" face nip, then rubs the top of her head under his jaw. This stimulates a brief play response from Stormy, who is more interested in me at the moment. Storm was standing between my ankles. I'm bent over at the hips, my head a foot over his. Bonita does the face nip, rub thing to him a couple of times. I couldn't resist, with the back of my hand I stroked her side. Her eyes buldged out, then she nipped at my hand the way she had been with Stormy. It was a sassy girl play nip.
I am elated that she is comfortable enough to be sassy with me, that's huge.
Mel, thanks for pointing out Blondie's soft eye contact. All too often we focus only on what we're not getting. To point out the good things we are getting helps the perspective. Gracias.
The energy dynamics contrasted by the two photos is that 1,000 word thing for me.Any thoughts????

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Blondie & Bonita

Blondie was with Stormy when we came back to the house after a couple years absence. It always seems that it takes Stormy a while to realize who we are. He will stand there with a blank look on his face, then he starts barking up a storm. He came over for his usual round of "lovers". Jumping up in the background was a gawky yellow pit x lab x gershep x xxxxxx. She kept a respectful distance, but her enthusiasm was in the stratosphere. She is my kind of girl, fast friends.
2009 when we first met Blondie we were only here for a couple of short visits in spring.
The island dogs or satos as they are called her have a symbiotic relationship with the people who live here. Both side have benifit. The people dutifully bring out their leftovers, place them on the curb for the dogs, who hang around and protect the property. As long as the dog population does not grow too much this relationship seems to work out for the most part. By feeding the dogs the people put less food in the garbage for the rats, which are every where just out of sight. The dogs will eat the rats, if they are not overfed. When I'm in town seems to be the only danger of that.
People usually shoo off female dogs, not Blondie. Our neighbor lady who had put the collar on Stormy wanted to keep Blondie. She would close the gate dog inside, dog would come back in when she opened her gate in the morning. This big happy-go-lucky pit will bite any one coming down her road at night that she doesn't know or so the story goes in the neighborhood.
Bonita is another story. In her I see the cruelty of what passes for nature here. Stormy and Blondie gorge themselves on the food humans put out. They could hunt, but why fight a rat if you don't have to, right? When we got here these two dogs would bite and terrorize Bonita into staying away from the food. They didn't break skin, but from the sound of her screams and their postures, I could tell that they were applying a lot of jaw pressure. It took a few training sessions before the relapses in this behavior stopped.

My neighbor lady that wants a dog is the sweetest lady in the world. Her English is like my Spanish, so we have a few minutes of hi, how are you; isn't the weather nice sort of thing. We gesture a whole bunch and smile. She has so much love in her eyes, I want to go home with her. In her seventies, she is slender like a girl from walking these hills. Blondie decided to have her pups at her house. The times that the gang is there I've seen them racing around her yard like puppies themselves.

Bonita, who was looking into the reaper's eyes, is getting spunky with both Blondie and Storm. Blondie is quick to reinforce her status with her daughter; no over correction nice. So far my emphasis has been to let her feel safe. Now, she feels good, she's growing; I have to get her fixed. This means I'd better step up her socialization plan.

When Blondie is on my porch, she is aware of her puppies. The other morning she was face fighting with Storm. Both dogs were lying down, play positioning teeth and growling; when she became perfectly still. Her ears and eyes were in the direction of my neighbor's house where her babies are. She was so intense, I could feel her energy head down hill, only her ears flicked slightly. I thought in a second she would be gone, then she put her head down. I don't know where Stormy went I was so focused on her.
It makes me wonder what it must be like to have five times better hearing than we do. And we yell to get our point across they must think we're a stupid lot.

Well, my laundry is calling me the water lines are finally fixed. I can do clothes. Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 13, 2010

About Me

Hi, after reading my blog last night, it seemed like this might be a good time to tell you a little about me. I'm very self conscious. It's difficult for me to talk about myself.

I love dogs. Since 1983 I've earned my living working with dogs. Every day I've enjoyed the peace of mind that comes from hanging with the dogs.

My Aunt Margaret showed dogs and horses when I was a kid. She was the biggest inspiration in my life. When I was eight, she taught me about speaking dog. "You should listen to and watch the dogs, they'll tell you." she would lecture. I didn't know what the deuce she was talking about, but I adored her, so I watched.

My first solo training project was a Boxer named Donovan. I lived in Chicago at the time. The devilish teenager I was enjoyed putting Donovan in a sit stay on a busy corner. From the opposite corner (same block, no streets crossed) he would streak through the crowd to me when I called. This dog defended me from a would be attacker when we were out walking one night. I have been blessed with so many wonderful dogs through the years.

The number one dog in my life has been a Rottweiler named for the Norse god of war and victory, brother of Thor. I have never been more connected to anything in my life than I was this dog. He taught me so much about dogs and life. He read my mind. He was so smart he made me think that I was a good dog trainer. Proofing my training was important to me in the day. It was early morning. No one was in the forest preserve. I put Tyr on a sit stay in the middle of an open field where I could see him, then proceeded to walk around about an acre and a half lake. I'm taking my time enjoying my well trained dog, when a couple come up to him and try to take him with them. Now, I'm on the other side of the lake yelling into the wind, "That's my dog."Yes, I can do some hum dingers!

Tyr moved with us to Carrvilla where he died at 12.5 yrs. His offspring populated my life until 1999 when our last rottie died of old age. During this time I was the crazy dog lady with a dozen dogs. Cesar is right; to control a pack you must know what you are doing. There's usually a dog that will become your enforcer dog.

As I write this it becomes so emotional for me.

The Monks of New Skete were my heroes, read everything practically ever written on dogs back then. Before people could take my puppy home they had to read, How to be your Dog's Best Friend. I scoured garage sales for things to put into the puppy play yards. Dogs raised in an enriched environment have an advantage. We found it to be well worth the effort.

Living with a pack of dogs on ten acres and horses & chickens & cows was a great time in my life. Yorkville was country. I was a city girl, who always wanted to live in the country. When my husband would come home from work, we'd have dinner on the porch while watching the Rottweilers play. Watching puppies learn their language for the first time is always a hoot. I love puppies.

Anyway somewhere along the line when I was showing my Rottweilers people started coming to me for help with behavioral problems. For years I helped people with their dog problems for the fun of it. People hung out at my house and we trained until late in the evening. I didn't start charging until after my husband's accident when I had to return to work.

Success in the show ring came with hard work. The crystal and the memorabilia are tucked away somewhere. It was fun. Fast forward.

When we closed on our house in Puerto Rico, we stayed here three weeks, never saw a dog in the street near my house. We saw them elsewhere on the island, still did not know much other than no animal control. That is such an understatement!

A couple of months later, I'm one month post op major abdominal surgery, sitting like a lump on the veranda of my new home when I see the cutest little dog at the bottom of my driveway. A whole new love affair began that day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Do Boys Know How To Get Along?

A good friend of mine wants to know about intact males getting along on the island. How much does testosterone rule their world?
Answer: The average intact house pet or show dog is way more dysfunctional about getting along with other males. And so far I have not seen any boys without testicles. I'm such a perv, I always look.
In breeding season there are no friends, but there are allies. If the neighborhood stray dogs are pretty stable, then they know each other. The stronger/alpha of whoever is there goes first and its a gang bang with the top dog going over and over until he's too tired to continue. One thing I haven't seen with the street dogs yet is a tie.
The street breeding I've seen has been with the bitch going out of season and getting pretty sick of it.
I did see two lab size dogs posturing for next when the dog I call Zorro walked in tall, like the man from El Paso in the Marty Robbins song. He walked right towards her like they weren't even there. They just stopped and looked at him like a couple of school boys. All in all there were about six males in this clearing hoping to get a shot at the female in heat. When the pecking order is clear, they all know when to look away or lip lick.
A big dog from nearby area during breeding cycle is what I think some bad night sounds have been about. That's when you hear the worse dog fights.
Stormy, who is about six or seven years old was severely mauled last spring. We weren't here, but a neighbor told us how badly injured he was. There is a bald patch on his left rump still.
Out of breeding season Stormy has guy friends. The signals they give each other are exquisite. I've watched two boys race all over my yard and body slam. You can see the beta boy pull in his slams so he doesn't piss off the alpha. We've also seen the correction when a beta misjudges, which can be a swift single yelp nip or a simple act of opening the aplhas mouth around the beta's for a couple of seconds. Either way they then get on with play.
One of our neighbors has an akita mix that wasn't here the end of May. When we came back in January, Stormy would stand on the edge of our property barking down at the akita, who of course was looking back up barking. Stormy does this incessant, "Woowoowoowoowwoo". He sounds just like the little tough guy giving shit to the big dog. He is a terrier x border collie, like I said he's a smart little guy. I thought that as much as he was pushing the akita's buttons he shouldn't go down the hill. The other day as we coming home I see Storm and the Akita standing nose to nose. Stormy knows how to make friends.
So if he is all that terrific in his language, how did he end up getting his butt handed to him? Some how Stormy pissed off Peanut, who hates Stormy like I have never seen one dog hate another.
There were three sometimes four boys following Blondie last spring when we got here. She was going out of season, I really felt sorry for her. The best of what she still had following her was a skinny nondescript brown dog we called Doby. Stormy and a similar sized yellow dog looked like either could be next, but this little Peanut kept herding Stormy, growling at him. He was trying to pick a fight. When Stormy would act aggressively back to Peanut, the other males would pack up against Stormy, who gave submissive signals. Peanut ignored them and escalated his growls and air snapping near Storm. This went on and on, the little dog was fixated on Stormy. He sounded like a little demon. I could see Storm get impatient with him , but restrain himself.
At this point I took action. Every time Peanut would get one of his pack to join him in harassing Stormy I'd give him a shot in the butt with a lttle vinegar & water spray. This unnerved Peanut just as his compatriot arrived, so he would act stupid to the other dog who then gave him a hard time. Peanut took off shortly after that. Storm never got to breed Blondie, but he got along with the other guys without an incident.
The previous spring when we came to the house Peanut was following Stormy around the neighborhood. Peanut looked to be about eight months old, had not hit puberty. He was puppy submissive to Storm with groveling, licking the corners of Storm's mouth. What happened is anyone's guess.
Peanut's behavior towards Stormy looked pathological to me. I've seen dogs not like each other. I've seen dogs fight, but this looked like hatred.
So I think in our houses it's a combination of a dog not being good enough at his own language and we are not clearly enough their leader. Back in the day when I thought had to do an alpha role over to show dominance, I had five adult breeding male Rottweilers living in my house. There was never a problem with the boys because I had however crudely learned how to be alpha in a way the dogs understood.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


What an idiot I am! One of the coolest observations I have ever made about dogs and I call it the wrong name. I am so sorry.
The call to action bark would have been the call Stormy was responding to, not his reply. His reply even sounds like an, "Ok, here I come." It's the change in the third bark that caught my attention the other night.
When I first came here after my surgery, for days Stormy was my companion while I sat on the porch like a lump. I felt so badly, I ignored him for a bit, but he hung around. We don't have a fence so critters come and go.
One of the first things that fascinated me was the dog chatter. This chatter doesn't happen too often, most barking is intruder alert of one form or another. At various times of year you will hear the, "The bitch is over here; let's get her." barks of excited low ranking males. These are the ones who aren't getting any for what seems to them like an eternity. That's very different tone of barking. It sounds like a hot summer's night, the dogs I remember barking in New Orleans when I was a kid. I had no idea what they were doing. Smile.
So anyway the name of this bark should be ... hmmm .. I'm open to suggestions, requires further thought after my last naming event I'll shut up, now.
Well, there is also the assumption that he is going to the dog who barked just before him. As I get in better shape I'm going to follow. Oh, my bones hurt thinking about it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When Is A Bark Not Just A Bark

I am so proud, I cracked the code. For years I've listened to dogs barking.

Back in Illinois we are still pretty much out in the country, so we could figure where the coyotes are by how each dog barked. That was easy; it was the dog that sounded most pissed off. The dogs close to that dog’s territory made themselves sound fierce, so the coyotes know not to come by them.

Other times the dogs would do what I call chatter. One dog would "woo-woo" and another would, "woo-woo" back. Eventually all the dogs in the area would be heard from briefly.

Of course, there is the intruder alert. Most of us know when our dogs use that one. We just automatically get up to see who is coming, we know.

The dogs here in Puerto Rico seem to have a wider range of things to say. There is the here I am chatter, the who is in my territory, the get out of my territory.

There is also a non aggressive, call to action bark. It does not sound aggressive like a get out of my territory I'm coming to get your butt bark. With Stormy, who is the only dog I can predict when he does this bark next thing he is heading out with ears forward, focused in a smart, but not hurried trot. I've been listening to his vocalizations for a long time. Last night while I worked on line I heard the "woo, woo, woo" three syllables in that tone. I knew it was the call to action bark. I got up in time to see Stormy heading down the hill. Always before I put it together after the bark,trying to get it together that this is the bark.  This was the first time I recognized the bark and knew what was going to happen next. Listening finally paid off, "Woo-hoo"

Now, I'm going to have to find out where he goes and what he does. The mystery continues.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Waiting to Meet Blondie's Babies

Blondie is away from her puppies more than any other canine mom I've known. With pups less than two weeks old hidden somewhere, Blondie lays around with Stormy and Bonita on our veranda. This amazes me because all the bitches I've known with one exception had to be encouraged to leave their puppies for more than a quick meal or potty break. Some insisted on meals in the whelping box. Napping with friends a couple hundred feet away seems lackadaisical.
She has been fed and watered, now it is time for attention. Blondie looks as if she wanted to jump into my lap. I am glad she decided against it. Blondie doesn't think too much; she's a basic I see it, I want it kind of girl. If there is a dog eating and another waiting for a turn, she will barge right up to the dish and stick her head in the bowl. She reminds me of a school yard bully I knew in grammar school, who used to say, "Everything, mine!" The back of Stormy's skull is bleeding frequently because she inforces her position vigorously.
I wonder if this communal nap time isn't a bonding strategy. It happens regularly enough that either its a bond reinforcer or she just misses her friends. Either way I am wondering where the pups are, so I go to my neighbor's to visit.
My neighbor speaks less English than I do Spanish, but we always manage to communicate. She takes me around behind her house, which is up on blocks on a steep incline. There is a small space behind a support wall. The rocks and rubble make it a place I won't be going any time soon. Blondie who had just been napping on my porch comes wiggling out from under the house.
Blondie gives me a big greeting even though I just left her. She circles my legs, then stands in between them. This gets my neighbor laughing. Blondie's tail wags even faster.
In less than two weeks the puppies will be open their eyes, so we'll have to wait for them to leave the den. When my dogs whelped litters we were in constant attendence. I'd like to have them on my porch where I can micro manage every detail, what did nature do without me! Patience is still difficult for me, oh well.
Blondie follows me back home and resumes her nap with Stormy and Bonita.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Good Samaratan

Let's talk dog
Fluffy white clouds float over a calm caribbean. The sloshing of the surf is minimal compared to the two previous days. The wind weaves its way through the palms cooling skin warmed nicely by the winter sun. Our vacation in Patillas has been delightful. The Caribe Playa Beach Resort is charming in a fifties Susan Hayward movie kind of way. The rooms are a few feet from the beach which has plenty of palm trees for shade. It's small and intimate.
Tourists comb the beach to see what last night's tide washed ashore. That seems to be the most stenuous activity here or maybe snorkling. We are having a contented, relaxing vacation. It is the perfect counter balance to last week in my animal control officer class. Actually this is the perfect counter balance to any type of stress. When my husband says I'll get tired of the surf sounds, I have to wonder if he means in this life time.
I haven't seen a dog since we arrived at the resort. People in the room next to us are from Oswego, New York. The wife and I sit on the balcony in the morning talking about not missing snow, but missing their dogs. We share pictures of dogs like some people do of kids or grand babies. Once people find out I am a dog trainer it gives them permission talk about their furry friends. Mary told me about rescueing her Yorkie. How her friend knew it was the right dog for her. I could see that, she is the kind of woman you could picture with a Yorkie. Smile.
I find myself thinking about a lady I met at Playa Crash Boat in Aguadilla. She is one of the good samaratans of the island. Four years ago she and her husband moved here from Cape Cod. She carries food and water in her car so she can feed the dogs wherever she goes. I meet dog guardian angels where ever I go, but she was the first who carried water. I admire organized people like that. God bless her.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Day In A Life

  These days I don't know too much of anything; how in the world is it that I was such a smart teenager?
  Last Saturday's animal summit was informative, however due to my minimal Spanish I missed alot.
  One of the panelists, a very pretty lady with big kind looking eyes, talked about a large number of dogs being killed at the shelter each day. I remember how sad it made me feel, thinking about putting the needle into the arms of sweet doggies. I bit my lip to keep from crying. "How can you think you could become an animal control officer, you'd have to do what needs to be done.", I chided myself, "Get a grip."
  The lady's warm, sweet demeanor won me over to thinking that they knew what was best and I'd better learn to deal with it. After all I am a new comer and know little about how things are done here in Puerto Rico. I respect the work the panelists are doing, so I let it go to the universe to guide me.
  Today we took our good the coast. We love showing off our island. We ate at El Anzuelo Grill & Cantina in Isabela across the road from the ocean. Food was good, price ditto. A nice young couple run the place and could not be sweeter. After lunch we hung out on the beach and watched a young man teaching a boy how to ride a horse. Actually the boy was a good rider, we enjoyed watching both of them.
  Later we went to the Eclipse at Villa Montana an open air restuarant right on the beach to watch some surfers ride the waves. Beach dogs are regulars at Villa Montana. There are always different dogs there, never the same, so I am guessing that dogs are picked up at some interval.
Today's trio of canids were vocal young min pin x chihuahua females. They knew everything that happened on the beach or they zoomed down to investigate. Everyone was greeted with low head postures, rapid low tail wags,ears folded back. In a wink they'd be too excited to control themselves so they'd rear up on hinder legs waving front paws in the air, then just a quick back to submissive control and up again. 
 The way they would work their ears to zero in on sound was beautiful to watch. Before long we forgot about the surfers entirely. The minis greeted a couple of beauties strolling the beach, then became fascinated by fishermen. A guard walked on the beach and pet one. 
  I began to have a conversation with the girls. The dark one decided rather early than she didn't want to bother with me. The most I could get from her was an occasional glance. The two light girls came over and got some head petting. Lip licking & little tails flying we visited briefly before they darted to the next point of interest.
  One light girl wouldn't come close enough for me to hand her a tostone, so I tossed it to her, she missed. The look on her face as she picked up the now sandy tostone was pure communication. She held her lips so far away from her teeth, she looked like the joker. A quick head shake did not dislodge enough sand for her, so she dropped it and walked away.
   The other light sister got close enough to take the food from my hand. We got along so well until I ran out of tostone.
  Pretty much I think we'd all agree that the life of a stray is hard, but its a life.
  As I watched these beautiful little dogs napping on pillows, I reflected on what one of my classmates told me today. She said that the large number of dogs that were euthanized each day were brought in the same day an instant death sentence, no hope of redemption or adoption.
Could I round them up and.....


Monday, February 1, 2010

Barb & Bonita

My friend, Barb, is visiting us with her husband, Keith. When I returned from grocery shopping, I retreated to me room for a bit. Unaware of her audience, the lovely lady with the big heart was seducing shy Bonita. "Come on pretty girl, you can do it", she cooed in a voice that would be at the top of my list for non threatening.
So far Bonita will only allow me to touch her muzzle with my finger of the same hand that is feeding her. Socializing this puppy at this juncture is more than a tad difficult. I am the first human to touch her other than to kick at her. Any touching is purely a trade of you can touch only so much in a minimal way so she focuses more on the food. Any infraction changes the whole dynamic..
We're working with her on two platforms. 1st Is a straight trade, food for touch. 2nd Is social stimulus. She wants to be near us. The other dogs hang around for attention, play and grooming. Frequently I do do soft tissues on Blondie and Storm. She watches and I imagine, she wonders. As close as she gets, I believe that when she gets her courage up she will ask for it. I'll keep you posted because I don't see it any time soon.
The social platform I'm working on with her tells me more about her. The food thing is just so basic. When a dog you have no control over trusts you enough to do something to them that feels different and maybe momentarily somewhat uncomfortable, that's a decision the dog is making.
As of now I have never used any restraint on any of the street dogs. In a couple of months we will be taking Blondie and Bonita to be spayed, so it will be leashes for two.

Here's Blondie

  The dogs can get in & out of my neighbor's yard at will. From where I stand it looks impenetrable. Blondie comes bouncing up my driveway, she looks happy. Her taill is wagging and she's doing a silly half ass canter. She takes a friendly "rrhagg"nip at Stormy as she goes by her friend and companion with a semi playbow she's back on course to our house.
  With low tail wags & squeals she greets my husband. She jumps up and licks the air. We don't allow the dogs to jump on us. Blondie knows the rules. Her happiness meter seems high today; maybe it's all the post partum hormones. Kirt goes into the house to get her some breakfast. She knows I am outside. She races around the house to me. When the yellow girl greets me her tail wags are lower, but her head higher. The sound she makes is more of a " yyaurrgh" It's not as squeaky as she does with Kirt. She wiggles and squirms between my legs, then around me a couple of times. Her condition is good. No signs of mastitis. Looks like she may have finished expelling the after birth. Her vulva looks clean nothing oozing.
  Stormy remains down by the neighbor's guarding the gate. He hears the feeding going on at my house and doesn't come up to join. He is still in front of the gate where Blondie left him.
  Sometimes I think that many years from now when we are a much wiser race, we'll understand the language of our cousins the dogs. I've studied dog behavior for years. I thought I knew so much, but since coming to Puerto Rico I've seen the dogs behavior when they are left to their own devices. Their communication is so much more complex than I could ever guess, when we humans run the show.
  Back in Illinois I've seen my dogs be cooperative in amazing ways, so I should have been more aware, but here the things I watch aren't colored by my wants and expectations, so its different.
  Blondie is back whith the puppies and here comes Stormy. His style seems to be the standing there staring at you. "I am here. I am hungry. You know what I want. Read my mind." Lord, he is such a guy. I'd better go take care of him. I' m well trained and he knows it.

Good To Be Home

As wonderful as last week was, it was fantastic to sleep in my own bed. Getting up looking at the lake in our quiet section of the island is what I sorely missed.
Nature is so controlled, so manicured in San Juan. The wild somewhat unkempt look of Cibao suits me fine.
For five nights The Puerto Rican prince, a.k.a. indigenous guy, slid across the lagoon standing on his board . His solitary siloette became part of my sunset experience. On Friday he was not alone, his arm was wrapped tightly around the waist of a beautiful woman, you know the kind that every man looks at when she walks into a room and other women say,"Oh, shit, she's here."
There is a little bodega across from La Concha that has the best home made food at cheap price. Given how much this last week cost, that was a very good thing. This is the kind of place the locals go in, but the tourists don't so much because it doesn't look good compared to the high end stuff that surrounds it. We found it to be a diamond in the rough. The vegetable salad was the best I've had here bar now. We ate at a couple of "better" restaurants. I found the food disappointing, overcooked seafood, yuck.
The fountains, the statues, the cleanliness, the beautiful buildings, the warm night air, the ocean made our evening in Condado very enjoyable. There are some really great buildings that if we go back, we'll have to find out about the architects. This area had a fine selection of pure bred dogs out for a walk. It looked like a couple of pet sitters were doing good business. The number of street dogs in this part of town surprised me. Yes, even in the expensive part of town there are homeless dogs. One young man was sitting on the sidewalk. He looked to be homeless. His little bundle of belongings was next to him. In front on him curled up in a doggie bed was his dog.
Stormy was his usual self. Bonita was a little more shy. Blondie was still leaking after birth. She has her puppies hidden on my neighbor's property and she wasn't home, so I fed Blondie, then she went back to take care of her puppies. Hope my neighbor is home tomorrow so we can take a look at where the pups are. It looks like the pups are in a grove of banana trees. No one has seen them. We don't know how many or anything. Blondie was happy to see us, so I thought she might bring her puppies to the house, so far she hasn't.