Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's Just a Richard Biby

From time to time, people tell me, "lighten up, it's just a dog", or, "that's a lot of money for just a dog". They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a dog".
Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a dog". Many hours have passed and my only company was "just a dog", but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by "just a dog", and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a dog" gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it's "just a dog", then you will probably understand phrases like "just a friend", "just a sunrise" or "just a promise".
"Just a dog" brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a dog" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person.
Because of "just a dog" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future.
So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a dog" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. "Just a dog" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday they can understand that it's not "just a dog" but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a man". So the next time you hear the phrase "just a dog", just smile, because they "just don't understand".

Monday, March 23, 2009

A visit to the kennel

Yesterday on Sunday afternoon I took a trip to the kennel where the remaining Tibetan Terrier rescue dogs still are being cared for. Camille met me there around 1pm....I was so happy to see that most of the dogs with the exception of "Fred" (a 5 year old male) who is still having difficulty with sad it was to see him all by himself away from the gang pacing back and forth along the fence....I did go over to him a few times and placed my hand on his neck and stroked his coat gently so that he would know it was ok....he had no problem with me doing this but was very apprehensive about moving anywhere other than his spot near the fence....I could not help but to think of how far Maroo has come in the past few weeks since he has been out of the kennel. He now will come a little further when meeting new people and not look so "zoned out" when strangers approach him....At work when I bring him to the grooming salon he now accepts treats from Mari which was something he would not do a week ago! Also when clients come into the salon he has been coming a bit closer to them to check out who they are and what kind of dog they have brought in with them....He adores all dogs and loves to play with them! What a bright spot he has put into my day when he is with me....his eyes even have a sparkle to them now when he is happy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

As humans we should look to our dogs.......

This blog is suppose to be about my boy Maroo but since he was with me last night at the dog show and what occurred at this show I feel I can relate some of what he has given me to a situation that I experienced last night......
A little over a year ago I began grooming and some light training a dog for a client of mine.....During this past year this dog has also spent a great deal of time in my home as a guest when he needed to be boarded........all of my "guest" dogs are treated as if they are my in the family room, sleeping on the sofa or love seat, playing in the yard with my guys (good behavior permitting of course) Recently the owner of this dog has decided that she wants to venture into the world of dog shows with him.........hopefully making him a champion! I was thrilled that she decided this because he is a very good dog as far as confirmation is concerned and he moves very nicely.........a good representation of our breed! We agreed that I would show him the upcoming shows this Spring and Summer.....His first show was this past weekend and due to my own schedule I was unable to attend all of the shows which were held. I did manage to change my schedule to show him on Sunday because the first two days in the show ring he really did not do his best when one of his breeders was kind enough to show him. On Sunday he still tried to pull some antics with me but since I have been working with him for some time now I have a pretty good grasp on which buttons to push when he needs to be brought back under control...........He was also entered last night at the regional speciality show which I did not plan on attended either.........but since I did have a schedule change with my own business I agreed again to make it to the show and bring him into the ring for the owner.....What I seen last night was a big improvement over this past weekend.......still some minor issues to be worked on but all in all a much better dog in the ring as far as his behavior was concerned........The owner of the dog watched carefully as I presented him to the judge and did the routine movements around the ring as per the judge's instructions.......He ended up placing 2nd out of 3 dogs in his class which I felt was fair since this particular judge does like a dog which has more body and a bit more bone in his structure.......After leaving the ring and handing the dog over to his owner I was a bit disappointed that there were no words of gratitude or "Good job"..........just a disappointed look and harsh words directed to the dog that had beaten him. At this time I went back to the grooming area to check on my boy Maroo to make sure that he was resting..........which he was.....actually he was sound to sleep :) I took him out of his crate and offered him some water and proceeded to walk around the show site with Maroo on leash with me.....he did a great job meeting new dogs and was not as timid when approached by strangers....I was very proud of my cute little guy! I headed over to the show ring area to see if I could find my client and her dog to let her know that we needed to start packing up to leave since it was getting a bit late in the evening...........To my surprise she told me that she was waiting to speak with one of the Professional Handlers she had contacted earlier this week about showing her dog for her in the future......The reason she gave was that I could not show him on a few weekends coming up and she wanted him to be entered so that he would win and become a champion sooner....I felt very hurt by this because I had been working with her dog for awhile now and have much emotion invested in him........I explained to her on another occasion that her dog deserved to win because he is good dog and not because she would basically buy a championship sending him out with a well known professional.........not that there is anything wrong with a professional handler showing a dog....but her reasons were, she wants him to have his championship the fastest way possible.........totally not the way I see things or do things in my business. I love it when I dog wins because he/she is a good specimen of the breed and showed very well after some good solid training.........The hurt I felt by what she had done was much deeper than I anticipated because I really feel that her dog is a member of my own dog family....spending more than a year with him working and training has done this.......After she had a long conversation with the Professional Handler we walked back to the grooming area together and I explained to her that if she did indeed decide to allow this Handler to show her dog that I would no longer be apart of his show career in the future...........she expected me to be the "back up person" for when this other Handler could not show her dog..........Again I do not do business this way.......I think she was a bit taken back by this and we left the conversation at that. Upon arriving home last evening she informed me that she did not have her check book with her and that she would drop off a check for me today for my handling fee last night.....It is now Friday afternoon and I have still not heard from her.........The money is not the issue at this point but her thoughtless actions last night still are.....I have decided that I am going to re-focus my energy and training on my own dogs that still need to be moved into the Spring and Summer show schedule.......I really am disappointed in her and do not want to be in this situation again in the future. With our dogs everything is unconditional and this sort of behavior would never happen........They do not betray us or take advantage of us because they want to end up being a winner........They tolerate all of that training and taking them to dog shows because they love us and want to please us.......They could care less about ribbons and placements and points and championships..........But what they do care about is how we treat them and returning that love. I have had dogs for many years now and have loved each one of them for many different reasons...When I brought Maroo into my life I was at a point in my life that I did not expect to have my heart opened up to the love that I feel for him......He has given me so much more in such a short time.....a little guy who never had the love and care of humans can trust me and begin to trust is genuine. Humans can become so caught up in getting ahead of others and being on top that they lose sight of the things that really matter........the feelings of others. What I have learned here is an excellent lesson in human nature.........I will move on and eventually not be as hurt as I am right now.......And if I need one, Maroo will be there to give me a lick and a kiss to make it all better :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Get a load of Maroo......

Well tonight was the Non Sporting Club of the Garden State dog show and also a regional specialty for Tibetan Terriers..........Since I was scheduled to show Calvin, a beautiful white with black markings TT at this show I decided to bring Maroo with us for some fun! This would be his second time a dog show and he handled the entire evening wonderfully! Many of the other TT people who were at the show who know about the "Missouri 18" but have not seen Maroo since he left the rescue kennel 2 weeks ago.........I am so pleased to say that everyone could not get over how good he looked... Once I was finished showing Calvin I went back to the grooming area and brought Maroo to ringside so that he could watch the remaining dogs being judged with me.....He sat right next to me the entire time with no signs of fear noted....I even was able to walk him around the show site with ease...........although his tail was not up for most of the time he really enjoyed seeing and meeting so many other dogs! A few times I caught a tail wag from him and that was really good! The only time I did sense that he felt uncomfortable was when a few very large dogs who were crated barked at him as we passed by........but he did freak out........and acted very appropriate for any dog in that situation.......Many of the other TT folks made a fuss over him and he kept eye contact with them, something that he has not done since I have had him in my care......I am very happy that I decided to bring him along and I had the feeling that he actually enjoyed the night out! Once home he played in the yard with my guys and is now resting in his crate sleeping after a very busy day...........Get a load of my little guy Maroo.....a few weeks ago he was sitting in a puppy mill in Missouri and tonight he was strolling around a very large indoor dog show like a true champ! I am so proud of my little guy Maroo.........

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maroo the Irish Tibetan Terrier......

Saint Patrick's Day is here again and this year I am working at my office job so I was able to bring Maroo with me to work.......since I was the only one in the office this morning there was not much of a chance for Maroo to meet any new people....So he resting under my desk on his dog bed which I keep there for when he comes to the office with me.........too cute how he looks so comfortable just laying there while I am working........the bed is so comfy that I want to curl up next to him on it :) but then I would not get any work done....This morning before I left the house I searched high and low for the St Patty's Day fabric I bought a few weeks ago to make bandannas for my grooming client dogs and of course my own...I finally found it........light green background with little shamrocks printed on the material......perfect to make bandanna's! Well I cut a triangle of material with my pinking shears and tied the bandanna around Maroo's neck.......He looked so dapper! and away in the car we is amazing just how much he loves riding in the car.........he seems to take everything in stride including all of the loud noises that traffic can make at times.......We stopped for our morning coffee and coffee and Maroo and myself, bagel..........he loves bagels! At the office he is also very accidents on the carpet since he has been going there with me these past 2 weeks........I do take him out for short walks when I take my break and he does his business out near the curb on a strip of grass..........he still is unsure of cars driving past when he is outside the protection of being inside my own car....much better each day...........but still when he sees a person walking or riding a bike he has issues with that..........usually goes right behind me or stands up placing his front paws on my legs......I just tell him gently that all is ok and that he will be safe........I am pretty sure he understands me because he looks up at me as if to say, "I know I'm safe but I am still not use to all of these new things" When I finished up at work around 2pm I had to drive over to my doctors office to pick up a prescription and Maroo came with me........He waited calmly in the car which was in my view the entire time thru the window of the office while I picked up what I needed.....I then brought him over to my friend Joanne's Pet Boutique in the adjoining shopping center.........he walked around the store without too much trouble until he say another dog .............since he really likes meeting new dogs he quickly went over and say hello in his dog language :) Once the owner of this new dog appeared he then retreated back to his very timid self.......the nice sales person offered him a dog treat but he refused to take it from her.........once she placed it on the floor and walked away as per my instructions he then ate it and seemed to really enjoy it........A few people commented on how cute he looked in his Irish bandanna......Then a delivery man was bringing in new stock items and to my surprise he walked over to this man and almost let the man touch him.........still having issues with females and not so much with new men? I still doubt that he ever saw a female before leaving the puppy mill and this may explain his apprehension with interacting with females.....very sad....but he is slowly getting better..........Well we headed home after this and he had his afternoon run in the yard with my other dogs...........He is still wearing his St Patty's Day bandanna while he is sleeping right next to me on the sofa as I write this entry of my blog.......Maroo had a fun morning and a active afternoon..........His progress is slow in some areas but he is doing awesome in others........

Sunday, March 15, 2009

From Rags to Riches...

It is amazing to think that in a few short weeks Maroo has gone from living in the most horrific conditions to where he is right now.....My home is modest compared to most but all of my dogs are treated like the kings and queens that they are......this now includes "Prince Maroo" Yesterday I was asked by a very close friend to show her dog over in York Pa during a four day cluster of seems that "Calvin" was not living up to his potential the previous days and since I have worked with him for over a year now and know how to push his buttons I was glad to help out......Well early this morning I decided that I would bring Maroo along for the ride and since he needs all the exposure to new things, a dog show would be something that he just might enjoy......he loves other dogs! He handled the very long ride in the SUV very well by resting on my lap for the trip.......I did not drive of course. We stopped to get gas once we were closer to the show site and I took him out for a short exercise walk and he seemed to enjoy the new smells and new sounds......Once we arrived at the show site I brought Maroo inside the building and placed him in a travel crate just like so many of the other dogs who were at the show.........He handled this very well and rested comfortably in the crate.......I even offered him some of my bagel and cream cheese which he took gladly! This dog loves bagels by the way :) After I finished showing Calvin I brought Maroo outside to exercise and he seemed to be not as afraid of things as he has been in our short past.........His attention was geared toward any dog that passed him and not so much on the people he encountered.........I held him in my arms while a few people spoke to him and even tried to touch him..........he does not turn away as quickly as he as done in the first few days but will stare back at them, not with empty eyes..........still not totally sure of himself with strangers but he is coming along and today's trip was a good one.........During the ride home both of us napped in the SUV together.........It was a good day!...........oh, and by the way, Calvin won!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

All things can be scary on a Saturday afteroon.....

Last Saturday I only had Maroo for a few days and was not too quick to let him run in the yard during the daylight hours since there is just too much going on in the neighborhood on weekends.......people passing, children playing, other dogs barking, cars and trucks driving a bit to fast. sirens sounding.....many things to stimulate a "normal" I did not want to overwhelm my little boy with these attractions....Since his progress has been steady and each new day Maroo gains new confidence I thought it would be a good idea to let him experience Saturday afternoon in Morrisville.....bad idea :( After letting the rest of the gang out the back door into the play yard I then took Maroo out onto the deck and let him run out into the yard.....something he has been doing many times over the past week ....The first thing he noticed was the neighbor boy behind my house playing with his basketball and Maroo totally freaked when he locked his eyes on this boy....It may have been the sound of the basketball so I really don't know but he was not happy with what he saw.........He started to run fast back and forth and kept coming over to me so that I would pick him up........I am trying my best not to "baby" him each time a new uncomfortable situation arises with him so that he can learn to deal with it with me present but not with me picking him up each time.........I then knelt down to his level and stroked the back of his head and rubbed his little ears a bit so that he knew that I was there for him...he then ran up onto the deck and back to me and continued to do this over and over again for a few this time a few loud trucks had passed and other people were making noise passing the yard out on the sidewalk.........he became more anxious at this point and after he came back over to me I picked him up in my arms and told him that everything was ok and that no one was going to hurt did not matter because he was starting to go into the "Zone" withdrawing into himself with his eyes wide open and very vacant.......I stroked his hair and told him that I loved him and again that he was safe.......I placed him back down on the ground and he ran up onto the deck with my other dogs who were waiting to go inside for their dinner.......Once he went back into the house he jumped up onto the sofa and sat there watching me as I prepared dinner for the pack.......I opened his crate door and gave him the command to go into his crate for his dinner....He seemed to have calmed down by now and his little heart was not beating as fast as it was when all of those scary things outside upset him....There is a thin line between helping him when things become too scary and treating him like he is a baby......I do not want him to think that each time something new occurs which he cannot handle that I am going to pick him up and baby him.......but I also do not want him to become so afraid that he won't take risk and explore a new situation or stimulation in his world. Since Maroo had no socialization as a puppy and never experience anything other than a 4x4 pen with his dog family there is so much that this little guy has not seen.........Inside the house he is so much more at ease.....with the other dogs near him he feels safe......I just have to be patient with him and slowly expose him to the things that a Saturday afternoon can be all about in his eyes..........Of course each time I see this little guy suffer and become afraid of new things I curse the son of a bitch that did this to him! But that is a completely different post and I really need to focus oh Maroo's present and future because he is never going back to that past again!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Maroo plays

I took this video last week a few days after Maroo came home with me.........He just loved running in the yard and having the chance to explore new things!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Green and Black Ball

Last night I brought Maroo with me to the class I teach each week....Each Wed evening I teach obedience and show handling to a group of really great students and their awesome dogs! So Maroo felt right at home with all of those dogs he could make friends with. He sat on my friend Susan E's lap while I was teaching and he even made a new friend with Susan....When class was over I came home and let Maroo run in the yard since it was still early in the evening......the dog yard is normally littered with toys, Frisbees, bones etc....about a year ago a friend gave this really cool green and black ball to one of my dogs and up until now not one of them has played with it....while Maroo was checking things out in the yard last night he found this ball way in the corner of the yard where it has been for weeks now.....once covered with snow now melted it stuck out like a green and black sore thumb sitting other guys could care less about it.......must be not too interesting to them :) But for some reason Maroo found this ball to be the greatest thing last night! So I decided to see how he would do if I threw it? Would he retrieve it and bring it back? Well the ball went out into the yard about 20 feet and Maroo watched it like a hawk as it flew through the air.....his ears pricked up and he dashed right out to the spot where it had landed........He then picked the ball up in his mouth and flew right back to me and dropped it at my feet! I was shocked.....I had no idea that this little guy would do this......So I continued to throw the ball out there and each time he would run out and find it.

I was amazed that this little guy caught onto this game so fast.........I know that some dogs are natural retrievers but since it was highly unlikely that Maroo ever had the chance to play this game he blew me away with how fast he caught on to it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

PIcs courtesy of Camille...

Camille tooks some really great pics of the "Missouri Rescue Dogs" the weekend before last. She was kind enough to share them with others who have been involved with this cause. I wanted to post a few of them here on my blog so that you could see these little guys.....They have come miles from where they were, in many ways!

Just had to call someone....

Last night around 11pm after all of the dogs went out in the yard for the last time they continued their play in the family room for awhile. As I was sitting on the sofa watching some TV my Adam jumped up on the sofa and decided to lay down next to me......Maroo who had been playing with Adam nonstop for about 30 minutes also jumped up on the sofa and also decided to lay down right next to Adam as if he was Adam's little brother.......both of them started licking each others faces and once this stopped they both settled down to sleep. As Adam was laying there with Maroo he placed is front leg over Maroo as if he was hugging him and keeping him close and safe....I was so moved by this that I picked up my phone and called my good friend answer............then called my good friend answer.........then called my sister Gerrill........she did answer :) I just had to tell someone about this episode between both of these sweet boys. Adam can be a tough dog. He always does not take well to other males.......he only has had real issues with my Luca in the past but I still do not always feel 100% sure when he is around a new male........But this morning when Susan called me back she reminded me of Adam's behavior when there has been new puppies born in this house. He has always been a wonderful caregiver to those new them and playing with them and loving them! Susan pointed out that since Maroo has been so developmentally damaged in the past that he is almost like a puppy in many ways...........I also have thought about this......but I think she hit the nail on the head.........Adam is mentoring this little guy and really cares about him. Of course Maroo has found a hero in Adam.......a bigger dog who shows him stuff and teaches him the ropes of the pack. My other dogs, mostly the girls have been very patient with Maroo as well but so far have not shown any emotional feelings good or bad..........Sabrina I think feels she has a little brother to torment and tease........she would never hurt him but before he arrived in my arms here last week, She was the smallest dog in the house, and knew it! It has been one week since I brought Maroo home with me........The progress in this past week has been great, He has lost that dead look in his eyes around me and with some people he sees on a regular basis.......I just know he is going to make it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Daytime vs Night

Interesting observation occurred last night.....I decided to let 7 of my dogs out to play last night in the yard since the weather was so warm and I could be out there to monitor things.......normally I would only let 2 or 3 of them out at the same time because as a large group they can get into trouble......barking too loud if someone walks by on the pavement or they see another dog etc etc...Well I decided to let Maroo out to play with the gang also.......He absolutely loved it! He was running and chasing the other guys as they formed their famous tail chasing train around and around in a huge circle trying to catch the dog the tail of the dog in front of them........too funny to watch! He joined in this game without and trouble and my guys welcomed him into the game without any problem....My Adam and him seemed to hit it off the best. Since Adam is twice his size, Maroo was jumping on top of him like a circus dog.....both of them doing the traditional play bow with their front legs stretched out.....too cute! Well this play continued for about 20 minutes before I brought everyone back inside to the family room for the night.

This morning once the sun came up I let Maroo out to do his morning business and to give him a chance to run with the other dogs and it was like a completely different dog then the night before......He was not as nervous as he has been in the first two days I had him but he was very skittish and seemed to want to come back into the house very quickly......he would run out to the yard and then back up onto the deck.......back and forth and back and forth......not interacting with any of my other dogs who were also out in the yard this morning......Then it it dawned on me that because the night before it was dark outside, very little traffic passing my house, very little activity in the neighborhood.......he did not have anything to frighten him........Once daylight was here and he could see the big wide world in front of him he still had issues with what he was seeing......just too much for his little soul to handle.......He has made progress from day in many ways but I can clearly see that he still has miles to go to build up his confidence. Hopefully with time and lots of love and patience this will occur in him......But for now it was an interesting observation.......Daytime vs Night in Maroo's head can be a scary thing.......I will continue to encourage him, this is all I can do right now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Maroo plays

Well after a 5 days of living with the North Star Tibetans, Maroo has had a break thru.........His first couple of days here at my house were very carefully monitored for his transition from a life of hell to a life of happiness........Of course his safety was also a huge concern.......My pack has always been very good about accepting a new dog who was in need of kindness and understanding........I say this because I have seen it before......."Ralphie" for a example stayed here last summer and was one of the saddest dogs I have ever seen........He had NO play skills with other dogs and was afraid of his own shadow.........each time I would let Ralphie out to play in the yard I had to carefully watch him because he would scale the perimeter of the fenced yard for a way out.......Thank God that the yard is very secure and I am always out there with a new dog for his own protection..........Well after day 7 of his 10 day visit here Ralphie was not only starting to play with my own dogs but he would also jump on my lap and lick my face........something that he NEVER has done to anyone before........I give credit for my dogs bringing him out of his very tight shell...........So it did not surprise that Maroo would be playing the the North Star gang in a few days.........Seeing him jump from dog to dog and wagging his cute little tail last night when all of my gang was outside playing in the warmer than expected March air made my heart feel really good! I am so grateful that my dogs have accepted him into their pack....My Adam, who I knew would do this.........became his big brother....and Maroo has found a mentor in Adam.......following him all around like his shadow......I am so proud of my big guy Adam......I really am!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Love at first sight

It has been a week since I first met the "Missouri Rescue Dogs" up at the kennel in the Garden State.....Having seen rescue dogs before I pretty much thought I as prepared in my mind and in my heart to visit with them........boy I could not be more wrong. Seeing this dogs cut right to my very soul......sort of a primal connection between them and myself that I still have not been able to figure out. My close friend Susan was kind enough to drive us up there last Sunday morning...the conversation in the SUV driving to the kennel was mostly spent on the history and condition of these dogs.......from what we had been told already.. Once we arrived and spent the first 5 minutes with them it was clear that nothing in our conversation driving there was accurate was much worse. Camille who is in charge of the rescue has been spending every waking hour outside of her own life (which is not much these days) with these dogs......She tries to visit each day but still needs others to volunteer to spend time with these sad little angels..........As of last Sunday there were a hand full of the original 18 dogs that have been already placed in foster care.........but the remaining 10 or 11 were the worse of the lot........some were extremely feral and others were shut down.......all were in desperate need of love and kindness..........The question I kept asking myself is how could anyone in their right mind keep these dogs in a 4x4 pen outside year round? How could they be so neglected and unloved...........How could the owner of these Tibetan Terriers put information on his website stating that these dogs were so well taking care of? How could he show pictures of cute little puppies that seemed to look happy at first glance.........the more time I spent on his website it was very clear that the eyes of these puppies in those pictures were mostly blank.........should have given some future puppy buyer a clue......but based on how long he was in business I guess it did not.

After our first hour at the kennel spending time with the dogs outside in a fenced in area I started to notice this one little boy who kept coming back to me over and over again.......he would stand up on his back legs and place his front paws on my legs and look up at me..........His eyes were what I like to call "old eyes" not the eyes of a 17 month old puppy! which would normally be bright and shiny and full of these eyes were dead cold.........lifeless...........and burned a hole in your heart......after this game of coming back to me and placing his paws on my legs continued for awhile I decided to pick him up and hold him.......Since I was already covered with mud just like him it did not matter one bit to me.........he was receptive to me reaching down and bringing him up to my chest..........He even placed his muddy face right into my shoulder and rested his head there for more then a few minutes.........I cannot explain what this feeling was like.....I am still trying to figure this out as well........I do know however that my little boy was melting into my body the more I held him........I knew at this moment that I needed to bring him home with me to foster........but more than fostering I needed to start the rehabilitation process for him so that if he was to be placed in a forever home someday he would go there as a happy and healthy dog.........Since this day would not work out for me to bring him back home with me, I agreed to return in a few days to pick him up and bring him home.............."Home" a word we take for granted but this little sweet soul has never really known a "home".....I had my work cut out for me............On Wednesday, I brought Maroo home and into my life...........This is his story...........a daily, weekly, monthly update of his life and how it is changing.......