October 16, 2002
I see that there is a 2 year old beagle ("good hunter") in the Pennysaver today. Must sell, $25. I was really tempted to call and warn them about Mrs. D. But i figured if they are selling their dog for $25 they probably don't really care where it ends up anyway, and they'd probably tell her I called and then she'd be all ticked off with me again.
Speaking of dogs, I'm getting one tonight. Some new overenthusiastic volunteer took THREE foster dogs home ("We tried to discourage him...") and obviously he cannot cope, so I am taking one. It is a submissive, unhousetrained male collie mix, 4-6 months old, found as a stray, on antibiotics for kennel cough. Should be fun. They are really crowded so I couldn't say no (when do i ever say no to a dog in need?). She said they are the only shelter in Western PA still accepting animals right now. I guess every shelter is totally full. Scary.
October 17, 2002
Murray, the dog from Mad About You... that's who he looks like. =) So we are calling him Murray. They said he is about 6 mos but I think he is older than that. He's awesome. Wonderful temperament, very sweet, loves to play, and he seems like he's gonna be smart. He could be a movie dog, I think. He just has that look and attitude. Since he's a boy, Echo likes him and Brin hates him. I just can't win! So far he hasn't messed with Keek. He's the same colors as Keek, by the way. He is skinny and has kennel cough, but otherwise he's happy and healthy.
Of course I foolishly assumed it would be quick and easy to get him last night, since he was already in a foster home. Obviously he would be all ready to go, right? Nope. He didn't have a microchip. He isn't neutered. He didn't have a collar. And the guy who was fostering him forgot his antibiotics so we had to go to his house and get them.
While we were waiting around at the shelter, Warren saw a cat he liked. It is so hard being the "bad guy" and saying no. I mean, it totally goes against my animal loving nature. It was a nice cat. Two and half year old female, built like a siamese, mostly white with strange markings (i think they said "blue smoke" or something like that). She seemed sweet and affectionate. I didn't *actually* say no, but I spent the car ride home telling him why i thought it was a bad idea. I said I was kinda naive when we got Echo and I actually believed he would help take care of her. Now I know better, and I know that if we got another cat, I would have to take care of it. Plus, it is a nice looking cat and i think it has a good chance of being adopted. Some of the ones he liked in the past were real hard luck cases and I was more sympathetic towards them because I felt like nobody else would want them.
And besides, I think as the primary caretaker of all pets, I should get a chance to pick my own pet one of these times, don't you think? He picked Lucas, Brin, and Echo. (Keek chose us.) And I want a small, adult, dilute tortie cat. Even better if it is sick or messed up or something.
This one that he saw last night was really pretty and sweet. I'll have to see if he is still thinking about it today. Maybe he forgot. Luckily they were closing last night, plus we had to follow the foster guy to his house to get the medicine, so we didn't have time to adopt a cat. =) Of course, the obvious thing is that we really don't need any more animals.
October 21, 2002
October 29, 2002
October 31, 2002
November 2, 2002
November 5, 2002
It's raining today so I didn't get a chance to walk Murray. He's healthy now, and wow, i forgot what it's like to have a young dog in the house! He's very active. And just within the last 2 days, he now chews stuff. I got used to being able to basically let him have the run of the house, but now i have to watch him or crate him. He chewed up a pen, he and Echo got a hold of my bag of candy corn and ate that, he chewed a hole in the carpet (luckily just the yucky carpet), and... something else, I forget. Oh, and a battery. He can get out of the wire crate. I don't really understand how he does it but it happened twice, so I can't leave him in there anymore. And last night he kept us up all night. It was the first time I crated him at night, because I never had to worry about him chewing stuff before. He did NOT like being in there. He wagged and thumped (hard to believe how much noise he can make), and then he cried. Finally I put him in the crate in the computer room, and put the TV on for him. And we put the other TV on to drown him out. Eventually around 2:00 he settled down. (I get up at 4:30.) So tonight I think i'll try tying him to the dog bed, but i'll have to clear everything off the shelf first.
I feel bad complaining about him. Right now he's sleeping peacefully. Hmm, i guess that's part of the problem!
November 10, 2002
I went to the Sue Sternberg dog aggression seminar this weekend. It went from 9-5 both days but i left early today cos i didn't want to spend my entire weekend there. It was really good. She showed videos and did demos with real dogs with aggression problems (mainly toward other dogs, not people). All in all, it made me feel like Echo's problem really isn't very bad, and that I'm handling her correctly, so that made me feel good.
Warren brought Brin when he picked me up today and it was really funny to see how people reacted to him. We had been instructed not to touch any of the demo dogs, and we spent hours studying tiny little possible signs of aggression. So the people started filing out and saw Brin and were acting really wary of him. Then I told everyone he wasn't there for the seminar and he isn't aggressive at all. Then they all started oohing and ahhing and petting him, and he did his little pit bull wiggle.
We went to the park this afternoon. There were no other dogs in the fenced area, but they still ran around a little. Luckily I didn't have to bathe them this time. Now i have a bunch of email to get through, and laundry that I didn't get a chance to do before. I kinda feel like I missed my weekend. Oh well. The seminar was good and I'm glad I went.
Remember the lady that called about Murray and said she'd get back to me? Well, she actually called back today. She wants to come and meet him sometime this week. So if all goes well, you guys won't get to meet him. It's too bad cos he's really fluffy and sweet and I think you would've liked petting him.
All the dogs are sleeping now.
November 11, 2002
November 14, 2002
The Ls were here to meet Murray. They were very nice. Murray was kind of shy. They are going to let me know what they decide. I think they were a little worried that he would be scared with all the kids and their friends coming over. I think he'd get used to it pretty fast though. We are dropping him off Tuesday evening to be neutered. So if they don't adopt him and we still have him when we come for tgiving, at least he'll be neutered. =)
Keek was very sociable with the visitors. The one kid held him by the collar and he just dealt with it.
November 15, 2002
We're meeting Murray's family at the park tomorrow. They want to see him in a different environment to see if he is a little less shy.
November 16, 2002
November 19, 2002
We are dropping Murray off at the clinic tonight for neutering. The current plan is that we will pick him up when he's done, and the Ls will then pick him up here on Friday. I told them to make sure they do all the paperwork before then. If that is a problem, let me know.
It seems to be a good placement. They homeschool, so the dog will have lots of company. My only concern is that they don't have a fence, and with 3 little kids running around it seems like it's just a matter of time until the dog slips out the door. (He's that kind of dog!) They seem to be leaning toward an electric fence, which I guess is better than nothing. At least they are planning to use a crate, so that is a good thing. If we can talk them into attending obedience classes, so much the better. =)
So I guess I'll be ready for the next one whenever you need me! What about the pathetic looking 3 legged elderly one on the website? Or whichever dog you recommend -- I trust your judgement.
Hello to you!
I am very glad to hear about Murray -- they are certainly taking their time about making this decision -- that is very reassuring actually! If you don't need any time off I would be VERY happy to find another foster dog for you ... do you have any holiday travel plans?
November 19, 2002
We have to drop Murray off tonight to be neutered tomorrow. Hopefully he'll be ready tomorrow night. The Ls finally decided they definitely want to adopt him. I have mixed feelings about it. I think it's pretty likely that Murray will escape from their house once or twice. They do not have a fence yet, but they will probably get one. I think once they realize that I'm right about his getting out, they'll break down and put up a fence. And the mom said that it would be twice as bad if he got out, cos if the dog ran towards traffic, there would be a kid running along behind him. So she seems to realize that a fence is a good idea.
They don't want Murray to sleep in the bedroom. I have no idea why. They want him to sleep in the "family room." I normally would say absolutely not, but since she homeschools her kids, Murray will be with people all day. So I think he could deal with being alone at night. Hey, it could be worse -- lots of people let dogs sleep outside in doghouses. At least he will have a warm place to sleep. And during the day he will get lots of attention (probably more than he even wants).
Anyway, they thought it might be hard on Murray to recover from his surgery in a strange place, especially with three kids who will want to hang all over him. So I am going to get him after his surgery and keep him until Friday. She said they have some kind of activity day at church on Sunday, and the dad is planning to stay home with Murray and bond while the kids are away. =)
Gabe (the oldest boy) seemed to be disappointed that Murray doesn't know any tricks yet. One of the dogs they almost adopted was sort of pre-programmed with all the standard tricks. And he also really liked Brin's tricks. I thought it would be good to teach Murray something basic like "shake" before he goes to his new home. So I got out the froot loops. Seven repetitions and Murray shakes like a pro. =) At that point I felt like I really missed out on training a nifty, smart dog. I had a month with him; why didn't I have fun and teach him lots of cool stuff? I suspected he was smart right from the beginning. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I unconsciously avoid training the really special dogs because training is when I really bond with them, and I know that it would be disastrous to let myself get too attached. I will have to go back through my journals and stuff to see if that holds true.
Just thinking... Zoey was one of my favorite fosters. I feel like I really let down by returning her before she was adopted, and I never found out where she ended up because the phone number they gave me was disconnected. Anyway, I got too close to her, and I know why -- I spent a lot of time working with her because she was really shy and scared of everything. I took her for walks and gave her lots of treats whenever cars went by. And she got so much better! And I got *so* attached to her. It sucks because I *love* training, and I know that it makes for an easier transition into a new home. But it makes me get too involved and too attached.
February 4, 2003
Is Murray still available, Amy?? just checking... have no immediate home for him, but you never know...
Yes, he's still with me. He is a typical adolescent with tons of energy. =) His fear barking is greatly diminished, which gives me hope of finding a great home for him. (That's why the previous home returned him.) He is very comfortable with his crate, so the separation anxiety will not be an issue as long as the new home continues to use a crate.
Anyone looking for a gorgeous, active one year old to get your older dogs to run around like puppies? Look no further! He is, without a doubt, my favorite foster ever. I think he's Brin's favorite, too. I will hate to see him go, but he needs more attention than he is getting here. I've had him for months and haven't bothered to teach him more than "sit" and "down" and "shake." He learns fast and is food- and praise-motivated. Please send any qualified adopters my way!
Thanks for asking about him!
February 11, 2003
I've attached a poster for my foster dog, Murray. I'm sure you'll have a lot of potential adopters there for the telethon, so hopefully someone will see his picture and fall in love! I will be out of town this weekend, so I can't bring him in for the telethon. I was going to ask if I could just drop him off before I leave on Saturday, but I decided it would be better if I can meet any potential adopters and talk with them about Murray's issues (separation anxiety and fear barking). He was already placed once and returned because of the fear barking. He had trouble readjusting when I got him back, so I want to make sure his next placement is permanent.
I am torn because I would love to keep Murray, but my "significant other's" patience is wearing thin. :( So I need to place him, but I will only let him go to an above-average home. I will be back Sunday evening and can meet any interested parties starting on Monday.
Thanks a bunch!
February 17, 2003
My name is J, and I am inquiring about Murray! Is he still up for adoption... My husband and I are looking for another "snuggley" pet, and a "buddie" for our Beagle puppy. Please let me know. Thanks,
Yes, Murray is still available. He is definitely a snuggler, and I'm sure he would have a great time playing with your pup! He's a wonderful dog but has a few qualities that make him a little more challenging than the average dog. He has separation anxiety and must be crated when he is left alone. This is not optional. He will chew if he is loose and unsupervised. He is very comfortable in the crate, so you don't need to feel bad about crating him.
Secondly, he is fearful of strangers. Sometimes if he feels threatened (usually happens in the house because he feels like he can't excape), he will put on a huge display of barking at your guests. He has never bitten, and I would not place him if I felt he was at high risk for becoming a biter. He has gotten a lot more comfortable with meeting new people in the past few months. Just this past weekend, I took him to visit my family. The first time he met them (several months ago), he was very shy and barked a little. This time he gave one "woof!" and went up to everyone with a wagging tail. So he just needs a little time to get used to new people.
It is possible that he will bark at people sometimes, and you can help him learn not to be afraid. I can give you some tips on things I have done to help him feel more comfortable with new people. The previous home had good intentions but decided to return him after he barked at a guest for the first time, instead of doing the necessary training and socialization. It is not a huge problem (he's a *really* sweet dog -- you'll see!) but I want to make sure you are aware of it, because I want his next placement to be his permanent one!!
I recommend a fenced yard for him. Since he was found as a stray, he apparently does have a tendency to roam if given the opportunity. If you don't have a fence, you'll need to take him outside on a leash. You should also have some sort of double-door system (for example, a gate on your porch) to prevent an escape if he slips through the door. He has never had an opportunity to get loose from me, so I can't say for sure what he'd do. He comes to his name pretty well. But I wouldn't want to risk it near a road, and certainly not without some more training on the recall.
I certainly don't mean to dwell on the negative. Murray is an awesome dog, and I would keep him myself if my boyfriend would agree! He is a typical adolescent, which means he has tons of energy and is always looking for something to do. He is very trainable (he would be a great candidate for obedience or even agility classes) and extremely playful and lovable. He is wonderful with other dogs, and even likes cats. One of my dogs is a beagle mix, so he is used to playing with dogs of that size.
If/when you meet Murray, you'll see how wonderful he is. I expect him to be a little shy with you at first, so it would be great if you could visit him more than once. We can let him meet your pup and see how they get along.
Murray is a really special dog. I have fostered about 15 dogs over the past 2 or 3 years, and this is the one that I have bonded with the most. That's why I'm being so careful about his placement. I want him to go to somebody who will appreciate how special he is, and who is willing to do a little bit of training to make him even better. Above all, I want him to go to somebody who will snuggle with him a lot, because that is what he lives for!
Where do you live? We could meet here, or at your home, or at the humane society. My favorite place to meet is at
the dog run in Frick Park, but I think the snow might make it difficult to get there! I am available evenings and weekends.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
February 20, 2003
February 20, 2003
My name is E, and for the past few months my husband and I have been falling in love with Murray on the pghdogs website. We have a 1 year old female collie-shepard mix named Gracie who absolutely adores other dogs, and we have been thinking about getting a companion dog for her to have a permanent friend. I want to tell you a little about our situation and ask a few questions, and perhaps we can set up a meeting and can figure out if Murray would be the right dog for us.
My husband and I live in Bloomfield in a duplex with a totally fenced in yard, which is great for Gracie. My husband is a graduate student and I am a medical student. We are both gone as late as 5 PM on weekdays (a lot of the time one of us gets home a few hours early, but Gracie has at least 4 hours of "alone" time). During that time Gracie is restricted to the kitchen, however we do not crate her. We noticed that she had a lot more anxiety in her crate during the day than if she was lying on her bed in the kitchen.We crate her when we go to bed at night, although she's allowed on the bed to snuggle before lights go out. She takes agility classes, which she loves, and which we would also like to enter Murray into if we were to get him.We also take her to Frick Park at least 2 times a week, so she can go to the fenced-in dog area to socialize with other dogs. She is a high-energy dog who loves to play. She is also EXTREMELY submissive to other dogs, and always a target of any dog who is aggressive. For this reason, we could not have an aggressive dog. But a dog who she gets along with is her instant best friend. She is also very friendly towards other people, and I think she would serve as a great role model for Murray in this aspect
Could you tell me a little more about Murray, and, regarding the information that I have just given you, what your thoughts are about Murray's fit for our household. We are VERY interested in him, and we would like to meet him, and introduce Gracie if you think it could be an appropriate setting for him. Thanks so much for your time, I really appreciate it!
February 22, 2003
I wish I could give you a definite answer about Murray but I still don't know! The people who met him today really liked him, but they were not sure if their dog liked him or not. They thought that their dog was acting a little shy and intimidated by Murray. So we decided to give them a few hours to get to know each other and see if their dog becomes more comfortable. Hopefully by this evening they will have made a decision.
I'm sorry I can't tell you anything more definite! If they decide not to adopt him, you are definitely next on my list. If they do adopt him, I would be more than happy to help you locate another great dog. I have a lot of "internet buddies" who are involved with dog rescue.
I'll let you know as soon as I know anything.
Thanks for your patience.
February 24, 2003
Good Morning, Amy! I did receive your message at home over the weekend. I apologize for not getting back to you, but this weekend was a little hectic! (Did you call "after" they made their decision?) I still would like to see Murray, but unfortunately it will have to wait until the weekend! My husband is on afternoon shift, and I would really like for him to be there, too! Please let me know the status, and I will touch base with you to see if this Saturday will be okay to meet with you and Murray! Thanks for keeping me posted! J
Yes, Murray is still available. I left your message after he had spent several hours with the other couple and their dog. They decided he was *too* playful! The interaction between the dogs was great, in my opinion. Their dog did not seem intimidated. So I'm not sure exactly what they were expecting.
Saturday would be fine. We could meet either at your home or at the humane society. I would like to give your pup and Murray a chance to get to know each other, and I'm not sure how much space we would have at the shelter. Maybe we should plan to meet at your home on Sat, and then at the shelter on Sunday to finalize the paperwork if he is a good match for your family? Let me know what you think.
I forgot to ask -- do you have a fenced yard?
Looking forward to meeting you!
March 1, 2003
Hi S & D,
How is Diamond doing? I hope everything is going well. I know this is a long shot but... Have you ever thought about getting a second dog? I am fostering a wonderful collie mix right now. I want him to go to an experienced person -- preferably somebody who has another dog, because he loves to play with other dogs. So, of course, I thought of you. =) He's a year old, about 35lbs, active, trainable, and very loving.
Like I said, I know it's a long shot, but I had to write to you just in case! If you know of any other responsible people looking for a great dog, please tell them about Murray. He has already been placed and returned once for barking at a visitor. Someone met him last weekend and thought he played with their dog TOO MUCH. It's frustrating because he's such a wonderful dog, and I know the perfect home is out there somewhere.
Thanks! Let me know if you would like to get the dogs together to play sometime this spring. Diamond was one of Brin's favorite playmates!
Hi Amy. What a coincidence! We've been talking about getting a friend for Diamond, and we were just talking about contacting you to see if you knew of another great dog. S was walking her yesterday and a little sheltie (our neighbor's) accompanied her the entire way. Diamond seemed so happy that it got us to thinking.S..... Anyway, is out until later this afternoon. I will have her call you to discuss. Our only concern is that Diamond has adjusted so well and has the run of the house. We just hope she won't get jealous of a new friend. While she is doing fabulous, I have to admit we have spoiled her terribly -- every morning when the alarm rings she crawls up in bed with S to snuggle while I get ready for work. She's the best. We'll touch base later today.
Thanks for thinking of us.
I hope everything is going well. I think Murray fits in with your family really well, and hopefully Diamond will agree. If you decide to adopt him, it would probably be best if I met you at the shelter because I'm not sure if he's even in their computer correctly. We didn't do additional paperwork when I took him back after he was returned, so he might not be listed in their system correctly.
The shelter is open tomorrow until five. If you want some additional time to evaluate Murray, that's fine -- I could meet you at the shelter any evening (they are open until seven during the week). Hopefully Diamond will start to warm up to him within a few days. I think they will have similar play styles because both of them really loved to play
Thanks for giving Murray a chance! And of course, thank you so much for giving Diamond such a wonderful home.
Talk to you soon.
March 15, 2003
Some friends of mine are looking for a Aussie/ACD/BC type dog (mix is fine, just needs to be a herding type dog). Needs to be okay with other dogs and small children, but manners aren't a big deal. They would prefer a younger (like under two) dog, but will consider older dogs. Thanks!
What about Murray? He is a collie type mix, about 35 lbs, a little over a year old, loves other dogs and kids (has lived w/young kids), and ...doesn't have great manners. ;) He is a *wonderful* dog. I want to keep him but my SO doesn't want a third permanent dog.
You can check out his page and see if he seems like a good fit. The biggest issue i've had w/placing him is that he is a major fear-barker/territorial barker. He has never bitten and I think it would take a lot to get him to bite. But the barking is very loud and intimidating. He was adopted once and returned in a week after he barked at a visitor. Then I thought I found the perfect home for him, but they also returned him after one week for the same problem.
These people would need to understand that he *will* do this behavior, and that it will probably take about a week for it to show up. He is perfect with family but is not happy when new people come into the house. Other than that behavior, he is the perfect dog. I can't say enough nice things about him. He's a major snuggler too, and he can get
any dog to play.
I would be happy to meet w/your friends as soon as tomorrow if you/they think it would be a good match. And hey... you *are* a trainer... hmmm.... sounds like a good match! ;)
Let me know what you think!
It does sound like a good match :-)
They were looking for a dog with more herding type instinct... not that they want to herd, but they have a house full of setters and they want a dog they can take on walks that isn't totally focused on hunting. Their old dog (a neurotic Cattle Dog/coyote mix who also has issues with strangers) is getting less active and they want another one. Is Murray very focused on his people? (ie, if your in the yard with him with no other dogs, does he "check back" with you every couple minutes?)
I'll forward this to them and if they're interested I'll probably come meet him before they make the drive from Erie.
Murray is *very* focused on his people. He's a velcro dog. He bonded to me quickly and strongly. I haven't tried letting him off leash (I tend not to do that with fosters), but we were just at the fenced area at Frick today and he was really good about keeping track of us. And he has a decent recall, even though I haven't worked on that with him *at all* (even though i've had him for like five months). I saw a tan and white dog disappearing through the gate and I screamed, "Murray!" It wasn't him, but he immediately came from some other direction and looked at me like I was nuts. =)
If your friends are interested, let me know when you'd like to meet him. We could meet here, or at Frick, or
wherever is convenient for you.
I really have to find a great home for him. I'm *way* too attached. =(
March 16, 2003
We sure have missed Murray this week. He was so precious in so many ways. Things are definitely quieter and more peaceful though, and D is breathing much better. I passed your exit on 376 East today and wished that I could come get him. Have you had any more inquiries about him? I will continue to pray for the perfect situation to arise. He is such a cutie, he deserves a wonderful home--although I know he is very happy there with you. Keep me updated if you don't mind. I'd love to hear any good news.
Murray's doing well. We went to the park on Saturday and he had a great time playing with all the dogs. It was extremely busy there because of the great weather. Then he got a bath, and slept the rest of the weekend!
I had one inquiry, but haven't heard back from them. They live in Erie but have a friend in Pittsburgh who happens to be a dog trainer. She thought Murray sounded like a perfect match for their family, but I haven't heard anything back, so I'm kinda thinking... not gonna happen. But we'll keep our eyes and ears open.
I have been trying to pawn him off on various family members, but that hasn't worked so far either!
I don't think the humane society has him on their website anymore, so I will get in touch with them and tell them to put him back up there.
Thanks for checking in. I'll let you know if anything happens!
March 22, 2003
Well things have certainly changed! When we went to the new way of showing the animals it is taken automatically from our kennel software so when an animal is signed in it will automatically go on the web. I have not included the fosters because it shows all the foster animals that are not accounted for (cats). And it seems that the foster program for dogs is not real strong. So I am still working on the best way to put into the web. Send me a couple of pictures and I will showcase him for a week on the main page and see if we get some responses. Would you want me to put your phone or ours? I am not sure if you are getting "invited" but if you check out the events page you can see upcoming events that you might want to bring Murray. I miss working with you!
April 12, 2003
I left a msg on your machine that Murray was going to be adopted today by the people who met him at the bingo event. The woman decided she is allergic to him, and she can't take allergy medication because she is pregnant. So Murray is still with me. This poor dog has some kind of evil curse on him, I think.
If we can get an ad in the paper this week, I'll try for another week. If I still have him after that, I'll return him to the shelter and see if he has better luck there. I've never had this much trouble placing a dog and I just don't understand why. It's extremely frustrating.
Thanks for your help.
April 15, 2003
I already sent the good news to B but forgot to CC you -- Murray was adopted yesterday! They saw him on the web and came to meet him, and they loved him. Yay! Hopefully it will be a permanent placement this time.
Thanks for your help! I already told B I'll be ready to foster again in a few weeks. I'm a glutton for punishment. =)
I am so glad you are a glutton for punishment! You are a saint! Take Care!
April 21, 2003
I felt so bad for Brin. He was depressed that his little brother went away. I'm not kidding. He sat around here looking all droopy. That first evening, he kept asking to go outside, and then he'd just sort of stand there and look around. I swear he was looking for Murray. :-( He was always glad to see the other fosters go away. But he seems to be doing better now.
Let me know if you would like to get the "kids" together for a play date. I'm generally available anytime on weekends, and weekday evenings.
April 23, 2003
Glad to hear from you. I've actually been composing an e-mail (mentally) to you for the past few days but have been unable to find the time to actually sit down and write.
Let's see...Murray's transition was actually really quick and pretty trouble free. He made himself at home rather rapidly and accepted us just as quickly. The only problem we had initially was getting him to stay in the crate. He would go in willingly--both on his own and when he was told to do so. However, when we shut the door and left him in it, he'd whine and bark. We live in a big victorian which is split into three separate apartments. Since I'd prefer that our neighbors NOT hate us, we realized that we couldn't leave him alone if he was going to bark like that. We practiced a little...leaving him alone (in the crate), we'd leave the room and tell him "quiet!" when he barked. This usually worked but not to a point where we were totally comfortable. We then tried using a baby gate in the kitchen. The first time I left for work (while Murray and P were in the kitchen), he heard me open the front door, then swiftly jumped the gate and tried to follow me. Finally, we decided to do some trial runs with him left alone in the house. We're lucky because every room on the first floor (except for the kitchen) has a door, as does the second floor. So, this left him with the run of the kitchen, as well as the first floor hallway. He actually did really well. We have to be diligent about locking the office door, the living room door, the bathroom door, the door to the second floor, the pantry door, etc. but he's done well. There have been a few casualties--a small broom, a plant that was knocked over, etc.--- all of which were our fault for not properly securing a door. We just make sure he has a rawhide, his kong, his rope toy, etc. I think he entertains himself pretty well (fortuantely, with suitable items) while we're gone. There has been no destructive chewing or anything like that. No issues with bathroom habits either. I figure as long as he's happy and safe, I have no problem with him not using the crate. At this point, I think that we have "Murray-proofing" down to a science.
What else? As I said, he seems really comfortable in our house. As long as one (or both) of us is home he pretty much has the run of the place. This isn't a problem because, as you know, he is always in a room with someone---never alone. We take probably 4 to 5 walks per day at this point. We've also discovered a park just a block down the street from our house. There is a large portion (half grass, half concrete) which is fenced, save for one area where a gate used to be. We run around down there, play ball, etc a few times a day. He's been extremely solid on coming when called, so much now that I'm comfortable letting him run off leash down there. In addition, he's discovered playground equipment---he'll go up the stairs, crawl through the tunnel and run down the sliding board. Completely fearless and incredibly confident. I think we may have an agility dog on our hands!
He's been learning pretty quickly, too. He definitely understands "no!". He picked up on "leave it" almost immediately. He's even figured out that he has to "wait" when we open the door or are leaving without him. We're still working on "off!". I know he knows what it means but he doesn't always listen, likely because he loves to jump up on us. He hasn't been destructive or aggressive at all. He's still in the mouthing stage but he does stop when told to.
We're going to start dog school in a few weeks. I don't think he needs a basic class since he seems to know most of the stuff covered there. I think we'll start him in a novice class---get him solid on stay, come, heel, etc and then, hopefully move him into an agility class. I think he'd do really well at that.
Allright...sorry for my long-windedness. I could probably go on some more but I'll spare you. All in all, Murray is doing very well. We're happy with him and I think he's happy with us---but you can ask him the next time you
see him. By the way, I think it would be great to get all of the dogs together to play. My schedule is a little goofy...I typically work evenings, Tuesday through Saturday. Generally off on Sunday and Monday. Perhaps we could do a Monday evening? Or, actually, I think this coming Sunday would be good for us, as long as it's after 5:00 PM or so. Let me know what you think. You can e-mail me back or just give us a call at the house.
Thanks for writing, Amy. Please do keep in touch. And, more importantly, thank you (and Warren) for taking care of Murray for so long and for making him a part of your family. I truly believe that his adjustment and behavior here have been so great mainly because of the care that you guys gave him.
Take care and hopefully we'll see you soon!
Wow, you have no idea how great I felt after reading your message! After having him for so long, with so many failed attempts at placement, I was starting to think there was no home out there for him. This is better than I could have imagined. I debated many times over the past six months about whether I should just find a way to keep him, but I knew that I couldn't give him the attention that he needs and deserves. You are doing so much more with him than I was willing/able to do, and I just think it's awesome.
I'm glad you've been able to wean him off the crate. I noticed that he really only did the barky/whiney thing when he knew one of us was close enough to hear him! But if you don't need to use the crate at all, that's great.
I'm not at all surprised that he shows an aptitude for agility. He has the right build for it, and he certainly has the energy! I always meant to start him on weave poles (yes, I have some in my living room) but somehow never got around to it. I mean, he was *only* here for six months. ;-)
Sunday evening would be a good time for a play date. I'm totally free that day, so any time you pick should be fine. Monday evening would be fine too, after about 6:30 or so. We can meet at Frick. We usually go to the fenced area in upper Frick. Let me know what works for you.
Thanks so much for taking such good care of "my" boy!
P.S. Don't feel bad for writing a lot -- I live for this stuff!
I have some wonderful news! Murray has found a permanent home. He was adopted last week, but I wanted to wait and make sure it was for real this time. Bonus: They live just a few minutes away from me. They take him to a nearby park several times a day, where he likes to play on the playground equipment. He will be going to obedience class and possibly agility classes after that.
He was actually almost adopted the day before L met him. A family brought their dog to meet him, and then took him home for a short trial. Within an hour or so, the mom became terribly allergic to him, and they returned him in tears. So I guess it's not so strange that D had some trouble, because this woman isn't allergic to their other dog.
Anyway, Murray is doing great! I'll be sure to say hi from you next time I see him, which might be this weekend. (We are planning a "play date" at Frick Park.)
Thanks for your good vibes and prayers -- it's definitely a happy ending for Murray!
I am so happy to hear Murray's good news. You made my week. He is such a sweetie, I am thrilled for him and for you. Thank you for hanging in there with him so long! Your dedication is incredible.
Diamond went on vacation with us last week to Charleston, South Carolina. We drove there and stayed with my parents. She was so good!! My parents said they would love to have another dog if it was as precious as Diamond.
She loved the ocean!
Keep up the good work.