To the fine parents of our Happy Trails Dogs,
Just a short note about dog licenses - this past Thursday, we had a bit of a scare with one of our dogs scurrying under a boulder at Humber Bay Park. The city was incredible! Two animal control trucks arrived; three workers dug and moved rocks for perhaps two or more hours; and the police arrived via boat. Had we needed additional help, the fire department would have been called!
The sweet pup we were searching for had found her way into a crevice, but could not find her way out; the exit slope was quite muddy and deep underground. A loud whoop went out from all involved when our Belle was finally retrieved!
Heartfelt thanks to Swagger, Frida, and the amazing puppy Maize who waited patiently, sitting, sometimes softly crying, as the workers struggled to free Belle. Swagger and Frida were able to locate Belle's exact location and they never wavered from their watch.
Sasha, Zorro's human, also helped in the effort. He stayed for the whole time, helping, and comforting. Another fine individual, Rita, and her boxer Bonsai stayed as well. These fine dog lovers and their sweet dogs never wavered in their watch. Heartfelt thanks to Sasha, Zorro, Rita, and Bonsai!
The boulders at both Humber Bay East and West are truly hazardous ground for small, inquisitive dogs. Our Belle will now remain on leash at these locations, and although I do love trails, there are those dogs who may be in danger while they enjoy their freedom. (This fox terrier is an alert, bright, playful dog with a most amazing sense of smell and instinct to match!)
Another note - please make sure your pup has his/her Toronto Dog License and that it is up to date. The fee is $25 (for neutered or spayed pets). Here is the link: http://www.toronto.ca/animal_services/licensing.htm#01
I am looking forward to sending news of a sweeter nature (although this ending was thankfully a happy one) as your dogs and I continue our explorations! I love them all!
We are all glad our Belle is safe and resting this weekend after her ordeal!
A letter from Swagger's mom to me -- one month ago, Swagger came to me with a muzzle on. Here he is today!
"I had him off leash this weekend for the first time. This saturday my cousin and I went for a dog walk with Swag and his dog Buckley (a big happy go lucky blonde shepherd lab mix) and I was super hesitant about letting him off but he was amazing at greeting other dogs, humans and running around with Bucks. I saw how far he has come Janice and it took my breath away.
Absolutely he still has a long way to go. Thanks you so much for getting him to this point!Have a great day Janice and thanks for caring about him as much as you do. He is a lucky boy!"
I gave Swagger the opportunity to run on a trail and across large spaces. I truly expected him to be able to shed his fear-based aggression. I loved him from the start, as did my sensitive lab, Frida. I think Swagger knew we trusted and loved him, and he responded by making magnificent leaps every day.
I forgot to put the change for the harness in an envelop. I had the money on the kitchen table and saw it there after Fido left. I must tell you that I cried before he left; he has a way about him, truly. While I was sitting with him and waiting, he rubbed his head on my lap. It was most unusual. He was so calm by the end of his stay here. I was really proud of him.
About the bones I sent--make sure you're around when he chews on bones. Also, the long ribs should be thrown out when he has chewed all the meat around them and loses interest in the bare bone. I would prefer the beef neck bones. You can buy these at Kennel Cafe. The large size would be fine.
He still has trouble staying still when I put on his harness, but I find it's easier when he's sitting in the front seat beside me in the car (just to slip the harness on). Frida veers away when she sees the harness. I talk to her while I'm putting it on and give her a treat right after. I also think it might be easier to teach Fido to walk beside you after he's had a good run. You might try putting the harness and leash on him and having him follow you back and forth in the yard (or even in the house). You would use treats (dried liver/chicken/small kibble bits from Kennel Cafe samples) as you teach him. Just keep a treat in your hand beside (or even slightly behind) your thigh. Reinforce all the time. I like to say "walk with me" or "stay close," because "heel" gets really boring.
How is he doing tonight? It must be hard adjusting first to being away from home and then, although loving his family, leaving his new human and canine friends. What a rewarding time! I miss him.
Best wishes, Janice
Founder and Caregiver
Happy Trails Dog Service
This is Tono. His owner was desperate to find a dog walker; he needed someone to walk Tono three times, something he usually did, but as he would be out of town, and so on. "Keep him on leash. Make sure no other dogs are around. And only take him behind the school (Dundas and Bloor) at night and early in the morning."
"Can I let him off leash if the gate is closed and no one is around?" I said. "And do you ever let him off his leash?"
The owner roller blades and bike rides with his dog in tow. Turbo is eleven years old and in amazing shape. I put a harness on him for our walks. He pulls and for an eleven-year-old dog, he's still powerful. Each time I visited, he was thrilled to see me. Of course I brought my organic dried lamb treats.
I walk and board dogs and I see their profound pleasure in playing with their own species. Tono deserves this. Neuter your dogs!
(The name Tono is a fictitious one.)
Janice is the founder of and primary caregiver at Happy Trail Dogs Service. She is also the founder of an arts-related non-profit and worked in the fitness industry for over two decades. She is an artist, editor, writer, and mother of two wonderful women and a glorious lab named Frida.