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.
Our popular Swagger is the individual holding the stick.
Story to follow.
Within one month, an aggressive dog becomes the most popular dog of the pack!
JANICE!! This warmed my heart. I am so proud of him and can't thank you enough for teaching him how to be sociable again. I see these changes on my walks with him. I no longer muzzle him!.
I had one incident when he threw out a growl at a girl walking by but I quickly corrected that behaviour and he has not so much as barked at a person or growled at a dog since.I take him to the tennis courts to chase ball as I still don't feel fully ready to let him off leash in the park to play ball.
I loved your blog and attribute such a fast change to you and Frida teaching him in your sweet manner. He is learning and I know he wants to be such a good boy - I see it when he knows he is doing something wrong and throws me a side glance from those doe eyes of his.
I want to keep this momentum going and was wondering if you would be able to come again next week Tuesday and Thursday??Thanks again Janice for the updates! I love that he was swimming in February! Unbelievable.Kyla
I adore this dog! And from the start I felt if he were on the trail and gently meeting dogs during the course of the hike, he could be muzzle-free. In an environment unlike the one (dog park) in which he was attacked, he might roam and explore without the muzzle's constraints.
My Frida seems to know (as dogs often do) which dogs are friendly and which dogs to be wary of. From the start, she had a fondness for S. and his playful ways. They both play in the wrestling lab way, although S. loves a good run!
Today, alone with Frida in the car, S. did not wear a muzzle. And for the first time, at the park, he met other dogs when he was wearing his collar without the muzzle attachment. He was wonderful -- smelling, taking his time, and learning how to be sociable.
I was always nearby, of course. But he was so happy! I didn't know he loves to swim! He did swim out to Frida's stick every time and she was quite gracious. I don't expect they'll do much swimming this winter. Still, it was so warm today and they were so eager!
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.