So we are practically neighbors! I have fashioned Happy Trails after my own personality and it seems dog lovers recognize the heart that has gone into this service. I just realized today that I adopt as family members the dogs who stay with us. It's not boarding, really, and I love that concept.
It sounds as if you're an individual after my own heart, and you love/raise your Fynnegan as I have our Frida. What a sweetheart you have! Thank you so much for the photos! He is beyond cute!
Frida also had a very sensitive stomach when she was a bit younger. I tried the best kibble and then started cooking for her, after which I went to a holistic vet who suggested Frida eat raw food (as well as lightly steamed vegetables etc.). This vet clinic (East York Holistic Veterinary Clinic) is truly inspiring; they patiently guided me with Frida's new diet, which she loves! I will watch Fynnagan;s food intake so it remains just as you have provided for him.
It will be a joy to have Fynnegan stay with us.
See you both on Monday!
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
_A copy of a letter sent to a dedicated owner of two pugs who may be sharing our trail hikes.
"Starting January, I will be adding a fox terrier to our hiking group. That's around Ossington and Dupont, right near you, I guess. A few questions - what are your dogs' recall like? Are you comfortable with my letting them off leash if we're on a trail? The dogs I walk (except for one who has just been re-homed and is learning) will wander a bit, but will generally stay within viewing range and return when called.
The dog who has just found her new home cannot go off-leash yet, as I worry for her safety. Having one dog like that on our hikes is no problem, but I've decided that dogs hiking with me should be able to be off-leash. They love to run in the forest and open spaces, and I feel city dogs need this. I think this is one important aspect, and the other would relate to the nature of the dog. It's hard for me to walk aggressive dogs. The pleasure of the walk is really vital for all the dogs in the group, so I seek dogs that get along with others. I do walk some dogs who have certain difficulties, but they hike alone with me and my lab Frida (and the fee is slightly more).
And lastly, what time would be best for your dogs and how many times a week are you thinking of? Trail hiking is such a joy really and I must share this - this weekend I am boarding a Springer Spaniel who arrived crying and unsure and unable to settle. I was wondering what to do, really. But as always, my voice and ways are gentle and when boisterous, still gentle and loving, and I decided to go on three hikes a day with the Spaniel (and my Frida). The dog also suffered intense anxiety on the drive to and from the hike.
Well, he just loved crashing through the forest! It was such a joy to watch him relax in a natural element. This is his second day here. He has stopped crying; he is learning how to play (with his mouth and front paws rather than attempting to mount other dogs); and for the first time, he sat beside me in the front seat without barking, panting, and crying! He sat there, alert and curious. I am so proud of him! I tell you, it's the hike!
On our weekly hikes are a Golden, a pug/french bulldog, Chihuahua, until mid-December a Bernease/Border Collie/Shepherd mix, a fox terrier, a Boston, and my lab Frida. I take out only 3 at a time (plus my Frida) so our walks so I can attend and relate personally to all the dogs hiking with me.
To get started, I come over to meet with you and your dogs, at which time I also take your dogs out for a short walk in a nearby park. I am not concerned whether they heel while walking. I want my Frida to walk beside me when we're on the sidewalk, but on the trail, that's not important. Recall is.
Also there are some forms on my site which you could fill out for me - one is for boarding, so that one is not necessary.
I think your love for your dogs shines through in your brief letter about them and I really value that!
Thank you for your patience in reading all of this. I look forward to learning more about your Beau and Belle "
Last night I briefly met up with Tono, the rather dominant Staffordshile Terrier, and his human who was back from a short trip and needed to retrieve his keys. My Frida remained in the car, so I could visit with Tono and give him his favorite organic freeze-dried lamb treats.
We were genuinely glad for this short reunion. He's a good dog and I could see how he is his human's best friend. The truth is I'll miss him. Still, I wish he were able to enjoy the company of his own species.
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.)
It seems to take a day for canine guests to settle into our rhythms and for me to settle into theirs. Brutus, the pug/beagle cross did not stop moving for the first day of his stay-over until he settled down for his nighttime sleep on my bed. I know Frida's presence put him more at ease - one of his own species. I am so grateful for her generous, loving presence.
Busy with Frida and Giselle today - High Park, home, park behind AGO, walking dogs in Kensington - wanting to give the puppy Giselle a full experience!
Watching dogs explore new grounds is energizing for the human(s) present. I'm really honored to be part of this discovery process and so today, we're going to revisit an area (new for my canine friends; it's been some years for me!). Details and photos soon. LOVE, Janice
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.