The Magic of Pumpkin

Lula relaxing in yard.

Lula relaxing in the backyard on what would be her last Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was always Lula’s favorite holiday, a story for another day..

Older dogs and dogs that have to take lots of medications can struggle with what I call BBD – Bad Belly Day. Lula was on so many medications that she often had bouts of nausea and diarrhea. Some days she just did not want to eat. One of my neighbors suggested 100% pumpkin. She had heard it from a friend so I decided to do a little research and try it. Research indicated pumpkin is good for constipation and diarrhea!

Lula took daily medications for her hips, her hocks and incontinence. She was also sensitive to corn and wheat. So she would frequently develop diarrhea for 1-2 days. During those bouts, I would feed her rice and chicken broth. She would often go completely off all food for days with the diarrhea. The first time I tried the pumpkin, she had been off all food for days so I gaveher some rice mixed with pumpkin. She ate it all and within 24 hours she was all better.

Lula with a Pumpkin Nose

Lula’s table manners were not very good when it came to pumpkin! She often wore it on her nose until she wiped it on someone or the wall!

We began the regime of a spoonful of pumpkin a day and found that her BBD’s became less frequent and Lula LOVED her pumpkin. I know use pumpkin with many of my dogs. Louie and Radar both get pumpkin to keep their poop more solid. I do not give it to them every day like Lula but as soon as I see some loose stool, I pull out the pumpkin. I normally give the dog with the problem a few days of about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin and then go to one tablespoon a day to each dog until the can is empty.

Make sure you get the canned 100% Pumpkin NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling (it has all sorts of spices and stuff in it) If you aren’t sure, read the ingredients it should just list Pumpkin. I stock up when it is on sale, usually can get good deals around Thanksgiving and the holidays.

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Learning to Play Fetch When you are Blind

Being a retriever, I could see that Radar wanted to play fetch but we needed to figure out a way for him to track the object after it was thrown. We started with a rope ball hoping it would have more scent and he could track it. That worked pretty well rolling it but Radar lost interest very quickly with the rope ball.

I knew there were balls that whistle but Radar’s brother, Louie, is sound sensitive and hyperactive. He is especially sensitive to high pitches and and whistles so that was not an option for Radar. We have a yard full of toys and one day I noticed Radar carrying around one of the big Jolly Teaser Balls. I decided to try and roll that ball and see if he could follow the noise of the interior ball. Radar loved it!

We started with rolling the ball so that it made lots of noise and Radar could easily follow the noise. Now we are progressing towards throwing the Teaser Ball and letting it hit the ground and then it rolls and Radar is still doing well. He zeros in on it when it hits the ground and then follows they sound and scent of the ball.

We are going to try other objects with noise makers as Radar is getting a little bored with the Teaser Ball. We will keep you posted on what else we find that works.

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Second Fear Period with a Blind Puppy

Although this is not specifically related to being blind, it is an issue/stage that blind puppies can experience and present its own unique challenges.

Radar enjoying a picnic

Radar before second fear period. Here he is 9 months old enjoying a picnic with lots of dogs and people he had never met before this event.

For the last few weeks, Radar has been more barky than usual. We started attending obedience class thinking it would help socialize him. While he barked a little less than last week, he was far from well behaved last week. He seems to have developed a sensitivity to noise and dogs approaching. The trainer and I should walk Radar around the room so he could figure out which dog and person were where and maybe he wouldn’t bark so much. The walk around went well but Radar still barked loudly when he heard an unfamiliar noise. Then when dogs would approach us, he would go nuts barking and pouncing at them.

Based on his age of 11 months and his actions, we decided this must be a second fear period. Second Fear Period is a potentially traumatic stage of development for young dogs, that occurs during adolescence (6-14 months). This is also the point at which a puppy will start testing his/her owner. The puppy might become more aggressive and  less obedient. This stage can coincide with sexual maturity, so a male dog might start lifting his leg when urinating and females might experience their first heat period. The puppy could also be shedding its baby coat and replacing it with its adult coat. There is a lot going on and this stage can catch you by surprise. I was not familiar with this second fear period but as I read more about it, I realize this is what Radar is experiencing. (sources: http://www.recycler.com/blog/pets/the-second-fear-stage.php and http://www.positivedogs.com/articles/early_doesnt_mean.html)

So what do we do?

  • You might want to back off a little from activities and socialization. Make sure that any exposure is positive and below threshold.
  • Make sure he has enough space to be comfortable and not feel threatened.
  • Work on counter conditioning and desensitization (for more information http://www.peninsulahumanesociety.org/resource/pdf/dog/DesensitizationCounterconditioning.pdf). There is a lot of information on how to do this. I have watched several videos, read lots of articles and ultimately you have to read, watch and experiment to see what works for your dog.
    • I use a Kong stuffed with food and peanut butter, yummy treats and dehydrated sweet potato slices for Radar.
    • I also have used counter conditioning and desensitization with Louie and he does really well with lots of yummy, high value treats, distance, some T-Touch and I can calm him by running my index finger from between his eyes to the crown of his head.
  • The key is to provide socialization experiences where Radar doesn’t go over threshold, meaning no barking or other reactive behavior until he gets used to it. Sometimes the reaction (i.e. barking and leaping) is due to exposure to too many things all at once.
    • I think this is exacerbated when a puppy is blind. If you can expose them to things one at a time, it is better for the dog. They need to learn how to handle new experiences and gain the confidence to handle them in stride. This can only be accomplished if you proceed carefully, observing their reactions and backing off when you see them being timid or fearful.
  • Radar at Wags & Whiskers.

    Radar during one of our visits/training sessions at Wags & Whiskers, our local pet store. The staff is very supportive of Radar and willing to help me with his socialization and training.

    Too much confined space might also overwhelm a blind dog, as they must feel totally surrounded and very confused. Socializing in areas where there are other people and dogs to mix with but not so many that it overwhelms him. Going to a class that allows the blind or fearful dog just sit or stand at the side so everything is happening in front of them and at a distance rather than all around them. This can help keep them under threshold and allow them to adjust to all the noises and smells.

  • I have been taking Radar to our local, small pet store during low traffic times. We walk to the store and then practice some of our commands in the store. The staff is great with Radar and very welcoming to us and accomodating Radar’s socialization needs. They give him yummy treats and I am armed with a few toys, sweet potato chews and lots of treats. We situate ourselves in a part of the store and work on some commands. When people come in I give him lots of treats and praise. I do more commands and make sure I am talking and touching him but not coddling him. So far, so good.

I think the key to this is finding the fine line between desensitization/counter conditioning and coddling. I feel the worst thing I can do for Radar is coddle him. He needs to develop as a confident and outgoing blind dog so I try to treat him the same as I would any other 11 month old puppy. I do need to make a few accommodations but not too many. It is a very fine line and I watch his reactions and behaviors to help guide me.

I am not an expert and this is a work-in-progress! Stay tuned and I will keep you posted on how it works.

More interesting information on developmental stages of puppies. http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/developmentalstages.html

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Fear of Noises

Louie is extremely sound sensitive. It is improving as he becomes more confident and secure in his skin and surroundings but their are still sounds that literally turn him into a maniac. When Louie encounters a noise that scares him, his reaction mimics one of pure pain. He will be calmly walking one minute and then will jump straight up in the air with all four feet like someone electrocuted him and he will scream. Not whimper or whine but a full out blood curdling scream. I try to watch for potential triggers and make sure I am far enough away so it will not cause such a violent reaction (exceeds his threshold). Once he has reacted, it is difficult to calm him back down and gain his attention or confidence. If I see a skateboard in the next block, I will either turn early or turn around and retrace my steps to avoid the encounter.

Here are a few desensitizing techniques I use with Louie:

In-Home Desensitizing

LouieHangingOutside

This particular photo was taken in my backyard one evening early in our training. Here we are working on just relaxing in the backyard with regular neighborhood noises. No control on volume here but similar technique.

The one technique that I have had some success with is desensitizing them to the noise at home in a controlled environment with the sound recorded so I can control the volume.

  1. I fill a Kong with peanut butter and dog food and have LOTS of really GOOD treats. You need to find something that the dog LOVES and will distract him/her and gain 100% of her attention. Louie will do back flips for a Kong filled with peanut butter. Some dogs are not as food motivated so maybe it is a toy or a tennis ball.
  2. I introduce the noise at a low volume, almost zero. And I start giving him treats. I have to make sure all other distractions and dogs are not in the room. I start to increase the volume of the noise slowly continuing to feed him treats. If he starts to react, I stop increasing the volume and give him the Kong and try to maintain that volume level, keep the reaction at bay and have him enjoy his Kong. If he is too bothered by that noise level, I decrease the volume a bit. The goal is for him to enjoy his Kong without exceeding his threshold. I am very careful to not allow him to hit his threshold. Sometimes I have to decrease the volume quite a bit for him to enjoy his Kong. That is okay as this is a long slow process and I want it to be an enjoyable exercise for him.
  3. Keep repeating this and increasing the volume of the whistle every few days. I always start at zero volume and slowly increase even if this is the 10th or 20th session. The key here is to build confidence and remove the fear. You never want to increase the volume so much that he cowers, gets scared or reacts.
  4. Don’t baby talk (“It’s okay” “Don’t be frightened”) or “comfort” him because our voice and body language can say “oh no, you are going to be scared!” and that just raises their anxiety and reinforces that they should be scared. Remember dogs are much more sensitive to our body language and tone of voice than we think. The goal is to distract or occupy they begin to associate the noise with good things (counter-conditioning).

There are several articles and videos on this technique. I must admit I have yet to be completely successful with Louie as he has so many noises but he is getting better. In fact, it was thundering here the other night (June in Wisconsin so we haven’t had many thunderstorms in several months), not badly but enough that he would normally start pacing or whining or both. He was sleeping on

the floor a few feet next to me and he never moved. The storm never came on full force and Louie never reacted. Time will tell this summer how successful we have been!

http://www.training-your-dog-and-you.com/Desensitizing_and_counter-conditioning.html

This is a pretty good video on desensitizing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLx2yNhfACI

Outside Desensitizing or Environmental Desensitizing

I also pick days to work with Louie outside in the environment as I cannot and will not always have him in the house and have control of the environment around him. Therefore we both need to learn how to cope with his fears at a moments notice and in public. I know my neighborhood pretty well and will choose the trigger (fear producing activity or noise) I would like to try and work on and then go to that area. I live fairly close to a college campus so that is a great place for Louie triggers.

Louie hanging at State Track meet

Hanging out across the street during the WI High School State Track Meet. Tons of triggers including people, starter guns, yelling, announcers, etc. but we were on the fringe and Louie was happy observing and getting random treats.

It also has lots of wide open public spaces so I can get far enough away from the trigger to have some control over it and Louie. I will take Louie and because of his size and his reactions I will use a collar or harness that I am 100% confident I will have control of him so he does not get hurt nor will I. I also have a heavy duty tool belt with a carabiner with 200lb capacity that I attach his leash to so he cannot pull away from me or injure my shoulder. I also pack LOTS of Louie’s favorite treats and a peanut butter Kong or two. We set off to find a comfy spot in a park or on campus to hang out and enjoy some “lounge” time.

  1. Louie and I go on a normal walk and will avoid triggers if the setting is not right – i.e. I can’t get him far enough away or in a comfortable place to keep him calm. Again like in my house, I do not want him to exceed his threshold. This is much more difficult to do outside so be sure and do the “in home” technique first so you are more in tune with your dog’s reactions.
  2. Once I find a spot, I set up “camp” and we hang out. Usually will hang there for 15 minutes and normally we can encounter several triggers as Louie has so many.  Every time a see a trigger approaching I toss a treat and try not to react. If he starts to elevate his senses, I might say “Leave It” (which is his command for ignore it or no you cannot chase it). I might start talking to him in a calm, normal manner to keep his attention on me even though I know he is watching the trigger.
  3. If it gets too intense, I will give him the Kong and see if that keeps him calm. If not, I will casually get up and move farther away from the trigger until Louie begins to pay more attention to me and the treats than the trigger.
  4. The goal outside is to get them around their fears but again keep them from reaching their threshold. It is much more difficult than at home so I don’t ever have a set number of encounters or time. My goal is to be successful in keeping him calm, rewarding him and then coming home. If he does go over board, I try and find a nice quiet trigger free route home so by the time we are home, he is back to comfortable and confident.
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Anxiety or Aggression???

Louie Pacing

Louie pacing the fence line while Lula watches

When Louie first came to live with me he would do laps around my house from window to window to window. This was non-stop until he was exhausted. He would flop down on the couch to sleep and then wake up and start the window circuit again. When I took him outside, I had to have him on a leash as he would run up and down my two long fence lines looking for something, anything to fret over and bark. One fence line has an evergreen hedge that was thick from ground to the top. He “ate” himself a path along the fence and over the winter ate all of the branches off from the ground to about 3-4 ft high. The only way I could get him to go potty was to have him on a leash until he went and then I let him off the leash to pace and run. Given Louie’s background I thought he just needed time to adjust to confinement. Over the months I realized this was not the issue, it was deeper than that so I sought advice from my Chessie network and local trainer.

I enrolled Louie in obedience classes and started taking him running with me. I put him in a prong collar so I could control his out bursts when he heard birds. Luckily my first months with Louie were in the winter and there were fewer birds, no bikes, skateboards or people playing basketball or tennis! In the spring I found out these were all triggers for him. By working with him in the winter, I was able to establish manners and trust between us. We repeated Basic Obedience I three times!

He was also scared of people especially when approached inside.When people would approach, he would jump and nip at them. He did not like anyone else in my house and was not keen on being approached outside. We initially thought he had a screw loose and was aggressive and wondered if we could rehab him. At times I found he would tolerate people in my house but would all of the sudden jump on them and possibly nip at them. He was very unpredictable.

Louie was not crate trained when he came to rescue but he absolutely had to be crated for his safety and the safety of others. He did not like the crate but I always fed him in there, gave him toys to chew on and lots of treats. He began to realize this was a safe place. Initially he preferre

d the crate in an open area where he could always see around him – remember the window circuit? Well he was a stray and I think he hated walls because he couldn’t see what was coming. Eventually (1 year later) he chose to move himself into a different crate that is in the back corner of my kitchen partially under the breakfast counter. That crate belonged to another dog in my house but Louie decided he liked it. He would go in that crate and sleep when the door was open and so I moved the other dog and let Louie have his crate of choice. I have found that he will “tell” me what makes him comfortable but I have to watch and not think just allow myself to observe his behavior. Once I turn my brain off and just observe and not think, I can absorb and understand his body and his messages.

Louie Wild Eye

This shows Louie’s “wild eye” look

Louie’s body language was extremely hard to read as he always looked WILD! He had big buggy eyes that you could always see the whites. His tail was in a constant curl and his body was always tense. The dog was “on guard” constantly like a bomb about to explode. One of the reasons it was hard to read Louie’s body language is he NEVER Relaxed! I didn’t have anything to compare. I had never seen Louie relaxed because he never did. I don’t think his previous life allowed him to relax, he lived on his own in south Louisiana with not only wild animals but also some unfriendly people. He was fortunate to choose a building on a farm owned by a dog lover. Do you think this is a coincidence? I don’t, Louie is very sensitive and I think he felt safest on that farm and therefore found some refuge from some of his fears.

Louie "on guard"

Tense body and tight tail curl. Louie is “on guard”

Part of the challenge with a dog like Louie is determining is this aggression or fear. From all of my research, discussions with trainers both locally and throughout the country, I have learned that most anxiety and fear is incorrectly labeled aggression or dominant behavior. In fact most often the dogs are responding out of fear, remember the “fight or flight”? If we take away their ability to run away, they are only left with fight. We need to help them learn new ways of dealing with their fear and anxiety. Here are some of the resources I have used:

“Help for your Fearful Dog” by Nicole Wild

“The Cautious Canine” by Patricia McConnell

Fearfuldogs.com” blog by Debbie Jacobs

 

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Suggested Equipment for Disabled Dogs

As Lula aged, her hip dysplacia and ruptured ACLs became more of a problem for her and her ability to get around. Here are a few of the necessities I discovered:

  1. Baby crib mattress – Lula was huge and she was not only too big for regular dog beds, they were too soft and did not provide enough support for her hip issues. In addition it was difficult for her to get up from that low level. I was able to find a used crib mattress and Lula slept comfortably on that for years. It height and additional support allowed her to get up and down more easily.
  2. full body dog harness

    Lula’s full body Help Em Up harness.

    Full body harness – I had used a harness on Marley as she aged but it was only a front harness. Lula did NOT like anyone to touch her hind legs or hips because of the pain she had so helping her up was a problem. Front harnesses did her no good. A fellow Chessie lover and Facebook friend works for Orvis and they had a full body harness from Help Em Up. Jamie sent us that harness in 2010 and Lula used it until the day she died. Anyone could grab Lula’s “butt handle” and assist her and she didn’t care. She loved her harness. For the last year of her life, she wore that harness 24 hours a day. That harness alone gave her many additional months of a quality of life she would not have had without it. The Help Em Up harness is a must for any dog with hind legs issues or just aging dogs. Visit their website at www.helpemup.com. Help’EmUp is a trademark of Blue Dog Designs. The Hip Lift design is patented.

  3. dog wheelchair

    Lula in her Walkin’ Wheels.

    Wheels – Lula’s hind leg muscles were never very defined or strong in her life with me. She could not go on long walks as she would tire and lie down where ever she wanted and rest. This was often in the middle of the street and she was too big and too ornery to move so I would wait. Lula LOVED to walk around the neighborhood and greet everyone but her condition limited that. The Chessie Rescue was at an expo in Milwaukee when we discovered Walkin Wheels. We ordered a wheelchair for Lula and she immediately was a new dog with a new lease on life. Her wheels and new found mobility did wonders for her spirit. On any given day if Lula was down, I would get her wheels out and take her for a walk and she would be smiling and animated again. They were her fountain of youth. Her wheels are Walkin Wheels available from www.handicappedpets.com. Walkin’ Wheels is a trademark of Handicapped Pets, Inc. All trademarks and patents are held by Handicapped Pets, Inc.
    Video of Lula’s first days in her wheels.

  4. Lula's ramps

    The two ramps Lula used to get in and out of my SUV.

    Ramps – I have an SUV and there was no way I could lift Lula into my car due to her size and her attitude. She was actually too wide for one ramp so I used two side-by-side telescoping ramps to get her in and out of my truck. Even when Lula could no longer support her weight with her back  legs, she was able to use the ramps with some assistance. I have two of the Top Paw™ Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp available from PetSmart.

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Chesapeake Retriever Rescue of WI

CRROWLogo

 

The Chesapeake Retriever Rescue of WI is a group of volunteers dedicated to rescuing Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and finding them loving forever homes. We rescue adoptable purebred or mixed Chesapeake Bay Retrievers from shelters, strays, and from owners who can no longer care for their dogs. We are staunch promoters of spaying and neutering, and no dog is placed by our organization without this being done before placement. We also educate potential adopters about the breed to make sure a Chesapeake is the right dog for their family.

We Are Not a Shelter or a Kennel

All of our dogs are in foster homes, where they are evaluated for temperament and training needs, and are given proper medical attention. We usually keep a dog for at least 2-3 weeks to give us the best knowledge of their needs.

Our dogs come to us through shelters or from owner surrenders. Owners wanting to surrender their dog will be asked to have them spayed or neutered and brought up to date on their vaccinations. Owners must also sign a form giving us all rights to the dog at time of surrender, as well as a release to obtain all of the dog’s medical files.

LulasSecondChanceBookcoverLula’s Second Chance book – $14.99 (price includes $3.50 for domestic shipping)

Lula’s books are being shipped USPS with 3-5 business days of the order being received. We will get it to you ASAP. All proceeds go to the CRROW Medical Fund.

A collection of stories written by Lula of her life as a rescue Chessie with special needs. 49 pages of stories and photos of Lula’s best adventures including her famous “Thanksgiving Turkey” story and many more…

Share the story of this very unique special needs, senior rescue dog. While Lula is very unique, her plight is not. There are thousands of senior and/or special needs dogs around the country looking for a loving home to live their final days surrounded by love and companionship. Get to know Lula and you will fall in love with the life and love an older special needs dog can bring to your life – not all of them have her “adventuresome” spirit!

“Lula’s book arrived and is a delightful and humorous read great pictures too! Says so much about our wonderful cbrs and their personalities. And, also shows what kind individuals can accomplish when they come together for a worthy cause. Worth every penny of the purchase price!! Well done!!” – Brenda N

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Louisiana Louie’s Story

Louie when he was brought to the vet from the crawfish farm in July 2011

Louisiana Louie wandered onto a farm in Crowley, Louisiana in July of 2011. He was fortunate he wandered onto the right farm and the owner of the farm, Faye, captured him and started feeding the very skinny Chessie. Lucky for Louie, Faye got him to the vet and also contacted a pet rescue in Louisiana who got in touch with the Chessie Rescue. Through contacts that started in North Carolina and Wisconsin, Louie found his way into the hearts of hundreds of Chessie and dog people across the country and through a coordinated effort on Facebook and with rescues everywhere, we were able to transport Louie from Crowley, LA to Appleton, WI in one weekend!

Louie loves people – once he gets to know them.

Louie is a small, young, neutered male Chessie who was Heartworm positive. His Heartworm treatment included the monthly HW pill. and a 3-week cycle of doxycycline. He will get the pills all year long rather than just summer months. Louie needed to gain a few pounds yet-he was so very active it was hard to  fattened him up! His coat started improving with good food-it was like straw from being outside and starving. We don’t know his age for sure-but he still has a LOT of puppy in him – energy, chewing, and all the things pups do. He appeared to be about 1.5-2 years when rescued.

Now that he is gaining weight and getting good nutrition, his eyes are not so bulging.

Louie is happiest when he is in someone’s lap.

 

 

 

 

 

As we spent more time with Louie, we discovered there was more going on than just lack of training and puppyhood. Louie would run frantically from window to door in the house. When outside, Louie would run the fence line, chase birds, dig and hunt for mice and always had a “wild-eye”. We began to notice a fear of people, territorial issues, sound sensitivities to loud and high pitches and several other stimuli would cause him to jump, scream and want to run away.

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My name is Lula and I am a big brown “bear” (Chessie)

As originally published in “The Misadventures of Lula – Rescue Chessie (http://lularescuechessie.wordpress.com/)

PineLakeLulaPamAugust, 2009 – My story starts somewhere near Duluth, MN where the workers of a recycling center found me tied to their gate on a Monday morning in August of 2009. No one knows how long I was there or how I got there, everyone has their theories. From there I bounced around a few shelters where I was called “Tiny” and thought to be overweight. No one seemed to want me and then the Chesapeake Rescue of Wisconsin found out about me and rescued me.

Lula upon arrival in La Crosse

Lula upon arrival in La Crosse

My first CRROW friend was Meredith, she picked me up from the shelter and took me to the vet and home for the night where I commandeered her pool table as my bed. I preferred inside the dryer but she wouldn’t let me stay there! The next day Meredith drove me to Minneapolis where my foster mom, Pam, picked me and drove me to La Crosse. And that is where my stories begin…..

January 2011 – It has been an exciting week. Monday, Pam found out a little about my past life. Meredith, the CRROW volunteer who rescued me from the shelter near Duluth, met a lady who used to be my neighbor. Well I guess Walter’s neighbor. Walter was my dad. The neighbor lady happened to talk to Meredith because she saw a big, brown dog in Meredith car and asked her where she got that dog. Meredith told her and after a few minutes, Meredith figured out the lady thought her dog was me! We do resemble each other but Meredith’s dog is a male Chessie.

Anyway the lady said I was Walter’s prized possession and we spent all day, every day together. Walter was a loner (otherwise known as a hermit) and every day we walked for miles and hunted. Walter would sometimes go to town and bring me back dog food but no big shopping trips like Pam sometimes does! Walter liked to live off the land and the only food he bought at the store was for ME! Walter had a pickup truck – I LOVE pickup trucks!!! To this day every time I see a pickup truck I get excited, bark at it and hope that maybe Walter is driving and will see me. Unfortunately I know Walter isn’t driving it because Walter died one winter when we were outside. I stayed with him waiting for him to get up and do something, but he never did. After a really long time, some strange people came in uniforms and wanted to touch Walter. I didn’t like that so I barked and guarded Walter. The uniforms got impatient with me and fired their guns up into the air. The nice neighbor lady said, that was the last they saw of me as I took off running for the woods. She put food out for me but I never came back.

The neighbor said Walter had been dead for quite some time out in the snow, so I had been on my own for a while already. She was REALLY happy to hear that I had been found and was being taken care of because she is a massage therapist and she used to come over and massage my sore hips. See my hips have been a problem for a very, very long time.

Now no one knows how long I was fending for myself – could have been weeks, months or a year. The next time “sighting” Pam has on me is when I was found tied to the “recycling” kennel outside the shelter in a small town north of Duluth in August of 2009. After a few shelters, I came to live with Pam in November, 2009.

So Pam and Sue say finding out a little about my history with Walter and my loss of Walter explain a lot about my distant and independent nature. In addition, they are pretty sure I learned my “bear-like” scavenging when I was alone after Walter died. Pam thinks I probably learned how to open refrigerators when I was “up nort” since many people have outdoor or garage fridges. Plus I eat anything and everything I see along the road, doesn’t matter how stinky or flat it is!!! and I hardly ever get sick! I can rip into a bag of garbage in record time and you wouldn’t believe how agile and strong my back legs are when food is involved!

Pam and Sue did a lot of research and phone calling trying to find out about Walter and more of my past. In the process, Pam contacted the Duluth Tribune to see if they might have any records on Walter and his death – since it was rather unique (well at least we hope that people die and go undiscovered very often). She talked with a nice reporter who was intrigued by my story – both my spotty past and my recent antics. He wrote a nice story about me and while we didn’t find out anything about Walter, we did find a dog that could only be my brother, Fatty Pie!

Fatty Pie was also an abandoned dog in the same area. He was found hanging out at a gas station and when he almost died that summer in the heat and because he was so overweight, he found his rescue angel and forever home as well. Fatty and I communicate but have never met. He still lives up north, near Duluth and is a stealthy 95 pounder!

So that is my story and I am sticking to it….

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