“What’s a Loki?”

My parents spent a good amount of time after their beloved Terrier mix, Desi, passed before they were ready for another dog.

Desi, our beautiful girl

Forgive the blur, I didn’t do much serious photography until after this beauty died.

When the time came, they kept a keen eye on the local animal shelters’ websites. A few dogs caught their attention at the Escambia County Animal Shelter, so they drove over to the small facility to meet them.

They left with a large, white “Lab/Anatolian mix” named Alvin. Long story short, the vet thinks Pyrenees mix (yasssss!) and his new name? Loki.

Loki, AKA my new brother

Loki, AKA my new little brother

I assure you, I know darn well who Loki is, but if I’ve learned anything because of this dog, it’s that more people need to watch The Avengers. Not Thor. I am not recommending Thor.

Loki in the sandLoki, despite being a frost giant, has voiced no complaints about living near the beach. In fact, he was able to slow down enough for a quick photo session. I am very excited to share those in the near future.

Loki and Lana on the beachStay tuned for updates on Loki, fun doggie photo sessions (also on our Instagram), and more!

 

Work Hard, Play Hard

If you’ve been following either on the blog or on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed I talk a lot about playgroups at the Tallahassee shelter. I love them and they are a blast, not to mention a nice throwback to my days working at a dog daycare.

Cookie and Domino playingDingo and Bella Playgroups make life more bearable for shelter dogs. Even if just for 30 minutes a day, they get to escape the confines of their small kennels and stretch their legs. They make friends, exhaust themselves, and work their brains. And when it’s all said and done and they’ve joined a family of their own, they’re more socially adept than they would have been without play time. This is a huge deal, even if it just means walking by another dog on leash is easier for the new owner.

Domino, Cookie, and Peaches playing

Domino the goofiestShelters around the country are implementing playgroups. I’m sure the same people who taught us are responsible for a good number of the other shelters, too. I’d like to thank Dogs Playing For Life! for taking the time to demonstrate to the staff and volunteers at our local shelter how to lead safe, efficient playgroups to benefit our pups. (In fact, last week was their second year presenting in Tallahassee, so many people were soaking up their advice again.) They are great at what they do and have helped so many shelters provide enrichment without tons of added costs.

Dingo, Venus, Steve-o, and Thumper playingCookie and Domino having a blastI highly recommend checking out their website if you’re interested in learning more! They have many helpful and entertaining resources. Want to help them provide shelters in need with no-cost training seminars? They are a 501(c)3 non-profit and always appreciate donations. (Not at all a sponsored post y’all, I truly believe they do wonders for shelter dogs!)

Thumper and Venus

Thumper, Dingo, and Steve-oWant to see more photos of the Tallahassee shelter dogs playing? Because I sorely need practice in fast moving photography, I’ve created a ‘Playgroup’ Facebook album on our official fanpage. Feel free to peruse, maybe you’ll even fall in love with a dog you see!

Shelter Sunday

I know, once upon a time I used to do “Find a Friend Friday”. However, seeing as I spend my Sundays volunteering at the shelter, it makes more sense for me to switch my days on the blog. That way my posts are as up to date as possible!

This morning, I spent another 3 hours with the dogs at the Tallahassee Leon Community Animal Services Center. (The Tallahassee Animal Shelter, for those who don’t know.) The runs are COMPLETELY full. There is no shortage of great dogs, or even dogs that fit my taste. Among my personal favorites are:
Tucker, a well trained and polite Boxer/Cattle Dog mix.
Ben, a sweet older hound dog with much more energy than you’d expect a senior to have.
Loki, a Treeing Cur mix with a fantastic name, who does great in play groups.
Beau, a “Lab/Akita” mix who looks more like a Border/Lab, which of course means I’m crazy about him. He is 6 months old, soft, and is entertained by little things, such as chasing flies.

But there are so many more! A couple of little dogs, a couple of fluffier dogs, puppies, seniors, ladies, and gentlemen – there is a dog for anyone in need.

Mabeline, an adoptable 4 year old Cur/Pit mix at the Tallahassee Animal Shelter.

Mabeline, a sweet 4 year old Cur/Pit mix, couldn’t wait for her picture to be taken! I met her in playgroup, so we know she does well with friendly dogs and people.

Tucker, an adoptable 3 year old Boxer/Cattle Dog mix. Well mannered and already trained, he is at the Tallahassee Animal Shelter.

Tucker, my black and white heartthrob. He is so polite and sweet, and has a distorted little heart on his side. 😉

Loki, a 2 year old Treeing Cur mix is available for adoption from the animal shetler in Tallahassee, FL. He is great with other dogs and people!

Loki is 2 years old and had a blast running in circles in play group today. He is stunning and so sweet!

Beau is an adoptable 6 month old Lab mix at the Tallahassee Animal Shelter.

Beau is a 6 month old typical puppy. Playful, soft, loving, and a little bit ADD. He actually reminds me a lot of Lana, and though he’s listed as a Lab/Akita, I think I see some Border Collie in that handsome mug.

I will have these photos and more uploaded to the Facebook page, and you’ll likely see a few pop up on my Pinterest and Instagram accounts, as well. I’d love to see these babies (and all the others in the shelter) find homes, so please feel free to share this page and/or my Courtesy Posts album on Facebook. Thanks for reading (and rescuing)!

Sunny’s Guest Appearance With TPA

Last weekend a local rescue called Tallahassee Pets Alive hosted an adoption event and allowed my Sunny to be their guest of honor. (Not exactly how they worded it, but I thought his title needed a little more drama.)

Tallahassee Pets Alive Adoption Event FlyerHe sat patiently in a pen for 5 hours while I awkwardly hovered like the helicopter mom I may or may not be. Okay, definitely am. He was a true gentleman, never barking, and never denying a passerby attention. Kids pet him the wrong way and he didn’t flinch. Other dogs barked and he did not respond. He ‘smiled’ for photos and gently took treats from any hand that offered. And because I brought a baggie full of cookies, there were lots of treats.

20141206_1118082While I’ll admit I was tempted to leave his side long enough to grab a cheeseburger from across the street (Burger-Fi, yum!), I’m glad I stayed because this confident side of him is something I rarely see. When Miss Lana is around her reactivity is often reflected in his actions. I’m relieved to know without her, he is fully functional. No offense to my kid.

Sunny at the adoption eventSunny shone like the star he is and I am both pleased and sad to say he has two adoption applications! I am forever grateful to Tallahassee Pets Alive for giving me to opportunity to show off my bae, and super nervous about saying goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, I have met one of the potential adopters twice, and I love the idea of her taking him home. From what I can tell, several aspects of her lifestyle are similar to mine, which makes me hope that the transition wouldn’t be too difficult for Sunny.

Sunny was chill at the eventI know he is ready to go to a real home. He has come a long way and no longer needs me to coddle him. Sunny did a great job at his first (and hopefully last) adoption event. No worries – I’ll keep you all posted with any updates!

Challenge 1: Sunny versus Stairs

I had started writing daily updates on Sunny, but realized I just didn’t have the energy to work full time, provide Sunny with the attention he needed, and blog daily as well. If you follow me on Facebook (personally or through Dream Big, Bark Loudly’s official page) or on Instagram, then you’ve been getting daily updates anyway! Adoptable Retriever, SunnyI will, however, still share the big accomplishments, the funny stories, and the incredible changes as they happen. First: the ‘huge’ accomplishment that is going up and down stairs.

Last Saturday when I brought Sunny home, he was what we rescue folks call ‘terrified’. He had to be carried from the back seat of my car, up stairs, and over to my front door. If I hadn’t had to unlock the door and open it, I would have carried him straight into the living room.

Adoptable Sunny's First Day in FosterSunny had a few hours to settle in and sniff around before Michael got home from the football game. At that point, we decided it was time to take the dogs out and feed them. Sunny wore a martingale collar so he could get used to the feeling of something around his neck, and I hooked the leash to his harness.

As always, Lana ran out the door first with Michael, and Sunny and I brought up the rear. About 5 feet from the stairs, our little foster boy dropped to the ground and refused to move. I didn’t think too much about it, just picked him up and carried him down stairs. However, after several more walks where that 48 pound little mess had to be carried up and down stairs, my thighs and back were killing me. No more!

Adoptable Retriever, Sunny, is looking for a forever home in Florida.

But I cannot say enough good things about Sunny and his desire to please. We spent about 15-20 minutes, treats in hand, going up one stair at a time. And, by Sunday night, Sunny could slowly traverse the stairwell on his own. A week later, he can keep up with the rest of the family! With him, the most important part of training is the praise.

Adoptable Retriever, Sunny, is looking for a forever home in Florida.

If you had asked me then, I would have said it would take Sunny a good week to figure out the stairs. I am beyond thrilled that with just one training session he picked it up. Sunny is treat motivated and smart. And like so many retrievers, he lives to please his handler. With lots of praise and positive training, Sunny is a joy to train. This little boy is amazing and will be ready for a home in no time. Even if his future family lives upstairs.

Adoptable Retriever, Sunny, is looking for a forever home in Florida.

We need to focus on confidence building before we tackle tricks, but this experience has me convinced he’ll be ready for a home in no time. Sunny came to us with so much to learn, and in just one week he has already come so far. I cannot wait to see this boy reach his potential.