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Sunday, December 31, 2006

The photo link

The link did not get published on the last post, it looks like.

My black Ridgeback

I just want to post and say that since July I have been the very happy owner of Hannah, a Lab/Ridgeback mix. She has been very good, though skittish around some pople (not many anymore.) The time I spent talking to her foster mom before adoption was great, I think, because it gave me a different approach to Hannah than I might otherwise have had. That has been a huge benefit to hers and my friendship.

I would urge anyone who knows people looking to adopt to push them to breed-specific rescue agencies like RRUS that evaluate adopters thoroughly. I did not have this when I rescued my second dog from the pound and was shocked at how lax pound adoption requirements are.

Hannah has been a great dog and is up to a bit over 80 pounds. I have a link of pictures of she and Cheever at the dog park on Christmas Eve. Hannah wears the blue collar, Cheever the red.

Though Hannah and I have become famously good friends, Cheever can still be standoffish toward me and often shies when I go to pet him and refuses to do the "give" part of Fetch (he's VERY possessive). However, he is also possessive of me and takes every opportunity to be close to me when Hannah is watching. He is also possessive of me when Hannah is not around, though he is just as likely to be aloof at those times, too. What's oddest, though, is how incredibly well they get along and play together, and how they seem to genuinely like one another.

My big question is this: How do I break Cheever of his possessiveness (my main concern is in his possessiveness of me, which I think is making Hannah insecure.)



Saturday, December 30, 2006

Introduction - Long Journey

Kayla III started her life somewhere in Michigan; I started mine somewhere in Zimbabwe, Africa. Through a series of events in both our lives, we made a connection somewhere in Indianapolis!

Kayla (as she was known as back then) moved south with her owners and spent wasted years chained outside until the RRUS rescued her. Her journey relocated her to Tennessee, then North Carolina to a great foster home. About 5 years ago, I came to the US (all my husband's fault!) and settled down in Wisconsin. However, there were many things about 'home' that I missed - the year-round sunshine, warm weather, no snow (and hence no shoveling), my friends and family, and Duke my African bred RR.

In the months that followed a sad event in my life this year, I finally managed to convince my husband that maybe a dog would be a good companion. So I looked at various websites heavily favoring the RRUS one - no bias, of course! My husband was a bit dubious about "such a big dog" in the house, but the other less appealing options of a small yappy dog squashed the question of the size of my primary choice. So began the connection...with help from Amanda and Carol - thank you!

So, in September, Kayla made the long road trip from NC, and we made the long road trip from WI to meet 'halfway' at Indianapolis, with the result that we headed home the next day with pooch in tow. We soon discovered that she has a lively personality and makes us laugh daily - just the thing I needed.

We also found out that Kayla's most favorite thing in the whole world is FOOD! Then play, then ride in the car, then food, then climb on the sofa, then food, then play, then food, then walk, then get the picture! She has a way of clearly letting you know that she wants something (usually food) - so we decided that "Kayla" just did not suit her personality, so I found a word in the language of the part of Africa that I come from which describes her perfectly - kumbira. It means "asking for"!

So Kumbira, who started life in the mid-west has ended up back in it, and I have a new life in the mid-west with a dog whose original family tree came from the country of my birth. So, I guess you could call us both Afro-Americans! What a long and convoluted journey with a happy ending, well, in this case, a happy beginning.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Curtis Goes to School

Mr. Curtis attended his first class last evening and did just great. He was a little intimidated by the 6 other dogs but relaxed pretty quickly. We're starting with basics since we're not sure how much, if any, training he has had and are working towards a CGC and Therapy Dog certificate. One of the trainers thought he was an excellent candidate for Rally. They were very impressed with his attentiveness to me. Personally, I think he was watching me so intently due to the pocket full of treats I had on my possession:) They also had us incorporate the clicker. I'm not real comfortable with the clicker as it makes me have to do too many things at one time. I'm so used to the immediate praise, verbal, treat and touch, that adding me having to click something is asking alot. Has anyone ever done clicker training? I'm happy with the instructors and the total positive training method. They do not use the yank the leash method and would rather you use a regular collar.
I think the best part of the evening was when we got home. It was the first time Morgan and Curtis were separated since we brought Curtis home and the reunion was so cute. They acted like they hadn't seen each other in days. Hopefully, I'll have good reports for you each week.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bacari's Christmas

We recently moved to KY. Since home (the Gulf Coast) was too far away. Friends from TN came for a visit. Since Bacari is a puppy mill rescue dog, he is not is not really friendly w/ people (even if he has met them time and time again!). I was worried about how he was going to react w/ "strangers" coming over and staying for a few days.

Boy was I wrong- still cautious, but right in the middle of everything. As anyone who has been reading this blog knows- Bacari has decided that the couch is his throne. He sat on the couch the entire time- people coming in and out, opening gifts. He even let the" strangers" sit next to him and pet him. He was always aware of what was happening but was not worried a bit. It was nice to see a "normal" dog for once.

And for Babs in LA and Missy's mom and dad- check out Bacari in his new role as KING OF THE COUCH. Can you see the blanket I bought him to cover the couch so he can sit there all day long if he so desires (and he does!)?

Ridgebacks are truly a breed apart, but a rescued Ridgie is a true delight. It warms my heart (and I hope yours) to see Bacari being comfortable and "letting his hair down." I know it sounds absolutely silly to be thrilled that my dog sat on the couch during Christmas celebrations. But in the past this same dog would have bolted upstairs and stayed there until company left. It is a slow process but one that has been so rewarding w/ each little step.

This describes our adoption experience in a nutshell: TRIUMPH is defined as a little "UMPH" added to try!

Amanda and Bacari (AKA Couch Potato)

Those amazing canines....

I was awoken this morning by Cooper pawing at the floor of his metal crate and barking (which he rarely does); and Sabu jumping on the bed, whining and running back and forth to the door (which he usually only does when he's sick). I had let both dogs out to do their business around 11:00 PM so when all this started at 2:30 AM, I tried to say "Cooper no!" and "Sabu, go lay DOWN!" - um, admittedly progressively louder. But they wouldn't quit. So finally I am wide awake and as I stomp out through the kitchen and to the back door/mudroom (entrance to the basement), I hear this crazy loud whooshing sound. I let Sabu out, turn around to turn the basement lights on and saw standing water. In a millisecond, I knew what the dogs had been trying to tell me but what my thick head would not accept. Turns out the water heater had broken and water was gushing into the (finished) basement. When I had done all I could for the emergency until help arrived, I browned some ground sirloin and rice, then sat down with my dogs and fed them by hand. Amazing creatures, canines - and to think they paired up to GET me up still astounds.

THANK you, COOP and SABU! And THANK you to Beth for having faith in our adoption of Cooper. ~Melissa

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas to All

Hi everyone and Merry Christmas! Please enjoy a RRUS Christmas. Follow the link to our home page and click the Christmas icon. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Blogger

Okay everyone. The blog has been moved over to the New Blogger...We were pretty much going to be forced to do this soon anyways. Since I have no experience with this one, it will take me a few days to figure out the quirks and kinks in it. If you have problems, please email me at rrusblog @ yahoo . com and I will see what I can do.

Your Friendly Co moderator,


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pig Out

Well Scott and I both had long days at work today. He got home a few moments before me. I came through the door- kicked off my shoes and started my chores (which include feeding the dogs). I forgot Bacari in the laundry room- he eats in there so Nina Beans doesn't have a chance to steal his food. Scott asked why Bacari was in there- I answered b/c I just fed him. Then he pipes up that he fed the dogs as soon as he got home. Those little boogers- They acted as hungry as ever when I was scooping up the food. So they got double portions tonight- Merry Christmas from Mom and Dad.

For those who don't know- Nina Marie- AKA Beans is our alpha dog. She weighs only 20 pounds, has no teeth and rules the house like a dictator. Of course she is a rescue dog- one of those who defines what rescue is: taking a dog nobody wanted and w/ a little TLC, making her a dog that everyone dreams of owning. She may be small, black, and fluffy- but she read the Ridgeback manual. She is the biggest FOOD HOUND.

I'll attach a pic for your viewing pleasure. Bacari and Beans- the ODD couple for sure.

Have a great week- enjoy your family- 2 and 4 legged members!

Cooper the Bomb

Okay. So in case anyone was wondering, Cooper is the BOMB! He is by far the happiest creature I have ever met: always smiling, always nose sniffing something so loudly that you can hear him in another room. And then you hear a crunch - and go running to see whether it is a chew toy or a Christmas ornament. Since the apple spray, it's thanksfully not been the furniture or my children. Or the 6 pieces of bread sitting on the counter this morning that was half-made into sandwiches for my son's lunch. I left the counter for a HEARTBEAT! Turned around when I heard this intermittent vacuum exactly three times. By the time I realized what had happened it was too late! My first pass at Zeke's lunch - denied! Then he looks at me, smiles, and runs to his crate to sit down and wag his tail. Thump. Thump. Thump. Sheepish grin. "Can I come back out now?" or: "Mind if I burp?" LOL. But he is just so HAPPY that his energy is infectious. Seriously. This guy chases his tail: yes, chases his tail - it's hilarious! And he's still such a puppy at 23 months that he actually sprawls into quarters when he falls outside; and he has this superdog pose where his hind legs are stretched straight out behind him. Physically, how can he do that?!? It's hilarious! And he's so happy to be with his people ... he's awesome. Coop's actually taught Sabu a few things too - but good things: like how to chew a bone, for instance. Sabu's teeth (and his breath, incidentally) were noxious before Coop. I tried everything including brushing and nothing other than the every other year visit to the vet for a dental cleaning worked to get his teeth clean. Then Came Cooper. Who taught Sabu how to covet one's bones - and then to chew on them while lying nose to nose to your buddy. The buddy that you JUST conned into a game of ear chewing - just long enough to overtake the prime spot on the doggie bed next to mom. Do you know what is the best thing about Cooper? He lets the kids open his mouth to get out whatever it is he has stolen from them or the Christmas tree: without a rumble or any real resistance. Worth his weight in gold, out Frat Boy. But I ramble. And it's WAY past time for bed. Sweet dreams of sugarplums, everyone!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sabu & Cooper Pics

Sabu taking a break from running:

Cute as a button ....

"ME?!? You're calling ME?!?! Yippee!"
Good boys....


My senior RR, Sabu (9 almost 10) is the big brother to Cooper who has been home going on two months. His nose was CLEARLY out of joint for the new family member, especially because the new family member didn't really want to listen to him telling him "no". They've been going out separately to do their business, unless I've had extra time to supervise them or take them to the park to run together. So play time has been almost entirely spent with Sabu getting bowled over by Cooper. Literally! To complicate matters, Sabu has soreness and stiffness from an old back injury that we effectively treat with supplements. Sabu's soreness has caused this alpha male to be vulnerable - a role with which he is clearly not comfortable. The boys are almost matched in terms of weight - around 95 pounds each - but Sabu carries his weight in his body whereas Cooper carries it in his bone structure - and lower. In short, Sabu is no match for Cooper physically - even if he were completely healthy. So it's been a challenge to take turns with the dogs, and I've been hoping they would learn to play more nicely together since the beginnning.

Last week we had a breakthrough: I was outside in the yard with both dogs and of course, Cooper was trying to get a jousting game going. To my surprise, I saw what can only be described as Sabu TEACHING Cooper how he wanted him to play with him: he would snap and run at him when Cooper grasped his back - and drop his front end and run when Cooper went airborne to joust - effectively causing him to sprawl on the ground. A few times of this, and the dogs were doing more of the open mouth, neck thing - and then chasing each other. Sabu is funny: he is still pretty agile from all our years of running together, so he is quick: darting to and fro - while Cooper is like a steam engine: big, powerful and coming right at you! He has taken more nose dives - and is such a good sport about it - that it is funny.

ANYWAY! Today we are decorating our Christmas tree and so I supervised the dogs outside together this morning to get them tired. They came in, had breakfast and were laying around and so I let them outside again while the kids and I got started on our tree. They were tired of jousting and were just sniffing around the yard when I left them. I went back a few minutes ago to check on them and found Sabu, with toy in his mouth, trying to get Cooper to chase him. This would not be significant except Sabu basically has ignored any toy or fake bone I've bought for him over the last 6 years (except for this groundhog toy which my little parrot learned to mimic and drive him crazy but that's another story...). So as they were chasing each other - BOTH like puppies with tails wagging, front legs on the grounds and bums in the air - I finally, FINALLY smiled! They like each other! Whoo hoo! When Sabu turned around and saw me, for the first time since Cooper's come home I saw playfulness in his eyes instead of worry. So. It's all good here in West Michigan. Just wanted to share this story for those who might believe in their hearts that their existing canines will come to like the new one; but don't see any evidence right away. Here's hoping the bonding continues....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Persistent Little Buggers, Aren't They

I had to share this with all of you because only dog lovers, Ridgebacks lovers in particular, will appreciate it.
We have 2 large crates with very cushy pads in the family room, and 2 Premier Fido Fleece beds (you know the really expensive ones) in our bedroom. Well, being the sucker Mom that I am, I decided that Morgan and Curtis needed something to lay on in the family room besides their crates. So I purchased some cheap ($24.00) beds from WalMart. You would have thought they had died and gone to heaven. So much so that when it was time for bed, Morgan, who never gave us problems before, kept pacing and whining in the bedroom.
The first night I thought she needed to go out, so I pulled on my coat over my jammies and off we went. Nope...that wasn't it. Back up in the room she huffed and puffed and we finally yelled, "Lay Down"! This went on for a few more nights and was beginning to really get on my nerves.
The light bulb went on...sometimes it takes us humans a bit too long. It's the beds I bet. So I brought the cheapo beds up in bedroom and put the expensive ones in the family room. Low and behold, Morgan gave me a huff and looked at me like, "What took you so long." We've been sleeping soundly ever since.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Nora AKA Ellie

Welcome home Ellie, Hi everyone my name is Becca and my family just adopted Ellie from RRUS. Some of you may have seen her picture on the adoption page her name was Nora, We changed it to Eleanor but call her Ellie. To make a really long story short and because I have a 9 month old demanding my attention I will tell you we had a good trip from FL to tenn. to get her and she has turned out to be a wonderful little girl. She is very good in the house and she loves to cuddle up on your lap, yes on your lap all 48lbs of her. She gets along very well with Sammy our 11 year old Ausi Mix. and the kids adore her. She does chew a bit like all puppies but that was to be expected as she is only 10 months old. She sits and stays most of the time and even knows her new name already. She is a real sweet little girl, I have seen the pictures of Mr Curtis, Evelyn said that he and Nora (AKA Ellie)were best friends rescued together. Tell Curtis Ellie said hello, she's loving Sammy now but im sure she remembers him. Enjoy the pics and I will keep every one updated on Ellie.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Katoula - Wanna Play?

Introducting Katoula! She came into our lives and stole our hearts from the moment we saw her. It's hard to believe that when we first met Katoula in September she was a shy girl. Very different from our first beloved Ridgie, Solomon, who was Mr. Outgoing and known by everyone in our neighborhood. He died of cancer this summer and we knew we had to bring another RR into our family to make it complete.
Enter sweet, spunky, shy Katoula. We enrolled in obedience training right away, as I wanted to make sure that I was not reinforcing Katoula's fears. With the encouragement of many treats, praises and friends, her shyness and fears melted away. It has been rewarding to see her blossom and grow. She is confident, like RR's should be, and now she just wants to have fun. And lay in front of the fireplace, sniff everything when we go on walks, re-make our beds (apparently we don't know how to properly make them), respectfully hog the bed each night, snuggle, kiss and greet every dog she sees. Katoula even greets the people!
We are so thankful for RRUS -they matched us with the perfect dog.
Does anybody wanna play?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Free Belly Rubs Accepted Here

Mr. Curtis is always ready for a belly rub. He's even smiling for you in this picture. Can you tell he has no shame? What a goof ball:)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lucy the sun goddess

My husband and I recently got back from a 2 week vacation where Lucy stayed with Grandma and Grandpa. The last time we went away Lucy had to be boarded and she was not happy with that experience, she ran out of the place like a bat out of hell. Now that my parents fenced in their yard (just for Lucy, aren't they good grandparents, lol) she was able to stay with them. She has perfected the art of wrapping her Grandma around her little paw. Lucy takes possession of their couch and they don't try to move her. On her recent trip she discovered the bench by the window in her pursuit of the sun and I had to share the picture. This is why I call her my sun goddess, she will do anything to bask in the sunlight. She even travels with the sun across the living room floor. Does everyone else's ridgies do the same thing or is it just a dog thing? I can't get enough of her, the expressions are the best, one of the reasons we went with a Ridgeback. She must have figured she was never told not to go there so why not. Grandma and Grandpa's house get lots of good sunlight so she loves it there, she barely gave me a second glance when I first left her there. Of course, when my husband and I arrived to pick her up she was very excited to see us, hopping and running and grabbing toys. We were just as happy after a long trip to see her too.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Super Duper Cooper

Hey Melis, I thought I'd post a pic of Coop from when he was here in foster care so everyone can see his mug (since they've already got a good look at his silly belly from the crate pic you posted!). Remember this pic of your lovernose? That wrinkled RR brow is just the best...and I am sure you see this look once or twice a day now "what ma? it wasn't me, Sabu did it"!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bacari learns to Read

No- this not a children's book. It's more of the saga that is living w/ Bacari. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you are probably aware of the B-Man. He's my BIG LUG, my beloved Ridgeback who was adopted from RRUS nearly 2 years ago. WOW- has it really been that long? Back on track-

When anyone meets Bacari I am quick to point out that he looks like a Ridgeback but does not act like one. I always joke w/them saying he has not read the Ridgeback Manual on how he is supposed to act.

Well someone must have slipped him a copy. Biscuit (one of the dogs from Bacari's foster home who represents the breed better than any other dog I know)- was that you?!? :)) Previously he has completed some of the most popular chapters- countersurfing 101, Crotch Sniffing for Dummies.

Today I guess he decided that being headstrong was one of his duties. I came home to find him on the couch- he normally does not even attempt to get up there. So I asked him to come off- he did after I had to lead him down. then proceed to jump right back up there when I turned my back. Once again he was lead off the couch. Hours past- my husband came home from work and settled down in front of the tube, relaxing on the couch.

I was busy in another room- when I heard my husband asking me when did we start allowing Bacari on the furniture. I told him never, turned around to see. There he was- Mr. BooBoo sitting on the couch AGAIN. Peering over the back of the couch, saying, "Is it OK when Daddy is up here?" Wow what a little stinker!

Life w/ any dog is fun but sharing your home w/ a Ridgeback is a true treat!

Curtis Learns Manners With Annie the Cat

We had a minor breakthrough today with Curtis and Annie the cat. After 2 weeks of Annie hiding in the basement I decided a little intervention was needed and ... I miss her. I brought Annie upstairs to break the ice so to speak. Curtis was very fixed on her, which is what we're working on. I made him sit and every time he got that "look" I corrected him with an "ah ah". I then would walk towards him and make him back up. He listens so well and did exactly what I asked of him. He finally laid in his bed with me standing over him holding the cat. I gently pushed him over on his side with my foot and gave him a belly rub with my foot while holding the cat. Did I mention I'm a multi tasker:) Too bad nobody was here to take a picture of that. The whole time this is going on, Morgan just kept sleeping in her tight little ridgeback ball. You all know the position when 70 pounds of RR turns into the size of a basketball. Anyway, Mr. Curtis was a perfect gentleman. When I turned to let Annie back to the safety of the basement, Curtis tried to follow. I told him to sit and wait, which he did. I was so proud of him. Imagine the self control it took for him to do that. Then we celebrated. Morgan loves this part. We celebrate a lot around here lately...every time Curtis poops or pees outside, or comes when he's called, we celebrate and Morgan joins in dancing around Curtis and licking his ears. It's fun and Curtis just puffs up with pride. So, today was a good day and we are one step closer to our "pack" being whole again. Besides, I miss my purr box lulling me to sleep.