Thursday, August 6, 2009


Stray dog we found and named Charlie

Have you ever met an animal that just seems determined to worm its way into your life?

That's kind of how Charlie is turning out to be. I went with my mom today to take him to the shelter, and I just couldn't do it. I broke down and started crying, and they said they'd hold the spot for another day to give us a little longer to think about it. The advantage of this way is, even if we still decide to give him up, Michael will be able to go with me tomorrow, so I'll have a little support when I get emotional.


In the meantime, friends and family have been offering a lot of opinions as to what his breeding could be. He looks quite lab-like in the face at times, but not all the time. And his lean torso and long legs have led several people to suggest that maybe he's a lab/greyhound mix.

Lab mix

Lab mix

The changes in Charlie's personality over the last 36 hours are fascinating to watch. He seemed to fit in with our other two dogs right from the beginning, but now he is starting to try to play with Emma. He doesn't really know how, but he's trying.

He's also learning. Already he's understanding simple commands like down, back, go lie down, no, and even sit. (For some reason sit took the longest.) He has also figured out cute little things, such as pushing his nose into my hand when he wants attention. He's really responsive to praise — he absolutely eats it up — and although he is still a bit unsure of people at times, he is learning to trust.

He is fascinated by our cats, but not aggressive with them. He chases them if they run away, but when I held the male cat for him (the one that's better with dogs) he sniffed him, licked his foot, and was really gentle. I think with some training he would stop trying to chase them.

Unfortunately, he's still a flight risk. When you go outside with him it's like he turns into a different dog. We have to take him out on a leash, even in the backyard, because he can cross the yard and scale the fence before you're even out the door all the way. And every once in a while, he pitches a fit about going back into the house, sitting down and pulling back so that I worry about him pulling out of the collar.

It breaks my heart that such a good dog as this one, who should have been loved and trained from the very beginning, would have had such a rough start to life. It's perfectly clear that he has had no training, no exposure to other dogs and cats, and has probably spent a lot of his life outside — whether in a backyard or on the run, I don't know. Someone cared enough to trim his toenails, but not enough to feed, train, or neuter him. What's up with that?

Luckily, he's still young, very smart, and extremely receptive to praise and attention. With love and training (and neutering), he is going to make someone a very loyal, loving pet. The training is absolutely imperative, though. The way he is, he's probably too much dog for many people, and to fix that problem he will require more training than the average person wants to give a new dog. But for anyone who is willing to devote themselves to him, I think he will be just as devoted in return.



At August 6, 2009 at 11:24 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

Oh it would be so hard to take him to a shelter, it sounds like he wants to be a good boy. What a dilema, I dont know what I would do.

At August 7, 2009 at 9:55 AM, Blogger Confused Equestrian said...

I would be so clueless about what to do. I know I would not be able to take such a sweet dog to a shelter.

Maybe you could ask around with your relatives or friends [Ones that you know are good with dogs] if they would be willing to take in a dog. After all that way you would know where the dog is going and you could visit him whenever :)

At August 7, 2009 at 12:15 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Hey my friendly commenters :o)

Just wanted to let you know that we decided to take him in to the shelter. I will blog more about that and our reasons later today, after we take him in. In the meantime, rest assured that we are taking him to the best no-kill shelter in the city -- not one of those scary, sad, overcrowded places -- and I have confidence that he will very quickly find a home. We are also going to keep tabs on him via the shelter's website and phone calls, and if he doesn't get adopted within a month or so, we will probably reconsider our decision and find a way to make it work.


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