Pet of the Month: Petunia, Part 2

Continued from Pet of the Month:  Petunia, Part 1

So, why am I still here after all these months?  Let’s be frank here - I’m a big girl.  Those little dogs get adopted much faster as do the medium sized dogs.  They get away with much more than the bigger ones do too.

I’m a proud curvy and very muscular 80-something pound diva-tomboy.  I’m compact!  I’m actually shorter in height and length than my very lean 69 pound foster brother (width not so much).

Secondly, I have a blocky head.  Some folks hold some reservations about us blocky head dogs- I can’t help how I look!

I also need to be the only furkid in the house.  Yep, I live with a super laid back male dog but I’d prefer not .  And that factors into why I don’t like to be at adoption events.  There is a lot of chaos going on and frankly, some humans let their dogs run up to me and I get nervous.

The tomboy in me!  I love being silly!
Lastly, I came into foster care when I was about 1½ years old - those are the juvenile/teenage years in dogs when even a well- raised puppy struggles with impulse control and pushes the envelope.  Mom suspects that I never had the puppyhood that I should have had nor did I learn many manners either. She also suspects I must’ve made the humans I once lived with mad because it’s obvious I’m frightened if you yell at or punish me harshly.  This kind of negative reinforcement will only damage our relationship and bond.  All that coupled with my size made me a very misunderstood girl.  Have you ever been misunderstood?

Luckily, all those super-sized kisses I gave my mom the evening she picked me up from the pound really showed her how big my heart really is.  How was I supposed to learn what to do if no one taught me?  If I was only scolded when I did something wrong, how was I supposed to know the right thing to do?

Not having rules or boundaries is kinda stressful for us dogs.  We actually like to know what to do and how to do it. Anything else leaves a world of uncertainty and can create anxiety. I was fairly anxious as I was learning to live with rules and boundaries, even though I knew that’s ultimately what I wanted. What a relief to have someone taking care of things!

What can I say?
I LOVE pink and I definitely love a good cause!
It was obvious I wasn't exposed to very much before.  I didn't know how to walk on a leash - I tried to chase the cars and bark at the large mailboxes on the street.  It didn't take long to understand the walking thing.  When I was in the house, I would hear the slightest noise outside and bark and get myself so worked up I couldn't stop barking even though I couldn't remember what I was barking at.

During the transition to my foster home, it took a few days to trust my foster mom wouldn't put me in dangerous situations.  But soon, I felt safe that she was leading me in the right direction.  Through it all, I've always been very loving and have slobbered Mom with kisses while taking in this new way of living.  She even lugged me out of town to her family’s house a few times and I exuberantly loved everyone there.  And, as always, they loved me too even though they proclaim not to be dog-people and I’m a lotta dog!

I was even adopted out to a family with four kids and they loved me and I loved them but they did not have the time to dedicate to me so I came back to my very dedicated foster mom.

Being adorable, playing
with my toy outside
A few months ago, I heard this sound that I used to be afraid of, The Clicker.   Mom has amped up my training.  Now I’m always eager to hear The Clicker.  If you’re not familiar, The Clicker reinforces the good things that I do at the very moment I do them.  Sometimes when I’m out in the yard, I start to bark as strangers walk their dogs by, but Mom calls me back and I know if I go it’s a good thing and I love to do good things.  One day, I even heard a couple say “that is amazing” when I ran back to mom as they passed with their dog.  Sometimes I don’t bark at all. I don’t bark at dogs on walks or care too much about them, even when the pack of little barkers are walking too!  If I get distracted by something, that’s when the “let’s go” command is important.  Ya know how I said I use to bark all the time at things outside?  Well, now I know I have better things to do.  Even the tree trimmers were here today with saws and the chipper and I thought napping was more important.  I still bark at the UPS guy and some other pertinent things so you can feel safe but then I stop!  Yep, it’s true!

I've been in foster care for a long time but I’m ready for my new home.  Transitioning to my new furever home is going to be great!  Mom can teach you all the words I know so you can jump right in.  I really just want a human or few to hang to spend time with.

There are still some areas I haven’t had the opportunity to practice as much as we’d like but I’m a good learner.  I still have times when I act like a puppy, mostly when I get excited and that’s why I need someone who will understand that.

You might think 'Well it sounds like your foster mom does?  You seem to have it made at your foster home!  Why would you want to leave?'

Being adorable again.  Posing in 'my chair.'
My mom loves me so much but my foster home is really not the best place for me to be and I'll tell you why.  I've done so well here and it’s quite impressive because it’s really not the best place.  You see, because I prefer my space with dogs, I only have a small area of the house where I’m allowed when my foster brother is here.  Some days I don’t see much of Mom, aside from walks or playing ball and some training. I sit all alone cuddled up in chair (that she gave me permission to use); it makes me sad and makes her feel bad because I just want to be with my people.  On busy days when I don't get to see as much of her, she makes it a point to lay down with me at night. I love that!

It’s amazing I’ve accomplished as much as I have given the circumstances.  When my foster brother is not home, I get the run of the house, and I get to pretend what it’s like to be in a forever home where I can check to see what my humans are up to, give them some love, and just be around.

Do you know anyone that would love to have a dog like me?  I really need to start learning in my new home soon. I know my foster brother is having some health issues and Mom really needs to focus on getting him
healthy. I also heard she has some travel coming up and if I don’t have a home, I don’t know where I’ll go.

I’m a sweet baby girl and I know my furever home is out there somewhere . . . can you help me find it?

If you would like to know more about and/or meet Petunia please see her listing on Paws and Prayers Adoptable Dogs and fill out an adoption application for Petunia today!

National Feral Cat Day 2012

Today is National Feral Cat Day. National Feral Cat Day was founded by the Alley Cat Allies to promote the humane cure for feral cats. Paws & Prayers is celebrating National Feral Cat Day with a chip-in campaign for Paws & Prayers Cat Medical Program to assist in spays, neuters, and vaccinations for feral cats in our community. Please ChipIn below!

Feral Cats 101
Feral cats are defined as cats being born and raised in the wild. Feral cats can also be recognized as cats that were abandoned and turned to wild ways for survival. Feral cats endure weather extremes (heat, cold, snow, and rain), starvation, infection, and attacks by other animals.

Feral cats typically live in groups known as colonies. Some feral cats live in managed colonies with a caretaker who provides spay/neuter services, feeding, and proper shelter.

Stray vs. Feral
Feral cats are raised in the wild or become adaptive to feral life. Stray cats are defined as someone’s pet that has become lost or abandoned. Stray cats are tame and comfortable with people versus feral cats who are distant and quiet.

Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR)
Trap- neuter- release (TNR) is the method of humanely trapping, spay/neutering, vaccinating, and returning feral cats to their colony. TNR involves a caretaker to monitor health and provide food and shelter. TNR is the least costly and most efficient way of stabilizing feral cat populations. By stabilizing populations TNR also lowers the risk of disease for feral cats.

Celebrate National Feral Cat Day with Paws & Prayers
Celebrate National Feral Cat Day 2012 with Paws & Prayers by participating in our chip-in campaign to help care for the feral cats in our community. Please ChipIn below! 


Pet of the Month: Petunia, Part 1

Hi there!  I’m Petunia!  Most likely you've seen my picture if you frequent the Paws & Prayers Adoptable Dog page.  I've been in foster care for quite some time. I was asked to write ‘a day in the life’ of Petunia, but I figured people were more curious about dogs that seem to be around forever.  I assume you wonder what is ‘wrong’ with us.  Really, it’s ok to admit that.  There are various reasons that dogs don’t get adopted as readily as others.  My foster mom says it can be because some are older, some need more training, some have special needs, some look a certain way. etc.  But, I can only tell you about me . . .

My foster mom thinks I’m about the sweetest dog in the world!  Sometimes she can’t stop squeezing and kissing me and squeezing me some more.  Luckily, my body structure can handle it and the love feels so good so I don’t mind at all.
On a hike with my foster mom.

I love being with my people.  It doesn't matter what we do; we can go for walks and runs, I can sit and watch you clean, we can play ball together, or I will lay at your feet while you work or cuddle sooo close to you if you let me.  I think I’m a lapdog and somehow I make it work.  I’m just a people kinda dog.  I love to chew my toys while lying over your lap or your feet or anywhere you'll let me lay on you - I just want to touch you!

Even though I love my peoples, I do just fine being alone and don’t have any separation issues so you can come and go as you please.  I pick up on routines and expectations easily as long as you teach me positively and consistently.  I walk and jog very well on a leash and I sit at the street corners to let cars go past. Not gonna lie, sometimes those rabbits and squirrels can be a random distraction (Mom is working with me on this).  I get several compliments on my leash skills and what an awesome and cute dog I am.  No kidding, people literally roll down their car windows and say so!

Showing my diva side!
Mom has a new expectation this week that whenever she stops walking I need to sit immediately, not just at the street corners.  We've only started this a couple days ago and I’m doing very well.  Mom says training never stops and her own dog, who is a registered therapy dog, confirms this (we've had a few conversations).

Training is cool!  Most of the time I never even know it’s happening.  I just get recognized for being good, doing what’s asked of me, or learning what I shouldn't be doing by being taught what I should be doing. Pretty simple, huh? “Water the Flowers, Not the Weeds” is my mom’s motto.  A professor of her’s once said this and she recently found out it’s the title of a book about building all types of relationships.  Go ahead and Google it.  I hope it makes sense to you, if it doesn't already.

Anyhoo, I also have learned 'come,' 'sit,' ‘wait,’ 'let's go,’ 'stay,' ‘watch me,' and ‘down’ in a structured setting. ‘ Come,' ‘Watch Me,’ ‘Wait’ and ‘Let’s Go’ are very important to me.  Oh, I also know 'crate' and 'basement' too!
"I've got this one!"
Hmmm, what else about me?  I love to play ball and can jump so high to catch the ball.  Well, I only catch it about 70% of the time, but this is something we are perfecting!  I quickly figured out all by myself that another ball doesn't get thrown until I drop the one in my mouth.  Mom says I’m so smart!  I've also been using my brain and trying agility weave poles.  I’m quite the tomboy and a girly diva all at the same time.  I get the ‘zoomies’ a few times a week when I run around the yard as fast as I can and spin around.  Then I bound in the house and I’m ready to snuggle up.

I LOVE snoozing by the heat vent!
Mom turned on the furnace recently and being in front of the heat is my favorite place to be.  It’s so cozy!  I try hard to keep my eyes open but it’s just so relaxing my eyes get too heavy to stay open.  I even fell asleep while chewing my toy today though I heard Mom giggle and take a picture.

Here I've worn myself out
chewing on my squeaky toy.
I keep busy while Mom is at work by chewing or squeaking my toys or napping.  I sleep quietly all through the night; many times I’m not even crated (though I do like my crate).  I love when I see my mom in the morning, I wag my tail but don’t get up because I know she’s coming over to snuggle for a few minutes before I really have to get up.  She thinks it’s darn funny when I start stretching and yawning as I’m quite vocal with my yawns. It just feels so good to get stretched out after being curled up all night!  Belly rubs feel good too!

I sound like a pretty wonderful pup, huh?  I am, and I’ll be even better when I get a home to call my own. How could I still possibly be in desperate need of a home?

Stay tuned to hear more from Petunia herself with her Pet of the Month:  Petunia, Part 2 post later this week!

If you would like to know more about and/or meet Petunia please see her listing on Paws and Prayers Adoptable Dogs and fill out an adoption application for Petunia today!