Saturday, November 28, 2015

Front Porch Dog Sitting

Picture of my dog Valentino sitting on the front porch at night.
Yes, my coonhound is a porch dog!

By day or by night there is no more blessed sight than that of my dog Valentino sitting by my side on the front porch of our home watching our world go by.

A year ago I brought Valentino home as a foster dog. (Of course that led to our adoption of one another!) I captured a photo of Valentino taking the steps up to our deck that first time. The fear in his eyes was apparent as he hesitated that day, though it would not take long for my new best friend to easily adapt to new surroundings—as long as I was nearby. He has learned to trust that I will not ask him to go anywhere that might hold a frightful experience for him.

My dog Valentino camped out at the tent door.
In our travels, Valentino became a tent dog for a couple of months when we moved from Florida to Ohio. He settled in nicely to camping out and enjoyed soaking up a bit o' sunshine on the mat at the door of our tent.

Living in a tent made for some of the best days of our lives together and will forever remain as some of my favorite memories of sharing good times with great friends.

Ruthi and Valentino sitting on the front porch.
Nowadays my dog and I have moved on up to apartment living in a rural town in central Ohio. We live right in the downtown atmosphere and together we enjoy sitting on our front porch. No matter the weather we spend a bit of our time each day watching the life of the city go by.

We have yet to sit on the porch in the snow. As we face our first northern winter together, I am thinking Valentino would appreciate a heated dog mat for that rather than the cold of a snow-covered concrete porch!

Rainy day window view of me and my dog Valentino.
Valentino is mesmerized by our reflection in the front room window as we sit on the porch steps on a rainy day.

Interestingly, this dog has always shown an intense interest when seeing his mirrored image. I guess he is as impressed with himself as I am of him!

Yes, we have come a long way from foster dog to our adopt-a-dog day and now we look forward to many more days of front porch sitting together.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lost and Found Dog and Owner Reunited

A beauty of a brindle boxer breed of dog unexpectedly joined me on my front porch today. Fortunately this lost dog was a friendly fellow and was wearing his collar and a tag with his name and phone number.

I had just returned home for a break between lunch and dinner shifts at work and was collecting my mail from the mailbox before going inside the house. I sat for a moment to sift through the mail and to my surprise this dog came right up the porch steps to greet me! Pretty sure he was not aggressive, I slowly reached for the tag on his collar. The tag gave his name -- Bentley -- and, as luck would have it, there was a phone number  engraved with his name.

I gently grabbed Bentley by his collar and walked him down the porch stairs to my car parked on the street curb right in front of the house. I keep a spare leash in my car for my dog Valentino and it sure came in handy as I held this lost dog and dialed the number on his collar. No answer... Hmmm.

I opted to walk Bentley in the neighborhood and see if I could find someone looking for him. Sure enough, within minutes I heard a gal calling out, "Bentley!"

Lost and found dog and owner were reunited!

My good dog deed for the day is done. Now it is time for me to walk my dog Valentino and return to work on time.

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Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and may earn commissions via purchases made through links in this article.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Unlikely Friendship: Dog and Cat Walk Together

Dog and cat walk together.
Unlikely friendships are often experienced among pets and animals as well as humans.

My dog Valentino is experiencing just that with the stray cats in our neighborhood. But of course, this is another learning experience for me as well.

As Valentino and I take our daily walks, we come across many stray and feral cats in the neighborhood. Each sighting of a cat is an opportunity for me to teach my dog not to react aggressively toward the stray. This has not been the easiest of dog training tasks for me and Valentino, as he is a coonhound with a strong prey instinct and sees cats as prey. To make our walks less frustrating for us both, I work diligently with my dog for him to become less reactive to approaching felines.

On recent walks, one stray cat has made this task a bit easier for my dog and me. For some odd reason, this particular cat wants to walk along with us! As you can see (click the image for a larger view) Valentino lags behind me on his lead, turning to see if his unlikely friend is still following us. My dog no longer has an aggressive reaction to this cat--no bark, no wish to chase or to bite and the cat exhibits no fright.

While I would like to think this budding friendship of cat and dog walking together is the result of our training, I must give most of the credit to the critters. It is my thought that this cat has grown accustomed to seeing this dog in its territory and the dog no longer barks at the cat or pulls me into chase mode when it crosses our path so the cat sees no reason to run and hide from the dog. I get the feeling it is now a matter of trust between the two of them.

My dog Valentino and this stray cat may become like Milo and Otis with many more neighborhood adventures to share. Who knows what the future holds in store for these newfound friends.

Our Cat Reactive Dog Training Tips

  1. Keep the dog on a leash while walking.
  2. When approaching a cat, command the dog to "Wait" at the first sign of aggressive reactivity. (This command works for me, but you can use whatever command works best for you and your dog.)
  3. Lavish praise on the dog immediately upon subdued focus on the cat.
  4. Tell the dog "It's OK" and continue walking the dog in a direction away from the stray.

While I am not an expert dog trainer, this system has worked wonders for me and Valentino. He rarely attempts to pull me into chase-the-cat mode now and even his barking at the strays is a rare reaction to their presence as we take our neighborhood walks.

Dog Pawsitive Tidbits: No matter our differences, treating others with trust and respect may help us form unlikely friendships.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunshine and Shadows

Valentino and Ruthi enjoy a bit of autumn sunshine.
I spoke with a dear friend on the telephone last evening and promised her a bit o' sunshine today. I had planned to use a specific photo of my dog Valentino, in fact I even mentioned the photo to my friend in our conversation. Instead, I opted for these images I share here today, mostly because they are pictures of me and Valentino enjoying the sunshine in our back yard ... Together, which my friend would understand, for she helped make it so.

Something I have learned is that we cannot have sunshine without shadows, much like no roses without thorns. Life itself is as simple as that fact. I am learning that to appreciate the bits of sunshine that make their way into my every day, I must also appreciate the dark shadows cast alongside the sunlight.

The Sunshine Shadow Dogs have taught me much about living life to its fullest. It is through the god-dog that I am able and driven to spread a bit o' sunshine another's way. My friend is in need of a bit o' sunshine today, so...

Nancy, this one's for you!

Valentino and Ruthi in a bit o' sunshine.

Dog Pawsitive Tidbit for today: Life lives in the shadows of sunshine!


We have linked our sunshine and shadows up with BlogPaws today for Wordless Wednesday!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Morning Snooze

Images of sleeping dogs seem to capture my dream-chasing attention best. Naturally, I am most charmed by pictures of my hound dog Valentino as he lay sleeping. This Sunday morning snooze was no exception to that rule.

Instead of waking at our usual time we stayed in bed together, long past my going-to-church time. Did we snooze and lose? I think not. Losing track of time snuggled up warm and comfy together was time well spent.

Once we finally rose to take a morning walk it seemed neither of us had much energy. Valentino jumped right back into bed, chasing kitty cats in his dog dreams, perhaps. I snapped a picture or two of him doing just that and chased my own dreams in my mind while gazing at my sleeping dog. Again, time well spent.

Sometimes our moments of relaxation are the quiet contemplation needed upon which our spirits will feed. Another Sunday morning for church-goers shall come to pass. On this day, Valentino and I are content being dreamchasers.

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Zazzle and may earn income based on purchases made through links in this article.