Summer in the City

Well summer weather has arrived in the GTA, it feels almost as if we bypassed spring and went right into summer, which I personally don’t mind at all!  Those who do mind however; are my dogs!

When Dupont was alive, he hated the heat, so much so I would get his lovely long coat shaved down every spring so he could continue to enjoy his hikes and not get slowed down by the heat.  As he aged and his mobility became more of an issue than the heat, I kept his fur in tact and we would just head to the nearby creek for a dip in the cool water before laying down under a tree in the shade.

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Shaved down Dupont.

In October 2014, I unexpectedly found myself adopting Flipflop.  Oh what a dream, I thought, a dog from Bahamas would surely love the summer and hate the bitter cold winters we have here!

I was surprised when I saw that Flipflop, even as a puppy, didn’t mind the cold at all, he loved being out in the snow and using his Frisbee as a toboggan to slide down hills (he was much smaller than he is now his first winter!).  Sadly, Dupont passed away that winter, and although to say I missed him is a huge understatement, I also knew life had to go on. So as winter left I geared up with excitement that Flipflop and I would have such a wonderful summer with long walks in the glorious sunshine.

It was that summer I learned that just because a dog is from a warm climate, does not mean they enjoy a warm climate!  Flipflop hated the heat and to make it even worse, he was petrified of water, a fear he grew out of his second summer and now enjoys romps in the creeks and lakes on our summer outings.

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Unlike Dupont, Flipflop all ready has a short coat so shaving him to make him comfortable wasn’t an option.  So, I started a new summer routine,  one we still use 3 years later, in the mornings before the extreme heat arrives, we go for a long walk and enjoy rolls in the grass and take our time exploring the neighbourhood.  As the temperture rises and heat increases Flipflop is in the comfort of his air conditioned home and quite content.  And the rest of the day consists of quick outings to relieve himself and if he insists, a little layout under the shade of a tree.  Something he does that is so similar to how I spent so many days with Dupont, it warms my heart.

Dahlia, from Florida, is also anti-heat and an older dog.  Dahlia doesn’t care to be outside if the temperature is above 15 degrees, this makes her a lot more challenging to work with.  But just like with Dupont and with Flipflop, I found a technique that works for her.  Dahlia comes out with us in the morning for a short walk, usually about 20 minutes, long enough for her to relieve herself and lay in the grass.  Then we walk her back home, where she happily runs to her bed and Flipflop (and foster if there is one) and I continue our walk.

It’s not ideal on weekday mornings when I have to get to work, but I know the importance of not forcing a dog to be out in the heat, especially if they are sensitive to it.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day – Ben Post 3

It’s a beautiful day here in downtown Mississauga, the sun is shining, birds are singing and dogs are sleeping!!  While most mom’s get flowers and/or dinner made for them on this day, my kids took me to the dog park.  Granted, my kids have paws and fur!!

We started our morning with a quick drive to Jack Darling Memorial Park, where the dogs gleefully got out of the car, knowing they’d be off leash soon.

We barely made it inside the park when Flipflop and Ben happily took off playing with a new four legged friend. Dahlia, true to her nature, didn’t leave my side, that is until she spotted an area of grass that was too good to resist rolling on.

As we made our way through the park the boys smiled, ran and played the whole time, while Dahlia lazed in the shade and occasionally got up to give the boys heck.  As I watched the boys engage in play with each other and random dogs who came and went, I took note of the changes in Ben in just the few weeks I’ve had him.

Ben no longer barked at people as the went by or tried to pet him, he happily ran up to them, although would back away if they went in to pet him, he didn’t growl.  He showed no fear or concern over those around us, he was full of play and confidence.

Unlike before where he didn’t seem to know what to do and would randomly just follow dogs, Ben was engaged. He would say hi to every dog and start a game of chase with some, others he would wrestle with, and some he would just say hi to and keep going.

Flipflop enjoyed joining Ben in the play and occasionally coming to lay by Dahlia, enjoying the shade and the grass.

We ended play at the park with an unexpected cool down in a large puddle, that all three of the dogs partook in.  Flipflop ran and splashed around as Ben joyfully did the same, looking for a spot deep enough to swim (there was none).  Dahlia calmly waded in the water, cooling herself before getting out to lay in the dirt.

Everyone was exhausted and content and ready to head home.  It was without a doubt a great start to our day, and although my kids will never buy me flowers or make me dinner, I wouldn’t trade being their furmom (and foster mom) for anything in this world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mom’s out there!

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Ben – Post 2

I’ve been fostering for about a year and a half now and have to say, aside from the emotions that are involved, the meet and greet has to be my least favourite part.  Some times they are lovely, I meet amazing people and my dogs are respected and understood and then there’s the other times, when the energy of the people and the dog just don’t work.

I saw it with Lucy and now with Ben.  While I admire and respect those who wish to rescue, obviously I’m an advocate for it, unless you understand dogs, stick with puppies (and yes you can rescue puppies).

Ben, my adorable lab-x foster, as playful as he is cute and so snugly.  When he’s not playing Ben is curled up next to me.  Ben is young, still a puppy, he still mouths and chews and explores everything. Ben will also bark and/or growl if he’s unsure of someone and they approach him too quickly.

Ben had his first meet & greet and everyone was so excited to meet him.  The family started calling Ben all at once and approaching him in a way he felt threatened.  Ben immediately barked and I explained he is a bit unsure with meeting new people.  The family then started to respect Ben’s boundaries but one member of the family remained nervous of Ben. Despite the fact Ben happily lazed around me during the meet and greet and would let calm family members pet him, Ben was still extremely aware of the energy in the room from the person who feared him.

He would growl at this person whenever they came near him, he sensed the fear and it freaked him out.  In the end the family LOVED Ben and saw his potential to be a wonderful pet but the fear of the one the family member, we all agreed, was not worth the risk.

When meeting a dog for the first time, regardless of your excitement or fear try to remain calm!  I myself am awful at this as I love dogs and have zero fear, which resulted in me getting bit in the face by a friends dog at work one day.  Dogs feed off our energy and whether we mean to scare them or not, they can be startled easily if not approached properly.