Tag Archives: play

Who Needs You?

Chica (WCAC ID: 113177)

She is a beautiful little pup who’s about 8 months old. Chica loves to play with people and other dogs. Please stop by and visit her – she’s ready for love, a soft bed, and great training.

Shonda (WCAC ID: 113928)

Shonda is a sweet puppy who has gone through some rough times in the first 8 months of her life. She needs someone that will help her grow into the beautiful girl she is. She deserves a gentle touch and lots of love.

Wasabi (WCAC ID: 113967)

At a year old this little girl has a whole lot of puppy antics. She was so cute with the way she was bouncing around that I had to take a little video.

Mickey (WCAC ID: 114026)

If you’re looking for a little boy, this is your guy. He’s a year old and a charmer with those ears. I’d like to talk more about him, we had a very good time during his photo shoot, but I am distracted by those ears – I LOVE THEM!


You can learn more about these sweeties by going to the WCAC Adoption Gallery web page and looking up their ID number. You’ll find out all the particulars and some insights in their bios.

The WCAC is open seven days a week from noon to 6:00 PM. Stop by and see who needs you and who you need.

Shelter Dog Play Groups?!?!

What a concept – bringing together groups of pups with different backgrounds and the baggage that comes from being strays or simply thrown away. It’s called “Dogs Playing for Life” and it’s a program developed by Aimee Sadler of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation. This program is being taught around the country to shelter and rescue groups who want to take the next step in exercising and socializing the dogs that will one day – hopefully – be a part of the larger community.

So, why am I talking about this program? Because the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) is taking this step and as a volunteer I was able to join in the training this past week.

The classroom training was full of useful information about the benefits of play groups and the different play styles, so I just have to share some of these insights here.

  • 30 minutes of play group offers the same mental and physical stimulation as a two hour walk.
  • Dogs teach each other much more effectively than we as humans can teach them.
  • Healthy contact can help reduce Barrier Reactivity and On Leash Reactivity.

And the stuff about play styles gave me insight into how my own dogs play.

There are no “gentle and dainties” in my house… or is there? As I reread the description about this play style being relatively quiet with frequent stops and starts I noticed it describes Ruby when Khayla is trying to play with her in the living room.

Now “rough and rowdy” definitely describes my Khayla and the pure joy she gets out of grabbing, holding, chasing and tumbling, and if they’re out in the yard Ruby will join in the fun. I think Khayla actually likes being thrown to the ground by Ruby.

I guess the reason we don’t have any “push and pull” players in our house is the lack of herding breeds in our mutts, although Ruby does love to chase squirrels (what dog doesn’t?) and cars driving through the neighborhood. Or maybe that might be better described as “seek and destroy,” which is a prey drive style. To some it may not look mutual and will tend to require a little human intervention to keep it even.

As play yard monitor I thought one of the best lessons they taught us was to make this the dogs’ play group. We need to hang back and let them teach each other and work things out. This requires many of us to retrain ourselves – even in my own home I find I need to refrain from sticking my nose in all their business.

We also spent time learning when and how we need to step in – funny, a lot of this stuff seems like it should apply to the school yard as well. The human needs to step in when the play is no longer mutual or one dog is having fun at another’s expense. Also if a dog’s response is disproportionate to feedback from the other dog. And definitely when a fight breaks out – we’ll talk more about this in a future post.

Besides being a neutral yard monitor, you can start your group off right by keeping the yard free of toys and treats, making sure collars are properly fitted, and ensuring all Halti’s, slip collars and scarves are removed. Later, once you’re comfortable with their group interaction, you can also remove their dragging leashes.

Here are a few pictures of the fun we had …

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Remember, stop by the WCAC any day of the week between noon and 6:00 p.m. to meet some wonderful animals and potentially your newest family member.


Playtime – a Cultural Exchange in a Dog’s World

I’m told Ruby came from a home with three other dogs. She’s quite submissive but can be playful. We saw this when she and a previous foster (who was healing from losing a leg) romped through the house on more than one occasion.

We knew going into it that Kay-Kay had a playful side that could annoy a Jack Russell Terrier, but I’m told that Jack Russells have very specific ideas about play and are not too tolerant of other play varieties.

Beyond just being fun to watch it has been interesting to see Kay-Kay and Ruby play with each other – it’s like some strange doggy cultural exchange. Kay-Kay is all for wrestling and getting underneath Ruby to bite on her legs and haunches. Ruby’s not sure about that game and has put Kay-Kay in her place a couple of times when she got a little too nippy.

Kay-Kay Chewing_20130115_8981
Khayla (WCAC ID: 79856)

Ruby has introduced Kay-Kay to her favorite game, which seems to be a version of “Keep-Away/Chase.” Kay-Kay will be on the couch with a stuffed toy when Ruby will come up and grab the end of it. A very brief interlude of tug ends with Ruby prancing off with the stuffy in her mouth and Kay-Kay chasing after. Shortly you’ll hear them scampering towards you from the other room. Now it’s Kay-Kay with the stuffy in her mouth heading for the couch with Ruby trailing.

Bed wrestling has given way to family naps – not a bad thing – and we’re still waiting to see what kind of outdoor play these two will share.

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Email me at afureverfamily@yahoo.com and you too can share your play style with this sweetie.

Sweet Khayla Brown

The amazing photos in today’s post are courtesy of Shannon Johnstone.

Her bio says she’s just a plain ol’ average brown dog. I’m here to tell you she is so much more.

Khayla (WCAC ID 79856)
Khayla (WCAC ID 79856)

We met up with her and her foster mom at the Wake County Animal Center last night for the handoff. Kay (or Kay-Kay, as I’ve been calling her) just rolled with the flow as we loaded up her and her stuff in our Tribute. It’s a short ride to our house, but she quickly settled down after a few kisses.

Khyla_79856 dWe did the normal introduction routine with our Ruby – both on a leash meeting in the front yard and eventually heading into the house. We actually headed in doors fairly quickly as Miss K is a bit of a priss and didn’t like getting her paws wet.

She and Ruby had a great time romping and playing throughout the house. It wasn’t long before Kay-Kay was zonked out on her bed. She’s very cute when you don’t see her for a bit and go to find her sacked out or chewing on a bone while she hangs out on her bed. Actually, any old throw rug can be substituted in a pinch.

After our morning ablutions we all jumped back into bed. Kay-Kay joined us; she had slept the night on the living room couch. There was some bed wrestling, which is a favorite spectator sport of mine, so there were a couple of timeouts called. Pretty soon I had one zonked out on either side of me. I love weekend family naps.

Khayla (WCAC ID: 79856)
Khayla (WCAC ID: 79856)

Well, that’s all I have for now. Email me at afureverfamily@yahoo.com to arrange a play date.

Family First

This is Toby.

Toby (WCAC ID: 73329)
Toby (WCAC ID: 73329)

He is a wonderfully sweet and tolerant year-old pittie mix.

He’s had kind of a bumpy go of it lately due to no fault of his own.

Toby_73329_20121231_8896A friend of ours, L, brought Toby home as her first venture into fostering. He got his name when he fell asleep to a Toby Keith song on the way home. The first thing L did when she got Toby home was to give him a bath. He stood there like a perfect little gentleman through the whole thing.

Now L’s own dog, Miss R, was none too excited about having a new “little” foster brother in the house, especially one who was such a big galoot who wanted to bounce and play. But they were working it out and things were going well.

Then last Saturday while L was working to get them both in the house Miss R got loose and ended up being chewed on pretty significantly by a neighborhood dog. By the time L got Toby put up and got back outside she had to pry the snout of the other dog off Miss R.

L and I talked later that night after they had gotten home from the emergency vet. It tore at her heart but she felt that for Miss R’s sake she needed to bring Toby back to the Center.

I know there are lots of ways to think about it, but I’ve always felt that I needed to look after the needs of my family first – then we’ll save the world. Miss R needed to heal in a stress-free environment with her momma’s undivided attention.

Toby (WCAC ID: 73329)
Toby (WCAC ID: 73329)

And Toby needs you to help him find his furever home. He really is a terrific dog. You can email me at afureverfamily@yahoo.com and I’ll put you in touch with L who will happily tell you all about Toby.