Happy Dog, Warm Heart

Few things in this world touch my heart the way Otie does. I’m not sure what it is about him, but his big head and his worried expression have nestled themselves so far into the depths of my soft spots that I think I would do just about anything for him. He is such an anxious and worried dog, and it really breaks my heart to watch him worry about things many other dogs don’t blink an eye at. So when he is with me, I feel like it is my mission to make him comfortable. It is my job to find things that make him happy and let him do them as much as his little heart desires. Or else he makes sad faces like this:

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You might remember the photos from when I borrowed Otis from his dad over Memorial Day Weekend. We went on a grand adventure with our friends Kimmie and Nicky to the Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac River. We had so much fun! It was such a care free day out, and I knew one of those hikes was exactly what Otis needed while he spent the weekend with my parents.

I dropped him off with my parents Thursday evening, so he was very happy to see me Saturday morning. We woke up bright and early to meet with Kim and Nicky before the trails got too crowded. The canal was crowded, but the route we took was actually very empty – which was great for our two cautious dogs! It was a fun, confidence-building walk. I love seeing both dogs so relaxed.

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I knew he was feeling good because he went into the water all on his own. Nicky was chasing after a treat and forgot about it, and Otis went right in! I turned around and he was on his way in, no encouragement needed. It was a moment of bravery for Mr. Otie.

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He had such a good time and was totally wiped out afterwards. What a fun way to kick off our weekend! Did anyone else spend fun time outdoors as the summer winds down?

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Walking Frankie’s Walk

We headed out to the AWLA Pit Crew training walk Sunday morning and had a blast! Frankie, like most of the dogs in the group, is working on his excitability around other dogs. He is not reactive, but if you get too close to another dog he will enthusiastically try to go say hi. . . yeah, not the politest. Honestly though I was expecting a little bit more of a show from him. He was a dream! You can tell that the shelter staff and volunteers have done a lot of work with him because he is attentive and will refocus his attention easily.

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Frankie is a big dog, so it’s pretty imperative that he has at least decent leash manners. While a group walk isn’t the place to exactly teach new skills, I used it as an opportunity to reinforce Frankie for walking nicely. Any time he would orient himself towards me and therefore have a very loose leash, I marked the behavior and rewarded him. I wanted to make myself more fun than the distractions around him that cause him to pull. Between the helpful gear (front clip harness) and the rewards, he did great! You know you had a successful walk when your arms are NOT tired after walking a 75 pound dog for an hour.

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Frankie and I enjoyed walking with the group and catching up with our good friends Kim (human) & Nicky (dog). Frankie and Nicky took an extra lap together after the group dispersed. Nicky liked Frankie initially until he used his all time worst pick up line on her (straight paw to the head) and she decided she’d rather play hard to get. Since he’s a gentleman he let her have her space and the two of them enjoyed getting to know each other from a distance. What a fun morning to wrap up our time together!

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If you’re in the DC area and you’re interested in adopting Frankie, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com.