Saturday, February 2, 2013

DELIVERANCE - An Awakening

Arrival at the Farm

His story is one of misery and loneliness. Although details are still under wraps and sketchy, he came to us with a number and not a name. But for all the horrors he endured in his previous life, he is filled with gratitude and an attachment to his new handler that makes one's heart sing. Deliverance is one of the lucky ones in the thousands of dogs who are homeless and in shelters or mistreated. Please stay tuned in the upcoming days and weeks as  I begin this diary of a new awakening for Deliverance.

It was a long day for this shelter dog.
.Day 1

It was Deliverance's first day in the stable. Talk about  culture shock! If this dog could shed tears of joy, he would have. Freedom seems so precious to him. He ran in the arena, met horses, cats and birds. He also was introduced to "the cookie lady" Marilyn. When Marilyn comes to the barn to play with her horse, all the animals come running. She treats everyone. They all line up by Joy's stall waiting their turn for something tasty. For Deliverance, being handed a biscuit was a new and delicious experience. At first he dropped the cookie not knowing what it was. As he watched Coconut and Zoey Pearl gobble up theirs, he soon caught on that these things were for eating! With all exit doors closed, Deliverance got to explore the interior of the stable and all its nooks and crannies. I think his sniffer was in overload!

Road apples (horse poo balls) were something new again. He wasn't sure if he should play with them or eat them. Thank goodness parasites in horse manure aren't a problem for dogs. They are quite different.

Next Deliverance got to go for car rides! He loves care rides!!! He sat in the seat like a person as the other dogs took their appropriate places in the van. He went to the feed mill but was kept secure in the van. Every time we go outside, he heads for the van hoping a road trip is in the cards.

Until he learns a little more about horses, he has to stayed tied when I'm bringing them in and out of the stable. He does show a healthy respect for them so I doubt there will be a problem.

As for life at home, he is adjusting exceedingly well. The marking thing is much better. I just say NO in a very strong voice and he stops. Trick is you have to watch his body language and correct him before he actually does it. Basically you have to have eyes in the back of your head.

Zoey Pearl treats him like a big brother. I thought she would be a little jealous of him, but no. I think she actually likes the big lug. As for Coconut, he tries and struts a little bigger. He's being very tolerant and Deliverance has accepted that Coconut is boss in this house. Coconut certainly has a little more spring in his step and seems to enjoy the male company when out for his daily constitutions. So far live is good!

A rolling good time!
Making Up Feed - Note Bruiser on top of feed cart, Spatz the cat upper right hand corner and Zoey Pearl beside him.

Bruiser Sizes Up the New Dog

February 2, 2013

It was a full day of exploration at the barn again. Deliverance was kept busy shadowing me while tethered to my body. We mucked stalls together and fed the horses. At one point he decided to go for a romp on his own making his exit out an open door. I went after him. I swear his nose was glued to the ground as he headed up to the farm house and driveway. Luckily he finally answered my call to come. He turned and ran towards me with his ears flopping in the wind. From that point on we stayed connected with an umbilical cord of lead shank around my waist. 

Just prior to a lesson, a pair of pigeons had flown into the arena and Bruiser decided to hang with them. I told him that his friends are not allowed in the arena. Zoey Pearl had a job to do in chasing the unwanted pigeons until they flew out the main door. This is a job Zoey Pearl loves to do. As she barked and ran around the arena in pursuit of the high flyers, Deliverance decided that this was a fun game too so he was released also. When Coconut decided to join in, things got a little tense with all the excitement that Zoey Pearl had created with her barking and running. Coconut took this opportunity to tell Deliverance that he was still top dog and not to mess with his place. The silly old fool must have thought he could do battle with the younger intact male. By the time I got to them and separated them, things settled down. No one was hurt so I think it was mostly posturing. Still I took note of the incident and kept an eye on the two. Once in a while Deliverance would growl a minor warning when Coconut approached with an air about him as though he was challenging him.

I worked on reinforcing the commands sit, stay and come. He's been getting "Dee" for short. He is starting to respond to it. I'm amazed at how well he is coming along in such a short time.

I've discovered he is a shiverer like Zoey Pearl. Luckily I have a large coat that I bought for Zoey Pearl that is too big for her. It should fit him easily. Now tonight I'm going to give him a bath. Maybe
Deliverance sharing his pillow with Zoey Pearl

Canine meets Equine

February 4, 2013

Another busy day for Deliverance. He wore his new coat in the barn tonight. I don't think this dog has ever had so much exercise. He's a very tired puppy at day's end. He's starting to get use to horses. I still have to discourage his greeting method. Horses don't appreciate a dog sniffing their rear ends. Luckily my horses are used to dogs.  Still "D" has to learn to approach them differently.

I made an appointment with the veterinarian today for Deliverance's surgery to render him a "gelding" in horse terms. I couldn't get a more fitting day - Valentine's Day. Poor boy. His weight has steadily improved since he entered the shelter. He has gone from just 25 kg on arrival to 35.6 kg today.

As I close for now, "D" is fast asleep by the fireplace, soaking up the radiant heat.

February 5, 2013

Deliverance is settling into the stable routine. He's getting brave around the horses now and hardly pays much attention to them now as they walk by him. The first time a horse approached him in close quarters, he strained hard against my leg as if pleading that I protect him from this gigantic strange animal. He is also good around the mousers in the barn. So far he just seems to be one big wagging tail dog.

Coconut on the other hand really has his nose out of joint. I give him separate attention and pats so he doesn't feel ignored. He's not big on having another male in HIS domain. It will just take a little time for him to accept Deliverance. As for D, he isn't bothered by Coco's rather rude manners.

Leaving the stable tonight, I tested his ability to stay close by. I switched the horse lead for a long lunge line (about 30'). He passed the test and never strayed more than 10-15 feet from me. As soon as the van's sliding side door opened, he popped in.

His voice commands are coming so fast and furious, you would think he was trained by a pro. He just loves to learn new things.  The marking thing is also much less. I can trust him in the house for unsupervised short periods of time. It is just a constant watch to keep him on the straight and narrow of good house habits which he is quickly learning. I am amazed at his progress in less than a week.

At lunch break I curled up on the couch for a little siesta before heading back to the barn. When I opened my eyes, I looked into this sweet face. Deliverance was trying his hardest to fit himself on the narrow couch next to me. I heard a sigh of contentment as he clumsily half perched his too big body next to mine.

I have a few cancellations tonight for lessons so I will crate Deliverance when I go back to teach my one and only lesson. He does feel the cold when he has to stay put when I'm teaching. I think he would be more comfortable in the warm house.I know I would.

D helping with Stalls

Bruiser checking out D from behind

February 6, 2013

 Same routine for Deliverance today. He is getting more and more comfortable in the stable. Students are loving him and he just swells with happiness. He is still figuring out what biscuits are but is more readily accepting the idea that these are rather tasty to the pallet. His commands are very good  now.

I decided to try him on leash when I brought the few remaining horses in. I was in the middle - dog on my left, horse on my right. It wasn't until I got to the last horse (a rescue herself) that I fiddled with the gate taking me longer to latch it. Charm ( the rescue mare) decided to sniff D in a greeting. The horse jumped back and he barked. Not sure if he nipped her on the nose or just frightened her with his bark. All was good when I turned around.

He spent the night with me back in the stable as I taught my evening classes. He couldn't wait to get in the door when we returned home. After dinner he curled up on his big comfy bed and is fast asleep.

February 7, 2013


It is officially one week tonight that Deliverance arrived at our door and walked into the stable. During this short period of adjustment Deliverance has wound his way into everyone's heart. He's becoming very comfortable with life as a stable dog. Doesn't bother the cats, crazy pigeon or horses. He just seems to love being busy and having attention. Tonight the old man Coconut our 14 year old Chesapeake Bay chose to sat beside him for the first time. He is gradually accepting a younger male in the family.

Deliverance on Left - Coconut on Right

Today he went to the hay barn the for the first time while I retrieved the tractor and a large round bale of straw. On the walk over I let Deliverance follow the other dogs while still tethered to a long lunge line. As I started the tractor and drove the forks into the round bale, D looked rather mystified. He stayed were I asked him to as I carefully backed the tractor out . To be safe I let the line drag on the ground out of my hands so that it wouldn't get caught up in the machinery. Deliverance followed the other dogs back to the stable. He waited for me to reposition the bale with the tractor in the stable. He walked around the side of the barn. His nose was calling him to the open field across the drive. I quickly turned the tractor around and went after him running the front wheel of the tractor over the loose line. Deliverance looked up a little confused but eagerly came when given the command "come." "That was a close call," I said to myself.

February 8, 2013

Stormy day outside. Only got stuck with the van twice with Deliverance inside the vehicle. Patience... I got unstuck doing the rock thing. Deliverance hasn't had much time outside today but doesn't seem to mind as he is comfy on his bed next to the fireplace.

I introduced my Cockatoo to D today. Met with little indifference. I think he (Deliverance) was a little confused when the bird kept saying "hello" to him. He must have been thinking, 'and these birds talk like humans too.' Now my Senegal parrot has just flown in the say hello. Num Nums is whistling which briefly got D's attention. Now he's dropped his head back down on the bed. Hummm - boring.

Deliverance Meets Taboo

Taboo, Coconut and in the distance, Deliverance

I spent the morning cleaning up what seemed like a crime scene. There was blood splatter everywhere: front door, floor, walls leading up the stairs and down the stairs. Deliverance's tail was bleeding at the tip when he first came. As a result of heavy tail wagging, he spray painted everything he made contact with. He's no Picasso, but then I don't care for this form of art at any rate. Out came my handy dandy steam mop. It did a terrific job of removing the murder scene look. I must be watching too many CSI type shows because old blood smells bad when you are cleaning it up. I guess I should have worn gloves and a mask.

Num Nums Joins the Party

February 9, 2013

Well I had a rough day, not with the dog, but nursing a very painful back. I fell on my butt after being knocked over by a horse rushing through the newly plowed gate. I shocked my spine pretty bad where my crushed vertebrae is. I'm not moving very well. Thank goodness Deliverance is well behaved on the line. He's not a puller. He had a rather boring day I'm afraid as I laid on the couch most of the time this afternoon. I thought this picture was priceless showing how he sleeps at times.

Looks Uncomfortable
February 10, 2013

Another interesting day with Deliverance. This morning he got on the scent of a deer from the tracks in the snow. He thought this was very much worth exploring. He isn't off line outside so it wasn't a problem getting him to come. Later in the day when the barn was a hub of activity, my husband forgot about D who was loose in the arena when he opened the kick board door for another horse and rider entering the arena. Deliverance sneaked out and headed for the open entrance door to the barn. Everyone panicked when the slip was observed. Deliverance made it around to Mount Trillium (the manure pile) and luckily came on command. He was apprehended without incident and returned to the areaa.

With 3 horses working the arena, my assistant trainer made the mistake of circling head on towards us, more specifically to Deliverance. I think he (Deliverance) was surprised and unnerved. He immediately reacted by barking and trying to nip at the horse from behind. I had the rider stop to calm the situation and called D on command. Luckily it was enough to break his attention and subdue the moment. Back by my side the lessons continued without any further problems. I was relieved that my constant reminders of come, sit and stay paid off. It is so remarkable at how well he is coming along.

February 11, 2013

Deliverance has discovered a new game where he competes with the barn mouser to catch mice. He is lightening fast but hasn't actually caught one yet. Spatz the cat is not impressed. He has competition now in HIS territory. It was so funny tonight. As D followed Spatz around the stable in search of the rodents, the cat didn't like his shadow. As Deliverance sat quietly by my side after a lesson, Spatz sneaked up on D and gave him a swat in the nose. He (Spatz) turned and ran off into the shelter of the feed room. Poor D didn't know what he was getting slapped for, especially by a feline.

February 13, 2013

It has been a couple of days of transition and acceptance in the stable and at home. Bruiser the pigeon finally felt safe enough to enter the van with the new big black dog on board. Bruiser was raised with our other two dogs so Deliverance took a little getting use to. So off we went to town: 3 dogs and one pigeon.

Today I left Deliverance at home without being in his crate. I was gone for several hours. On my return home I wasn't sure what to find. To my pleasant surprise, D was resting with the other dogs. No marking or other deposits; nothing torn up, no one having arguments. It was all very quiet.

In preparation for tomorrow's date with the vet, Deliverance had his first bath/shower. I had to crawl into the shower with him but that was OK. It was a small cramped space so he sat while I rinsed him and shampooed him. Such a good boy...

February 16, 2013

It has been a couple of days since Deliverance's surgeries. Today is one of his best days for pain. His surgeries went longer than anticipated. He had a broken tooth which had to be extracted. A portion of his tail was amputated; his teeth cleaned and neutering done. He was one sorry Valentine's boy.

At Home Recovering

We've kept our walks short. Instead of walking the shoulder of the road, we have been walking the trails behind our house. It is quiet and very dark.With three dogs in tow, it is not scary. The most we might run across is a coyote. With D wearing his bear bell I'm sure we scare anything away. Besides, who would want to take on three big dogs and a human!

As we walked the trail the other night, I drifted off course slightly. As we walked on the snow covered ground I heard "crack, crack, crack." We were no longer on dry land but on the shallow creek bed. Coconut decided to hop over a downed tree. Before I could get a cautionary word out, he bounded over it and promptly fell through the thin ice. He looked so shocked! He crawled out of his predicament; wet paws and all. D and I decided to take another route.

Yesterday I made the mistake of taking off the leash prematurely when I was unlocking the door. Zoey Pearl wandered off and D decided he should go exploring. I rushed with my keys to the van and quickly drove up the road to the neighbour's drive. The young girl outside ran in the house not sure if she was excited or afraid. I called to D and thank goodness he came, bandaged tail wagging and all. 

Deliverance's mouth is healing from his tooth extraction and the shortened tail is wagging like crazy. He's no longer crouching but sitting so things are progressing well.

February 18, 2013 

Well the tail bandage came off on Sunday so I fashioned a new one, this time using black Vetwrap and electrical tape to match his coat colour. I was being cautious as I didn't want a further amputation by bandaging too tight. It stayed on until morning. The tail looks good so I will just leave it to air now as he has finished his antibiotics and pain meds.

He is fast becoming a real couch potato. I sneaked out of the house to work a couple of horses tonight. When I came back and drove into the driveway, I saw this big black head lift off the loveseat in the living room as it peered out the large picture window.

All three dogs follow me around the stable when I do chores. Deliverance has really caught on to the cat's job of spotting mice. He sniffs and waits patiently, although he has only caught one. I discouraged him from eating it but it was a quick kill just the same.

He loves the trail walks at night. That is his favourite time. He sniffed the air with deliberate attention tonight. Something was close by in the woods. Undeterred, we carried on our little trek.

Deliverance's appetite is improving. I no longer have to sit by him as he eats. He is the first one fed now and the first to finish. He's not big on drinking though. I think he is part camel.

Deliverance and Spatz share mousing duties.

Part of my morning crew. D is the furthest dog.

February 24, 2013

It has been a hard go at the farm lately. One of our long time boarders (16 years) lost her horse on Friday. We had to rush the mare to Guelph and left the dogs with my barn helper for the day. So poor Deliverance has been loose in the barn and arena but without the usual amount of attention most of the weekend. We were gone all day Friday and the outcome was heartbreaking in the end.

My back has been hurting a lot lately and I'm so thankful that D is so good walking on a line. He crossed paths with a rabbit the other night and when I said "no" he stayed beside me and didn't charge off on the line. That was a really good test for him. He's been a really good boy and is definitely a couch potato.

March 3, 2013

Some time has passed since my last post. My back injury has held me back from doing a lot of things. With the added snowfall and ice, I've been taking Deliverance to the barn at night to run in the arena and take care of business. Dare I fall again. Not sure if I would ever get up again.

D has been a very good boy. There is one hurdle we still have to overcome. It is his excitement level when a horse is working hard and people raise their voices in response. It is like a trigger. Nipping at a horse's heels is not a good idea. It takes a lot of "NOs" before we finally switch off his brain and he comes back. We are going to try a few options to break the cycle. He also gets this way when he catches a scent of a deer or another animal. He strains against the leash and barks intensely. So far I've been able to control him.

He's got loose a few times at the stable but comes back on command. This is very good. He now knows what a cookie is and I usually give him several during the day when he comes on command. He's a great dog that still wags the daylights out of his newly fixed tail. It is bleeding again so I've but a bandage on it to try and protect it.

March 5, 2013

I called Deliverance today while working in the  barn. I usually hear the tinkle of his bear bell. This time it was silent. All the doors where closed so I wondered where he was. I called to him, "D, come, come" to no avail. Finally I located him in the annex part of the stable, starring intently at a corner wall where a mouse must have hidden. I swear he never heard me calling him as he was so focused on that corner. You see D has been following the cats around the barn mimicking their posture and patience waiting for a mouse to appear. Now I think D thinks he is part cat too.

March 8, 2013

Interesting day. Deliverance spent most of it inside with me on my day off from the barn. We did a lot of little trips today in the van. At lunch time as I was opening the door to house on our return home, D decided it was time for "walkies." I called after him as he went around the back of house and into the bush where we normally walk. I really wasn't dressed for trudging through the bush and wet snow but off I went in search of Deliverance. He was taking me on a wild goose chase. I would stop and listen for the bear bell so at least I knew what direction he was heading. I turned back and and went to shut the doors to my house which I left open. As I approached the driveway I could see a big black dog making friends with another dog on leash walking down the road with its owner. I hopped in the van and travelled up the road. As soon as D saw the van, he happily trotted over to it and climbed in. I guess I still have some work to do on the "Come" command when he's off the leash.

March 16, 2013

It has been a few days since my last post and so much has happened. My animals have been taking a backseat to Bruiser our pet pigeon. Bruiser suffered a broken right wing when he was bowled over by Zoey Pearl (my Weimaraner) who was chasing after some other pigeons. Bruiser's injuries are severe and everyone is helping in trying to locate an orthopedic veterinary surgeon who can possibly repair the bird's three breaks.

As a result of this trauma and the fact that our arena at the stable was flooded, and my broken back tries to heal under the weight of chores, life as a routine has been rudely uprooted. Deliverance has had to wait longer for his walks, longer for his feeds as well as being left in the house for hours on end while Bruiser is attended to by veterinarians. He's been such a patient dog and just seems to sense the tension and anxiety surrounding our household of animals and people. Deliverance has even set himself up as a sort of guardian watching over Bruiser as he rests in his carrier. It is quite remarkable to see how this dog adapts to situations.

March 24, 2013

Boy it's been a long time since I last updated D's post. Not too much to report. But I thought I would share this picture taken tonight. Deliverance put his paws on my lap to say hello while a very jealous Zoey Pearl just had to poke her head in between D's front legs.

April 9, 2013

A freak spring thunderstorm moved in last night. As usual Zoey Pearl cowered and shook in fear. Next thing you know I had a terrified Deliverance climbing on the couch and huddle close to me for protection. Only old Coconut laid on the carpet unaffected by the lightening and noise. Good grief.... I have another chicken on my hands. (Must be the Weim in him.) I think if D could crawl inside me, he would have.

As I prepared for bed, the thunder continued. Up popped D on the bed and stood over me with this his tongue panting its fright and his body shaking in fear. I swear the bed seemed to be moving from all the vibration going on. As I tried to ignore him, while remaining calm hoping to instill this in the dogs, he plunked his bulk of a body down hard on the bed. As he did he whacked the small of my back with his boney shoulder. I jump and groaned in pain as his shoulder rammed into the very area of my back that has just finished healing from a crushed vertebra. Enough of this I thought. I stole away to the cupboard and put a collar and leash on D and attached him to the leg of the bed. Both D and Zoey Pearl were now together tethered to the foot of the bed. They seemed to seek comfort in each other's anxieties. Soon the storm moved on and everyone settled into the quiet of night.

April 20, 2013

Deliverance has been exploring his boundaries in the home. Last Sunday the remnants of a prime rib roast suddenly disappeared from the carving board on the counter top. Small bits of meat remained on the board which hadn't been licked clean. Funny though that the roasted potatoes next the the beef were left untouched. Since neither of my other dogs have ever attempted to steal from the counter, the most likely thief was D. Shameful behaviour.

Deliverance has become quite the hunting dog in the barn. Although it isn't birds he is after, he is very good at what he does hunt. He's been studying the cats closely and has mimicked their skills to a T. I observed him sitting by the hay trolley watching intently for maybe 10 minutes without moving a muscle. I carried on with chores. All of a sudden there was a rush and scramble as the trolley rocked violently. D had dove into the cart and mauled two mice. "Good boy" I replied as he wagged his tail in pure delight at his fine kill. He's better than the cats when it comes to hunting down mice!

Deliverance in the foreground watches as Bruiser eyes breakfast.

May 26, 2013

Since my last posting I took the plunge and adopted Deliverance. I feel he is a good fit for the farm. He is finally off line and has adopted extremely well to freedom and farm life. He is one happy boy and loves all the action at the farm. He strolls around the property without straying and sleeps in the sun in the yard. When it is time to go home at night, he sits patiently at the barn door waiting to go to the van. Life is good.