Early Morning Open Thread: Ozymandias



From commentor Tabor:

I found Ozy(mandias) in a shelter after a few months of looking for a dog. He stood on his hind legs and walked to me, and I knew he was the one. He had been dropped off by his previous owners because he was “too expensive” for them.
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His presence alone is worth much more than any cost to take care of him. He’s at the door waiting for me when I come home from work (or anywhere else) ready to lavish me with attention. When I read in my recliner he stretches out and sleeps between my legs, with his head over one of my calves. When I am on the treadmill, he sits at the door and watches me tread away. He even joins me on the sofa to read the paper. As I type this, he is a foot away, chewing on a bone on the floor. I have gained a companion, a friend, and unquestioning love.
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Adopting Ozy was a great decision. I am much better for it.








Open Thread

Was walking the dogs this morning, when I looked down and Rosie looked like a hammerhead shark. After closer inspection, it turns out she just had what must have been a month old, frozen, stale hot dog bun wedged sideways in her mouth, and she was not letting it go (I got it away from her by dangling a chew toy in her face when we got home). That made me wonder- how does the sense of taste work for dogs.

With us, we differentiate between things that taste good and bad. Some tastes we like, some we don’t. Is there actually anything that will offend a dog’s sense of taste? Or does it just not matter- they’ll hoover up anything and say “MMMM- different!”








Early Morning Open Thread: Paws for Purple Hearts

The Washington Post has a story about a new program to assist two groups of wounded veterans, “Vets with PTSD train dogs to help comrades“:

… The program trains Labradors and golden retrievers – including many offspring of Yount’s dog Gabe – as lifelong service dogs and companions for veterans who use wheelchairs. But for their first two years of life, these dogs spread their love around in another way. They are trained by veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. For many of these psychologically damaged warriors, this human-canine connection provides them with emotional sustenance, a mission and important lessons in patience that help them get on with their lives.
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“It was challenging, and it tested my patience, but it taught me to have patience again, and that was something I had really lost because of PTSD,” said former Army reconnaisance officer Amanda Heidenreiter, 26, of Columbia, of her experience training Owen, a golden retriever. She had returned from Iraq terrified of crowds and children, and “Owen helped me relax, calm my anger.”
[…]
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The vets who train the dogs spend several months with them, sometimes longer, and letting go can be difficult. Yount said that some experience sleep problems after their dogs go, but “processing that sense of loss in saying goodbye to their dog has been a valuable gateway to processing other loss issues that have been hampering their recovery. ”
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And it’s terribly important for veterans to feel they are continuing a mission that held them together through the violence and stress of war. “PTSD carries a stigma, that you’re broken and wounded,” said Yount, “And many guys have guilt for not still being in the fight. The idea of Paws for Purple Hearts is you can be part of the war effort while you’re getting treatment.”
[…]
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This is where the dual benefits of the program are apparent. The vets are working on behalf of a wheelchair-using vet, but are learning – or relearning – the emotional skills needed to manage a dog that will help them function in a world of normal human feelings and interactions.
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“The training of a dog requires you to emote,” Yount says. “That’s hard for a guy with PTSD who’s emotionally numb. But if you tell them it’s necessary to train this dog to help a fellow vet, there’s motivation. First, they have to sound happy. It’s fake. But there’s a concept that says, ‘Fake it until you make it.’ Within a few days, it sounds more and more sincere. Pretending to sound happy actually impacts your feeling of happiness.”
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Heidenreiter, the former reconnaisance officer, said training a golden retriever named Owen forced her to go into malls, restaurants and stores so that the dog would be a good companion for a physically disabled veteran. Doing so terrified her at first, but eventually she learned to relax…

There’s also a slide show, which starts with Yount explaining Gabe’s expert qualifications: “He will train you to pet him.”








Early Morning Open Thread: Old Friends

From commentor Cat Hair Everywhere:

Jasper came into our lives in 2000, when I went to the SPCA looking for a dog to run with me. I had an American Eskimo rescue already, and she enjoyed running with me. I wanted to get her a companion who could join us on our runs. I had originally planned to get a larger dog, but when I saw Jasper’s sweet little stripey face looking at me, I was immediately charmed. I decided to think about it overnight, and left.
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I got about ten minutes down the road when I decided I must have him. I called the SPCA, but they were already closed. The next morning we were having a yard sale, so I couldn’t immediately return to the shelter. I was very sad when I called and discovered they would not put a dog on hold, even for two hours. My husband was out of town, and a friend was helping with the yard sale, so I couldn’t leave to run back to the shelter. We closed the sale down as quickly as we could and hurried to the shelter where I ran to Jasper’s cage, grabbed his paperwork and hurried to the front desk to pay for him.
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He was already four or five years old when we got him, (I am one of those who believes in adopting adult animals) and, to my surprise, he turned out to be an excellent running dog. Our Eskie went to the Rainbow Bridge several years ago, and Jasper has a new friend, Mayzie. He is too old to run with me now, and he is so pitiful when I take Mayzie and not him. He doesn’t think short walks are an acceptable substitute.
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In addition to Jasper and Mayzie, we also have four rescue cats. They all get along very well, as you can see from the picture,
where Jasper and our cat Jones are reading Balloon Juice with me.









Early Morning Open Thread: Simple Joys


From commentor Edward I.:

I just thought I’d add my pup Sookie to the rescue lineup at Balloon Juice. She was born May 31st and I adopted her through Austin Boxer Rescue.
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Her hobbies include chewing everything, eating and peeing.