Monday, March 25, 2013

Dogs and cats and ducks in an RV

Before Franklin "Whitey" Jackson came along, there wasn't a thought in my head about a dog. Annie was thinking enough thoughts for everyone.

Obviously, being "good with cats" is primary. So, she started searching, every once in a while showing me an irresistible face. Then a dog picture.

We decided to meet Jake at The Animal League of Green Valley, a no-kill shelter. He was obviously a submissive dog, which would be good. Annie and I spend enough time fighting about which of us is in charge. We asked about a sleepover, and were refused - they don't do that. They required that we bring our motorhome to them to see how Jake responded to six cats and a rolling home.

He did not eat the other five, either.

He responded well. There was even a nice nose-to-nose with one of the cats.

Adopting a companion is a judge-y affair. I'm sure you're very nice people, but you live in WHAT? The staff and volunteers think very highly of Jake, and one of our staff escorts thought he was settling. Jake, you can do so much better! Hold out for a home with a dog! 

Staff: It's not bad, but it's not ideal. He should go with another dog.

Volunteer: That's the only issue. Sometimes there are two or three issues, and we go ahead with the adoption.

Staff: That's true.

Volunteer: It's bigger than his kennel!

On our third visit, we went ready to take him home.


Jake claims to be a lab X heeler, and is four years old. He has lovely manners, and has had some training in his past. There are separation issues, so we'll see how he relaxes into this life where there aren't so many or such long separations. For now, he loves to lay near us, lean against us, or sit on us.

While we're on domestic matters, our neighbor Fernand saw Annie's ring and asked if she had a husband in New York. She explained that we're together, and he said "Why not take a man with no wife? Two wives are good!" We laughed at his joke, but as he continue to explain the advantages we realized he wasn't exactly kidding.

Or jokes in Congo are longer than ours. He got uncomfortably specific (there would be one bed). We would all work doing landscaping. As he left he held both our hands and prayed: Dear God, give me two good wives. Amen. 

It could have been our fault, accidentally. We took him a housewarming gift of solar lights, and that was close enough to a dowry.

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Kate said...

He's gorgeous! Congrats again! It sounds like things are going well with him so far and that's a happiness. _He_ sure looks happy!

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

Jake is a lucky dog, a very lucky dog to have found ya'll. Kudos to your adopting such a wonderful friend.

Yep, he's a lucky "duck" indeed! :cD

Judy and Emma said...

I can't believe he hasn't checked out the cat litter boxes yet. Congrats on the new resident and pending marriage?? :)

brad said...

great job - he has a forever home. <3

This is our rescue / adopted family.

Texas Yellow Rose said...

Congratulations to Jake for apparently being an excellent bird dog in snaring two fabulous Duck specimens! As usual, your tale made me giggle. Thanks for the smiles!

Kate said...

There used to be a link right below the comment box where one could subscribe to get new comments in their email, and now it ain't there. (There's the one that goes to Google Reader, but um. Yeah.) Any idea where it's got off to?

The Good Luck Duck said...

Kate, I see a link, but it's only for comments to this post. If you go to the upper left of the blog, click on the blue envelope - that should let you subscribe to the blog. We hope we can be a good, secure pack for Jake. I'm trying to channel Cesar. :D

Haha, Betty! I guess he retrieved us, alright.

What a cute picture, Brad! Someone commented that the dogs' looking away from the cat signals their good intent - is that true? Jake looks away from the cats when he sees them.

He sniffs, Judy, but he doesn't snack. And thanks for the good wishes. We're registered at Landscaping and Beyond.

Thanks, Paul & Marti! I hope we all feel equally lucky. Although Jake is a little pouty because Annie left to go shop. He doesn't feel lucky right this minute.

Morgan Johnson said...

He's a handsome dog and looks like he makes a welcome addition. My wife and I are cat people through and through, so much easier, but their is something sometimes about a dog that tugs at our heartstrings. Until we want to go away for a few days and realize if the cats have food and water and a place to pee, they could care less. more room on the bed.

Kate said...

That's the link I'm looking for -- maybe? Only the one I'm looking for says 'Subscribe to comments by email' or something close to that.

Teresa Evangeline said...

I'm not sure where to start ... Okay, Jake is a wonderful dog with a wonderful new home. He sits on you so he knows you're not going anywhere... what a sweetie-pie...

The man who's praying for two wives: why is landscaping always involved (or insert other physical outdoor duties - best leave this one alone) in which the biblical "helpmeet" takes on a whole new level of understanding.

Then there's the fact that I had trouble writing this as I couldn't stop laughing.

Maria Brown said...

He's beautiful, and with him clinging to you, I can stop worrying about all the nighttime foot traffic in Arizona - whew! :-)

Peter + Beatrix said...

You guys are sooo lucky that you got Jake. We tried a couple of years ago when our lab died, but were refused by the shelter as they "didn't give dogs to traveling people". What a BS. They rather kill them - or so it seems.

The Good Luck Duck said...

P&B, that's horrible!!! I thought our test was hard enough. I'm am positive that there are shelters who would give you a dog (obviously I know of one). Another small shelter who brings dogs into a local PetSmart just talked to us for a while, saw that we were boring, middle-aged women and said she would adopt to us. There are a lot of shelters in Tucson. Oh, don't give up! I would call or email every shelter in your area and ask up-front if full-time RVing is a deal-breaker. I'll bet you find it isn't always.

But, it's an ordeal to be judged, no matter the situation.

Maria, you would LOVE his bark! He uses it sparingly, but it is impressive.

Teresa, I should have told Fernand right off the starting line about my weak back. [When did you get that? About a week back.] That might have gotten our point across quicker. You're not kidding about the outdoor labor, either. His future plans (with his wives) include a 500 acre farm in Texas.

Kate, if you want comments by email, the one down there is the right one. Down there. There. Look at my head - down there.

Ha Morgan! So true. Cats are much easier, and we are cat people, too. That's why we've been together 14 years without a dog - I keep saying "dogs are hard!" And, here he is, being harder than a cat, but as easy as he knows how to be. And very sweet.

Kate said...

...all right, I'm gonna say it's my computer, cos I ain't seeing it. Alas for my damn computer. :P

Anonymous said...

WHOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!! That is one handsome doggie...and a lucky one at that. Very, very happy for you both!

SoozLS said...

A dog! I'm delighted. Now you can give us advice. We just bought a fifth wheel (and a big-ass truck to haul it) but we are beyond middle-aged. We will be traveling with a dog, and three cats. All three cats have been inside/outside, but now my partner thinks they should be just inside once we move into the 5er. How the hell do we make cats stay inside? If you know how, please tell us. Please don't tell us to have the dog pee in the doorway. A) She does that anyway B) The cats love the dog (or at least are disinterested) so I doubt dog pee would act as a deterent.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Kate, email me at whotookmybucket at gmail dot com. I'm sure we can arrive at an understanding. I can't think of a reason why you wouldn't see the link.

Nina! You would like him, for sure. He's so sensitive that we can't click - it scares him. But, he is very receptive to training, so maybe it won't matter. He's got the basics down pat already, he is just pulling too hard at his lead. We're trying a technique Annie read online that encourages him to notice where we are always (because there are treats and love where we are! We're like Rosemary!).

Kimbopolo said...

Congratulations! He's just beautiful. And lucky too. Let's call him Jackpot Jake.

At least Fernand found you both acceptable.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your new sweetie! Jake looks and sounds like such a sweetheart. I think the shelter made the right decision- you both will provide him with such a great home and many doggie adventures.

Strange story about Fernand.... flattering to you both, I'm sure, but uncomfortable at the same time?

Donna K said...

Jake is a handsome fella indeed. You most likely are better off with him than with Creepy Fernand. I bet he and the cats will become best friends (Jake, not Fernand).

Lisa said...

Woohoo! What a sweet addition to your little family! Congrats!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Kim, that was definitely a relief. You know, to be objectified as a hauler of sod - it's been years since that happened.

Thanks Molly! I think he'll have fun, and I'm pretty sure we will. Without Fernand. Yeah, it was weird.

Donna, I know you're right. I hope we let him down easy (Fernand, not Jake).

The Good Luck Duck said...

Ain't he cute, Lisa?

Anonymous said...

Fernand would have left me annoyed & hey maybe strangely flattered. I mean, it wasn't much of a dowry, so you gotta figure he was attracted.....;o. Actually, it looks like Jake got 2 wives, & 2 moms &...~Mary

Amanda said...

What a handsome guy he is! Our lab is a leaner and foot-sitter. He would sit on our laps if he wasn't so big. I guess he just loves to be close. I've been wondering how a shelter would react to a RV lifestyle. Good to know that it worked out for you. Wishing you all the best with you new canine companion!

Sherry said...

Late to the party again....sigh. And the cats said what about Jake??

Don't come east, you'll never be able to hike again. They don't seem to allow dogs on any trails. Too few pooper scooper parents I guess.

Who is going to leave the area first? You guys or Fernand. Or is Jake in charge of giving Fernand "the message"??

Al Bossence said...

What a sweety pie for sure. Know your frustration with agencies when it comes to adopting a dog. Went through that a couple summer's ago before we got the Pheebs privately. We just could not believe all the red tape & BS involved. Totally soured us on pet adoption places. I understand their concern for the dog's future safety which of course is a good thing but come on....use some common sense here people. All the best to Jake & the Ducks:))

Zophie said...

Yay for Jake, and yay for you two to opening your hearts and home for him! I love stories like this!

Anonymous said...

Yippee for everyone! What a unbelievably sweet face (although I wouldn't recognize any other kind..I'm dog people). Hard to find anyone happier to see you, whether it's all day or when you return after 5 minutes outside. Good job!


Cyndi and Stumpy said...

again... it did it again.... I give up! Congratulations!

John said...

Jake sure is a lucky duck. These shelters need to get on board with the movin lifestyle, they don't stop to think about all the people time we give our pets. We don't have a fenced backyard anymore to just open the door and let theem out a few times a day, we actually go with them. Or when boondocking in the desert they have the biggest backyard imagineable. Travelin pets are so lucky. We live with two cats and a very spoiled dog. Happy trails to you all. Becki

JO said...

He sure is a handsome devil. I tried to explain to Fred you would no longer try to kidnap him. I don't think he quite liked that but knew at least he wouldn't be leaving me anytime soon.
You keep bringing home new friends you are going to outgrow The Lucky Duck.

Mike and Terri said...

Congrats to all! Jake is one lucky fella!

Perhaps Fernand should hire a gardener? :-)

Allison said...

What a good looking dog. He reminds me of my dog Rachel who jumped a 7 foot fence and was run over by a car 30 years ago. She was such a sweet dog, like yours. Are you sure you don't want a new career in landscaping? You two make me laugh out loud.

Gaelyn said...

Jake is a handsome lad with a wise knowing look. I'm sure he figured it all out before your wife seeking neighbor.

Desert Diva said...

I think the "adoption process" was fine - some folks want a dog as a passing fancy and I think it's good that potential owners are screened. However, I *knew* that you and Annie are two of the most sincere animal lovers ever and Jake now has a wonderful forever home! I can't wait to meet the handsome boy when you travel to New Mexico. Oh yeah, it will be great to see you and Annie again too! ;-)

Bob said...

Jake is a lucky dog! I see dog poop in your future. That stooping part is good exercise.
I guess.

Steven said...

Good for you guys. I love dogs. Or as they're referred to in China. Take out!

Tesaje said...

What? you two don't think you need a lord and master to control your lives? Welcome to the Fundamentalist Mormons.

Lucky Jake. I think some herders (Heelers are herders by nipping at the heels) have such a problem with tugging on the leash. I'm finally getting my collie to stop the leash tugging by having a zero tolerance, turn around as soon as she gets to making the leash taut, and putting her into a tight heel on EVERY transgression. He looks like he is a lab collie mix. Heeler could be right - they are one of the collie type dogs.

Don't leave that chain collar on him unless you have him on a leash, and then only if you really need that tough correction. My collie does really well to heel off leash and less well on leash. Chain collars should never, ever be just on the dog. Dogs have gotten killed that way. They are a training tool and only a training tool. A martinet collar is a softer and safer cinch collar if he needs it.

Lots of dogs are good with cats. It was a prerequisite when I adopt dogs - the cats get veto power.

I had a dog with a very soft manner. Even a harsh voice was too much for her. She was the sweetest dog ever and the easiest to train. I just had to get her to understand what I wanted and then she did it forever with no back talk. Not the same as having a headstrong dog who isn't quite sure you should be in charge.

Check into Patricia McConnell's website and writings. She gives a lot of insight into what's going on inside the dog's head and how to adjust your own behavior to what the dog needs.

I bet Jake will be a much better duck than that trickster, Whitey. Lucky him, lucky you!

Rick Doyle said...

Glad to see Jake's going to have a great home with the cats and ducks! Good job!

Pam Wright said...

Love, Jake! what a cutie! Lucky for him to have this wonderful new home with cuddly pals.

Stay away from Fernand!!!

Contessa said...

Congratulation on the new addition to you family. He looks so sweet. I can see why he wants to be with you 24/7.

U still KNOW me said...

OMG! What a total Cutie Pie! Oh, and the dogs not bad either ;o)

The Good Luck Duck said...

I'm enjoying these comments - you guys are making me laugh.

Thanks, Contessa. He's not at all sure we won't run off, yet.

Pam, we're hoping his pals get cuddly at some point. There seems to be a trend toward détente, so let's hope that continues. But, no détente for Fernand! We need to ice that friendship down!

Thanks, Rick! He seems pretty content right now - we just hope to see him get waggy soon, too.

Mary, thanks for the reference to McConnell's site. I'll check that out. We did some research before we picked him up so we could be thinking more like a dog. Like ALPHA dogs! :o) We took the choke off him the first day, even for training. It doesn't work well with his harness, anyway, and was not effective in stopping the pull. Yes, I think Jake is entirely happy for us to be Top Dog. Relieved, even. I look forward to helping him learn how we want him to act on-lead.

OH STEVE! Only you can get away with that joke. And, I hope you covered B's eyes when you wrote it.

Cheryl, I don't feel so bad about the screening now that I've read that some shelters won't even consider a traveling home. Ridiculous.

Bob, you should see dog poop in our present. Our present from Jake every morning.

Gaelyn, Jake knew he had a better chance from the get-go.

Oh, Allison, I'm sorry about your Rachel. Isn't it funny. Our memories of our friends stay so fresh. I've been thinking about my old buddy, Pepper, who has been gone for 23 years, after a long life, and it seems like last week.

Mike and Terri, why would he need a gardener when he could have two good wives?? You're clearly not looking at this correctly.

Jo, don't get overconfident about Annie not kidnapping Fred. He's still the cutest pocket pet we know, and Jake needs a little buddy ... Now, we're really at capacity, and NO MORE RIDERS. Unless they can walk a big dog.

Becki, you're absolutely right. I didn't even consider that a shelter would refuse a traveling adopter until Peter and Beatrix and Al said so. We're with them 24/7! Full-timers should be considered premium adopters!

Cyndi, what did what? Is it a Blogger thing again? Did you tell Stumpy that we know her cousin?

It's true, isn't it Renee? Where ya been? I been worried chewy aboutcha!

Thanks, Zophie! I like happy animal stories, too.

Amen, Al. These comments have been an eye-opener for me. Like Becki says, who has more time for a pet than an RVer? It's ridiculous that a fenced-in yard should be considered superior to a loving human on a walk with his friend.

Sherry, there are a fair amount of restrictions on trails out here, too. Some I understand, some just seem silly. The cats gave a hiss apiece, then laid down around him and went to sleep. I guess there's a signal that communicates "I'm harmless! I swear it! See, I can't even look at you! (Please don't look at me)"

We imagine we will leave first, but not our forwarding address.

Thanks, Amanda! I kinda like the touchy thing. It's cute. Such a big, sweet galumph.

Haha Mary! Fernand knows a coupla good wives when he sees them. He just doesn't recognize that they're each other's good wives. Yeah, our hearts already belong to a handsome black devil.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Lol, J! Yes, I still know you, and thanks! :D

U might not KNOW me after all said...

Uh... are you sure? Whose 'J'???

Tesaje said...

Who in their right mind would prefer Fernand over Jake? Now you have some maleness in there, who needs a Fernand? Jake will love you so much better.

Glad you understand about the choke collar. Makes me feel better.

I got a 50' rope and put the leash hooks on it and attached it to the door of my van. I use it to tether my dog for all those times I must be absolutely certain she can't go a wandering but needs to be outdoors. The length can be adjusted depending on where we are. Works well. I also go looking for places where she can play off leash and especially go swimming. The criteria for the off leash romps is that she has a very reliable come so we don't get into trouble.

I trained her to do some tricks and she loves fetch more than anything (great exercise). She is such a hit at campgrounds with the kids, I almost feel obligated to stay at them as a service to random children.

In the defense of the shelters, they try really hard to not let the animals go to homes where people will dump them, give up, or even worse sell them to outfits that use them in labs or dog fighting. There are some really bad people out there looking for dogs for nefarious reasons. Some do go way overboard and limit good dogs going to good homes.

I'm looking forward to how Jake does in his new life. Welcome to the world of dog/cat lovers.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Well, it's possible you have hacked "J"'s account, I guess! She once blogged as FWWAV.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Down the road, we may try a tie-out, if we're right there near him. His issue in his last home was being tied-out and left; he got extremely anxious.

I agree that shelters need to exercise caution. But, stories like Peter and Bea's, and Al's, where shelters arbitrarily deny adoption to travelers, are wrong.

Tesaje said...

I didn't mean to tie him out and leave him. I never do that either. Probably would help if you tethered him some while sitting there with him, give him treats, etc. so he associates it with good things. Gradually move away from him over time to relieve his anxiety. Go inside, come back out and give him a treat. Like that. An abandoned tethered dog is not good.

The tether allows me to go inside and do things or be outside and still adhere to the leash rules and keep the dog safe. When you don't have a fenced yard, ie the RV, having the dog always on a short leash can be really hard. Unless the dog is absolutely not going to run off (after a rabbit, for example) and is 100% reliable - few are. Being a lab/herder, he probably has a decent prey drive. You won't see his true self until he settles in and feels confident in his new situation. That's when he might decide he needs to chase after something and get into trouble.

I agree that being a full time RV'er is no reason not to adopt a dog out. Some shelters seem to not want to get the animals good homes.

Brenda A. said...

Congratulations on choosing the right male to shack up with! May you have many happy years of companionship minus the landscape work. :)

The Good Luck Duck said...

Ha Brenda! Yeah, I think we picked the right guy. The only landscaping we'll have to do is landSCOOPing.

Jim and Gayle said...

You guys are gluttons for punishment! All those cats and now a dog. How great!
Cinderella Pet Rescue in Mission, TX where I've been volunteering, loves RVers and won't hesitate to adopt to full timers. One reason is because so many "Winter Texans" volunteer at the shelter while they are spending the winter in the area. It's hard to understand why some shelters would think it was a bad idea.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Gluttons: I know it, Gayle! I'm glad that there are shelters who "get it." What a life for the right animal!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the newest family member, looks like a sweetie.

TexCyn said...

Yay for Jake! Now, no more dowry offerings, ya'hear? I hope all goes well for ya'll & Jake.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Thanks, Kris! Yep, he is.

Cyn, we have learned our lesson! No more suggestive solar lamps to anyone!