Even though we’re on the wrong side of the tracks (in this case, Pacific Coast Highway), every July 4th we get to watch the Paradise Cove pyrotechnics from our balcony. It’s huge treat for us humans but not much fun the neighborhood dogs. As he’s done for the past 5 years, poor Tanner spent several hours shivering like a North Pole skinny dipper while searching in vain for a place to escape the skyrockets and firecrackers. Four days later, he’s still not back to his normal, easy-going self.
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While Independence Day celebrates America’s breakup with England, this year the holiday brought us some love from the U.K. in the form of a glowing review of GIMME SHELTER courtesy of Emma Powell and The Review Group. Here’s hoping that her kind words lead U.K. dog lovers to rush out and buy a copy. From the review: “You don’t have to be a dog lover to appreciate this book. I was happy to review it as I have always had German Shepherds, my latest one a rescue with problems, so can empathise with judgemental attitudes that surround certain breeds. But this book is so much more than dogs; it’s a person’s story of how he developed coping mechanisms, life-changing attitudes and how hard it is to work at changing lifestyles. By having to work with a dog that had issues, such as fearing everything, surrounded by people with preconceived ideas of the dog, the author cleverly shows how this path forced him to take his own issues to hand. The author is very honest and open that he has anger problems stemming from childhood and through his 20s and I think this is a very difficult and brave thing to do. “
|Tanner…American Staffordshire Terrier & Yankee Doodle Dandy
|If they’re anything like their Yankee counterparts, they’ll likely enjoy the book’s sidebars that offer tips on training and dog care, as well as pertinent statistics about dog-human interactions, such as dog bites and how to prevent them. Cesar Millan’s latest newsletter puts the annual number of U.S. dog bites at 4.5 million, with 31 fatalities. On the surface, these numbers suggest that man’s best friend is nothing of the sort. As Tanner will attest, it’s crucial for pet guardians to train and socialize their dogs and to safely restrain them if they show aggression towards people or other animals. But before you muzzle Bowser or show him the door, consider that every day in the U.S. 4.5 children die from abuse and neglect and that the Center for Disease Control is predicting 33,000 gun fatalities for 2015.
Those of you familiar with Tanner’s story will remember that, when he first left the shelter, he was one very skittish pup. A scuffed shoe or a dropped plate would send him flying. Thanks to Eugenie’s constant affection (she never took her hands off him) and my concerted efforts to reform my foul temper, he finally began to relax. First, we were able to coax him up onto the sofa for TV cuddles. Then, he learned to stretch out on our bed when invited. Of course, he stayed in the middle, close enough to let us touch him but far enough away to avoid us when he chose. Just recently, though, that’s begun to change. When we’re watching movies in bed (been enjoying Ric Burns epic documentary New York) he been allowing Eugenie to drape her legs across his body. And the other night, he curled up in my lap! I’d been busy working at probation and doing a hurry-up rewrite on my play so we think it was his way of saying that he missed me. Regardless, it was awesome to see him acting like the beloved family dog that he is.
We’ll see how he handles the fireworks and firecrackers this week. Even if he freaks, we’ll be there to buck him up.
note: Since I penned the ‘June Gloom’ headline, we’ve had most blue, sunny skies. Maybe my public kvetching moved the weather gods. Either that or we’ve been lucky for a change.