Monday, August 30, 2010

Situation Wanted: Puppy Labor Is NOT Illegal

Belle wants more than to be the Belle of the Ball.

Further Pupdate: Belle is going home this Saturday. Belay request below. That is all.

Breaking Pupdate: We are trying to get Belle from North Carolina to a forever home in Texas (Dallas/Ft. Worth area). She's going to be too big to fit under the seat in about ten minutes, and her adopter isn't willing to fly her cargo -- too hot in Texas.

Can you think of anyone who is flying from NC to TX in the next, say, week who would be willing to take her as a carry-on?

Alternatively, anyone know a trucker who drives that route and could care for a puppy hitchhiker?

NESR has had quite a puppy summer. We had one small litter born to a young bitch we took from a rural pound after a "breeder" dumped seven ES there, and we recently took on the remnants of another young litter of well-bred black-and-tan ES when their breeder suffered a sudden medical setback that made it very dangerous to his health to try to care for the pups. (I can attest to how physically taxing it is to chase after young puppies in the best of times.)

The last time I remember Rescue having young puppies to place was several years ago, when a litter of maybe ES pups was dumped by the roadside in the Midwest, and they found their way to us. Those pups went on to great homes, where they have been very successful.

One of those foundlings became Judy Hase's Dylan:

Dylan is Judy's SAR dog; he has passed operational testing, and has at least one find to his credit. Judy and Dylan live and work in Oregon.

Not every dog has the stuff to be a top-level worker. Most handlers seek out pups from breeders who have taken great care to stack the odds, choosing breeding stock with proven working genetics and great health, and raising pups with the utmost attention to their little developing brains and bodies. Very few rescue dogs combine the happy genetics and the early enrichment that fit them out for this kind of challenging work.

When they do, who are we to deny them that chance?*

When they do have All That, it is a disaster when they are denied a means to use it. Such dogs make bored, unhappy pets. Locked out of legitimate employment, they turn to selling drugs on the street corner menacing the neighbors through the fence and forming boy bands buggering the cat.

One of our born-in-foster-care pups, Briar from yesterday's cookbook post, was one of these. It looks as if Briar has found herself a sinecure as a ranch hand paw. It took a little longer to find the right place for her than it did for her more laid-back siblings.

Now we have another candidate, from the well-bred litter.

Here's what her foster human, whose animal-sense I fully trust, says about her:
I need you to help me find this pup a special home. I have NEVER had a puppy blow me away with her intelligence like this one! She's an "old soul" kind of puppy. Nothing bothers her. She's barely 12 weeks old, had been in the house for less than a week and was completely housebroken, even rings the "bell" to ask to go out. She has a steady "sit" (learned in a few minutes), and working on stay. She knows what is and is not a toy and can be chewed. Was crate trained in 15 minutes and slept all night by the third night. She is reliable (so far) with the chickens, doesn't get too close to the horse, and wasn't afraid of the lawn mower when I started it the first time. She's not afraid of anything, as long as the other dogs stand their ground. She needs a home with something to do, a working home of some sort. She will get herself in a lot of trouble if she goes to a home where she just entertains children or keeps another dog company. This pup is an extreme case of "she'll find something to do"!

I know most ES are smart but good grief!

So -- SAR handlers, ranchers, farmers, service-dog users, serious dog sports competitors with a lot of time to spend keeping up with a pup -- someone with the ability to meet a brilliant young dog's mind -- here is a rare opportunity to acquire a pup from a rescue who has both the genetics and the early environment to qualify her for a challenge. Belle was well-bred, well-raised, is one of those rare single-trial learners who you do not want for a pet, has solid nerves and great courage. She is in Rescue because of her breeder's personal misfortune, not human negligence that has deprived her of her puppy birthright.**

Belle is fostering in North Carolina. You can inquire about adopting her here. I suspect she is a once-in-a-lifetime dog ready to bloom for the right person.

* Believe it or not, there are "rescues" of working breeds that refuse to place dogs in working homes. Apparently "ornamental love object" and "toe warmer" are the highest functions to which a dog should aspire. It is "mean" to "make them work."

Now, I may have a bit of sampling bias here, but it seems to me that NESR takes more "failed" pet English shepherds and adopts them out to become successful working partners -- mostly farm dogs -- than ever the other way 'round.

Everybody is happy.

** In my fantasy world, that is what Rescue does -- steps in when people have genuine misfortunes, when their resources suddenly cannot cover their commitments, and helps them by looking out for the welfare of their animals so they can handle their other challenges with no worries on that front.

Not, say, clean up the colossal mess left behind by a profiteering felon.


  1. WANT!

    But talking myself out of ...

  2. I agree, Gina, I am glad I'm 3000 miles away....

  3. Thanks Heather!

    She's the brightest, steadiest pup I've ever worked with. I hope she finds the right home before too long because I'm getting mighty attached to her, and she's getting very attached to the AC vent!


  4. If I was Stateside, I'd take her in a flash. Anyone flying to Sweden?

  5. Just got a phone call from someone who is highly qualified on all fronts for this pup, has spoken to foster-mom Margaret, and who wanted me to know that she'll be sending in her application in about ten minutes.

    I think we may have a winner, folks!

  6. Saturday we were at our trainer's, working on general obedience issues with Maddy (and her late reactiveness wherein she nipped a guest -- Heather knows the whole story). We started working on her doing a nose-on-the-floor as the opening to a cute trick Libby already knows: "Cubs lose!"

    Our trainer said it was the fastest she had ever seen any dog "get it".

    In many respects, Maddy is a window into a world I never wanted to enter. The one thing above all else that I've learned as a consequence of adopting Libby and Maddy is that working dogs are a lifestyle.

    I often think that many of the problems Maddy exhibits are directly due to her underemployment. I don't regret for a moment adopting her, but there are times I see what she could have been if not for the depraved indifference of a convicted felon.

  7. Oh, I woud take her and she would be working for a living. Herding, obedience, agility, tricks, and a lot of love. But she is too far from CA. I have Aussies and she would be a fit. Oh well, hope she finds a good, loving, working, wonderful home.

  8. Wow, I am in NO position right now to be even THINKING of owning any sort of working dog right now, but the ideas and possibilities with which to challenge these dogs seem endless. It's hard to have to wait to be able to put all that time and effort into a dog, but I hope it happens, if not soon then sometime!

    Was the winning family the one in Dallas? Hope she finds a ride somehow...I don't know anyone in those areas.


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