Mittwoch, 1. Dezember 2010

And he is as healthy as a dog can be!

Time passed and Orion became a member of the family.

He felt save and secure and started pushing the borders a little. One thing he started to do is stealing everything that looked like food and munching it down. Fixing pot-lids with rubber rings did not work and putting it on the cooker next to the wall neither. As all the food he got that way was spiced and not treated with the medicine he schould get because of his not-working pancreas.

And he survived. So we decided to leave the medicine away as Orion every now and then threw up because of the enzymes working on his stomach.
Two weeks passed and the dog was still healthy. He became a little calmer and less nervous and as he moved a lot he gained muscles.

A visit at the vet with an examination of his blood and poop reveiled that the dog is perfectly healthy and does not need any medication at all and that he has gained weight, 2 kg.

What a surprise and what a huge improvement to his and our life!

A visit at the animal shelter made his former carers wonder how well he looked, how shiny his coat was and how muscular he was. They, who cared for him for 8 years, could clearly tell that the dog felt well and looked well looked after.

As he learned quickly he is no longer a threat to other dogs and can run arond free as he likes it in every dogzone in Vienna.

Samstag, 28. August 2010

Weeks twelve to fourteen - getting better and causing laughter

The weeks passed by like a speed train and Orion by now was a part of my life that I don't want to miss. He had turned out to be less complicates than everybody expected and I think he felt at home.

We visited the annoying little maltese terrier named Snowy that Orion loved to hate and whenever Snowy was around and Orion was not allowed to have him as a nutricious snack the large dog got nervous. When Orion is nervous the food won't stay inside him and he got diarrhea. That made him lose a little weight but we are on the way to gain weight again.

Orin got used to having 2-3 play-sessions per day where he ran after the tennis ball for 15-20 minutes per session. His limping is gone and he is more social than I ever expected him to get. The vet even mentioned that he got more muscular than he was when I got him.

And he makes people smile when they see him. Once they even laughed: We were on one of our walks behind Votivkirche and 2 couples sat on a bench in the park. Orion went right there sniffing and then marked his territory - as male dogs do. Nothing special if he would not have done it right behind one young man. The other 3 started laughing and the one who nearly got pissed (off course Orion missfired) jumped up like bitten by a tarantula. With a broad grin I commented "The dog is rather old, so he missed" what finally made the young man laugh too.

By now we are well known in the nearby parks and dog-zones and Orion rarely attacks other dogs. The only thing he still dislikes are thunderstorms and this is also the only time he is allowed in bed.

Montag, 9. August 2010

Week eleven - back to daily routine

The week started with 3 days off and I had time to give Orion several longer walks per day and to offer him a lot of movement while playing with the tennis ball.

We went to the vet and discovered the Orion had lost weight. So I decided to raise the ammount of food he gets from 500gto 600g per day (the recommended ammount is 420g). After a while I'll check if he gained weight again or if the extra gramms are just a waste of food.

Thursday night at about 1Am Orion git very nervous and started walking around the bedroom. As I woke up I saw lightning at the sky but could not hear thunder, so the thunderstorm was far away. As it got nearer Orion got more and more nervous. Once you could hear thunder, he tried to climb into the bed and you could see fear in his eyes. He was allowed to use Ine's side of the bed (as she was not there this side was empty) and as soon as he was near me he calmed down. I am sure he enjoyed sleeping in our bed but he knows that these were exceptional circumstances and so far he never tried to get into bed again. Let's see how he reacts to the next thunderstorm.

The last two days I worked on early shift starting at 6 AM and returning home at 4PM. Pascal took care of at least one walk with Orion as I walked Orion the first time at 5 AM.

On Friday Ine Mischa and Snowy (he'll be with Ine until September) visited us and Snowy and Orion showed that they'd probably never be friends. They growled at each other but as long as Snowy was on the bed (he sleeps a lot there) everything was fine.

The situation escalated on Sunday when we returned from a walk with the three dogs. Orion's muzzle was already stored and I was about to take his harness off when he grabbed snowy again and started shaking his head. I managed to make him open his mouth and let Snowy go. The little one ran away and it took a while to calm him down again. Luckily even the third attack did hot leave more than a few red scratches on his skin but he was not hurt at all.
Orion had to spend a while tied to the living room wearing harness and muzzle and after this we tried to keep him from getting near Snowy.

Week ten - back to work on night shift

Holidays were over and I had to return to work again. It was probably the shift Orion liked most. Night shift, when I start working at 10 PM and return from work at 6 AM. Pascal and Brian spent the week with their mother and unlike usual I had to stay at my place because Snowy was at Ine's place.

We did the last walk at 9PM and the first at 7AM and between 8 and 11 AM I slept a little to walk my dog at 12 again.

Orion went on demanding to play and I did so as often as I could though I got weaker and weaker because of the lack of sleep.

On Saturday the boys returned to my place and on Sunday we made a trip to Lower Austria. Near Gaming you can find the Ötscher Tormäuer.
We went there and along a cold and cristyl clear river Brian and his girlfriend, Pascal, Ine, Mischa, Snowy Orion and I enjoyed a walk in the forest (the dogs even had a bath in the river).

Week nine - holiday with the kids

Ine had to start working again and I had another week off work with my kids.

We decided to care for Mischa as our time allowed it. Brian, my older son, wanted to stay with his girlfriend, so I spent the week with Pascal, the younger one.

We spent a lot of time in the local parks and dog zones and went to the Lobau with Mischa and Orion where the two dogs spent a lot of time swimming and having fun returning sticks we trew into the water.

On Sunday Ine Mischa Orion Snowy and I went to Kahlenberg though the weather was not the best. When Snowy tried to steal Orion's tennis ball, Orion grabbed him again and held him to the ground for a while.

The little white maltese terrier cried in fear and for about one hour he was shaking and refused to walk, o Ine had to carry him under her jacket. Orion once again had stated the he did not like the fluffy white thing that sounded like a purring cat when growling.

Orion enjoyed a lot of playing and started to ask for it by coming to me no matter what I did and if I did not react to his whining, he barked until I dressed him and grabbed the toy to go to the nearest park.

Week seven and eight - holidays in Carinthia

We went to carinthia with the boot filled with bags and suitcases, wine for Ine's parents and two dogs on the rear seats. Orion used most of the space and Mischa looked as miserable as he could. They survived the trip and as soon as we arrived in Carinthia we put up the pool and Orion had a bath even before the pool was completely filled.

My parents got detailed instructions about feeding and walking Orion and we went to bed early because the next day it would be a little more than 300 km to drive. Berlin is about 1.000 km away from Klagenfurt. Orion and Mischa slept in the same room we did and I was a little nervous because I'd be without Orion for the first time after 6 weeks of enjoying his company.

The next day we left for Berlin and I was sure Orion would have a great time enjoying a garden and two retired dog-lovers who'd care for him.

Two weeks later when we returned I got an overwhealming welcome. Orion looked great all his food was used up and he had enjoyed 4 walks per day in the forests surrounding the little village. After a night with two dogs in the room we packed the pool and the dogs and went back to Vienna again.

By the end of the day we picked up my boys from their grandmother's place and Snowy.

A guest dog that Orion already had met 3 weeks ago. This meeting was on the street at "neutral ground" and went well.

But things should change dramatically when Snowy entered Ine's flat (I had to attend a meeting). Orion picked up Snowy, the maltese terrier and shook him growling.

The little white dog cried in fear but luckily was not hurt. From that moment on, Orion growled at the little one whenever he got near him.

Week six - preparing for the holidays

Ine and I planned to go to Norway again this year.

Last year we used our bikes, this year it should be the car and the dogs should be with us.

Unfortunately Orion was not allowed to enter Norway because his rabies shot was not done in time. We already introduced Orion to my parents and they agreed in keeping him while we were away. Mischa who has got the shots in time was allowed to come.

We had tried to get a special permission for Orion but the local authorities did not make any exceptions.

All this took long enough that we did not get a sleeping compartment at the train to Hamburg, so we decided to go by car all the way. As soon as I spread this Information among my friends we were offered to stay over night around Berlin on the way up and down with some friends. As we had to face about 2.000 km one way we knew we would not make it in one go and were glad not to spend extra money for a night at a hotel.

Orion got a dog-pool so he'd be able to have a bath in my parents garden, his food was weighed and packed in prtions so my mum could just pour a bag per meal into the bowl. His medication was ground and portioned as well, so feeding would be an easy job and Orion would get the appropriate ammount of food and medicine.

Mischa's rabies antibodies were proven and he got his deworming tablets. By the end of the week we finished packing and were ready for the first part.

The trip to Carinthia to leave Orion with my parents.

Donnerstag, 1. Juli 2010

Week fife - he's part of the family now

This week Orion had to deal with the boys again.

I had to work early shift so I walked him at sunrise and Pascal walked him a second time before he left for school.

When I returned from work in the early afternoon Orion got another walk and we did the shopping for dinner.

Another walk at 9 PM ended the day for Orion who started to play again and to show that he runs after everything but a frisbee.

On the weekend one of Ine's friends visited Vienna and we had a BBQ in the backyard of where I live. Orion was not sure about the newcomer and growled at him. He even snapped at the trousers but did not harm anybody. Frode was very calm and ignored Orion which worked fine.

The BBQ was delicious and the two dogs (Yes, Mischa was there too) were begging for leftovers but as Mischa is on a strict diet and Orion can't eat anything without enzymes they were not successful. (I think potatoes don't really count, but that was all they got).

The next day we tried the new toy. A kind of ball-throwing device that makes you throw a tennis ball really far with just a little movement of your wrist. Well, it worked fine and Orion chomped the tennis ball to an undefinable mixture of felt and rubber in not time. I think I'd better get new (tennis) balls.

Sunday evening we went to Auer-Welsbach Park and Orion did amazingly well with all the dogs there. He did not growl or bark and fight. He ran around on his own without lead or muzzle and had so much fun that he forgot to listen to "his master's voice".

We'll have to work on this.

His welcome for me is overwhelming. He gets up on his rear legs and licks my face and his long tail whips everything in reach.

No matter what happens, Orion will stay with us until his final breath. 

Dienstag, 22. Juni 2010

Week four - Night shift and meeting other dogs

Week four was a little strange for Orion I guess.
We lived at Ine's place and Mischa was around all day.
I returned from Work at 6.30AM and fell asleep after we walked a little and Orion had breakfast.
When I got up at 11ish we walked again and then I prepared whatever was necessary for the day and the upcoming TOY-RUN (a biker event I have helped organizing the last 10 years).
Then usually we went for another walk and another and finally picked up Ine at work and after dinner I went to work again at 9.30PM.

Frequently we met other dogs and Orion got better meeting them rather neutral and getting along with them rather than growling and barking at the first glance.

On Friday we had to wait for Ine to finish this and that at work, so we went to a dog-zone near "Haus des Meeres". On the way there we stopped at a "Royal Canin" stand (a supplier for high quality dog food) and Orion was given a bag of food. Stuffed with all sorts of special food for his sensitive digestion system. As Mischa was with us, he was given another stuffed bag with special food for slightly overweight dogs. Ine had to admit that I was successful getting about 5 kg of dog food for free (looking at her own bag containing about 250 grams of free dogfood).

When we reached the dog zone with our heavy load there was a German Shepard. Mischa went there to greet him like he always does and Orion was a bit suspicious. This dog was just the size he usually dislikes and is very angry with at first sight. This time he sniffed a little and the ignored the other dog. I could even take his muzzle off and he ran around happily for about half an hour (while Mischa as usual collapsed and rested in the sunshine).

Sunday, the day we went to the TOY RUN the dogs had to stay at home alone for a long time. We left at 4:30 in the morning and returned at 6PM. The welcome we received was chaos. 2 happy dogs jumping around barking, whining, licking hands and faces and the boys were very glad to be walked.

We went to a small but beautiful dog zone well hidden and clean. When we arrived it was just Mischa and Orion who inspected the zone but then two women arrived with two small dogs and Orion fell in love with one of them. A cute white little one that ran around like crazy and Orion followed with passion. It was very funny to see the two rushing around vanishing into bushes and reappearing again. Orion squeezed himself through the smallest holes just to keep in touch with the little one. Everybody watching was laughing  and as other dog owners arrived they joined in. Meanwhile the other small dog tried to hump Mischa who was very grumpy and tried to get rid of the thing clinging to his butt.

Orion seems to lose his aggression and it gets easier  for us to go to dog zones and parks leaving Orion the freedom to run around without lead and muzzle. Something we had not expected to happen this fast.

Dienstag, 15. Juni 2010

Week three - the vet again and being socialized

Orion has settled in rather fast and he took over our hears as well as all parts of the flat.
By now he owns a giant dog-bed (120 times 80 cm) and raised pair of bowls for food and water so he can eat without "kneeing on the floor" a harness, a collar, different leads, a proper dog tag (yes he's registered) and a rabies-shot tag.

We went to the vet again. Orion is still limping a little, but I'm positive that he'll be fine soon. He likes his food that by now contains Pankreoflat (for his digestion) and Devil's claw (for his joints). He shows no fear from the vet and so it was not at all a problem to get his rabies shot.

We walk a little longer now and we meet other dogs. In General it's not a problem, but about every 10th dog is not what Orion likes so he growls and barks immediately. I generally keep him off the lead wearing a muzzle (the dog, not I). Once he shows he's friendly the muzzle is taken off, especially in dog-zones.

Orion gets breakfast before me and Thursday he enjoyed a second breakfast. I prepared everything in the kitchen (coffee, toast, liver-paste) and went to the bedroom to gt my glasses, so I can read the newspaper (Yes I am this old by now). While I was not in the kitchen Orion managed to steal the liver paste from the table and in no time managed to eat it. So he had an extra breakfast containing liver paste with lingonberry and I had toast, plain toast. I think there's a little work to be done to keep his head off the table.

We went to a restaurant meeting friends this week. I was not sure about Orion's reaction to a couple of strangers in a new surrounding, but he did very well. Off course he growled a little at the beginning, but in the end he walked around in the whole restaurant, got cuddles from everybody and rested right in the middle of the way, so the waitress had to step over him.

The weekend meant meeting more family members as we went to my parent's place where Orion will spend two weeks in summer while we are on holiday. He behaved like a normal dog and even the neighbor's dog was no problem at all. Mischa and Orion enjoyed a weekend on the countryside with swimming, longer walks and running in the garden.

Donnerstag, 10. Juni 2010

Week two - Night shift, the hirarchy question and the bonefight

Week two started very nice. I did not have to get up as my shift started at 10 PM so the four of us, Ine, Mischa, Orion and I could sleep a little longer.

We spent most of the time in Ine's flat and Mischa the flat's top dog behaved like he always did. Everything was his and he could do whatever he wants. That's what HE thought. And he should soon find out that things were not this easy any more. A few topics underwent a significant change.

First there was the attention I had given him for the last months. Now part of this attention - I admit, major parts - went to Orion and often you could see the question marks in Mischa's eyes because he could not see any reason for the presence of that other dog and the attention this dog got.

Then there was Ine's attention as well. A small part of this was Orion's now and once more Mischa did not really understand what was going on. As he is a good dog that adapts to many things without complaining he sulked a lot but did not try to get more than his share. Only his excitement when he saw me showed some change. His tail wagged less and he jumped less high.

The next topic, one that was more obvious, was the several places Mischa used to collapse at and feel comfortable. The mattress in the bedroom, the mattress in the living room the spot under the giant desk. Orion occupied these places without asking and Mischa once again sulked and accepted the loss. After a while they shared the mattress in the living room (in fact we all sat there together cuddling each other - o.k., Ine and I cuddled the dogs). And to avoid problems in the bedroom Orion got a mattress of his own.

But the worst one was food. Mischa's mind is rather one-tracked. Once food is involved it's his, no discussion! Now there was this other hairy thing and we all had to learn a lot. Feeding the dogs at the same time even in different places caused Orion to growl at Mischa and to show his shiny teeth. Mischa looked at Orion and his look just said "what?". Mischa inhaled his food like a hover, while Orion ate a little, had a little water, walked around the flat and ate a bit more. Well, as soon as Orion left his bowl, Mischa considered that Orion had finished and the leftovers were Mischa's now. This ended in even more growling and showing teeth. And Ine and I told Mischa that this food is not his. Now, this was the end of the world for Mischa. We tried several different kinds of feeding them. Same time, different places in the kitchen, same time, different places in the flat but what worked best was: Ine prepared Mischa's meal and while he inhaled it, I prapared Orion's and served him in a different room. No growling any more and we thought we'd won, but we should be proven wrong within no time.

As the two dogs had shared a rawhide-bone the other day I decided to get one rawhide bone each. Not the usual stuff. Rawhide filled with paunch. They got them the same time and had to work for it. Sitting with the "bones" in front of them for a few seconds. But then they were in doggy heaven and started chewing them. Mischa, the expert, in the office. Within less than 30 minutes the 23 cm bone shaped chewing stuff had changed to a palm sized piece of rawhide with no paunch left.
Orion, the novice, went to the living room and we could hear his teeth working on the rawhide. After a short time (while Mischa was steadily chewing on his "bone") Orion came to the office again, heavily breathing. A look at his chewing stuff showed that he had managed to chew 1 cm and to eat the paunch at the same length. I had to go to work so we walked the dogs together in the fading daylight. When we returned, orion immediately went to the place where he had dropped the "bone" and put it on the floor in the hallway, where Mischa saw it and - as everything edible is his - tried to get it. Growling was not enough now. No, Orion went for Mischa and they started fighting. Luckily I could get them apart before they had time to harm each other, but Orion had thus clearly stated what was his and that he did not want to share food with anybody.

Or was this only the revenge for the three times Mischa had peed on Orion's head today while the large dog was sniffing?

Now we (Orion and I) are back in my flat again and he tries to get all the cuddles Ine gave him the last days from me now. Pascal, as I expected, already wants to stay at home instead of walking the dog, though he was the one promising that he'd help me with walking and feeding. Never trust a teenager!

Dienstag, 1. Juni 2010

Week one - meeting the vet and settling in

On May 23rd Orion hurt his left front leg so we visited the vet on May 25thFrau Dr. Jordan is very nice and Orion showed no fear or aggression at all. (I don't know why the vet at Tierschutzhaus refused to have a look at Orion when we got him.

Dr. Jordan examined him and diagnosed pain in his left shoulder and, as a result to the limping, in his right knee. Otherwise he is healthy and has clean and shiny teeth. He got a shot to take the pain away from him and some tablets that he has to be given the next three days. And she weighed him. His actual weight is 31 kg. He is not allowed to play and run around the next 3-4 days ans should sleep a lot. We'll make this possible, especially by getting him a new comfortable bed on Wednesday.

Right now he's at home with the boys for the first time as I am on late shift. Let's see how excited the big boy will be when I return from work ... 

Looks like our planned holiday is very likely not to happen.

We wanted to go to Norway with the dogs on July 5th, but Norway is a country where rabies does not exist. As they don't want rabies to come to Norway (which I understand), a dog has to have its blood tested 120 days after the last rabies shot to prove the existence of antibodies. Well, I doubt that Orion can meet this as he will get his last shot on June 7th. Now we hope that it is just a refreshment and not a basic vaccination. A look at the vaccination card will tell us more.

And the vaccination card tells us, that Orion had his very first rabies shot on May 11th, 2010. Now we asked the Norwegian embassy to get a special permission to bring Orion. If we can't get it we'll have to spend the holidays separated because Orion will not go to a "pet hotel".

Orion spent the first day at home alone while I was at work and the kids at school or work. His welcome for me when I returned was enthusiastic. He jumped around, neglecting his sore shoulder, whined full of joy and licked my face. I think he sees the family as his herd.

Unfortunately he is still limping a lot and it seems not to get better. Well, we have at least two days to go ... 

The limping slowly gets better but the dog still is not allowed to run and play and he misses it and gets grumpy. 

The Norwegian authorities will not allow the dog to enter without a positive test showing  the rabies antibodies 120 days after the last shot. So I'll introduce him to my parents and if they get along with each other, He'll stay in Carinthia while Ine and I are in Norway.

So we managed to get through the first week without major troubles and hope we'll not have to face trouble in the future. 

Dienstag, 25. Mai 2010

Moving in - the first weekend

On May 21st I rushed off work, went to a shop to get a grid seperating the boot from the rest of the car (Renault Scenic) then to Ine to pick her and Mischa up and on to the Tierschutzhaus. The paperwork was done in no time and then we went to Orion to take him out of his kennel a last time. He was over-excited as always when he saw me and the carer got a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate that the dog finally found an owner after at least 8 (!) years in the shelter.

Our next stop was one of the largest pet shopt in the area to get a collar and a lead and food and to change the grid to a larger one, because the first one left too much space for the dog to get through it.

Then we went to Ines place and while Orion explored the new space, Mischa was very worried about the things going on. But it was only a stopover and soon we went on to my place. Orion explored another flat and Mischa seemed deeply worried because he seemed to have lost my attention and his unique position in the family.

May 22nd to May 24th we spent a lot of time in parks near my home and the local dog-zones where dogs can run off the lead. We got to know Orion a little better, Orion had a chance to get used to us and Mischa could work out his position.

On May 23rd we decided to go to Schwarzenbergpark and as Orion reacted rather agressive to some dogs I kept him off the lead but wearing a muzzle. Off course he was attacked or attacked a few dogs and I always went there to grab his harness and pull him out of the danger zone. The little fights were not fair as all the other dogs were off the lead and not wearing a muzzle. At the end of our walk Orion limped a little, but as he always did that when he was tired (he is an old man without stamina) nobody was worried. This should change the next morning.
In the afternoon Ine decided to have a little nap on the floor and two dogs guarded her.
In the evening Pascal returned and Orion had to face two teenagers instead of one.

Monday morning Orion was still limping. His left leg showed no swelling at all and you could examine it as much as you wanted, the dog did not react to it any way. But something certainly was wrong. The usually active dog was not pleased with the situation and Mischa saw his chance to improve his position and attacket Orion who knew he was vulnerable and backed off whimpering.

During a walk in the park Orion tried to attack another dog in the morning and the fast movemet seemed to be too much for his leg/paw. He sat down and cried in agony for about a minute. I could ease him a little but his limping got worse. I called a vet and we'll see her on May 25th to have a closer look. So far nothing can be done, but his limping got a little better thoughout the day.

Around noon another change worried the large dog. Ine and Mischa went home to their flat. Once we returned Orion was calm and quiet but the more time passed, the more Orion went looking for the two. Out on the street he sniffed every woman to see if it was Ine or not.

We used the dog-trailer I have for my bicycle and went to Prater to get Orion used to the trailer and to offer him a walk around a little pond. As Orion likes water he enjoyed it and he was very quiet in the trailer. The sun shinin on his leg warmed it and this seemed to improve his situation a little.

In the evening I left the flat for the first time for 5 minutes to leave Orion alone with the boys he now knew. As I have to work this test should how how he'd react to this situation. He was better than I had expected. Off course, he was worried and ran around whineing but the boys could calm him. When I returned he was obviously over joy to seee me again and the welcome he gave me was great.

So we all survived a thrilling weekend and are about to face the first week.

--- to be continued ---

Montag, 24. Mai 2010

Getting to know each other - a slow progress.

On April 25th and on the way back from a journey to see my family we stopped at the Tierschutzhaus. We means Ine, Mischa (Ine's 10 year old puppy-dog) and Pascal. my younger son (15) who wanted a small dog he can play with. We went up to the desk and were told that there was no Orion here. "NO, not again" I thought and insisted on seeing him. Aftre a while the friendly but not very competent lady found the dog at "stable B" and we were allowed to go there. A different carer led us to door B46 and as the door swung open a large dog barked a lot and scared Pascal a little. Pascal never had a dog so he could not tell that this dog did nothing but telling the strangers that this was his room. The carer gave me some treats and Orion took them without fear out of my hand.
We left after 5 minutes and Pascal told me that he wants a puppy and NOT THIS DOG.

Well Pascal wanted a dog, but as it was mainly me taking care of it, I did not want to give up. This dog's eyes told me that we could make it and I started a series of visits.

On April 28th I was lead to another playground and had a chance to play with Orion for 45 minutes. I left an exhausted dog that did not mind my touch and obeyed to the main commands like "Sitz" and "Platz" (meaning sit down and lay down) and went directly to work.

On April 29th I was lead to the same playground and we played thowing a toy and bringing it back for another 45 minutes. As I left for work again I asked if I could feed him some treats I brought (as I cared for Mischa now and then I had dry food at home). I was allowed to do so and he gladly ate out of my hand again.

Orion had a foster mother, Elizabeth, which was allowed to take him out of the shelter's area and we managed to get in touch with her and met her at May 1st in front of Tierschutzhaus. Ine was with me and Pascal and Mischa (he had to stay in the car April 25th). Pascal, Elizabeth and I went in to get Orion and Ine waited outside with Mischa. As Orion reacted agressive to other dogs, it was a risky plan to introduce the boy and the dog to him at the same time. Orion was very excited when he saw me again and jumped around full of joy. Elizabeth was astonished that I had won the dog's hart in such a short time and we took Orion on the lead, put the muzzle on and left shelter "B".

Ine and Mischa were still at the entrance and we were very curious about what would happen now. Orion and Mischa sniffed each other a little and then decided to rather ignore each other so we could leave the area to walk to a large field nearby. I had Orion on the lead and he behaved well, except when he passe other dogs.

He just went crazy, barked and tried to get to the other dog. I managed to control him well and no dog was harmed. At the field I took the muzzle off and Elizabeth told me this was not allowed. I answered that I knew this and let the dog off the leadd. Elizabeth told me that she would be responsible if something happened. I told her nothing would happen and started throwing a toy that Orion returned wit a lot of joy. We went on for about half an hour and then Orion clearly showet that he was tired. He stumbled over his own legs and staggered like a heavily drunk. Attached to the lead again and wearing a muzzle we went back to Tierschutzhaus and on the way Orion decided that he needs a break and rested in the grass. He rolled over and alowwed me to touch his stomach. A clear sign of trust. The last meters to the Tierschutzhaus le was so tired that he leant against my leg to not fall over while walking. He clearly had reached the point where there was no stamina left.

The next visit was on May 6th and Orion was excited to see me again. He jumped around in his small room and it was hard to put his collar around his nsck. As I already was well known to the Tierschutzhaus, I was allowed to take him out whenever I want and we spent some 45 minutes playing. For a change I took him for a walk then to calm him down a litte and it went very well. A few treats before I left a whimpering dog that wanted to come with me.

On May 8th I went to the Tierschutzhaus with Ine and Pascal. Though the boy had clearly stated that this is not the dog he was looking for, he joined in and we all were surprised. He played with Orion running, throwing the toy and finally stated that this is the dog he wants. Orion had won another heart.

On May 9th Pascal and I went to the Tierschutzhaus again to play with Orion and to give him a short walk and Orion surprised Pascal by being strong and fast, pulling the boy around while trying to attack another dog. Pascal became aware of the fact that he has a lot to learn ...

On May 11th and 12th I visited Orion again and he became more and more ecxited about my arrival, confident about me and sad about me leaving. I also met his foster mother again and told her that Orion would move in May 22nd. Then I left for a 4 days bike trip to Germany with Brian (the one who neglected the fact that there would soon be a new family member around) and Ine.

On May 18th and 19th I went to Tierschutzhaus again to see the dog  and to play with him. I got all the information I needed for taking him home and decided to pick him up on May 21st after work.

--- to be continued ---

Sonntag, 23. Mai 2010

How it all began ...

It was autumn 2009 when I decided to get a dog. It should be one out of Vienna's animal shelter called "Tierschutzhaus". As my partner, Ine, already owns a 10 year old dog it should be the same age. I went to the homepage of the Tierschutzhaus and had a look at the dogs they give away (Hundevergabe). At the very bottom there was a picture of a dog named Orion.
A mix of Greyhound with German shepherd, 10 years old, castrated. As I work on shift I waited a while so I'd have time to visit the dog and called the Tierschutzhaus. I was told the the dog was just given away and so I decided to wait until spring and have a look at the available dogs again then.

I did so at the beginning of April 2010 and there at the bottom of the list he was again. I called again and asked if they forgot to take him off the list and they said that the dog was back again.

April 22nd was the day Ine and I went to the Tierschutzhaus and asked to see the dog. We went there by bike and were dressed in heavy leathers. We met Yvone, one of Orions carers and saw a large but very elegant dog kept on the lead and wearing a muzzle. We went to an area where we could see the dog and while talking to Yvonne about his past (we were informed about 2 operations to his stomach and a non funktioning pancreas that made it necessary to supply medication as addition to the special food he needs as well as that he is NOT castrated) Orion tried to pick up a toy which could not work with the muzzle on. I asked Yvonne to take the muzzle off and she wanted me to confirm my wish because the dog usually is agressive when strangers want to touch it. (Why should I touch a dog I don't know????)

Once the muzzle was off, Orion picked up the toy and went to me. So we played a while and then he turned to Ine for playing (he seems to be very democratic when it comes to playing).

After about 30 minutes of running after the toy the dog was obvously tired and taken back to his kennel. Before that we were offered some treats to feed the dog, so Yvonne would see if he accepts food from us or not. He did and I touched him the first time. He even accepted my touch.

Ine and I decided to visit the dog several times to see if he choses us as new family ...