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 ...