I am pleased to report that Shine is a high spirited young dog with what appears to be a very stable temperament. One of the troubles with having a long recovery for a young pup is that it interferes with their ability to be socialized because we are confining and protecting them, usually right after a very negative experience.
The best cure for a negative experience is to flood the dog with positive experiences but sadly in Shine’s case she had to be handled when in a lot of pain and restricted from going out and doing things, meeting people, and meeting new dogs. If it had to happen to someone though, Shine is a good dog for it have to happen to. She is bold, outgoing, and endlessly forgiving. There are calm dogs in her foster home that she can socialize with without over doing anything physically and she is at work daily greeting and loving everyone who comes to see her.
As her foster home I am also devising ways to get Shine out and into the world as much as possible while she heals. Lots of car rides, visitors, and I even made a special Shine Wagon so she can ride along on walks. She is a beautiful soul but I called it the second I saw her, she’s trouble! Trouble in all the best possible ways. She is clever and attentive and constantly experimenting with her environment with no signs of timidity. This will serve her well as she recovers.
The Car (a comedy)
Shine is a lover. In fact if she could crawl into your skin with you she would, that is how close she wants to be. Unfortunately rush hour on Glenmore and Crowchild is not the time to have a cone headed dog crawling over the front seat into your lap, your face, and all over your steering wheel.
Shine’s first ride home was in a hard sided airline crate. The crate was a good size for her but not for a dog in a cone, so after listening to her bash around the inside of the crate with some amplified barking and complaining thrown in I decided to put a larger crate in the back of my station wagon to transport Shine to and from work with me. My first choice was a large soft sided canvas crate with a big door that would make getting her in and out of the car easy. I would not normally trust a new dog with a soft crate but Shine had this great big cone on her head and a short little nose so I didn’t think she could possibly do any damage. About twenty minutes into my commute I heard that awful ripping sound an expensive crate makes when it is turned in to garbage by a restless dog. Fortunately the cone contained her as she was not able to get past the crate and the wheel well in the back and we made it to work safely.
Not a problem! I have two seat belt harnesses in the car that would fit her just fine. She could wear a seatbelt on the way home. That afternoon I buckled her in confidently with a harness that was even a little snug for her and was clipped to the infant car seat anchor in my vehicle. She could just sniff at the back of my head from where she was buckled in, but at about the halfway point of our Glenmore stretch she was somehow able to sniff at my ear. By the time I was heading up Crowchild she was smashing me in the face with her cone and scratching me on the shoulder with her front paws. I turned the mirror down to see how this was possible and saw that somehow Shine had managed to get both front legs tucked back, out of the leg holes of her harness and then pushed forward through the neck hole. The harness was now around her waist like a girdle! Fearing that she would continue to squirm forward and wrap the harness around her hip and then her injured leg I begged for a red light. When I was stopped I reached back, unclipped her tether, and hauled her over my shoulder and into the front passenger seat where I pinned her down with one hand as she wiggled about trying to get into my lap.
When I was able to pull off the road safely with another 20 minutes in heavy traffic to go and no other options I rigged her up in car harness traction. I put on two seat belt harnesses snugged as tight as possible, ran two tethers up over the back of the passenger seat and attached them to each other, then I tied her leash, which was on her collar, to the grab handle on the passenger side. We were just shy of full suspension from the ceiling. By the time we got home she was halfway out of this as well.
The next day I put in a large wire crate and added an extra lock to the door and some zip ties for good measure. I am happy to say that this contained her. But once again she baffled me with her ability to somehow get her short nose out beyond the end of her cone. When I arrived at work she had managed to pull everything from the cargo area of my vehicle into the crate with her. I can only give her credit for the fact that once she had everything within reach she didn’t chew it up.
Shine the magician is now back in the plastic airline crate which has been screwed and bolted shut for everyone’s safety. She is getting much better in the car!
The Shine Wagon
As a trainer I am doing my very best to prevent Shine from losing her social skills and becoming reactive during her frustrating recovery. To help I built the Shine Wagon.
The Shine Wagon is a bicycle trailer/stroller combo that I have altered to fit a crate. A dog without Shine’s escape abilities could just sit in the altered trailer but as we know she’s young and full of spunk so rigging an airline crate onto the stroller was the safest option. The Shine Wagon lets me take her along with the other dogs on walks and hikes. She is fussy in it because she would rather be out running, but it is a happy enough compromise. I can let her out during the trip to smell new things and places, people can say hello to her, and she gets to see what all the other dogs see as we go out and about. I can even rig my boys up in harness to pull her along the trail while I steer and when the paths are less slippery and drier she can be hooked up behind the bicycle.
Shine will be a very active dog once she is able but for now I try to include her as much as possible.
If you would like to contribute to Shine’s treatment fund you can donate to Alberta Herding Dog Rescue at www.gofundme.com/surgery4shine
I am pleased also to report now that Shine's bone has healed very well! Now we're just gearing up for another surgery to remove some of the hard