How To Spend A Summer’s Day

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Cal

Cal

A warm day, my buddy Cole, and a squirt gun–it just can’t get any better than that.  Check out the video of Cal and Cole.

 

http://youtu.be/gddZWgZFzQY

Caleb T: A Thulani Dog That Doesn’t Know It

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Cal

Cal

Caleb T. is a senior German Shepherd rescued by the Thulani Program from the Downey Shelter in southern California. The shelter estimated his age at 10 years but we think he probably is a few years younger than that.

Caleb is an energetic and active dog who gets very excited about meals, walks, and human interactions. When he first arrived, he was shy yet warmed up quickly.  He has done very well with the male and female GSDs at my house, very interested in playing but respectful. During the day, he plays with the two other GSD he has been living with and will then sleep on his dog bed. He is a happy, but excitable dog, although he does calm down after you give him some much desired attention. Caleb wants to be loved and wants attention from people.  He enjoys having his neck scratched and will wait by the door for you to give him attention. We have found that he LOVES to bite the water coming out of a hose or out of a water gun.  If you allow him, he will chase the water coming out of sprinkler too.  He is quite entertaining.  At night, Caleb sleeps in a crate without any problems.

Caleb is a healthy dog (well he does have ear infections but what GSD doesn’t) with a strong heart and lungs, and no obvious problems with his skin or his digestive system. He eats well and enthusiastically. He will take a dog biscuit from your hand gently and enjoys chewing on a good bone.  Caleb will not chew on shoes on or other things left out.

But Caleb T. has Degenerative Myelopathy, probably intermediate stage (although he is so ready to run around at full speed that it is difficult to tell how advanced he is.) When he does play with our two GSD’s, he does the bunny hop.  When he calms down, he can walk reasonably well yet he is in no way immobile at this point.

Caleb T. is part of the Thulni Program, and as such we are looking for a forever home that will care for him for the rest of his life, in warmth and love. He will come with a supply of food, a cushy pad if wanted, and other goodies such as toys. His medical expenses will be covered for the rest of his life by The Thulani Program. If you want to learn more about Caleb T., or are possibly interested in providing him a home, please contact Bob at thulanidogs@gsrnc.org

CALEB IS READY FOR HIS NEW HOME AND LOVE!!!

For Wags, It Is All Coming Up Roses

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The Life and Times of Wags

The Life and Times of Wags

Thulani dog Wags is spending his ‘Golden Years’ on the Sonoma Coast, and his life couldn’t be better.  According to his foster mom “He is a real cutie, very sweet and well loved.  He has taught all the Patrol Officers to carry treats for him as well as regular walkers who walk on the road near our home.   He does his cute little treat dance and they just hand over any treats they have–not so good for his waist-line but very good for his spirit.

 

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Jack T.: The (Elderly) Don Juan of the Thulani Program

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Baby Jack

Baby Jack

P1020716Jack T. had the perfect life for a dog.  He was adopted as a puppy by a wonderful couple, and he lived a loving life with them until he was about 11 years old.  They adored him and gave him everything he could want.  But then, tragically, both of them died within about five months of each other.  Jack was left adrift until a friend of his loving companions stepped in to make sure Jack could live out his life in another good home—it wouldn’t be with his long-time companions but in its own way, this new home should be almost as good.

So we in the Thulani Program stepped up and brought him into our care.  And what a treasure he is.

The_Kiss20696

Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’ has nothing over this

Jack is one of the most loving dogs we have ever brought into the program.  He revels in human contact, and he is absolutely wonderful with other dogs.  He lived with a poodle that he was very tolerant of (much more so than I would have been) and since coming to us, he has met six dogs of various flavors, and not only did well with them, but solicited their attention and company.  When left alone, Jack will occasionally let out a low soulful howl that will grab your heartstrings and tug on them.  Jack is a bit stiff in his rear end, but is very mobile, able to negotiate a flight of about 10 stairs without assistance  (see this video to observe Jack in action  http://youtu.be/Gv9nDUnrwgg )

Jack’s main limitation (although he will be quick to deny it is a limitation) is that he is almost blind.  But like most of the blind German Shepherds I have interacted with, in a new situation, he quickly draws a mental map, and moves around confidently, only occasionally running into narrow vertical objects, or stumbling over small objects near the ground.  Look at the video again if you need to see how well he functions.  I suspect his hesitancy in starting up the stairs might have been due to his rear end, not his blindness.  To compensate for his vision problems, perhaps, Jack’s hearing seems to be extremely good.  Also to compensate, when being walked on lead in a new area, he likes to walk on your right, and often will move over to rub up against your leg.  But by the time he has walked the same route a couple of times, he will move confidently out in front of you.

Jack meets Gayla

Jack meets Gayla

Jack’s ideal home would be one with his person/people around most of the time (although he is fine being left alone for periods of time) and likely with an older dog for a constant companion.  We have not tested him with cats, but given the rest of his behavior, my guess would be that he would live peacefully with cats.

Jack deserves a super home and The Thulani Program will do everything in our power to make sure he finds the right one.  Because he is in the Thulani Program, we will cover his medical costs for the rest of his natural life.  If you are interested in learning more about Jack, or are possibly interested in providing him with his forever home, please contact Bob at thulanidogs@gsrnc.org.

 

 

 

Retirement: This is how it should be

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Gulu

Gulu

I was a very lucky dog.  I lived my life with a family who loved me and kept me warm and safe.  I had reached retirement age and had everything I wanted.  Life was very good.

But then I began to notice that my people did not seem to be happy most of the time.  They seemed worried but I could not tell why.  So I just watched.  One day soon after I noticed their distress, we went for a car ride to the local dog park.  But instead of going in to play with the other dogs, they took me over to a man named Bob who was standing in an empty play yard.  After a bit of talk, Bob took my leash and my family left.  I was very confused and unhappy, even though Bob was very nice to me.  I kept looking for my family but could not see them.  Then Bob started touching me all over, offering me toys and treats (I was so upset, I really did not want them) and finally offered me a lunch of cat food—now that I could get into.  I then met Bob’s dog Kobuk, who was very friendly and who I got along with instantaneously.

Finally my family came back, and they and Bob talked for a bit, then they hugged me, kissed me, started crying, and they left.  I was devastated.  I did not understand, but was afraid of what was happening.  Bob took me to his car, and we drove off.  I can’t remember ever being that scared and confused before.

Guilia_home2_10902We got to Bob’s house, and Kobuk showed me all the neat things to sniff and investigate.  But I really wasn’t into it—I was so sad and confused.  After a few more days, Bob took me for another car ride, and we stopped at a beautiful place way out in the country.  I could only see one house—there were no others in sight.  I got out and a wonderful, friendly woman named Suzanne came up to meet me.  She was lovely, and I loved her right from the start.  Bob and Suzanne talked for a bit while I lay at their feet, then Suzanne’s young son Brian come out to meet me—he was nice to me and did not get pushy—I really appreciated that.  THEN 3 NEW DOGS came out—wow!!  But they were all nice to me, and I liked them.  We all hung out together while Bob and Suzanne talked.  I was starting to relax and really enjoy myself.

But then it happened again.  Bob left without taking me along.  Again, my world was falling apart.  Why was this happening to me?  I was feeling terrible but Suzanne and her family of Brian and the dogs tried to calm my nerves.  I must confess that they were doing a pretty good job.  In my previous home, my name was Gulu, but Suzanne started calling me Goofy Girl, not in a nasty, hurtful way, but in a tender, loving way—I can get used to that.

As the days passed, I realized that this was my new home, and while it was not my former home, in its own way Suzanne’s home was very nice.  And I slowly realized that I was feeling very comfortable and starting a new, and very fulfilling life.  I was coming out of retirement because I was needed for some very important jobs.  This was very exciting to realize that I was not only loved, but was NEEDED.  Now that is what retirement should be all about.

Goofy Girl

Watching over Brian

First, I needed to look after Brian, a job I take very seriously.photo 2a

Second, I needed to teach these younger dogs manners and how to behave in a respectful way—whew what a job that is, but I am up to it.

What a job!

What a job!

Third, because Suzanne and Brian and the dogs spend most of their time alone, with Jim, Suzanne’s husband working during the week in San Jose, I needed to be the ‘GSD presence’ to keep everyone feeling safe, and in reality safe.  I can do that because I am a big, courageous German Shepherd.

photo 2-2aSo looking back, I still miss my old family, but I now am settled in with Suzanne and her family, and have a very important role to play in their lives.  This is what retirement should be like—live in a warm and loving home, with an important job to do.  I am living the second half of my life and loving it.

 

Warmly,

Gulu-Goofy Girl

 

 

 

She Said, He Said: The world according to Halo T and Niko T

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She Said:  Halo T As far as I am concerned, the world started two winters ago when I arrived home.  Wait.  Actually, I remember it started when I was placed in this cage:

Halo T in the Shelter

Halo T in the Shelter

I remember, barely, that I did not have enough food or energy such that I could not get up and lots of me itched.  I knew I was older and there must have been a world before this, but I guess it was unremarkable and slipped my mind.  Then, this wonderful woman people called Karen Barnes came and took me away from that world and gave me food…daily.  I mean, like every day.  It was wonderful!  Not only did she feed me, but gave me love and affection.  I did not know what to do with that but I really wanted to thank her for what she did. She then put me in a truck with nice people who took me on a long ride where I was left with a man whose muzzle was whiter than mine.  People called him Bob (yeah, just Bob as if he had no last name…even I had a last name…T).  This guy was ALSO nice!   He, too, fed me every day and took me on walks and introduced me to other people and dogs and a whole new world. One day, he took me to this big social with dogs and people (lots of people who came and went while all of us dogs stayed put) and he introduced me to this couple who already had two dogs…BIG dogs.  They all seemed really nice, though I was a little intimidated by the two BIG dogs.  But they left.  A short time later, Bob brought me to this really cool field and, guess what; those folks with the two dogs were there!  I was allowed to really meet the two dogs and found out they weren’t so bad or frightening at all.  I liked them and the people.  They, however, left, again.  A few weeks later, Bob took me on one more ride and we stopped at this strange house I had never seen and, low and behold, those people and the two dogs lived there.  This time, Bob left and I stayed with this new family. It took awhile, but I soon figured out this was my forever home.  It was GREAT!!  The food was awesome and came twice daily, walks with the whole pack every day, and toys…holy cow…toys everywhere and they were all mine.  I even had like a gazillion bones all to myself.  I shared with my new brother and sister because that is part of being the fantastic dog I am. At first, the really BIG dog, Brody, pretended not to like me.  He growled when I came close and such.  But, really, how could he not dig me??  I was right and he stopped pretending in short order (except for his equally big bone which he clearly owns and I don’t want because I could not fit it in my mouth if I tried (and I did when he wasn’t looking) though I pretend to want it so he can prance with it). My sister Mesa, however, started our relationship in a very weird way.  I could tell she liked me and loved to play with me, but if I did not follow these unwritten rules, she would attack me.  I let her win (because she is bigger and stronger).  I could not figure out the rules so adopted my own and she stopped suddenly.  I guess she finally saw how awesome a sister I was and am. Did I mention my parents?  Mom is cool…she lets us all get away with murder but then gets mad when we don’t listen.  Dad is the bomb.  The best part of my day/world is when dad either wakes up or comes home.  I just feel like screaming I get so excited.  It feels like he is leaving forever and, even though I know he is coming back, the anxiety kills me and then…boom…there he is.  Phew.

The T dogs

The T dogs

Last winter, my parents decided three was not enough and added another dog named Niko.  Now, this is a peculiar dog.  First, he is orange.  That’s right, orange.  What self-respecting German Shepherd is orange?  How embarrassing!  Then there is this issue he has where his back end is not synchronized with his front end and he walks funny.  He is such a dork.  I like him and he, naturally, loves me.

AGILITY!!!

AGILITY!!!

Very recently, Dad decided I was superb and is teaching me this thing he calls agility.  I call it jumping on cool stuff, sitting, and then prancing because I sat well.  He loves it so I love it.  It is pretty cool.   So, all in all,…wait…I hear a car…wait…is it?…yes it IS…DAD IS HOME!!! What a WONDERFUL world!!!! He Said:  Niko T What is the world?  It is much more ethereal than just people and dogs.  I have had time to contemplate and realize that to be or not to be is not the question.  The question is can we truly revise our perspective and honestly call it the world just because that fits our emotional tribulations best?  I think not and yet the parts of my world before I came to the Dogs’ Breath Inn are on the side closer to damning such that it strikes me you, the reader, would feel less for reading about it.

Nicko The Handsome

Niko The Handsome

Therefore, I will, as your humble narrator, delve only into my world since being anointed a charter member of said Inn (with great appreciation to a certain Ms K Barnes).   My new world has a big brother and two sisters.  My brother is big, but only physically…I am older and have seen more of the world than he but strength wins this battle (so I don’t fight).  My sisters both think they run the show respectively and I don’t fight (especially not the ladies) so they win. My parents gesture a lot and, at first, I thought they were mute.  Then I saw my new siblings barking and realized…heck, I cannot hear a darned thing anymore.  No wonder my sleeping has been sooooo deep and wonderful!

Nicko with tug

Nicko with tug

Niko with toy

Niko with toy

What defines me in my world?  I am simple and have simple needs.  The human touch, a toy to play with, food, water, a bone on occasion;  these are the pleasures in my life.  Did I mention human touch?  I listed that first for good reason…I need it A LOT!!!!   As an older gentleman, I have the usual issues of poor sight, lousy smell, bad nerves such that I cannot always control or feel my hind quarters (although when Dad massages those muscles…OUCH…I feel that!).  All the same, I still have some game and keep up on walks (portions of them), play games with Dad, and pretend to want Halo’s things.  I have recently started playing more with Mesa, my other sister as she prefers what I like to call flirtatious rough housing (even though we both know the first part goes nowhere). My world is now happy and I like to remind anyone in ear shot of that every morning and evening.  To be or not to be?  TO BE!!!! The Proprietorship of the Dogs’ Breath Inn:

Our World

Our World

 

Thunder T.

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Thunder T.

Thunder T.

Thunder T. is an elderly sweetheart that lived his life in a farming community south of Salinas. He is healthy, playful, affectionate, and inquisitive. He readily comes up to meet people, and he is totally at ease with other dogs. He will try to get them to play.

He seems to have been an outside dog, not being familiar with dog doors or inside accommodations. He loves walks, but pulls a bit.  He gets excited about car rides, and will sometimes try to help you drive if he is not constrained.

Thunder_0225Thunder T. is a Thulani Program dog. As such, he will go to a forever foster home to live out his life, with the Thulani Program picking up the expenses.  If you are possibly interested in having Thunder join your family and spice up your life, please contact Bob at thulanidogs@gsrnc.org.

Caesar T–Doing Well

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Caesar at home

Caesar at home

Many of you have asked about Caesar T., especially now that he no longer is shown on the website.  Some of you clearly feared the worst.  Well, you can all relax–Caesar T. has found his forever home.  After integrating him into our household in order to learn who he is, my wife and I learned that he is our next family dog.  He is living happily and peacefully with us and our pack of three males and a female.  He has earned unrestricted house privileges, is actually more mobile than he was when he arrived (despite the DM), still has an opinion about a lot of things, and is incredibly tolerant and blasé about the antics of the rest of the dogs.

Caesar_12-18-13-10736As you may remember, Caesar T. was rescued from intolerable conditions and a miserable existence, and brought into the Thulani Program (see http://thulanidogs.org/2013/10/14/caesar-t-enough-to-make-your-blood-boil/).   He was in poor shape and came with the message that he did not get along with male dogs.  Baloney!!!

Caesar_fireplace20391Caesar has his choice of 10 pads on which to take his frequent siestas,  including his favorite pad by the fireplace (when I wanted to get the pictures for this post, Caesar was asleep in the other room.  So I turned on the fireplace, and Caesar appeared in two minutes to assume his favorite position).

A particularly engaging ritual for us now is dinner-time.  As soon as the bowls start to rattle, Caesar comes into the kitchen to proclaim LOUDLY that we have waited much too long and that he is starving.  I am sure if he had his own smart phone, he would be calling the SPCA to report us.  Then, to reinforce the point, he starts running circles around the ‘island’ in the kitchen (remember, this is an advanced DM dog).  And of course, the rest of our pack, not be outdone, starts a chorus of their own.

Caesar is a lovely addition to our family, and has a home for as long as he wants one.

 

Rocky T. (Now Marty T.) Has Friends All Over The Country

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Just when your spirits are down and you have lost faith in your fellow humans because of the way some treat their dogs, especially the seniors, along comes a story like this to restore your faith in at least part of the human race.

Ah, northern California

Ah, northern California

Rocky T. (we are renaming him Marty T.!) is a senior German Shepherd whose owner died and whose family did not want to be bothered with him so they took him to a shelter from which very few GSDs, even young and beautiful ones, get adopted.  Marty’s prospects were about as grim as they could be.  But because of an incredible group of humans with a wonderful collective mission, Marty’s story will not have the usual ending.

The Thulani Program was contacted by someone in another state asking whether we might consider taking Marty T. into our hospice program.  The woman described the small group she worked with to save GSDs (often seniors) in many parts of the country, and explained that there was a dog in a southern California shelter that needed a hospice home.   She described the shelter as one with a caring staff, but one that did not get a lot of exposure for their dogs.

Marty_T20356To put this into context, I get 5-10 contacts a day from all over the country, wanting the Thulani Program to help deserving German Shepherds, mostly from cross-posters about dogs thousands of miles from us, who don’t know where we are.

But this was very different.  This group had a plan for saving Marty.  They asked me what I needed to know about him and what sort of tests they might do to help with my decision, they notified the shelter staff that they had a possible placement, and got videos of temperament testing and aggression testing, they offered to pull him and place him in a boarding kennel until I could arrange to get him, and they offered to generate donations for covering his medical and other costs.  When I explained what I needed, they immediately got busy, and within a couple of days had produced everything I had asked for.  I was stunned.

The simple ending is that Marty T. is in the Thulani Program where he will live out his natural life in a loving foster home, with the Thulani Program and a whole bunch of wonderful people spread all over the country coming to his aid.

Marty_T20371Please give a shout-out for the members in the Miracle GSD Network (from all over the country!), volunteers in southern California, dedicated shelter staff and volunteers from the Moreno Valley Shelter who spent their own free time helping this boy, and for generous people all over the country who donated money to help Marty T. on his way.  The Thulani Program is in a certain level of euphoric shock that so many people have stepped forward to help this wonderful boy, and we will do our part to make sure that the rest of Marty T’s life is as good as it can be.

In The Game Of Chance: We Have A Winner

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In games of chance, one occasionally will encounter long, uninterrupted strings of good or bad luck.  It is even rarer to encounter a long string of bad luck, followed by a long string of good luck.  But with Thulani dog Chance T., we may just have such a case.

Scared

Scared

We don’t know for sure what Chance’s earlier life was like, but we are sure he went for a long time under very difficult circumstances.  He was found on the streets of LA, living next to a taco truck, sleeping on a plastic garbage bag, and scrabbling for whatever food he could find to keep himself alive.  He was underweight, had an open abscess on his cheek, and had a severe ear infection that likely was directly connected to the abscess.  When found, he was so frightened that he refused to walk and had to be carried. He was in bad shape and miserable.

Chance after the shelter staff and volunteers worked wonders

Chance after the shelter staff and volunteers worked wonders

But his string of bad luck came to an end when he was brought to the West LA City Shelter.  There the staff and volunteers went to extraordinary lengths to compensate for his physical neglect and mental trauma.  They started a quality and intensive medical intervention, while lavishing him with warmth and TLC.  They continued this for nearly a month, gradually restoring his faith in people and making progress on his ear infection and abscess.  And he put on weight.

ChanceShelterFlyer-pg1ChanceShelterFlyer-pg2When he was far enough along the road to recovery, they began a creative campaign to find him the loving home he deserves.  Check out the incredible flyers they put up for him.

The publicity about Chance caught Karen Barnes’ attention and we checked him out as a possible candidate for our Thulani Program (www.thulanidogs.org).  And he was!!  So Karen pulled him from the shelter and housed him in LA.  Which then brought us to the next task—how to get him up to the San Francisco Bay region where we could continue his rehabilitation, and begin the search for his forever home.

Chance and Karen at Van Nuys Airport

Chance and Karen at Van Nuys Airport

Chance’s winning streak continued when Bill Sutherland offered to help us transport GSDs in his private plane.  When approached, Bill was excited about being able to transport Chance and so the plans were set.  But at the last moment, Bill’s wife who was going to fly with Bill and entertain Chance on the flight, came down with a bug.

Chance_arrival10959

Welcome to San Jose

Welcome to San Jose

Had Chance’s string of good luck ended?  Not so.  Volunteer Maureen O’Neil stepped forward to be the flight attendant, and the doggie charter flight from Van Nuys to San Jose went off on schedule without a hitch.  In fact, Chance took the flight completely in stride and he and the crew were met in San Jose by an adoring welcoming committee.

Ahhhh grass

Ahhhh grass

Chance is now safely in the Bay area, getting the last of his medical issues taken care of, putting on weight, and enjoying the snuggling of his new but temporary family.  But that will not last long—he already has two serious suitors that are anxious to provide him his forever home.

So Chance’s good luck streak is uninterrupted, and the Thulani Program will make sure that it continues for the rest of his life.  Chance T. is a BIG winner, but so are all the people who helped him along the way.  Definitely a winning team in a game of Chance.

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