It's not just about the dog itself, but the relationship you have with it!

ForPaws Helps Corgis and Corgi Mixes

Dedicated to Bart, who had the Most Beautiful Tail

"It's very simple. Dogs and cats and other talented animals have tails; their tails, with their thousands of flourishes, provide them with a wonderfully complex language of arabesques, not only for what they think and feel and suffer, but for every mood and vibration in their feeling tone. We have no tails, and since the more lively among us need some form of expression, we make ourselves paintbrushes and pianos and violins..."

Hermann Hesse

Friday, October 31, 2008

It's a very Happy Halloween for Nolan!

By far the most under-socialized (shy) of our recent CastAway/Puppy Mill rescues, Nolan gained a lot of confidence by having a Role Model. Here pretty tri-color, Ghillie, (also a formerly-shy rescue girl) shows him that meeting new people can be a lot of fun!

Nolan's confidence has also been boosted by the bond he's formed with his foster mom, K.D., and the excellent care she's given him. After a nice bath Nolan shows off his beautiful coat. This was his first time on a grooming table...a big accomplishment and a true statement of the trust he's built in K.D.

Here's something we never thought we'd see so soon! Nolan showed enough confidence to go to a Halloween Costume Party, accompanied by K.D. and his best canine friend, Ghillie. Commando Nolan made an appearance and was a great hit among the Therapy Dog Group's party attendees. He didn't even mind wearing the goggles...go figure!

And here's Ghillie in her costume. You'd never know from that smile that this little dog was too frightened even to approach a person when she first entered rescue! Today she's a social butterfly, thanks in large part to the patient work K.D. has done with her over the years! We never thought a "shy dog" could accomplish so much. They never cease to amaze and inspire us!

As if there was any question, as to who is Top Dog at this party?

To complete the picture, of course K.D. had to dress to match Nolan and Ghillie. Think Nolan is having a good time? Who has the bigger smile?

If you haven't figured it out by this time, Nolan has been welcomed as a permanent resident into K.D.'s home. The connection between this dog and his foster mom has been incredible from the start. We can't force a bond like this. It is a special gift when it happens.

Recently K.D. said, "I look at Nolan and he just makes me smile! I can't imagine him living anywhere else!"

And neither can we!

Congratulations Nolan - you couldn't have found a better home and we couldn't be happier for you!
Big Hugs, and Happy Halloween, from ForPaws Corgi Rescue!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CastAway Update - Wilson and the Fall Colors!

Time to assess the progress 
our CastAway Rescues have made! 

1. Kelly - This nice fellow has gone to his new home in New Mexico and prospers there with his new human mom and canine sister.

2. Charlie - Our Wild and Crazy guy is calming nicely. Still the most enthusiastic and adventuresome, this guy will need an owner who has had experience with a busy, strong-minded corgi. Make no mistake, Charlie is a real sweetheart, but is like a teen needing "tough love" at this stage in his development.

3. Nolan - Proving to be the shyest or the four, Nolan continues to make great progress in his socialization efforts. And there is a Big Surprise in Nolan's future! Stay tuned to learn more about it in the next few days!

4. Wilson - Our handsome little tri-colored boy has also proven to be a bit on the shy side. Getting used to all of the new people, places and things in the world outside of a puppy mill environment is more of a challenge for him. He will take a little longer than Charlie or Kelly to acclimate to the Big World. Wilson will need a home with someone who has had a history of working with a shy dog.  He's a very sweet fellow and is slowly blossoming in his foster home.

Below: Wilson gets a chance to explore the gorgeous acreage of his foster home (with his German Shepherd companion for moral support). These photos were taken early in October.

What's this? A bucket...what does it do?

Heading out for a big adventure!

Hmmm...sure smells good here!

Can you say Corgi in Heaven?

And more Heaven!!!

This is my favorite: Looks more like a painting and makes me want to be there!

Thanks for hanging out with me!

Wow!  This is really cool.  Can we go around again?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Never Work Alone - When Corgis are in Residence!

A Sunday Project - Building a Ramp for our Senior Dog, Bart

Bart is 16 years old. He's our senior Cardi/Aussie mix who is now having a bit of trouble negotiating stairs.  Nevertheless, he's still the canine pack leader and does a good job watching over his two "girls," not to mention the humans in the household. 

Bart is our "first dog." Joining us in 1997 as a rescue, many thought that 5-year-old Bart was "too old" to adopt at that time - ha! Guess he showed them by living to a ripe old age, as many corgis are these days! 

By showing us just what a wonderful companion a rescue dog can be, Bart inspired the formation of ForPaws Corgi Rescue. He has literally saved "hundreds" of lives!

Here's Moe, building a porch ramp for Bart, to span the steps. Working in peaceful solitude...but oops...those are Cardigan Ears. Nothing gets past Denali!

Corgis are nothing if not curious!

Every construction project needs a supervisor...or at least an audience.

Now that sister, Elbee, is finished touring the backyard, she's here to perform the foreman duties. OK, that's close enough to that saw young lady. (See small dog get whisked into house!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why I Run: To be Outside. To See what I Otherwise Wouldn't! And because I've Been Running for So Long that Nothing Else makes Sense!

On Sunday, late morning, I was on the way home from spectating at the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. Normally I'd have run that race, but a nagging back injury kept me from participating this year. I am recovering (finally) and can run a 10k, but not ready for a half marathon just yet. Next year I'll be there!

Nonetheless, you can't keep a real "runner" down. While spectating during a race I typically jump in and run a short distance with participating running buddies as they pass by. This year it was so cold, gray and cloudy in San Francisco that I opted to stay bundled up on the sidelines.

On my way home, a half hour south of SF, the sun was out.  Since I was dressed for running, and the day was far nicer in San Mateo than it had been in San Francisco, I stopped off at the Sawyer Camp Trail for a short 4-miler.

This trail borders a huge reservoir, which is absolutely gorgeous, especially during the Fall months. Given the scenery, the time flies by and you are barely aware of the effort it takes to run. It's a favorite trail. From these photos, showing what you see while running, you'll see why.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beautiful Kenai - Today Would Have Been Her 11th Birthday

This is "Kenai," our first Cardigan Welsh Corgi. 
Also known as "The Funniest Dog in the World!"

Kenai was born on October 14, 1997. She'd have been 11 years old today but she fell victim to a terrible accident when she was not quite 5-years old. 

In July 2003 a power line came loose from a pole, for no apparent reason, falling into our backyard. Being the playful and curious corgi that she was, Kenai had to investigate and was electrocuted by a 40,000 volt power line. 

We weren't home when the accident happened and our other two dogs were thankfully too frightened to go near the downed line and were spared. I arrived home shortly after the line fell. Finding Kenai, laying on the downed power line, was devastating and I suspect that that day will forever be the worst day of my life.

This beautiful girl had a Joy for Life that was unmatched. She never walked when she could run. She lived to play with boundless energy. She brought a smile to every face she touched. I miss her terribly. Her birthday will always be highlighted on my calendar  and her spirit will forever be with me. Here's to you sweet Kenai!

BTW, it is no accident that our current Cardigan girl is "Denali," the name of another spectacularly beautiful place in Alaska.  She was so-named as an honor to Kenai, to whom she is related. 

Upon learning of the accident, Carolyn Cannon, Kenai's breeder/original mom, generously offered Denali (a 4-week-old puppy at the time) to us. Knowing that Carolyn's beautiful Cardigans are bred of high quality lines and that there is often a waiting list for her dogs, we were extremely touched. Though we certainly weren't thinking of taking a puppy at that time, and no dog can ever "replace" another - nor would you want it to, we ultimately did take Denali when she was ready to go at 12-weeks of age.

As an odd quirk of fate, Denali's personality is incredibly similar to Kenai's. She has that same, happy, active, Zest for Life. Certainly, they are not exactly the same, nor would you wish that. But the similarities are sometimes uncanny. Having Denali in our lives certainly helped the healing process and she has become "her own girl" and is a true delight.

Nonetheless, we think of Kenai all the time and on this day each year we remember that special place she holds in our hearts!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Denali's First Obedience Workshop

Today Denali and I took a Road Trip up to Martinez Shoreline Regional Park. The Mt. Diablo Dog Training Club was sponsoring an obedience workshop. This was a first for us. 

We've been training in the Show Novice class with our local dog training club, but I knew that we weren't ready for official competition yet. This type of a workshop simulates the competition, but without the pressure of an official event. Even so, having never been "in the ring" before, the idea is a bit daunting. At the last minute I got the courage to sign up for this workshop and it was a great experience!

The Martinez Shoreline Regional Park proved an excellent venue. It has a lot of nice open grassy areas, surrounded by beautiful big shade trees - perfect. (Yes, I forgot to take my camera...mental note for next time!) And the Club did an wonderful job in organizing the event.

For those not familiar with formal obedience, the Novice A level (entry level) requires the dog to do the following exercises:

1a. Heeling on leash in a pattern dictated by the judge with some turns, stops and changes in pace.
1b. Heeling in a figure-eight pattern around two "posts."
2. Stand in place off-leash while the judge does a cursory examination of the dog.
3. Heeling - same pattern as #1, this time off-leash
4. Recall/Finish (sit/stay, then come when called from across the ring.) Execute a "finish" move so the dog is back in "heel" position at the end of the exercise.
5. Long Sit - done as a group. The dog is in line with all other dogs in the same competion level. They're left in a sit/stay while the handlers walk across the ring, then turn and face the dog. The dog must stay sitting in position for 1 minute.
6. Long Down - same as the sit, but in a "down" position for 3 minutes.

Denali had an opportunity to go into two Novice rings, under two different judges. Overall I was really happy with her performance. As expected, she lagged in healing and isn't ready for off-leash work, but I was given some good coaching and tips and used her light line for the off leash portion. She did well with everything else.

In the first ring she was perfect with the stand-for-exam and the recall/finish. We were late entries, so we were almost last and by the time she got to Ring 2 she was tired and not quite as snappy on the recall/finish. But the judge encouraged us to repeat the finish...perfect!

Since it was a workshop, they conducted the sits and downs in a separate ring and just took whoever came along and was ready at any given time.

On the long sit and down Denali was absolutely flawless - with NO corrections! This was made even better by the fact that we were one of only two dogs in the ring for sits/downs at that point and the other dog got up out of the sit and bolted out of the ring about 15 seconds into it. 

Denali remained sitting and didn't flinch. When it was time to return to our dogs, the ring stewards and judge were so distracted in trying to help the owner round up her loose dog, that they returned me to my dog, but didn't say "Exercise Finished." I stood waiting, while Denali continued sitting for another minute or two before the judge realized she hadn't ended the exercise. 

The long down consisted of Denali in a down next to the other dog, while it was on leash. In order to keep it down, the owner had to stand on the 6-foot leash and she was talking to the dog the entire time. It kept trying to get up and she didn't realize that she was actually encouraging it to do so by continuing to talk to it. 

Meanwhile, I am 30 feet away, across the ring and my dog is off leash next to this person who is yattering away at her unfocused dog! The nightmare of this part of the competition is ending up next to a dog that proves to be a big distraction. In this case the dog AND the owner couldn't have been more of a test for Denali!

Again, Denali just stayed in her spot, in spite of the considerable distraction that the other dog and its owner posed. At one point a train went by on the nearby tracks, blowing a loud whistle, and the person in the next ring dropped an armload of gazebo poles as they were packing up (clang)! Denali never moved. I was really impressed! Afterward the judge told me that I had a "nice corgi!" Gotta love it!

Yes, we have a lot of work to do before she's ready for the real thing, but in comparison to many of the dogs we saw today, Denali is coming along quite well and is solid, or close to it, on many of her exercises. It was helpful to have that calibration.

But the best part was that we got to sit in the shade together, watching others and sharing a few pretzles during a break between Ring 1 and Ring 2. I don't normally give her "people food," but she'd earned it! 

After her pretzle Denali snuggled up next to me and let out a contented sigh...does it get better than this!