Wednesday, May 4, 2011


It was really great to see everyone from Ft. Stewart at the Golf Tournament last week.  I could not believe the number of people that were there, the number of family and friends that came to show their support.  It truly was amazing.  It was also awesome to hear all the positive comments that complete strangers gave, that Terry gave, and that everyone from Ft. Stewart gave TAZIE.

I was pretty nervous bringing her to an event like that.  She hasn't been around a crowd of people that big as far as I know.  She was not all intimidated by the people, by the noise, by anything really.  She was actually seeking attention from people that she did not know and people I didn't know for that matter.  It is pretty hard to believe that just 2 months ago I didn't know if she was gonna bite my face off, or anyone that approached her.  I can remember laying in bed watching t.v. late at night with her, and she would just get that look in her eyes.  I would just hope that she wasn't about to take a chunk out of me.  Over the next few weeks, that look got less and less, she cried less and less in her sleep, she had fewer spells where she would shake in her sleep, and now she sleeps almost undisturbed 100% of the time.

After the tournament, I decided it was time to get her out and get her around more people.  I took her to group at the Vet Center for the first time this past Tuesday.  It was a 180 degree difference from when I had CAROLINE in group.  TAZIE was curious but not anxious, she went and visited with everyone there, and everyone was very accepting and if she wanted them to pet her, she let them know.  She came back and checked in with me frequently, and by the end of the group she was laying down asleep behind me.  I could not have asked her to behave any better.

Today I took her with me to my individual session, and now that I am expecting her to behave well, she does not disappoint.  After the Vet Center today, she went with me to the Toyota Dealership so I could get my car serviced.  I spent some time talking with some of the people that worked there about her history and about paws4vets.  I took her inside the dealership while I was waiting on my car, and ended up talking with a woman that was sitting across from me for about 30 minutes.  You would have never guessed that just a little over a year ago she was feral.  She behaved as well as any other dog I have seen or worked with.  On the ride home I was thinking to myself, "What in the hell possessed you to talk to a total stranger for 30 minutes about what is going on?"  I think I came to some understanding that the more confidence that I have in TAZIE, the more confidence I have in myself to get through stressful situations like the Golf Tournament, or sitting in an unfamiliar place talking with people I do not know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Free To Roam

The last time I was at the Vet to get TAZIE'S shots updated I also had a DNA test done to see what breeds were mixed in.  One side of the tree was a mix/Saluki line, and on the other it was Anatolian Sheppard.  We had assumed she had some Saluki in her just because of her appearance, but I had never heard of an Anatolian Sheppard.  The Sheppard is native to Turkey, and is another pretty old breed.

The fence has finally been installed.  They were supposed to come last Wednesday to begin installation, but the materials had not arrived.  Monday the materials arrived, and they began to install the fence.  I immediately started working with her on "come here" when she is outside, and she does pretty well.  The freedom she has off leash makes it a little difficult to have her come back to me the first call.  One of the things that I did was get on one side of the yard, had my Mom on the other side, and we would just call her back and forth having her sit and stay until one of us called her back.  She did great for the first time that we had worked on it.

This morning when I took her out, there were 3-4 squirrels in the yard and once she caught eye of them she was off.  We have a swing in the back yard and she jumped up on the swing and then jumped over it going after them.  She wasn't quite sure what to do with the squirrels when they were 20 feet in the air, and eventually she went back to just sniffing around and exploring her new domain.

TAZIE has been doing great with other people and with other dogs, as long as she is on a leash.  My brother came to the house this past weekend for Easter, and I had no idea that he was home.  I came downstairs and saw him and thought that I might be in for a little bit of trouble.  TAZIE ran towards him and just started licking, sat down next to him, and I know I was pretty relieved to see that she had remembered him and not shown any signs of aggression.  There is a little dog that lives on the corner and every time she sees TAZIE she goes nuts.  TAZIE is always curious and wants to meet other dogs, so I walked her towards Milly.  Milly can't weigh more that 7-8 pounds (that is being very generous) and just will not let up on the barking.  TAZIE just inched her way closer and closer with this little dog barking like crazy just inches from her face.  Once we figured the little dog was not gonna shut up, we parted ways.

When the men were here installing the fence on Monday, one of them came up to the back porch to unplug something while they were getting ready to leave.  We were getting ready to eat dinner out there and TAZIE bolted, the hair on her back stood straight up and I thought she may even go through the screen door.  I nabbed her and got her under control.  It was just a good reminder that even though she has adjusted very well, that I can not get complacent and need to keep a watchful eye on her when she is around people she is not familiar with.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Firsts for TAZIE

The last couple of weeks have been fairly busy.  TAZIE had a few "firsts" here with me, and she did amazing each time.  Last week I took her to the Vet Center with me for my individual session and she was almost perfect.  When I was sitting out in the waiting area, a man came through the door and she made a little noise, but responded to me correcting her and that was it.  She was very curious, sniffing everything and rolling around on the carpet.  When I was in with Kevin she accepted him right away.  After the Vet Center I took her to PetSmart.  I needed to get a few things for her and thought that would be a good place to go to get her out a little bit.  She really wanted to go into the room where they keep the cats for adoption.  The cats weren't too sure what to think about her sniffing around their cages, and when it was time to leave TAZIE cried a little.

Friday we had an appointment at the Vet to get her current on all her shots.  It is kinda hard to believe that only a month ago she was trying to take my Dad apart piece by piece, but she has shown no signs of aggression for quite a while.  They took some blood and gave her some shots and she behaved as well as she ever had. 

She seems to like going on car rides quite a bit, and is a pretty good co-pilot.  She likes to sit in the front seat staring out the window, and tries to get her head as close to the windshield as possible.  I have had to start scooting the seat all the way up so she doesn't slip and fall while driving.  She isn't quite sure what to think about the Grateful Dead that I listen to all the time.  There was a portion of a song where some pretty odd sounds were being made and she just started staring at the speaker, cocking her head left, then right, perking her ears cracked me up.  Guess I am just gonna have to make a Deadhead out of her.

This past week I have had some people out to the house to give some estimates on a fence for the backyard.  Pretty soon she is gonna have a place where she can run off leash which I think is going to help her quite a bit.  Not exactly sure when they are gonna come out to start installing the fence, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks it will be done and she can have a place to romp around.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Quite a bit has been happening the last few weeks.  I think the last time I posted was after I had taken TAZIE to the Vet.  Since then, I have introduced her to my brother, and this afternoon she met my Aunt.  I think both of the introductions went very well.  There was a couple times where she went a little crazy with my brother, but both of those instances she was in her kennel and my brother had either gotten too close to her, or she didn't know he was coming (a little surprising since he is 7' tall), but that's my story.   With my Aunt, she was perfect.  TAZIE went right up to her, sniffed for a second, and then was on her back wanting her belly rubbed.  Two for two.

TAZIE wants any and every squirrel she sees.  This makes taking her out a pain sometimes, because instead of using the bathroom, she is completely focused on the squirrels.  There are a few things that I have been doing to try to get her not as interested in them, but I think she is always going to have that hunter's instinct.  I have pretty good success getting her to sit when she sees one, staying is another story, but sitting is a start.  If she can see the squirrel, she does fairly well just being able to look at it.  If she catches her eye on one before I do, there is quite a bit more work to get her to listen to me. 

Friday there is a fellow coming to the house to give me an estimate on a fence for the backyard.  I think that she needs an area that she can run and play, and chase squirrels if she wants.  Letting her outside off a leash is out of the question, so I thought a fence would be the next best thing. 

She does some pretty odd things at times, she has an incredibly quirky personality.  Amazingly animated at times, and perfectly content laying on the floor doing nothing other times.  She has a very short attention span, stays interested in a toy for a few seconds, minutes if I am lucky, and then back to laying down or looking out the window. 

It has been great having her at the house.  At first I was pretty hesitant on keeping her, because of her attacking my Dad, but the way she has warmed up to him, and the way she has handled meeting other family members just reinforces that I made the right decision.  Besides, it saved me a 9 hour drive to Morgantown.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TAZIE and the Vet

The last week with TAZIE has been pretty interesting.  At first she wouldn't eat, then she started eating one meal a day, and eventually I got her to eat 2 meals a day.  This was great, except for one thing, she wasn't going to the bathroom.  The last time she went was Sunday, and I was getting pretty worried.  I talked with Terry and got some suggestions, but was able to get her into the Vet today, so I went ahead and took her.  I was a little worried with how she was going to react being there, but was pretty amazed.  She was perfect, even with all the nasty things the Vet did with her, she stayed calm and let him do what he had to do.  After he was done, she immediately got under the bench I was sitting on, guess she knew that I was not gonna violate her.

From the talk with Terry this morning, and talking with the Vet this afternoon, I am pretty sure that the reason she was not going to the bathroom was because when she was feral it just was not smart for her to leave her scent near where she lived.  I had much more success with her when I took her on a 30-45 minute walk away from the house.  The Vet Assistant took her out, and she went at the Vet's Office.  I fed her at her usual time tonight, took her out a little bit later, it took 30 minutes, but she did use the bathroom. 

I was pretty relieved that nothing was wrong, just something behavioral that I will have to work with.  A funny story from the visit today; I told TAZIE to bring me her leash, she looked around for a minute and grabbed my Mom's purse, told her again and she took my hat off my head and gave it to the Vet Assistant, finally on the third try she did grab the leash, but didn't give it to me, she gave it to the Assistant.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Adventures with TAZIE

Quite a lot has been going on since I last blogged.  It was decided that CAROLINE and I were not a good match, so currently I am exploring getting a RAD.  I have been to the Humane Society a couple of times over the last couple of weeks, been through orientation, and spent quite a bit of time with some of the puppies last week.  It has been great getting back around animals. 

Yesterday I went to see SSG Ward and to pick up TAZIE.  I had a little warning about her being very territorial and at times aggressive.  She could not have been better behaved from the time I picked her up til the time that I got back home.  I guess I should add that I drove the entire trip, did not get tired or lose focus too much.  I was probably gone for around 12 hours, and was really happy to see that since I have reduced my meds so much, that driving distances seems to be a non-issue now. 

Things changed quite a bit when my Dad got home.  TAZIE was so good, that I thought it unnecessary to have her on a leash when my Dad walked in the door.  BIG BIG BIG mistake.  She went and greeted him, sniffed for a few seconds, then almost took his head off.  I was pretty quick to grab her get her on the ground and on her back, and she mellowed out some.  I put the leash on her and walked her to my Dad, and she was very nice and sweet, let him talk with her and pet her.  I was on the floor with her, and as soon as my Dad stood up she went for him again.  No contact was made this time, I had her on a pretty short leash. 

I took her to my room and watched some TV with her.   She has pretty bad nightmares it seems.  They are definitely not the normal, "I AM A DOG, I AM RUNNNNNNNNNNNING!!!!"  She would shake, growl, show her teeth, and cry.  I would wake her, pet her and talk with he to get her to calm down some, and that worked pretty well.   She woke me up at 7am, and I figured she was hungry and wanted to go out.  She hasn't really eaten or drank anything since she got to the house, but Terry doesn't seem too concerned about that since she has had a pretty stressful last couple of days. 

I put her in the kennel while I was eating breakfast, my Dad came by to say hello to me, patted me on the back, and TAZIE was not a fan.  She growled and showed her teeth, so I just shut the door and ignored her.   She is perfectly calm and relaxed around me, just does not seem to be a fan of someone approaching or touching me. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Humane Society

Today I went to the Humane Society to start volunteering.  I was a week early for the orientation class, so I was able to walk around, meet some of the folks that work there, and spend a little time with the puppies.  One of the people that I met there is ex-military, and when I told him that I was in the process of getting a service dog, he was pretty curious.  I was also a little relieved to be able to tell someone that I had PTSD, and that might understand a little about it.  What I think I am going to do is start spending a little time out there during the week, the weekends are just insanely busy. 

My schedule at the Vet Center has changed a little, I will still be out there three days a week, but one of my appointments was changed from Wednesday to Thursday.  I plan on making Wednesday my volunteer day.