So now I'm taking my Phase 8 exam and it's not nearly as hard as Phase 7. In the meantime, I'm in Phase 9 (they let you go ahead even when you're taking the exam on the last phase) and in this phase, we learn about shelters and adoption. They also require that you do an externship at a shelter or rescue, which I'm already doing with the veterinarian that I'm volunteering at right now.
We've been volunteering there for almost a year (it will be a year in October) and I feel like I've grown a lot in experience with all sorts of dog breeds. I've met friendly dogs, well behaved dogs, and not-so-friendly and not well behaved dogs. I've met with dogs I liked right off the bat, and other dogs, not so much. (I've gotten over the guilt of not liking EVERY dog I work with. Just like people, you're not going to click with everyone!)
So today, we worked with Clyde, who is a Pit Bull mix. Clyde is a super friendly, high energy dog, that acts like he's never been exercised in his life. In fact, he has so much energy and stamina that he gets the entire play pen to himself while the other dogs are stuck in their kennels. This makes it difficult to exercise other dogs, because not all the dogs like Clyde's insane high energy (and I don't blame them.) The first day I walked into the play pen, Clyde scratched up my arm and drew blood even though I was wearing a jacket. He jumped repeatedly on me, nipping at my arms and hands with a hard mouth. I told Max to "be a tree!" which means to stand still (preferably turn away) with his arms crossed. He never even got to play with Clyde.
Today, Clyde was there again and I dreaded trying to play with him. As usual, he jumped and nipped and scratched. He was so crazy that I couldn't even bend down to get the ball for him. So after five minutes of being mauled, I told Max I had enough and we left to go visit the other dogs in the kennel.
Max felt sorry for Crazy Clyde. He has a soft spot for dogs that aren't liked very much, and he knows that I'm not crazy about Clyde. So when we decided to go walk Libby--a Golden Retriever--he asked if we could walk Crazy Clyde too. I said no. I wasn't even sure how we could get a leash on him without him scratching and biting our hands.
Instead, we walked Libby, who turned out to be a terrible walker. She too, was hyper, and wanted to chase after anything that moved, which meant every bird and squirrel she saw. So I was yanked around all over the yard, with Max following. My hands had turned numb from holding onto the leash so tightly and I got calluses on my hands. But, it was good practice for me, because leash pulling is one of the most common reasons why people call trainers.
We had to walk by Crazy Clyde a couple times. Yes, I felt sorry for him (sort of) as he watched us (making all sorts of racket) through a six foot fence. But I didn't feel too bad. He had the luxury suite of the entire play area, plus fresh air while the other dogs were cooped up in their kennels.
After we walked with Libby for a while, we brought her back to her kennel, where she happily went into because she was nice and tired and thirsty. It's always a good feeling when you can bring a dog back to their kennel willingly!
It was time to go and we stopped at the play pen where I left my purse. I noticed that Clyde didn't come bounding toward us, being all crazy like he normally does. We looked around but didn't see him, so on our way out, I asked the people at the front desk if Clyde had been taken our of his pen for some reason. A lot of times they take the dogs out of their kennels to get the dog washed and groomed for their owner to be picked up, so I assumed this was the case with Clyde. But they said no and then (with dread in their voices) asked why I had asked. "Because he's not in his play pen." I said, and then I saw their faces turn white.
Well, then everyone pretty much went running to check with everyone else to see if anyone had taken him anywhere and me and Max stood there, not sure if we should stay or go. In the midst of the chaos, someone thanked us for letting them know, and so I assumed it was fine to leave. As crazy as Clyde was, and him not being my favorite dog, I hoped that he was ok.
So we left and on our way to the car, Max suddenly said, "There he is!" and pointed to a dog across the parking lot, looking very happy and free. Max ran back into the clinic to let the staff know while I stood there, hoping for once, that Clyde would come tearing at me like he always did before. I stood stalk-still, hoping that I wouldn't get Clyde running in the opposite direction, because right by the clinic is a busy highway. Instead, I began to call Clyde in my most hyper and fun-filled voice, "Come here, Clyde! Come here, buddy!!"
Then the staff came running outside and all of us began to chirp, "Come on, Clyde! Come here, boy!"
Boy, Clyde just loved it. His ears perked up and his tail was wagging but he didn't want to give up his free walk. Instead, he began to walk toward the highway, which just made us chirp even louder, "Come on, Clyde! Come here, boy!"
And of course, five super happy people all wanting to "play" was just too much for Clyde and he came tearing across the parking lot and zoomed straight into the building (as one of the workers held open the door.)
We all breathed a sigh of relief. Did I mention his owners are supposed to pick him up today? Can you imagine if Clyde was lost?
We concluded he must have wanted to come on the walk with us so bad that he climbed the fence. The fence is very tall--about six to seven feet--but then, Clyde is also very hyper. And any dog that wants to get out bad enough will. And he did.
Max loved it. He loves a happy ending. He loved how everyone got worried and concerned over the dog that no one liked. And now Crazy Clyde got to get out AND get a lot of attention, just like he wanted.
And that is how Max saved Crazy Clyde (and got everyone to love him)