February 27th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments
I love being able to post lots of happy adoption news on Mondays. It was non-stop at Whiskers’n'Paws from the moment I arrived with a selection of puppies, from tiny babies to older near-doglets, and it was the smallest of them that attracted all the attention (of course). I don’t really care who gets a home as long as some of then do, and if it’s the babies then it means I won’t be having to try and get them adopted some time in the future when they’ve lost their “aaah” appeal.
Today was the first time for Zorro, who is either going to be a very large dog or medium in height but with very big feet and a long body. He’s around six months old now (his appearance was delayed because he had kennel cough) and lots of people commented on him, not just because of his unusual looks and shape, but because he has such a soft and sweet nature. Although I can’t predict what his final size will be, I can say with hand on heart that he will be a wonderful family dog. And although he’s got feet like dinner plates (which make me suspect there’s some basset hound in him) he’s not an energetic boy and will require far less exercise than zippy little Griffin, the Whippety who looks so much like his predecessors Denzil, Muggle-Mouse and Brando, all regulars on Sunday afternoons.
What most visitors to the Whiskers’n'Paws Sunday afternoons don’t realise is that it’s really quite stressful for the puppies, even if they don’t show it. The younger ones tend to be very quiet or even just go to sleep, and it’s misleading for potential adopters who think that they are always going to be so placid. All puppies are active and playful when they are in a place where they feel safe, but they tend to shut down in a strange environment. In the wild puppies will know that they have to be silent when there is potential danger around, or when the mother leaves them to search for food, as any noise will give their location away to a predator. It’s instinctive then, that being taken to a strange place where there are unfamiliar smells and lots of people will result in a quiet puppy.
The older ones that seem to be having such fun – which they are – tend to show their stress in more-aggressive-than-normal behaviour. Fights break out over petty things like toys, and puppies that normally play quite happily together may get into arguments. Sadly this has lost more than a few puppies potential homes, and Custer is one of them. I can clearly remember the day I took him and his three siblings to their first Whiskers’n'Paws afternoon, and while the other were quickly adopted he wasn’t chosen because there had been a minor scuffle over a biscuit. I overheard some comments about “that one” being aggressive, and it was enough to put everyone off. In fact Custer was, and still is, an incredibly gentle boy but that one incident was all it took. I’ve never seen him fight at home, and it was only because he was feeling stressed that a biscuit became important.
There are scuffles every Sunday and I tend to ignore them while others rush to break up the “fight”. Left alone the puppies will stop themselves as neither want to end up injured, but it’s hard to see that when it looks as though they’re trying to kill each other. It’s actually quite rare that pet dogs will get into a serious fight, and it’s usually because humans intervene (and if you want to get bitten this is the best way to go about it), or as puppies the play fights have been misinterpreted and the owner’s reaction has actually taught the dog to respond to others aggressively . Hungry dogs will fight over food and males will fight over a bitch in season, but otherwise unless you have one of those breeds who are genetically modified to be dog-aggressive or hunters (like terriers) on the whole leaving puppies to sort themselves out is the best way for them to learn.
There are lots of great photos on our HKDR Facebook page if you want to have a look, and too many lovely puppies for me to mention here.
There was very happy news from Tai Po with the adoption of two deserving characters. One was Bubba, a dog whose ex-owner had contacted me about when he was leaving Hong Kong and wasn’t taking his loyal companion with him. He gave Bubba glowing references and all the usual crap excuses, then dumped him at AFCD instead. It’s so much easier that way, isn’t it Dorian? Now Bubba has a new home and this time he will be taken along when his family leave Hong Kong (they wanted to make sure he had all the necessary chip and vaccinations for that reason).
Boris is a senior golden retriever, a breed that really doesn’t do well in the sort of situation we have at Tai Po, and he was just about to go to a foster home when he was adopted instead. Much better!