Santa Fe Scoop

Off-leash blog: Chasing after toys and tails

Zach has discovered a new weapon in dealing with pesky little sisters: squeak toys.

Whenever Bear, his foster sister, gets on his nerves — which is becoming more frequent as she comes out of her shell — Zach grabs an ugly blue squeak toy and bites it where it counts. The noise puts Bear right back where Zach wants: in her designated corner.

Bear has made much ground in the two months since we’ve taken her as a project, but certain “primeval” things, like odd squeaky noises, strangers and the dark of night, puts her in flight mode.

Zach, our patient Shar Pei-lab mix, has been a great role model for her, but even he has his limits. And Bear has decided that whenever he gets attention, she should be in the middle of that petting. Call it jealousy if you will, but I think it’s a good sign she’s developing trust.

People say it’s amazing how after a few weeks or months, severely traumatized animals will regain self-confidence and become a part of the pack. You might consider that when you’re at a shelter considering adopting a new friend.

We’ve still got some ways to go with Bear, but it’s been good journey. She has one more “puppy kindergarten” class to get under her collar before she graduates, but with each exposure, she’s become more and more like a regular dog.

And that’s Bear’s update for this week. I’ve been negligent in catching people up with what’s going on in Scoopland — my bosses say I write too much and say too little — but let’s hope I prove them wrong with today’s offering.

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Alice Lee, who’s held garage sales, asked for donations and was the focus of a dog art show earlier this month in an effort to secure money for a replacement service dog, has raised more than $4,850. That’s well beyond the $3,500 fee required by Assistance Dogs of the Southwest.

The fee, it should be noted, is the cost of the client placement training workshop, not the cost of the service dog, which runs closer to $15,000. ADW raises all additional funds to cover each client’s dog along with keeping the nonprofit’s doors open and running its excellent programs. Carolyn Clark Beedle, the group’s executive director, said any money raised beyond the workshop fee in the client’s name goes toward the service dog they ultimately receive.

As for the art show, which generated the bulk of Lee’s funds, first prize went to Eli Jackson, the companion animal of architect Kathy Jackson. Maggie, Barbara Warwick’s poodle, won second prize. Third prize went to Rhodie, a Rhodesian ridgeback owned by Mike Janicke. Both Zach and Bear showed their creative spark with beautifully done artwork but weren’t eligible for the contest. The show was sponsored by the Santa Fe Dog Dancing Club, of which Zach is a member.

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Forrest, the mixed-breed dog slated for death in Denver because of the city’s pit bull ban, has been granted clemency. His companion, Chris McGahey, agreed to surrender ownership of the dog to the city with a promise not to readopt him. In return, the city turned Forrest over to Stray Rescue, a no-kill animal rescue in St. Louis, for adoption.

The deal, the first since the city enacted its ban in 1989, was worked out with Best Friends Animal Society. McGahey says he promises to continue fighting the city’s policy, which calls for euthanasia of pit bulls who violate animal control laws more than once. In Forrest’s case, the gentle dog was caught twice wandering the streets.

The city, according to Best Friends, is working on amending the policy to allow owners of nonviolent pit bulls the option of taking their dogs out of the city instead of euthanizing them.

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And to close, one sad update: Evelyn Gregory celebrated her 81st birthday without Annie, the basset hound who went missing Aug. 23 from Gregory’s Galisteo yard. But Gregory says she’s not going to give up hope in her search for the beloved canine. The elderly dog was not microchipped but was wearing a collar when she disappeared. Those who might have seen the tri-colored basset or know anything about her whereabout, should give Gregory a call at 466-1875.

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I know. There's much more to report. I promise more frequent updates. But don't hesitate to help out and post them or let me know about what's going on.

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