Sunday, July 29, 2012


When I first found Shaka, she eagerly jumped into my car, then quickly clamored into the front seat and dove face-first into a new bag of treats. I got her away from that and she then dispersed bully sticks among her new friends. I tried to get then all back and prayed in the mean time that she was not a recourse guarder. Luckily, she wasn't...she was just happy as can be and ready to go! She spent the 2 hour journey back home with us panting like crazy, pacing all over and climbing into the front over and over. Though once she was settled in the house, I could tell she was not all fun and excitement on the inside.

I learned that in many ways she was quite the bulldozer when it came to manners and patience. She was quick to be the first in and out of the car, first through doors, she stood on the coffee table like it was the floor and she helped herself to the cat food regularly even though it was up on a table. She basically had zero house manners and did not even know how to sit or walk on a leash. I didn't even want to think about where she had come from and how she was treated as a puppy to not know such basic things. But whatever her past may be, I wasted no time teaching her the house rules.

Shaka has better focus than my dogs!

Look at that concentration!

Oops...momentary lapse;) attention.

im lookin' but im not gettin' any snacks! im gonna look ova here, Shaka.

Last man(girl) standing.

She was quick to learn all the commands a dog should know, but waiting to get in and out of the car was the biggest hurdle. I have to pick up and lift Norman out of the car because he claims to be incapable and one time Shaka jumped right on top of him in my arms. It forced me to drop him and he fell in a heap in the ground. He didn't seem to care, but I felt bad. And so we had to practice that a few times.

She would also only seek my attention when I was giving it to Kaya or Norman. She'd come over, even from a deep sleep wiggling with excitement and shove the other dogs out of the way. I could push her away and she'd move back over and over again. But if I gave in and showed her affection, she would freeze up and act very awkward about it. It took her almost a week to lick me on the face and from then on it was only once a day(maybe) and only if my dogs were already licking me. And as soon as she'd do it, she'd turn away like she was in trouble. My friend who was with me when I found her said that people in that area get pit bulls to be guard dogs and punish them for being affectionate. It would make perfect sense if this were true for her considering the way she wants to be friendly and happy, but can't quite figure it out. And she would have, without a doubt, failed as a watchdog and it's not surprising that she found herself homeless, whether it be by accident or on purpose.

I didn't realize how shy she was until I took her into a pet store and left my pups in the car. She sunk when people tried to greet her, she couldn't bring herself to eat a liver treat from the clerk and she startled when a man and child walked up behind her. Before this, I knew she was never overly enthusiastic with strangers, but she would go up to them on hikes and enjoyed being petted. This was when I first realized what a comfort zone my dogs had built for her.

I often get this look of uncertainty from her, especially when I'm taking pictures.

I also took her to Pit Ed class at BAD RAP and looked forward to showing off all we had been practicing at home and on hikes. She had it all down: her steady march by my side, her non-stop eye contact and her lightning fast sit when I stop.

But at class, like the pet store, she was withdrawn and found it difficult to connect with me and shut out the nerve-racking surroundings.

After class... :(

Here I had this dog, who at moments was impossible to convince not to climb all over me or make her way to the front row at petting time, but in the next breath, she would look painfully nervous at the sight of a new friend and in the absence of her buddies. I was realizing that her training( rehabilitation) would be more challenging than I originally thought!


  1. I am amazed that you can get all three dogs plus a cat in one picture, all looking at you. What great focus!

  2. First of all, I can't say enough HOW GORGEOUS she is! You're doing great with her, she sounds like such a special girl. She has eyeliner like my Taylor. :) I love when one of your cats sneak into the group photo opps. I think they might think they are pit bulls, too. :) Keep up the awesome work!