Dogtown: Tire out your pups by working their brains

Rainy days have arrived in Humboldt. Fortunately, there have been breaks in the rain on most days, giving us all a chance to get our dogs out for a walk.

At the Humboldt County Animal Shelter, dogs can be walked in light rain but not during the downpours, so at least a little window each day is appreciated.

I have a big box of Kong toys sitting by the door, ready to go up to the shelter. We keep the volunteers busy prepping these with frozen treats for a little doggy diversion on the wet days. Redwood Pals uses grant money designated for enrichment to buy these and Kong offers seconds for sale to rescues, allowing us to provide enough for all the dogs to enjoy.

We just wrapped up grant applications for next year and are hoping shelter enrichment continues to be funded.

A good way to make the most of those shorter walks this time of year is to give your dog something different to think about. One of the surprising things I’ve learned since being involved in dog rescue is that you can tire your dog out as much by working their brain as by exercising their bodies. If you have ever had one of the more active breeds, you’ve probably found that taking them running or biking just results in a well-conditioned dog that can run even farther!

I have seen plenty of big healthy dogs that need to take a nap after half an hour of exercises that make them think. There are lots of fun things you can do on a walk that don’t require any equipment or expertise. I like to make my big dog step on and off the curb as we walk. On, off, on, off from curb to gutter as we walk along the sidewalk. The trainers we’ve worked with say that changing direction causes a lot of brain synapses to fire.

On your walk that can be doing an about face several times on a stretch, or zig-zagging in an area where you have a little room. We take several of our Redwood Pals dogs to a drop-in dog class every Sunday where we work on these exercises. I’d recommend the class to anyone who is looking for some different ways to communicate with their dog. The trainer is Christina Myers and you can get on the class notification list by emailing her at ripplemum@gmail.com. The classes are held in public spaces in Eureka and McKinleyville on a rotating schedule.

Batgirl.

The shelter has quite a range of dogs to choose from right now. They range from the little Chihuahua named Batgirl to the big mixed breed (Rottweiler? Shepherd?) male Hank, one of the gentlest dogs we’ve seen in a long time. There are lots of sizes, shapes, colors, ages and breeds in between.

Redwood Pals is hoping to find a medical foster for this sweet little puppy Sable. She was brought to the attention of to Animal Control in Eureka. This little puppy has sarcoptic mange, which is the contagious kind unfortunately. She has been receiving treatment at the shelter for almost two weeks already and could need as long as another four to six weeks to recover. Now what she really needs is a nice home where she can continue her skin regimen and regrow her hair. This puppy is so appreciative of every bit of attention shown her! A foster would not be responsible for any medical expenses, as the shelter and the Emergency Medical Fund take care of those.  A perfect foster would be able to give Sable her medicated shampoo twice a week and make sure that she gets to her follow-up veterinary appointments.

If you can foster this puppy, please let us know at redwoodpalsrescue@gmail.com or call (707) 839-9692.

Our fosters who have helped pups like this before found the experience very rewarding, to go from what I think of as a naked mole rat puppy to a nice pup with a full furry coat.

Sable is about two months old and quite small still. A foster would not be responsible for any medical expenses, as the shelter and the Emergency Medical Fund take care of those.  A perfect foster would be able to give Sable her medicated shampoo twice a week and make sure that she gets to her follow-up veterinary appointments. She will need a place in the home that is away from other animals until the vet determines that she is no longer contagious. We can provide a crate and/or pen and bedding for her to use. Baby clothes work well for keeping her warm while her hair regrows! This poor baby arrived at this state through no fault of her own, and it would be so wonderful to get her back to full health and give her the chance at the good life we wish for all of our dogs. If you can foster this puppy, please let us know at redwoodpalsrescue@gmail.com or call (707) 839-9692.







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