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Thread: To Dog or Not to Dog

  1. #1

    To Dog or Not to Dog

    I'm conflicted!

    Okay, so I volunteer at a no-kill animal shelter.

    A couple of weekends ago while I was working there I was talking with one of the staff members. As we walked past the kennel of a very pretty Shepherd/Siberian Husky mix named Gentry (photo here: http://www.animalhavenkc.org/sherwin/) the staff member commented "Poor Gentry".

    I then said "Yeah, he's been here a while, hasn't he?"

    She said "Yeah, and he's such a sweet dog."

    I responded "He's a very pretty dog too. I'd consider him but I worry that he might be a little big for an apartment dog."

    She then said: "Oh no, he'd actually make a good apartment dog!"

    So now I'm conflicted.

    First -- I had wanted to wait until the spring to get a dog so that the weather would be a little nicer.

    Second -- I had thought to get a smaller dog since, while I have a two-bedroom apartment it *is* kind of full of furniture so there isn't a lot of romper room.

    Third -- I hadn't been thinking about a somewhat bigger dog and I worry about controlling him since for his size he's also likely to be powerful because of the two breeds he's mixed with. I intend to go to obedience training with whatever dog I got but if my dog flunked out I figured I at least wouldn't have to worry about controlling a small dog.

    But balanced against that is:

    One -- Poor Gentry has been at the shelter since early November.

    Two -- Look at that face! And he really is a pretty dog.

    Three -- I had also wanted to try to put my dog through therapy dog training and then, if it passed, make them a licensed therapy dog to go around and visit the nursing homes and Gentry would be nice and floofy for the older people to pet.

    So now I don't know whether to really pursue Gentry or not.

    Anyone have any experience with either of the two breeds mixed in to make Gentry? Anyone have any experience with a medium-sized dog in an apartment?

    Anyone have any advice? This will be my first real dog of my own where I'll be totally responsible for everything.
    A.K.A. Lailoni Prime Vesta (courtesy of Tom Stillwell)

    My blog of random and often geeky things -- Compound Geekery!

    Riding the rollercoaster at Six Flags over Armageddon

  2. #2
    Moderator Corrina's Avatar
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    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    Can you take him home for a night or two to see if you're compatible?

    Or even take him to an obedience class to see how he reacts?

    I wouldn't worry so much about the larger dog in an apartment if you're available to walk him on a regular basis. But if there's a way to spend time with him outside the shelter before formalizing an adoption, I'd definitely try that.
    A Jewish seamstress in a steampunked Victorian London hires a consulting detective to solve a magical murder mystery.
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  3. #3

    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    My brother and his fiance have a German Shepherd and a Chocolate Lab in a two bedroom apartment, and they are exceptionally well behaved. The key to big dogs in smaller places is to make sure they get outdoors to have a lot of exercise. If you have a dog park nearby, I'd say that you'd have no trouble with Gentry's excitement level indoors.

    The one thing is almost always a factor with shelter dogs is separation anxiety, though. I've had three, and they'd always go into a depression when left alone. My girlfriend's dog-- that's the dog in my icon-- actually cries when I leave her. She used to destroy things when left alone for long periods of time, but she's seemed to outgrown that.

  4. #4

    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    I am at work for nine hours every day (since lunch is 'on your own time') but I would have time for a twenty minute to half hour walk in the morning before I went to work and then, obviously, unlimited time for walkies/playtime after work.

    I think I'd be afraid of letting him off lead at a dog park until I knew better how he responded around other dogs as well as other wildlife and such. But that would be true of ANY dog I might get.

    Oh, and his age is estimated at about 4 to 5 years. So he's not a puppy but he's not an old guy either.
    A.K.A. Lailoni Prime Vesta (courtesy of Tom Stillwell)

    My blog of random and often geeky things -- Compound Geekery!

    Riding the rollercoaster at Six Flags over Armageddon

  5. #5
    Trouble Boy Nick Soapdish's Avatar
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    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    I dunno. It says that he's a Chiefs fan.

    The main issue that I'd worry about is the amount of time that he can be outside and that's a factor whether he's a big or a little dog. It sounds like he's a pretty good age. Old enough to have some maturity, but young enough to still have lots of energy.

    The trial period sounded great to me until I read the next post. Has Gentry been adopted before? If he gets "adopted" even if it's just a few days and returned again, it could be rough on him.


    In unrelated news, I may have a new cat. I feed a few neighborhood strays, but one cat has been living under my porch for the past couple weeks. She's pretty shy, but also desperate for attention so she eventually started letting me pet her and pick her up. A couple days ago, I finally brought her inside and stuck her in the spare bedroom. I've put out flyers to see if anybody is going to claim her because she isn't feral. She has to have been somebody's cat at some point.

  6. #6
    Moderator Corrina's Avatar
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    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    I think the word has gone out, Nick, to the cats who want homes to show up at your house.

    If you do adopt the dog, a dog crate might be needed for a while during the day. In some ways, that might be comforting if he's already comfortable inside a cage for most of the day right now.

    What do people at the shelter think?
    A Jewish seamstress in a steampunked Victorian London hires a consulting detective to solve a magical murder mystery.
    --The Curse of the Brimstone Contract by Corrina Lawson

  7. #7

    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    I'm considering the possibility of maybe fostering him and see how it works out. I spoke briefly to the people at the shelter last night and got some info on him...

    Normally the shelter doesn't like to foster dogs out unless they need some extra TLC for health or behavior reasons or lend them on a 'trial' basis because, in the words of the head of the shelter: "If someone comes by looking for that particular dog they aren't there then and they may not get adopted."

    However, I might be able to get him foster by arguing a couple of things: 1) He's been there for months with no one adopting him. 2) He IS about 10 lbs overweight. I'm guessing he was a family pet and they had to give him up for some reason. While the shelter is not overfeeding him it's hard for him to lose the weight because he isn't able to get out and get much excersize. If I foster him I can give him two good half-hour walks a day. 3) While he's there he's taking up space and the shelter needs the space for new intakes. They're a no-kill shelter so they don't lose any animals through euthenasia.

    We'll see. I'm going to go meet him after work later this week... when the weather gets above the sub-arctic temps we have now.
    A.K.A. Lailoni Prime Vesta (courtesy of Tom Stillwell)

    My blog of random and often geeky things -- Compound Geekery!

    Riding the rollercoaster at Six Flags over Armageddon

  8. #8

    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    Fostering seems like the best option in this case. It'll get him out of the shelter and into new environments, which he probably desperately needs, and you'll get a chance to see if he and you can get along ok.

  9. #9
    Trouble Boy Nick Soapdish's Avatar
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    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by Corrina View Post
    I think the word has gone out, Nick, to the cats who want homes to show up at your house.
    Most of them don't want homes or even to see me. They just want food. But this is the second one that I've cat-napped that was already acclimated to people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stressfactor View Post
    I'm considering the possibility of maybe fostering him and see how it works out. I spoke briefly to the people at the shelter last night and got some info on him...

    Normally the shelter doesn't like to foster dogs out unless they need some extra TLC for health or behavior reasons or lend them on a 'trial' basis because, in the words of the head of the shelter: "If someone comes by looking for that particular dog they aren't there then and they may not get adopted."

    However, I might be able to get him foster by arguing a couple of things: 1) He's been there for months with no one adopting him. 2) He IS about 10 lbs overweight. I'm guessing he was a family pet and they had to give him up for some reason. While the shelter is not overfeeding him it's hard for him to lose the weight because he isn't able to get out and get much excersize. If I foster him I can give him two good half-hour walks a day. 3) While he's there he's taking up space and the shelter needs the space for new intakes. They're a no-kill shelter so they don't lose any animals through euthenasia.

    We'll see. I'm going to go meet him after work later this week... when the weather gets above the sub-arctic temps we have now.
    Sounds like good arguments to me. How often are the shelter staff able to take the animals out for walks or let them run in a yard?

  10. #10

    Re: To Dog or Not to Dog

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Soapdish View Post
    Most of them don't want homes or even to see me. They just want food. But this is the second one that I've cat-napped that was already acclimated to people.



    Sounds like good arguments to me. How often are the shelter staff able to take the animals out for walks or let them run in a yard?
    As I understand it they try to get the dogs out on 15 minute walks at least twice a day but they rely heavily on volunteer staff for the walking so walks may get truncated if there aren't enough walkers and too many dogs.

    Also, when the weather is cold or bad the dogs don't get very long walks.

    Also, how fast the dog gets walked depends on the walker and many of the volunteers available during the day are retirees so the dogs get strolls rather than power walks.
    A.K.A. Lailoni Prime Vesta (courtesy of Tom Stillwell)

    My blog of random and often geeky things -- Compound Geekery!

    Riding the rollercoaster at Six Flags over Armageddon

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