Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wilbur Update

Been away for while, but that's because I'm trying to do this whole graduation thing. My life should settle down after my thesis defense and you can expect a ton more posts after that. Anyway I thought hey, I haven't updated you all on Wilbur and he's been up to some things so I should probably do that.

Willie Wonka aka Will aka Wooly Bear aka Wilbur (We've settled on Wilbur being the perfect old man name) is almost 100% health wise now. Phew. So here's the saga. When I first got poor Will he had lost 7 teeth, including his two top canniens, and just been neutered. He had almost no fur on this back end and both ears were ridiculously infected. Also two of his toenails had just been cut so they no longer grew into the pads of his feet and his wobbly back end made stairs and even getting around a problem.

Time and rest helped him recover from the surgery. Many many many baths, vitamin E and Omega 3 pills cured the hair issue. Good nutrition some weight loss and exercise (And weekly massages ) means that not only does he do some stairs now, but he actually runs! There is nothing that makes my day as bright as watching this dog happily run back and forth on my hard wood floors. Even his potty training is coming along. I think it was tough at first because every time I brought him out to pee he would trip and fall down in the grass (He's much steadier on even surfaces) so he never wanted to be outside. But now that he's steadier he doesn't mind as much.

The ears have been..... a saga. First it was cleaning his ears everyday with medication twice a day for about two months. This cleared up the left ear which is now fine, but the right ear was a different story. Nothing worked. We changed medications, we changed cleaning solutions, we increased the number of times a day we cleaned it, nothing worked. And the worst thing was it hurt him. Every time I cleaned it he would yelp and there was always a tiny bit of blood in with all the other gunk. And he'd rub the ear on things every chance he got. It really bothered him.

So the doctor finally decided to do a simple surgery where he would flush the ear canal with saline. In the midst of doing this he found a small polyp. Apparently this polyp was most likely caused by the years of neglect and infection. But now it was the reason we couldn't get rid of the current infection. So in for another surgery to remove the cancer. Now he sort of looks like Frankendog. But we hope the issues have been solved.

Anyhow on to brighter news about old Wilbur. So as I said before Wilbur has the perfect temperament. He's just not fazed by anything. Never met a person dog or situation he doesn't automatically like. So I thought, he's the perfect therapy dog. So to pass the therapy dog test in our region he would have to pass the CGC test plus a couple other things like dealing with a wheel chair, or with someone on a walker and rougher petting. Most of this stuff I thought would be a breeze for Wilbur.

Greeting another dog
Friendly petting

Supervised Separation

Walk through a crowd

I don't even need to teach him loose leash walking cause if you keep a pretty good clip he can't really walk very fast so he doesn't pull. I'm sure he pulled as a younger dog but heck now he is luckily to keep up with you at all.

The tricky part would be sit, down and STAY. Ok sit and down I had already sort of taught him. Stay was a bit tough. He has NO impulse control and all he wants to do is follow me if I walk away. Also I realized I only had like a week to teach him this before the test. We were.... inconsistently staying by the day test time rolled around. But luckily our friend Pat was doing the test and let us do the stay part a few times to prove that he could actually do it which was really nice of her.

Other than that, Wilbur passed both tests with flying colors. There was a little hick-up with the recall. He tried to come but ended up stepping on his leash and tripping himself. Then he was a little scared of continuing to move. So we did it again without the leash and he came right to me. During the test where there is a wheel chair he spent the whole time giving big lovey dovey eyes to Pat's Scottish terrier Pumpkin (she was not interested in his romantic advances). About the third pass with the wheel chair Pat said "-Sigh- He's not even looking. Could you at least get him to glance this way?" I tapped him on the head and pointed at the wheel chair as it glided past. He glanced at it and then looked back up at me as if to say So? and then turned his attention back to Pumpkin. It was pretty funny.

Of course the loud sudden noise part of the test didn't bother him. It made the lab taking the test next to us jump and Wilbur just stared right at me.

The woman with the lab said to me "Wow, he's so good. He didn't even flinch".

"He's deaf" I said.


"He's deaf, he didn't finch because he couldn't hear it."

She thought that was pretty funny and laughed. I guess it's sort of like cheating.

During the rough handling portion Pat accidentally grabbed and tugged on the ear with all of Wilbur's stitches. I was like "WAIT! He has stitches! Be careful!" but it was too late. He winced but didn't do anything else except wag his tail. She apologized but said if that didn't prove that he'd never bite anyone, nothing would.

So Wilbur is an official CGC dog and he only needs three supervised visits in the next 6 months to be an official therapy dog (We have to wait until he has his stitches out though. No open wounds on trips is one of the rules). I think this was the job he was made for in life. We can't wait to get started.

Remember! Wilbur is still up for adoption here at DRNA (ignore the stupid jokes in his profile. I didn't write that)