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August 2011

I hope you have all enjoyed the first two thirds of summer—I know I have. It has been especially fun to watch Yukon, our rescued pup, learn to chase bugs and play in the lake. He is incredibly entertaining, a little uncoordinated, and flat out goofy. He only swims when he falls off of the pier, but he loves to run into and out of the water repeatedly. In this edition of the newsletter Dan shares a sweet story about Danny, one of our daycare dogs, and his personal experience rescuing dogs. We also have a goodbye to Sara and our usual updates—be sure to check out the construction details. Watch our next newsletter for introductions to our new employees--with drastic changes due to college schedules we have hired two new employees and are in the process of hiring one more. We are only losing Sara, but several of our gals have to cut their working hours for school.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, and as always please let me know if you have any questions or comments for us.
Becky Mittelsteadt
info@houndhuddle.com or beckymittel@yahoo.com

 

Goodbye, Sara!
Sara’s last day with us is August 17th. We are sad to see you go. Best of luck in college and please come back and visit us!

 

How are we doing? We want to hear from YOU!
We would love to hear feedback from you on how we are doing here at the Hound Huddle! We are putting together a brochure to have available for new customers, so we would love to have your feedback to include in the handout! Email us or send us a message on Facebook with whatever is on your mind! What are we doing that you love? What would you have us do differently?

 

Dog of the Month: Chance
Our dog of the month for August is a cocker spaniel mix aptly named Chance, a dog who found his wonderful home because of his owner’s chance encounter with a UW Veterinary student! Chance was at the Dog Fair at the Alliant Energy Center with this volunteer when his current owner noticed the cute little dog prancing about. After hearing his story—he was found on an Indian reservation in northern Wisconsin—his owner fell in love with him and adopted him as soon as he was available, and changed his name from Oscar to Chance. This cute little guy now shares his home with his owner and her husband, as well as eight cats! He loves his kitty friends, and loves their food even more…so much that he sometimes doesn’t want to eat his own food! Don’t worry…his owners are trying to find a dog food that he loves just as much. What a lucky little dog!

 

Product of the Month: Skinneeeez Dog Toys
Many owners love giving their dogs soft plush toys, but some have dogs that LOVE to rip the stuffing out of them. One of our best sellers in our retail section are Skinneeeez Stuffing-Free Dog Toys. Your dog can enjoy a soft squeaky toy and you don’t have to clean up a mess of stuffing afterwards! We have various sizes and varieties of Skinneeeez, with fun animals like foxes, bears, sheep, or even a flamingo or flying squirrel. With our Skinneeeez Big Bite collection, you can also fit plastic bottles inside of them for dogs that love to crunch on leftover water bottles!

 

Training
Our next training session begins this week!

Beginner Obedience: 6:15-7:15p.m. Tuesdays August 9 – September 13
For dogs age 6 months and older. Classes will re-enforce basic manners and commands. Dogs will learn the command “stay” as well as to focus with lots of distractions using traditional training methods. In this class we learn to "heel" with our dogs and have plenty of question and answer time. Cost is $90. Taught by Scott Lindner.

Puppy Pre-School: 6:15-7:15p.m. Wednesdays August 10 – September 14
A six-week course with instruction on socializing a puppy including supervised off-leash play in class. There is also instruction on several obedience commands using positive reinforcement, nutrition and toys, understanding canine body communication and other topics. A written training guide and DVD are included. Please bring a hungry dog, a leash, and great training treats to class. Cost is $90. Taught by Dan Antolec.

Canine Good Citizen Course: 7:30-8:30p.m. Thursdays August 11 – September 15
This is an opportunity to build on basic obedience skills focused on good manners in the home and in the community. Here you and your dog will develop the skills required for the AKC Canine Good Citizen certification. The first five classes involve instruction and practice, with testing in week six. Cost is $90. Passing the test qualifies for AKC certification. Taught by Scott Lindner.

Rolling Agility Classes
Would you like to attend agility classes this summer but cannot commit to a 6 week class? No problem! For the busy summer months we are offering rolling agility classes. When you sign up for your 6 lessons you have up to 12 weeks to come for classes. Continuing students may come to either class until their 6 lessons are up. Join any time! The cost is $90 for six lessons. Taught by Renee Grittner.

New Students:
1:30-2:30 p.m. Sundays, June thru August – w/Renee Grittner
Continuing Students:
7:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, June thru October – w/Renee Grittner
**AND/OR**
2:30-3:30 p.m. Sundays, June thru October – w/Renee Grittner

 

Saturday Playtime If you want your puppy or small breed dog to have some time to play with dogs his or her own age or size in a safe environment, our Saturday Playtime option might be right for you! Puppies and dogs under 35 pounds can come and play from 9:30a.m.-10:30a.m. every Saturday. Owners must be present, and all dogs must be up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, including Bordetella. The cost is $3 per dog.

 

Clearance Items! We have plenty of fun items for sale for 40% off in our clearance section of our retail area. Items include doggie seatbelts, sticky hair removal rolls, glow-in-the-dark leashes and collars, and much more. Check it out the next time you stop by for daycare or training!

 

Grooming

If you want to get one last cut (or shave!) in before school starts, call our neighbors at the Oregon Pet Spa and Salon! Amy is on maternity leave until October, but Bree, Camille, and new groomers Lynette and Laura are still there to help! They’re scheduling up to a week in advance, so call early! Their number is 835-8234.

 

Construction Updates

Construction on Highway 14 and Highway 138 is well under way, and soon there will be more entrance and exit ramp closures near the daycare. The good news is that the construction is scheduled to be finished by October 14, 2011. Here is the latest from the Department of Transportation:

August 8-29, 2011, the eastbound US 14 off ramp to WIS 138 (coming from Madison) will be closed.

August 11 - October 14, 2011, the on ramp from WIS 138 to eastbound US 14 (headed toward Janesville—i.e. Park Street) will be closed.

Off ramp from westbound US 14 to WIS 138 (coming from Janesville)
Westbound WIS 138 to westbound US 14 on ramp, in the village of Oregon, is open.

 

Danny

Having only met Danny a week or two ago I have been thinking a lot about him ever since. Some might suggest that he stole my heart, but I would say that I gave it to him willingly. You see, Danny is a German Shepherd less than one year old with a playful and sweet disposition, and a painful bone condition that sometimes hurts him most when he is joyfully playing with other dogs…and an inoperable heart condition that condemns him to an early death. That is enough to break my heart, so I cannot imagine what his owner must feel. She took Danny into her home expecting a long and happy life together and a couple of weeks later learned of his gloomy and painful medical prognosis. It is enough to drive a grown man to tears and I am not the l east bit ashamed to admit it.

Dogs live in the moment and they give themselves completely to us as their stewards. They trust that we will always do what is best for them and care for them from their first day to their last. Danny had the great fortune of finding an owner that loves him so much she is determined to give him the best possible puppy-hood, for so long as that may last, regardless of the final outcome. And so it came to pass that Danny continued attending doggie daycare and captured the hearts of Hound Huddle employees who enjoy and appreciate the very special opportunity to care for him and love him, in each hour that he joins us.

By contrast, humans often anticipate the end of life with fear and trepidation, worrying about what may happen and how much time they may have, but dogs live in the moment. In every minute I have thus far gratefully spent with Danny I observed that he enjoyed himself to the fullest extent, without any sign of worry or anxiety about the future. His doggie playmates likewise enjoyed playing with Danny, without delving into sorrow or pity. They too lived in the moment of joyful bliss and excitement, striving for their full potential, sharing their experience with others and spreading the wonderment of life among all who were blessed enough to be present to witness their example. The wisdom and grace of dogs has so often humbled my arrogant concept of human superiority that I sometimes think that dogs are doing us a great kindness by consenting to live among us, in order to show us a more enlightened path to living.

Danny is an inspiration to me, and I hope by sharing my experience with him it will help you see that there is an alternative to our human perspective as lord and master of this planet. The concept of being “in control” is a great and worrisome burden, and humble creatures like dogs show us there is a peaceful and calm alternative to this experience we call life. Native Americans revere the inter-connectedness of life and have a special term for it: All My Relations. To me it seems akin to the Buddhist concept of all beings in the universe being connected and valued, thus encouraging the virtue of compassion. Dogs seem to take life in stride, enjoying what they have and not worrying about what they don’t have or might lose. Perhaps theirs is the philosophy of Doghissm? Come to think of it, one of our rescue dogs is called Buddha and the other is Gandhi, and the names seem to fit nicely.

My wife and I erected a totem pole in the place we call home, and one of the totems is a carved figure representing our first dog Samantha. She was one of my greatest teachers and enjoyed every day of her life without the fear and anticipation that I bore for her, worrying about her eventual loss. Her carving depicts an everlasting smile of joy, as does my remembrance of every experience with Samantha, and now again with Danny. Could it be that we are not the all-knowing masters of the universe that we imagine ourselves to be and that we can indeed learn from other creatures how to live with greater grace and contentment? I am happy to watch and learn from my animal companions and appreciate what Danny is demonstrating. Perhaps with help from the dogs I love at home and the many dogs I love at Hound Huddle I will one day attain a higher level of enlightenment called…Human Being. What do you suppose your dog has to teach you?

 

Dan’s Dog Den

Rescue me!

Each year 2-3 million dogs are euthanized in the United States just because they don’t have a home. Some dogs become lost by accident or neglect, others are turned in to shelters when the owner dies or moves to a residence that does not allow pets. Some find themselves homeless when their owners are divorced, and others are given up due to behavior problems. The leading cause of death among dogs one year old and younger is euthanasia after surrender due to behavioral problems that naturally occur when dog owners neglect to properly socialize and train their puppies. Dogs do not choose to enter our lives and when humans fail to provide lifelong stewardship, for whatever reason, it is the dog that suffers the (all too often fatal) consequences. Patricia McConnell, a noted dog expert, recently published a book regarding rescue dogs in order to raise awareness and encourage potential dog owners to consider adoption rather than going to a breeder. My humble contribution to that goal is to share the experience my wife and I have had with rescue dogs.

Charlie, on the first day of the rest of his life.

After three years with his family Charlie found himself homeless when the husband and wife divorced. The wife did not want Charlie and the husband was unable to keep him. We had recently lost our beloved Samantha and it was time to consider getting another dog. I still remember as our car pulled up to the driveway and Charlie came out of his dog house, approached me and gave me a big sloppy Labrador kiss. After a sad goodbye from his former dad, we brought Charlie home and took his first photograph. It was the beginning of a long and happy life together until he died just shy of 15 years of age. In all that time he was the most perfect dog I have ever had. (I miss you Chucky)

Then along came Jake…

…a crazy two-year old that was languishing in a pen at the Dane County Humane Society for six lonely months. His family wanted a hunting dog, but they never trained him, never kenneled him or even tied him outside and so he barked often and ran around the countryside looking for entertainment. His lack of socialization and training naturally led to the unwanted behaviors that prompt so many dog owners to rid themselves of the consequence of their neglect, and so Jake was given up and confined to a cage at the shelter at 18 months of age, waiting for a new home…or for his time to run out. I am glad we found him in time.

Charlie was 10 years old by then and we thought a young companion would be good forhim. Our first visit with Jake at the shelter is still firmly imprinted in my mind. He was terribly aroused and ran around the small room constantly peeing here and there, totally ignoring us. When a volunteer took us to a fenced outdoor play area he ran away from us all and had to be corralled after considerable time and effort. Naturally we adopted him! Jake proved to be quite a challenge, but a loving and snugly boy in spite of his early lack of social contact. After several training courses and construction of a huge fenced play area, he grew into a white bearded old man and at 13 years of age is still active and playful.

A couple of years passed after we lost Charlie and Jake was the sole dog in our family. He was happy being the center of attention but a little voice in my head started whispering “Maybe Jake would like a doggie playmate!” It took far longer to convince my wife to consider getting another dog, but when our large animal vet hosted an open house we went there…

…in search of Budda. (No, not that Buddha)

We had no idea what we would find but we entertained the idea that a rescue organization might be present. Sure enough, The Lab Connection participated in a parade of dogs available for adoption. I clearly remember watching Budda as he approached, accompanied by his foster mom. My first thought was “What a big head he has!” quickly followed by an observation of his calm and stable demeanor in such an arousing circumstance. He was nearly two years old, stocky, sweet natured, and he had the cutest baby face I ever saw in a Labrador. My wife swooned for him at once and we filed the adoption papers that afternoon. Within one week Budda joined us in his new home. He had separation anxiety, as is common with rescue dogs, so we invested training time throughout each day to counter-condition him and achieved great results in a few weeks. He accompanied me to Hound Huddle and joined three training courses before passing his AKC Canine Good Citizen test. We are now considering using him as a therapy dog.

Bringing a third dog into the family took considerably more time and negotiation, but my wife finally agreed and one year later we returned to The Lab Connection to find another dog with the great personality and temperament of Budda. By great fortune the foster family that hosted Budda was currently caring for a Lab that had been found running as a stray in Illinois. His name and history were a mystery. He stood nearly as tall as a Great Dane puppy but he was gaunt and underweight, ribs showing, with a case of worms to boot. The collective best guess was that he might be two years of age.

We arranged for a couple of home visits to see how he behaved with Jake and Budda, our sheep and our horse. It took no more than a few seconds for the new dog to prompt Budda to engage in a long and happy play session, and he literally melted into our arms with joyful trust and an obvious love of people. Once more, the adoption was completed within one week and we named our new boy Gandhi, AKA the G-Man.

G-Man

Gandhi came to us with some separation issues and an uncanny ability to climb over our five-foot tall no-climb horse fence, perching on all four paws before gracefully hopping down to the other side…subsequently prompting me to install a higher fence. His extremely social nature made him an instant playmate at Hound Huddle and his quick learning ability made it a breeze to teach him all obedience commands in two months, and he earned a Canine Good Citizen rating one month later.
In our experience adopting dogs has been far cheaper than paying a breeder, the dogs came to us completely vaccinated, were entirely trainable and have been a complete and utter joy. We also feel good about saving our dogs from an uncertain future, and have great appreciation of rescue groups in general and The Lab Connection in particular. Hound Huddle offers free daycare for up to two dogs at a time, if (dog rescue) foster families seek the opportunity for dog socialization. In addition, dog training courses are offered at a substantial discount for dogs in foster care. I encourage you to consider adopting your next dog, or contributing your volunteer time or financial support to a rescue group. If we all just do a little more then perhaps one day all dogs can enjoy the long and happy life they deserve.

Dan Antolec

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Past Newsletters

July 2011 * June 2011 * May 2011 * April 2011  *  March 2011  *  February 2011 

January 2011  *  December 2010

Hound Huddle · 1145 Park St · Oregon, WI · 608.835.6622 · 608.835.2662 f

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