Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chuck, the current IHS foster dog

Chuck was formerly named "Yoyo," but he didn't know the name or respond to it so he was renamed and is learning his new name quickly.

He's a chocolate lab mix, and I would guess with Chesapeke Bay Retriever though others say no.  He's lab sized with a very large head and nice eyes.  He just turned three and was given up by his former owners due to "landlord issues."  Too bad, because Chuck was fearful at the shelter and majorly depressed.  He also got kennel cough, which he is working on getting over.  He was referred to foster care as he was not going to be adoptable as fearful and withdrawn as he was at the shelter; he also was suffering from a very bad coat and skin, likely due to low quality food.

He has started on anti-biotics, high quality food, and affection - of course.  He has been very happy since he arrived, enjoying running in the pasture, running in the canal, retrieving when he can outrun Maisey, and gnawing on rawhide bones.  He has unfortunately destroyed a few of Maisey's toys with his tough chewing, and passed her his kennel cough too despite her being vaccinated (I guess it does not cover all strains - live and learn).

Chuck just wants to be near me.  He is not "velcro" and does not have separation anxiety, but he likes to be really close.  He's house trained and crate trained.  He gets along great with dogs, cats and kids and would make a nice family dog.  He needs a bit more training, but he's smart, receptive, and learning already.  It's a shame he didn't get a bit more training early on, as he is a big and strong dog - but he is such a mellow guy that I suspect he has gotten by without training because he doesn't destroy things, has no aggression, and is pure sweet.

I feel sorry for him, having his whole life change and so dramatically for the worse for a time.  His 10 days in the shelter had him quivering and totally afraid - and depressed.  He wants to lay his body against the door if he can't be in the room with me, or lay near me, ideally touching me, if I let him.  At night he jumps into my arms, laying his head across me, and gives a big sigh and a whimper as he snuggles in.  He likes to lay on top of me, and since he is a big boy and we have a full bed with two people, it's tough to sleep.  He had to do the crate the first few nights but I admit he is talking his way out of it pretty quickly.

I hope he finds a good home soon, and then it will be time for another break from fostering, and some gearing up for travel.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Atlantic White Sided Dolphins

Recently during a trip to Boston I was able to catch the New England Aquarium's Whale Watch at the very start of the season.  Though it was a bit cold and windy, the cruise was a good one.  We saw fin, minke and humpback whales, as well as North Atlantic gannets (cool diving birds) and Atlantic white sided dolphins.  Here are a few photos of the dolphins. 

The dolphins were swimming around the boat on all sides, and playing, jumping and swimming very happily.  Though I would have loved to catch a jump on film, I am pleased that at least these photos came out well enough to identify the dolphins and get a decent view of a full side of one under water.  The dolphin viewing was better than the whale viewing in that we saw glimpses of the whales but sustained interactions with the dolphins.  I don't recall seeing this species of dolphin in the wild before and I was glad to have the chance.