Sunday, November 08, 2009
Yesterday was a long day. I did a double run (Richmond - Springfield) for the animal transport. We had two older puppies, one cat and 6 tethered dogs. Pups, small dogs and cats are always in crates. Tethered dogs pose some interesting logistics because they are riding in passenger vehicles (sedans/SUV's) of various sizes. Temperament, then, plays a large part in who rides with whom. Abbott was an 8 month old massive boy. He needed to be in a car by himself. He appeared to my eye to have some Akita in him. We agreed that he would ride as a single tether in the other volunteer's Passat.
One of my clients, who is also a very good friend, lets me use an extra company vehicle. It is a Ford Freestyle, and is perfect, as I can fold down all of the seats to make a 'van-type' back.
Alpha dogs (male are female) have to be considered carefully. I had three females. Sapphire rode shotgun (passenger seat) with me. I had to 'humpy-boys', and I had to crate one of them, Stanley. I tried some MacGyver contraption with a gate to keep my other humpy boy, Sampson, in line. It worked until one of the girls, Dana, took a dump about 10 minutes into the trip. I had to get off the interstate. Unfortunately, my protective covering was short by 2 inches. She had a 6-inch diameter dump, and managed to hit the uncovered portion. I got up what I could and covered the spot with a towel. But there was that 'odor' wafting about the entire remaining passage.
If you've ever ridden with a dog in your car, you know that they are very sensitive to changes in speed. So slowing down is some sort of 'signal' to them that they need to do a 'heads-up'. In this particular instance, I was stopped, and all heads and tails were up. That's when my MacGyver contraption failed. I'll not bore you with the details on the contraption, but it took me about 8 minutes to get everyone untangled--and somehow one of the leads which was clipped on the collar also managed to get clipped onto the gate (which is made from wire). So the dog basically was hung on the pen. Thankfully, none of them panicked, and none of them snipped or snarled at the other. They placed complete trust in me. Sapphire was interested, but she stayed in her seat.
I decided that my other humpy boy, Sampson, would just have to be loose. Thankfully, he responded to my voice when I yelled at him to settle down when he had "other" ideas. Stanley in his crate was snarling (not sure why as he was a really sweet boy--probably didn't like being thwarted), and Claire snapped back at him. I yelled at her, yanked on her lead, and she stopped and came forward. 30 miles later, they were all asleep, each resting their head on the haunch of another with Sampson's head on the lip of the bed closest to the front. (He did not like my yelling at him or anyone else, and he was anxious to please).
All in all I had to drive about 260 miles round trip. It makes for a long day. Sapphire was on her way to West Virginia to an adoptive home. Because your 'shotgun' passenger is so close to you during your trip, you always bond with them during the drive. This time was no different.
Here are Dana and Sampson. I did not have pics from the shelter for Claire and Stanley.