Friday, February 3, 2017

The story of Banksy - Rescue puppy - Comox valley

I have been thinking about writing this story for a while.. basically I wanted people to read it before judging me. Before they said how awful I was for getting a "Christmas puppy" and then giving it back when the excitement and cuteness wore off.....

Our story started a long ass time ago....

For roughly a year my handsome hubby and I have been talking, looking for, researching getting a puppy. For a few reasons, one of which being Dylan. Our smallest spawn has an obsession with dogs. She is the kid that, when at a party and the dog is locked away in a room as to not bother the children, will spend the entire party in said room, snuggling said dog. She had been BEGGING for years to get a dog, and as my minions got larger and needed me less, and the idea of another baby was just gross, a dog became more and more appealing.

At first we were looking for a small dog. Perfect for our tiny townhouse. We decided we wanted a rescue. Not because I was sold on a rescue dog as much as I was sold not getting the disgusted looks from friends and family, as well as snide remarks about "for every puppy bought one is put to sleep in a shelter". So guilt made me say rescue was the only option. But for some reason, though we are the most awesome family on earth, I was turned down for every puppy we applied for. Something just told me we hadn't found our dog yet.....

Fast forward. OMG we are moving. OMG a giant house. OMFG THERE ARE F-ING COUGARS AND BEARS THERE... Lets look at bigger dog options.

So again, I started to apply for puppies from rescues. Again, not even an email back.. hmmm what gives? Awesome family. Large yard. work from home (and taking a large chunk of time off) . Right by the beach.
Basically any dog that gets us wins the dog lottery.

Then I voiced my complaint on a local animal adoption group, how I was at the point where I was going to march to the mall and buy a dog, because dog-nabbit I want a puppy and no one is emailing me back!

Someone heard my cries and sent me a sweet msg asking me to email their rescue directly and we can talk.

So far this process had been going on for 9 months already and I was puppyless and sad.

I sent a large email saying as much, and I got a response! They were going to help me look for the perfect addition to our family!

I said I didn't care much about the breed, the only thing I did care about was that is was an awesome, sweet, gentle family dog. I could NOT deal with an aggressive dog,  as we have kids, and kids around all the time.

No probs right.

Also I said maybe part Border Collie? My dad had 3 Border Collies... (all named Randy for some reason or another) and as an homage to him... But beggars can't be choosers.

A few weeks later I got an email...
We have a pup! Definitely part Border Collie from a reserve in Norther Manitoba.
He had been orphaned, but good news he was fostered with another dog, so it's alllll good.
They sent me a picture and my heart melted. We found our baby!!!

My mom and I decided to go meet him, he was 7 weeks old and wouldn't be able to leave the foster home until 8 weeks.

I walked in and my heart melted even more.
His eyes. His puffy puffy fur.
He ran right over and wanted our attention. He was super frisky with the male Shepard he was being fostered with, biting him and jumping on him, but the older dog was so sweet and let him get away with murder (THIS should have been a sign to me...).

Image may contain: dog, outdoor and nature

A week later we went to bring him home. As his foster mom handed him over, she mentioned "he is a little nippy, pretty frisky, and he LOVES food".... k.. again, totally normal...

We carried him crying to the car. I wrapped him in a warm blanket and snuggled him as he cried, finally he fell asleep. When we brought him in to my mom's home, we had a bed waiting for him on the ground, he immediately jumped on it, and starred at us.
We need to feed him! She has mentioned she hadn't fed him yet, so he wouldn't get sick in the car. He must be starving. I walked in to the kitchen with him right behind me, I carefully measured the amount she told us and plopped it in. Before i could pull my hand away his face was in, devouring and growling. He would look at me, eyes flashing, snarling while he ate.

Well shit.

he ate.. and cried .. and ate....
He ate so much on the first day, that he threw up.. then he ate that.
the whole while growling at as. That little boy was starving.

He then went over to the bed and stared at us.... anytime we approached he would bite. snarl. attack.
vicious little MFer. My kids excitement died as they realized the adorable puppy of their dreams was part Tasmanian devil. Within a few days, the adults were covered in blood, and the kids hid.
He ate and stared. Rarely slept.

He was however smart as a whip.
Learning within days to run to the back door to be let out to pee. and within hours to sit.
but there was no snuggling.. barely any petting. just starting at us with those beady eyes.

Day 3 I called the rescue... maybe the fact he was separated from his litter has something to do with his sociopathy..??.. We went to see the trainer from the rescue, he was sleeping the whole way there (the only time he did sleep well was in the car), when we got there he was sweet as pie.... "just put him in timeouts for nipping, or ignore him,  and lots of positive praise". I was worried he would be spending more time in the kennel than not...

MOVING day!!

Finally we were in our own home!
Things were slightly better, he now slept, but his dominance was becoming more and more apparent.
Whenever we did something he didn't agree with, he would snarl and attack. It's hard to "just ignore" when a 12 lb furball with razor fangs is latched on to you, or worse your child, growling and gnashing.

I finally said enough was enough. I hated this dog. All he did was bite. Not cute puppy nips...

We decided as a last resort to bring in a trainer. Within one call to Ken Griffiths Dog Whisperer and I already felt calmer, he explained on the phone that baby Banksy didn't sound aggressive, what he did sound like was that he was confused who was in charge, and so he became the dominant one, and it was stressing him the F out!

Ken came over, and though initially I didn't like the sounds of his methods, after 10 minutes I became less skeptical. Then 30 minutes later, when he brought his momma dog in, and she corrected Banksy exactly how Ken explained, I was convinced.

Things were going AMAZING, Banksy was chilling out so much, I was starting to love him. He was still pretty dominant with the kids, but we were working on that.

Looking back... there was a number of things I did wrong... but I am not sure how much of it could have been helped.

We were heading out for our daily walk on the beach.
Banksy had been doing SO well, meeting new dogs that I allowed him off the leash to play with some pups.
They were sweet to him, he was being good.. I was having a lovely chat with their momma, the kids were playing.. good times.

They decided to go for a walk, so I called him over to put his leash on. I forgot to mention that Banksy gets pretty crazy around other dogs. As I approached him, he started bolting like a mad man to the parking lot. CARS!! NO! I yelled GET BACK HERE, and I chased him, and grabbed the back of his collar.

He went Apeshit, and turned and bit. not once but like 5 times. Not puppy nips but FULL on biting.
I grabbed him and attempted to hold him on his back to stop the biting. he continued. My heart was pounding. I was shaking. I was bleeding.

I threw him in the car. then the kennel.
Called Ken the trainer.

PUPPY was being sent back.

Husband however was not done. The Trainer thought this could have been caused by a flashback to his first few weeks when he was orphaned. A monthly dog cull on the reserve he came from, could have been how he lost him momma and littler. He had to fight and run. Also the fact he was fostered with a large male who didn't mind (and probably couldn't feel the bites through his thick coat) probably accounted for the nippyness.

The work continued. I was scared of him. I didn't let the kids go near him. This was his LAST chance.
We kept him on a leash in the house the whole time.
Tons of time outs.
Moved his kennel out of our room.
He was kenneled when we ate.
We spend 15 min 4X a day training.
He was ALWAYS on a leash outdoors.
Praised for kisses and being gentle, time outs for using teeth.

He got better in many ways, not nearly as nippy, but then the behavior changed.  Instead of play nipping it was growling and snapping.

Biting the children for no reason.

He still doesn't want our love, or approval.
He is just too damn smart.

The final straw... well was him biting D in the face while she was just standing talking to M...
but the real a-ha moment.
We took him to see the third and final trainer, Puppy preschool!

All the other puppies were excited, but stayed close to their owners, and as they trained them the puppies looked for approval.
D was having the time of her life, snuggling puppies! These puppies all were so sweet, one specifically jumped in D's lap and showered her in kisses.... We never had that with Banksy.
he really could care less about it. He was howling and snapping and lunging at us as we kept him on the leash. He was ready to eat these puppies. We were asked to keep him on the leash for the whole class, even play time... when all the other puppies were playing. The trainer could tell right away he was a very dominant little guy.

At one point I had to leave to go to the car and cry. All I wanted was something to love and that would love us. I want to walk on the beach, and play in the yard, and snuggle..

When talking to the trainer, she recommended doggy daycare so he could learn proper behavior from the other dogs, as well as one on one training.... She also recommended I tether him to me at all time, so he would learn what is okay and what is not... I just couldn't. This dog is WAY more that my family and I can handle. I have been crying about this for weeks. I could potentially have this dog until I am 50!!! yet I don't even like him.

It was after that class we decided as a family, he just isn't the right fit.
I think I tried.. I tried as much and as hard as I could.

So Sunday he goes back to the rescue.

The trainer last night was blown away by how smart he is. He was learning commands within seconds.. It's the dominance and impulse control... He would do amazing as a working dog, I hope he finds his perfect match, unfortunately it just isn't with us.

I am not saying in the future I wouldn't go to a rescue again for a dog, but I think that while the kids are small, the next dog I get will be something sweet, and kind and bred for temperament. But not until my heart stops hurting so much.

Ali out.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Let it snow

So I don't really intend on this blog being entirely about my kids... but stuck at my moms for 8 more days, trapped by upwards of 3 inches of snow.. what else do I write about but my kids.

It was a chilly night at my moms home, when after days of M begging we decided to pull out the old christmas tree and decorate. Halfway through my mother gave me an angry glare and said "why aren't you photographing this?!".
Here is my little secret, photographing my own kids is totally the worst, AND 2800 degree lighting is gross.

But to appease her I busted it out. I know I will appreciate this one day.

It's funny how even in a few photos you can see their personalities so clearly.
M is still suffering from PCS, and D is the goofiest ham.

^^^^ remind me to do a blog post about the signs we made!!

Then the snow started.
Please note in exhibit A no shoes, no coat.. we decided to recreate that shot in a less neglectful way.
This is about the time she realized we were targets.

As previously stated, M doesn't love getting her picture taken anymore.
I remember when she used to be fierce.

This is how this conversation went
me: "M go outside I want to take your picture"
M: "NO!"
Me: "You are totally grounded unless you let me take ONE picture"
M: ...
Me:  "SMILE!"
M: ...
Me: "you look constipated smile!"
Me: "okay now you look like a crazy person"
M: "can i at least get a jacket on, PLEASE mommy"

Apparently this one likes to be warm. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Making old things new

Every time I see an old piece of furniture I think, ermergerd that would look SOOOO pretty painted and distressed.. Then I buy the old piece of furniture.. visit Painted with Love and buy some gorgeous paint.. and that is pretty much where it ends.

I have decided with the new house, no more cheap Ikea crappy furniture, that falls appart the moment I accidentally trip and fall in to it.. which is pretty much a weekly occurrence at this point.

While *popping in on facebook last week. *spending hours trolling. A friend posted this bad boy for FREEEEEE!! I immediately though, that would look amazing painted at my house.

So again I headed over to Painted with Love and agonized over the selection of Fusion paint. There are like 12 different colors of teal!! 

Finally decided on Heirloom.

Hauled that bad boy up to the new house, and was like NOT today procrastination! I am not going to leave this just sitting there, it WILL be painted.

The amazing thing about fusion paint is it doesn't need much prep, I tried to buff the hutch up a bit. Then got bored and decided just slapping paint on was the way to go.

This is where the children decided to "help".

"Thin,light even coats"

DD's painting technique left something to be desired.

Mikayla on the other hand... amazing, even, precise coats. I am considering starting a tiny antiquing sweatshop in our kitchen. She is happy to be paid in pizza and Archie comics.

The AMAZING thing about Fusion paint, is... even with DD's apparent impressionist take on furniture painting.. It turned out AWESOME!!!


and yes. these photos were taken on my iphone.
NOT my THOUSANDS of dollars in camera equipment.

As soon as we are there full time I will get my $@#% together enough to actually take real picture.
but until then...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Moving to the country.

testing.. testing....

I am so not a blogger. In fact, in the 10 years I have run my photography business Bellaphoto I have done like... maybe 30 blog posts. I suck. But... since I am moving from the social meca that is Ladner BC, to the "town" (I say "town" because there as far as I know there is no sit down coffee shop, there is however a takeout coffee shop/pizza place, there is also a vodka distillery, so maybe for now i will remove my quotes and just straight up refer to it as a town) (oh god apparently I argue with myself when I blog).. okay so lets try that again.

Moving from the social MECA that is Ladner BC to the town. (quotes are currently in limbo) that is Black Creek BC I have decided to keep those friends/family/lurkers in the loop!

Where is Black Creek you may ask, well simply, it's the dot between Courtenay and Campbell River.
Where the hell are those places you say? Isn't  Campbell River Northern mainland? (okay this is what I may have said). Well you are in fact wrong.

Basically... take a ferry to Nanimo, and then drive to the middle of nowhere.. now keep going..  just a little further, okay you are now in the Comox Valley.. See the Costco, and the Superstore, (TOTALLY a "real" town), now drive 20 minutes north... now quick, stop. There.. now you are in Black Creek.

A stunning little gem between Courtenay and Campbell River (see makes sense now right).

Home to some AMAZING beaches (more on that to come) and an even more amazing Vodka distillery... (did i mention that)? I am sure there are 1000 more amazing things about Black Creek, but considering I haven't even officially moved there yet (though I own a house, and my husband is currently residing there) I will mention those in future posts.

Why Black Creek? Well.. hippy dippy version... the universe sent us there.
Long story short, a visit to  my cousin's who had recently relocated to the Comox Valley, turned in to my hubby being offered a job, renovating our townhouse, hubby quitting his job and moving, selling our townhouse, and then finding and buying our DREAM HOME, in the country. All in 6 shorts weeks.  It almost took me longer to write that run on sentence, than the actual process.

The house remarkably resembles EXACTLY what I had described as my dream home when working with my kick ass life coach (more hippy dippyness).

So we packed up, and moved.

We now have 1.3 acres, and amazing home, and a barn.

When speaking to my buddy Brittany from Painted with Love she was all "you NEED to be blogging this" and after thinking about it... I was all "ya, but what would I call my blog" and she said "think of something that represents who you are... So that is how Coffee 'till Vodka was born.