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Before the Bump.

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This is a summary of Bogart’s life before the amputation. Just some fun things we did and highlights of our time with him! 

Bogart the Hellion

Right off the bat Bogart was an amazing dog. He was smart, energetic, and wanting to please, but he was also a handful!  We knew he was going to take some effort, but figured that a few weeks of exercise would be all he needed to calm down. We were so wrong. We would get home, immediately walk him to do the dog park behind the house, spend 1-2 hours there letting him run around, get home, go through an hour of training, and after all that he would look at us like, “Whats next?” We would take him on an additional walk before bed and if we were lucky he’d settle at that point. This went on for MONTHS.

11 month old Bogart

Bogart had unlimited and unyielding energy that could not be tamed. Being first time dog owners, we had no clue how to cultivate that energy into positive behavior. Looking back, I think we built up his stamina with all of the dog park time and created an unhealthy fixation on other dogs.  Instead, we should have spent that time bonding with him and learning how to get his energy out with us.  Of course, being super dog friendly isn’t a terrible thing to be! 🙂 We quickly learned how to manage dog play and how to spot bad dog behavior – a skill we would later use to help shelter dogs.

Young Bogart playing with his friend. 

Along side of our hours of dog park time, we also put a tremendous amount of time into his training.  We felt that since we were bringing home a pit bull we had an added responsibility of raising the best dog we could.  We poured our time into watching videos by Zac George, who is a Positive Reinforcement trainer, and eventually signed up for a group training course.  His first class was a wonderful demonstration on how all of our dog park time wasn’t smart!  He threw the funniest temper tantrum, refused to listen, rolled on the grass, and Awoo’d at all the other dogs. He was so upset that he wasn’t allowed to play with them!  He turned around during the next few classes and graduated with Most Improved.

Bogart the Helper

About six months after rescuing Bogart we ended up moving a three minute walk away from the shelter where we got him. By this time his training was really kicking in and we had a good grasp on dog language. We had started volunteering at the shelter again where we met Arlie. Arlie was terrified of everything except her human and her dog friend. She hadn’t been out of the shelter for a walk in almost a year because she was so afraid of cars and strangers.  After her playmate got adopted, we brought in Bogart to fill the void.

Bogart and Arlie

Bogart was an excellent friend for Arlie. His calm and playful nature balanced out her anxiety, and whenever her play got too rough he would back off. We would take him over to the shelter twice a week before work for playtime.  Eventually she was bonded to Bogart enough that she would crawl out of the shelter behind him and make the three minute walk to our house. Here they would play again, then make the journey back.  With Bogart’s help and example, Arlie gained the confidence that had been gone for 11 months. She was adopted 5 days before her 1 year shelter anniversary and we all credit Bogart as the reason. We ended up using Bogart to help other dogs as well.

Callie, Bogart, and our roommates’ corgi, Winston.

Bogart the Brother

In the Spring of 2018, Thomas and I came to the realization that both of our companies were at risk for going down. We work in the video game industry where jobs often last 2-5 years before you go to the next project. We were living in expensive San Francisco and knew if either of us lost our jobs it would be catastrophic to our survival. We decided to start looking in Austin Texas for work.  We were fortunate enough to have a contact who got us interviews with his company in July. We used this opportunity to take a vacation and meetup with our families in San Antonio. It was here where I got the phone call that my company was shutting down and I was out of a job starting the next week.  It was also here, and that same day, where we found Benny.

Benny was a stray who was in rough shape. We called Animal Control and decided that if he was still available when we moved, we would adopt him.  We both ended up getting hired by the company and moved to Texas two weeks later. Bogart, who usually was excited to have other dogs come to his space, wanted NOTHING to do with Benny. Bogart would leave the room when Benny walked in, and Benny would slyly find ways to cuddle up to Bogart.  It was cute watching their back and forth antics and eventually they became brothers.

 

Bogart the Agility Dog

When we got Benny, Bogart’s training went out the window.  Benny was such a handful that all of our attention was focused on him and we often left Bogart on the sidelines.  To make up for his lack of attention, we would take Bogart to dinner with us or out on solo trips. We always made sure to set aside time for Bogart.  Over time Benny started to calm down and in the Spring of 2019 we signed them both up for an agility class with Zoom Room.

Bogart EXCELLED at Agility!  His mind, which we hadn’t been working as much, was made for it. You could tell he was thinking and loved the physical requirements to get through the obstacles.  Some dogs just get it, and Bogart was one of those dogs.

He made his way through the first set of classes and quickly graduated to the next level, leaving Benny and his peers in the dust. He was beginning to work on some of the more advanced contact obstacles (A-Frame, Dog Walk, Teeter) and as always, was learning them well. He had no fear of heights and was often used as an example in class on how to do them properly and safely.  I know I am bragging, but I am extremely proud of what we accomplished in this time frame and had big plans for him to become a future agility champion!

It was in the Summer of 2019 when we started looking to get into our first agility trial. We hadn’t yet decided on a venue, but knew it was only a matter of time before he was ready to begin competing.  It was at this same time when we discovered the bump on his leg that would change every plan we ever had for him.

 


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Meeting Bogart

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In the Summer of 2016 when Pokemon Go came out, I read an article about a shelter encouraging players to come and walk a dog while they walked their Pokemon!  My partner, Thomas, and I always knew we wanted to have a dog, but were waiting until we could provide a stable home.  That article jump-started a renewal for that goal.  We loved the idea the article presented and decided to start volunteering at our local shelter, Pets In Need.

Our time spent at the shelter was an amazing opportunity to learn more about dog care and training, and we evolved as dog lovers! We both came from families who valued dogs as tools or objects to have around the home and vowed to break the cycle.  When we finally got our dog, they would not be outside, they would not be confined to a crate their entire life, they would get proper exercise and walks, they would get trained.

In December of 2016 we began taking dogs home overnight for Sleep Overs to give them a break from the shelter, and give ourselves some puppy time. One Saturday evening we were all set up to take home a cute older dachshund but he ended up getting adopted earlier in the day.  A senior volunteer recommended we take home Bogart and introduced us.

An early photo of Bogart in the shelter before we met him

We had seen Bogart on the shelter’s website a month prior and had been avoiding him like the plague. Every once in a while a “heart dog” enters the shelter, you know the kind, the one who you immediately fall in love with and are absolutely devastated when they leave your life and you always wonder how they are doing?  We knew instantly that Bogart was one of those dogs.  Our shelter mostly deals with smaller rescues, they occasionally take in a bigger dog who is easy to adopt out.  They tend to go quickly, sometimes in a matter of days.  Because of this, we didn’t bother meeting Bogart cause we knew it’d break our hearts.

Despite getting looked at daily by potential adopters, Bogart never left the shelter.  People would enter, see his beautiful face, meet him, then leave with another dog.  He was there for about a month when we finally opened up his kennel for the first time to take him for the sleepover.  When we approached his kennel, he was sitting patiently, thinking and watching, waiting to see if we were there for him.  He continued sitting and watching and as soon as we get inside he came alive.  He was so excited and bouncy and jumpy and his paws were flying everywhere! It was at that point we knew why he hadn’t been adopted yet.  He was labeled as a 1.5-2 year old who was absolutely wild, untamed, and full of energy.

Thomas was in love instantly, I was a bit more apprehensive as he had scratched my arm when I entered his kennel with his paws.  The senior volunteer lead Bogart out to the yard and we followed.  In the yard, Bogart played with the toys and the volunteer showed us the training he’d been doing with Bogart.  He would have Bogart drop sit, focus on him, and retrieve the toy. It was astonishing watching Bogart go from energetic and bouncy to sitting still and being focused on his handler!  I wasn’t too sure, but Thomas insisted we take Bogart home with us that night.  I relented and we left.

Bogart’s Sleepover – Link to Gif

Our first night with him is a little fuzzy in my memory, but I remember taking him out to dinner with us and he was simply perfect. He sat quietly and watched people go by as we ate, got pets from strangers and was a gentleman, and walked nicely on the leash. We took him home and he played in our incredibly small yard for a bit before bringing him inside for bedtime.  Bedtime with Bogart was a nightmare. He was full of energy and didn’t want to settle down.  The senior volunteer, before leaving, had recommended putting him in time out if he was acting out so we let him outside for 2 minutes.  When we let him back in he calmly walked in, jumped on the bed, and went to sleep.

We tearfully brought him back to the shelter early that morning so he could be there when it opened.  We had loved our time with him but had a Superbowl Party to go to later in the day.  I wasn’t interested in going and convinced Thomas to let me skip it if I went back to the shelter to see if we could take Bogart out a second night. He relented this time, and I went alone to bring Bogart back home.

The second night with Bogart was just as magical as the first. He fit into our home so wonderfully! This time we stopped off at a local school with a fenced in field and let him run around and play.  He was such a good boy!  The energy out helped him remain calmer in our house and he snuggled with us all night long. It was at this point we knew we couldn’t let anyone else have him.

Early Monday morning we returned him once again to the shelter, and let them know we were serious about wanting him.  They couldn’t put him on hold for us, so we quickly contacted our landlord to make arrangements.  Thomas wrote her a long letter detailing the time we had spent at the shelter, the effort and work we had put into learning about dogs, and how we couldn’t live without Bogart.  She wasn’t convinced and after a long phone call and the promise of an unreasonable Dog Deposit amount, she agreed to let us have him in our home.  After two days of worrying Bogart would get adopted while we tried to get him, it was seriously one of the best feelings in the world knowing we would have him all to ourselves!

Tuesday Paper Signing

We signed the papers on Tuesday, but the shelter agreed to hold him for us until Thursday so we could get our home ready for him and I could arrange to take off work Friday. Our first night with him was spent getting his energy out.  He was so happy to come home with us!  I think he knew he was going to his permanent home and settled right in.  This by far was the best decision we’ve ever made as a couple.

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