Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Queenie Gets A Sleepover

Since I posted her Novice Trick Dog video, Queenie's been getting a lot more adoptive interest (and some anti-interest, about which: more later!).

By the end of last week, she had a couple of applications pending, but nothing that was 100% a lock (since Queenie, like Gremlin, has shown herself to be a little selective about the people she likes [which is a nice way of saying: she has straight-up tanked prospective adoptions], I don't count anything as a "lock" until the prospective adopters meet Queenie in person and she meets them).

I hauled her out to Wags Rescue's adoption event on Sunday to meet some people, and I put a stat sheet on the top of her crate just in case somebody happened to stop by that might be looking for a performance dog.

Watching people's reactions to Queenie's writeup was really interesting. The standard practice at Wags adoption events is that each dog has a one-sheet summary on top of its crate that lists basic information like age, size, our best guess as to breed mix, spay/neuter status, and any notes the foster wants to add about the dog's personality and quirks (high energy, doesn't like cats, loves kids, is housebroken, etc.).

In Queenie's case, I wrote down her basic info and then added at the bottom that she knows 17 tricks (that was last week; now it's 18), had her Novice Trick Dog title, and would be a good sport prospect if anyone was looking for a fun starter dog to play with.

Broadly speaking, people reacted to this information in one of three ways:

(1) They would mouth a silent "Wow" or nudge the person next to them to read the end of her sheet... and then they would move on to the next crated dog at a slightly faster pace. This was by far the most common reaction and it was really strange and funny to me, because Queenie was not acting like the kind of crazy, hectic, spun-up dog that rescues sometimes try to market as "agility prospects." She was being perfectly nice and quiet and was not even barking when the reactive coonhounds crated across the room from her barked up a storm at the smallest disturbance.

After watching a few of those reactions in succession, I started to feel like my poor little foster dog was a PhD trying to get a job at Burger King. Apparently she was massively overqualified for what a lot of people wanted. (But, honestly, I think that kind of self-selection is probably for the best. Homes that just want a dog to be furry furniture definitely don't need a dog like this.)


(2) They would have grossly unrealistic expectations about how much effort is required to train and maintain those behaviors -- basically, they were expecting a push-button robot dog, rather than being prepared to meet the needs of a living, thinking creature who is really smart and talented, but has only had a few weeks of training and has a long, long way to go.

Fortunately this was the least common reaction and it was pretty easy for me to deter these people. But yeah, I got to see a couple of real live versions of the people who buy border collies because they watched Babe, or rough collies because they think they'll get Lassie, and it was... enlightening.

(3) They might actually be good homes!

Queenie will be going out to a trial sleepover with one of those potentially good homes later this week. I'm hopeful that it will work out -- I think this is a great family and could be a very solid match for her.

The only potential stumbling block I foresee is that there are other dogs in the home and Queenie can be a touch snarky with unfamiliar dogs in a home at first (or at least she was here), but... well, she learned to deal with my crew of bumptious dimwits within a week, so hopefully she'll be able to do that a second time.

Speaking of the bumptious dimwits, I was screwing around with Pongu last night (because this is what I do when I should be sleeping), and I thought it would be funny to use the guinea pig to proof his scent article exercise because clearly I just think it's inherently hilarious to harass the guinea pig.

So we did! This is the third attempt in that session (first time we had a mistake, second one was good, third try I turned the camera on):

I am so proud of that. He isn't even distracted a little bit! Look at that focus and work ethic. We might get into the obedience ring one of these days after all.

No comments:

Post a Comment