Thought I would send an update on Uncle Sam who is now "Booker" by way of being "Barley" for a few days. The first name we choose just didn't fit ... he is more of an elegant southern gentleman, and anything ending in a "y" seemed too undignified! We had to get to know him before settling on a "forever name," this is his FOREVER home, after all!

He is doing wonderfully. His indoor barking has diminished to almost nothing, and when one of us leaves, even to go to the bathroom, he has stopped fretting ... he seemed to be so worried that we would leave. He is getting used to all the newness of the city. Bicycles don't even get a head turned anymore; they used to send Booker into fits of rage. All the dogs we encounter get a quick sniff and then he is on his way. He barks sometimes, but that only means he wants doggy-attention for a moment. He doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body.

He sits nicely when riding the elevator, and is starting to heel passably when walking. That is, unless his nose gets involved in something on the ground and then he seems oblivious for a moment or two. Booker and Anne got trapped in the elevator yesterday for 20 minutes, and he didn't bark once, just sat quietly and waited for help. The mechanics pried open the door for us to climb out and Booker just stepped elegantly up and into the lobby. He helped Anne stay composed!

We have been twice to the dog playground at Snyder Park, where there are 2-acres of 6-foot fenced play area just for dogs. It's only 10 minutes from our condo. The first time we went, Booker would run a few minutes, circle around to check in with us, and then take off again. He makes friends with everyone and every dog, but is pretty independent and seems to have his own agenda. He has the patience for a quick head rub and a little wrestle with a fellow canine, then he is off and sniffing again! If the other dogs get too friendly for him, he will hide behind our legs for a minute to foil their advances and then take off. His big coonhound bay is wonderful, and he will run behind a bunch of dogs baying loudly, like he has them on the run. Everyone at the dog park laughs - he sounds great and looks handsome with his big feet and bit of puppy lankiness still, acting like he is in charge! He gets compliments from all the "doggy people," and some Southerners even know what breed he is. We've been chased down the street a few times by people who want to say hello to the coonie!

We have to remember that he is really just a puppy and be careful not to take things too fast. Sunday morning breakfast at an outdoor table at the classic Fort Lauderdale diner, the Floridian, was too much, with a tight sidewalk, breakfast smells all around, pedestrians, lots of dogs and - yikes! - a very intimidating white convertible that put its top down right in front of us. We got our breakfast in take-out containers, went home, and Booker stretched out happily under the dining room table while we ate lukewarm eggs. A little bit at a time, we have to remind ourselves, because he is doing so magnificently so quickly it is easy to expect too much.

Yesterday he went to the dog groomer for a bath. His whites got whiter and his coat softer! We did our flea and tick advantix and heartworm tab ... now he has his monthly health and beauty schedule! They all loved him at Continental Pet and said he is welcome back anytime. Yesterday Anne and Booker also took the car to the carwash, and he just walked right through, watching all the machines and staying right by my side. He wasn't scared and didn't bark at all. That is one thing that we are absolutely amazed at. Booker is the bravest, calmest dog. We haven't seen anything that makes him skittish. He walks under the drawbridge with the noise of traffic passing overhead. He watches the big street cleaner machines. He stares down the nasty-tempered Akita in our building. He has a temper issue, lol, at times, but is never scared. We have two big anger management projects that we are working on, and our little blue tin of dehydrated liver bits will triumph over Booker's intense hatred of both the yellow school bus that picks Samantha up in the morning and black SUVs. The last two mornings he has sat nicely, distracted a bit by the "magic liver," while we watched the school bus. We have to be ever vigilant for black SUVs and get the "magic liver" into action before he freaks out. He will get there. David said he wishes Booker could tell us his story ... there has got to be reasons there for what makes him behave the way he does.

He is wonderful in his crate, where he sleeps at night and when we are not home during the day. We have been really lucky not to have to leave him for more than a few hours so far during the day. He would much prefer to sleep on the sofa, but it's still too early to trust him to stay out of mischief while we are asleep. He has been absolutely perfect in the house, which is so commendable! His first accident was this morning, and Anne was just not paying attention. He pooped in Samantha's room, hiding in the corner and then looked like he was so ashamed. We went right outside, and he was quiet and guilty acting for the next couple hours. Poor guy. A little tweaking of our morning agenda is needed now that he is getting on a better eating and relieving schedule!

We'll send more updates, but want to thank Rescue, Jayne and Dr. Ken for everything in getting Booker to us. He is a wonderful dog. We tell everyone how he found us and won't be surprised to see a Coonhound or two in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

You do the best job for these wonderful dogs!
Anne and David and Samantha

Page last updated on 6 February 2008