2012 September 30, updated 2013 March 12, and then updated again 2013 August 23
Arkansas to Indiana to Maine and home at last!
UPDATE one year later, 2013 August 23 ***** See Below, with photos! WOW!
2013 August 23: Skip's new mom, "Nan" in Maine, sent us this update today, and the photos you see below. Look at how Skip has matured and mellowed, and look at the wonderful look in his eyes! This was one of the happiest rescue stories ever. It shows that it is always worth working to find that perfect forever home, and that dogs know when they've arrived at the humans they were meant to love forever! Thank you Nan and family, and thank you Skip, all of you, for being the wonderful beings you are!
"Skip is doing fine. The pictures are great ‘Wilderness Dog’ pictures but really they are taken along the edge of the water out at our camp. We have been taking him out and about a bit more lately. This summer we went to rural NY state with him (to a family farm). He did very well on his first trip away from home since he got here. (He goes in the car with me about everywhere but we hadn’t taken him on vacation with us until this summer.)
Out at camp he does well. While we play in the water he lies on the shore and doesn’t go too far. We tend to be there when there are hardly any neighbors around so there are few distractions. The first time out the loons were around but very quiet until about midnight when they decided it was a good time to start calling. This set him off a bit as he didn’t know what they were and they do tend to sound a bit eerie. After a few barks and woofs he settled down again and, apparently, they settled down for the night too.
He is doing well on the farm. Continues to bark and get in the way of cars coming in the driveway, that’s a hard one to break. When cars go by on the camp road he is pretty good, he might start in that direction but comes right back when called, he seems to understand the difference between the road (not his) and the driveway (his). This was the same when we visited in rural NY state.
One of the hens hatched 6 chicks this Summer. He was a bit too interested in them so we kept them in the chicken house (with supervised outside time) until they were about 6 weeks old. Then he seemed to lose interest. When they are so very small, and fluttery, and sound a lot like a squeaky toy it’s a lot to ask that he ignore them. But now he seems to be fine with all of that.
Riding the trails (by horse or ATV, but horse is his preference) continues to be his favorite thing. He does get very excited when I get a horse ready. If I’m riding alone I let him stay out with me while I’m tacking up and try to get him used to (and therefore calmer) about the process but if I’m riding with company I put him in the tack room until we are ready to go out the door. I expect that he will get past the excitement of it in time. He doesn’t get that excited about ANYTHING else, although it’s pretty close when he plays ball.
Hope all is well with you, and that your summer has been a good one. It was a wet summer here, all the hay came in late and the 2nd crop will be fairly sparse. The garden has been mixed but the berry picking has been great!"
Here's the update from 2013 March 12:
We wrote last September about helping a wonderful rescued English Shepherd dog named Skip. (Click on that link to see his original story and photos.) Skip is no ordinary dog, and he's not cut out to live in just any old climate or join any old family. We thought about him countless times after we met him and transported him to his new foster parent Frank in Indianapolis, for he was one of the most awesome dogs we've met in a long while. And it wasn't just because we had more time to get to know him, since weather made air transport impossible and caused us instead to drive him to Indiana from Arkansas. He was just striking to us in his dignity, gentleness, and general intelligence.
Skip fit in well with his foster parent Frank's pack of sled dogs, and while there Skip learned lots of new lessons, including how to pull sleds, walk as a team, and chase tennis balls and give them back on request. It wasn't long before Skip's forever family found him, and they asked us to fly Skip to their farm home in Maine just after Christmas. Weather and scheduled didn't cooperate, though, and it turned out for the better, as Skip's family drove from Maine to Indiana to retrieve him, and the drive home cemented their forever bond.
This was a case where many caring, wise people tended Skip as he grew up from puppyhood and became an adult, until finally his forever family appeared. Our hearts have enjoyed earing about this very happy ending for this special dog. So here is the story from where we left it off last September:
Back to the original story:
Skip got along well and immediately with Frank's two large, strong husky-malamute dogs, and he walked well when "yoked" together with them behind Frank. (Frank is also a marvel of patience!) Frank is a dream foster, as he understands dog psychology, is a natural "alpha" himself, and really works with the dogs. In a short time, thanks to Frank's tutelage and Skip's innate good manners and intelligence, Skip was eating politely right next to all of the other dogs and even sharing precious toys like tennis balls. Easygoing Skip was happy to sleep outside on the ground or come inside and enjoy the carpet or couch, whatever was asked or suggested to him. Frank feeds all of his dogs raw pork shoulder bones and othe fresh raw meat, so their teeth and musculature are excellent. When Skip was ready to go to Nan forever, he came with his own paperwork -- the list of cues for all that Frank had taught him to do!
Nan and her family were so excited to be adopting Skip that their own list of questions was long: What sort of bed does Skip like? What are his toy preferences - ropes, squeakies, frisbees, ... ? What does he most like to eat, and how often?... Etc. Being privy to these email exchanges was a joy, as it is music to our ears to hear people giving so much care and using so much good sense with dogs! Skip arrived at his new home in Maine shortly after Christmas, with plenty of snow to welcome him. And then the really happy news reports began to arrive, with photos.
First report, early February, couldn't say enough good about Skip. "Skip is great. He is learning the ropes and doing well. He loves walks in the woods, he's riding with me quite well (stays out of the way of the horse but stays near), he will eagerly follow the snowmobile on trails but if the show is too soft or deep, he likes to ride with me instead (which he is quite good at). We are home on the farm most of the time, and he is that constant companion that we were looking for. He is a happy dog and eager to please. He is good with the larger farm animals but needs work with the small ones. He needs to understand that it's okay to chase squirrels but not the cat and the chickens. He will get it."
Next report, received recently, just confirmed all of his potential and greatness. They apologized for not sending more photos of Skip but said "It's difficult to get a good picture of Skip with our daughter because the minute she gets down on his level, he wants to lick her face!"
Enjoy these photos from Skip's forever home and family! It was a long time waiting and a lot of traveling for this special dog Skip, but he made it to his very special place, thanks to many kind people along the way!