Utah/Idaho Vizsla Rescue

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Original story, Nov 2008: Sammy is a brand new intake and we are still getting to know him. He was a stray at a rural Utah shelter and is guessed to be between 1 and 2 yrs old. He lost his leg a while ago because the surgery site is well healed. Shelter staff reports he is very sweet and good with all handling. He is currently in a foster home with children and other dogs and so far appears to be doing okay. He is unknown with cats but will be in foster care with a cat once he gets to Idaho around Nov 17th.
Nov 17: Sammy is in his Idaho foster home and is, so far, a bit too interested in the cat for our liking but he could be manageable in the right circumstances and with the right cat. He is also compulsive about chasing shadows and this is something any adopter will need to work on. We're starting work with him on eye contact and "leave it" in an effort to create an alternate default behavior to the current behavior of chasing shadows. (Huge thanks to Kirsten & family for keeping Sam safe until we could pick him up on our way home from the nationals!)
Nov 22: We've uploaded some videos of Sammy's shadow chasing behavior to YouTube. To view them go to www.youtube.com and search for "Sammy chasing shadows".

Feb 2009 update: Sammy and the family had a fun and exciting weekend this weekend. Tucson had their annual Animal Fair on Saturday so we took the whole group down to see some friends and have some fun at the event. Immediately upon arrival Sammy had everyone's attention. Everyone wanted to meet him and find out about him - Nicole and I decided that we need to come up with a story for his missing leg, something about him fighting off a bear or a dragon to save our lives ... something that matches his personality! :)

Everyone had a great time ... everything was going great - and then Sammy caught the lure coursing ring out of the corner of his eye. We're convinced now that him searching shadows was to see if there was a lure coursing event happening in there someplace. Kirby and Kira were both not interested in the activities but our friend's Greyhound and Sammy were quite excited about the idea. It was a short course just to get people interested in it and so for a minimal donation you could let your dog have a go. Sammy wasn't going to let us out of there without showing his stuff - so we took him in the ring. The plastic bag was right there, within reach, no fence separating them. We got our instructions, let them know when we're ready, let the dog go when they say go ... simple. "GO!" and the bag starts moving - unfortunately I believe they misjudged Sammy and his speed as they started it slow so Sammy leaped forward full speed and caught the bag. They sped it up which caught Sammy off guard but he took off like a shot and promptly broke the lure course equipment. Run 1 - FAIL! By this time Sammy had quite the crowd gathered waiting to see him make another run. Fortunately his second chance was much less eventful - he knew what to expect, they knew what to expect and he ran the course without issue, right on the bags tail the whole time. He finished up his run and excitedly bounced around while everyone cheered for him. We came out of the ring and he got all kinds of attention from everyone which he of course basked in!

Apr 2009: Sammy has completely settled into the routine and seems to be right at home. He knows that he must sit at the back door and wait for an okay before he can come flying into the house, he knows that the sofa with the blanket on it is his and he is free to lay on it anytime he wants, he knows that racing everyone up the stairs is the greatest game ever. He's become the clown of the house - if you ever need a laugh Sammy is willing to provide - from singing to you while you make his food, to crashing into you while you're tying your shoes you can never take yourself, him, or life too seriously when he is around. Kirby and Kira have really taken to him as well they all play and he brought out a side of Kira that we had not seen before - she's learned how to really play with another dog. I think she too learned that ignoring him and taking everything seriously wasn't going to work she was better off just playing the game.
Most importantly though his shadow chasing is pretty much completely gone. We hadn't even noticed it until our walk last night, with the sun to our backs the shadows of cars, the dogs, and us were dancing in front of him and he didn't give them a second look. I asked Nicole if she had seen him chase any shadows recently and she agreed that she hadn't noticed him doing it at all. I can't remember the last time I had to tell him to leave it (in regards to a shadow - counter surfing is another story). When we got home we put all the lights in the house on and tested him a little - he glanced over at them a few times, but was more interested in what we were doing then chasing the shadows.

Visit the Photo Gallery for more photos of Sammy and his new friends.

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