Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Other People's Dogs #4 in a series...The beautiful Tika

Tika is next in my series of other people's dogs. You might remember her when she met Chloe back in September. If not, be sure to check it out. I wanted to draw Tika because she is beautiful and she has an interesting past. She is a "career change" dog from the Guide Dogs for the Blind training program. In other words, she just didn't make the cut. I put her story below, as told by her mom. I became interested in Guide Dogs when I met a lovely puppy named Tova in an Albertson's grocery store. I was smitten by her. The people who raise the puppies are volunteers. Guide Dogs for the Blind is one of my favorite charities. A year later I ran into Tova and the man who raised her at my gym. Tova did make the cut and went on to be trained in California and placed as a guide dog.

Again, I don't feel my drawing has done this lovely dog justice. Another photo of her smiling is below.

Tika's story as told by her mom:

Tika's puppy raisers returned her to Guide Dogs for the Blind when she was less than 9 months old. Having had successful placements with their 2 previous Guide Dog puppies, they knew a bad dog when they saw one! (2/3rds of the puppies/dogs-in-training flunk out of the program before ever being placed with a blind person.) She was deemed "too distractible" and was returned to Guide Dogs for the Blind as a "Career Change" dog, eligible for adoption.
Tika's puppy raisers warned us that she went wild around stuffed animals and that she would steal the throw pillows off their couch and play keep-away with them. They said as a young puppy, Tika would launch herself onto their couch and leap up over the back of the couch and race around the house, looking to put something in her mouth.
The first day we brought Tika home, she went straight for the pillows on our couch. Removing them from her reach, we solved that problem. Then she pulled a magazine from the coffee table and ran around with that! The puppy raisers did say that she loved to cuddle and that the only thing that would calm her down was to sit with her on the floor and hold her in your lap. It worked like a charm. She would curl up and fall asleep between your legs. She also loved to get her teeth brushed, they told us. And, lo and behold, sitting on the floor with Tika between my legs, I could brush her teeth while she laid stretched out on her back. She would then fall asleep.
As soon as you left her alone, she would become really naughty. To keep her out of trouble, I would have to put her leash on and tie her to the dining room table while I prepared dinner. This way, she would sit calmly and watch me. Otherwise, she would race around the house, grabbing anything that she could get her mouth around, creating general mischief.
My husband and I took her to obedience classes for a year. We also worked with her on a 40 foot lead (a long, long leash) at the park to train her to "come." We would say the command "Tika, come!" and when she didn't respond, we would reel her in to us using the lead. It took many months of training before we felt comfortable taking her off a leash at the dog park. As she has gotten older, she has been able to focus more and is not as distractible as she once was. She is still extremely cuddly and loves to be with other dogs, romping and chasing squeaky toys.


&rew said...

What a cute dog - love her face!!!

Sara Moriarty-delaFuente said...

Great story. Guide dogs are wonderful. Their genuine spirit really radiates. I also live in Portland. I am just beginning to explore my creativity and expressing it authentically. I would love to know where you are taking the colored pencil drawing class? I never took art classes in school and would feel much more confident if I learned some of the basics is a class format. Thanks. I can't wait to explore your blog further. ~Sara

linda said...

I love her smiling face...dogs that smile are precious! That's quite a dog story! :)

lulu said...

What a great post! Thank you so much for sharing it! You've certainly captured Tika's spirit as well as her likeness! She's smiling in the drawing as well! Great work. Can't wait to see more. Hugs, LuLu

Leah said...

what a cute pup! you did a great job with the drawing. i think you caught her spirit.

freebird said...

I didn't know that dogs had ADHD but this one sure sounds like it. Thank goodness she is with someone willing to take the time she needed to grow up.