Happy TWoo Day!

Shhh … he’s vewy vewy tired.

TWooie had a big day!  I don’t know if you all are tired of my constant, raving Up-TWoo-Date posts about my little basketcase, but I am just so proud of the little feller and his ongoing improvements.

TWooday we had TWo TWooie Achievements.

1) We braved deep* water

(*okay, it wasn’t that deep, but when you are just 16″ tall, it’s seems deep)

TWoo is not a swimming kind of dog.  In fact, until recently it was all I could do convince him to get his tenderfeet wet and anything that reached his ankles was a good a reason as any to hotfoot it back to the van and pout under the bumper.  No amount of coaxing could get TWooie to venture into anything more that a puddle.  But this morning we went to the beach, I rolled up my pant legs, and the dogs and I hiked out into the waves.

And TWooie was afraid.

But didn’t want to be left behind.

No TWooie left behind!  No TWooie left behind!  MOOOOMMMMM!  *bark bark cry bark*

So he was a big brave boy and he came a-bounding through the water!

I’m afeared!

He gotta lotta cookies for that!

2) TWooie played with another dog in a public space

TWooie is just learning how to play with my other dogs, but it has not been really successful so far … mostly because it looks and sounds pretty much exactly the same as when he wants to kill one of my other dogs and they are skeptical about his motives, so they just ignore him.  And he usually only attempts to play on the safety of his own turf, after he has patrolled the perimeter for strangers and feels confident that nobody is watching (and also that there are no rats under the garden shed to dig out, which is still much better than playing).

But today he instigated play with Tweed, at the beach.

It started like this, when Tweed was rolling around in the sand.

What the hell are you doing?  You look like an idiot!

But I guess he figured if Tweed could look like an idiot in public, so could he.  So he invited Tweed to play.

Excuse me, kind sir, I was wondering if I could interest you in a game of zoomies?

Which Tweed accepted.

Sounds wicked.  Let’s do it.

And the game was on.  I apologize for the poor quality of these photos – I was facing right into the sun to get them.  But when TWooie and Tweed spontaneously start playing, you don’t interrupt them to reposition them in a more camera-friendly direction!

A good time was had by all.

Did you see me?  Did you see me play??

TWooie has been such a JOYFUL journey for me!!  He has come so far, in such a short space of time.  Every step forward is hugely gratifying for me, and I am sure it is for him as well.  I love him more and more with every passing day, he is such a treasure to me. I mean sure, I had to lock him in the house this afternoon when The Boy stopped by for a short play visit with Hayden and foster dog Ace , and he nearly took out my brand new screen door trying to kill Ace through it, but that’s just because TWoo and I are not all the way there yet.  TWooie is still learning how to be a normal dog, and the journey is a priceless one.  It just breaks my heart that people give up on dogs like TWoo because they want the end result (“perfect” dog) and can’t or won’t understand how the path to getting there is just as rewarding as the goal.  We see so many dogs in rescue who just need some guidance, and some patience, and their whole lives would turn around.  And if people would just give half as much to that effort as the dogs try to give, they’d both better creatures for it.  I do not understand how anyone could not hold TWooie in their arms and not think I will do anything – ANYTHING – I have to do to teach you how to feel safe.  Even worse, someone MADE TWooie the way he is, and it’s criminal.  And then when they’d finished f*cking him up, they dumped him in a shelter!  If ever I met his old owners, I would spit on their sneakers, and wish bad luck upon them.  So there.


I took lots of other photos of Tweed and TWooie’s LoveFest, but alas, there was a small problem with them.  And that small problem looks like this:

I have found the flaw in the otherwise perfect Miss Waggins, and that flaw is that no matter what’s going on, no matter where it’s going on, Maggie has to be smack dab in the middle of it.

I’m in your picture, ruining your shot of Tweed!

Now I’m in your picture, ruining your shot of Woo!

Now I’m in your picture REALLY ruining your shot of Dexter!

Get out of my picture, Maggie … I’m serious.

Maggie is all over the place – if there are 3 balls and a Wootie Toy™ in play, Maggie wants to chase them all.  My dogs don’t ‘compete’ for toys, so say if I am tossing one ball, whoever is closest to it when it lands is going to get it, and won’t end up at the bottom of a dogpile, because my other dogs know they have to hang back.  This is how we avoid collisions that could cause injury.  I’ve also taught all my dogs to play with their own ball only if I bring out multiples, but Maggie has no respect for this rule.  So when I throw a ball for Tweed, Maggie is already on her way to get it – Tweed stops running and lets her grab it, but by then I am throwing a ball for Piper, so Maggins drops Tweed’s ball and goes after Piper’s ball.  Now Tweed doesn’t know where his ball is, and Piper won’t go get hers because Mags already has a head start.  And so on.  It gets pretty frustrating for all of us, especially for Wootie because he will only play with the Wootie Toy™ and he gets despondent when he can never get it first (have I mentioned how *fast* Maggie is??)

Don’t bother throwing this, Maggie’s just going to get it anyway.  *pout*

So today we worked on having Maggie sit and wait while someone else went and got their tossed toy.  For this she received a cookie, and then a toy-toss of her very own.  I hope she learns the ropes pretty soon.

Finally!!  Thank you, Food Lady!

Next on the agenda … teaching Maggie to catch her own food for the week!

Now we are off to agility class, where we will keep a very close eye on Piper … for today when The Boy was visiting, Piper started weaving and wobbling and just about went down.  She hasn’t done that in a long time, nearly a year.  Remember folks – it’s hot out there, and dogs like Piper who suffer from exercise induced collapse may be more susceptible to it in the heat.

Play safe! ie, not like this:


  1. Yay for the Twoo. And please, please keep us Up-Twoo-Date, it is really fasciniating being able to follow his journey.

  2. Christine says:

    I love this post so much I’m going to have to read it again. I won’t bore you with the “I know how you feel” stories re TWoo’s journey, but suffice it to say, boy, do I know how you feel. Extra treats to TWoo for sure.

    And if I weren’t afraid that Maggie would be running my household (humans and dogs) in a minute flat, I would want to adopt her myself.

  3. I never tire of hearing about Twooie and his return to being a “real dog”! So happy for him and for you. I too can’t imagine who would ever have given him up. He’s so adorable and you can see how hard he’s working and trying to please. And now he’s “swimming”??? What a great day at the beach. Wonderful pics.

  4. I love love love the Maggie-ruining-the-photos sequence… don’t they say it takes a few weeks for the rescue/foster dogs’ “true” personality to come out? Looks like she’s a mischievous little thing. How fun.

    And I wholeheartedly appreciate the tiny steps on the path to Real Doghood. I will never forget the first time Forest actually came back to me on the beach when called, or the first time he ran after a toy in agility class. There may have been no other dogs in the vicinity, but just having him chase a toy (even if we maybe tricked him a bit) was nothing short of earth shattering for me…


  5. Second the motion on keeping us up-TWoo-date! His journey to dogginess is priceless. Thank you, Food Lady.

  6. Very fun pictures today….as always!

  7. I too love Twooie :-))

  8. Do you mean to tell me that its not all about Maggie, lol. Oh boy, I think that Maggie is showing a little bit of her true colors.
    I love the Twooie, horay for his dip in the ocean. We had a dalmation that HATED the water. It didn’t matter how far I went out and for how long, he was not coming in, not even a toenail. He would stand on the beach and bark, and bark, and bark, and bark.

  9. *tears of joy*

    :) Cookies and hugs to the Twoo and gang…

  10. Claudia says:

    Wow!!! It’s awesome to hear how far Twooie has come, and YOU, FL, has the right to harp on it, over and over again. I would know because I have a dog pretty much like Twooie – in terms of temper with other canines that is. And I know that all too familiar feeling. The ecstasy of every small, even minute step forward. Especially all you have in your bag of tools is just patience and more patience (and the cookies, of course) The positive trainer really has nothing much else to work with!

    So, I’m really happy to see how far Twooie has come, and it gives me hope, that though my dog might never be that “perfect” dog, he (hopefully) will one day be able to enjoy some canine company without fear messing up his mind all the time. It must be incredibly tiring to be constantly vigilantly looking for danger which is non-existent, no?

    And though it’s tiring, you are right. The journey is very rewarding (though it can be very discouraging and frustrating at times too!) . Then again, I would never be the dog owner I am today if I didn’t have my imperfect dog to start this journey with.

  11. Awesome news about Twooie! I love working with rescues…you are doing a great job.

  12. Alice Dickinson says:

    FL, I love your blog. Your dedication to your dogs never ceases to amaze me, and the photos make me sigh, laugh, and sometimes sit awestruck in front of my laptop for longer than is likely advisable or healthy. As a b.c. nut, it’s wonderful to read about your progress with TWoo, and also to watch/read about someone who knows what she’s doing working so diligently with the large number of intelligent, high-energy personalities in her household. Kudos, and I look forward to more posts!

  13. I love hearing about TWooie! What I want to know is when are you changing the name of the blog to “Three Woofs and a Woo TWoo” :)

  14. I adore Twoo!

  15. I hope Piper won’t have much trouble this year!

    Good to hear about Twoo and his progress! I love working with dogs like him and showing them the world isn’t as scary as it first seems.

  16. suzanne says:

    surely you cannot evict miss maggie from your home… she is, as Mary Poppins said, “practically perfect in every way” and the one way she is less so is really very amusing… those photos of her in the other dogs shots are too funny for words… besides, if she is really that fast, think of her on the agility course in a couple of years… picture the two of you at the nationals… the Worlds… everything happens for a reason, you know!

  17. riosmom says:

    If there is a heaven there must be a doggie heaven because it wouldn’t be heaven w/o dogs. In that heaven, you will have brownie points to spare and then some. Hurray for Twoo and please don’t stop recording his progress – with pictures of course! But more pictures of Woo, please.

    I have a question for you. Do you think all dog reactivity is fear and not feeling safe? Gracie came to me reactive towards people and dogs and has become a social butterfly with people because she is more confident and because she has had only good interactions with people. But she remains reactive to most dogs. She has a couple of dog buddies she likes but she still wants to eat new dogs she meets – even puppies who pose no threat. I manage her and try to make her life as full as possible but I hate the restrictions her reactivity places on her and on me.

  18. Impassioned rant! Impassioned rant! I this impassioned rant!

    Yes, yes and yes! Every step, every eensy-weensy measley step is a huge milestone. These dogs deserve our best, lord knows someone gave them their worst. Though my Emma wasn’t broken quite as thoroughly as the TWoo. And that’s only saying that I don’t think she was ever beaten.

    You are dog-person-extrodinaire! And I have no doubt you’ll “learn” Maggie the ropes in short order.

  19. i *heart* tweed superduperthismuchmaybemore.

    because he rolls in the sand which makes me laugh and because he’s willing to play with twoo. tweed is my hero for today.

  20. I’m grinning to see Twoo’s play bow, and impressed at his bravery in the water. Kudos to you both.

    Piper, feel better soon. Stop scaring your people!

  21. “TWooie is still learning how to be a normal dog, and the journey is a priceless one.”
    Couldn’t agree with you more! I have a very, shy boy that I’ve been working with for almost two years now and don’t regret a moment of it. I’ve come to realize that working with a shy dog is like getting a gift that keeps on giving.
    Keep on trucking brave TWooie!

  22. nickelsmum says:

    1. TWOoie with Sexy Ears!
    2. Maggie levitating on top of Dexter!
    3. Three Great Blue Herons in one shot!

    I really, REALLY, want Maggie. Real bad.

  23. I really love this post too. I love the pictures and the captions (“No TWooie left behind!”) and the stories, all of them. And I love that The Boy still comes to visit.

    Also, I will be sending Kepler to you shortly for Remedial Ball Sharing training.

  24. Good boy, TWoo! You’re very brave!

  25. Great to hear how happy you and Twoo are. Your journey reminds me a lot of me and my Barney – 6 years down the line there is still a way to go (he too likes to try and kill dogs/people through windows)but all the steps we’ve taken together along the way are so rewarding

  26. Ruth Hansell says:

    The pic of TWoo play bowing to Tweed, (ahemwhoisstillmyfavoritesincehispuppyhoodcough) brought a little tear of joy. What bliss, and all 7 of you have earned it.


  27. I love the photos and the daily doggie updates. You make coming to work and sitting at this desk and staring at the computer all day – worthwhile.
    My dog is always rolling around in deer poop – how do you wash and dry your dogs daily without going nuts?

  28. I have to ask FL, HOW do you teach your dogs to play with one toy each? I can get each dog to lie down and wait whilst I throw a toy for another but when I release them they’re off after that first toy, even if I’m frantically waving a second in front of them. Either that or I throw the second and the dog with the first toy drops it and runs off after toy #2.

    Love to TWooie and Woo

  29. The Food Lady says:

    “I have a question for you. Do you think all dog reactivity is fear and not feeling safe? ”

    Well I don’t know for sure – I think it’s a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy with some dogs. They are afraid so they lash out, they get a poor reception and it confirms what they already thought. But I don’t think it’s the case with all dogs – some are bred or born to be dog aggro so there must be other elements at play. I know TWooie is afraid because a) he often climbs into my arms whilst barking and growling and b) his play style is so awkward and so exactly the same as his fighting style that it’s like one can replace the other in a second – it indicates to me that both activities stress him out mightily. I am hoping the more he plays, the less stressful it will be for him. If he had more drive to play with toys or something, I think his progress would be faster as he wouldn’t be able to think about his fear and his ball at the same time. Alas, he has drive only for killing and eating small things, and I refuse to throw live squirrels for him at the beach ;-)

    “I really, REALLY, want Maggie. Real bad.”

    Please take her! She’d love your house :)

    “And I love that The Boy still comes to visit.”

    He came over pretty banged up from falling off his mountain bike, but he still managed to kick a soccer ball a few times ;-)

    “I have to ask FL, HOW do you teach your dogs to play with one toy each? I can get each dog to lie down and wait whilst I throw a toy for another but when I release them they’re off after that first toy, even if I’m frantically waving a second in front of them.”

    I dunno, I really don’t. I think when they were learning the ropes, if they tried to chase the other dog’s ball after I released them, I got on them pretty hard. I called them off, redirected and threw their toy. If they didn’t listen, I ran them down, brought them back to where we started and wouldn’t let them play at all. I know it seems a bit harsh, but I just do not like my dogs all competing for the same ball because I see too many dogs get hurt colliding with one another, and also, it becomes too easy to lose balls or toys if they are all racing around frantically grabbing and dropping toys. It doesn’t hurt that every single one of my dogs is a possessive jerkface and they won’t fight with one another over toys – there is a strong sense of “what is yours is yours, not mine, even if I want it” in my household. Maybe it’s from having a pack of dogs. I really don’t know! But Maggie will learn too :)

  30. Just remember, the faster Maggie learns the ropes, the harder it will be to let her go!

  31. rosali(ta) says:

    I love that Twooie is learning to love water and to play (now that he’s svelte and all too). But I can’t help myself — despite all your coaching (twooday, two…twooie) — I still hear T-W-OO in my head, and so I read your post like Elmer Fudd…T-woo day we had t-wo T-woo achievements. It did make it funnier, but still…

  32. I love your blog so much. I am rooting for TWoo to become a “real” dog! He has come so far!

    How do you teach a dog to play? My dog is not dog aggro to other dogs or toys, she completely uninterested in both. I take her to the dog park and she sniffs butts and wags her tail but apparently never learned to play-bow or how to respond to one. Only once have I seen her play bow, the other dog was receptive, and then she got distracted and ran off to sniff something.

    Balls- no interest. Rope toys- no interest. Frisbees-nada. I put peanut butter on a tennis ball and she brought it back, but only because she wanted to eat it.

    Would an official class help? Clicker training to reinforce the happy intros? She’s an older girl (eight), and a shelter pup so no clue about her history. She’s lab mix, I think there’s some pit or staffie in there too. Very smart, willing to please, but totally socially oblivious.

  33. wyldvetwyo says:

    This entire entry makes me smile. Thanks for taking TWoo in and saving his life. You have come so far with him, and you have every right to brag. Just because a dog is ‘damaged’ doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.

  34. clairesmum says:

    Congratulations to Twoo, and You, and Woo and Tweed and Piper and Dexter and Maggie, too – cuz it takes a LOT of work by everyone to help a scared critter (two legged or four legged) feel safe enough to play. Thanks for the reminder of the need for hope and the value of hard work that might not seem to have any payoff – sometimes success comes when you least expect it.

  35. MalaysianFan says:

    There are just too many positive things to glow about in this post, but I would like to say that the photo of Dexter with the drooping ears and the muddy tennis ball belongs in the dictionary next to “morose”.

  36. happy dogs says:

    Can I put in a request for Mr. Crazy Eyes Hayden pics?

  37. Yay for Twooie! Man I love that dawg!
    No TWooie left behind! No TWooie left behind! MOOOOMMMMM! (made me tear up)

    As for Ms. Maggins. She’s perfecting the art of “photobombing”. I learned about this phenomenon at a family party with Dave (of Dave and Joe, your web guys). Just as you’re about to snap a pic of someone, others will dive into the shot. Preferable at odd, sailing angles. Ensuing photos are hilarious. Photobombing. Maggie is a pro at it.
    : )

  38. Catherine says:

    I found today’s post ahem rant very, very moving. Go TWooie! (and incidentally, how do you pronounce his name?)

  39. yay twooie!! btw, is that his real name? and is her a permanent resident yet? have i already asked this?

Speak Your Mind