Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Axl's adventures at the local library.

Last night we were invited to bring Axl to the local library to be part of the Puppy Tails program where small children sit with a dog and read a book to them. Everyone who has met Axl has been impressed with his very gentle demeanor and a woman who works with therapy dogs told us about this program and invited us to participate. Axl will be 9 years old next month and he has lived with us for the past year. I know the lady who purchased him as she used to be a breeder and Axl is a pedigree Rottweiler. She sold him to a handicapped woman after changing her plans and this woman who also was a dog trainer trained Axl to be a service dog and he lived with her for 7 years until their house was destroyed in a fire last July. I was lucky to be allowed to adopt him and it was only because his first owner put in a good recommendation for me. Axl has been my wife's constant companion since the day he came to live with us.
We brought Axl over to the William E. Durr branch of the Kenton County Library at 6:30 pm and the woman in charge of the program told us how it would work. They had four dogs come in to a large room and sit in opposite corners and each child would sit with a dog for twenty minutes and read a book. The children were allowed to pick the dog they wanted to read to. There were two small dogs and a yellow Lab along with Axl. Jackie and I sat with Axl and as the first group of children came in the room. The first child in the room was a little girl, about 4 years old and she walked right over to Axl and petted him and sat with her mother to read. Axl was a little nervous because he had never been there before so I guess he didn't know what to do. He just sat there and seemed to want to spend more time with his Mom than with the little girl. Axl did manage to give the little girl some licks and the little girl was petting him on his head a lot.
I was more concerned over Axl's reaction to the other dogs but after the first nose to nose greeting with the second dog who entered the room, nothing happened. The next two children that came in for the following sessions were little boys. All of these children had been to the Puppy Tails before and none were bothered by Axl's large size. When the first boy sat down to read, he came in alone without any adults. The lady who ran the program came over and sat on the floor with Axl and got him to lay on the carpet. By this time Axl was not as nervous as he was at first. She petted Axl and he almost went to sleep.
The Puppy Tails program is a serious effort to help get children to read more. Several adults came over to visit Axl including a few who worked with the library. The only concerns they mentioned was his large size and one did mention a concern about his breed. It seems that children do not share these concerns with adults as I have seen many children walk up to our Rottweilers in Petsmart and ask if they could pet them. Some even wrap their arms around them and give them hugs and all usually get a few face licks in return. People do not seem too understand that dogs are not born vicious, they are made that way by irresponsible people. That is why responsible dog owners must stand up to oppose Breed Specific Laws.
When the reading session ended we were told they had one cancellation and the fourth child that would have read to Axl didn't show up so we left the library around 7:45 pm. The woman in charge repeated her concerns about Axl's size and we left with the impression we would not be invited back. I thought the event was very interesting and would like to do it again.
We got back from the Puppy Tails reading to a dog program at the library just before 8pm and saw that my neighbor's two German Sheppard dogs were running loose in front of our house. Rommel and Maggie are two friendly dogs who are owned by a friend I used to work with at Delta who lives over on the street behind us about 1000 feet away. They have both come over for visits before and all of our Rottweilers know them.

Jackie went into the house and I let Ruff and Sassy out and me and the five dogs walked over to where the German Sheppard dogs live. Along the way across the wide open grass back yard they had a great time running around playing with each other.

At first I thought no one was home so I followed the dogs around the house and found the garage door was open with a TV on. The garage was set up as a rec room with chairs and couches. I yelled out asking if anyone was home and heard a woman's voice from inside the house. The German Sheppard's ran ahead through the garage and through an open door into the house followed by Ruff and Axl and me and Sassy right behind them. My friend from work wasn't home but his wife was. I had not met this woman before until last night when we were all inside her small kitchen along with five large dogs. I guess she was surprised to see her two German Sheppard's come home with their two Rottweiler friends. I introduced myself and we had a brief conversation and then we left and walked back to our house.
It was a very interesting and exciting evening, for sure.

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