Happy Tails for Margo

August 18, 2011

Hello to all my friends at Lab Rescue! It is three years since I moved to my forever and ever home :-). I am happy, healthy, busy, and very much loved.

Our Mom had oil paintings done of each of us last year, and I’m sending mine for you to see. The pond in the background is where I finally learned how to swim with my sister Lab and GSD, and our pack of friends… once I got the feel of the water I became the best swimmer of them all, I don’t mind saying.

I am tracking now for fun only, but it keeps me busy and happy - my Mom says that all this tracking for the past ten years has worn her out and since two of us have one, and one of us has two (the GSD Tallie is such a showoff) tracking titles, that we can just have fun with it now.

We take long walks every day with our pack of dog friends and their ladies, and after a good long walk nothing is better than a soft bed and a good bone. Or the jack toy, which Tallie and I try to keep from each other. I even try to guard it in my sleep, but sometimes I wake up to find Tal quietly slipping it out of my grasp. She is such a bossy sister, but we labs put up with it because we love her.

My Mom will send a contribution to LRR with appreciation for all the efforts you people make to rescue and take care of those of us who need angels in our lives.

Keep up the good work, and thanks.

Love from Margo [:o)

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April 3, 2009

Margo’s beginnings are not what we would have wanted for her. She was the lab breeding stock for a labradoodle breeder. So, her life was spent just making puppies. But she is a survivor, and for the rest of her life she will be cared for by a family who loves her.

Margo is beautiful, and well behaved as well, but somewhat shy, a little chocolate lab, that needed a new beginning. She came to our house at age 5 1/2…… just a few months younger than our other chocolate Lab (Nina), and a year older than our German Shepherd Dog (Tal). It was not the exact age mix that I had hoped for, but I knew Margo was the one to fill that empty spot in our family.

So, we came home and got started.

For the first week, I leash walked Margie (that’s what I like to call her) in our dog yard. The other dogs played and ran around us, but she stayed with me, safe on her leash. Inside the house, I also kept her tethered to me. This was easy, because she never wanted to leave my side. One time I turned around too fast and fell over her, landing with a thud on the kitchen floor, finding myself staring into her eyes as we both recoiled from the crash. We survived that mishap, no harm done.

All three dogs were still a bit tentative… Nina and Tal wondering when the guest was going home, and Margo wondering how long this home was going to be hers. (Forever, Margie!)

Weeks two and three we walked the dogyard without the leash, but I stayed with the dogs. At some point during this time, I think they all realized that Margie was now an official pack member, and that I would take care of them all. All of us walking together in the park cements this mentality for the dogs and humans alike. Also during this period of time there was a scuffle between Margo and Tallie (the GSD), which was actually a good thing since it gave me an opportunity to assert myself as the top dog in this group of four! We have not had a dogfight since.

It took Margie a short time to realize she can also attach to my husband’s body and get the same good scratches just for being there. Soon afterward, she began to feel safe in any part of the house, whether or not there was a person with her. She learned that she can curl up on the dog sofa with Tal and Nina for a nap; that her crate door is open all day and if a plushy bed is what she needs , it is there for her; and there are always squirrels on the deck to watch if she lies beside the glass doors.

ALSO, and this is a big ALSO… Margo finally learned how to play. For what seemed like forever, she would stand and watch the dog games. First, she discovered she could run after Nina as Nina ran after her ball. The first time she actually picked up the tennis ball, it surprised her so much she immediately dropped it! But, that was the beginning of what has now become a wild chase between Margo and Nina to see who can get that speeding tennis ball first! I have learned how to throw two balls, so that both retrievers have something to bring back!

Tallie is not a ball dog. But she knows how to rip apart toys. And, of course, with her new confidence, Margo also learned that toys can be fun. I go to the dollar store for toys, since they do not last very long in our house!

So Margo is finally living the life of a happy, well adjusted dog.

After seven months with us, I still feed Margo in her crate. I’ve tried putting her food on the outside, but she obviously feels safer inside with her meals, so that is where she will be fed. I close the crate door at night, because on rare occasions she still has an accident in the house, not knowing how to ring the doorknob bell to tell me she needs to go out, but we will keep working on that. We leash walk in the local parks every day and Margo’s stamina has increased tenfold since we started out with this routine.

Obedience training is going slowly, but she does sit when asked and is so well behaved in every way that I don’t see it as a problem. With some encouraging words from the Lablady (LRR’s President), I have resolved to keep working on the other exercises until Margie decides it is time.

The big news for Margo is TRACKING! Our other dogs have tracking titles, and I decided one day to give Margie some beginning lessons to see if she has a feel for it. Well, what a pleasant surprise! Rule #1 in tracking is to NEVER, NEVER skip any steps. It will always come back to haunt you, so say the experts. Well, they never met Margo. Her first tracks, short easy curves, she worked like an experienced dog. We found ourselves spending one day on an exercise that we would do on most dogs repeatedly! She has had a total of eight tracking lessons and is three times as far as the average tracking dog would be at this point. The first time we put a 90 degree turn down for Margo, she worked it out in four seconds flat. Picture four old tracking trainers whooping it up over a simple 90 degree turn …….. If you know anything about tracking, you will understand. Tail wagging, nose down, working the scent like an old pro. She is a natural. I cannot wait to see her do a full track! This is definitely what Margo was born to do {:o). <-margo

Stay tuned for brags from Margie! She still has loads of good fun and accomplishments ahead of her! Thanks again to LRR, who gave this wonderful girl the chance to have a life.

Chuck and Saren and MARGO

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