My Time with Ryder

There’s a new dog in my life and his name is Ryder. Although he is not a foster, he is the focus of my free time and volunteering, and I love him.
Ryder 5

Since we foster failed last time and Sarge became a permanent member of our family, our fostering days are over for now. But I still wanted to help dogs in need. I have also wanted to find an organization here in Maine that doesn’t import more dogs into the state, but that helps dogs who need homes here. Luckily, I came across Buddy Up Animal Society whose mission is to help last chance dogs in shelters right here in the state. I contacted them and then met Ryder.

Ryder, like so many other ‘rescue’ dogs, has had a rough beginning to his life. I will spare you the details, but he has had some issues with other dogs, which has made a foster arrangement difficult. He has been in shelters/rescue for over two years. Right now, he is in boarding at a local daycare facility. He loves people so much that being kept in a kennel for most of the day is not ideal for him.
ryderflyer

Because of his lack of a consistent schedule and owner, Ryder really needed a brush up on some of his manners. That is where I came in. He and I enrolled in a six week obedience class geared towards bully breeds, called “Good Bully.” Every Friday night I picked up the handsome boy and we drove down to Finish Forward Dogs, a training studio that is extremely generous in helping train rescue dogs.
ryder class 2

The first night was a little bumpy. He was figuring me out and I was trying to understand him. I could see he had major potential and an eagerness to please, he just has had no rules and boundaries to live by. It was clear that he craves attention from people…and chicken treats! As the weeks went by Ryder’s personality and intelligence shined. He already had a solid sit, but we worked on down, down stays, leave it, place, and leash manners. I really looked forward to our time together each week. It felt like a partnership, and we were progressing together. He was learning manners, and I was learning how to teach manners, both with an end goal of finding him a forever family.Ryder class 5

By the end of the six weeks we had really bonded. I could tell he was happy to see me when I picked him up from boarding. Over the weeks I learned that he could get a little worked up in the car when he’s been in the kennel all day, so bully sticks became a weekly treat for the ride. He really loves food, treats and toys and I was happy to find any excuse to give him some!

To ‘graduate’ from the class Ryder had to pass several tests that included:
Leash Walking– Check, he followed me like a pro!
ryder class 1
15 foot Recall– Check, that boy will follow his people anywhere!
ryder class 4
Sit with no food– Check, he is a pro at this!
ryder class 3
Down with no food– Check, we worked hard on this one!
Stay while another dog walks by– Check, again, as long as you are in sight, he will do whatever you want!

He passed with flying colors and REALLY enjoyed picking out his stuffie at the end! Watch the video, it’s super cute!
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Ryder is really a wonderful dog. He charms everyone he meets, and the staff at the daycare and the trainers at Finish Forward have only great things to say about him. He’s snuggly and affectionate and so very handsome! Although in his past he’s had some issues with other dogs, he’s been improving and I don’t think he absolutely has to be the only dog in a household. Just look at him hanging out with other pups before class:
ryder class 6

It is all about finding the right home with the right dogs that will be the right fit for him. But, boy does he deserve it. He is such a love and has been homeless for way too long. He has so many less ‘issues’ than several of my previous fosters (ahem, Anna) so I can’t figure out why he is still without a family.

He and I are scheduled to take the next installment of the bully manners class, “Better Bully” this month. He is such a good boy and this next class will surely help him improve even more. After another six weeks of training I can only imagine how prepared and ready he will be to find his forever home!

Here is Ryder’s petfinder profile. If you know of anyone looking for an amazing dog to add to their family, please share Mr. Ryder. For more information, contact Buddy Up at info@buddyupanimalsociety.org.

Throw Back Thursday: How It All Started

In honor of Throw Back Thursday (and because I didn’t get a chance to finish my post about Sarge!) I wanted to share one of my very first posts, before most of you even knew M&M&NK existed. I hope it helps you understand our beginnings with Nola and why we started the blog (plus, there are cute puppy pictures of Muffin). Enjoy!

This is the face that started it all. We had been talking about getting a puppy for months. Then we found Nola, who at the time was called Camilla, and our journey began.

It was the day before Halloween. She was being transferred from a shelter in Alabama (like so many others), so we met the transport truck at a park and ride in New Hampshire. Of course we were the first in line, because as you’ll come to find out, I am a little bit of a worrier and like to be prepared. As she was handed to me off the truck the barrage of kisses began, and they haven’t stopped since.

Nola was our first dog ever. My family had a dog when I was little, but sadly she was hit by a car before I was old enough to really remember her. I have always been an animal lover, but my brother was allergic, so we could never have pets in the house. Jim’s family never had pets. We really had no idea how to train and take care of a puppy, but as stated above, I am a worry wart like to be prepared so I did all sorts of research before Nola came.

There was a point a couple weeks in when we thought we were over our heads with her. We were DINKS (dual income no kids) so having our schedules revolve around something other than ourselves was a tough adjustment. But, we figured it all out. We took training classes, learned all the places to go on and off leash, made mistakes, called the vet hundreds of times, and asked for advice from everyone we knew with dogs. Through it all I took tons of pictures and told all my colleagues at work every little cute, aggravating, silly and naughty things that Nola did.

This blog is a way for me to chronicle the trials and tribulations of Nola and everything we will go through in the future without having to bore my co-workers anymore. (To be fair, I work with pretty much all women, and the majority of them have kids. Telling my stories about Nola is really the only way I can relate to all their boring interesting stories about their children.) We have learned so much from her, not only about how to train puppies, but about how much we both love dogs and how much an animal can change your perspective on love. I consider blogs picture books for adults, so I promise to keep posts relatively short and focus on the photos I’ve taken of our adorable pup. I am excited to have a place to remember Nola’s puppy days (she is 18 months old now) and to write about all the new and exciting experiences we will have with her. I hope you all enjoy and fall in love with Nola as much as we did!