CLEVELAND AKA "GROVER WHO IS SWEET ALL OVER"
Cleveland was a an Ohio Cities Kid. He was a year and a half old when he arrived at Oz. The first thing that happened to him when he came out of his travel crate was puppies. He arrived with three little puppies. They were let out of their crates first. When he came out of his they chased him all over. They climbed all over him. They even jumped on his back. He looked like a circus dog with a monkey on his back. Only he had three trying to ride on him. Poor Cleveland!
SAVING CLEVELAND FROM THE PUPPIES
Even though he was an adult cairn he had spent his life in a cage. He really didn't know what life was like in the real world and what was expected of him. Each morning he would watch me take each puppy out of their crate and pick them up and put them on the grooming table. Then I would check their collar and harness to make sure that they had not chewed through them during the night. When it was his turn he would come out of his crate and stand and wait for me to pick him up. He even helped by pushing off with his little back feet. After all I picked up the puppies. I knew that everything was new in his life too. He really was just a big puppy. So he was treated just like the puppies were. I picked up and carried the puppies so I picked up and carried Grover, and he was a big boy.
Many times puppy-mill dogs don't know how to eat from a bowl. Their food is dumped on a dirty board at the front of their cage. These kids were fed this way. The first thing that they did when given a bowl was tip it over and their food fell into the tray under them. So I would run from crate to crate trying to grab their bowls before they dumped them out. The puppies quickly learned not to dump their bowls, but feeding Grover was a challenge. He had been eating off a board for a long time. I needed something flat to use for his dish. I tried paper plates but he just picked them up by the edge and shook them throwing his food all over. Finally I found a small Frisbee and it was just the right size to wedge between the bars of his crate. He couldn't dump it. After a while I was able to give him a real bowl.
Grover was a handful. The first night there he pulled the blanket covering his crate through the bars and into his crate. Then he pulled the blanket covering the crate next to him into his crate.They were wedged in so tight that I could hardly pull them out.
GROVER'S FIRST NIGHT
He wasn't done yet. His second night was even worse. I couldn't believe my eyes the next morning. Somehow he managed to push his way out of his crate. Then he started decorating. It wasn't pretty, but he did keep his crate clean.
I began to think that maybe he was too big for that small wire crate. Maybe he just couldn't get comfortable. I went to the indoor exercise area and brought in the large crate that was being used like a playhouse. That night the puppies and I got a good nights sleep. Grover loved his new bed. He would lie on his back with his little feet in the air, and watch me for hours while I tended the puppies, or swept and moped the crate room floor.
GROVER'S NEW BED
During the day he would play in the outdoor kennel while the little boys had kindergarten. For the first time in his life he played in snow and he loved it. He learned that snow was to play in not to live in. Grover knew that when he got tired of playing in the snow or got cold that all he had to do was bark, and I would bring him back into the warm crate room.
GROVER CALLING FOR ME
After dark Grover got to play in the pole barn while the puppies played in the indoor exercise area. I gave him toys and an empty milk jug to play with. Of all the toys that he was given the empty milk jug was his favorite. He loved the noise it made when he tossed and chased it around. Grover also loved towels and bedding. I always had to make sure that I closed each empty crate or he would pull out the bedding and shake and run with it. One night while I was getting the puppies ready for bed I forgot to close the indoor kennel where I had towels drying on a clothesline. I heard Grover playing in there and thought he was playing with the toys that had been left on the floor. But no, he had kept himself busy being mama's little helper, and pulling the towels off the clothesline
GROVER HELPING WITH THE LAUNDRY
When I had finally taught the puppies some manners, I introduced Grover to them one at a time while I stood close by watching. Grover was sweet all over, he was a gentle giant. If a puppy got too rough he would give them a warning growl. If they didn't stop then he would give them a little bite, never enough to hurt them, just enough so they knew he meant stop. Of course there is always one puppy that at some time decides to prove himself the boss. CinCee was that puppy. One afternoon Grover warned him again and again to stop jumping on him. CinCee wouldn't stop. I watched as Grover bumped him with his head and knocked him right over. Before CinCee could get back to his feet Grover put his front legs over CinCee's back and laid down beside him pinning him to the floor. CinCee was yelping and struggling to get away. I just watched knowing that Grover really wasn't hurting him. When CinCee finally stopped struggling Grover let him up. CinCee walked away a changed puppy. After that lesson, he even played better with the other puppies.
In the days that followed Grover spent more and more time playing with the puppies. He was always sweet and loving to them, the puppies loved and looked up to Grover. He taught them so much. One night as they were all sitting in their crates waiting for me to hand out their goodnight cookies somewhere far away a coyote started howling. Grover started howling back. The puppies were wide eyed watching him. The next thing I knew all three stretched their little necks and pointed their little noses is the air, and started yelping. Quickly their yelps started changing into little puppy howls. Grover had taught them to howl. They were so cute to watch.
Be sure to return for The Three Virtues