Monthly Archives: February 2009

Open Door Shelters

What is an open door shelter? An open door shelter is an animal shelter that takes any animal brought to surrender to it, regardless of age, health, breed, personality, etc. This is different then a no kill shelter because no kill shelters turn many animals away. The WPA Humane Society, where I am volunteering is an open door shelter. From what they have told me, they try their hardest to find homes for every adoptable animal and to foster animals in order to make more room at the shelter for more animals. My impressions of the Humane Society from visiting there are that it is very clean, the staff and volunteers are very friendly, all the dogs seem happy and love to go on walks, and it is very well organized. I don’t know what kind of a stance to take on the euthanasia of animals. Sometimes I think people with painful terminal illnesses should be allowed to use euthanasia, so what about very sick and old dogs? Is it cruel to them to keep them around in misery for us to feel better about it? There are no easy answers. I am sure there are dogs put down for behavior issues and space issues. I think that sucks, but….as long as there are dogs in shelters, I see no reason not to try to brighten their lives and give them needed attention and excercise, regardless of politics and beliefs. I know that when I was younger, I heard so much about no kill shelters being better, but recently I read an article that shocked and saddened me about one no kill shelter, the Tiger Ranch, finally shut down for inhumane and unsanitary conditions. Read it at To read more about open door shelters, visit


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More Duke and Meet Bandita

Went to the WPA Human Society today. Bandita is the dog who I had to demonstrate I could wrangle and collar a dog during training. Piece of cake after Shiro! When he first started wearing a collar he hid under the couch and wouldn’t come out! So anyways, today I noticed Bandita hadn’t been walked yet, so I thought I would revisit her.


  • Name: Bandita
  • Sex: spayed female
  • Breed: collie/german shepard mix
  • Age: about 9 yrs old.
  • Weight: 46lbs

Bandita is a very easy going, obedient, and happy dog. Loves treats. She can walk pretty fast for a dog her age, so I bet she’s got a lot left in her.

Of course, I also had to go see Duke again. I took him for a walk first. Here are Duke’s stats


  • Name: Duke
  • Sex: Neutered Male
  • Breed: Akita/Pit Bull Mix
  • Age: 1 yr, 7 mos
  • Weight: 74 lbs

One things the pictures don’t really show is how beautiful his markings are– he is brown/black brindled, but he also has patches of white on his chest, paws, and the tip of his tail. Duke is protective, loving, playful, and would also make a great running companion, that boy can run when I let him!

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Meet Duke

Duke, sitting for the camera

Duke, sitting for the camera

Let me preface this by saying I probably shouldn’t have started out walking a level 3 dog. The levels, for easiest to hardest to walk are 1, 1-2, 2, 2-3, 3, 3-4, and 4. It went fine, but I was exhausted after walking Duke, so I didn’t walk any others today. Anyways, I had to walk Duke because he is an Akita/Pit Bull mix, and Akitas are like big Shiba Inu, as I mentioned. Duke was great. He is super strong and tried to go after some other dogs and a couple questionable looking gentlemen (can’t say i blamed him, his instincts were probably right), so I held him back then. But for the most part he listened to me, and could do the “Sit” command. It was icy out so we were both slip sliding a bit. All four of his legs went out from under him, and all two of mine a couple times. When I slid and fell on the ice, Duke didn’t pull or try to make a break for it, but rushed immediately to my side to see if I was okay and stayed pressed up close to me until I got up. After our walk, we went to the relaxation area and chilled on the couch. He jumped right up and layed his big ol’ head in my lap. I am in love. He is way too big for an apartment, though, especially one that doesn’t allow pets, so I just hope he finds an awesome home because he is one aweseom dog.

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Official Dog Walker!

Well, in addition to being Akira and Shiro‘s part-time walkers (when i’m in ohio), I have volunteered to walk dogs at the Western PA Humane Society. Today, I completed a 2 1/2 hour orientation/training, and tomorrow I hope to walk a few of the dogs. Today, got to meet most of the dogs, and practice collaring and getting the dogs out of their pens and walking them a short distance. I am really excited about an Akita/Pit Bull terrier mix named Duke. The Akita is a larger version of the shiba inu, so I’m hoping that my shiba experience will help me related to an akita mix and hopefully help train and  help take care of Duke until he finds a good home. I will update you on the first walk, and post more about the particulars of the Humane Society and what an open door shelter is.  Visit the WPA Humane Society webpage and volunteer at a shelter near you! (They’re also looking for cat cuddlers, bunny buddies, and different administrative, educational, and maintenance volunteer positions).


Western PA Humane Society

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Steeler’s Lunch


We’re ready for the Super Bowl! Although I have to work right up until kick off, I prepped my stomach with a black and gold spread– gold butternut squash soup with black calamatta olives! and of course…. the Eat’n’Park Pittsburgh Steelers Smiley Cookies, which will be present today at the White House Super Bowl Party!

Bob Casey (D).
— Casey: invited and accepted. His office says he’s bring “terrible towels” and something called Eat’n Park Cookies’ (a Pittsburgh thing we’re told) —


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