Dora the Explorer – ADOPTED!

We are delighted to announce that our first Texas foster dog, Dora the Explorer, has been adopted! We are overwhelmed with excitement, joy, longing, and pride. But surprise? Hardly.

Didn’t we all expect Dora to go out in high Dora fashion, nose turned proudly to the wind, doing her sassy little tap dance across somebody’s heart, knocking us all down with her big personality and cutes? It’s only fitting that she would be Love-A-Bull‘s first adoption of the year. After all — does a gal like Dora ever share the spotlight or take second place? No way!


Dora’s new life could hardly be more perfect for her. Her mama is a longtime pit bull lover who has been missing having a dog in the house since she moved to Texas, leaving behind in North Carolina a long-distance boyfriend and three pit bull type dogs she lived with and dearly loved. Dora will be her one and only love. Because her new mama is an empty nester with two grown children, Dora will be pampered just like she deserves — sleeping on the bed, going on long trail walks, and basking in the sunshine in her big, new, fenced-in yard.

We always like to ask our dogs for their forever-family wish list. Some of the dogs have very long and specific wish lists, like Gonzo Bunny-Ears, who insisted that his new family have a jumbo-sized sister dog for him and be willing to keep his silly name, and Little Zee, who wanted a family with no other pets and a willingness to help her up and down stairs and on and off furniture because of her disability.

When we asked Dora for her adopter wish list, we learned that had just a couple of items:

  • Dote on me!
  • Make me the center of your world!
  • Tell me I’m pretty every day!
  • Let me sleep on the bed with you!
  • Make me the girly-girl I am destined to be!

Her new mama Mary is more than happy to fulfill all of these requests and more. She’s even ordering her a special pink crate to match her raspberry pink hoodie and jacket. And to a gal like Dora, nothing says “true love” like a pink dog crate.

We’re going to miss Dora’s sweet little personality around our house, but we’re proud to know she’s off on her grand forever-adventure. Bon voyage, sweet girl!

New year? Newly cleaned furs.

You could say it’s a New Year’s tradition at our house, but this would be the first year we’ve adapted it. Still, we like it. Nice clean dogs for a nice clean new year.


Dora disagrees. She thinks that dirty, stinky doggies are much more appropriate for a new year. If you don’t bring last year’s treasures with you when you’re turning over a new leaf, how can you be sure you’ll know who you are?

And so went the bathtub tango. Us offering peanut butter, treats, praise, songs, and petting. Dora turning her upturned nose and her underbitten face away, as though to say “Thank you, but I reject your pathetic advances.” Once in the tub, she refused to even stand with all four paws on the tub floor, as though she was preserving her dignity through just her pristinely dry front-left paw.

"I'll be damned if I put this last dry paw down, lady."


After some additional coaxing (I think fosterdad offered her a $100 bill and a sip of his Lagunitas IPA), she succumbed to the new bath tradition and bore it like the good girl that she is, even the much-dreaded face-washing.

nice and clean and ready to scram . . .

I'm a good girl . . . but which way's the door?

I'm going for it . . .

Is there a fire escape, maybe?


After we wrapped our Dora-bull in a nice thick orange towel, we all enjoyed a good romp on the bed and the world was whole again.


But welcoming 2012 with nice, clean, vanilla-scented furs wasn’t the only reason that Dora needed a bath . . . stay tuned tomorrow to find out her other motive!

Holiday slumber

We hope everybody is having a peaceful, quiet week full of Hannukah miracles, Christmas  angels, and peace on earth.

Dora will be spending this week inventing new ways to eat her santa hat, and wishes you days full of joy, too.

We’ll be taking it slow this week — giving our shutter finger and our typing fingers a little rest. See you in the new year!

For more info on adopting Dora the Explorer, click here or contact us at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com.

Chix-a-Lot Friday: Pitte Posse Secret Santa

Mama did a little Christmas Jingle when Our Waldo Bungie invited us to participate in a bit of secret santa fun with some of our other cool dog friends and their blogger people — Twenty-Six To Life, Two Pitties in the City, Pittieful Love, That Touch of Pit, and Two Grad Students and a Pittie.

So we thought and thought and thought, and mama designed and designed, and then send off our special little gift to Nemo, Melanie, and Heidi at Twenty-Six To Life. We hope they like our creation! Pee-S, Dora the Explorer insisted that we use her colors, Raspberry Pink and Dora Gray, on your present.

And then like magic, we got the most delicious smelling package on the front step after we got back from our evening walk yesterday. It smelled like pure, pumpkiny heaven!

Well wouldn’t you know, it was an adorable, thoughtful, wonderful, delicious secret santa gift in the mail last night — a package from our mama’s home state of Maryland, from my good guy pal handsome Knox at Pittieful Love!

The humans got a tin of sweet, savory, spicy candied pecans (they say it taste great with that fizzy stuff that comes out of a bottle), and me and my Dora got a great big tin full of pumpkin spice dog treats, made by handsome Mister Knox himself. Knox was even nice enough to throw in some dog bone cookie cutters and his very own recipe for the pumpkin treats, so we can make them ourselves. Between you and me I’m not sure how Knox can bake without any supposable thumbs. And mama put the recipes and cookie cutters away in a high cabinet right away so that I didn’t get any baking ideas. But still — that was pretty thoughtful of Knox, huh?

Mama’s  favorite part was the sweet card with a photo of Knox and his people, and my favorite part was the doggie santa hat! Obviously Knox remembered how much Dora and I love getting dressed up and having our photo taken. We are the hammiest of hams, after all!

Jess and Knox, we want you to know that the pumpkin treats are to die for — we slobbered all over in anticipation, and then loved them ever-so-much. But next time you send treats, please include specific instructions to mama that they are for snacking ONLY, and not for practicing our “leave it” command. Sheesh!

Thanks for the fun gift exchange, everybuddy!

For more info on adopting Dora the Explorer, click here or contact us at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com.

In from the cold

While we’ve been busy wrapping ourselves in holiday cheer, Dora has been busy too — collecting admirers. Her toothy grin and her wiggly butt have made many an Austinite’s day, but when we got an email from a (then) complete stranger in Canada, asking for permission to send Dora a gift, our jaws hit the ground. A gift for our little foster dog from clear across the continent? You don’t say!

A week later, we felt like old friends with Dora’s Canadian angel Karen, and Dora was looking fly in two beautiful new outfits — both hooded and in raspberry pink, of course. We love the idea of somebody who truly understands what a chilling winter feels like sending posh winter gear to a foster dog who has just come in from the cold.

Last winter, Dora the Explorer was huddled up with her doggie brothers and sisters outside in a yard. This year, her winter is soft, warm, and raspberry pink. Thanks to Love-A-Bull, Dora’s winters will never be cold again. And thanks to Karen, Dora’s winters will look fabulous from here on out.

For more info on adopting Dora the Explorer, click here or contact us at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com.


Concentration before training

We’ve been spoiled with our last few foster dogs, who were very mellow in temperament and had no trouble at all focusing. Dora the Explorer also has a great temperament, but she has a bit more confidence and determined curiosity about the world. This makes her an absolute joy to be around, but also makes her rather excitable in the fascinating great outdoors.

We normally work on loose leash walking as one of our first tasks as foster dog parents. Dora isn’t a terrible leash walker, but when she sees something exciting — be it a cat, a squirrel, or a leaf, rock, stump, or paper bag that looks like a cat or a squirrel, she’s at the end of her leash. Getting her attention back sometimes takes a minute.

Anybody who has worked with a distractable dog knows that if you don’t have a dog’s attention, you’re not going to have much luck teaching it a new skill. So after a few futile attempts at leash walking lessons, we realized we had to bring it all the way back to basics: eye contact, basic attention, and impulse control.

Before we had any hope of getting Dora to pay attention to us outside, we had to teach her how to pay attention inside. Making eye contact when your name is called may seem intuitive to humans, but it is not at all intuitive to dogs. They have to learn it. Once they have mastered eye contact in a distraction-free setting, distractions can be introduced, one after another. These distractions can be as simple as background noise from an open window, another family member walking around, or a ball rolling across the room. As the dog learns to focus among these, the distractions can get more challenging: treats thrown on the floor, a bird walking around in the yard outside, etc. Gradually the lessons can move onto the driveway, then onto the sidewalk, and finally, you may find yourself with a dog who will make eye contact when called even amidst the holy grail of all distractions: a chicken bone in the street or a cat darting under a car.

Here’s a very basic video of the most primary of these steps. We are feeling pretty good about moving our own dog and hotdog show out into the front yard in another few days. Check out this girl’s eye contact. Pretty rockin’, right?

For more info on adopting Dora the Explorer, click here or contact us at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com.

Dora in the Explorer: a weekend getaway

Anybody wondering if adoptable Dora the Explorer is a “take me anywhere” kind of gal can now sleep well at night: she sure is. When an opportunity for a quick weekend visit to Galveston arose, everybody piled in the Explorer and headed off on a 3 1/2 hour drive.

Dora is a fantastic car dog. She hopped eagerly into her bed as soon as we opened the hatchback, and didn’t move or make a peep until we arrived in Galveston. The only way we knew for sure she was still back there was by climbing over the back seat and peering among the suitcases — or listening for soft snores now and again, rising from our sweet foster girl’s little nest.

Galveston weekends are always full of adventures. Upon rising to greet a beautiful sunny coastal day, the whole family went out for a nice long walk around town, and took the dogs along.

Chick already considers his grandparents’ home in Galveston to be his own vacation home, but Dora had never been to Galveston before. She loved soaking up the sun, sniffing the interesting marine air, digging enthusiastically in the sand, and generally checking everything out.

On one of our long neighborhood walks, Dora and Chick made a friend — a sweet little six-year-old boy who took a serious interest in petting and hugging both dogs. Since Dora is totally awesome with kids whereas Sir Chick does not like hugs from strangers, we encouraged their new friend to focus most of his attention and affection on Dora.

He took us on a guided tour of the park across from his house, carefully pointing out all of the botanical hazards such as thorny bushes and poisonous berries. Then he proudly posed for some photos with the dogs, insisting on holding the leashes himself. However, Dora and Chick were less interested in the photos than they were in the curious-smelling bush just off to their right.

The weekendful of long walks in an exciting new place left Dora very happy:

And very snoozy:

She napped like a champ with the rest of the family in the afternoons between activities.

Dora and Chick even conspired to audition as seeing-eye dogs during their Galveston escapades, and insisted that foster dad wear some giant sunglasses to help with the seeing-eye dog simulation. They enjoyed the exercise, but later agreed that they were not destined to be working dogs.

After all, don’t they look so much better as dogs of leisure, drinking pina coladas and sunning themselves on the porch all afternoon with their grand fosterparents?

For more info on adopting Dora the Explorer, click here or contact us at info [at] loveandaleash [dot] com.

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