by Susan Nation
Susan Nation is a fellow pet blogger. We found each other through a site called Blogpaws and I asked her to share with us a little about Talent Hounds, and her rescued Pug mix named Kilo.
Kilo is my adorable, mischievous four-year-old little Pug mix. He is one of the ambassadors for our Talent Hounds #RescuesRock Campaign and the host of www.kidspetclub.com, www.facebook.com/kilothepug, and @kilothepug on Instagram.
I have always loved dogs. I grew up with a cute little rescue dog named Kim and went on to rescue my own dogs Cookie and Isabelle when I got married and had kids.
In around 2011, just after Cookie and Isabelle passed away, I started to notice a change in the way millennials and older friends were treating their dogs. I also noticed a growing number of dogs with extraordinary talents.
After two years of research, I made a one-hour documentary Talent Hounds which explores the evolving roles that dogs have played enriching human lives, families and communities, and sheds light on the increasing humanization of these perfect pets in today’s culture.
“Forget diamonds, today a Dalmatian, a Dachshund, or a Doberman might well be a girl’s best friend.”
We look at the early history of the dog, starting with the domestication of wolves, and examine the many ways that humans have, through the centuries, turned the natural abilities of dogs to our advantage – whether by employing them to hunt, herd livestock, and pull sleds, or by training them to assist in police work and saving lives. The film also considers the remarkable roles that certain dogs have come to play as companions, assistants, and four-legged therapists for people with a wide variety of special needs, from kids with autism to the visually impaired.
For more and more people, dogs are full-fledged members of the family – even surrogate children. And there’s a lucrative industry dedicated to helping pet parents pamper their dogs as they would their own offspring, with everything from designer fashions and fragrances to spa visits, treats, supplements, and day care.
I got so inspired by my work on the first film and Talent Hounds blog that I went on to make four more half-hour Talent Hounds documentaries: Rescues Rock, Puppy Love, Dogs Make a Difference, and Fit Dogs Rock. I also joined groups of bloggers and dog lovers like BlogPaws and started the #RescuesRock Campaign which aims to promote adoption by showing people that rescues are not “damaged” and can make wonderful pets.
Our family, especially my younger daughter, really missed Cookie and Isabelle. She wanted a Bulldog to cuddle over the summer, but she was leaving for the university in the fall and I was traveling a lot so I was worried about adopting again. I met Homeward Bound Rescue through my work on Talent Hounds. My daughter and I looked online and saw that they desperately needed fosters for squishy face breeds. This seemed like the perfect way for us to help dogs in need and enjoy the love of a rescue again for a short time, so we put in an application. We had a home visit and got approved. We saw Kilo’s cute little black face on the available dogs page then started fostering him in the beginning of August, 2014.
Kilo’s background is a little unclear. We were apparently his fifth home, and he was only just two-years-old. We believe his first owners were seniors and probably did not realize how much work and how demanding a little Pug puppy would be. He then passed through two more homes to a temporary foster from Homeward Bound before reaching us.
He arrived at our house recently neutered, poorly trained, poorly socialized, and very anxious and reactive. He bonded with me immediately and also with my daughters. He was not so keen on strangers especially men, other dogs, or Nala the cat and was rather vocal about his distaste or fear.
After checking his health, I immediately set about training him. Luckily I had access to expert behaviorists and trainers through my Talent Hounds network.
Kilo the Pug is extremely food motivated and also loves attention from me. We have used positive reinforcement with treats, love, praise, redirection, conditioning, and toys to train him. He needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation between snoozes. We walk, play, and train for a few minutes every two to three hours most days, which keeps me active, too. He has made amazing progress.
We “foster failed” and adopted him after a few months as we realized he was home. My kids call him “the favorite child.” He is the friendliest most affectionate funny little love bug with people he knows, especially family. He is now crate-trained, toilet-trained (almost), and knows more than 30 tricks and behaviors. There is nothing like his greeting when I walk through the front door or his kisses in the morning when he jumps on me looking for cuddles and breakfast. He lives on my lap or beside me on the sofa while I work and gives the best pug hugs. He can now even occasionally attend events and really enjoys photo and video sessions (he associates cameras with treats and demands payment upfront).
His training is still a work in progress. He thinks the postman is out to murder us all, and it is his duty to defend us. He gets black hair over all the white sofas and beds. However the good far outweighs any bad. Every month he gets better.
He inspires me every day and makes my heart sing. He is the right dog for us, and I am so glad we found each other. #rescuesrock
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