Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The True Cost of Training

by Lorraine May, M.A.
Executive Director, Founder and Head Trainer
The Misha May Foundation
mutts in safe homes always
a 501(c)(3) non-profit dog and cat rescue
PO Box 151166
Lakewood, CO 80215-1166

Contact us FIRST for training, so you won't need us later for rescue.


The true cost of training is a dog's life.

Before you or your friends are seduced by guarantees, impressed by slick marketing, or awed by 'special equipment', remember that effective training relies upon the trainer or behaviorist's knowledge and application of behavior science.

There are two main approaches: education and coercion. Some professionals adhere solely to one approach. Many trainers mix and match techniques from both schools of thought. http://www.mishamayfoundation.org/dominance.pdf

Misha May utilizes only educational methods, and will only recommend others who do so.

Misha May receives entirely too many calls from owners who have spent large amounts of money on training and now they have lost hope. Sometimes the training is simply ineffective, but tragically, through coercive measures or lack of knowledge, the dogs's behavior is now worse or even aggressive.

These owners now want to give up their pet. Misha May is committed to helping families keep their pets. Contact us before you spend your money or lose hope.

Contact us FIRST for training,
so you won't need us later for rescue!
mishamayfoundation@gmail.com 303-239-0382

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gabriel Millman 1995-2010

Gabriel Millman of Lakewood, Colorado, passed away at Belcaro Animal Hospital in Denver on Wednesday, September 1, 2010, two months shy of his 16th birthday. For several months he had had canine anorexia, ultimately succumbing to kidney disease. His death was helped by his loving mother, Barbara Millman, Dr. Anna Otero, his veterinarian that day, and vet technician Susan Lillevold.

Gabe was adopted by his mother at eight weeks from The Denver Dumb Friends League in January, 1995. At the age of four weeks, he and his many siblings had been dropped off by humans who reported that the puppies' parentage consisted of Golden Retriever, Shetland Sheepdog and Cocker Spaniel breeds.

He had little formal education, dropping out of several obedience classes as well as failing a comprehensive pet therapy course conducted by Colorado State University social workers. Although he advanced quickly in the course and mastered several advanced stress tests designed to prepare him for a potentially chaotic and noisy hospital environment, he refused to sit during the final examination.

From that experience, his mother drew the conclusion that he lacked motivation to work. However, after his feline sisters, siblings Nellie and Amanda, were adopted into the family, he specialized in herding, no doubt due to his Shetland Sheepdog heritage. Occasionally he could be found herding Nellie after she had escaped to the family's backyard, standing over her and barking with pride and triumph at his success.

Gabe drew no distinctions between purebreds and mutts. He enjoyed profusely dogs of all sizes and a diversity of odors, and his spirit thrived in the presence of nearly all humans, indifferent to their race, political persuasion or religion. Gabe himself was a practicing Buddhist, and, in fact, sported a Mutthama Gandhi costume in a pet parade some years back.

Gabe especially enjoyed hiking and camping in Colorado, New Mexico and Montana. Daily he could be found walking the trails, sidewalks and streets of Lakewood and Wheatridge, Colorado neighborhoods.

He is survived and sorely missed by his devoted mother and his sisters. He also leaves behind his uncle, Lawrence Millman, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, a plethora of first cousin Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, as well as numerous human and canine friends. He was predeceased by grandparents Zelma and Daniel Millman of Kansas City, Missouri.

The family would like to thank the excellent staff at Belcaro Animal Hospital for their care through the years, with special appreciation for his outstanding primary care veterinarian, Dr. Mike Herman, who showed unlimited kindness, dedication and generosity toward Gabe and his mother. In addition, they would like to thank Dr. Matthew Chavkin of the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado for restoring Gabriel's vision through cataract surgery so he could better enjoy what turned out to be the final, precious months of his life.
Donations were made to The Misha May Foundation in Gabe's Memory by friends Barry & Karla, Linda & Rich, and Judi.

Deaf Dog Picnic

by Lorraine May, M.A.

Executive Director and Head Trainer

The Misha May Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dog and cat rescue

mutts in safe homes always



PO Box 151166

Lakewood, CO 80215-1166


Deaf Dog Picnic

I have attended the Deaf Dog Picnic for many years as a holistic resource for owners. I am able to share helpful information about using Flower Essences, energy work like Reiki, and Animal Communication. I can offer positive solutions to training questions and behavior problems.

This year it was held again at Best Friends in Wheat Ridge, Colorado on September 11, 2010. There were so many wonderful deaf dogs including many adopted from rescues, such as Aussie Shepherds, Border Collies, Boxers, Bulldogs, Cattle Dogs (one from New Hope Cattle Dog Rescue that I had the pleasure of meeting), Chihuahuas, Chinese Cresteds, Dalmatians, Great Danes, English Cockers, English Spaniels, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and unique mixes.

Deaf dogs demonstrated Agility, Flyball and Frisbee with championship style and absolute joy. Other resources included Val & Tom Parks, Pet Psychic / Pet Astrologer, and trainers from http://www.onlinedogcoach.com/. One highlight was Indy, a sweet young white deaf mix, who demonstrated her many cute tricks including 'get in the box'! Indy had been rescued about a year ago from living locked in a closet - the people didn't know what to do with a young, stubborn, noisy dog. They had no idea she was deaf, and when they found out did not know what to do. Discovering her was truly like discovering a diamond in the rough.

Deaf dogs used to be routinely and unceremoniously destroyed. They were (and still are in unfortunate situations) often labeled stubborn, stupid, inattentive, untrainable, and hopeless. If you hear of a dog like this, please be sure to check their hearing.

Rhonda, Champion of Deaf Dogs, always says, "Your dog is a dog first, his breed second, his personality third, and being deaf last."

Today deaf dogs find their way into many people's hearts instead. Hundreds of deaf dogs are looking for committed, responsible owners. Please visit the Adopt page at http://www.SpiritofDeafDogs.org/.

If you want to know more about deaf dogs, want to help deaf dogs, or know a deaf dog in danger, please refer to the following websites.







Zeb's Magic / Spay - Neuter Project / ?Trained? ?Off Leash?

by Lorraine May, Executive Director and Head Trainer

The Misha May Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dog and cat rescue

mutts in safe homes always

PO Box 151166Lakewood, CO 80215-1166


Zeb’s Magic

Zeb is magical. Everyone who knows him knows that. He saved a little dog today, September 10, and I helped him.

Each day when I take a walk in the park my most important decision is which dog to take with me. This morning I had a very strong sense that it was Zeb. So I listened to my intuition.

Zeb is an 11 year old neutered male Golden Retriever that found me while wandering in the mountains at 1.5 years old. He had come right through his electric fence (in the mountains where we had bears, coyotes and mountains lions) thank goodness, instead of ending up as lunch. His family gave him to me. Truly though, he seemed sent by Misha (the black lab mix namesake of The Misha May Foundation) – I was having a hard time without her.

As we entered the park, I saw a little black dog running around, sometimes in the park, sometimes in the street. I decided to investigate, of course. There were other people around but I find that even dog lovers aren’t sure what to do, how to get the dog, or what to do with him once they have him.

As we approached, I could see he was not going to come to me. He didn’t flee, but he stayed out of reach. Because he was small and calm, appeared healthy and friendly, I decided to see if Zeb would be a more benign ambassador. I had no sooner stepped a little farther away, than the little guy approached Zeb and they became fast friends.

Then there was humping – by the little guy. Uh-oh, not neutered. Here is probably one key to his wandering. The others, I found out later, were a broken fence and a marking habit which relegated him to being an outside dog.

Although there was no collar or ID, through detective work, I eventually located the owner the same day. He was grateful for my care and was open to finding a solution to keeping the little guy safe. 1) of course, fix the fence 2) purchase Velcro ‘nappies for dogs’ which cause the dog to urinate on himself – not as pleasant as marking 3) neuter.

Neutering helps with both marking and wandering. When I suggested low cost possibilities, he was surprised that his own vet had not referred him to Planned Pethood Plus at 4170 Tennyson Street, Denver, 80212, 303-433-3291 or MaxFund Animal Wellness Center at 1000 Inca Street, Denver, 80204, 303-595-0532.

My personal belief is that in order to stop pet overpopulation, spaying and neutering need to be FREE for EVERYONE’S pets. WHY ISN’T IT?

Please help us with our project by sending the following to mishamayfoundation@gmail.com:
1) What low cost spay / neuter services are you aware of – please send the complete name, address and contact information of vet; weight and age of dog or cat, cost of spay or neuter surgery.
2) What did your dog's surgery cost - please send the complete name, address and contact information of vet; weight and age of dog or cat, cost of spay or neuter surgery.

Note to Owner with dog off leash in a park that is not an off leash park: Your dog is NOT trained off leash if he chases geese. AND allowing him to be off leash untrained, reinforces his experience of ‘I’m off leash and you can’t get me’.

He's Not My Dog / Congrats to Owner

by Lorraine May, Executive Director and Head Trainer
The Misha May Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dog and cat rescue
mutts in safe homes always
PO Box 151166
Lakewood, CO 80215-1166

“He’s Not My Dog!”

I stood up for a medium sized black mutt this morning, September 9, 2010, at 8:30 am in a city park. In doing so, I tried to accomplish three things: 1) let the dog know someone cared about him 2) let the woman know that people witnessed her actions and 3) inform the woman that there are better methods.

As I was taking my walk, I heard shouting in what is normally a very quiet park. It was a dark haired woman roughly shaking this black dog by his choke collar, causing his front legs to leave the ground repeatedly and his rear end to jerk around.

I was compelled to respond since her actions could not only hurt his neck and stress him, but his experiences, therefore his associations, with the park, walking on a leash, dogs and people could become extremely negative. Each successive walk could include increasing amounts of stress, followed by punishment.

I wasn’t the only person upset. It was very evident that others nearby were affected as well since they moved away from her and gave her plenty of space.

I breathed calmly and deeply, softened my belly, and held my focus of sharing helpful information, as they approached, now walking quickly. I said matter-of-factly and calmly, “You know, I teach a class that includes other kinds of training techniques so you don’t have to do that.” She replied that he wasn’t her dog or her responsibility anyway. “But, you are walking him, so he is now.” Well”, she said, “he shouldn’t be around other dogs and I don’t have to worry about that.” And she quickly exited the park.

She chose to walk him in the park where there are, of course, OTHER DOGS. Then she punished him for not knowing how to act around other dogs. She did not teach him anything, except, to worry when dogs are around and to expect rough treatment from her.

If anyone is training, walking or pet sitting your dogs, please find out what they do when you aren’t looking. Ask them how they help your dog cope with difficult situations. Do they punish or do they teach?

Congrats to Owner: lone male black lab wandering in O’Kane Park with no visible ID. I don’t know what caused this dog to stray, but the owner’s appearance in her car remedied the situation before I could even get back to my car to get a leash. Good work!