Lucky dog, lucky us

We always love to hear how their former fosters are doing.

Lucky dog, lucky us

Postby nancy » Fri May 13, 2011 3:29 pm

We adopted Holly over two years ago and while she wasn't exactly what we expected, we sure wouldn't give her back. Because it was obvious she had had many litters in her short life, we were told she was probably from a downstate puppy mill. I took her to two series of obedience classes, and she's a good house dog (okay, she ate my entire garden that first summer). Turns out she's allergic to everything--grass, mold, dust...--but that's easily enough controlled with medication. Although she got along with her doggy-brothers in her foster home, she decided early on with us that she'd had ENOUGH of other dogs. That surprised me but not my vet, who thought that being forcibly bred may have taken its toll. If anyone has had experiences re-acclimating dogs to the pack, I'd love to hear what worked. She bit even the nicest dogs. Now she just doesn't get to go near any. Much more importantly, though, she's great with kids, she's got the most hilarious expressions, she rarely barks or sheds, and she is the love of our lives.

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Re: Lucky dog, lucky us

Postby Molly_Mae's_Mom » Mon May 16, 2011 11:33 am

Hi Nancy,
Thanks for your wonderful story! I think Holly is a great example of many people's experiences with not only MLRR, but rescue dogs in general. We aren't always aware of what our dogs went through before they came to us, but we can guess that it wasn't as great as going to MLRR or their forever homes. We usually find ourselves in situations that we never gave a thought to before -- such as Holly eating your garden (!) or even our dog, Molly, who started counter surfing months after we first got her. Any family who is looking to adopt must be open to a rescue's quirks & habits, whether they are good or not. I thank you for being commited to Holly, and I'm sure she does, too :)
I'm not sure about how to re-aclimate a dog into other doggy situations -- but I hope another reader will and will share their story!

Thanks again,


Re: Lucky dog, lucky us

Postby sruths » Tue May 17, 2011 8:45 pm

Nancy - we adopted Shannon, a puppy mill survivor/breeder, from MLRR four years ago. She is a fabulous dog and we are lucky to have her - but it has been a great learning experience. To be honest, I did research online to find out what I could about what to expect but nothing prepared us for her anxiety - and the multitude of ways it showed itself. Her primary fears continue to be around people - though dogs can also be an issue if there are very many of them or they are very loud. I don't know if something like this would help Holly, or if you have already done it but we used the following for Shannon: a version of "classic desensitization" technique, coupled with lots of treats (i.e., tiny pieces of hot dogs and string cheese), and a professional trainer. The trainer had loads of great ideas and we can take Shannon to the dog park every day. But we don't have to worry about her hurting other dogs - she sends some type of nonverbals that make other dogs leave her alone or, if it gets bad, she cringes away and stays very close to us.

I'd also like to make two other points: first, the "desensitization" process took months - whatever we were working on. We've had her 4 years and she is still scared of new people and can be leery of those she knows. It took 3 hours to get her into the house - and a full bag of treats. But it has worked for her and for us (though sometimes we are racking our brain about what is bothering her)! Second, Shannon is on Prozac, which has reduced her anxiety so she can learn to trust and get over some of her initial barriers.

Don't know if this is helpful. Good luck with Holly - she sounds wonderful.


Re: Lucky dog, lucky us

Postby nancy » Tue May 24, 2011 4:00 pm

Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions. Our local Anti-Cruelty society has classes for hostile dogs; I've considered working with a private trainer as well. She just looks contented and grateful every day to be in a house with no other dogs. And we're committed to her, alright. We were recently shopping for houses and my husband insisted we consider the number of stairs a dog would have to navigate to get into the backyard because as these big dogs get older we all know that stairs can be an issue. We ruled out several serious considerations based on that. Yes, we are her forever family. Thanks again, MLRR!

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