I am an extraordinary pet! You should know what that means.
Shadow is one of our extra-ordinary pets (click on the link above to see what that means) with quite a story. In January of 2013, Shadow wandered onto the rural property of a couple who had no dog experience, collapsing in their yard. The kind couple scooped her up and took her to the vet where she was treated for a skin infection and malnutrition. She wintered in their barn, getting lots of good food and being kept warm by a heater. Once her health improved, Shadow was allowed into their large fenced yard which contained, among other buildings, a small chicken house with a side door opening into a room that the chickens could not enter. Once Shadow was loose out in the yard and could escape her rescuers, fear kept her from coming to the people who wanted to help her. Along the back of their property was a bamboo forest which Shadow found to be a perfect ‘safe’ place. She came out of her forest only when no one was around, eating her meals from the open room in the chicken house after the people brought the food out and returned to their house. They were able to ‘catch’ her in the chicken house on one occasion and take her to the vet again for immunizations. The people thought that if they gave her time she would come around. Instead, Shadow continued her routine and made no progress towards socialization.
In July, at a community adoption event, the woman approached us and asked for help with Shadow. Because they had a toddler and did not want to bring Shadow into their house, not knowing how she would react to the baby, they wanted to find help for her before winter set in. We brought her into our program that month and placed her in a foster home. Shadow loves playing with other dogs in her foster home and romps with them as a normal dog would do. She does have a neurological problem, the vet says is most likely from having had distemper as a puppy. The residual is a twitching motion of her head and an unsteady gait, neither of which bother her a bit but when you watch her play she is wobbly at times. She was likely not cared for as a pup, not receiving needed immunizations, or socialization, which accounts for her fear of people.
Since coming to her foster home Shadow has been only the gentlest of creatures with humans. When she is hiding in her kennel or a safe spot in the corner of the room and her foster parents approach, she allows them to pet her, comb her, lift/carry her, give medication, bathe her…anything that needs to be done. She has not worked up enough courage to come when called or allow someone to walk up to her if she is out in the open. She has not yet learned to walk on lead. But she does have a normal-for-her routine. She knows several commands such as ‘lets go outside’, ‘go to the house’, ‘go to your kennel’, ‘go to the otherside’ (when requested to go to a crate in another room). She is actually a very smart girl, always attentive, ever vigilant. She is crate trained and such an easy girl to care for. Some of her antics are sure to make you smile, she is a fun little girl. We do believe Shadow is capable of making more progress, such as walking on lead, if someone has the time to work intensely with her.
The perfect home for Shadow would be one with a patient & kind owner/s, a securely fenced back yard and no children to ‘accidentally’ let Shadow get out a door leading anywhere but a fenced yard (she never tries to exit any door other than the patio door to the back yard in her foster home; in fact, she views the house as ‘safe’ and when something scares her while she is in the yard, like a gunshot, she can’t wait to come inside) and a home with a playful, well-adjusted dog would also be a plus. This type of dog would be very helpful for her; she watches how our other dogs interact with people and she loves to play tug with other dogs and just hang out with them. If you have experience in working with fearful dogs or ever wanted to try, we would love to work with you. Change is a bad thing for dogs like Shadow, so her ideal home would be one in which the person was settled and had a routine that Shadow could fall into. Her foster mom will be available for assistance in making the transition, answering questions and helping as needed, even boarding for vacations if needed. Update 12/28/14: Shadow has learned the targeting exercise ‘touch’! She will come to the command ‘touch’, reach her nose out to touch a palm and then take a treat. Very exciting!