Monday, November 26, 2012

Fostering Lady

We have a new foster dog at home. I wonder if I can do right by this dog.

She was a breeding dog at a Lancaster puppy mill.  A man from NJ somehow found out and told the guy to give up Lady (then named Sadie) and some other dogs or he'd report the puppy mill.  Unfortunately, he turned around and made his own puppy mill.  Between his poor care of the dogs and other animals on his farm, authorities shut him down.  Shelters took care of the other animals plus her breeding father (Picaso -- good name, isn't it?) and her puppy.  (She had a litter of 6, but she was malnourished etc. so only 1 pup survived).  One of our volunteer found out about her and Oasis picked up her.

The volunteer lives in an apartment and is already fostering a few animals with no more room.  She boards a horse and got them to foster, but they kept her in a large hutch (3 people could fit in it), plus walks, but it was outside.  That's when we came in.

She's a bit bowlegged in the back; they say that's normal for a puppy mill breeder.  Their cages are so small, they can't full stand up and kind of squat.  the legs get bowlegged from it. (She just stole my sock too, but I digress.)  She's not housebroken because she's never been in a house before, never been up and down steps (so I have to take her up and down our deck steps), and she's never known a human being to touch her until Oasis.

So we have to get her housebroken, which is tough because you tell her no and she gets terrified that we'll turn on her.  She won't come to us when we call to let us pick her up; we have to corral her.  And teach her how to use steps.

And yet:

She's got the sweetest personality.  Even with her trust issues, she's good to us: doesn't bite, snap, or growl.  Even with the vet, she took every shot, the needle for the blood and everything else like a sweetheart.

She's not 10; the original puppy mill got her age mixed up with a different dog.  She has no gray fur on her muzzle, moves like a younger dog, and her teeth are in good shape except some tartar for ill care.  We're guessing 4 - 5.  The vet said if you went by teeth alone, she could be older, but that's from poor food and conditions more likely.

She plays tug of war with Daytona which is amazing since she's never had a chance to play at all.  She's great with other animals, not just mine.  She distrusts men more than women (because men owned her), so John is giving her ultimate patience, always talking gently, and petting her.  She does come up to us to touch our hands, and she's started sleeping closer to us instead of across the room.

She's gorgeous.  The last volunteer got her weight up.  And she thinks the yard is heaven on earth!  She's even okay with a crate after the first day, seeing Elphie and Daytona okay with theirs.

I worry I won't get through her trust issues to get her to come up and be picked up, and to get her housebroken.

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