Sunday, November 1, 2009

walk AWAY!

Part of having rescue dogs living in our house until they get adopted is figuring out their quirks so that we can be completely up front with potential adopters in order to find a home where they will live out the rest of their days. Sometimes we get dogs that have virtually no issues and are only turned into rescue for reasons like the economy or a divorce. However, much more often dogs come in that have some pretty big issues that could have easily been avoided if they had been taught manners as puppies and been socialized.

*side note - our dogs are by NO means perfect little angels! They bark at the wind and jump up in the front window to protect us from the mail. They don't always remember that they aren't allowed on the couch and occasionally if there is a really really tempting paper towel carelessly left hanging out of the trashcan, they eat it. But we try very hard to make sure they know their manners!*

Our foster Wilson, who we've had since May is an example of the later. He was kept outside for his entire first year and because of that the family had no reason to teach him manners. He didn't interact with anybody or anything, so what would he need manners for? He obviously got no socialization either. And now we have a problem!
We've been working with him and have had him evaluated by several different professionals, but it looks like he will always carry some baggage with him. He is S...L...O...W to learn new things. It took him almost 4 months to learn sit and then another several weeks to be able to perform consistently when asked to sit. He's also very leery of new things, especially men. That is a big problem when the vet that we see is a man! So bad in fact that he needs to be muzzled for everybody's safety!

{shredded an entire dog bed while I was sleepin... and he was proud of it!}

Wilson does so well at home when nothing is changing; when he's comfortable. But on Friday my Father -in- law came over which in and of itself was a change that Wilson did not like. Add to that the fact that my FIL (drives me crazy with the way he) tries to get the dogs all riled up and you've got trouble. Dogs were at the fence barking when FIL got out of his truck. That's what the dogs do. They're letting us know someone is here. Instead of ignoring it like ALL of our other visitors, FIL walks over to the fence. The girls get excited when they realize that they know who it is but Wilson is showing increased aggravation. He's barking and growling and has jumped up on the fence. This dog weighs 130 lbs. If a dog that big was barking/ growling/ jumping at me I'd be outta there. But FIL keeps walking over towards him. Wilson barks at him a couple more times and then reaches out and pinches his shirt sleeve between his teeth. FIL was close enough to Wilson that if Wilson had wanted to hurt him he really could have bitten him good, but he just pinched his sleeve.

Wilson was definitely in the wrong here for nipping, but I'm more upset with my FIL. He KNOWS that Wilson has issues. We've warned him numerous times that he can not get in Wilson's face and tease him like he does with the girls. Hubby told FIL not to get too close to Wilson when he was growling/ barking/ jumping and FIL didn't listen. Instead of giving me time to get to the fence and turn the whole thing into a teachable moment for Wilson, FIL turned it into an threatening, react NOW situation.

If Wilson had actually bitten my FIL we would have had to report it to the rescue and then Wilson would have had to be put down. I'm so thankful that my FIL didn't get hurt and that we don't have to deal with the painful possibility of putting Wilson down. But now I am intensely worried about the next person who walks up to our fence. I just hope they have enough sense to walk AWAY from a huge barking/ growling dog!


  1. I think your work with rescue dogs is amazing. My dog was 2 days away from being put down when I found him in a shelter, and it breaks my heart to think of someone doing such a horrible thing to my dog.

  2. I agree. The work you do with fostering dogs is just wonderful. I really hope for Wilson's sake that people use some common sense. Poor Wilson!!! :(

  3. Thanks girls! I'm so glad we can help save these poor dogs who deserve a chance at life!! :)