We have fostered Scoutie for nearly four weeks, and in that time, he’s gone from a scared and snappy little fellow, with some resource issues and conflict control aggression, to a total sweetheart that I will miss hanging out with.
Scoutie is a dachshund/papillion mix (we think). He weighs about 15 lbs. He is not quite knee-high.
Scoutie is four years old. He may be little, but he hikes like a pro, and is, in no way, a shitty little dog. Scoutie is neutered. He has all of his shots. And by the time he is adopted, he will have had his teeth done too.
I will miss his kisses and his happy dance. I will miss our little talks.
As much as I love dogs, I’m not one of those people that loves every dog and wants to hang out with every dog, and when I met Scoutie, I thought, Oh, you are a piece of work.
For the first year of his life, he lived in a home that was unpredictable, where he was abused by a man and where rules were arbitrary. There is nothing that makes a dog more nervous (or human) than when rules are arbitrary and ever-changing.
It was so bad that a relative spirited Scoutie away. to a shelter, where the man who abused him came and got him back. Another relative took him and drove him several hours away to a rescue group.
This little dog needed a home where he was socialized with other dogs, regularly walked and groomed and disciplined. The lady who had Scout, while she is a nice gal, didn’t know how to deal with his behavior challenges. She let him get away with any behavior that he offered, and she didn’t build confidence in him. She couldn’t trust him to take him anywhere, and she has a lot of emotional challenges of her own that she regularly works through.
Let me just say- in a busy foster home, in four weeks, this guy has gone from weirdo to happy little dog.
He listens pretty well.
His resource guarding is gone.
When we met, I couldn’t touch him below his neck. Now I can touch him anywhere, without a problem.
I was told that he was scared of men, and a terror to cats and weird around dogs. It turns out he likes men a lot. He is easily redirected from cats (where he pretty much just wants to hump them). He can now take a nap with a cat. He properly greets dogs on walks, and properly plays with dogs at the dog park and at our house.
For the first three weeks, he was constantly worried. He tired himself out with worry because he would stay awake all day and by 8 o’clock, he was so cranky and tired. He’d want to be comforted but also be worried that someone was going to brush him or pet him or otherwise wake him up. So he’d curl his lip and give a tiny snap if you tried to pet him. He learned, after several conversations, that when you are tired, you go sleep by a person but not on them. If you are sitting on a person, they will pet you, and they will not like it if you curl a lip or snap. That’s not okay.
About a week ago, the switch flipped. Instead of worrying that everything is going to be bad, Scoutie now thinks that maybe things are going to be good.
I think we have gas station attendants and McDonald’s Drive-through, and the nice people at Lexi-Dog Social Club to thank for that.
That is the moment I love the most in fostering. I love it when the switch flips, and the dog relaxes and starts acting like a dog.
When you are not worried, you stop being difficult. You start being willing to try things- like baths and brushing, and getting your nails cut (not his favorite). You start being the first out of the car instead of the last.
You try things that are not okay and are told they’re not okay, and you learn not to do them. You also learn that being wrong isn’t a beating or the end of the world. It’s just being wrong.
Scoutie does not need a home with a dog expert. He’s through the hard re-wiring. Now he just needs a home where he’s loved, where he has a routine and proper expectations. He would be great with another dog. He is fine with cats.
He can’t live in an apartment because he is a little yippy when people leave. And a little barky.
I think young kids would still make him nervous, but my golly does this dog love teenagers. I have a senior in high school named Ike, and we often have to check and re-check his bedroom during the day to make sure that Ike didn’t somehow sneak home. I have never seen such an enthusiastic dance than when Ike comes home.
Scoutie is great at:
-going to restaurants and pubs
– visiting people
-riding in the car
– walking on leash. We are working on not pulling.
– getting a bath
– going to bed in his crate
– running up to the door when we get out of the car.
– playing with other dogs
-Scoutie is working on:
– coming when called
-asking to go potty outside (he is much improved. We haven’t had an accident in three days!)
Scoutie doesn’t understand toys yet, but if introduced, I think he would like them.
I’d love to find a home where I can get updates on Scoutie. I’d love for him to have a forever home where he is loved! It’d be great if it was in the PNW.
You can be part of Scoutie’s new life.
Are you Scoutie’s potential forever friend and owner?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk.