Just got home with our new foster, a little 8-month old pit mix with only 3 legs. Gary was brought in to the shelter by a kind woman who had found him on the streets. He was seriously underfed and his back right leg was crushed.
The vets had to amputate Gary’s leg, but boy, you’d never guess it now if you didn’t see the leg was missing!
He needs a little time away from the kennel. We call it a “cage break.” Gary has been there since mid-July. Poor sweet baby.
Gary needs a little “happy” put back in him. He needs to know he is loved for who he is, not just pitied for what he isn’t (which would be a 4-legged dog).
Today, he has met Ursa, our own beloved pit, who is a great foster sister/mother/whatever-is-needed dog. They played outside. They played inside. They wore each other out. Well, Ursa more so than Gary.
I decided to see if Gary is crate trained, since all of our fosters go into the crate at night. Gary was okay in there for a short while, then cried, then started barking. Very loudly. Big bark for such a little dog.
Tempting as it was, I didn’t get up & let him out as he barked. That would be rewarding him for behavior I don’t want. I waited until he was quiet, settled. Then I calmly approached the crate, said nothing to him, calmly opened the door without any fuss and set him free.
He responded as I had hoped. He quietly came out & went to find Ursa. If I’d have made a fuss and made baby-talk in a high voice, his excitement level would have skyrocketed. Nope, don’t want that. It went as I had planned.
Gary has pottied outside several times since he came home. None in the house. Very good! But the key is to keep letting him out and praising him when he does good. I don’t let too much time go by before I let him out again. Whether he was already trained to do it outside or if it is just by accident that I let him out before he has to go, either way, the goal is accomplished.
Oh, and he also met Happy Cat. I figured I’d do my usual routine of cat-introduction for a dog I don’t know, but Happy Cat took care of that. Quite by accident, the two were face-to-face in the kitchen. Happy Cat used to be feral, so she doesn’t take any guff. Gary chased her for a second, but she turned and swatted at him. He changed his mind! Since then I’ve seen Happy Cat rubbing her spine along the bottom of Gary’s chin.
Right now, Gary is exploring a large box of dog toys. He pulls out one, then another and another.The look he got when he discovered the treasure chest is priceless. He’s getting that happy back already.
BTW, Gary & I will be at the Mall at Robinson from 5 to 9 p.m. tomorrow, Sept. 9, along with other adoptable animals from the WPHS. We’d both love to meet you.
I plan to blog daily about Gary’s experience as a foster dog. Hopefully, his stay with us will make him even more adoptable, but he couldn’t get more lovable. Stay tuned!