In the middle of January 2013, a litter of feral puppies were surrendered to the Western PA Humane Society. The person who brought them said they had found them under their porch. The puppies were approximately 5 months old, and were lab and shepherd mixes. The staff at WPHS decided to invest in these puppies’ futures, and find the right training and foster homes to make them “adoptable.” This was not a very easy task, since the puppies feared eye contact from people and were by no means house trained. Staff even reached out to several trainers, who said that feral puppies that old were a lost cause. The staff made a commitment that it would exhaust all options to ensure that these puppies would have the best outcome possible. It took several weeks in foster homes before they could be brought back to the shelter to then be assessed. There have been some amazing breakthroughs, but also some heart breaks.
Angus, the only chocolate-colored pup, has been one of our successes thus far, and the pup who has spent the most time interacting with shelter staff. He spends most of his time in offices, where the staff can get him acclimated to things that he will be encountering on the outside, and forming bonds with him that we didn’t think were possible. Most recently, Angus went home for the weekend with our Lost and Found Manager, Joy Kealey. Joy has dogs and a cat of her own, and a nice big fenced in yard- Angus’ dream home!
Joy was so excited about the progress that she saw with Angus in her home, and documented all of Angus’ experiences and his reactions to the home environment. He made claim to a spot on the couch, but made sure to leave plenty of room for the owner of that couch- Joy’s pup Skyler. He also met Joy’s husband for the first time, and allowed him to gently rub his neck and chest. This was a huge step for Angus, who just weeks before would shy away from someone reaching out their hand. Angus also got to experience being in a fenced in yard off-leash. His nose was going the whole time and he played and frolicked with the other dogs. He seemed to enjoy himself immensely, but still came to Joy when she called to him and always kept her in his sight. This is very important, since we originally thought he was only social around other dogs; not trusting the humans in the room.
We can only hope that Angus’ progress continues exponentially. His future adoption will be a much celebrated feet, since so much time and effort has been put into his growth in the past 4 months. It is quite amazing to look into his eyes now and to see a questioning look back, not a quick run back to a corner to hide. Angus will be lucky to count himself as another success of the Western PA Humane Society’s staff and volunteers. If you wish to donate to support the care of Angus and other pets in need like him, please visit www.wpahumane.org/waystogive.html.