MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Could Bella Be Your Own Emotional Support Dog?

Hi, I'm Bella
Bella is a sweet 5 year old female pit bull terrier. She has had 3 homes, one of them for 4 of her 5 years. Here Bella lived with 2 other dogs and 3 children. "She is great with other dogs and kids," says this guardian. Her favorite company was their other dog, Maddie. The reason they relinquished her was, "the dogs are kenneled all day together and get no attention. They can't be outside because the neighbors complain. She needs a good home with lots of attention!" And, of course, physical activity.

Bella was accustomed to staying home alone for five to six hours and was comfortable alone for seven to eight hours. She is housetrained, likes to run and play fetch and loved being with family, greeting family and strangers alike with loving jumps and kisses. 

According to another of her guardians, however, Bella will do best in a home without other animals, as she doesn't do well greeting other animals and gets nervous/fearful around other dogs, where she reacts with barking. This guardian feels that this sweetheart would be fine being placed in a home with children (she lived with a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old).

Bella has never bitten or snapped at anyone. She has had basic obedience training and knows sit, lay down, go potty and paw (shake). According to this owner, "Bella is a sweetheart, great with kids, strangers, men and women. She gets very active around other dogs so introduce them slowly in a controlled environment. Preferably don't house her with other dogs. She is very well-trained, does not pull and does not bark. Any home would be lucky to have her."

Sweet Bella
Bella's last adopter was going to be away on military service and wasn't aware of her medical issue when he adopted her. Bella is hypothyroid, which means her metabolic rate is slower than normal. It is not at all uncommon in dogs and is easily treated with thyroid supplementation, which Bella will likely take for the rest of her life. This adopter only had Bella for one day. He said she "is a sweetheart who just gets excited ... I would take her back in a heartbeat."

While in the shelter, Bella has exhibited reactivity towards other dogs for which she is receiving behavioral management with the training department to resolve this problem. She may need further training with this issue and a free session is offered through the Humane Society of Boulder Valley's training department. 

Are you looking for a loving companion dog for you and your family? Do you want to rescue a special pet from an animal shelter to adopt for your own? Are you wanting an emotional support dog and don't mind putting in a little extra time working with you new forever friend around other dogs with trainer assistance? And making sure she gets to run and play? If this is you, Bella is your girl! You can find her at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

Dawn Kairns is the author of Maggie the Dog Who Changed My Life

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Are You My Forever Person?

Casey in her HSBV corner condo
I returned as a volunteer to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV) in October, 2016 to work in the dog adoptions center. My job description includes walking the dogs and "enriching their lives" while they are in the shelter environment. The animals that come through their doors are some of the luckiest of those furry angels unlucky enough to end up in an animal shelter at all. What I noticed is that it was rare to see the same dogs from one week to the next as they get adopted pretty quickly here in Boulder. Such is the beauty of living in a town that loves to adopt shelter animals.
LOVE my soft toys!
Well, most dogs get adopted quickly, that is. Of course there are those few who need a little extra training and behavioral work, both inside the shelter and once they walk out the door with their new forever person/family. Perhaps they have separation anxiety, or are dog aggressive but people-loving, or a little overly protective with their family. Casey is one such pup I noticed who was passed over week after week, setting up camp in her corner "condo." She seemed depressed lying alone with her toys, encased in glass and tile. But when I saw her ready to go for a walk with her handler, I saw a sweet, happy girl, ready to go with toy in mouth!
Casey is a 9-year-old female lab, German shepherd, pointer mix. She loves people, and carrying her soft, furry toys around in her mouth. It is believed that she lived the first 6 years of her life with one guardian. Sadly, during the past 3 years, Casey has been adopted and returned to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley several times, likely leading to her exhibiting signs of separation anxiety where she didn’t before. The biggest reason for her returns is conflicts with other dogs if they get too close, so Casey will do best in a home as the only animal.
Her last adopter regrettably took her for a walk with their small baby in a stroller right after adopting Casey. This is never advised until a new guardian has a chance to get to know their new dog, and how she will react when she sees other dogs, cats, squirrels, etc. In her excitement on their first walk, Casey pulled hard on her leash and the baby’s father, unable to manage her, fell, the baby stroller leaving his hands and rolling away from him! This was enough for him to bring poor Casey right back to the shelter.

Casey has received behavior modification at HSBV for her tendency to have conflicts with other dogs and more recently for separation anxiety. She may need further behavioral management, and one consult through HSBV is offered to you, the adopter for free.
She likely has chronic generalized arthritis and needs pain management. A glucosamine supplement such as Glycoflex or Cosequin along with an anti-inflammatory such as Rimadyl is recommended. Casey also needs weight reduction/management, which will likely help her arthritis pain as well. She will welcome gentle exercise and a well-padded bed. Casey is not perfect; but the perfect person and situation are out there for her. Could that be you?

If you have a lot of love to give a dog and are ready to receive the love coming back at you, if you enjoy a training challenge, and are curious, patient and committed, might you be Casey's forever person?

If you want to meet or learn  more about Casey, contact the Humane Society of Boulder Valley at 2323 55th Street, Boulder, CO 80301. You can call them at 30-3442-4030.

Posted by:
Dawn Kairns
Author, MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life