It's a wonderful dog day at Debby's house. I have two chihuahuas I'm fostering that I've had here for several months, a 10-year-old schnoodle who will probably never be placed in a home, a chihuahua mix who is a great dog but was returned to us after the adopter kept him for more than a year, and now a chihuahua mix who came from a breeder and is a freaky little guy.
The freak is Slim. He came to ARF at the same time as the two chihuahuas I mentioned above -- Major and Paco. Major was social and sweet from the beginning, but Paco was scared spitless. He had obviously never been on grass before because it scared him when I placed him in the yard. The breeze scared him. Leaves falling from trees scared him. But what scared him the most was me. I terrified him. He ran like a jackrabbit when he saw me.
Skip ahead three months and Paco is my sweetheart. He stands on his back legs and wants me to pick him up, cuddle him, kiss him, and mainly scratch his hide quarters. For the first six weeks I had him, he would not look at me in the face. When I kissed him he stiffened as if I had given him an electric shock.
All of this is classic puppy mill behavior, even though he came from a "small breeder." Evidently, Major was given attention but Paco wasn't. I also had another chihuahua from this breeder, but he was adopted after about a month. He, too, was very social and sweet.
Now I have Slim, who came from the same breeder, and has been in two other ARF foster homes. In each one he made progress, but he has a long way to go. In his most recent foster home he went poop and pee in his crate very often. Of course, we will have a lot of trouble ever adopting out a dog that poops and pees in his crate and in the house. Slim was doing well at the other foster home other than that. He was loving with the foster family and liked to go on daily walks, although everything startled him.
Here, I have not had the poop and pee trouble much. Just once. We decided to try him out here to see if he would learn to use a doggy door since the other two chihuahua fosters figured it out pretty quickly. If we can get Slim to use a doggy door, his adoption chances will improve.
But beyond the doggy door thing, he has other problems. Puppy mill problems. I was told last night at the ARF board meeting that he shows poorly when we are at PetSmart with our dogs. He snaps and growls at children and men. I'm not going to show him in public until I can get his confidence and he likes me and wants to please me. Then I will take him out among people and see how it goes.
It is difficult for rescue groups and foster homes to deal with dogs like this because they take up a space that we could use for adoptable animals. Adopters mostly want well-behaved, social dogs that are at least crate trained. They also don't want dogs that are older than 6 or 7. Which brings me to the schnoodle, but I will tell you about her in the next post.
As for Slim, stay tuned. This morning he came up to me when I was sitting on the patio and placed his front feet on my knee. I reached out to touch him and he flew away in a panic. Patience, I'm told, is a virtue.