Breed of Their Own
Finding Your Puppy
AKC vs. ACA
Scientists in Italy found that the direction of the wag tells a lot about your dog’s mood.
Dogs swing their tails to the right when they are happy or excited. A shift to the left indicates that all is not well.
The speed of the wag is important, too. Psychology Today reports that a dog’s tail will move vigorously to the right when they see someone they know, but they wag more slowly when they see someone unfamiliar.
In the Appendix is a very important list concerning Safety and Prevention. This list should be read, printed and on your refrigerator too.
||I am the Boss
||Don't even think about it
||I am a great happy dog and it is all about me
||Doesn't matter to me what we do
||I'm not sure what's on the other side of the door but I'm ready
||I am eatting....leave me alone....
||I know, it was a stupid move
||Hide behind Mom until I know what to do
||Okay, so I am a little lower on the ladder than you. I get it
||I already said #9 but if you want more, I can do thiat.
||Now I am really scared
Now that you have picked your rescue dog, you have the dubious honor and distinction of being a rescue dog owner! Good for you. You have chosen wisely. Rescue Dogs need special care. They are not the dogs you find in shelters or find at the breeders.
This class of dogs are different than any other. No-one knows what they have been thru when they get to a rescue farm or sanctuary. You won't find much history but a somewhat informed guess on breed mix (which they always are) and approximate age. They are in foster homes first being evaluated to give you the best information on behavior for sanctuary to make a match.
Such items would include, do they get along with children, other dogs in the home, and cats. Many considerations have to be assessed before they are placed anywhere. I think the biggest hurdle to jump is the stress and anxiety they have when they arrive at their new forever home.
You must keep in mind that a Rescue Dog is not the cute puppy down the street. Nor the shelter dog left behind by its owner. Rescue Dogs are very unique. The dogs were saved and taken in from some of the most macabre circumstances you can imagine. Making them healthy is a physical start and it ends with trying to bring back a mentally healthy mind. Even with all the care they receive first, the choices may be a dog that is blind, three legged, deaf, or in need of daily medication.
Take a long time to think about whether you have the inner strength, perseverance, time, energy, mental equity and heart to care for a dog that is not "perfect". More than physical needs are their psychological needs. You need more patience than you ever thought you could muster. Somewhere down the road you will both meet at the same intersection and both turn the same direction. Your life as best friends begins.
The process is much like adoption but not as stringent. No four pages of application pages to fill out, application fees or weeks of waiting on a list. Rescue volunteers want to see a dog placed in the proper home quickly and at a low cost to you. There are puppies to seniors who all need us. Elsie cost $50 and transportation on P.E.T.S. $200. Their shots are up to date, they are spayed/neutered and micro-chipped. It is a win-win.
I saw Elsie on Adopt a Pet. She is a senior around age 10. It was hard to tell because she has no front teeth to estimate. So we just said she's 10 years old and I picked a date for her birthday. The first day of Spring. She just turned 11. She was in foster care with other dogs. It was apparent that she was on the bottom rung of the ladder and needed a one dog quite peaceful home. She was good with cats and children. She also needed someone who could be with her most of the time. She was highly nervous, scared and needs one on one love and care.
She was perfect for me! Just what I was looking for! I sent an email with the subject of: I want to adopt Mary (her name at the time). Short email giving a snippet of my information and could they get back to me. About 15 minutes later, the phone rang. I did a short interview by phone then filled out the online much shorter version application. As in all cases in all arenas, I would have to have a house inspection done. My home and my life style was a perfect match for Mary.
Because of the the holidays in the late November to early January, pushing forward was a little slower than usual for the volunteers to put together. I emailed my request on December 10th and I had Elsie in my home on January 6th. I did not think that was such a long time compared to shelters. I also could be certain I was getting a dog! and didn't have to wait around biting my fingernails to know if someone was approved before me.
In the meantime, I was in constant contact with a long time volunteer coordinator. A wonderful woman by the name of Louise. She is a long time volunteer with a chapter rescue service and works from home in the Northeast. These exemplarity volunteers put together the paperwork, insurance, veterinarian papers, surgeries, spaying/neutering, appointments, home inspections, micro-chipping, transport reservations, legal documentation needed for over state line property and meets the transport truck on drop off day to help you with anything you need.
She talked to me a lot about how different a rescue dog is than other dogs. What a harder life they have had and how that makes a difference in care. She helped me with what food she should be eating, where to get it online at less cost and delivered to my door (won me over right there and yes I do buy online), how she will act at first and what to expect in the coming year.
I had a house inspection with two more remarkable women. I was only worried about one thing; I didn't have a fence. As long as I am home everyday all day, the cable set up I have was adequate for Elsie's needs. Okay jumped that hurtle. They truly inspected every inch of the house. The home inspections are taken very very seriously. Rescue dogs have been thru enough in their lives. A rescue dog would never go to a home that had the potential to be just as bad a life as they have already had. These women were here for two hours which was used for the inspection as well as time to talk and teach me the hows of caring for a rescue dog.
I listened carefully, noting how different it was going to be from my other dogs. I knew right then I was going to have to research how to care for a rescue dog. Research brought me to books, magazines and online information. This is what I want to share in this section because what I thought I knew after seven dogs, wasn't even close to what I needed to know.
This is the only book you will ever need.
Home at last ~ Home at last ~ Thank God Almighty ~ I am home at last.
I found this book on Amazon used in very good shape. It was like brand new and a low price. I was estatic when I opened it up! What a book. I included the table of contents to show you just how much this book covers with this one specific topic. It covers puppies to elderly seniors. Potty training to basic training. All your fears and theirs. With flowcharts and tables to guide you, the book makes it easy to navigate thru the forest. I sincerely hope you consider buying not only to read before your rescue dog comes but to have as great resource material once they are there. It is an important part of re-homing your dog.
Bringing home Elsie was quite a different experience from my other dogs. First off the bat, I had to teach her by hand to walk up the stairs. Not an everyday thing in Texas. Paw by Paw we went. There is no way in/out of the house without stairs. Then more stairs to the second floor. She got the hang of it by day three. No knowledge of riding in the front seat of my little truck or riding at all maybe. She still shakes a bit and wants out the second we stop.
Instead of a 10 year old dog she seemed more like a 10 month old lost puppy. She knew no basic commands. No instinct for walking left on a leash or speed. Shaking, tail tucked and in a panic. She definitely does not like buildings and uses her head to open the glass door to leave if it pushes and not pulls. Although, I think she would do that if she could. She didn't eat for three days and only drank water. She didn't poop for three days. I've never had a dog mark like she does every 30 feet. I was doing the three in the morning walk around the block. Too much snow in the backyard for training. She is very intelligent.
I had three prime goals. To soothe her fears and panics, consistency and routine. I don't know if I will ever soothe all her fears. I am not a dog psychologist. I've come to believe she has the dog version of PTSD. She is very easily spooked. If there is a conflict for her where ever we are, the next trip she will do her best to avoid that place even though it was a one time event. It takes a lot of calming talk and stroking to get her going again.
We would get one hurdle jumped; two days later it was unhurdled. Consistency of walking routes was easy. Granted I am home all day and night to work on these goals. Don't feel bad if you aren't. I had the opposite trouble if I left her at home. She quickly had separation anxiety. I made my trips a litter longer each time I had to go out and couldn't bring her, say across the street to my neighbors.
After the first week she knew exactly how to get home from our daily morning walk. She was scared about something half-way thru our walk. Pulled the leash right off my wrist, turn around and went home. Perfectly. To the side walk exactly where we cross in front of the school to the Erie Canal Trail and the park. Up the street, looked for cars, across the street, down the sidewalk, crossed our one way street, a quick right 90 degree turn up to our house, left to the house side walk, up the stairs waiting for me on the porch. I was behind her but her trot is about one and a half steps more than I can walk. I let her do it. One, to see if you knew where home was. Two, I couldn't catch her anyway. Three, she was in no mood to listen to any commands we had been working on. Four, we live in a small village. What she did came from her memory by way of consistency.
Routine is another important issue for feeling safe. We get up and go potty then have breakfast.
Morning nap followed by morning walk. She knows instinctively when it is 11 o'clock. Usually afternoon nap, dinner, TV and bedtime. We may venture out in the truck to take care of errands or go to the doctor. The only place she is completely relaxed and in her domain is home. She is not one for venturing outside. For now it could just be the cold, miserable weather. I am certainly happy though that she feels like she has found her home and feels safe here.
She does not to 'play'. She will not give you kisses and licks. She really doesn't want to socialize with other dogs, but she'll stay still until they or we have left. She somewhat dislikes when I just take her muzzle so I can give her a kiss. She does not hug. She won't get on the couch with me. She will not get on the bed. She will follow me around the house. Where ever in that room she flops down, is where she stays. She will not budge until you leave the room. I just have to step over her because she lays in the most inconvenient spot...always. One night she just didn't come upstairs to sleep. I have to admit that hurt me. Not sleeping on the bed with the cat and me is one thing I reconciled but not even coming upstairs at all really bothered me. It wasn't until recently I thought it might be up and down the longer staircase was either scary or it hurt. At least she sleeps at the bottom of the stairs on guard. Of course she doesn't move when you have to go downstairs in the middle of the night.
I love her just the same. We are just a different team. It was in the first month I connected that she loves me too. I stopped to talk with an acquaintance who has two dogs that have been walking him for the last four years. In the excitement, one started to jump up toward me and she swiftly climbed up this dogs chest and pushed him away from me with a growl no less which I had not heard yet. That was a sign of protecting me, loyalty, a bond and yes, a little love thrown in.
Thru it all Louise was there to talk to if I was frustrated or had made a big leap forward. It is reassuring that your coordinator will always be there for you helping to continue jumping hurdles. Most important, your coordinator is there if you think your dog and you are not a match. They would rather think in terms of you being another foster home and try to find another match for that dog and a new match for you. No-one ever wants the dog to be in a place that is making it seem like they are where they used to be. Nor do they want you never to try raising another rescue dog that fits better with you. You will be able to read Elsie's adventures on her page Elsie's First Year.
I found this image chart in Bark magazine. So far, all I had known to tell if she was stressed was her shaking and tail tucked between her legs. These signals were easy to read. When I read this article and saw how much more she was trying to talk to me, I was grateful.
I have mine on the refrigerator to study and refer to. We are now speaking to each other in the same language.
* To print, right click and click Save Image As. Open your Pictures library, name the file saving as a jpeg. Depending on what system you have, it will either appear after the save or you will have to double click to bring it into an image editor. Then you click File and Print. You will need to save each image separately. You will perform the same sequence if you wish to print the image below.
I later found the image below online. It furthers your information about how your dog is reacting to a situation. Again, a most most helpful piece of information. This is 'dog to dog talk'. You should marry this to the information on Stress to absolutely know what your dog is feeling. If you find your dog in the aggressive positions, you should remove him/her immediately from the premise. This is on the refrigerator too!
Guess what? YOUR DONE! I hope that a Rescue Dog is your choice. Giving a home to them is a noble cause. It is heart warming, frustrating, rewarding and a never ending choice from now on.
You have all the support you need. It will take some time, up to a year maybe, for you to have the dog's true personality with a love and bond between you. The most important considerations are: you saved a life and you're giving your dog a happy life until they are called away. What a great feeling and privaledge it is.