You Gotta Have Faith - Part 1
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Every once in a while I get puppy fever and decide I’d like to add to my pack. To counteract these feelings, and keep from being featured on the next season of hoarders, I bring a foster pup into my home. It’s a win-win, the pup gets a chance to get out of the shelter and get cuddled and spoiled and hopefully learn something, and I get to scratch my puppy itch. And fortunately, the fabulous folks at the Humane Society of Westchester at New Rochelle always have plenty of pups that could use some snuggles, and are willing to let me spring them from the shelter for a few weeks.
My most recent foster pup is Faith. You may have seen some cameos of her on IG and Facebook, and possibly confused her with the demon (but for reals ears up vs. ears down). My best guess is that she’s Border Staffy; she’s Riley sized and squat with a big head, big shoulders, and soft downy Border Collie fur and a BC brain… so yeah Border Staffy. She’s pretty darn athletic, keeping up with Fin pup when they have zoomies around the backyard, and turns surprisingly well so even the Demon can’t evade her.
She sounds super awesome, so why is she in the shelter? Well spend a few minutes with her, and you can tell she’s probably had a rough life so far. Her tail was clearly broken and never set properly, she’s definitely had a litter, and she’s pretty wary of just about everything. Poor Faith is highly under-socialized, I doubt she ever had the time to interact much with anyone besides her person (who may not have been that great to her) and whichever dog got her pregnant. Everything seems like a new adventure to her: meeting new people, meeting new dogs, walking on the leash, going to different places. But what is amazing about this dog is that despite this, she’s always game for the next adventure.
Here’s an example. After a few weeks hanging out at home I took her to my Agility center to see how she’d adjust. She hung out in the car during most of Fin pup’s class, and towards the end I brought her in. Mind you, this is a Master’s level class, with dogs barking, Border Collies barreling through tunnels, and oh yeah, there’s a gym upstairs and its right next to train tracks, so all sorts of noise and excitement going on. This girl happily hopped out of my car and walked into the building. She was alert and a little reserved but not openly fearful. I walked her through the peanut gallery, and she was getting her bearings just as a BC blasted through a tunnel (for those who don’t know that makes a ton of noise). This set her over the edge, and rightfully so in my opinion, so we exited the building and I put her back in the car. 10 minutes later, she was happy to hop out of the car again, and walked right back into the building, out onto the floor, and made some human and doggie friends. Her recovery time is absolutely amazing! In the same situation, Ri might have needed hours if not days to recover, and I know some dogs who would have been burned for life.
It’s crazy to me that despite the rough start she has had, she can adapt to all of these new situations, and is still trusting and resilient enough to try again.
So now you may be wondering what I’m doing to build on this natural tendency and help her find a home (because you know I can’t have a dog in my house and not be training it lol!). Whelp you’re gonna have to check in on the next blog to hear about my training and enrichment strategies for Faith.
To be continued………