Did ya miss me?
This is Floozie, my first-ever rescue/foster, and that's my hand disappearing into her mouth as she's taking a treat.
Floozie's where I've been.
After a bumpy start, I was able to pull Floozie from Death Row at the Phoenix Westside animal shelter on Jan. 6, 2009. She had been found as a stray, and was sentenced to die in less than 24 hours because she was "aggressive with other animals."
A quick visit to Run No, 197 satisfied me that this little gal was not aggressive, certainly not with humans, and if with other animals, there would be a good reason. She was, rather, frightened, dazed, and reticent. She gently sniffed my hand and sadly turned away.
After the paperwork was finished and she had her rabies shot, I loaded Floozie into the crate in the back of my 4-Runner. We drove directly to the groomer. She was filthy. Her dirty, greasy coat was stiff to the touch, and she was sure not coming into this house in that condition!
Two hours later, the glistening dog you see here followed me docilely into the house and went directly into her crate. After a big meal of top-of-the-line kibble and a cool drink, she conked out and slept for four hours.
The fact is that Floozie is dog aggressive when food is around. Know why? Because she was a starving stray, that's why.
When I saw her first, her "collar" was a greasy, filthy paper-and-wire vegetable tie. This is not an indication of love and devotion on the part of an owner. No. My sense after several days is that Ms. Flooze lived in the back yard and ate--well, not enough. And then she escaped and ate even less. If that were my history, I'd be "food aggressive," too, wouldn't you?
Happily, Floozie isn't at all aggressive with humans over food. I can take her chews right out of her mouth, and remove her food and water bowl at will. This is very good, because Floozie needs to know that food is earned, and that her human giveth and taketh it away. She gets that. She's quite clear about who's the pack leader. That's wonderful, because it means she can look forward to a long, promising life.
With each passing day, Floozie--I named her that because she was a loose woman--has made progress in giant strides. First, she learned to sit, and then to come, and now she's learning the down command. She is also housebroken. Today, she is able to race offlead with our pack in the back yard without any grumbles from anybody, and this morning, she sat quietly out of her crate and just 4 feet away when I served Arwen and Bey their breakfasts, awaiting her turn.
The point of that is that she knew that she would have a turn. Trust is building, and as it does, just as I suspected, the "food aggression" is dissipating. It's still there--especially when she's in her crate (that's HER private space) with a chew or some chow. She makes it very clear that no dog is to come near her then. But things are getting ever so much better.
Floozie's next big stop will be the spay and microchip. I hope to have these safeguards taken care of in the next week. After that, and a decent post-op recovery time, she'll be ready for her new forever home. And the good news is that she has two prospective owners already lined up!
When I say "my first-ever rescue/foster," I mean that Floozie is the first dog I've ever personally pulled from a shelter to foster until an approved permanent placement can be found.
All four of our own dogs are rescues. We believe in rehoming good dogsters, and have found that a rescued dog makes the greatest companion there is. He or she knows the downside of dog life and is eternally grateful for having access to the upside. It's a wonderful relationship.
As to being actively involved in rescuing dogs otherwise doomed to be killed, it's maybe the most gratifying thing I've ever done. Through it--already--I've learned new skills, stretched my boundaries, made great new friends and contacts, and watched a filthy little urchin blossom into a lovely little princess.
When Floozie has her new home, she'll also get a new name befitting her new status. After all, no sweet, well-mannered, Dober girl deserves a name like "Floozie"!
Will keep you posted.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Did ya miss me?