If you know me at all, you know how good my dogs have it around here. They get to sleep on the couch, they help me cook dinner, they get to romp around with two 4 year old kids, the have their own dog beds in my room. For a dog, this place is pretty darn great.
From time to time I take in a ‘project’ dog. Call them what you will, these dogs haven’t lived the charmed life of one of my Standard Poodles. I feel that it is my duty as a breeder and a dog trainer to give back, so when I have the time and resources, I take one in. My current project dog is “Boris”. He had a different name before he arrived, but my sister was with me when we picked him up and she decided he needed a new lease on life and that included a new name.
Boris is the product of a breeder who had to many dogs and not enough time. He was raised outside, kenneled, and rarely taken off the property. These things I was told before getting him, so I was not surprised by his total and complete culture shock when he arrived here. I am proud of the breeder for recognizing the need to place some dogs, I believe she is going to allow more to go into similar situations. Education is the key in all things, if nothing else one dog is better off.
I’ve had this guy for 2 weeks and he is showing vast improvements every day. No, he isn’t groomed yet, we are working our way up the ladder of stressful scary things. I don’t believe he has been groomed many times in his life. The groom job he has is indication enough for me, it was a quick down and dirty remove the mats grooming. I did bathe him once (he was stinking to high heaven and I didn’t want to touch his dirty hair). The poor dog acted as if I was pouring acid on his skin, and had no idea of how to have a post bath “Run of Joy” that all my dogs relish so much. Things my dogs take for granted, Boris finds extremely stressful or simply alien. He would have rather I stuck him outside and ignore him, but that wasn’t happening.
With all of this heartbreak, there is more than a little light. Boris is a kind soul. He might be afraid of everything, BUT he isn’t aggressive at all and has great joy in his heart, as well as the ability to trust. He now runs into the house and LEAPS up onto the couch with a giant smile on his face. It is like “Hey, look at me!! I can do this, I love this couch! WoW what an amazing place!”. About 5 days ago he crawled into my lap. I almost cried, because this boy finally trusted me enough to place himself in my hands. I’m not sure what was done to his front legs, but if you run your hands down his legs he pulls back as if you are going to hurt him. I’ve had dogs funny about their feet, I owned Shibas! This boy collapsed on the ground the first time I ran my hand down his front leg, I never even touched his feet. That is another reason I haven’t groomed him yet. Now, he allows me to touch his legs, but would rather I not touch his feet. Small steps, but steps we are taking!
I’m not posting this information to find Boris a home. He has one once I get him use to being an indoor pet. I am posting this to show you why I am against keeping a dog “Kenneled” or owning a bunch of dogs who live here with me. Kennel environments institutionalize the dogs. Boris is 2.5 years of age, I believe I can undo most of the damage, but it will take years and a home willing to work with him. Even with all that some things might always frighten him.
My foster program keeps dogs from situations such as these. My co-ownership programs do the same thing, but are geared to teaching you how to be the breeder. Are you interested in supporting a breeder so they can have their dogs in a great home, but allow that dog to produce a litter once or twice in their life? Don’t force breeders into the situation that caused Boris’ baggage. Be open minded. Don’t rush to spay and neuter your dogs. Think about how each dog who is altered is lost to the standard poodle gene pool. If you love your dog, consider the future. Once you spay / neuter there is no going back.
My Foster Program – Georgie (owned by Courtney and Family) and Zelda (owned by Diane and family) are both active girls in my foster program. My two litters this year would never have happened if these families were not willing to take a chance and keep their pets intact to have future litters.