Friday, November 9, 2012

Once upon a time Palmetto was a sweet, cute puppy. Someone loved him, because he still responds to cutesy baby talk. And he's still handsome, so we'll assume he was just stinking adorable as a puppy. But then things went terribly wrong. We'll never know exactly what happened to him, but he was stray at less than one year old and was hit by a train in Greenville, SC. A good samaritan brought him to the kill-shelter clinic, where they checked him out and found nothing broken (except one of his canine teeth) and they put him on the stray hold list. Although his time was up, he was a staff favorite, so he kept getting extensions on his kill date, until finally Home Free Animal Rescue made the call to save him. He was still alive, but in bad shape...skinny as a rail, full of worms and parasites. So we set about the task of cleaning him up. But that was not the whole picture. Palmetto was found to be afraid of other dogs (and skateboards, among other things) and reacted to them with a ferocious growling barking lunging. Kind of scary, even for someone who is a relatively experienced dog handler. That said, we worked with a local dog behavioralist/trainer and found that he did not actually go for another dog but just sniffed in a tentative, curious kind of way if he got to approach another dog from the back end instead of the scary face end. So the goal for us is to take some time and figure out what is stressing this poor dog and work with him to make these things in his environment less threatening from his perspective. It's a two-part training plan, beginning with a day-long home visit in his own foster home. After that we'll take him to the training center and begin to counter-condition his fear of other dogs and scary things like skateboards and flashing marquis signs. Please, for the love of this dog, donate whatever amount you can comfortably give.

1 comment:

  1. Please help this boy. in just a few days I can see so much potential. he is so incredibly aware of his surroundings, and so gentle with my two very little ones. I can see hin going far. he deserves everyone's help. he IS the dog who could change minds about his breed, and we need more like him, and more people willing to see past the breed, he can help, so please help him.