Happy and content

We would like to grow our foster program this summer – a time when adoptions tend to slow down, but the rescue never does. We have several puppies and special-needs furbabies right now who could really benefit from being in homes and receiving guidance. If you don’t feel you are qualified to help train dogs or to assist with medical needs, we still welcome you to consider fostering one of our “already-great” dogs. In doing so, that helps better prepare and transition them back into a home and it frees us up to spend more time at rescue with the dogs who need it. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.

To promote our push for fosters, we will be sharing some stories from our fosters throughout the years. They all have unique and wonderful experiences – some short-term, some long-term and, yes, some permanent.

Over the past year, Kevin and Elisa Schwutke have been a “dogsend” to the group. They have fostered three dogs (Pebbles, Casper and Mr. Wiggles) to adoption and are currently fostering one of our more “difficult” cases named Chad. This is Chad’s third foster home. Although he did well with the others, he has some fear issues (especially around men) that needed to be addressed directly and overcome before he can move on to a permanent home. It’s been a long road, but he is finally learning to trust.

Here’s an update on this handsome boy with freckled ears and Jack Russell muscles from his foster mom (who also took all the gorgeous photos).

Chad: Learning to Trust

by Elisa Schwutke

Chad is doing fine. With me, his female person, he is just awesome since he got here. He is absolutely dedicated to one female person and would do everything for her. With strangers–and  especially men–he needs time to warm up.  He tolerates women around him without being scared, (but) with men he’s always on the watch if they will try to get him. No man can touch him. So the biggest changes he made in the last few months are definitely his relationship to Kevin and his urge to explore the world.

Easter was the time he really started to make progress. He was with us for about two months then. Until then, Chad would only eat when I was right besides him and encouraged him when Kevin was feeding him. Step by step, I could stay away a bit more; now I don’t even have to be in the same room. For us, it’s amazing! I know it seems like nothing, but for Chad it’s a big thing. He definitely never totally trusted a man in his life. With this big progress, we also started letting Chad do some tricks for Kevin. He learned the tricks from me and is eager to do it. First just a sit, but now he even gives a high five or paw to Kevin. And this is a highlight, because that means he has to touch him on his own.

At first Chad was a bit shy on the walks. He is not really scared of noises or new things, this was done in days. For him, a  man crossing his path is the big challenge. He was hiding immediately when a man was crossing our way or was just somewhere where he could see or hear him. At the moment we can easily walk by, just when we stop and the man’s voice is very deep, he will try to hide.

Our trips to Charleston and Texas have done a lot. He did so great in the cities because of all the smells and new things, so he couldn’t freeze every time someone walked past him. He was just ignoring them all, and he learned that nobody would try to touch him, they had no interest in him. He learned so much on our trips! He has seen that the world means more than just a house, more than just a neighborhood. And now…he loves it!

He is rolling over fields, sniffing trees, hunting and watching for squirrels, checking p-mails, all the things a normal dog does. Even Kevin has to admit that this dog has less natural anxiety about new things than our own dog, Isis (she’s a natural fraidy cat, and we had to build up her confidence a lot before she was at the point where she is now). Chad was not born that way, he has been made this way. And we are working hard on it to undo what someone has done by mistreating and imprisoning this dog.

Our highlights of the last weeks: Chaddy resting his head on Kevin’s arm while sleeping and leaning against him to fall asleep. Chad trying to follow Kevin on walks while I was standing right besides him. Coming to Kevin when he’s clapping and calling him. Wagging his tail regularly at Kevin when he comes home (we worked hard on it with a looot of excitement). Even playing a bit with Kevin when he was happy to see us again. The few times Kevin was able to pet him without getting the panic look. And, of course, every single time he’s not running away from him. Sometimes he just forgets that this guy who was not at home for such a long period of time is the guy he can trust. 😉

Want to Foster?

Have questions about your commitment as a foster? You can find out everything you need to know on our Foster A Dog page. We do need to mention that, although we appreciate the offer from other states to foster, all potential fosters should live in the Atlanta area to make vet runs and/or to bring the dogs to adoption events or to meet prospective parents.

Think you might be a good fit for Chad?

While Chad is doing well in his foster home, a permanent home is our ultimate goal. If so, please download, complete and return our adoption application. Finding a forever home for Chad will help him settle in, once and for all, with someone and will give his foster parents a chance to foster and help another dog.