Today was my first day going out to the shelter to help walk the dogs and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately the shelter is about a 45 minute drive out from my house so it's not something I can fit in every weekend but I plan to try and get out there every 3-4 weeks.
Part of what motivated me to go out and help walk the dogs was to be able to meet them and help figure out who would probably be a good fit as a long term foster (potential failed foster haha). I'm already helping out with short term fostering but feel I'm close to getting my brother to agree to a long term foster.
Most of the dogs I'm considering have been at the shelter for about a year now and were saved from a hording situation with 70-90 dogs on the property. They are all really shy and scared and are walk in pairs to help them feel more comfortable. All are much more comfortable when they are with other dogs.
I walked two of them today and shortly after we got them out of the kennel building and heading over to the trails the girl I was walking froze up. So I sat down, pet her, and just loved on her trying to get her more comfortable with me and feeling safer. I was with a senior volunteer walking her buddy and we switched dogs to see if she'd feel more comfortable with the senior volunteer she knows. Warmed up a bit more but still didn't want to budge until the senior volunteer let out a really excited "let's go!" and broke into a jog and off we went, got to the trails and she was a happy girl.
We switched dogs again and she was still happy to be out sniffing around with her buddy. Talking with the senior volunteer as we walk the dogs and apparently I'm somewhat out of the norm for new volunteers because I didn't just give up when the dog froze up and didn't want to move. Kinda surprises me that people would be so quick to give up on walking a fearful dog in a situation where they only get walked on the weekends. Giving up on her only makes it worse for her.
She's a very sweet dog and so is her buddy who walked with her. She warmed up to me pretty well on that walk alone. I walked the dog in the run next to her after I put her back in her run. He ended up getting me all bloody with his happy tail and got me pretty good before I noticed the blood on my arms. Quick visit with the kennel manager and his tail got some spay on it to stop the bleeding and we had a nice walk. Got back and the girl I had walked earlier is looking happy to see me again so I decide to go in her run and give her some loving and treats for a bit before finding another dog who hadn't been walked yet.
I got to meet two of the others I was interested in at the end of the day when the senior volunteer I walked with earlier got them and the boy she'd walked earlier together in a play yard. The other too were really shy and didn't interact with me directly but after a bit got up the courage to come sniff me when I "ignored" them approaching.
Going to be a fun experience getting to know these dogs and figuring out who will be the best fit with Jubel. I think three of these hoarding rescues could make a good match and Jubel could help them learn some confidence. There are a few other long term residents I'm interested in but didn't meet them today. Next time I'll seek them out for sure and spend some more time getting to know the shy pups too.
What you are doing is wonderful! Something I could not do ... I would want to rescue them all ... immediately. Good luck with your Brother and with whichever dog you choose. I hope you find a good match for Jubel.
I think my biggest concern about choosing one of the shy dogs would be my brothers tendency to get frustrated over a video game or sporting event and scream bloody murder at the TV. Jubel isn't bothered by this in the least thankfully but I'm pretty sure it'd freak out an already timid dog. He'd never scream AT a dog but not all dogs have an easy time telling the difference between frustration with something else and frustration/anger at them.
I'm sure he'd try to control himself and might even do somewhat of a decent job in the beginning but the screaming WILL happen at some point, it's too much of his 'norm' to stop completely. Hell he can't even control himself on his nights off sometimes and wakes me up at 3am ranting about something in his video game... Sound travels too well through the air ducts in our house, basement to upstairs bedroom.
Well I was back out at the shelter again yesterday and spent some more time with the shy girl I really like Pachina (if I foster her that name is very likely to change, she doesn't really respond to it anyways). I probably spent about 15-20 minutes just petting and loving on her in her run waiting for another dog walking volunteer to come and ask them if they'd grab her buddy Caleb and walk with us. I think she remembered me from two weeks ago and was happy to see me, she even ended up giving me some kisses after I was with her about 5 minutes. She did pretty well on our walk, froze up 2-3 times but wasn't too hard to get her moving again. It's really great to see how much she lights up around some dogs. We walked passed one of the play areas with a cute little pit mix (who I had a blast playing with myself later in the day) inside who came over to the fence. Pachina's entire body language shifted from nervous to as happy as can be greeting the pit mix through the fence, tail up and wagging, big smile, and some play bows.
Likely in the next month or so I'll be taking Jubel out to meet some potential fosters and going with whoever gets along best but Pachina and Caleb are at the top of my list right now. I found out Pachina was in foster care for about a week and returned, depends on who I ask as to the answers I got as to why. Mostly due to some big family problem coming up suddenly and too much stress and not enough time for Pachina. She was destructive and not housebroken. Talking to one of the other volunteers who is also considering fostering her she doesn't believe the not housebroken part and she was only destructive when left alone and not crated. Caleb doesn't seem like he'd be destructive and has a bed and blanket in his run he doesn't destroy. He'd probably be a little easier than Pachina due to that fact (and she afraid of storms) but right now he isn't really people focused and more tolerates petting than enjoys it.
Also met a beautiful boxer I'd love to foster but she hasn't been there long enough to be eligible for foster. Hopefully she gets adopted quickly or starts to settle in better soon. She's been there a little over a month and is starting to get shier and need a buddy to walk with which she didn't when she arrived.
After all the dogs had been walked I just picked a few and took them out to a play yard individually to have some fun. The pointer mix boy was so adorable and sweet, he wants to be a 60# lap dog. Pretty sure he'll get adopted quickly he's so happy, adorable, and his coat is SOOO soft. The little dutch shepherd who reminds me of Jubel but smaller with prick ears and a curled tail was a sweet playful boy who almost reminded me of a cat. He loved his butt scratched and would wind himself between my legs like a cat getting me to scratch his butt and looking around my leg up at me, very cute. He supposed to be going to his new forever home this week. Then I had a blast with the cute little pit mix I mentioned before, introduced her to a flirt pole in the play yard and she LOVED it. Once we burned off some of that energy she was a snugly thing too. If I was going on impulse and not looking to help a dog who's been at the shelter for a long time now and hard to adopt out I'd go for that pointer mix in a heart beat. He was such a happy boy.