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I just wanted to update everyone on how Kabota is doing. I see a lot of threads on this, and other, forum, all asking the same question: How long? How long until my rescue is normal/not afraid/just a regular dog? Obviously, Kabota is not all dogs, but if it helps any, here's his progress.

Thanksgiving, 2011:



Kabota is dropped off at a high kill shelter in Kentucky with a tumor on his gum that is preventing him from eating. He has lost 30% of his body weight. He has been kept in a crate 24-7 for most of his life of 3-4 years. The owners profess not to care that he will be immediately killed, saying that he is worthless and can't learn anything. A shelter worker sees something in Kabota's eyes and begs a rescue in Pennsylvania to save him. The rescue agrees, against her better judgment, and scrapes together money for surgery and convinces an already overloaded foster home to take him for a week until transport north can be arranged.

By the time I got him on December 11th, the tumor was removed and Kabota had gained a little weight. He is terrified and completely shut down. The sound of his tag hitting the food bowl scares him and he has to be hand fed. He spends 2 weeks on the couch. He will go outside for walks, but he has little reaction to anything. I spend several weeks rewarding every glance in my direction and any trip off the couch heavily.

After 3 weeks, his prey drive emerges, in a big way. I learn he'll chase anything, birds in flight, cats, bits of trash blowing in the wind. He starts to explore the house. Training is frustrating. He won't try anything, he seems afraid to sit on command.

After 4 weeks, he grabs a stuffed sheep from a box on the floor of the groomers. He loves his sheepy. He carries it everywhere. He still doesn't play. No longer afraid of the food bowl, he now eats so fast, he chokes and pukes it back up. I start feeding him from toys. Clicker training improves his responses, but he's still very shut down. I give up on words and move to gestures only, which solves the problem.

After 6 weeks, I make a flirt pole. He loves it. He can't get enough of chasing stuffed toys on a string. He rips the eyes right off of sheepy. He begins to chew all sorts of things: pillows, slippers, underwear, socks, sponges.

After 3 months, Kabota finds his voice. He howls and bays and barks for no reason anyone can see. He plays all the time now. He goes into rooms by himself. He has reached a good lean weight, his fur is shiny and silky, his eyes are bright and he can jump 2.5 times his own height without difficulty.

We are now at four months. I've finally seen Kabota smile. He has mastered the gestures and verbals for sit, lay down, spin and stay. His recall is fantastic, even at the dog park. He requests play by barking. He loves clicker training. He actually goes into the basement on his own after four months of unsuccessfully trying to coax him down there.



So, all I can say is have patience. Have patience, be flexible and buy a lot of treats. Your dog will get there. It will take a while, but he will find his way.
 

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I really love stories like this. Thank you for being so patient and understanding with him!
 

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Love this story and love the big smile on his face! He sure is a lucky boy!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He makes me happy every day. I can't get over how lucky I am to have found him.
 

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Thank you for writing this -- so true, and so good to hear! And Kabota looks wonderful. So happy and cute! I want to give those ears a good scratch!
 

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I also have rescue dogs, one I got as a pup, the other, Buddy (he & his sister are pictured below) he is a spokes-dog for the fact that rescues esp older rescues are NOT throw away dogs. Don't have a clue why his family didn't want him(found as a stray, we think he was dumped, & showed up at. Ladies house but she couldn't keep him do she took him to a shelter but it was a high kill one, good thig tx cattle dog rescue pulled him).

He was pretty scared & detatched he'd from us when he first came to us & I doubted that he was a good fit for us but i stuck with it & did t give up on HIM. (I'm sure every rescue red has those moments where they question) so I got a great companion (who presently..... Don't want to jinx myself lol) friend that is strangely similar to Izze in some ways.

Perhaps this was meant to be????? Who knows, his expression is also similar, the way he watches for me & "cares " for me lol like. Second fiancée LMBO. I really hope it stays this way, he also gets so happy when I have to go somewhere like feeding the horses (we use a utility vechile that goes pretty fast, too hard on the dogs to run on the asphalt road, so I put them in their special horse stall while we feed the outside horses.
 

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This is such a beautiful story and Kabota sure is lucky to have you in his life and vice-versa I am sure! Older, younger, and in between ... IMO no dog is a " Throw Away! " :(

I am wishing that you all have many happy and healthy years together. I am sure Kabota will pay you back with love a million times over in his lifetime. :)
 

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Thanks for writing this! I think it's inspiring to hear stories of dogs coming from bad situations and "making it".

Another vote for dragoness's sentiment: rescue dogs are not throw aways! Although the beginning of her life wasn't nearly so difficult as Kabota's (at least I think), Kit made it out of a shelter by the skin of her teeth, too (bite history). Now she's my best friend, an accomplished agility competitor, a great disc dog, and showing much promise at scentwork. It's very hard for me to believe that she even has a bite history. People who ask are usually stunned when I tell them she came from a shelter at 7mo.

Speaking of sports, I think you should consider taking up some kind of activity with Kabota. It sounds like you could be a natural, given how much time and effort you're willing to put into him. And nothing builds the dog-owner bond better than a sport. Just a suggestion...
 

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It is so wonderful to hear about the dogs that get the second chances- the true second chances in that they might have been deemed "unadoptable" or otherwise doomed. I think it is well worth the effort and I am so happy that Kabota found someone like you and vice versa.

While no where near as shut-down as Kabota, I feel similar about getting Luna adopted out. I know many of you read my thread on her; since she came to me after 5 months in a home being crated nearly all the time after being pulled from a high kill shelter, the transformation from "tasmanian devil dog" to the darling that found a good family and a dog buddy just makes the 5 months of effort I put into her so worthwhile.
The rescue I foster with has taken in dogs that were used for dog fighting, as bait dogs, cruelty cases (tossed from an 80 ft bridge....) and severe neglect cases (tied up with no water or food, starved to the bone). Sometimes the rehab period is 8,9, 12 months or more. But when a former bait dog gets to celebrate his one-year adoption anniversary with a reiki massage :) and home cooked meals it just tells you there is hope for nearly any dog.

As for the "typical" dog coming out of the shelter? Many seem to end up there due to rough circumstances by owners (no money, eviction, relationship break-up, moving etc) and I think generally adapt within a month or two. Even the basic "stray" who probably suffered low level neglect seems to adjust fairly fast.
 

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I have no idea why kabota was considered worthless. He has the nicest temperament you've ever seen. He's great with kids. He's just the sweetest thing you've ever seen. I feel like every unlucky moment of my life was luck being saved up to get him.

I hate it when people reject rescues as somebody else's problem- oh, that dog must have issues otherwise he wouldn't have been dumped. Some people are just stupid and cruel and give up awesome dogs. Skip the difficult puppy phase and get a great dog instead.
 

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Shell, I noticed Luna was gone from your signature and was wondering if she got adopted. So happy to hear it!
 

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I hate it when people reject rescues as somebody else's problem- oh, that dog must have issues otherwise he wouldn't have been dumped. Some people are just stupid and cruel and give up awesome dogs. Skip the difficult puppy phase and get a great dog instead.
OMG, yes! Every time I hear someone say this (or read it on here, sigh), I get a little angry. I'm pretty sure Biscuit was dumped at a high-kill shelter at 6 months of age because some jerk "reverse housetrained" her by punishing this soft, sweet, gentle puppy for having accidents and concluded she would never be housebroken. It took us a week of "cookie-pushing" to housetrain her. The night my husband brought her home, she hopped out of her tiny rescue transport crate (after a 10 hour drive), sat down, and looked around as if to say "Hello, World!" I can't understand what kind of person could have concluded she wasn't worth the effort. She brings us joy and sweetness every single day.
 

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I have no idea why kabota was considered worthless. He has the nicest temperament you've ever seen. He's great with kids. He's just the sweetest thing you've ever seen. I feel like every unlucky moment of my life was luck being saved up to get him.

I hate it when people reject rescues as somebody else's problem- oh, that dog must have issues otherwise he wouldn't have been dumped. Some people are just stupid and cruel and give up awesome dogs. Skip the difficult puppy phase and get a great dog instead.
Oh I know. I hate the (getting less common) stereotype that shelter dogs all have problems. yes, some do. But many many more (the majority by far) are basically your average dog. No psychological issues, maybe some basic training issues like not walking nicely on a leash, and very often well ahead of the training game compared to a puppy.
Chester was an owner surrender because the owners were moving someplace that didn't allow dogs; I don't fault them per se, they obviously treated him well and cared enough to surrender him to the local humane society rather than a city shelter, but he was over looked time and again in the shelter because he was high-energy. Yes, he was high energy and his leash walking was horrible, but he was impeccably mannered in the house and very well socialized with people AND dogs. Very very easy transition and perfect for a single person working full-time while a puppy would have been a disaster.

Shell, I noticed Luna was gone from your signature and was wondering if she got adopted. So happy to hear it!
Yep, one week ago :) Stay tuned for this summer's next foster saga (actual foster to be determined at a later date)
 
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