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Tuesday, June 03, 2014

New Family Member

Last week my husband and I decided to adopt a dog from a local shelter that had been running wild in a local park for five plus years.  He was finally caught last month by a dog handler that had taken two years to gain his trust.

No, my regular readers will say, "BFD, Sev, you've rescued animals before.  What's the deal, Lucille?"

The deal is that we've never accepted into our home a dog so determined to get out of it.  Usually once dogs see the comforts of our home and yard, we cannot get them out of it.  Apollo wants to be out running free, even with his built in pack here.  I do worry about him assimilating and realize it's going to be slow going over a long haul to get him back into domesticated dog status.

He's taken quite a shine to my youngest son, who refers to him as Ghost and loves that he now has his own Dire Wolf.  Apollo is a Husky/Malamute mix according to the shelter and he's a huge dog.  We'll see about the whole Dire Wolf thing after Game of Thrones is off the air.

Apollo spent most of his first night in our home patrolling and pacing, as animals do when they are stressed.  He lost a lot of weight, about 19 lbs, in the shelter and got some kind of skin rash.  When we picked him up from the vet after getting his snip, we were informed that he was also Stage 2 Heartworm positive.  Thank God it's treatable and only to be expected in a dog that has lived wild for as long as he has in Central Texas.

I guess after waking up in pain in regions you don't normally acknowledge in a strange smelling place with people you don't know is frightening for a regular pet, but for this dog, it had to be terrifying.  He had a hard time on the ride home, but my husband rode in the back of the Rodeo with him and kept him calm. We rolled up into the garage, cut the engine, shut the door and then worked on getting him in the house.  Ever since he's been looking at every window at the outside where he used to live.  Out in the backyard where he is on a leash until he's assimilated with the pack, he heads straight for the fences, probing weaknesses.  I thank him because now we can fix any he finds before he's allowed to run out there.

I am just back from my first neighborhood walk with him and it was interesting. He's fine on a lead.  He also wanted to take off into the corn fields by my house.  He's frightened by cars, but that was easily fixable so that he was not freaking out by the end of our walk. He enjoyed it, did not hare off after two rabbits that crossed our path, and enjoyed the exercise.  He obviously needed it after coming off all of the anesthetic from his surgery.

So I sit here watching him go from window to door, trying to get out.  He's also figured how to open our lever handle doors.  He's wicked smart.  He loves the sunroom and its view.  He enjoys the backyard, but I'm afraid he'll try to hop the fence, so we're conditioning him to being in a fenced yard.  Makes me wish we had a tall privacy fence now.

I shall chronicle our attempt to domesticate what is basically a wild dog.  It's not going to be easy, but I bet it will be worth it.


Javier Vallejo said...

Are you familiar to the Husky/ Malamute breed? They are very independent, smart, and unique animals. They are also known for being "escape artists" They can jump 6 ft fences, and will wait till your not noticing to make their move. Even after being neutered they still tend to want to roam. They are work animals and enjoy being outdoors.

Severine said...

We are familiar with most breeds of dogs and their little quirks. Apollo is no different than his breed predecessors. He slipped off his collar at the end of a walk today and fled. We've had a city police department, two animal control officers and my husband and son all out looking for him. It's sad to say, but I don't think we'll see him again. Living wild is too ingrained now.

My First Blog said...

My name is Stephanie Butts and I am a reporter with the Waco Tribune. I am writing a story about Legend's recapture and would like to speak to you about your hopes for the dog. Could you call me as soon as possible? 757-5707.
Thank you.