A couple of weeks ago, my friend and Executive Director of the shelter where I work, told me about a dog at the other local shelter who was in trouble. Little Bridgette was showing aggression in her kennel and they weren't sure what to do about it, she options were running out. We had just said goodbye to Jenny and so Tamara told our contact at the other shelter that she wasn't sure we were ready for another dog. Plus, we still have Shilo, and he was having issues of his own.
Fast forward two weeks and my phone rings. Its our contact at the other shelter and she says that Bridgette is out of options and can we take her just to see how she does in a home. If not, they would have no other choice but to euthanize her. I said that outloud and before I even finished Trevor said "tell them we will take her".
The next day, Trevor went and picked up Bridgette. She is a one year old Lhasa Apso. 13 pounds of matted fur and anger. She did show aggression, she was angry at the world. Looking at her, how could you blame her.
We took Bridgette as a foster dog for the other shelter. After about a week I asked to have her transferred to our shelter where she would have no danger of being euthanized. One of our foster moms owns a grooming business, saw pictures of Bridgette and said she would groom her at no charge. So she went from this....
Getting rid of that matted fur sure made a difference, but she was still very angry. She ran around trying to itch her back and she kept rubbing her ears on the ground. If you looked at her she would growl and try to bite. She would jump up on your lap and want to snuggle but then get angry about it.
We took her to the vet and he discovered that this little girl had a raging ear and skin infection and was certainly extremely uncomfortable and probably in pain. She was SO good at the vet, ran around and said hi to everyone. She didn't bite or growl, she let them exam her and even take her temperature.
We started giving her medicine and within two days she became a different dog. She still gets angry and still wants to bite if you push her too much, but she is also sweet and happy and playful. She is going to be a challenge to get adopted out, most people don't want to deal with an angry little dog. We have started calling her Pippy - that is a more fitting name. Such a little Pipsqeak!
We thought we had found the right family last week. We told them all about her issues, warned them that she could bite, gave them resources for how to handle it. I don't think I could have been more clear about how she would behave and that it would take time. The couple loved her (she was awesome at the meet and greet), said that they could be patient and let her come out of her shell at her own speed. I felt really good about sending her on her way. She walked out to their car with them and jumped in the back seat.
The next day I got a call from her new dad asking some questions. He talked about how sweet she was and he just knows she'll get better over time. Again, I felt really good about things.
The following day, her new dad called me to say it wasn't going to work. She had bit his wife and they needed to bring her back. Awesome. So I drove down to Portland and picked her up.
I wouldn't say she was happy to be back with us, she didn't seem to care either way. She came home and got right back into her routine. We'll keep looking for the right family. It may take some time, but she's alive and for that we are grateful.