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Indeed, SueR, it feels like an honor to have this time with Kelso. People keep asking me how I will ever give him up, as fond of him as I am and as long as he is staying here, but to me that will be the greatest victory of all - when he is ready to move on to a Forever home.

Each one of these Jefferson dogs amazes me. They lived through terrible conditions and yet they emerged with no anger or bitterness. The time Taff half ear spent with me was a deep learning experience for both of us and, like Constance, I felt it was both an honour and privilege to accompany Taff through his re-birth and help him learn to be a new dog. When he left for his new home, he left behind a void far exceeding his diminutive size. Many hands worked to help him on his way; every single person who contributed to his new life deserves a big thanks. Towards the end of his stay with me, Taff expressed his thanks by licking my hand as we drove home from he dog park each evening. Those thanks were meant for the whole team of rescuers from Texas to Arizona. Good boy, Taff. Enjoy your new home.

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Last night I was sitting in the living room reading and felt a dog nose nudge me. Automatically I put down the nearest hand to pet whoever it was asking for attention. Imagine my surprise and delight when I looked down and it was Kelso!

That is the first time that he has ever actually approached me, on his own and uninvited, and asked me for attention. Isn't that *cool*? I felt like throwing a party. :)

 

This morning when I let the dogs out, he ran as usual to the back of the yard. A few minutes later as I was making coffee, I looked out and he was doing the Zoomies all over the back yard. Best and most important of all, he was running like a dog! His hind legs were coming forward, his back was flexing, and his front legs were leaping out. That is the first time I have seen Kelso run that way, with a fluid motion. He has always had such a stiff gait -- almost more of a hop than a run. He reminded me of a gazelle instead of a dog, he kept his legs so stiff. This morning, although his gait was still much stiffer than a normal dog, he was flexing his body in a genuine canine-style run. It sure put a grin on my face!

 

I am now thinking that perhaps he is not truly crippled genetically after all, although his front legs are crooked and will no doubt always remain so. Perhaps his stiffness is mostly, or entirely, from simply never having had any exercise in his life until he came here. Being kept in a cage all the time will atrophy muscles, I would think. But I think now that with enough time they may be able to rejuvenate.

 

Today I am going to take him in the car to the hardware store 7 miles away from where I live, and see how he does there. It is the closest place to my home, a tiny rural store, without a lot of activity, so it might be a good place for him to start getting socialized. I have had a hard time getting myself to do this because I like to stay home on days off, and also because so far every time Kelso has been in the car there's been a massive clean-up job to do. But, get out the tarps, I gotta do it. Will report later on how it went. :-)

D'Elle

PS Oh, and yes, I will try to get pictures of Kelso and the kitten.

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Excellent!

 

I know a guy who adopted an Aussie who'd been in a crate her whole life. He thought she was crippled - her back legs were smaller and much less muscular than a normal dog's legs. But... after a few months of exercise, the legs looked normal. They had just been atrophied by life in a crate. (This was quite a young dog - so I imagine she rebounded better than an older dog would.)

 

Mary

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Kelso's first trip to the hardware store went pretty well.

He wouldn't get into the car (as usual), but let me put him in. On the way there he didn't throw up (yay!), although he did create one little round piece of poop. It made me laugh. I know some people get "the farts" when nervous, and I wonder if perhaps he does too, only this time it was a "fart with a lump in it". (Please forgive me if I sound crude to anyone....I thought it was amusing).

 

We simply stood outside the hardware store about 10 feet from the door long enough for two people to go in and back out again, which was about 10 minutes. He drooled steadily but did not try to get away from me. Neither did he move up close to me, but just not trying to get away is progress. When I invited him back into the car, he got in on his own. (double Yay!)

 

On the way home, we had to pull over so that he could throw up, poor guy. I think he may have motion sickness as well as fear, so I will try taking him just down the road a little ways and back as often as I can just to get him used to the car.

 

Gosh, this dog has still such a long road ahead of him! Other Jefferson dogs have already been adopted, and Kelso is still learning how to ride in a car.

 

It makes me wonder what all the factors are that make such a great difference between them, although of course we will never know. Surely an individual dog's sensitivity would be a big one. Kelso is *Very soft and sensitive. And some of the dogs were loose on the property when they were liberated, while others were caged. As I said, we will never know.

 

I hear from some of the folks that are fostering dogs from the McKinney hoarding situation (also in Texas). One of them, after a year and a half now, still will not come to the foster person when called. Those dogs were all loose, and many were feral. I think that would be even more of a challenge to deal with than Kelso has been.

 

What I focus on mostly is how far he has come, and the great blessing that he has formed a bond with me. I am so thankful for that, and think that if I had tried to get him out into the world previously it would have been harder. At least now he has a "safe zone" which is portable: me!

 

He was playing with the kitten last night again. The camera is never where I need it to be in order to catch these moments, and if I get up to go get it, Kelso stops playing.

 

Thanks again to everyone who is reading this. If I had not started this thread I would not have kept track of his progress nearly as well.

D'Elle

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Thank you, thank you for the updates....I just love reading them!

 

Have you considered giving him a glucosamine supplement for his joints?? Might help and certainly wouldn't hurt. You can actually get glucosamine chews on line (as well as from the vet.) Made a world of difference for my neighbor's dog.

 

Just think how lucky Kelso is to have found you for all your patience. Some dogs adapt quicker than others...I certainly have learned that. And your willingness to see him through this no matter how long it takes is so wonderful.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Kelso is doing great these days. He lies at my feet. He will come happily trotting and wagging across the floor to get petted if I so much as smile and say his name. He may actually jump up on the bed one of these days.

 

He goes into ecstatic whining and woo-woo-ing when we are going out for a walk, to play, or even when I am letting them out to go potty in the yard. He smiles a lot. He loves to grab things and mouth them. He has chewed the corner off a piece of furniture and off a rug. I don't care (although I am trying to discourage that behavior), because he is playing like a puppy when he does it.

 

He continues to play beautifully with the kitten, Ben, who loves him. The things he puts up with from Ben! Ben grabs his whole face in his front legs and bites Kelso on the cheek. Kelso just smiles. When Ben lets go, Kelso puts his mouth over Ben's head or neck, but never closes his mouth. He never growls at Ben, and is always completely gentle. Ben has learned to play without hard teeth and claws because I have taught him to play with me that way, and so no one is getting injured. It is completely adorable to watch. I think the way he acts, Kelso really is fond of Ben.

 

Interestingly, Kelso doesn't seem to be turning out to be a Soft dog. He is very fearful of everything that is not within his home and family safe zone, but when I say No to him it doesn't faze him a bit. I take a shoe away from him, saying "NO!" and he just grins at me. Although he will still duck away if I come toward him too fast with a hand, or if I touch him from behind and he is startled, he seems now to think that there's no way I would ever harm him. This is good, and is true of course.

 

So far, the training I have done with him, which has been very minimal, has consisted entirely of making it impossible for him not to do what I ask him to do, and then rewarding the behavior by letting him do what he wants. I think he is ready now for me to do more one-on-one interaction with him, and I will try some clicker training on him for sit and stay and down.

 

Kelso is a delight. Anyone who saw him the way he is with me would want him, but no one sees it but me. He cannot be adopted yet, because no one wants a dog who won't look at them or take food from them. I am a failure at getting him out to get socialization because of my living location and its distance from everything and my poor finances which make it impossible for me to drive him regularly to see other dogs and people. I keep wondering if I should send him to a different foster home where he will get more socialized. But I fear that if I do, he will first have to go through the setback of being in a totally new and scary environment and I hate to do that to him. So for now he stays. I keep hoping that somehow something will come along to make it more possible for him to learn to accept other people. He seems so happy here that I wonder if it would be mean of me to send him elsewhere. It's the same debate I have had with myself about him for months now. Still don't know the answer.......

D'Elle

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I am so happy to hear how well he is doing with *you*. I also am thrilled to read (maybe "read into") your comments that maybe he will just be a foster failure (which is never a real failure) and stay with you. If he is ready to go somewhere else someday, and that's best for all concerned, fine. But if he is not able, and you can keep him and want to keep him, I know I will be pleased to hear it.

 

All the very best to you both!

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Ah, sorry, Sue. I didn't mean it that way.

No one can predict the future, least of all I. But as of today Kelso's status is that he belongs to ABCR, and my goal with him is to get him to a point at which he will be adoptable. If I don't, then that would be a foster failure. Whether I ended up keeping him or not.

At this point I have no intention of keeping Kelso, as fond of him as I am.

 

I do, however, question my skill at getting him sufficiently socialized.

D'Elle

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D'elle

My Raven was feral for about 10 months before I took her home. She hid in a closet for 3 months, then another 3 or more months till she finally let me "catch" her. One day she planted herself on my couch and gave into my gentle pressure of trying to touch or pet her. For years she sorta lived on the edge of people. She grew used to my family but others were to be feared. I don't really remember when she turned the corner, but she did. Anyone that sees her today compared to her as a youngster doesn't even recognize her. She is a normal dog, approaches for pets (after an acceptable amount of time), greets people in a friendly manner. Even learned to be friendly to strange dogs (she used to attack out of fear any dog that got in her bubble)

Hang in there. Kelso has come so far in a realivily short period of time compared to how long he lived his nightmare. I think he will continue to suprise you.

 

And thanks you for helping this special dog learn to live.

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Rats! Foiled again! I keep hoping...

 

I will never consider you a failure with regards to Kelso, no matter how it turns out. You've turned a terrified, confused dog into a happy dog (even if it's within limited constraints) and I believe that to be success. I know that wherever he winds up, you will make sure he is happy and the choice will be for his own good.

 

You are not the only one who has been on the receiving end of my reading something into the spoken or written word that wasn't there. Just ask my husband!

 

Very best wishes to both of you!

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Thank you, Sue R, for your kind words once again. It really made me feel good inside to read your post. :D

 

I am proud of Kelso, to be honest. I also think he has come a very long way. I go back and forth within myself, wondering if I can really socialize him enough on the one hand, and on the other just thinking that if I keep doing what I have been doing and let him come out in his own time he will eventually get there somehow.

 

At this point, if he needed to stay here another year in order to be far enough along that he could be adopted, it is OK with me. People ask me how I could, then, possibly expect to give him up if I have him that long....two years or more. Well, I have no answer for that. If you foster, you give up the fosters so that you can foster another dog; we all know that. And the bottom line is that I will do my best to do what is best for Kelso and my pack, whatever that turns out to be when the time comes.

 

KRISTEN: Thank you, thank you for your post. It gives me encouragement. I am not a quitter, but encouragement along the way, such as you and others have given me here, is wind beneath my wings. Don't really know how I would do this without the support I have received from all of you, and the others who also have Texas dogs. Can't tell you how much it helps, and I appreciate it.

 

I am also hoping that I can get photos or video of Kelso and Ben playing. This morning before I got out of bed they were alllll over the bedroom floor, running and jumping, and dancing together. What a great way to wake up!

D'Elle

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I am a failure at getting him out to get socialization because of my living location and its distance from everything and my poor finances which make it impossible for me to drive him regularly to see other dogs and people. I keep wondering if I should send him to a different foster home where he will get more socialized. But I fear that if I do, he will first have to go through the setback of being in a totally new and scary environment and I hate to do that to him. So for now he stays. I keep hoping that somehow something will come along to make it more possible for him to learn to accept other people. He seems so happy here that I wonder if it would be mean of me to send him elsewhere. It's the same debate I have had with myself about him for months now. Still don't know the answer.......

D'Elle

 

You have been doing an awesome job with Kelso. When his forever home comes along, you will be surprised at things. They seem to know when they get their forever home and blossom - even in areas you think they will never progress in. That connection creates huge changes in a dog like Kelso. We just adopted out a wonderful little BC that we ended up having to catch a year ago with lacing some food with a sedative. She had been living feral for several weeks, and was getting to the point that people were shooting at her. She belonged to a horrible man that had shot the other two of his dogs and she ran away. SHe was very much like Kelso when our foster home first got her - worse in fact, and she did progress slowly there. We were contacted by a family - that told us they had been looking for another rescue BC for over a year. They had looked at hundreds, but each time her husband told her "that dog doesn't need us". Then when they saw the picture of Creek - her husband said "that's our next dog, that dog needs us". It was the perfect match, and in the first month they they had her, she progressed faster that with us. Even the first week was amazing at what she decided was no longer scary.

 

You have done fantastic work with Kelso. It could be the rest of his journey needs to be done with his forever home. He will find someone that knows that Kelso needs "them". Until then, just keep up the awesome job you are doing. To me, having his home be a fun, safe, happy place that he has to come back to when he goes out and deals with something scary is the most important thing to do first, and you have accomplished that wonderfully.

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NORTH OF 49,

wow. Thanks. Much appreciated. :D

That he might not really blossom until he has his forever home had not occurred to me but it is a possibility. Actually I already know someone who would like to have him, as he is now, and I would let him go to that person. But the two dogs already in residence there would probably terrify him. Still, the fact that someone seemed like a match did give me a positive outlook on his chances of being adopted. Who knows, maybe he doesn't have to be completely socialized for someone to want at some point to "take him from here".

 

One thing is for certain: No one can predict Kelso's future. And for me it is continuing to be a very interesting and touching learning experience.

 

D'Elle

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I predict he will continue to grow and amaze his family whoever that turns out to be!

I say if you have a true family wanting to give him a try, go for it. If it doesn't work out, it will have expanded his life experience a bit more. If it works out, he'll be home!

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I predict he will continue to grow and amaze his family whoever that turns out to be!

I say if you have a true family wanting to give him a try, go for it. If it doesn't work out, it will have expanded his life experience a bit more. If it works out, he'll be home!

 

That particular family that I mentioned above won't work for Kelso for several reasons. But if another possibility were to come along I would certainly consider it. Most people, understandably, don't want to adopt a dog who won't even look at them. But I took Kelso when he wouldn't look at anyone and he has turned out to be a very rewarding dog with whom to work and live. It causes me to want to encourage more people to take up fostering if they can.

 

Last night another first....He can running up to the chair I was sitting in and put both his front paws up on the chair and stayed there looking extremely pleased with himself while I petted him and told him what a good dog he is. He seems to be getting bolder with me every day, and I am loving it.

 

I have said it before, but honestly I think that just about anyone who saw him the way he is with me would want him! He's just so sweet and gentle and happy and playful and affectionate. Here's what I am thinking today: if he is given enough time, he will let others besides me see who he really is. When that time comes there won't be any problem finding people who want him. The hard part will be finding someone I think is good enough for him! :P

D'Elle

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Yesterday, I took Kelso to sheep! I never thought I would have the chance to do this, but there is a Border Collie Meetup group here, and the leader of the group organized this opportunity for group members. I joined the group just so that I could take Kelso to this event.

 

We went to the home of a woman who has sheep, and trains and trials border collies. It was just a little "instinct test", but I figured it would be good for Kelso. I didn't have any idea what he would do, and half expected him to shut down completely with all those strange people and dogs around, let alone sheep, but he did very well. It was obvious to everyone that he was very shy, but people came up to him all day and petted him and he managed it. He even let one person give him a belly rub!

 

No one who didn't already know his story would have known he came from such a bad start. It was not until the end of the day that he finally couldn't take any more and crawled under a picnic table to hide. By that time, I was as exhausted as he was!

 

When he went into the ring with the trainer and the sheep, he only wanted to get back to me, and I had to go in with him. All in all, I actually did more herding of the sheep than he did...... (I think I was "getting in touch with my inner sheepdog" :P ). Mostly Kelso was just confused. But he didn't freak out and he didn't shut down, and I thought that was great. I wish I could take him down there a few more times, but my finances won't support that.

 

I will, however, take him when I can to the border collie meetups, just to be around people and dogs that are safe. I think now he is finally ready for that, after seeing how he acted yesterday. He has a strong enough bond with me now that he can be around others and be basically OK as long as I am there.

 

Kelso's progress has been slow, but it is solid. I know he has a long way to go, but I am so proud of how hard he has worked and how far he has managed to come in 10 months.

D'Elle

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I will, however, take him when I can to the border collie meetups, just to be around people and dogs that are safe. I think now he is finally ready for that, after seeing how he acted yesterday. He has a strong enough bond with me now that he can be around others and be basically OK as long as I am there.

That's excellent news. Kelso needs to get out and meet new people and new dogs. Going to the bc meetups sounds like a marvelous chance for him to improve his socialization skills.

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^^"LIKE"^^

 

I know I've told you Raven's story but that's exactly where she came out of herself. She had not been as traumatized as Kelso but she was a mess.

It was her instinct that got her over the hump. That and my persistence at dragging her off to anything sheep related that I could find.

 

A cautionary tidbit:

In my greenness and love of work, I let a hard trainer get ahold of her and I. I did not understand how much I was in her head. This trainer told me to "affect my dog" in other words, correct my dog. He did not feel I had applied enough pressure to affect my dog. In my tiny heart of hearts I felt I might be doing something wrong, but I listened to that man.

He helped me turn all that trust we had built into to a raging mistrust of my dog to me.

 

We got over it but boy how I wish I had listened to that little inner voice telling me to stop. I never touched her but I scolded her to the point that she took months to trust me again. Had I known then what I know now I'd of punched the guy in the nose and ran away. Be careful, don't let ANYONE tell you to do something that doesn't feel right and do it. You know best what Kelso can handle. Treat him kind and he will flourish, treat him unjustly and you'll see him backslide more than your heart will ever want to see.

 

I'm sure you will do your best, but had to give you a little warning.

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Kristen,

Thanks for the warning. Although I don't think I would ever do anything to undermine Kelso's trust in me, it's good for me to be reminded that others, however well-meaning, may not give me the best advice.

 

There was someone at that instinct testing who kept insisting to me that Kelso's problem was actually me.

This person said to me repeatedly, "That dog has no issues. YOU are the one with issues! He's not nervous - you are! YOU are the one with the problem".

 

I just sort of faded away from that person's vicinity. Wasn't about to engage in that conversation. I didn't take it personally - that person knows nothing about me or Kelso or our time together or his life before he came here. Still, I have to admit that it bothered me. Pretty rude. But I have to remember that most of us, including I, have mouthed off at one time or another in a situation where we knew nothing and were acting like an idiot. No doubt that person meant well..... :blink:

D'Elle

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Funny, I still respect this particular trainer, he knew nothing of my dog or what we were going though. Pouty dogs can get away with allot. Sometimes in working them they need a little push to find out what they are capable of handling, but in this case it was not what was called for.

Raven does not work for me. She will work for my DH cause he asks nothing of her but to do what she thinks is right. I expect more from my working dogs and it's hard for me to let her do what she wants. So We are best buds but we don't work together.

 

Ray is 12+/- (I am so bad as ages, poor dogs never get birthday wishes from me) recently Dew wasn't home and I needed sheep gathered, I asked Ray to gather them. She took about 1/2 hour but sure enough here came the sheep. She looked so proud of herself. I clapped and had a party and we put the sheep up together with my mouth shut the whole time. After all these years she still remembers what happened. I love her anyways and she me. The trust abounds anywhere but sheep work. I still say though, it was the sheep that got her where she is!

 

There will always be someone telling you what or how to do something, take what is good throw the rest out with the trash. You might take a tiny little bit of the do gooder jerk's advise....it's not you, but don't walk on egg shells around your boy. Expect good things and they will happen!

If that doens't work, punch em in the nose and run away! ;)

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