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I found one of the rare pictures of my flabrador dog at her heaviest, and compared it to the dog sitting beside me. So happy.


Anyone else wanna join in this emotion? Put up something you did for your dog, or your dog did, that was a big change for you and makes you proud of yourself. Or, y'know, of them.


Reactive dogs in places they wouldn't have dared to go normally, tricks and obedience for dogs who were slow to learn, dogs on stock who looked like they weren't going to be capable, skinny-dogs or fat-dogs turned normal, sick dogs turned healthy, scared dogs made confident. Just a picture, a description, a story, anything. I'm leaving the scope wide. If you think it MIGHT be a thing, put it up.


Let's all celebrate the stuff that you did right. Because it can be hard to get a dog from 'bad' to 'normal', and it doesn't have the same kudos from other people as 'normal' to 'winning something'. But it can be a bigger achievement for one dog to, say, go up a flight of stairs, than people know. Let's talk about the 'back to normal' or 'didn't look promising' dogs we spent so much time and work on.


I expect to see Fly here, Donald McCaig. Or CptJack's Molly in class? :)

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Sara was not a bc. She was a portuguese sheepdog (cão da Serra de Aires). She was easily startled, lacked self confidence and was very suspicious of new things. She was never abused, it was just who she was. We worked a lot on raising her self confidence and I was always looking for new stuff to do with her, new experiences. She was a wonderfull dog who eventually did a lot of things that most dogs don't feel at ease doing. And she did them happilly.


One of them was surfing. When the first national championship of dog surf was anounced, I though, great thing to try with Sara. She''s probably tell me to surf myself, but it's worth a try... I live by the sea, so off we went to practice, and she took to it imediatly. It made me so proud of her... and it also made clear the strength of our bond. She swam with me, then climbed on the board on command. Then I pushed the board. She was comfortable doing it, but was doing it because I was asking. She trusted me enough to do a completely new thing first time because I was asking her to.


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When I got Lily she was scared of everything and peed every time my DH even spoke to her. It was very sad to watch because he felt like she hated him and even wondered if we made a mistake getting a pup that thought he was evil. However we are both dedicated animal people so giving her up was never an option. After talking with a trainer about her issues she had my husband talk in a really high pitched voice and suddenly Lily wasn't peeing when he talked. It took several months before she would let him touch her without peeing, but now she seeks him out for attention. He doesn't even have to talk in a high voice anymore. She still barks at him when he enters a room but as soon as he says her name she calms down.


After getting over her fear of DH she has also stopped being afraid of other things and her confidence has built up every day since.

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Kylie used to have just... no confidence. She'd stress out and shut down in training - not all the time, but some. She was also very, very methodical and slow at everything she did, including and maybe especially agility. She also lost all her toy drive. Now? agility is her favorite thing in the world, she yells at me if I'm not fast enough with getting commands and directions out to her and she's giving Molly a run for her money with disc love.


Molly started group classes so reactive she was working behind a barrier and having treats shoveled in her mouth constantly. Six months she's in classes and working off leash with pretty danged good focus. Still some management, but only a little bit and I'm REALLY proud of her.


Bug, well. I posted the weight loss there in another thread but:7eE4w15PCDvbsy8ol00Ohi.jpg(Obviously September 2014, not 2015 - I don't time travel - yet)

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Oh, Teresa - the video of you and Sarah surfing was lovely! And how nice to have a film crew handy ;)


I really enjoyed watching the progression as she got more comfortable. And some of the stills of just you and Sarah were so sweet! You two were a great pair.


Ruth and SuperGibbs

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Well, Kelso was not my dog, but he lived with me for a year and a half as my foster dog, and I loved him with all my heart. When he came he was a lump on the floor who would not eat, drink, or make eye contact. All he had known was a filthy cage. When he got adopted he was a happy playful and very affectionate dog who loved his home, me, and his cat, but was still afraid of everyone else and of strange places. Now he is a happy-go-lucky and carefree guy who loves his life, his people, car rides, the ocean, and going to work with his person. I have been very proud of many of my dogs; am proud of all the dogs I have now. But Kelso will always own a piece of my heart. His courage and ability to rise above and overcome the horrendous conditions and abuse from which he came, and his willingness to learn to trust will always inspire me.

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D'Elle, I got tears in my eyes remembering Kelso and how great it was to follow his story! :)

Thanks, MBC. :)

To be honest, I still miss Kelso and I guess I always will. But I have never for a moment regretted letting him get adopted, because the couple who adopted him are truly the perfect people for him. He has had and will have a better life with them than he would have had with me; it was the right thing to do.

Somehow I feel even more....blessed....if that is the right word, by the ones I have loved who have come into my life and left it again to go their way. Hard to explain to someone who has not fostered animals, but I think those who have know the feeling.

I raised a baby wild bird one time and I loved that bird ever so much. And then it grew up and went off to have its own life as a wild bird. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I wish more people would foster animals and find out how wonderful it is.

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This might belong more in the thread of "when did you know your dog was YOUR dog?"...


I brought my new rescue dog Cricket home this past Saturday. She's skittish and shy - when I walk her on leash, she is constantly looking at me, as if to make sure I'm still there. If another person or dog approaches, she hides behind my legs. Everything is potentially dangerous to her - her Kong, the little flat squeaky toy I bought for her, the kitchen sink. She moves slowly and cautiously around everything.


I introduced her to my sister's dogs (two small American Eskimos) with a walk the other night. She seemed much more relaxed and happy, having a "pack" around her, and she's giving my sister the trusting look, too.


But last night! We walked with my sister's pack along the streets of our suburbs, and then I suggested taking a path that leads under the bridge. To get there, we cut through a much-overgrown old train track: there's only a single body's width of passing space in the grass and brush that's growing there. Something about being in that densely-packed brush, with many scents and no open space and two other dogs, turned a switch. It was like I could see her real self settle on her: she got quick in her movements, darting around and smelling, she started putting some tension on the leash in her excitement, her whole body was quivering with happiness. Completely relaxed and alert - not looking for dangers, but expecting something exciting to come her way.


When we got home, I put her in the back yard, and she had official, unbridled zoomies for the first time since she's come home. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

In 2008 Sage was attacked by a loose dog. There was screaming and yelling as multiple people tried to pry the pit bull off his neck. It was a traumatic experience for both of us. Sage was left with wounds far deeper than the physical ones I could see. He quite litterally lost it and developed severe PTSD with generalized anxiety. He would not leave his crate to play or go outside to potty for days at a time. He would regularly wake up screaming from nightmares. When I tried to clip a leash on him he would often have a panic attack as soon as I touched his neck. If he saw a person or dog, even hundreds of yards away, he would blow his anal glands, pee on himself and start screaming. Getting him to eat was a battle. He dropped from 39 to 19 pounds. I honestly thought that I was going to have to euthanize him because he had such a poor quality of life.


In 2012 Sage ran in his first sheep dog trial. He got to the sheep and spooked a bit at the setout person and dog, resulting in the sheep lifting crooked and fast. I called his name, let him know it was ok and he collected himself and got the sheep back online. The drive wasn't that great, we missed the panels, but we finished the course and got the pen. I walked off the field and started crying. We didn't place, but it did not matter. I never dreamed Sage would have made so much progress. He went on to qualify for the regional finals that year and every year since.


A few days ago Sage had a visit with a specialist for a health problem. While in the wating room, several Labs rushed at him and hit the ends of their leashes. He quivered, but he turned and placed his head in my lap rather than blowing up. I patted him and told him to be calm, that everything would be ok. When the tech took hold of his leg to do a test, Sage let him and just looked into my eyes. He knew I wouldn't let anything bad hapen. When the specialist did her exam and tests, he did everything she asked. Never once during the day did he panic.


Sage will never be normal, but he trusts that I will make sure everything is ok. That is all that I ask, but trust is a big thing. It is easy to lose and hard to earn. He has taught me some very important lessons in life.

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Thanks for telling Sage's story.

Honestly, I think that having a person believe in him is a big part of how he managed to heal from that trauma. I really believed in all the foster dogs who came my way, no matter how bad off they were the first day. I just had faith that with time and patience they could become happy dogs. I think it makes all the difference.

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Oooh!! My favorite!!


Maggie - Fall 2010

Stray at least 3 months; Semi-Feral; Terrified of everyone




Sadie - Fall 2010

I knew it was highly unlikely, but I thought maybe . . .



The lovely Miss Tessa!! Summer 2015


My heart-girl; 36 Q's away from her C-ATCH!!! And we are loving every second of the ride!!





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Sage will never be normal, but he trusts that I will make sure everything is ok. That is all that I ask, but trust is a big thing. It is easy to lose and hard to earn. He has taught me some very important lessons in life.


Those are the extra special ones!! I'm glad he was able to find that trust again!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a non border collie too, but after having nearly 30 foster dogs, this one is probably the most challenging and most rewarding that I've done.


I have been part of a labrador breeding and training establishment for a few years now. Anytime you are breeding dogs on a regular basis, you are bound to see the things that can go wrong. Case in point, my brave young lad, Pilot.


Pilot's litter was a very strong hunting bred litter that we were very excited about. Textbook delivery with 7 healthy pups. But at a week old, I saw one breathing very heavily and groaning. On appearance everything else looked normal. I watched him very closely. He was still nursing, but it became apparent as the days went on that he was quickly falling behind in his ability to move. No one saw what had happened to him. But I determined that he was snorting from pain. He moved his paws when I pinched them, so I didn't think a spinal injury. He continued to eat well, but clearly had no balance. My boss wanted to put him down. I said give him a chance! He wagged his tail at the lightest touch and was a strong eater.


Weeks went by and he still could not stand up. I started taking him home with me and putting him in with his mom during the day until it was too much for him to be with the other pups. He still had very little balance and would topple over at every single step.


After wracking my brain about how to get him walking, I started to walk him with a sock as a sling. We tried swimming, but he would thrash and was terrified. Finally he got big enough that I ordered him a Walkin Wheels wheelchair. Eureka! It gave him the support he needed to build the strength in his legs and mantain his balance. He loved being able to move but hated the chair lol. I can't tell you the struggles we went through and how much I second guessed myself on putting him through all this. Was I doing the right thing? But he was the happiest darn dog you ever saw and I saw enough steady improvement to keep him going.


At six months or so old, I took him to the specialty hospital to be seen by a neurologist. She determined that he sustained some sort of blunt force trauma to his head, damaging the part of the brain responsible for motor function. He was also blind in his right eye. We feel that his mom was carrying him, jumped out of her whelping box and probably dropped him on the floor. She said give him until he is a year old before you make a decision. Because he was still growing, he would just start to improve when he would hit another growth spurt and had even longer legs to deal with. He kept having to learn to walk all over again!


I also bought him a harness designed for serious hiking where the dog would be rappelled off the side of cliffs. You can see it in the snowy pucture. It worked beautifully for me to catch him when he lost balance. He gained a lot of confidence with it!


Pilot just turned 2 years old. He's still the happiest darn dog in the world. AND HE CAN RUN. It's not always pretty, but he does it! No more slings, no more harnesses, and no more wheelchair. He's very obedient and has had no issues with learning.


He's a beautiful boy and he was worth it. All the months of self doubt. I told him to tell me if he wanted to quit. But he never did.









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