Getting to know Solo

It’s been 5 days since Solo came to stay with us, a scared, unsure dog, knowing only kindness from his saviors at Eddy’s Dogs.  Life before that was not so kind for this young dog, who carries a lot of distrust from his past.

Solo is not aggressive, he is scared, he doesn’t growl or bark, he shakes and freezes.  I knew of Solo’s rescue and what he had endured and his long recovery to get him to a place where he was ready to get into foster care and find his forever home.

I prepared for his arrival by setting up a dog pen for him, I put a sheet over it, to make it feel safer and set up a bed with some toys.  A safe place for Solo to retreat and be left alone, if he choose to.

When Solo arrived I met him outside with Dahlia and Flipflop to make the introductions.  Solo was uninterested in them, and me!  He only had eyes for Sherri (who helped nurse him back to healthy), it was hard for Sherri to leave him as well, remembering the time and care she took, cleaning his wounds and bonding with him.  I have fostered for Sherri and Eddy in the past, however; so she knew I knew exactly what Solo needed.

Solo needed to be ignored, by ignoring him, I posed no threat.  Of course it’s always hard to ignore the dog, I want to hug him/her and tell it everything will be ok now and they will never be hurt again.  However, dogs don’t speak that language, so I had to ignore Solo to show him I have no interest in him, which in his mind registers that I have no interest in harming him.

Solo ended up not going to his pen, he wanted to be in my kitchen, so I set up a bed and some toys in the kitchen for him, and left his pen in the living room, in case he wanted it.  As I set up his bed and brought in some toys, I was careful not to look at him and I acted as if he was not even there.

I tried to leash him up to take him for a quick walk but he was too afraid to come with me, so I let him be and took out Dahlia and Flipflop and we went to bed, leaving Solo feeling safe in the kitchen.

When I awoke the next morning, Solo was still too scared to allow me to leash him, so I walked Dahlia and Flipflop and let Solo explore the apartment.  On the walk with my dogs, I realized this probably wasn’t a good idea, and sure enough I came home to some doggie “accidents” to clean up.

I am fortunate to be able to work from home and I arranged to do so the first couple days after Solo’s arrival.  On Solo’s first day here, I continued to ignore him and he started to explore.  He would walk up to me and sniff my hand, I would pretend I didn’t notice.

The sniffs eventually turned to licks and then not before too long, Solo was pawing at me to pet him.  I put my hand on him gently, he froze and trembled, I removed my hand and talked to him in a soft voice.  He pawed me again, this time he didn’t tremble, but I could tell he was still unsure from his body language, but he was really trying to trust me and have love.

That was the beginning of Solo’s amazing few days with us so far.  Solo is now sleeping on dog beds in the living room during the day but will go into his pen on occasion.  He only wants to be in the kitchen to eat, he won’t eat around me or the other dogs, I’m assuming because in the past on the streets he had to protect his food.

In five days Solo has shown great progress in learning to trust and be a dog.  A few days ago he growled at me when I tried to dry him off with a towel (after a walk in the rain), and today, after Flipflop peed on Solo’s head during a walk, Solo let me clean him and didn’t growl or show any signs of fear with me.  He’s playing with toys and instead of being fearful of the leash, he gets excited to go for walks.

Solo still has a journey to go as far as letting go of his fears from his past, but he wants to be loved so badly, and is trying so hard to trust me and other humans.  I’m so proud of this little sweetheart!

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A huge breakthrough, Solo snuggling.

 

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Introducing Solo

Solo is 2 to 3 years old, he’s a shy dog, who is very unsure of his surroundings, he is also my recent foster.

When I was asked to foster Solo, I didn’t know anything about him, and Sherri-Lee (founder of Royal Canadian Pooch rescue) told me to look on Eddy’s Dogs Facebook page.

I looked him up and what I saw made my heart just break for this sweet dog.

Solo was living in a dump, surviving on his own, he built himself a small den and would scurry around the local neighbourhood looking for food.  He was skin and bones and deemed a nuisance  by someone and this person decided to take measures to remove Solo from their neighbourhood.

When Eddy’s Dogs received a call from a lady stating that she spotted a dog in “really bad shape,” the rescue asked if she could stay near him to track him and they would come and get the dog.  She kindly agreed.

When Eddy got to the area where Solo was, he had seen his den, set on fire and acid had been poured on Solo, burning his fur off and leaving several wounds.

For months Solo’s wounds were cleaned and treated as he was fed regularly.  Before long Solo was starting to recover and his fur was growing back.  A year after that fateful day where Solo was rescued, it was decided he was ready to enter foster care and find his family.

Solo arrived this week and has declared the kitchen his “safe place”.  In the short time he has been here, he is impressing me with his efforts to come out of his shell.  I can tell he really wants to trust me, but is unsure.  He quietly walks up to me and kiss my hand but gets uncomfortable if I approach him.

He follows Dahlia and Flipflop around and wants to be near me when they are, but will freeze if I pet him.  So I just let him enjoy being near his foster siblings and know in time, Solo will welcome the touch of my hand.

I am excited to watch Solo come out of his shell and be part of his journey to his forever home.

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Left: Solo during his recovery stage, starting to heal Right: Solo on his way to Canada, healthy and happy.

Vanya (aka Bambi)

From the moment I met her, I knew Vanya was a survivor.  A street pup from Antique, with instincts for survival and definitely her brothers’ protector.

Upon arriving at Toronto Pearson Airport, Vanya and her brother, Willie, were delivered to me for foster care.  My twin gremlins,  I called them affectionately in the weeks they stayed with me, while we waited for room at the humane society for them to open up.  They were a bundle of joy (and exhaustion!).

And then the day came, the humane society had room for them, I was devastated.  It’s always emotional sending a foster off on their next journey but leaving them behind without a family, is a whole new level of emotion torture!!

Vanya and Willie are so cute, it didn’t take long for them both to find forever families, Willie has a wonderful young mom who adores him, and he knows it!!  He’s got her pretty well trained in the few months they’ve been together and he has learned if he shows interest in anything at the pet store, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going home with him.

Vanya has been adopted by a lovely family who have embraced her confident personality and she is thriving.

I was very fortunately over the holidays to have Vanya’s family make the hour long treck on the 401 to bring her to see me for the first time since I left her at the humane society.

I met Vanya’s family outside, knowing Flipflop would not take kindly to Vanya just strolling back into his home.  What I didn’t expect was the excitement from Flipflop and Dahlia upon meeting Vanya’s mom!!!  They took an instant love to Marianne, and greeted her as an old friend, and then they saw Vanya with her human brother and dad.  I took them over to her and as I suspected, Vanya remembered them right away. She jumped up and started kissing Dahlia’s face, as she did constantly while in my care.  She gave Flipflop a quick hello and then came over to me.

She hadn’t changed a bit!  She is bigger, of course, and has filled out into a beautiful athletic Potcake and best of all Vanya still has her confidence. When we made our way up to my place, she got so excited as memories of her time with us came back through her senses.

Her family delighted at how happy she was and how she remembered my place, she remembered the elevators and even which apartment was mine, when we got to my floor.  Once inside, Vanya delighted us with her usual antics of trying to unzip the couch cushions take out the foam, and emptying the doggie toy box and playing delightfully. That is when she wasn’t saying hi to Sixx (my cat who is very social with all the dogs) or taking a time out of play to run over to me to say hello again.

Despite her obvious thrill to be back at her foster home for a visit, Vanya still protested to being picked up for a snuggle.  Just as when I fostered her, she was too busy to want to be cuddled and would only let you hold her for a few seconds. It made me laugh.

It was so wonderful to visit with her and meet her amazing forever family.  And as happy as Vanya was to visit and see me, she was quite happy and content to leave with her family.  When they had to leave, Vanya ran to the door with her family, her dad said that she is probably just excited to be going outside, and not excited that she was leaving me.

I smiled at his kindness and told him it was the best possible scenario, Vanya remembered me and was happy to see us and spend time here, but when it was time to leave, she knew who her forever family is and wanted to go to her home.

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