Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lucky for us

It is crazy how quickly time passes. It was almost three years ago that we adopted Mr. B, but I can't imagine my life without him. Which is hard to believe, because I was the one that wanted to give up on him after our first week.
We were searching for a male bully over the age of 3 in Chicago, and we just couldn't find one. We contacted all sorts of different rescue groups, but to no avail. Then I randomly saw a picture of Mr. B on petfinder.com, where he was living in Michigan, and I knew right away that he was my dog. After several conversations with his foster mom, J from Kalamazoo Animal Rescue, and exchange of videos, we knew that it was a perfect match. Right away Miss M knew he was made to be her furniture; here they are in the back of the car after we picked him up:
Mr. B had a rough transition his first few weeks. He wasn't used to all the action in the city, and during our first week, he had severe isolation distress. Whenever we left, we would hear him howl, bark and cry all the way down the block. I felt like we were captive. I couldn't imagine living this way for the rest of our lives, and I was really debating whether we should keep Mr. B. Lucky for all of us, A was much more level-headed; she had to deal with a lot more with Ms. M, and she never gave up.
She reminded me of all the training she had to go through with Ms. M and that our troubles with Mr. B were nothing. In addition, we called Curtis who helped us assess and treat Mr. B's isolation distress and after one session, we had two pooches that were excited to see us leave. It's hard to see at the time, but all dogs have an adjustment period and we just needed to work with them to help them fit into our home.
I always forget how important A was in ensuring that I found my best friend. It seems befitting that A is now volunteering with Miss M's rescue New Leash on Life to find perfect homes for amazing pooches. Also, many thanks to Curtis for his incredible insight and immense help.
Even with a dog as laid-back as Mr. B, we still had to help him adjust. Anyone else have difficult adjustment periods with your dogs?

31 comments:

Two Crazy Coaches said...

I know I'm glad you stuck it out. He's such a great dog and a perfect fit for your family! And, you would've missed out on your best friend!! Hew as worth the effort!!

Brenda said...

We went through several months of adjusting with our rescue pit. He suffered from separation anxiety amongst having trust issues. I was the same as you. Within our first month, I totally wanted to take him back but I kept thinking. I am his 3rd home in 1.5 years. No one will take him. I have to stick it out! 9 months later and I'm glad I stuck it out as he has turned into a wonderful family member, best friend, and protector.

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

I am a perfect example of that. I was mom's foster dog when she took me out of the shelter. I was unsocialized and terrified of people. I would crawl to the back of my crate and not come out. Ever. Mom had to drag my crate outside with me in it, open the door, then go inside so I would go come out and go potty. That is how I got housebroken. Mom worked with me and finally got me not afraid of her. Then I would not leave the yard to go for walks. Mom had to carry me up the block and make me walk home. Finally I improved enough to where I could be adopted and mom placed me with a woman who said her other shepherd was the same way so she was experienced with scared dogs and she understood that being adopted would rock my world and I would revert back to being as scared as I was when I came out of the shelter. She called within 4 hours to say it was not working out and she had to return me because I would not come out of my crate. Turns out she had done everything wrong (took me on a tour of the neighborhood to show me off to the neighbors - SCARY!) and did not listen to a word mom said to her. Mom said fine, picked me up and promised me she would never traumatize me like that again and that is how I got to live her forever and ever. And look at me now hiking all over the country and loving it when I would not even walk out of the gate before!

Froggy said...

I am STILL working on the adjustment period! Maize was abandoned at a grooming salon in my neighborhood and was lucky enough that the groomers didn't want to see her left on the street or even worse harmed and took her in. She was lived from groomer to groomer until I fostered her. I had no clue what I was getting in to I had an older pug and had recently lost an elderly golden retriever in a break up. News flash for me young pibbles are VERY different then older retrievers. 2 years later we are FINALLY settling in. I am on my third trainer (who has changed our lives) and we are learning how to live in peace.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

There's always an adjustment period when someone new moves into your house - and with a dog you can't "talk it out" with your new roommate!

We've been lucky that each of our dogs has had a fairly easy transition to our home. Nemo probably had the roughest transition because he was depressed for the first week or two. He warmed up to us quickly though as he learned he wasn't going anywhere.

I'm so glad you guys stuck it out with Mr. B. He's such a lovable goof of a dog!

Jess, Chip, Winnie & Bruno said...

Of course- our dog Bruno was a huge adjustment because of his traumatic past. He still doesn't like sleeping alone and has trouble with strangers- however, I love seeing other people dedicated to training-- so many dogs get dumped at the shelter because problem behaviors develop (I've even seen excuses like "my dog chewed my things" or "i changed his food and he threw up all over the house.") its amazing but dogs take SO much work to adjust and develop-we stuck it out with Bruno and you did with Mr. B and I think the reward is much greater when you go through that tough training- I couldn't leave him for the world b/c we have been through that process together. I just wish more people would understand that having a dog is a tough relationship not an easy accessory.

Michelle said...

We adopted a 5 1/2month old pit mix at the end of august last year. I had very serious thoughts about returning her in that first month, what had I gotten myself into? was she always going to be a total wackadoo? And then I started reminding myself that she was just a baby, she needed guidance and an education and I needed to be patient. Eight weeks of obedience classes, many many trips to the dog park for socialization and a commitment to make her the best she could be and we have a dog that is a joy(though she still has her moments). We get many compliments on how calm and friendly she is. She's my friend, my partner in crime and my "kiddo squiddo."

Sarah said...

Love the backseat pic! We have a very similar one the day we got sadie. The transition period with Sadie was rough but what got us through was how obviously relieved she was to be in a loving home & how much she adored her sister from the start.

Kari in WeHo said...

Good for you for sticking it out. We almost gave Mesa back when we first adopted her but stuck with it and now can't imagine life without her!

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com

Trissi_V said...

I hate to say it, but I felt like returning Laci the second day we had her. She was getting into it with Apollo and she bit me in the process of trying to break up a squabble. I was in tears.

Thankfully, a coworker told me about 2 trainers in our area who came to our house and said "the problem is not her, its you!". Our dogs were competing for a resource; that resource was me. The trainers helped me to establish my place in the pack and I learned how to create boundaries. It was the best money we ever spent.

Now, Laci is Apollo's shadow (she loves her big brother)...both dogs listen to me...and they respect the boundaries I create. These trainers changed our lives. We all couldn't be a happier family.

Daisy Dog said...

We had our ups and downs, Daisy "the puppers" wanted to play with Sprocket (RIP)"the grouchy old man", which resulted in a couple puncture wounds for Sprocket, and 4 finger surgeries a 10 day hospital stay, a bone infection and 8 weeks of IV antibiotics for me.

I stupidly put my hand in the middle of their spat and got a couple of puncture wounds probably from Sprocket, one knicked the bone and I got a bone infection.

So I got a trainer and we delt with it.

She is now gentle as a lamb with the kittens I brought home and little Mouse too.

Corbin said...

It's so wonderful when people understand the adjustment period and can see how wonderful life will be once they get through that. So many people call after a week ready to return their adopted dog because of simple adjustment issues... very sad the amount that don't take our advice and are set on returning the poor pooch.
-Jenn

Tucker The Crestie said...

Thank goodness you guys stuck it out with Mr. B! I can't imagine the blog without him!

Patty said...

Very sweet pictures. Glad you guys stuck it out! Mr. B looks at home with his furever family.

Sophie has been with me for 3.5 years now and I can't imagine life without her. Though those first few sleep deprived months, I contemplated if I had what it took to raise a puppy on my own while being a student. I am beyond happy that I stuck it out

road-dog-tales said...

Wow, we can't begin to imagine Miss M without Mr. B in the picture! So glad you found the resources to help him adjust 'cause he seems so totally happy and content in your pack!

The Road Dogs

loveandaleash said...

we would love to hear what curtis taught you about isolation distress. we have worked on this with all of our dogs, but hearing tricks and tips from other successful dog rescuers is always nice!

A&A Friese said...

So lucky for you guys and Mr. B! We are at the tail end of the adjusment phase with Molly and so far the biggest hurdle was definately potty training her. We were happy we were only fostering her because in those first few weeks we were definately no planning on adoptin her. She was so fearful and WOULD NOT potty in front of us (instead she would wait to come inside then hide and pee ugh). After a few weeks of house training and lots of affection and praise she truly started to blossom and we fell hard for our sweet girl! We are so thrilled we stuck it out those first few weeks, and are very happy you guys did as well- heres to triumphing through the adjustment phase!

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

We love E posts. But most of all we love that the last two days have been about your failures. SO many of us love watching and reading your blog. Sometimes, its nice to know that there were setbacks and you were still able to come so far. Were glad you didnt give up on B, hes the perfect addition.

brooke said...

I can't imagine Miss M without Mr B. They seem like they were made for eachother!

4-legged Wiums said...

they are so lovely together :)

We know how you feel, when we first adopted Snoopy (who had been through four homes before we got her), I was ready to give her back, she was mad as a hatter and wouldn't settle.
Wouldn't be without her now! :)

Benny and Lily said...

We belive it was meant to be that you guys found each other...
Benny & Lily

the booker man said...

i can't imagine you not having mr. b! i'm so glad everything worked out.
before we adopted asa, she had been living on a pretty isolated farm her entire life. she was terrified of cars passing her when we were out on walks. it took her a few months to get over that fear.
asa still has trouble with strangers, but she has gotten a lot better in the almost 7 years that we have had her.

the booker man and asa's mama

houndstooth said...

It's hard to believe Mr. B being difficult! Our second Greyhound, Hawk, was our problem child. He was just a chicken little sort of dog. The sky was always falling! He bit me three weeks after we brought him home and my husband was ready to send him back, but we stuck it out with him, and I'm glad we did. Seeing him come out of his shell was one of the best things ever!

Mr. Pip said...

Hey Pitties - I sent you an email about your question. Yep, you can register for the walk right on my firstgiving page!

See you soon!

Fiona, as typed by Dr. Liz said...

How could you give him up? Ms. M. was clearly in need of dog-shaped furniture? ;-D (Kidding - I can understand the fear of 'what are we doing to this poor guy?')

Actually, Abby was a drama queen when we got her as a puppy; we'd crate her (and at the time TaiChi was still alive, but very blind, and had to be crated while we were gone, too) but we didn't crate Fi. Abby would cry like we were pulling her ears off when we'd leave. When we'd come home, if she didn't hear us, she'd be fine. But as soon as she heard us coming up the stairs? The crying would start up again. It was actually pretty funny once we realized what she was doing. I was traumatized at first, but when I realized she was hamming it up, I just ignored her, and she finally cut it out (and grew up and was no longer crated...).

-Dr. Liz (Abby is currently coveting Fi's Dingo.... Abby had her own, but once she ate hers, she immediately zeroed in on Fi's...)

Wyatt said...

Mr. B is a lucky fella to have such a great family :)

Wyatt

Brenda said...

Your post and the comments are such a lovely testament to the power of patience and love. They should appear somewhere for a wider audience... a feature in a popular magazine, or a newspaper... something! It's such an important message!!

And I went to my blog today to respond to your comment from the other day - only your comment and most of the others from that day are gone!! Strange. I read them on my phone, so I know I didn't imagine them... I don't think...

Anyway! About your window boxes - my kitchen window box is in a very similar spot. It gets bright hot morning sun, then shade after about 1 or 2 pm. I've had really good luck with trailing lantana. Have you ever tried that? It is drought tolerant, seems to manage the afternoon shade, and comes in all kinds of colors! In the fall and early spring, when its too cool for lantana, johnny jump ups are very happy in that box! Hope this helps. :)

Maisie's Mom said...

I STILL sometimes say I'm gonna tie Maisie to a tree and walk away! ;)

Her original adopters had actually hired Curtis to work with her (I also know him from my rescue days and we had some issues, but that's another story entirely). Anyway, whatever he did at the time apparently wasn't effective enough for them to keep her. but now she's mine, so maybe that's how it was meant to be...

http://maisieme.blogspot.com/

Mary said...

Have you heard of the two-week shutdown? It's a method a lot of people on the Pit Bull Forum advocate when you first bring a dog home. It's supposed to help the dog adjust to its new environment. We obviously didn't practice it with either dog, but I could see how it would be useful.

It definitely took Levi awhile to come out of his shell-I will never forget the first time he actually relaxed enough to play. I could hardly tear myself away from him that morning to go to work.

Way to go for sticking it out with Mr. B. It just goes to show that a dog that might seem like not a good fit at first might just need some time to adjust and will turn out to be your best friend.

Kirby, CGC said...

Kirby had severe separation anxiety when I first got him, but we toughed it out and now he isn't particulary happy to see me leave, but he knows he gets his treat balls so it's okay and he knows I always come back. I have now even been able to leave him twice in one day and he handles it well. I worked with my vet and a trainer and we got through it, it taught me alot about dogs and what it means to be the leader of the pack.

Yep, Kirby has taught ME alot!

Kirby's mom

Susan Campisi said...

I'm way behind on your posts but I'm so happy to be catching up. I had a terrible time with Tommy the first few months and almost gave up on him numerous times. I'm glad I stuck it out. And I'm glad you guys stuck it out with Mr. B! He is so worth it.

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