Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jebediah Ventura, Foster Dog

So I've been hard at work on the dog adoption front. I tried to adopt a sheltie-mix named Xena from a local dog rescue group. It turned out that they wouldn't let us adopt Xena because they thought we weren't active enough (???). The dog was in a foster home with some guy who takes her to the beach ten times a day so they have turned down adoption applications from about 4 different families. Anyway, I was getting pretty bummed out about the whole dog adoption thing. I had made one too many visits to our local dog pound which is full of pitbulls and chihuahuas. Then last weekend, the same dog rescue group that rejected us as a family for Xena called and asked whether we would want to be foster parents for a dog that was turned in the previous Sunday, a Aussie shepherd mix named Jeb.

So we all went to meet Jeb and Lucy liked him and he seemed to like Lucy. Mitch continued to be not thrilled about the whole idea but gave his reluctant blessing. So last Sunday I brought Jeb home for a visit. The deal with fostering is that Jeb stays at our house and we get to take him for a test run so to speak. If we decide not to adopt him, we can start taking him to the dog rescue group's facility in town to be viewed for adoption on Sundays. If we decide to adopt him we go in and fill out some paperwork and pay a fee.

So far it is a mixed bag. Jeb is a great dog. If we decide not to adopt him, I think I will be leaving the dog adoption quest on the shelf for a while (another year?). He is great with the cats (completely ignores them and now they are both pretty much over it, although Kathmandu still slinks around quite a bit). He is essentially a very lazy dog. He pretty much just lays around the house and watches the world go by. He is great with Lucy (we like to play find Lucy at the park where Lucy hides and then Jeb finds her and she gives him a treat). He doesn't bark much at all although he has started to bark now when someone tries to come in the house.

There are two main issues. One is...he is a dog. Maybe having a dog when you already have two small kids is not the best idea. Mitch phrases it this way, "Do I come into your office and add things that make your job harder??" On the one hand, having Jeb around for Lucy is very entertaining. On the other hand, he is one more living, breathing, animal who has needs in an already full household. So now that we have a dog, both Mitch and I are seriously considering whether having a dog is a good idea.

The second big issue is three personality quirks that the dog trainer is coming tomorrow to discuss. First, he has major separation anxiety and barks continuously any time we leave him home alone. This isn't o.k. when you live in a high density neighborhood like we do and when your duplex mate works at home for a living. In addition, he now also claws at the door when we leave him home alone. So we've got to resolve that if we want to keep him. His two other problem areas are that he snapped at Josie once when she was yarding on his fur. He's got to leave or ignore her when she bothers him. He's doing better with this and I've let her bug him quite a bit without any shows of aggression. And finally, he doesn't show any food aggression but I can't get him to give up a rawhide chew once I give it to him. I want to be sure that he knows that we are in charge and that involves giving up things he wants if I ask him to.

On Jeb's plus side: he has a wonderful fat tail, he is lazy and happy go lucky, he doesn't bother the cats, he walks well on the leash, and he "finds" Lucy.

So Jeb is just visiting for now. We will wait to see what the dog trainer says tomorrow and try to decide his permanent fate by next Sunday so that we can start taking him to adoption days, or not.

1 comment:

Scott said...

congrats on the foster dog! Hope you can work things out - I think the separation anxiety is going to be a hard nut to crack - can't even really imagine how you train that out of him... Charley has developed a weird reluctance to be rolled over - he growls if you try to alpha roll him. We're trying to break him of that and show him who's boss, but it's tough, because it's mostly fear related, I think. Maybe we need a visit from the trainer too. Good luck and keep us posted (as I know you will since you're such an excellent blogger as opposed to me and Mitch the blog-slackers).