I went to the kennel with Roxy and Buster to bring home another foster dog. We tried one male pitty who Roxy absolutely adored, Thunder. Roxy and Thunder were play bowing and wrestling in no time, and I thought we were sold on bringing him home. Then, I brought Buster out to meet Thunder, and, unfortunately, Buster had no desire to interact with Thunder at all. Buster would growl whenever he came near. We tried parallel walking and slow introductions, but Buster just wasn't having it. So, we opted to try another dog -- a female -- and hope that worked better for Buster.
Buster was a much bigger fan of Sugar... his body language was so much more relaxed, he wasn't avoiding looking at her, and he was even sniffing and wagging his tail. His whale eye was gone, and there were no growls of disapproval. Roxy tried to play with Sugar, and Sugar just stood there, looking completely lost.... so we took her home for foster.
Her body was in rough shape. She was practically molting, she had intense diarrhea, and her teeth were beyond yellow -- they were actually becoming orange in some spots. We offered lots of bully sticks and chews, gave her a bath, and brushed her often and her body began to heal.
We started working on training, and Sugar was thoroughly confused. She knew how to sit, but not on cue, and it was almost as if she offered a sit when she didn't know what to do, or when she thought she was in trouble. But she seemed to have no idea that there were things she could do that would be rewarded, that she could alter her behavior to earn treats and other rewards, so I spent a lot of time working on that with her, and you could see she started to understanding that sit = reward.
Then, after a couple of weeks and she had settled in, Sugar started digging holes in the yard. I approached her to redirect to a toy, and when I reached down for her collar, she literally cowered. She flinched, sat, and rolled half-way on her back to expose her belly to me. I felt terrible, knowing that someone had likely mistreated her... so as she rolled over, I rubbed her belly and she wiggled her little tail nub at me while staring in disbelief. We did this a lot, I "practiced" approaching her and just loving her to pieces and after about a week of that, she stopped cowering and rolling on her back, unless she just plain wanted a belly rub.
Next, I wanted to teach her to target my hand... I called her name and she ran over to me and sat at my feet. I lifted my right hand up, about a foot in front of her face, and Sugar flinched. Again, here is this literally perfect dog, and she was expecting someone to hit her. So we worked on that, too.
Sugar accompanied me on a trip to upstate New York, where I met with some of my rescue friends and volunteers from Rescue-a-Bull. She met many dogs, and plenty of people, and she was fabulous. By the end of the weekend, she was tired and bit less interested in making friends with the other dogs, but she had behaved ever-so-wonderfully.
I've been taking Sugar to adoption events, but we haven't gotten a lot of interest in her, despite her loving personality and adorable wiggles. I've been updating her pictures, and posting about her frequently, to keep her fresh in everyone's minds. And, we've been getting more inquiries for the last week or so, so I am beginning to get hopeful that she may be going home soon. And although I'm hopeful, I'm a bit sad, because Sugar is literally a perfect dog. Roxy and Buster both like her, her energy level matches theirs, and so does her intensity. She adores Rob, she is funny, and snuggly, and just a completely lovable dog in all possible ways. She is going to make someone very happy, that is for sure. And the difference in her, from the day she came home and pouted while sitting on my deck for our adoption pictures, and now, is pretty amazing: