7/14/11 - We received a nice update from Lucie, Sugar's foster mom. Thought we'd share it with you. Sugar is a very special case. Will she ever go off to home of her own, or will she stay with Lucie? That is yet to be known, but a dog that is traumatized like Sugar was is a very special case that takes a very special person to help bring them around. Many in rescue end up keeping these special dogs because the work to bring them around to trust us, only to send them to a new home once again is often far too traumatic for the dog and they can back-slide. So we'll see... On with the update!
Sugar and I had a very informative visit to the Behavioral Veterinarian in May. She informed me that when an animal is isolated from other humans and animals their brain does not develop like animals who interact on a regular basis. Therefore, some of her behaviors such as trust might not ever develop like other animals. Sugar will probably never be a fox terrier who really interacts with her family. The Doctor also told me to leave her alone and let her come to me when she is comfortable. I followed these instructions and noticed a change in behavior within a few days. It was a great investment in Sugar's and my peace of mind.
Sugar loves to come to me when she is in the bed and inches her way to me when I tap the bed. Miss Sugar rules the house from the bed and growls and Casey (my other resident fox terrier rescue) when he enters the room. She loves to have her head scratched and does the foxie head turn showing her pleasure. Whenever I come into the house she comes running downstairs along with Casey. Sugar is always coming to me from my bed, where she stays almost all the time. If I need to get her to come I either use the squeaky toy or call Casey's name and she comes running with him, since she knows she will get her head scratched along with Casey!
Sugar hoards all the toys. When Casey isn't looking she runs with all she can collect upstairs to include in her stash! She still runs from me if I move to quickly and it startles her. She runs into the house from the backyard and hauls up the stairs to the bedroom where she feels safe. She is petrified to walk on a leash and only eliminates in the backyard. I was told by the Behavioral Vet that I should not force her to walk with Casey and I since it causes too much trauma for her. Although, when Casey and I go for a walk she comes to us and seems like she wants to go for a walk. So maybe someday she'll decide she'd like to join us.
You can really see how much she has grown in confidence from the first picture at the airport to the picture above. She seems so much more at ease now. Maybe she was afraid of me with my sunglasses on .LOL
Thanks, Lucie, for the great update! We're so happy fate brought you together with Miss Sugar. She seems to have found a person she can trust and feel comfortable with in you. Our hearts break for what must have hurt her soul so much, but you are the answer to her pain - just letting her "be" and letting her decide the timeline. Not many would be able to do what you're doing.
We look forward to more updates as thing change for Sugar!
Sugar's Early Story
Sugar arrived at BWI Airport in Baltimore MD on December 15th on Pet Airways. She was terrified of everyone and everything. When I walked her it was probably her first time on a leash. Sugar spent the first six years of her life in a cage bearing puppies and based on her reaction to people especially men she was mostly definitely abused.
She came home with me to met my housemate Mike and my resident senior terrier Casey. She was introduced to squeaky toys which made her feel more secure. I would watch her sneak by Casey(when he wasn't looking) and steal all the toys and bring them up to my room and put them on my bed. She now feels more secure and does not have a need to hoard all the toys anymore.
But Sugar's fears of pretty much everyone but me have proven to be a challenge. While she learned to not fear me as much, she often runs away when I walk near her. Poor little thing runs so fast down the stairs that she will fall and bump into the wall. I hope and pray that she does not hurt herself. However, Sugar has really made some progress. Instead of running from me, she will lie down in a submissive pose and let me approach her. She follows me wherever I go in the house and sits right next time when I am on my computer. When she first came to me she would never come when I called her. I started to call her name while squeaking a squeaky toy and she slowly started to come to me. Now, she will slowly come to me when I call her and put a treat on the floor. A few weeks ago, she started to take a treat from my hand occasionally. She's still working on being able to trust, and it's heartbreaking to think she's been so traumatized by her previous life.
Though Sugar has made great progress with love, patience and medication she still has a long way to go. Sugar will be visiting a Veterinarian who specializes in Behavior Modification next month and I am hoping to learn more about her fear and ways to help her to continue to progress to live a happy and secure life. Sugar has been with me now for 3.5 months and will I will continue to foster her until she feels secure, safe and less traumatized.
This couldn't happen without your ongoing support. Help us give all these wonderful dogs the gift of health. Just click the "Donate" button below to make your tax deductible donation via PayPal. Or mail your tax deductible donation to: Kathy Lauer, American Fox Terrier Rescue Treasurer, 8738 Prestwick Parkway, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443