Lucy and Ethel lived in a home with an elderly couple, 7 other dogs and at least 97 cats. The conditions in the home were evidently horrific. The dogs and cats were seized by the SPCA. There were 4 Pyrs, all females. One was destroyed for aggression, one was still at the Glouster County facility in NJ when Lucy and Ethel were picked up for transport to me on July 15. The one left behind is more than likely unadoptable. I only had room for two. Rhonda Dalton went to the Shelter at the Shelter Director's request to evaluate the dogs. She was not allowed inside the pens with them as they had not yet been released. The court case was pending. She called me about what appeared to be the 2 youngest girls. At that time I had room for them and arrangements were made to get them to me as soon as they could be released and we could set up transport. Rhonda felt that these two girls had some real potential to be rehabbed and placed in new homes. Thanks to Rhonda and Mitch who picked them up at the Shelter and John and Nancy who met him in North Jersey, transferred the dogs to their van then drove them up to me, these two girls are on the mend. (I hope)The girls arrived at about 6pm or so on Saturday, July 15. Lucy was so frightened that we could not get her out of the crate. So John, Nancy and I carried the crate from the van and into the backyard to the kennel. We opend the crate door into the open kennel door and out shot Lucy into the kennel. Ethel was a bit easier. We were able to get a leash on her and get her out of the crate, out of the van, then walk her more or less to the kennel. We kenneled the two girls together at that time as they had been kenneled together at the Shelter and they were absolutely terrified. They were not as dirty as I had expected as they had evidently been covered in feces when taken from their home, but they do smell really bad. More like that Shelter smell than anything else. We suspect they had been hosed off at the Shelter. Good thing too. The Shelter had also treated them for fleas as they were infested when they came in. I tried getting near them but they ran from me and huddled in the corner together. John and Nancy left and I went in with them again and was able to get a collar on each one of them. Even though they were terrified they did not growl, show their teeth or any type of aggressive behavior toward me. They looked at me with those soulful eyes with a look that told me that they wanted to trust, but were just too afraid. Later that evening, once Dorene and Roseanna arrived to take pictures, I decided to move Ethel to the kennel next to Lucy. Ethel had growled at Lucy over a biscuit and I wanted to be sure Lucy would be able to eat if she chose to do so. It was really hot out and I wanted to bring them inside but there was no getting near them at that point. So out they stayed.
On Sunday I noticed that Lucy had eaten the food I had put out for them Saturday night but Ethel had not. I cleaned and refilled their water buckets, cleaned their kennel and went to work. Another really hot and humid day. I was worried about them. Especially with the flies since they stunk so bad. Upon my return home from work I went and got their buckets to give them clean cold water. Ethel barked and growled at me but moved away. Lucy just made herself as small as possible in a corner. The bugs were really bothering them but there was nothing I could do. At 11:45pm on Sunday they started barking and would not quit. So, I took a leash out, made a loop and lassoed them and drug them (more or less) into the house and put them in crates. Ethel was easier than Lucy as I think Ethel had more socialization when young and knew what a leash was for. Lucy was another story altogether. But in they came, away from the bugs and the heat. I was relieved that they were inside. I was off work on Monday so I could spend the day with them. Ethel went out to potty on Monday morning on lead. I was able to reach into the crate and hook the leash onto her collar and walk her. Lucy was having no part of it. She was not aggressive but certainly terrified and I didn't want to push it. Lucy finally decided that she needed to go out that afternoon and I was able to hook the leash onto her and walk her (after a fashion) so that she could releive herself. But I was still unable to touch either one of them without them flinching and trying to run.
It's now Thursday, 7/20/06 and the girls are more used to me. They are eating well and I've discovered that Ethel REALLY likes cheese. They are walked 3 to 4 times a day and are glad to be back in their crates in the A/C. I was able to pet Ethel this morning without her trying to run from me. Lucy let me touch her twice and gently stroke her. She is doing so much better on the lead. I imagine that those who removed the dogs from the house used a "Shelter Pole" on the dogs for their own protection and this may have something to do with Lucy's initial reaction to the leash and why she may still be somewhat afraid of it. Interestingly enough, when I take Lucy out to walk her, Ethel carries on by barking, howling and whining. I'm going to get them out in the kennel for a bit today as I have to pull out their crates and move them to vacuum under and around them. Then I am going to put a crate inbetween theirs as at the moment they are side by side. It's time to take the next step in making them a bit more independent of each other. I am so pleased with their progress thus far. They still need to be vaccinated, but that will be done by a Vet friend in a week or so. She is going to drive up to the house as I do not want to traumatize them by putting them in the truck and taking them to the regular Vet. We will also check for Heartworm at that time. I have hope that in a few months the girls will be healed mentally and perhaps they will be up for adoption once they are spayed.
On Saturday, July 29, Lucy and Ethel's "sister" arrived. We have named her Desiree. She was more scared than the other two but is doing nicely. Lucy and Ethel have learned to trust me and a Vet friend of mine came up on Sunday July 30 and gave them their vaccinations and tested them for Heartworm. Both were negative for HW. Hooray! Ethel may actually be spayed but I'm not ready to put her over on her back to check. I don't want to totally freak her out. All in all the girls are all doing very well but it will be a very long time before they are comfortable around strangers. I am working with them slowly to build trust. Lucy is now allowed free in the yard to run and play. While she will not let me catch her, she will come in the house when called. Both she and Ethel now accept and look for affection and attention. All in all a lot of progress in just 2 short weeks.
It's now August 24 and things are really busy here in Rescue. Desiree gives me really BIG tail wags every time I pass her crate. I've been able to lie down in the grass outside with her and rub her belly and look for a spay scar. (didn't find one of course) Lucy and Ethel now go out to play together but are still not comfortable in the kennel for too long a period of time. They prefer to be indoors. They are still scared when I try to touch them but are totally non aggressive. I will soon have to leash them and try to cut out the worst of their mats as they need to be bathed before winter. They are all still not accepting of strangers. I've so many here now and with a litter on the way it is difficult to find the time to really work with them. Poor Alli the soon to be mama needs to be walked for exercise so these 3 are on the back burner for a bit. But I try to make progress where I can. I stroke them before letting them run out the door, I touch their feet etc. Day by day they are getting a bit more receptive.
September 27. I've been working with the girls every free moment. They now are comfortable out in the kennel during the day. They run free and play in the big yard. I no longer have to take them out to their kennels on lead. When I let them out they run into their kennels and turn and wait for their cookie. When I let them out to bring them inside in the evening, they give me kisses then run and play joyously. It's so great to see them enjoying life! They are still afraid of strangers, but they trust me more every day and we will soon start working on getting them to trust others.
November 23. All the girls are doing very well. I am most concerned about Lucy. She is not coming along as quickly as I'd hoped, but she is still improving. Desiree has become Booker's kennelmate. He is quite happy with her! And chances are, he will be adopted long before Desiree is ready for adoption so he won't be stressed by losing her. She does well with him but it took some time to acclimate them. Ethel and Desiree both adore me and trust me pretty much completely now. Lucy is still a bit unsure. But Lucy did come up to me today when she was running free in the yard and let me pet her. This is something she does very seldom. When she is loose she does not want to come to me although she will always come into the house and run into her crate (her safe place) or into her kennel when I put them out. Lucy and Ethel are still kenneled together as they seem to do much better that way. Ethel gives me kisses as does Desiree. Just tiny little affectionate licks with just the tip of their tongues. They are so happy to be here with me! 2 days ago Desiree started playing with the toys in her kennel! I could not be happier. She is really starting to act like a normal dog. We had some people out a month or so ago who were adopting another dog. I let Lucy and Ethel free in the yard to see their reaction to strangers. They are much better when they have the option of flight. Ethel actually approached and took a cookie from the gentleman's hand! Oh happy day! Slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Ethel and Desiree are quite affectionate with me and love when I pet them. Lucy is less so but I make a point of running my hands over her gently everytime I let her outside and she is starting to enjoy it. It also helps that Ethel is generally enthralled with me touching her and is so joyous about it. Lucy watches my interaction with Ethel intently. She really seems to key off Ethel's reactions. It's just a shame she was not socialized at an early age. She would probably be a different dog today if this had been done. Ethel still barks incessantly when strangers are here. This is due to her being insecure in the situation. Everything takes time and I'm taking baby steps with these three as I do not want to set them back any. I just pray that I will be able to take the time needed to give them a real chance at adoption. We are facing some problems here that may make giving them a year or more of rehab time impossible.
March 2007. The girls are coming along well. We still need to work on issues with being afraid of strangers. They really enjoyed playing in the snow as you can see from the pictures above. I want to start some obedience training with them as this can help build their confidence. It's been a long road to get to this point and we still have a long way to go before they will be able to be placed in a new home. If that will ever be possible. They remain loving and affectionate with me. Ethel has actually finally come in season. We thought she may have already been spayed but that is evidently not the case. I will be setting up appointments with the Vet to get them all spayed. Something I was putting off as I did not want to spend that money if they were not going to be able to be placed. But now I feel that getting rid of those hormones may help with their trust issues. Hormones are powerful and can certainly effect temperament and personality. I also wanted to avoid traumatizing them by taking them in the vehicle and leaving them at the Vet for the surgery. But the time has come. So, sometime within the next month or so they will be spayed. Then we will take it from there. Hopefully this event will not break the trust we have built over these last several months.
April 24, 2007. Ethel crossed the Rainbow Bridge this evening. Ethel was completely trustworthy with me, but her temperament was not such that she could have been placed in someone else's home. She would not have been a safe dog to adopt out. So I had to make the extremely difficult decision to let her go. There are too many trustworthy dogs without the temperament problems that need to come in to Rescue. I was with her when she crossed over. I told her that I loved her, which I did. I will miss my sweet, lovable girl. If only I could have taught her to trust others the way she trusted me. If only there were more adoptions and less dogs coming in. But unfortunately, time to try to re-hab her ran out. Too many if onlys... Once again my heart is broken. I wish people would research before getting a pet. I wish they would care properly for their pets. I wish, I wish... We live in a "throw away society" Ethel is one more casualty. I did my best. I hope she knows that and forgives me for what I had to do. You may be gone Ett, but you will never be forgotten.
March 23,2008 Desiree was spayed a few months ago. Hooray! She is coming along nicely but still does not trust strangers. Lucy is not yet spayed as every time I make an appointment for her to get done she manages to go into season a few days prior to the appointement. If only she had 6 months in between seasons, or if she just had a regular cycle. But that's not our Lucy.
2575 Blakeslee Blvd. Dr. W.
Lehighton, PA 18235
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