January 22, 2013

Nora is a sweet, loving little lady that we welcomed into our family Saturday, December 15, 2012.  She was found as a stray at six months old by RescueWorks in West Covina, California.  A supporter of Ruffles and an a (ex)volunteer of RescueWorks contacted us, seeing if we by chance had the room to take Nora, who was previously named Georgia.  She had been labeled ‘dog-aggressive’ and the rescue was at a loss of what to do with her.  We of course said yes, drove the three hour drive and picked this sweet thing up, just in time for the holidays.

Nora is estimated by the veterinarian to be three-four years old.  She has lived the past two and a half years, that is admitted to us, in a kennel.  When she first came to us, she was lost.  She didn’t know what to do, how to act, or how to function out of her create.  She was freaked out by everything in the house, scared of men, kids, and just followed me around, and looked at me with these big sad eyes, with her tail tucked in between her legs.  She was not socialized and just terrified of everything.

(Left: RescueWorks Deeming Nora Aggressive)

When we picked up Nora from the kennel facility that gives RescueWorks free boarding and kennels for their rescue dogs – I saw how Nora had been living, and what she has been living without.  She; along with the other rescue dogs I saw, had no blankets or toys.  Nora, along with another dog I had evaluated while there, didn’t even have water in their kennels.  When I asked an individual who was walking me through kennel – they stated that since RescueWorks did not pay for boarding, that the facility didn’t want to clean up after the toy or do the laundry.

(Right:  One Kennel Nora Lived In)

I evaluated Nora, along with two other dogs that were deemed ‘dog-aggressive’ by this rescue.  I didn’t see any of this behavior, at all, from any of the dogs.  In fact, all I saw was uneasiness being handled by humans, and I saw dogs who wanted to play together, but didn’t know how.  I spent almost three hours at this facility, evaluating dogs and talking to RescueWorks.  They informed me and kept repeating, over and over again, that they were a new organization and are learning.  I told them ways to improve the dogs life, behavior and way to improve using kennels.  I told them that Ruffles does not use kennels, but using kennels can be successful if done right.

I was contacted by the rescue organization again this past week to take one of the other dog that has been living in the kennels longer than Nora, and they haven’t changed a thing.  Per our conversation via messaging, they are still doing things the same, and the poor dog that was kenneled next to Nora; Lucy, is just now starting to be ‘worked with’.  Lucy had been at the kennel longer than Nora – and they are just now working with her.  So shameful.

When I welcome any new foster into my home, the first few weeks are full of on leash in the house, on leash dog play and interactions and on leash cuddle time.  Everything other than them sleeping or eating in their crate – is on leash.  I do this to introduce the dogs slowly, to show them house manners, and for the dog to bond with me.  Nora followed and learned fast.  Within the second day, she was playing on leash with my personal dogs and Bruce, my other foster.  She was very uneasy around televisions, men, microwaves, dishwashers – she was uneasy over everything that she didn’t know and she didn’t know much.  All she knew was cold concrete and a food bowl.  When she got nervous, or uneasy, she would stand alert and do a bark/growl combo.  She would never lunge, never snip – but stand alert until she was comfortable again.  All because she never was taught to be a normal dog.

Within two weeks – she was off leash and loving life.  She had accidents in her crate very often – but, she didn’t know any different.  That was her life for over two years – going to the bathroom where she slept.  I was very scheduled with her feedings – mornings at six, evenings at six.  She would be taken out to potty, fed, and taken out again.  I would set outside with her and repeatedly say, “Go potty” – until she did.  Then praise like no other.  Within a few weeks – she got it down to a science.  It’s all about routine.

I’ve now had Nora over five short weeks – and she is a different dog!  She loves going places, playing with other dogs, loves everyone she meets and is striving.  She has gained weight, is almost house trained, plays well with dogs, meeting new dogs, does well at adoptions and has even traveled to Monterey.  Our girl is perfect in every single way.  Unfortunately, she has over two years of physical scaring on her for living her life in a kennel.  The tips of her ears, the tip of her tail, and her knees are missing hair.  Due to laying on concrete.  Her ears are slowly showing some hair growth – but her tail is still bare.  I rub some oils on them to help stimulate the hair folical.  She sure loves her massages.

I can’t help but just steam with anger when I think about Nora, and the other dogs rotting away in the kennels with no basic things like blankets or toys.  She was saved as a puppy and rotted away for over two years.  With the strides she has made in the five short weeks I have had her; I can’t help but imagine what her possibilities would have been, if given the chance and taught when she was first saved.  If Nora keeps up the awesome work, we will be putting her though therapy dog training.  However, we are still working on fixing over two years of neglect.


If you would like to make donation to help us save more lives like Nora, please click the Ruffles donate button to the left to make a donation via PayPal.

 If you would like to make a donation by phone, Ruffles accepts all major credit cards.  Please just give us a call at (559) 799-4019.


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