Sunday, May 24, 2009

Anyone up for a challenge?

We have a beautiful whippet here who needs a home, but it has to be one with tons of patience and love. Red is a male, about six or seven, who was very happy in his first home, but never really went anywhere other than his own yard and house. His owner is having to move into an apartment for reasons of age and health, and is unable to keep him. We're looking for a home where Red will be loved and cherished for himself. He's a gorgeous solid, deep red with a full white collar (picture later today).

This is not a rescue. He's a well-bred dog with an impressive pedigree who came from a good home -- it's just that his range of experience is severely limited. He is very gentle, well crate-trained, walks on a leash, and has had no accidents in the house since we brought him home. He eats well and appears healthy -- he'll have a vet exam this week. There have never been any signs of aggression, either towards people or other dogs.

Our household is just too large and busy for him. He needs a quiet home, where he can proceed at his own pace. We'll provide lots of support and of course, he can come back if it just doesn't work out. There are several internet "support groups" for owners of shy dogs, and our own Timbreblue Pups list for our owners is a tremendous resource as well.

Because of his age and lack of worldly experience, I doubt Red will ever be a dog-park/rollicking-around-the-house/go-anywhere dog, but I'm sure there is someone who would love an easygoing companion to share the sofa with. He was very, very devoted to his previous owner and I am sure he will transfer that devotion to a new owner, though it will take a little while. Whippets are the original love-the-one-you're-with breed!

He would probably do best in a home with another sighthound, preferably female, but an only-dog home is not out of the question if there is someone home during the day. Ideally his new owner would be someone who has dealt with a very insecure dog before, perhaps a rescue greyhound. He's really not a project for a first-time dog owner.

I don't want to minimize how insecure this dog is. He has basically stayed in his crate (door open) for two days now, though he is beginning to come out and sniff about a little. He is just terribly confused. We're not pushing him at all, just letting him approach us and the other dogs. The only times we have "forced" attention on him have been for his bath yesterday -- he was very good, but not too happy about it -- and to take him out on a leash.

Ordinarily we would keep him here for six months to a year to socialize him a little before sending him into a new home, but in Red's case, I think the sooner he can get to a permanent home, the happier he will be. That home just has to be with someone who understands:

1) the need for security in a case like this -- shy whippets are at extreme risk for escaping;2) that he will need lots of patience -- it may be several weeks before he actually seeks out attention;3) that he will never be an outgoing, happy-happy whippet, but will probably prefer to snuggle with one person and stay home.
I'd love to be proven wrong and have him show up at our reunion in October as a bouncing, rambunctious boy, but I don't think he has it in him. He's a poet rather than an athlete!

We'd ask that his new owner cover the expenses he will have here, probably around $200, so we can afford to take on another whippet needing assistance. He will go to his new home up to date on vaccinations and neutered.

If you're interested, fill out our questionnaire and we'll talk. Let's get this boy settled into a new home soon so he can begin to take over a new owner's heart.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that a shy dog is so worth the effort; I hope you'll find someone who is up for the challenge!

My greyhound Dash is such a huge sweetie now. He was terrified of everything when I first got him 7 years ago. I wasn't sure what I'd gotten myself into when he would freeze when he saw someone coming down the street, or startle every time he heard a noise. At first I had to drive him to a quiet campus at night so he'd walk with me.

It took about 6 months of love and reassurance for him to begin to come into his own. An obedience course helped him gain confidence and helped our bond.

Today he's still not an outgoing dog, but he is not terrified, just reserved. And he continues to surprise me with new personality traits. He's snuggly, sweet and gentle. A real heart opener!

Sharyn said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment and for visiting the blog! You are right -- shy dogs are absolutely devoted pets, and there is such a sense of accomplishment when you break through that shell. Some of our most rewarding times have been working with rescues to get them to "come around." I just hope Red will find his home. I would love to have him with his family by his eighth birthday!