Tag Archives: Mostly Mutts

Dog Depression in Shelters – Be a Foster and Save a Life!

Dennis - photo by Sara Rylander

Dennis photo by Sara Rylander

Some dogs do “ok” in a shelter environment and some dogs just start to shut down. There is a common occurrence called “Kennel Crazy” where a dog is literally going stir crazy in their kennel. This is a common occurance for long timers in a shelter.  The depression can start as listlessness, drooling, obsessive licking, spinning, cage charging, barking and other destructive behaviors.  Life at a shelter can be a jail sentence for a depressed dog. It is very hard to bring a dog back to normal behavior once he crosses over to kennel crazy.

At Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue and Adoption, in Acworth Georgia, we have great volunteers and the majority of our dogs are in foster homes.  Our mission is to pull animals from the surrounding animal control, high-kill shelters.  Sometimes, we have some long-term residents in the shelter who haven’t found their forever homes and have not been – no fosters available, larger dogs seem to be harder to foster, dog/dog fear or aggression, special needs or a plethora of other reasons.

Dennis, has been in our shelter for a while.  He’s a loving and active dog and seems to get along well with other dogs.  He can also scale a 6-foot fence and that makes him a bit of a special needs dog.  We are lucky that we have so many dedicated volunteers and have four shifts of volunteers a day come in to walk the dogs, clean cages, feed and water, etc. but that doesn’t always prevent a dog like Dennis from getting depressed.

“…when I turned back to head back to the shelter on our walk, he was noticeably upset…he just wanted to keep going,” said Julie Wall, a Mostly Mutts shelter volunteer.

When dogs fall into this depression, it effects their ability to get adopted.  The Kennel Crazy can evolve to lunging at cage front, barking at potential adopters, not being able to self sooth. The daily noise and stress of being in a shelter can make it extremely difficult to adjust to a real home life if and when they do get adopted.  Even in the best, most comfortable and high-tech shelters, the boredom of being in a smell kennel or crate 20+ hours a day among the chaos of kennel life.

If you can’t foster a dog like Dennis then consider “checking” a dog out at your local shelter.  Many shelters have programs where a volunteer can take the shelter dogs on outings. Some of our shelter residents have been hiking up Kennesaw Mountain or Red Top Mountain, boating on Lake Allatoona, or even going to weekend slumber parties at volunteers’ homes who work too many hours during the week.

Exercise, psychological stimulation and plain, old fashioned love are keys to prevent Kennel Crazy.  Can you help Dennis or a dog like Dennis in your community?  If you are interested in fostering for Mostly Mutts, check out our website.

Rescue Trauma…Rescue Drama

I love my work with my rescue, Mostly Mutts Animal Rescue and Adoption, and all the foster dogs that come through the Litt Palace of Puppy Love.  Sometimes, though, we get a repeat visitor because a Foster To Adopt (FTA) doesn’t work out but I want to tell you a story about a magical little rat terrier mix named Flop.

I'm all ears, says Flop when you talk to him

I’m all ears, says Flop when you talk to him

There is a great group of volunteers called the Friends of Cobb County Animal Shelter (FCCAS). Where I live in the Northwest suburbs of Atlanta, all of the county owned and run shelters are kill-shelters.  Mostly Mutts primary reason for existence is to pull animals from these shelters, fix them up (we get a lot of older or sick dogs) and get them ready for adoption and organizations like FCCAS help to get the word out about the residents of the shelter and help around the shelter with dog walking and socialization.  They had posted a picture of this funny little dog with big ears and a patch of toffee-colored fur on his side in the shape of a heart.  As soon as I saw his picture, I knew Mostly Mutts had to pull this dog out of the shelter and before I could even make the suggestion, a note went out to the volunteers looking for fosters for some of our newly pulled pups.  Flop was among them.

Oscar, our long-term foster, was suffering a heartbreak.  He had fallen in love with a Chipperke (Chihuahua/Schipperke mix) named Jazz (I’ll write another story of their love affair later).  Jazzypants, as I was fond of calling her, found a new wonderful home and left the Litt Palace of Puppy Love.  Oscar was so sad so I was looking for a new playmate for him so Flop came home with us one day after an adoption event.

Very soon after coming to the Litt Palace of Puppy Love, I noticed a rather obsessive/compulsive trait about Mr. Flop.  He became like a creepy, stalker boyfriend and would never leave my side.  If we sat in the big chair, he would lay across the back with his snout entrenched in my hair and snurffle my scalp. He was obsessed with my hair and scalp and would take every opportunity to smell my hair!  It was a little creepy so he became the foster known as Creepy Stalker Boyfriend (CSBF).

The first night CSBF stayed at the LPPL I awoke with the odd sensation that I was being watched and when I peeked one eye open, there was his little face staring at me as he rested his head on the same pillow on which I was resting my head! The title of CSBF really matched this dude!

Flop was adopted a few weeks after coming to the LPPL by a single lady and her two children. She immediately sent pictures, changed his name to Jimbo (to me exudes CSBF qualities to me!) and we thought it was a good adoption.  A few days into the adoption, she sends an email saying she’s having some behavior issues with him and since I was his foster and I am a trainer, Mostly Mutts forwarded the email to me.  I responded back and made some suggestions to her.  A couple of weeks later, she sent me a very strange email that she had to return Flop. My response was to give her the phone number to the Executive Director and ask her to cal.  We never heard back from her so we assumed she had worked out her issues.

Then the other night I could not sleep and I was looking at Facebook.  I saw a post from the Friends of Cobb County again and amazingly they had a little a picture of a little rat terrier mix boy with a heart on his side. Flop_ccacCould Flop have a brother?  Surely it couldn’t be him…he was just adopted out!  This dog was an owner turn in and his name was Buster not Jimbo.  Well, just to be sure we checked Buster’s microchip.  It WAS my CSBF!

So Flop is back at the LPPL for a little bit…he met a family today that might be a good fit for him with a little boy to call his own.  Once a Mostly Mutt…always a Mostly Mutt.  We take care of our own.

Que bella faccia Sophia!

Who can't see their soul in those eyes?

Who can’t see their soul in those eyes?

On Saturdays you can usually find me at our local PetSmart taking pictures of the dogs available for adoptions through the rescue group I volunteer with, Mostly Mutts (www.mostlymutts.org).  One of the volunteers had just been to the Cobb County Animal Shelter and picked up several dogs including this small brindle beauty they named Sophia.  At the time, I had Rocky as my foster but I knew he was getting adopted that day.  Since I was about to go out of town I didn’t want to foster until I got back the following week.  My husband tolerates the fostering — he loves on the dogs once they are at my house — but I am the doer of all things doggy!

Since I have four girl dogs in my pack already, I usually sign up for the boy fosters but as I was on my way to pick up this little boy boxer mix pup, I got a text message that he was adopted.  When I got to the adoption event I asked who I should bring home for my foster and every volunteer said, “Oh take Sophia – she is so sweet!”  I remembered Sophia from last week’s intake and she was such an unusual looking dog.  She’s about 29 lbs and we think some sort of Greyhound mix or maybe whippet mix.  She’s had a bought of doggie bronchitis and a runny nose but we have her on some super antibiotics that are making her feel better every day.

I’ve had her almost a week now and she’s not had an accident in the house.  She hasn’t made a single noise — even with my pack of crazy barking hounds reaping havoc around her.  She is totally non-reactive to their nonsense.  I want to call her Bella because she is so beautiful plus since I have a Sophie, it is very difficult to work on her knowing her name if I’m calling to Sophie and not Sophia!

Yesterday we did a fashion shoot while she was lounging on the bed surrounded by toys (which she hasn’t played with).  Here are a few samples from her fashion book!

What do you do with these things?

What do you do with these things?

Do I wear them on my head?

Do I wear them on my head?

I like the fuzzy sweater!

I like the fuzzy sweater!

Now this is more like it!

Now this is more like it!

I'm ready for my close up!

I’m ready for my close up!