Aristo - the Doberman
Aristo is probably our biggest success story. Due to be euthanized for aggression at 14 months when he was surrendered to the rescue Martha was involved with at the time. Martha was not about to let that happen without getting to know the dog, she has a soft spot for all Dobermans. Early, she thought his only issue was resource guarding. Guarding everything from toys to sticks to beds to bowls! After a lot of patience and various positive reinforcement techniques we were able to work through this. Because of his "backyard breeding" and during the first year of life his owners physically abused him, he had some behavioral issues that surfaced making him unsafe to the normal person. He thrives at the sanctuary sticking to his daily routine, we understand his needs and do not push his limits beyond what we know he can handle mentally. He has learned to trust Brad and Martha and they are able to help him learn to work on his own self soothing techniques of suckling his "woobie" - or fleece blankets - when overstimulated. All that being said, he is now great with other dogs, and one of the most obedient and intelligent dogs we've come across. We couldn't imagine life without him as he is such a character, we just realize his limitations and set him up for success every day. Seeing how happy, athletic and eager to learn he is it's hard to imagine him losing his life at such a young age because of irresponsible people.
Dante and his sisters and brothers came into the rescue as a litter at 7 weeks of age from a spay and neuter clinic on a reserve in alberta. 3 of his siblings were adopted out right away and I was fostering Dante, his brother Krono and his sister Electra after that. I noticed that even though I was socializing them as much as possible, taking them to puppy classes and introducing them to as many new situations as possible, they were becoming extremely attached to me. We put out a call for another foster home to take one or any of them so that they could separate and become used to being away from their siblings and myself. Luckily enough Krono went to another foster who ended up adopting him and is still shy but doing great. Dante was moved to another foster home and Electra stayed with us. Within 24 hours, Dante ran away from his new foster home and was nowhere to be found. A team of volunteers, and I spent 4 agonizing days searching for him, with no sightings at all. I put out hundreds of posters, knocked on doors and finally on the fourth day, there was a sighting of him across a field, when I arrived, he was too far for him to hear me calling him. Then he disappeared. 7 hours later after searching all day, we had another sighting of him and I rushed to the spot he was seen. He was running from anyone trying to catch him until I called him and he looked at me and came rushing up to me and hopped in my car where I had his sister Electra and Celi waiting for him. I knew then that he was with us to stay as I could not ever imagine going through having a lost dog ever again. His sister Electra is his best friend, his protector and his strength. Still to this day, Dante only ever lets me get near him or touch him even though he was raised with my daughters and Brad. He is a big cuddle bug with me and loves other dogs. His comfort zone is being with his sister, Electra and hanging with mom. After talking to the families who adopted his siblings over the years, it seems the whole litter has had some sort of fearful issues they've had to work through so even though at 7 weeks of age and getting a large amount of socialization and exposure to people and different situations and positive reinforcement after that age, there was obviously something that traumatized the poor pups before coming into the rescue.
CELI - THE GREAT PYRENEES
Celi was born with malformed front legs when her litter was surrendered to the rescue Martha was involved in. When she arrived at the rescue the best thought was to euthanize her. The foster home co-ordinator at the time, took her home and realized Celi was a trooper and decided she couldn't allow her to be euthanized. Martha was the best candidate for a foster home with her vast knowledge of special needs dogs and was not going to “baby” her – they’ve been together ever since. She is extremely mobile, has no problems jumping on and off furniture, going up and down stairs and lately even climbing mountains.
Edgar joined us after we moved to BC he came from the SPCA. Lenny had been living with his little friend Brittany and she was adopted just before we moved from Calgary. We decided once we moved that we were sure we'd find him another bff. Edgar had been at the SPCA for 2 months and no one had been interested in him. Brad decided to go have a look at him as his write up seemed to be exactly the type of dog that would be able to keep up with Lenny and enjoy playing with him. Poor Edgar had had a dog attack him and the staff were not keen on him interacting with other dogs so his only play time was in the yard at the SPCA for short periods of time. When we expressed interest in him, they were quite happy that we were looking at him. When Brad picked him up, he was so wound up that for the first few days he was in a daze and just pretty much ran around the yard in circles even though Lenny tried to play with him numerous times. Once they started to interact, they have been best friends and we couldn't ask for a better match. Their energy levels are the same, (as in non-stop), they play the same way (as in rough and tumble wrestle or tug on anything even their beds). They figured each other out right away, if Lenny wants anything food related Edgar lets him have it and if Edgar wants the toys, Lenny doesn't argue. Since they are a great pair we will adopt them out but only together and to the right people/person. They have both had a hard time and now that their lives together is predictable and happy, we won't change that unless we feel someone can offer them the best for them.
Electra is Dante's sister and came in as a pup at 7 weeks to rescue. I was fostering her and her brothers after the rest of the litter was adopted out and after Dante ran away from the other foster home and I saw the connection they had, I couldn't split them up. She gives Dante confidence and their love and understanding for each other is something unbelievable. I find when siblings are adopted out together they become too bonded but I think they are a pair that it would be detrimental to their well being to be split up. She looks after her brother Dante when they are together and is protective of him. She will stand in front of him if his other siblings are picking on him as they tend to do because he is such a pushover. She can also be sometimes shy with new people, but nowhere near as much as Dante. She is a character though and loves to perch on anything she can like a cat. She is an observer when it comes to everything and I've seen her sit still enough that a magpie came over to her on the deck and was checking her out then sat right beside her while she just calmly didn't move.
Lenny was hit by a car and starving and we think that someone tried to put him out of his misery by shooting him 4 times. That wasn't going to stop a champ like Lenny and when he was found since he hadn't given up we weren't going to give up on him. He had to have his leg amputated and had surgery on his head to remove 2 of the bullets and remove his shattered teeth as bullet had lodged into his sinus. He still has 2 bullets under his skin by his shoulder blades but they don't bother him at all. After his initial surgery, when we picked him up he was as ready to go as he always is and I mean Ready to GO!!! Lenny does not let anything stop him and his strength and happiness is always infectious. He will jump high to catch anything, pull couches around to get his toy that may be underneath and just do whatever he can to have fun. Over the last year and a half, he has seen many specialists as his head would still swell and he's had 3 more surgeries but now he's been doing fantastic for the last 6 months. He has finally started to fill out as he was very thin and we tried everything we could to get weight on him, but I think his body spent so much energy trying to heal his injuries that he's finally plateaued and has no more swelling in his head and has filled into a handsome muscular Rottweiler Cross. Lenny has never met a dog, person, toy, treat, dinner bowl, bed, couch, well.....don't think there's anything Lenny doesn't like. His energy level is amazing for everything he's been through and he's just a fun, happy busy boy. We felt that he would have a better chance trying to find a home where he could have room to run as opposed to a city home so we brought him to BC with us and he became another member of the sanctuary until the perfect home comes along that understands and can enjoy Lenny's exuberance.