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Gary - A Petfinder Happy Tail

Photo of Gary, a dog
Adopted from Cedar Bend Humane Society, Waterloo, IA

Gary - posted 11/11/2010

From Kate of granger, IA

Hi my name is Kate. My husband and I already had 2 chihuahuas Ralph (6years old) and Evelyn (5 years old) and were looking to add one more to the pack, so the hunt began on Petfinder. Day in and day out I looked through countless ads for chihuahuas in the area. It was really tempting to consider a puppy or younger dog but something told me that I could handle an older possibly troubled chi. I applied at a few rescues and was denied for not having a fenced in yard or being too far away for a home visit. Broken hearted, the search continued when I landed on an ad for Gary. Gary's add was a little vague, stating he was 7, neutered, and housebroken, but it was labeled with the icons for no kids, no cats, and no other dogs. Hmmm......My brain raced. I had experience with chihuahuas, I've trained horses, and helped train my families dogs, but even as a avid follower of the Dog Whisperer I had my doubts. I called for more information on Gary and talked to the nice lady at the shelter. She said he was brought in to the shelter by a man who said he just simply didn't want him anymore?!?! Gary was flea bitten and ridden with mange. Half his hair was missing. And to top it off so aggressive that once in a kennel couldn't be taken out because he would try and bite the person. Katelyn, a wonderful worker at the shelter agreed to foster Gary to give him a chance so he wouldn't meet a terrible fate. He had made tremendous progress over 3 months at her home and had even been adopted out once to an older lady, but she returned him within a day or two because he wasn't bonding quickly enough. So I made up my mind to drive the hour and a half to bring my dogs and do a meet and greet. When I got there I couldn't pass him up. 6 pounds of gray and white fluff with cloudy blue eyes, and a tail that won't quit wagging. Gary seemed comfortable at the shelter and with himself that he hardly seemed the dog Katelyn had described. We took him home that day and thus began the long journey. Gary was incredibly timid the ride home. Next morning I went to un-kennel the dogs and Gary wouldn't come out. I coaxed and waited, still nothing. So beyond my better judgment I reached in for him and it quickly became clear what I was dealing with. A bleeding hand, and bruised ego, and a sinking feeling. But I knew I couldn't give up. This is where Gary's life started. We took regular walks, had scheduled feeding, scheduled potty breaks, rules, boundaries, and limitations. Slowly but surely the cowering, growling, bearing his teeth, marking around the house, fearful aggression, and incessant whining tapered off. Almost a year and a half later, Gary is now a sucker for scratches, he gives kisses, and even though he is mostly blind due to advanced cataracts he even tries to get in on a good romp with the other dogs. I'm glad I didn't give up when he bit, when the vet told me he was actually between 10-12 years old not 7, when he growled over his food, when he hid under the bed, when he marked around my house, or when he lost most of his vision and started having trouble getting in and out of the house. People pass up dogs like this everyday because they aren't aware the benefits that come with persistent hard work. Gary just needed to know what was expected of him. He thrives on routines, boundaries, and rules, as do most dogs. I can't say enough about how rewarding the whole process was and I encourage others to keep at it even when you feel there is no hope. Slowly but surely if you peel back all the layers, underneath it all it a true gem. My gem is Gary. Gary so Hairy.

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