Happy Tail: A Terrier mix goes from small terror to terrific

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Bringing a new pet into your home is not always simple, but those who give the dog every chance often end up with the best pets in the world. To get to that place takes discipline on the part of the adopters and a lot of patience and loving kindness.

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Read Mattie’s happy ending story in her “mom’s” own words.

Mattie, for instance, was adopted by Tim Suda of Demorest, GA, from Boggs Mountain Humane Shelter in Tiger, GA. She was a college graduation gift from his then-fiancée, Sandi. Once in her new home with Tim, she chewed up things, had accidents and suffered from separation anxiety.

“Tim came home every day to something destroyed,” says Sandi. “We almost returned her to the shelter because she didn’t seem like a good fit.”

But there was something about her that made them want to keep trying. “We started out trying to crate train her, which ended up in a disaster. She pushed the wire bars apart with her nose and broke out. She now has scars all around her nose.”


But they couldn’t let her roam the house while they were gone, so
Tim fixed the crate and tried again. “She learned that she could flip
the crate, move the tray in the bottom and climb out,” Sandi says.

Next,
they turned one room over to her when they were gone, and she responded
better, but still chewed up couch cushions and made messes.

They decided they had to approach one thing at a time. First,
the separation problems. “We started giving her treats when we left the
house,” Sandi says. “Now it is part of her routine. She knows when she
gets a treat when we are leaving for a while that we will be coming back,
and she stays calm.

“I think in Mattie’s situation, the most important thing we did
was get her on a proper schedule and give her lots exercise,” Sandi
says. They give her a 30-minute walk each day, and she has access to a
fenced yard.

Now married, the couple has had Mattie for two and a half years
and calls her a pure joy, “We bought a new home a year ago and are coming
to the one-year mark of no accidents on the floor. It doesn’t seem like
much of a milestone, but when we first got Mattie she refused to use
the bathroom outside.” So, to them, it’s a small miracle.

“It’s
always funny to look back and think about how she behaved because now
she is a different dog,” Sandi says. “She is well-behaved and house
trained; she doesn’t chew up any more computer cords or couch cushions,
and is just a joy to have in our lives.”

They used to call her their Terror Mix, but now she is their
beloved Mattie, no terror at all, thanks to their patience and
persistence.