Our Hope for Beau…

November 18, 2011

“All I want for Christmas is for Beau to have a home; a home with a person who really means it when they say, ‘I will take good care of you for the rest of your life, and love you for the rest of mine.’”
                                                      – Deana Case – KHS Behavior Training & Coordinator

Beau, a 1-year-old Australian Shepherd mix, is a three-time resident of the Kitsap Humane Society. Today I write for his life. He is working as hard as I am to secure a place for himself in someone’s heart. But, all the work we are doing will not matter if the right person does not find him. Since Beau cannot type (though he is incredibly bright) I am telling his story of abuse and recovery efforts to as many people as I can. This blog is one of many future installments that I will share of Beau’s journey to rehabilitation.

Beau is a striking brindle dog with shining eyes and a playful disposition. He originally came to KHS as a 6-month-old puppy as part of a welfare seizure. Animal Control responded to a report of a chained dog and possible abuse. The investigation resulted in the owner relinquishing Beau to our care.

Upon meeting Beau, I noticed his beauty and how he radiated a glow almost to say, “I’m something special”. Other staff members and volunteers agreed. As staff and I became better acquainted with Beau, he seemed anxious and reactive to many things in our environment. As a pup, this sort of behavior is relatively easy to overcome with the help of a knowledgeable animal professional. Beau was reactive and nervous, but did not display any real aggression; he would make frantic motions and become very mouthy when agitated. This behavior can become a problem if it is not addressed in an appropriate manner. So, it was decided to place an indemnity on his adoption contract. This indemnity informed the adopter that Beau had a rough start and he would need a little extra help from a trainer with behavioral experience to overcome his challenges.

To make a long story short, Beau was adopted and returned twice. To our knowledge, the professional training did not take place, causing his behavioral needs to remain unmet. It can be difficult for people to understand that a dog’s mental needs sometimes requires a professional dog trainer in the same way that their physical health requires a veterinarian.

Beau’s anxious mouthing behavior has escalated over the past year, and he slightly broke the skin on a volunteer as he flailed wildly on the end of his leash during an anxious frenzy. He became reactive to other dogs and people find him to be “scary” when out on walks. We came to a crossroads, he could not be adopted out with his current behavioral problems, so we either had to address his issues or he would have to be humanely euthanized.

Behavioral modification through human resources became available for me in the form of an assistant, an intern, a part-time trainer and a volunteer with professional education – all allowing Beau to receive the consistent basic training he deserves. The stars had lined up just right for Beau with this team of people delivering focused training. We decided to take Beau’s challenges and make them an opportunity to rehabilitate a non-aggressive dog with barriers to adoption that could not be addressed by the average pet owner.

This opportunity has never presented itself before and I am hopeful that it is the first time of many that we can help a wonderful dog like Beau.

I will end this first chapter by telling you that he is responding well to training, though we are not out of the woods yet. I will blog again next week to share some of his triumphs and challenges.
                                         – Deana Case, Behavior Department Coordinator