Finding Rosi

April 4, 2012

When Rosi and her sister, Rascal, came to KHS on the very last week of December, it was obvious these two were used to each other’s company. Soon, Rascal was adopted and Rosi was alone and unsure of who she was or how to live in this new environment. She spent her days in the back of her kennel, refusing attention from staff and volunteers, preferring to be left alone, curled up in a corner on her bed.

Volunteer Coordinator Laura Swanson offered to give her a break from the main kennel. Staff members are encouraged to give animals a “cage break” to help ease the stress of living in a shelter. For the first three days, Rosi cowered in the corner and refused treats (even a peanut butter-stuffed Kong!). By day four, she hesitantly began accepting treats and responding to Laura, allowing her to scratch her neck and pat her.

Rosi’s personality began to emerge a little more each day as she became more comfortable with her surroundings. In February, Humane Education Coordinator Julie Hammer returned from maternity leave, adding new scents and habits and a new dynamic to the office. It did not take long, however, for Rosi to start wagging her tail when she saw Julie in the morning. On walks, Rosi went from lagging behind with her tail tucked, to sniffing and exploring with her tail wagging and neutral. Behavior Department Coordinator Deana Case set up a behavior plan to help Rosi develop a positive association with people. Now, whenever people walked by the office, they tossed a treat in her direction and, in most cases, Rosi would accept their gift.

However, even with her progress, Rosi’s journey has not been entirely smooth. She moved to the office next to Laura and Julie’s to expand her comfort zone, where she began to whine. She would get spooked on walks if there was a loud noise nearby (or if Laura tripped over herself). Still, in the face of set-backs, the staff continued to work on her rehabilitation. She was completely comfortable in Laura and Julie’s office, but was still fearful outside of those walls. Deana decided that Rosi needed to experience other people and places, so she was moved to another staff office in the main building. Soon after, Rosi was spending the day at the front desk in order to help her acclimate to new faces, sounds, and smells.

Rosi still has a long road to travel as she learns to be confident in herself and trusting of others. She would like nothing better than to lie by someone’s feet in the comfort of a quiet home and feel a sense of belonging and stability again. In the meantime, staff work every day to help Rosi face her fears and find her forever family.

– Laura Swanson and Julie Hammer