Saturday, June 21, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 1

Today we received a dog via the Canaan Dog Rescue Network.  This is a non-profit organization I co-founded in 2004. I currently serve as Vice President. Evan and I do a lot of work for this group and right now, that contribution is in the form of a 36 lb dog.  I thought it might be interesting to document her transition and growth with us from now until she is adopted by a new home.

She came to us with the name "Athena."  It is a general practice for us to change the name of a dog as soon as they come to us, particularly if they may not have been coming from a happy place.  Athena, being the Greek Goddess of War is much much too harsh a name for this delicate little flower of a dog, whom I now call Daisy.  Daisy's previous owners are getting divorced and unfortunately this sometimes means the dog needs a new home.   Canaan Dogs are not the easiest dogs in the world to own. Most of your typical dog breeds, labs, goldens, poodles, and so forth are bred purposely to be companions of humans meaning their wild dog tendencies have been selectively bred out of their temperament. Canaan Dogs are natural dogs and for thousands of years their temperaments evolved in the Negev Desert.  When people collected them and started breeding them purposely, there has been some genuine effort to keep the wild, feral dog temperament intact.  Semi-wild dogs are extremely intelligent, wary of new people and places, and extremely territorial. Canaan Dogs retain a lot of these characteristics but most can be mitigated with proper handling and adequate socialization. Not everyone who gets a cute Canaan Dog puppy knows what they are in for and fast forward, three years later, we take in dogs like Daisy.  Dogs like Daisy who barked too much and received a shock collar to try to stop it.  For a soft dog, a shock collar likely
 packed the same punch as if she was beaten. 

So today Daisy came to us. Her owners stayed very briefly, only long enough to hand us her paperwork , bring in her crate and kiss her goodbye.  She was given a very heavy sedative for the car ride and still isn't quite recovered from that yet.  I'm interested in seeing her drug-free personality.  We took some pictures of her upon he arrival so that we can look back and compare what she looks like in a few weeks. 

We will be immediately switching her to a raw food diet, the diet all of our own dogs have been on exclusively 
since 2001.  I fear she is going to go through a significant detoxification. We expect the tartar and bad breath will be gone very quickly though.  Once she is acclimated with us and our dogs she might be able to run in the fenced yard which should help her muscle tone.  Dogs fed raw food raises the bar on what a dog in radiant health looks like.  We'll see how Miss Daisy does as she gets used to life at here for the short term.  I hope to keep up a blog on how she blossoms.

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