Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dog on the Blog: Costello Gets a Make-Over!

Costello had a reputation for being difficult in his foster home. He power struggled over going outside, making them virtually drag him to the door and push him outdoors. He could be cranky and hard to manage. You can see from his photo (top) that he had gotten overweight and lost muscle tone. And he would snap at people. He was not a happy boy, and he was not a good candidate for a successful adoption, in the opinion of his rescue group.
So Costello moved to Smiling Dog Farms. He spent his first night in the bed with us, and he began living in the house, as most dogs do when they first arrive, so that we can get to know them and they can get to know us. He was snappish -- if he did not want to do what you wanted him to do, he would nip -- nothing serious -- just enough to say "I'm not interested. Now stop bothering me."!!
We were concerned enough about his snapping that when we went to spend a day or two at our beach house in Galveston, we would take Costello along -- because we were afraid he might nip one of the workers while we were gone.
In this convoluted way, Costello came to spend more time with Ricky and me than the typical resident at the farm, and that extra exposure to us helped Costello learn to trust us. Somewhere along the line, he and I bonded in a very special way -- he became "my boy". We developed that unique relationship that only happens once in a while, when a dog and a human connect in a special way.
He never has moved on to a play yard and cottage. He lives in the house with us, and still goes to the beach with us -- not because we are worried about him biting one of the workers, now, but because he would be disappointed if we went without him! He no longer snaps at people.
The middle photo shows a lithe, more youthful and spirited Costello trotting into the kitchen from his play yard. He has shed some excess pounds and his coat is shiny and soft. He looks great!
The bottom photo shows Costello on his most recent trip to the beach. He doesn't always wear sunglasses !! But he does enjoy walking in the sand and sniffing at the dunes. He has recently even been willing to experiment with getting his feet wet and going into the surf all the way up to his tummy, before retreating to the safety of the sandy beach.
Costello is a special little guy. Watching him dash through the kitchen on his way out to his play yard, or seeing him strolling on the beach, it is hard to imagine this is the same dog who used to balk at going outside ! Costello has come a long way.

Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
a 501(c)3 corporation
wharton, texas

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