About a month ago, I received a voicemail from a gentleman named Jim who was looking for some help. Max lived outside of a trailer down the road from him for a while, and then one day the owners of the trailer just moved away and left Max behind. Despite being in his 70’s and not looking to adopt a dog, Jim couldn’t just leave the young dog to fend for himself.
So Jim decided to bring Max home, and the old adage “no good deed goes unpunished” played itself out. While Max is one of the sweetest, most gentle huskies I’ve ever met, he is also very untrusting of people and new things. Jim brought Max into his home in February, and the reason he finally called me in August is because he still couldn’t get Max on a leash to get him seen by a veterinarian. While Max learned to trust Jim enough to get the occasional head scratch, the second Jim moved too quickly, made a sudden noise, or tried to introduce a leash, Max would skip out of the way and not come close again.
At this point, Jim knew that Max needed to be seen by a medical professional and called around for help. He said that we were the only ones that called him back. My first “lesson” with Max was more of an evaluation of his behavior and condition, and then we came up with a game plan. I immediately fell in love with this sweet, timid boy. It took two hours and lots of really yummy treats for me to even get close to him. His coat was very matted and his skin was in bad shape. He was shaking his head to the point where we were concerned he had an ear infection. And our biggest fear was that he might be heartworm positive due a lack of preventative and living outside until Jim brought him home.
But I knew it would take weeks if not months to get this boy to accept a leash, so we decided that we’d have to take the chance to catch him because he needed veterinary care asap. The vet gave Jim some Trazadone to help calm him down, and at the next visit, I brought a slip lead and had to break the trust that I had earned during the last lesson by cornering and lasso-ing him. I was afraid that in his fear he might turn aggressive (as is often the case, especially when the dog doesn’t feel well), but Max just seemed to sink into acceptance. While he was still very nervous and untrusting, he let me walk him out to the car, pick him up, and load him into the crate. He had every reason to snap at me, but not once did I feel like he would. The Trazadone seemed to hit him about the time we arrived at the vet clinic, and he allowed me to unload him from the crate and walk him into the building. The vet looked him over, and while Max was still nervous, he accepted the doctor’s examination without a fuss.
Jim and I nervously waited at Waffle House while they sedated Max, ran their tests, and gave him a haircut. When we arrived to pick him up, he was loopy from the sedation, but still just as sweet as can be. As the tests came back over the next couple of days, he was cleared of many of the things we feared. He didn’t have heart worms or an ear infection. His coat was severely matted and full of fleas, but after the shave and some flea medication, his skin began to recover.
Max is feeling much better now, but he still struggles with trusting people. Jim is patient and loving and has come a long way in earning Max’s trust. Max will let Jim love on him and they play in the yard, but if Jim moves too quickly, Max will skip back and run out of range. Jim’s other, smaller dog Girlie has been a good companion for Max, but Jim still can’t regularly get a leash on him, which has been problematic because it turns out that Max is a little Houdini that keeps finding holes in the fence and escaping back to his trailer (where he’s friends with the feral cats).
Jim is willing to give Max a safe home as long as it is needed, but we need a long-term solution for this sweet boy. Jim is struggling to keep Max in the yard and is afraid that Max will get hurt. Max needs to be on-leash when outside, but it’s difficult for Jim to get him leashed and to walk him. And Max is still a young dog, and though Jim is active, he’s worried about what will happen to Max as he ages.
We are seeking a foster or adopter that is willing to patiently earn Max’s trust and willing to do the work needed to keep him safe and secure while he heals both physically and emotionally. Max is a sweet soul that makes dog and cat friends easily, but is slow in warming up to people. I haven’t seen an ounce of aggression, but he will run when he feels unsafe. He needs a safe, calm, and patient environment to work through his fear. If anyone is willing and able to foster or adopt this precious boy, please reach out to us at email@example.com. There will be a foster/adoption application and contract required. Five Freckle K9 can provide some assistance with supplies if needed. We really just want to help give Max the best possible life we can!