|We received an emergency email from Victoria about Gracie who was on her last day at a California kill shelter. At only a year old, this little girl was scared to death and overwhelmed in the noisy shelter. Thanks to the powers that be at this (moronic) shelter, Gracie was marked "Rescue Only;" HOWEVER, no one who came to evaluate her was allowed to take her out of her kennel to handle or get to know her!!!!!
We asked for additional information and Joyce went to the shelter to meet her and take pictures. According to Joyce, "She is just scared, no aggression." According to Victoria, "Joyce found this girl to be non-aggressive and simply scared in the shelter and said the video speaks for itself. She is sweet girl and no need for her to be killed."
We looked at this poor girl, filthy dirty, deserted by the people who were supposed to love and take care of her, and we had to do something to help her. So, we gave the green light for her pull.
UPDATE 1/25: We received a copy of Gracie's shelter paperwork that indicated that Gracie was impounded as a stray,"...was stuck (lodged) in a crawl space going under a house. Dog was removed by the homeowner who is a vet tech after apply (sic) vegetable oil." Gracie was taken to the shelter and examined. "...Does not appear to have any open wounds or fractures associated with being stuck in a crawlspace. She was up on her feet, but not willing to approach; she ate well." Of course, no microchip was found upon scan.
UPDATE 1/28: Our heartfelt thanks go out to Cindy and her husband, Gavin, for making the long drive out to California to pick up Gracie. Gracie will be taking up temporary residence with them and given a chance to settle in and get acclimated before being spayed, microchipped, updated on shots and made ready for adoption.
FOSTER UPDATE 1/28: "Hi Nancy, it’s Cindy. We got home around 3. Gracie is hanging with us watching golf on TV. She’s eaten and drank some water. She’s very timid but has taken food from my hand. We have a collar and leash attached to her. She’s ok for now. She did very well in the car. No fussing, just laid in the crate and was patient the whole ride."
FOSTER UPDATE 1/30: "Good morning Nancy, just wanted to let you know that we had another quiet night. Gracie pooped and peed outside this morning. She was a little more calm on the leash. Still not perfect but definite progress."
FOSTER UPDATE 1/31: "I sent the photo of her eating Outside the crate to your email. Thanks. She's letting me touch and pet her head but she reacts like someone beat her. Breaking my heart."
FOSTER UPDATE 2/2: "Gracie continues to make progress. She’s definitely crate trained and housebroken. She eats very well and is food motivated. She is stepping out of her crate now to eat and drink but runs back to her safe place if something startles her. She’s super good in the crate at night. She sleeps peacefully and doesn’t make a peep."
FOSTER UPDATE 2/5: "Gracie had a great weekend and made strides towards trusting us. She will go outside to pee and poop on her own. If I leave the family room she will walk through the house to look for me. She continues to eat really well. Her crate is her haven. She plays with her toys now. She also let me use a warm wash cloth on her neck. And she also lets me brush her. We keep telling her she’s the bravest girl we know. Our goal this week is to get her to take a bath and go to the vet. One day at a time."
FOSTER UPDATE 2/5: "Gracie spent most of Sunday in the back yard. She was a tired pup by the evening. We also had s small dinner party on Saturday evening. Although she shied away from meeting anyone, she slept in her crate and didn't fuss one bit. She's coming along and we couldn't be prouder of her."
UPDATE 2/9: After 12 days with Gracie, with ups and downs and some great strides on Gracie's part, her foster folks have decided that they are not the right family for her. They feel they are not equipped to deal with and help Gracie over the trauma she has experienced in her young life.
We are now actively searching for a new foster-to-adopt home for Gracie where she can be helped to work through her issues. From what we have seen from Gracie, we believe she is a 1 year old that was kept in her own home and yard, with absolutely no exposure to the outside world. As anyone with GSD experience knows, German shepherds MUST be socialized, starting from early puppyhood. Gracie has essentially lived in a "box" her entire life, and it's our job now to expand that box. Possibly paring Gracie with a friendly (male) dog would help. Gracie's fosters love her, but they don't feel they're the right family (with no experience dealing with a dog like Gracie). ANYONE?
FOSTER UPDATE 2/13: "Gracie's favorite spot in the back yard. She sleeps the day away in the yard now.
We have to corral her into the house when it's time. She still hasn't wagged her tail but does all right now when we leave the house. We've left the crate open in the family room and at night in the bedroom. She doesn't come out unless it's to go outside to go potty. We have a routine down for it all now. It took a few days but we got her on a good routine. Boiled chicken has been very helpful but now I need to wean her off that. She does not like the collar or leash. One reason the vet trip is a little more challenging. She lets me give her sponge bath but we still haven't been able to bathe her. She is sweet but still very scared. I have fallen in love with her."
FOSTER UPDATE 2/14: "I've been able to give Gracie sponge baths every day but this rain has been a great "natural" bath for her. I've let her run around in the rain in the back yard. She seems to like it. We did have a poop accident in the house today while I was at the gym. ...I left the crate door open and she simply did what she needed to do. We've been leaving the door open for her so she can wander around the house to feel safer if needed."
UPDATE 2/15: One of our staff members went over to meet Gracie today. While she was not thrilled to have us in "her" home and grumbled at us, she did not completely avoid us. She trotted within 5 feet, and continued her route around the pool -- she would not allow us to come any closer or (heaven forbid) touch her.. When we (her foster mom and our staff member) went into the house, Gracie followed. We walked into the room where Gracie was in her crate (one of her favorite places), she voiced her displeasure by grumbling at us. We left the room, then re-entered, and Gracie did nothing. She is making strides, but it's going to be a very long road for her.
FOSTER UPDATE 2/16: "Gracie and I walked to the mailbox yesterday and today (on leash)!"
We won't sugar-coat it -- the process for Gracie's rehabilitation is going to be a long one. She has to learn to live in a big, strange world that she has never known before. She needs to learn to trust humans, who have never given her any reason to do so. She needs to learn to be a dog... By their nature, dogs love humans but Gracie doesn't know that ... yet. So much for this little girl to know, learn and understand.
Gracie is about as close to a feral dog as we've ever had, but as anyone who follows our rescue knows, we've done this before -- with Sid, Hurricane Judy and Nelson, just to name a few. We just have to get Gracie into the right hands so that she can continue to grow and progress. She may never be a social butterfly, but she can at least learn to be happy in a world that includes humans in a home of her own.
Adoption fee is a freewill donation to our rescue.