Est. birthdate: 04/12/2011
Weight: 60 lbs.
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If only we could read her mind
Maggie came to Brother Wolf in the spring of 2015 from the Yancey County Animal Shelter. She is fostered by Kelley Brewer-Posey, who works in the Adoption Center. We don’t know much about Maggie’s background, but what we do know is that she had been adopted and returned to the shelter twice for nipping. Obviously, something happened in Maggie’s life to make her fearful. Maggie showed signs of anxiety early on, as well as nervousness about being handled. As Maggie’s time in the adoption center continued, she became depressed, lethargic and less interactive. She was erratic about being handled or interacting with people, even those she knew well. Staff offered Maggie a variety of training exercises and enrichment experiences, including walking, gentling and handling exercises, and playgroups, but she remained depressed and moody.
To add to Maggie’s challenges, a vet discovered she had a torn cruciate ligament and luxating patella on one hind leg. She was put on painkillers, and initially it seemed that these were making her feel better, but the improvement didn’t last. It was obvious that Maggie needed a much calmer, more serene environment than could be provided at the adoption center.
Enter Kelley, one of the many dedicated fosters who help give special animals the time, space and attention they need to heal and grow. Brother Wolf behavioral staff worked with Kelley to create a set-up at her house where Maggie could be completely separate from children and other animals in the house, so that introductions could progress at her own pace. So far, she is much less depressed, more responsive and interactive, and is responding to the behavior work that Kelley is doing with her. Maggie is slowly getting used to being around the other animals in the household (both dogs and cats) while wearing a muzzle for safety. Behavior team member Elliot Weiner helped Kelley with Maggie’s transition, coming over for visits and offering advice on issues involving handling. Brother Wolf staffer Angel also visits with Maggie and takes her for car rides. It takes a lot of expert attention to help dogs like Maggie overcome their challenges. Our Compassionate Circle support allows folks like Elliot and Angel to support Maggie’s care.
Kelley says that Maggie loves the car rides and also walks by the water – they often go to Lake Louise or for walks along the river. She is developing a friendship with Kelley’s dog Brutus – they both enjoy playing and walking together in the yard. Kelley says that she has been able to reduce using the muzzle when walking them together. Maggie can be nervous around loud noises, as well as with unfamiliar people and places, especially places with lots of activities. Kelley times their outdoor excursions to avoid busy times of the day. Maggie seems to prefer the company of women, and can be uncomfortable around adolescent males.
“The process of helping Maggie to overcome her fears and anxieties and be able to experience and explore the world has been very rewarding – to see her progress from a depressed dog at the shelter to a happy and even playful one that is ready to explore her surroundings has been an amazing experience,” says Kelley. “I look forward to helping her continue to progress in her journey on the path to full recovery.” Kelley will continue to work with Maggie on becoming more comfortable with meeting new people and animals, and with handling in general. Maggie may be a candidate for surgery to have her torn cruciate repaired, depending on the veterinarian’s assessment and her likely degree of comfort with being handled post-surgery.
Maggie exemplifies the type of special needs dog that Brother Wolf goes the extra mile to help. In spite of her physical and behavioral challenges, we’re committed to Maggie and will do whatever it takes to help her become more comfortable and relaxed in her environment.
You can help Maggie and other animals with special needs by joining our Compassionate Circle. Check back here again soon for the latest news on Maggie!
Signs of progress
Maggie continues to make progress in her foster home. Kelley tells us that Maggie is gradually becoming less reactive in her indoor-outdoor run. She’s not barking as much as she used to, and she recognizes members of the household and doesn’t bark at them. “It’s a long, slow process, but I want to incorporate her into the general household more, and move her upstairs eventually,” says Kelley. Maggie’s bond with Kelley continues to grow. She really enjoys her walks and playing with doggie pal Brutus, who is younger than Maggie and brings out her playful side. “Maggie chases him, and seems to enjoy it more and more,” observes Kelley. “When she’s had enough, she lets him know, and he backs off. They communicate well.”
Sounds like Maggie is slowly but surely developing the traits she needs to successfully transition from being afraid of people and new experiences into becoming a comfortable household member, thanks to the patience and persistence of her foster family. Check back here again soon to catch up with the latest news on Maggie!
Adventures can be fun!
Maggie’s been discovering that new things can actually mean fun and because of that, she’s learning to come when called and getting much better when walking on lead. Foster mom Kelley can even drop Maggie’s leash and let her run and play with doggie pal Brutus sometimes. Of course, becoming confident is a journey, and sometimes things can still be frightening. “I tried to bring her to the lake the other morning for an early morning walk, but she heard or saw a school bus and got scared – she crouched down and pulled me back to the car,” says Kelley. This type of fearfulness is occurring less frequently. Kelley has been working with Maggie to help her overcome her fears. “It is an ongoing process of minimizing exposure to activities that are stressful for her, and positive conditioning,” says Kelley. “I’m trying to associate more positive feelings in situations that do create anxiety for her. I attended [Brother Wolf behaviorist] Tristan’s class on working with fearful dogs and it was very helpful!”
Tristan Rehner works with foster and adoptive families to help craft strategies for dealing with various behavioral issues, and leads classes for volunteers. Tristan has advised Kelley on how to deal with Maggie’s obsession with some groundhogs that live in a nearby creek bed. Maggie was pulling hard on the leash to get to the area to try to dig. Kelley spoke with Tristan and she provided guidance for working with Maggie to stop pulling on the leash. Tristan suggested providing Maggie with the rewarding activity (smelling/digging at location of groundhog nest) in response to improvements in leash pulling behavior. When Maggie stops pulling on the leash, Kelley lets her explore the groundhog nest area. “Tristan’s advice has been an invaluable resource in helping me work with Maggie,” remarks Kelley. Kudos to Maggie and Kelley for their hard work and progress!
You can help special needs animals like Maggie get the behavioral and medical support they need by becoming a part of our Compassionate Circle. Check back here again soon to find out what’s happening with our girl Maggie!
Maggie’s foster mom Kelley tells us that Maggie has been venturing further from home more comfortably lately. She recently took Maggie for a walk along the Little Ivy River in Weaverville, along with 20-year-old son Raymond and resident dog Brutus. Maggie was able to walk muzzle-free! Although Maggie tends to prefer female humans, she’s warming up to Raymond, and also doing well with Kelley’s 11-year-old daughter, Madison. “Last night, Madison was able to pet Maggie, and Maggie kissed her face through the gate,” reports Kelley. “Also, Madi is helping to feed her and spend quiet time with her, so they are developing bonds.” Great going, Maggie and Madison!
The socialization that Maggie is receiving in her foster home environment will go a long way towards helping her become calm and easygoing around all kinds of people. The time and attention that Kelley is devoting to Maggie is clearly paying off! You can help support special needs animals like Maggie by joining our Compassionate Circle. Brother Wolf won’t give up on Maggie because we know that with time and patience, she can blossom into an awesome companion for a lucky adopter.
Check back here again soon to find out what’s new with Maggie!