Friday, February 1, 2019

Chronicles of a Rescue Dog, Part 5: The "E" Word

Kia's favorite toy, Julius

Last week when we left off, I had contacted the rescue organization to say I couldn't keep Kai after he got expelled from obedience class. I had then taken him to Cincinnati to be evaluated by a trainer, who felt that he had a lot of potential in the right kind of home.

In fact, she knew someone who ran a K9 training school who might be interested in acquiring Kai to train as a drug/cadaver-sniffing dog. He didn't have a current opening, though, so we were waiting for him to give us a date when he might want to meet Kai to assess his potential.

And we were trying to keep it low-key until we knew for sure.

That was on Friday.

On Sunday evening, I got a call from my rep at the rescue organization that went something like this:

Her: Where's Kai?

Me: On the couch.

Her: What?

Me: He's on the couch. (Wondering: do they have a rule against allowing your dog on the furniture?) Why do you ask?

Her: We heard that you'd given him away.

Me: Nope. He's right here.

Her: We heard you gave him to someone who runs a dog training business.

Me: Nope. I'm looking at getting him into a training program, but nothing's happened yet. Have you found a home for him?

Her: No. Are you sure you still have him?

Me: (Looking over at the couch, where he's sacked out.) Yep. I'm sure.

Discussion revealed that the woman who had accused me of drugging Kai and thought I was an idiot for taking him to obedience class had since quit the organization in a snit and was spreading false rumors.

My rep then confided that she wasn't sure they were going to be able to place Kai again, due to the nipping incident. (Note: He did NOT bite anyone. He nipped at my granddaughter and tore her shirt in the process of herding her back to be with the other kids.) The Bite Committee, she said, would have to make a decision.

That didn't sound good. I hung up feeling bleak.

A few minutes later the phone rang again. This time, it was the lawyer from the rescue organization.

Her: Where's Kai?

Me: Still on the couch.

Her: What?

Me: He's right here. Lying on the couch. The rep just called and asked me the same question.

Her: We heard that you'd given him away to someone who runs a K9 training organization.

Me: Nope.

Her: Because the contract you signed with us said that if you decide not to keep him, you have to return him to us.

Me: Which is exactly what I tried to do. You don't have a place for him.

Her: Well, I'm not sure we're going to be able to place him again. We don't place dogs that bite.

Me: He didn't bite anyone.

Her: What's your definition of "bite?"

Okay, my definition of a dog bite is that it leaves a puncture wound, not a small tear in a t-shirt and a microscopic dot of blood.

Me: He didn't bite anyone. He nipped at my granddaughter.

Her: That's not okay. Dogs are not allowed to put teeth on anyone.

Me: I know that. Unfortunately, no one taught him that when he was a puppy, so he's having to learn it now.

Her: Well, we heard that you gave him to someone else. If you did that, you would be in violation of the contract you signed with us.

Which, coming from a lawyer, sounded a little threatening.

Me: You know what? I'm not comfortable with the communication in your organization. I just got off the phone with my rep, who appears to have heard a slightly different story. How about if we set up a conference call so that we all hear the same story at the same time?

So, we did. And the upshot was, they wanted to take him back and euthanize him. At least, the lawyer did. The rep was heartbroken but probably wouldn't be able to prevent it.

I got off that call feeling even bleaker. They didn't want him back, but they weren't willing to let me find another placement that might be a better fit for him.

Here's the deal: Kai is kind of a brat, but he hasn't done anything to deserve the death penalty.

So, I talked to Old Dog, who said, "If we send him back, do you think they'll kill him?"

That's exactly what I thought.

Old Dog looked over at Kai, peacefully snoozing on the couch. "He doesn't deserve that."

I called the rep back told her we'd decided to keep him.

So, here's where it gets interesting. Pretty much the minute we made that decision, a lot of his bad behavior disappeared. It's like he knew he'd been accepted, warts and all, and he could relax.

The creepy mounting behavior? Mostly gone. A simple, "Off" makes him get down. The destructive chewing. Mostly gone. Getting into stuff when he's left out while we're gone. Okay, he ate an entire box of peanut butter cookies yesterday, but i his defense, I did leave them within reach.

Tomorrow we do our first session with the trainer from Cincinnati.

Next week: What the Trainer Did


  1. Hope all goes well with the trainer!

  2. Hey there! I have read all your posts and would love to chat. I am a behaviorist and work on a lot of these types of cases. I would love to see if I could help in any way! Email me at: Please let’s chat! :) Have a pawsitively great night! :)

  3. OMG - what drama but love the character arc of Kai learning he's loved but has to behave to stay.


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