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Friday, April 12, 2013

Hoarder Dogs

Saving dogs from Hoarders can be one of the hardest things a rescue can do. Most hoarders think they are either saving these dogs or in love. Some simply don't spay and neuter and then when the puppies come they can't give them up, can't afford to spay or neuter and the cycle continues. Soon the Hoarder is in over their heads and they lose control. They can't keep up with cleaning, cost of food and vet bills or socializing necessary for all pets.

When you have 100 dogs in your house and yard there is no way to give them all the affection they need to love and trust humans. These dogs will run from humans and seek to hide in the pack. Although pack life can be hard, too. Smaller dogs are often starving as the minimal food offered is often claimed by bigger more aggressive dogs.

Hoarder dogs are often aggressive because its how they had to survive. All are fearful of people and new places. The world which used to be confined to a pen, home or yard is now huge and they don't know what to make of it.

Another problem with Hoarders is that they don't want to give up their dogs. We had one incident where the woman with 130 dogs in an apartment in the city agreed to let rescue take her pups. She knew she was in over her head and neighbors were now complaining of the smell and noise. When several rescue groups arrived with crates and leashes the woman changed her mind and refused to let the rescues take any dogs. Luckily for the dogs, the police who where present told her either the dogs go with the rescue or he would have the moved out by animal control. The woman relented and the dogs were taken into rescue.

One of these dogs was Madison (little black dog pictured above) who came to my house skinny and extremely shy. It was evident she had just had puppies but there were no puppies found in the apartment. I set up a crate and put her bed in there with a small blanket. I was worried she'd be cold since she was so thin. For the first week I fed her next to the crate and she ventured out only to use the wee pad. Luckily, she knew what those were for. Gradually, she ventured closer to us, first for a sniff only to run back into her crate. We tempted her with treats and sometimes that would work. It was a few weeks and then she was on the couch getting belly rubs. When company would come she's hide behind the couch. That changed too over time.

Madison went to a good home. She learned her social skills and how to accept people as part of her pack. It was a slow go. Her normal socialization was stunted by a Hoarder who, although she meant well, was in over her head. She may always be a bit on the shy side but I know she'll have a happy life. Madison is a very good dog.

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