It’s story time.
Several months back, we introduced you to the junkyard dog that had presented us with our most significant challenge yet.
Dozer was chained to a tree from four months of age until 11 months when his owner decided it was time for him to leave earth, and an animal control officer intervened to save his life.
Then, the pound he was housed in began to flood and clean water wasn’t available. The animal control officer begged for help on social media for the dogs in her care. At the time we got involved, two dogs remained at that pound. Coconuts, and Dozer. Coconuts was a delight. A bit of an escape artist, but otherwise an amazing, balanced pup.
Dozer was not.
The world was terrifying to Dozer. He broke every kennel we put him in, including a steel crate. Walking him was the equivalent of attaching yourself to the bumper of a passing half ton truck and holding on for dear life. Spaces scared him too. Freedom was a concept completely foreign to him, like literally everything else. We thought that his extreme case of “happy tail” might have been fueling his behaviors. He had roughly two inched of exposed vertebrae on the tip of his tail that was bleeding constantly. Dozer was intact, so we got him a hasty neuter and reluctantly docked the severely damaged portion of his tail. But it didn’t change his mind. His prey drive was through the ROOF. Dozer rarely took a breath that wasn’t exhaled as a bark. His sleep was fitful, his waking moments were wrought with anxiety. Not even drugs would soothe this broken puppy. We couldn’t board him after he wore out his welcome (VERY JUSTIFIABLY) with the facility after he began destroying the perimeter fence and hurting himself. We couldn’t find a trainer to board him and work with him. His first foster mom was inadvertently injured by him, and he was simply too much for skilled hands. There was only one thing that made Dozer feel comfortable…. That was being tied out. So we broke the “rules.” The only other choice we had was one we were unwilling to make. We put him where he was comfortable. We found a person willing to allow us to construct a 6×6 industrial enclosure of metal and massive anchors and hog panel around an evergreen tree. We gave him a house, a pool, a roof and a length of aircraft carrier cable and tied him to the tree in the middle. And so began the longest decompression of a dog we have ever personally seen.
He learned to trust humans besides kids- kids are his FAVORITE. He learned to be quiet and sleep soundly. He learned to observe. He learned that resources were not finite. He learned to run but not run away.
Dozer learned how to be a dog on that farm.
But he never let go of his prey drive. He had maximized his potential there, however remaining an ominous threat to the other animals. We had to move him. He was stalled. With nowhere to go, we reached out to our vet team at Cotner Pet Care. Dr. Jones stunned us when she agreed to take him in at the clinic and work with him on a daily basis. That was a week ago.
Do you believe in fate?
This morning, while taking Dozer on his morning walk, the wild man himself hauled off and jumped into the car of a young man who had just had his teeth cleaned next door. Surprised and delighted, the young man began to rub all over Dozer’s body as the dog rummaged through his things. The man began to ask questions, and Dr. Jones told the man Dozer’s story.
Dozer went home with that man tonight.
We tried talking him out of it. BELIEVE me. We told him everything Dozer had done that was scary and dangerous and confusing and sad. That young man didn’t care. What he cared about was a dog, seemingly destined to come bursting into his life at a time when he was equipped to finish Dozer’s rehabilitation and training. A young man, with all the time and strength and understanding and patience in the world, and an adoration for a wayward pup, just happened to open the door to his car at the moment Dozer was looking at him and both decided “let’s go!” That young man sat with that dog inside his clinic kennel for over an hour and a half this evening, waiting for us to free up from our day jobs and arrive with the adoption contract.
There’s a lot of things about rescue that make you lose your faith in a number of concepts. But right now, on this night, we believe in fate.
Let’s roll the credits! With endless gratitude and love, we would like to thank team Dozer which consists of: Lynne Cox for sharing the story of the flooded pound. Annie McHenry for keeping the bullet in that gun and out of Dozer’s head. Lori and Keith and the staff of Bailey’s Deluxe Pet Care for going WAY above and beyond their typical duties to help us manage the unmanageable. Allison one in a MILLION for doing everything she could, and then doing more to buy us time to figure out our next move. The Dozer Enclosure Construction Team- Nick Flury and Kevin Randall. The core Pheenies that did all the walking, running, driving, planning, phone calling and vetting: Sara Dacosta, Shadowy Sara and Sarah Cai, Emma Fritschle, Brenda Albin, Katie Flury, Wendy Kay Voth and Rachel Hermsen. Dr. Jones, Ashley and the additional staff at Cotner Pet Care for rolling the dice and taking him on when they absolutely didn’t have to. Thank you to our followers for sharing his post, trusting our unconventional approach and believing in what we were trying to accomplish, and what we were desperately trying to avoid. To Dina for banging on the lines of area trainers, hell bent that we would find help out there somewhere. To Ashton for getting his teeth cleaned and leaving his door open just long enough.
But most of all… Katie B. My God. Where do we even begin to express our heartfelt thanks for what you did for this soul. You saw what we saw, and more. You knew he was in there. You knew he needed healing, and ever so meticulously, you provided him with the opportunities that others would talk about but were unwilling to provide. You gave literal blood, sweat and tears for him. You broke your heart a dozen times over while excavating and sculpting his spirit. No one has ever done more for Dozer to date. It is nearly certain that Dozer would not be here if not for you. You were our last hope for him, and the first person to ever show him unconditional love.
Sleep well tonight, Dozer.
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