Project Pups!

Just because we’ve been toiling away at the boring paperwork part of getting this organization officially up and running does not mean that we’ve been able to keep our hands off of dogs even for a second.  While we’ve been spending some time with a variety of dogs at both Austin Pets Alive! and Austin Animal Center, we have a few special pups we’ve actively taken on as projects.  We’re willing to bet some of you will recognize the faces in our current group…

Cupcake!  The official Dogs Out Loud mascot and a wiggly, adorable creature who could basically call us her groupies,  Cupcake came to APA! via AAC quite awhile ago, picked up as a young, poorly socialized, dog reactive stray. The combination of her smarts and drive + lack of manners and social skills were giving some staff and volunteers a bit of a challenge.  She made incredible progress in the shelter environment, quickly earning a reputation as highly people motivated and a blast to train and just hang out with.

Cupcake was adopted to a home that turned out not to be a good fit and, unfortunately, she returned from her adoption with some very high anxiety and reactivity that had escalated back to her ‘leash gremlin’ days.  BUT, this is Cupcake we’re talking about and she is already making fantastic progress.  Cupcake is in a wonderful foster home and has been rocking group hikes with other dogs, meeting each new training goal and moving seamlessly to the next, and solidifying her place as one of the most amazing animals ever to grace the earth.  She is on pace for her Canine Good Citizen test and we are ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with her again.  Cupcake needs her real forever home but she’s certainly earned a home forever in our hearts.

Kermit!  Another APA! long-stay, fostered by DOL Director, Ariana, Kermit is truly a one of a kind dog.  He arrived at APA! via AAC after being picked up as a stray, emaciated and suffering from a serious heart condition which led to placement in a hospice foster.  With excellent care and the right medical treatments, this boy turned a corner and is now expected to live a long, healthy life!  As his health returned, however, some very unique behavior quirks started to show themselves.

Kermit responds wonderfully to training and has mastered a variety of skills that help him manage his behavior.  However, because it seems that his propensity for fixation is caused by the underlying medical condition, management is going to be an ongoing task for his adopter.  But Kermit is well worth that bit of extra care and effort!  He loves to snuggle, especially when it’s as a little, napping doggie ball in your lap.  He is a fantastic hiking buddy, car passenger, and training partner who is friendly towards people, other dogs, and even cats!  Plus, did you see that face, people?

Jennifer!  Known around DOL as Jennybean, she arrived on our radar the same exact way as the two pups above, picked up as a stray and delivered to AAC where she was pulled from the risk list by APA!.  Each of us had the same impression the first time we met this girl, “Um, whoa.”  To put it nicely, sweet Jennybean is a recovering dog tornado.  She had clearly never been on a leash before, had some choice rawrs to say to other dogs (and any other 4 legged creatures, for that matter), and she really liked jumping all over people and putting them in her mouth.

Like her spicy girl dog compatriot above, Jennifer made excellent progress and was adopted.  She went to a home where the couple split up and she landed back at the shelter through no fault of her own.  Now in foster with DOL Director, Dawn, Jennifer is continuing work on her manners, including her social skills with both people and other dogs.  She is still a bundle of energy but she’s a far cry from the unmanageable dog tornado we met so many months ago.  Jennifer is ready for a home of her own (adopter bonus score for runners!) with plenty of fun, cuddles, and frozen green beans!

Leroy!  Leroy is a special project pup because he has been adopted and is now living in a loving home.  It is our goal to keep him in that home and help him meet the continued training goals to keep him on track for living life at his full potential.  Leroy also came to APA! via AAC and arrived with some pretty serious behavior problems.  He did not trust people or have much desire to listen to or interact with them at all.  Ditto for his feelings about other dogs.  We worked extensively with this boy in the shelter and the progress he made was nothing short of miraculous.

His final task is learning to truly live in a home as a companion animal (a task in his case that also happens to include acclimating to the family cat).  So far, he is making steady progress and has adopters who are doing a great job with his training plan and providing him with lots of love, consistency, and patience.  Leroy had a very difficult first few years of life and, as a result, had farther to go than most dogs to come to a place where he could be safe and happy.  Helping this boy travel the final leg of his journey to live as a loved family member is something we could not be prouder to be a part of.


*We’d also like to say a special thank you to Austin Pets Alive! for saving these dogs and so many others and for giving us the opportunity to work with them.  We are firm believers in the saying, “It takes a village,” and look forward to many more life-saving collaborations with the awesome organizations throughout the Austin animal welfare community.