What does it look like when a dog who entered the shelter in need of some extra training support is ready for adoption? We recently had to do major bio updates for adoptable pups Tommy and Jordan and it inspired us to tell you about their journey and to share what it looks like when dogs in our program prove they are really and truly ready to go home.
When we first met Jordan and Tommy, they certainly were not unadoptable as the definition is typically used but they definitely needed some help. In fact, they were exactly what we look for when choosing program dogs; dogs with all the potential in the world to thrive in homes and serve as ambassadors for shelter dogs everywhere, but who aren’t going to reach that happy new beginning without some support.
Tommy and Jordan were incognito superdogs. They needed behavior help, but they were already good dogs. Our job was to give them the skills they needed to show their superpowers to the rest of the world.
Tommy, like many of our program pups, caught our attention the moment he arrived at the shelter. There was something about him that stole our hearts. He was charming, handsome, and eager to connect. It was also clear from moment one that he wasn’t going to make it very long if he didn’t have some help. It only took him three days to hit the risk list but we luckily had a spot open and after three separate people evaluated him and fell in love, we scooped him up.
Tommy is right on the cusp of adolescent/young adult dog which is so incredibly common of the dogs at behavior risk it bears mentioning. Adolescent dogs, much like adolescent humans, are notorious for poor impulse control and pushing boundaries. They’re an age group far overrepresented in shelters and even more overrepresented in the at-risk and killed for behavior category. Most of Tommy’s behavior issues could be chalked up to nothing more than being an intelligent dog of a certain age stuck in a shelter kennel.
Tommy took to training immediately and has been an absolute pleasure to work with. He was given clear expectations and showed himself consistently willing and able to meet them. He attended group class and worked an individual training plain with a focus on learning appropriate boundaries. Tommy went from a dog who thought being touched was weird and a bit uncomfortable to a dog who loves scratchings and affection. He went from a dog who was frustrated and confused to a dog who carries himself with joy and confidence. Tommy’s leash manners are impeccable. He loves riding in the car and does so beautifully. He now has the skills to navigate a wide variety of new situations and loves showing them off on field trips around town.
Tommy is ready to go home. He’s a smart, handsome, silly, affectionate dog and we can tell you with absolute certainty that he’s a catch. His person is going to be very lucky and we are so proud of this boy who is now ready to serve as a shelter dog ambassador.
Jordan falls on the other end of the spectrum but meets the same program criteria as Tommy. She is a good dog whose potential was hidden under an intense layer of fear. Jordan has a note in her file from when she first arrived at the shelter of being frightened of her own reflection in a water dish. She was so shutdown, she had to be carried in and out of her kennel. When someone came to meet her, she cowered in fear. If you were to meet Jordan now, you almost wouldn’t believe those things were true.
Jordan simply had no experience with the great big world. Watching her discover the good in things has been enough to completely melt our hearts. First, Jordan had to learn to trust people so that we could help her see that the world wasn’t such a scary place. It was clear from the first moment of meeting her that she wanted very much to interact. Working at the pace she set, Jordan came around quickly and the more progress she made, the more we got to know this very wiggly little creature prone to ridiculous bouts of zoomies and giving gentle kisses.
Jordan went from so afraid of cars she resisted even walking through the parking lot to eagerly hopping in the backseat for her next adventure. She was once afraid of crossing new thresholds or coming indoors and spent her first 20 minutes in a house frozen in place on the living room rug. She now trots through doorways with ease and makes herself perfectly at home in the house, stretching out in what are clearly doggie yoga poses and showing off her zoomies in the backyard. Even little things like the big rocks at the shelter that once frightened her have become a favorite spot to pose for meaty bits and glamour shots.
Jordan is an excellent cuddler with a beautiful soul who has gone from a dog in need of a very special adopter to a versatile pup who is ready to see what’s next! Our beautiful girl with the tiny teeth and sweet, kissable face is ready for her person.
Tommy and Jordan are perfect examples of the dogs in our program, as well as of the dogs at-risk and sometimes still tragically being killed for behavior. These are good dogs. Adoptable dogs. Savable dogs. Dogs that deserve to live. We are committed to helping these dogs get not just adoption ready but to go on and thrive in their homes and serve as examples for what is possible when someone is willing to look past shelter behavior to the dog underneath.
We call them incognito superdogs but Tommy and Jordan have both earned their capes. They are ready to go home and they hope you are the one to take them on the next step of their journey. By doing so, you’ll have an amazing best friend ready to stand beside you as a four-legged advocate for shelter dogs everywhere.