Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Billy: Problem Pooch Turns Around

Billy now all grown up on a recent visit to the shelter

Little Billy was as cute as they come when he arrived at the shelter. He was a couple of months old, had the sweetest freckles on his face and would tilt his head endearingly when you talked to him. However, Billy was also quite a handful. He had had no training or boundary setting ande he was prone to nippiness as cattle dogs often are. He was a tough case and even experienced dog handlers found him frustrating to work with. Egads. Though there were people interested in adopting such an adorable boy his behavior made it unviable. Staff and volunteers realized that the only way to get Billy out of the shelter and into the home that all young dogs deserve, we would have to implement a training program to help him learn good canine manners.

As they say, "it takes a village to save a dog" and that's what Kate, Janis, Joyce, Suzanne and I set out to do. One of us took him out on a training walk each day. Progress was slow because Billy was a stubborn and very smart little pooch. I remember running him around Aquatic Park on a warm day. He finally got tired and hot enough to sit with me in the shade and rest his chin on my leg. It was the first instance he'd shown me any affection and it gave me hope for the first time. Prior to that he would have been mouthing my leg a bit harder than a dog should do. Finally.

As it happened, after several weeks of this training someone showed up and was drawn to Billy's enthusiasm and tough boy attitude. We were all amazed but elated. After a homecheck, Billy went home with his new dad. It was almost too good to be true.

Now, months later Billy stopped by the shelter to say "hi" recently. According to staff "He looks like a different dog, he's very tall, long gangly legs! Anyway he's looking good, very well behaved, very happy to see us all. The two of them were great pals and his owner adores him."

Billy at the shelter -- part devil, part puppy


Pam said...

This is such a delight to see-- the two of them are obviously just right for one another. What a happy ending/beginning.

Cindi said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you, Rachel, Kate, Joyce, Janis and Suzanne to make Billy's dream come true!