Love is Patient. Love is Kind. Love Never Gives Up.
When TAF agreed to take Champ into our program, we had never met him but were told that he was a mean little senior Chihuahua. Knowing that TAF’s therapy dogs have had great success in helping to change the lives of some really emotionally challenged pups, we were up for the challenge. When we arrived to pick Champ up, we handed our travel crate over the counter and never actually saw him. All we could hear was what sounded like a cougar trying to be put in a carrier. In fact, a towel needed to be thrown over Champ just so they could safely pick him up. Once in our care, we realized that Champ was way more than we bargained for and some serious regret started to set in. Regardless, we worked to find out what made Champ tick and why his eyes were filled with so much sadness, defiance and fear.
Champ went into a foster home with three of TAF’s therapy dogs. Right off the bat, we learned that Champ was quick to lash out if he was frightened or didn’t get his way. He was not afraid to use his mouth or look you straight in the eye like a worthy opponent in a boxing ring. It was obvious that when his owner gave him up, they took a piece of him with them and he was now emotionally broken. For the next month, TAF worked on boundaries and positive reinforcement with Champ. Our therapy dogs showed him that good behavior would earn him treats and praise. Bad behavior would be met with a timeout and no treats. If Champ started to have a tantrum, we would immediately ignore him and give a treat to the dogs that were behaving appropriately. Once Champ learned that bad behavior would get him nowhere, he came over to the good side and everything changed for him. Even though we really wanted to find a home for Champ, we were resigned to the fact that he might be a lifer with us. Most people do not want to adopt a senior dog that comes with a list of directions and rules to keep him honest.
Just when we thought nobody wanted Champ, an adoption application came in that was an answer to a prayer. Absolutely every response on the application was perfect and it was obvious that the applicant had a heart of gold. Even though Champ was a handful, we would never adopt him out to a home that we weren’t 100% comfortable with… for both Champ and the potential adopter’s sake. Since Champ’s personality was challenging, we drove him out to his potential adopter’s home. Upon meeting the woman, Champ snarled at her and snapped at her dog. As embarrassing as this was, the woman already knew that Champ would act this way, as we had been corresponding daily in preparation for the visit. Once inside, Champ was quite loving and adorable with his foster mom. We were hoping that this would be the case so that his potential mom would see that there was a super loving pup under all of that gruff. The longer that we all sat together, the more Champ ventured out and officially introduced himself to the cat, dog and his future mom. Champ did not let the woman pet him at first. Instead, he would lean his body up against her foot and use her foot to rub his chest… it would be this action that won over his future mom. She saw that he wanted affection so bad but just wasn’t capable yet… he just needed a little more time to be sure. With a list of special Champ directions and rules to live by, we decided that Champ would do a trial week with his future mom. We talked multiple times throughout the day and answered any questions about behavioral situations that came up.
Before long, Champ’s potential mom became his forever mom. With that, we are thrilled to announce that Champ has found his forever home with one of the most selfless, patient and understanding people to grace this earth. Champ’s new mom already adores him and realizes that he is very special in his own way. She is accepting that he is 9(+) years old and that he may entering his twilight years. The amount of love that she has for Champ outweighs anything else. We absolutely couldn’t have asked for a happier beginning for Champ. *TAF has been doing Champ’s vetting in stages. Because of this, we will continue to cover Champ’s medical bills until all of his medical care is completed. So far, he has been microchipped and had a full senior blood panel. Next he will have a dental and, while under sedation, a more in depth medical exam. If any medical issues arise at that time, they will be taken care of.