Sticking It Out

I’ve been so bogged down lately with KPA coursework, clients and my normal nine to five that some of my favorite shelter doggies have moved to the back of my brain. It’s not that I want it that way it’s just what happens when this thing called “life” comes calling. That’s why I am always thrilled when they randomly pop back into my life.

Some of you might remember Rojo, the shelter dog my neighbors adopted about a year ago who I wrote about once or twice on this blog. He’s totally handsome and stole my heart along with many of yours after I featured him on here.


I mentioned in one of the posts that he was working on his reactivity towards other dogs. He also had some separation anxiety issues that left his family scratching their heads about what to do. They consulted their vet, worked with trainers at Your Dog’s Friend, and more – they put so much into this dog to make him (and subsequently their family) happy. The rescue coordinator at his shelter and I would often talk about how lucky he was to go with this family, because we weren’t sure many other people would have stuck with his issues like they did.

When I got an email update in my inbox, I wasn’t sure what it would say. To say I was ecstatic about this update would be an understatement. See for yourself:

“Rojo is doing great, and I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since we adopted him.  (We just re-hung the coat rack that he pulled down from the wall during his first week home, ha ha!)  While he’s still crated when we’re not home during the day, he has become a much, much calmer dog, almost like someone flipped a switch around what we think was his 2nd birthday in August.  So you can tell all those adolescent dog owners out there that there is light at the end of the tunnel!  

He’s had some adventures this summer.  
First, we’ve been happy to discover that he is fine with boarding – he had to stay home when we went to my grandmother’s 100th birthday party in July, and stayed at Pet Dominion in Rockville.  He’s stayed with them a couple other times since, when we’ve gone to the beach, and although he’s very excited to see us when we return (i.e., pees all over the place) he is also happy to see the kennel staff when he gets checked in, and they report he eats and sleeps well.  
In August he had a much bigger adventure – a family vacation to Colorado.  I am attaching a couple of pictures.  Rojo rode in the truck across country with Dave (the kids had gone out to my mom’s for “grandparent camp” a week or so earlier, and I had to finish a project at work, so I flew and met them) and it went fine, although he is not a big fan of roadside motels – too noisy at night!  Anyway, once he got to Colorado he had a grand time.  We avoided Denver (due to BSL, boo!) but he got to run with other dogs in a little mountain town where we have friends, and then hang out at my family’s A-frame near Leadville, at 10,500 ft.  I’ve included pictures of him at the top of a 4-wheel drive trail with the kids, then later, getting as close as he could to the wood stove because hey, he has a pretty short coat and despite it being August, it was 35 degrees outside that evening!  Finally, there’s one of him on the deck of the A-frame, enjoying the Colorado sunshine.”
rojo3Rojo1Are those pictures not remarkable? I can’t get over how perfect he looks with his human siblings! This update came at just the right time because I’ve been feeling a little stuck in my work with Paco. This update reminded me that sticking it out, coming up with creative ways to work with “issues” and thinking positive that our dogs can improve with us are all ways to move forward with progress.  Rojo’s family is certainly an inspiration to me, and I hope they also provide some hope for other dog owners out there who might be struggling with their own dogs.

5 thoughts on “Sticking It Out

  1. Karen Peer

    Wow what an amazing story and boy did I need this! I have been fostering a sweet little pittie mix off and on since May. She did go to “potential” adopter but they returned her to me she was too much dog for them. Anyway I continue to work with this little girl trying to build her confidence. I am trying to teach her to walk calmly on her leash when we approach another dog. She goes from 0-60.. She is not dog aggressive as she goes to camp bow wow and does fine wth other dogs. She just gets to frustrated when she can’t actually meet another dog.. ughhhh. I am hoping, praying and will continue to work with this girl unitl I feel that she would not be returned due to her leash reactivity! Keep on Keeping on!!

  2. YaY Rojo! He looks great and like he is enjoying life! I would love it if maybe his family would do a little guest post on how they handled the separation anxiety? That can be tricky and it might be helpful to others going through the same thing. :)

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