Helping Kobe Cope

Yesterday we celebrated two lucky dogs who were pulled by Bully Paws and are excelling outside of the shelter. I now want to share with you how Kobe’s story is progressing! Remember Kobe? He was the lucky brown “pit bull” dog who made it out of the shelter with Jasmine’s House after four months of waiting:

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Kobe was luckier than we realized when he left with Jasmine’s House that day.  The shelter took quite a toll on Kobe, and he developed severe anxiety by the time he got out. At his foster home he made it clear how much he hated being alone by doing some pretty serious damage the first day his foster parents left for work (anyone with dogs that have separation anxiety can relate to this, I’m sure).

Jasmine’s House and Kobe’s fosters immediately put a plan into action to combat his separation anxiety. It quickly became evident that Kobe didn’t need just the usual tricks to help his anxiety, he needed rehabilitation.  This would require lots of time, patience and dedication – which is exactly what his fosters & Jasmine’s House gave him.

Every day Kobe’s foster drops him off at Heather’s house (the foster coordinator for Jasmine’s House) before they go to work at 6:30 am. Kobe spends the day with Heather, and then gets picked up on his foster dad’s way home. Heather also happens to be Joanie’s foster! It turns out that those two are perfect for each other, and after spending a few days across baby gates and on parallel walks, they are now almost inseparable.

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Another doggy friend can really help dogs with separation anxiety – though it often doesn’t completely cure it. The regimen for Kobe is an intensive one, starting out with trips into the crate for only one minute or less. The point is to slowly build him up to where he can tolerate being alone for five minutes, and then thirty minutes, and then hours. This process can be very slow going, but it is essential for a dog who needs to learn that being alone is not the end of the world. For a more detailed description of crate training/combatting separation anxiety, I recommend reading Patricia McConnell’s book I’ll Be Home Soon.

Heather emailed me with a milestone just the other week: she went to walk one of her dogs for 40 minutes and when she returned, Kobe was fast asleep on his bed (next to Joanie in her crate). Then, I received another update that Kobe had been left alone for four hours and again, he was totally fine.  These are huge, huge victories for dogs like Kobe with such severe anxiety, and they were accomplished with consistency, patience and lots of hard work.

Kobe is no where close to anxiety-free yet, but he has come leaps and bounds in just a few short weeks.  He still does not like to be crated when left alone, and doesn’t appreciate tie-downs either – so he might be a dog who just won’t be able to stay in a crate. There are plenty of non-crate trained dogs out there; that’s not super important. But what is important is that Kobe doesn’t feel like he needs to totally lose his marbles when his humans leave – which it seems like he is learning.

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When he is not practicing being anxiety-free, Kobe is working towards his CGC!  Kobe participates in CGC class at Canine Lifestyle Academy, and he is quickly excelling with the help of his loving and dedicated foster parents.

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He lives with another female dog and six cats, who I hear he is getting along well with! So even as Kobe works on getting his ducks in a row in terms of anxiety, he continues to be the darling dog we know and love.  He is lucky to have so many dedicated people in his life willing to work with him instead of just throwing in the towel and saying he is too difficult. He is going to make a family very happy one day!

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Joanie, the little black pup, is available for adoption through Jasmine’s House rescue! Kobe is not available just yet, but he will be one day. If you’re interested in either, head to the Jasmine’s House website and fill out an application.


Kobe’s Big Break

You might remember the poem I shared a few weeks ago:

The air is crisp, my paws sense the cold concrete floor.
I’m encaged in metal that lacks an inviting decor.
Another season begins and I am still here.
Are my days numbered? I shiver in fear.
You see I live a sheltered life devoid of endless fun.
On most days I get no more than 20 minutes out in the sun.
Patrons pass over me cuz I’m a misunderstood breed.
Unfairly prejudged no matter my plead.
So I whimper and lick the lock on my door.
Oh why can’t it be your hand, your face? Rescue me, I implore.

This poem was written by an extremely dedicated and caring volunteer. He wrote it with all shelter dogs in mind, but about one specific dog in particular: Kobe.

Kobe arrived at the shelter in July.  While he quickly became a staff and volunteer favorite, he was overlooked time and time again because he was a plain old brown “lab/pit” cross (my monkey costume didn’t even help!).  He doesn’t like to play with toys, and he isn’t overly affectionate to people he doesn’t know, so he never really piqued the interest of adopters – despite his charming personality once you spend a few minutes with him. Weeks turned into months, and before he knew it, Kobe became our longest resident.

Kobe’s luck changed last week when two lovely ladies from Jasmine’s House stopped by the shelter to look at dogs to bring into their program. Kobe wasn’t even on their list, but the shelter’s Rescue Coordinator convinced them to take a look at him (which, in the end, was his saving grace).  The stars aligned for him that day – Kobe’s rock solid personality immediately won them over, and one meet and greet with the foster home later he was out of there. On Saturday, after four months of spending every night in a shelter kennel, Kobe became a Jasmine’s House dog.

The shelter took a toll on sweet Kobe, but not in the way it often does for dogs. Kobe is as sweet as the come and is great around other dogs, but he hasn’t gotten the opportunity to learn to be himself yet. He sleeps a lot, like he is trying to dream away all the trauma from his past life. He’s a dog that finds comfort in a human’s lap, and who has a lot to learn about being a part of the family. This all makes perfect sense considering his life before he was given up consisted of being tied to a tree in the back yard.  To come out so loving after all he’s been through is a true testament to Kobe’s personality.

Kobe is slowly learning the joys of being in a home. He’s realizing what it feels like to run in an open field, and to rest on a comfortable couch. He is learning what love and attention are like, and he can’t seem to get enough of it.  He’s even gotten his very own Sirius Republic snood to wear while enjoying the crisp Fall air.

Thank goodness for rescue groups like Jasmine’s House who give these dogs a chance at the love and comfort they deserve. Kobe is staying in a temporary foster for the week (which is where I got these great photos!) and then will head to his permanent foster on Friday where he will get to settle in and look for his forever family.  Everyone who fell in love with him during his time at the shelter is crying happy tears, especially when we see updates like this online:

Kobe is going to be a fabulous addition to someone’s family.  After such a bumpy road until now, I am just thankful that he’s got a fair chance now. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to thank all the volunteers who loved Kobe while he was at the shelter, the Rescue Coordinator for making sure he didn’t get overlooked, and Jasmine’s House for giving him a second chance at love.  Hooray, Kobe!

If you’re interested in adding Kobe to your family, email me at peacelovefoster@gmail.com.