Some Rescue Ranch dogs have a more difficult time finding their person than others. This week we’re highlighting three of them. They each have their challenges, but will return an adopter’s unconditional love in spades. We don’t always have a full history of the dogs that come through our doors, but fear, reactiveness, insecurity are all signs of poor socialization at best, and neglect or abuse at worst. Whatever brought them to us, if you are a match, you can give one of these dogs a wonderful life, and believe me, they’ll enrich yours.
The puppy that wasn’t
Bugsy is an adorable, little, twenty-pound dog whose puppy-like appearance belies her two years on this planet. She arrived with a dislocated hip, but the vet said the injury was too old to fix. Since she wasn’t uncomfortable, he recommended leaving it alone. She’ll never be a super athlete or hiker, but she has no trouble walking and playing normally.
I was surprised to learn she’d been returned twice already. Apparently this intelligent, curious girl is also barrier reactive, defensive, and fearful. She was absolutely fine when I visited: attentive to AliCarmen Carico‘s every move, taking treats, cuddling. She even licked Ali’s nose and let me give her a good neck scratch. I saw no sign of the reported reactive, frightened dog. Moreover, Bugsy has never growled or shown any fear with Ali. Even nail clipping isn’t an issue.
Although she’s butt heads with some smaller dogs in the past, Bugsy generally does well with other dogs. Wrangler, seen here, is her buddy (he was another return, such a great dog). She accepts his seniority and lets him lead. We don’t know how she’d do with cats.
Mostly, what Bugsy needs is a handler she can trust. Someone who isn’t sudden or loud. Someone who will take the time to help her get past her fears. She needs stability, certainty, and proper introductions. Her ideal adopter will be calm, patient, gentle, and probably a woman or, possibly, a couple. Typically, Bugsy finds men challenging, they scare her. But she has warmed to some male staff, so there’s hope. With the right family, we know she’ll just blossom!
Clueless in Yreka
Ella came to us as an emaciated, four-month-old puppy with a severely prolapsed rectum. She barely survived. Sometime, later she ate a soft toy that had to be surgically removed. So, no soft toys for Ella.
It turns out that Ella is special. She’s beautiful, she’s smart, but she doesn’t process information like other dogs. There seems to be a short circuit that prevents her from understanding and taking cues.
Not that she doesn’t try. Despite her obvious challenges, Ella is eager to please and always trying to understand the world around her. She’s athletic, strong, and playful but her training requires patience and understanding. When I visited, I noticed that she was in constant motion unless she was cuddling. She was hypervigilant, moving around, bobbing her head.
Ella was adopted early on but was returned six months later, which must have been hard on her. At the Ranch, she adores Ali and is also fond of Office Manager Rachel Frazao. Ella just pancaked to the floor when Rachel stopped to stroke her chin. She also did fine with me after introductions.
Unfortunately, Ella is defensive with strangers and even more afraid of men than Bugsy is. As a result, she’d probably do best as the only pet in a stable, quiet home with a female adopter who wants an unconditional love project. Her ideal person would be committed to helping her and willing to work with her. This loyal, affectionate, loving dog deserves so much more in life. We think she could really thrive in the proper environment.
Survived the flames but still looking for love
Mack and his very young littermates came in alone during the devastating 2021 Lava Fire. Thankfully, they were soon reunited with their mother. It was touch and go there for a while, but they all pulled through.
Unfortunately for Mack, his adopter returned him after a full year. The story was that he wasn’t accepting strangers and family members. It was plain to us that he had lost a step in his human socialization since leaving Rescue Ranch. Socialization doesn’t happen on its own. It’s critical for young puppies, but it should also be positively reinforced through adolesence into adulthood.
Mack is dog social but afraid of people. Even our staff couldn’t leash him at first; he’d just run away. Ali started spending time in his enclosure. She just sat and let him come to her for treats. Eventually she got him to accept the leash. He was cautious, but friendly, with me, gently taking hot dog pieces (second only to cheese in his book) from my hand. Then he relaxed and calmly lay down next to us, hoping for more treats.
Mack’s primary challenge is his default fear response. He favors women somewhat, but he isn’t markedly more afraid of men. He’s improved significantly since his return last fall, but, like all of these cases, he needs a stable home, unconditional love, and respectful leadership. This intelligent, young, handsome boy would do best with an experienced, gentle adopter who leads by earning a dog’s respect, not by force. He’s so smart, he just needs the right person to help him come into his own!
It’s about unconditional love
If you’re looking to earn the trust of a special companion, undertake a love project, or experience the rewards of respectful leadership, we encourage you to come meet Bugsy, Ella, and Mack. Your unconditional love can work miracles. Theirs will change your life.