RAVEN is a stunningly beautiful, young, coated GSD who was badly abused by someone. She came to us from a shelter where she was left, and was utterly terrified of human beings. She simply shut down when people came near. We had to carry her to the shelter's vet clinic, and carry her to our cars.
At first Raven hid in her crate in her foster home, and only came out when slowly made to on a long leash to go potty. After pottying she literally broke the Indy 500 speed record flying past her foster mom to get back in her crate, where she plastered herself to the back and hardly moved a muscle. During her first 10 days, Raven refused to move from the back of her crate, or to eat/driink while humans were around. She broke our hearts.
She's making good progress. After a month of gentle coaxing and letting her take things at her own pace, Raven is loose with the 3 other large dogs in the foster pack, and is much better around her foster mom. She's still extremely shy of people, and startles and bolts quickly at sudden movements or noises. Her crate has become her safe place and she voluntarily goes in it much of the time with the dog remaining open. She must have access to a large, comfortable crate at all times. Raven will continue to be a flight risk for some time to come, until her trust in humans is restored.
Right now Raven is low energy. However, we see little sparks and signs that indicate she'll definitely be a normally active young GSD once she gets comfortable and starts to trust humans / feel safe. She will have more energy than she has now, a normal level for an 18 month old.
THE BOTTOM LINE
1. Raven is a 'project dog' who is just starting on her journey to learn how to trust humans. She still ducks her head when approaching or being approached, and has to be invited to approach you by gently calling her and often bending down to do it. If the other dogs are going up to their human, Raven will come up readily but when they leave so does Raven.
2. YOU MUST HAVE ANOTHER DOG IN THE HOUSE - a dog who is already confident and secure, and will be not just Raven's buddy but her guide, teacher, and mentor. Raven follows the other dogs and does what they do at all times. The only reason she's made such good progress to date is by following the lead of the other dogs in the foster pack.
3. Raven's new family MUST have patience, a quiet and gentle touch, and the willingness to let Raven emerge from her abuse in her own time. RAVEN CAN NOT BE FORCED - she must learn to trust people, and that can only happen with time and experience.
Raven will be a truy stunning dog when she comes into her own. Once or twice she's 'pranced' for a short distance in the yard, and seems to be carefree for just a few seconds. In those times she's magnificent. But it will be a slow journey, and she needs the love and patience of a kind, gentle family to break through her former abuse and get it behind her.
Interestingly she doesn't seem to understand doggie play -- when one of her foster pack played roughly with another one that Raven is special buddies with, Raven misunderstood and thought the dog was being mean to her buddy. She was immediately on her feet and in the dog's face, barking and air snapping at the dog (who immediately stopped). Raven has just started gentle play with her special buddy, who is smaller than she is by 20 lbs or more. Other than this misinterpretation, we haven't seen a single bit of aggressive reactivity from Raven. We have not taken her leash walking outside the yard yet, and expect to try that soon.
In fact, if you've considered adopting two dogs please know that Raven is VERY attached to the white dog in the pictures. Sydney, a heeler/shepherd mix, is Raven's special buddy and the two would make a wonderful pair!
She is crate trained and mostly potty trained.
Raven waa heartworm positive and received treatment. This required 30 days of 'doggie bed rest', in which she needed to remain quiet as the heartworms die off and out of her system. After that, she's free to get back to normal activity. Raven is not yet highy active, because she's still too scared to simply let loose and be a dog, so keeping her quiet for 30 days was an easy task. Raven has completed her heartworm treatment and will need to be tested in next year.
DOGS: YES. MUST HAVE A DOGGIE BUDDY who is a confident and can teach and mentor Raven! Medium size or larger dog ideal
CATS: Unknown. Would have to be tested.
KIDS: No small children due to the noise and chaos that would terrify Raven even more. Kids 15 and up only.
FENCE: MUST HAVE A PHYSICAL FENCE THAT IS ABSOLUTELY SECURE - Raven is a flight risk and will be for quite some time. 6 ft fence STRONGLY PREFERRED!
IDEAL FAMILY: A patient, loving family who will let Raven emerge gradually from her fear of humans and abuse. A family with another dog who is confident and secure, and will set the example Raven so badly needs as well as be her lifetime buddy. A family who will never lose patience with Raven as she works through her fear and distrust, and blossoms into the wonderful personality we see small signs of.
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