Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"A Whole Lotta Love!"

(Picture Left: "Maxi" -- A lot of dog and a whole lotta love -- but still no takers.)

When we first rescued Maxi, a very young and exhuberant Shepherd mix who landed on the Euth list of the Brooklyn shelter in early December, I was hopeful that she could find a foster or adoptive home "before Christmas."

I just changed Maxi's adoption write-up to say we are hopeful she can find a loving adoptive or foster home "before Valentine's Day."

Maxi has been languishing in a boarding kennel all this time.

What is Maxi's "problem?"

Does she have behavioral or aggression issues? Is she sick? Is she a nervous, unsocialized or shy dog?

None of the above.

On the contrary, Maxi is an extremely exuberant, loving and smart dog who just wants to please people. She is a very healthy, 2-year-old sweetie pie who is in top physical shape and loves nothing more than running and playing with other dogs. We could easily envision Maxi being a great family dog. She is a dog of enormous potential.

But, what has gone wrong with Maxi? Why, in all this time has Maxi failed to generate even one adoption inquiry?

I'm not sure of the answer to that.

When we first got Maxi, she was very wild and strong on the leash and was difficult to control.

But, over time and especially after being spayed, Maxi has calmed somewhat and is very responsive to training.

I remember the first time I walked Maxi, she almost rammed me into a brick wall. Now, she is quite easy and pleasant to take out as long as one keeps the walk brisk and focused.

Indeed, the only thing one really has to guard against when walking Maxi is her tendency to run up and greet everyone on the street. She is overly friendly!

Its hard to think that the quality of being "overly friendly" might be a impediment to adoption!

But, yes, we have had to work on Maxi's wild exuberance to love everyone she meets.

As I've gotten to know Maxi over these past couple of months, I believe her to be a very good dog with huge potentials. She is confident, enthusiastic and so very eager to please.

But, Maxi is, in some ways, still very "puppyish." All that puppy energy needs to be reigned in and channeled properly.

Although most people seek young dogs to adopt, they tend to expect or even demand that those dogs behave like fully trained adult canines.

That's like expecting teenagers to behave like fully mature, adult humans.

There is a great deal of wisdom behind the saying, "Youth is wasted on the young."

And yes, the saying also applies to dogs. Puppies and young dogs are generally a hand-full, just like human teenagers are.

Perhaps this explains why so many dogs dumped in shelters are in fact, young adolescents whose energies and wild exhuberances have proved to be too much for their human caregivers to deal with.

Maxi arrived at the Brooklyn pound two months ago as a "stray." Perhaps she escaped a yard or perhaps her former owner made the mistake of allowing youthful Maxi off leash in open spaces. Perhaps she was deliberately abandoned.

But, for sure, Maxi grew up in some kind of home. By her confidence, enthusiasm, and curiosity I am quite sure, Maxi enjoyed the benefit of staying with her Mom and siblings for a good long time. Morevoer, judging from her love and total trust for humans, it can be surmised Maxi was handled and socialized with humans very early in her life.

There is great raw material in Maxi.

The question is, is there anyone out there who can recognize, appreciate and work with that talent and potential in Maxi? --PCA


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