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Rescuing a Dog





Rescuing a Dog

By Tara Sutphen


The faces of the unwanted. The saying is “Adopt don’t shop”.  there are plenty of unwanted pure breeds as well. A lot of people tell me they can’t go through the “good-bye” stage of their loving pet and won’t save another dog's soul.  Your dog would want you to love and love more. Rescuing a dog is creating space to have a best friend.


My son, William just adopted a 10-month purebred. He loves Chesapeake Bay Retriever’s—this 85 lb. Puppy was living in an apartment dumped by the daughter to her parents, the father is an invalid. He was surrendered to a Rescue Organization. My daughter-in-law and I would look at each other as this huge puppy would surf the kitchen counter. We wondered how these people did it, as they had no control over this pup. Luckily he was housebroken but everything else seemed to be chaotic. Certainly, the puppy didn’t know how to behave, and he was huge and terrified. And that is the answer, he didn’t know what to do…the pup was terrified, so my kids set out to give him structure.


Settling him into a household doesn’t happen overnight but with dogs and all pets, it usually isn’t weeks or even months to learn the protocol of what is expected of them. Having a crate, not to lock them in it all the time but to provide it with a safe space, a little cave for them to go and hide is good. And allowing dogs to be locked in when you are away from the house for the first few weeks until they know not to chew or destroy anything. They may need a little melatonin or Benadryl to help them sleep in the crate if they're super anxious. William put chew toys and a peanut butter-filled kong in to help occupy the dog when he goes to work.


My son takes time to work with the rescue on a leash and play ball with all of his dogs. In a week, we watched the terror become a well-mannered family member, because he knew what was expected of him. My son presented this dog with his very own bowl and a new collar as a simple ceremony and told him he was now a part of the family. The puppy was proud and hasn’t acted unruly since.


The three dogs I have now are rescues. Sophia, a black and white medium-sized dog; I brought her home from the Amazon Jungle in Brazil. Ghosty is a little bigger, brought back from a rescue group show at a pet food store in Arizona. Also Beanie, my French Bulldog was bought by a heroin addict and he couldn’t take care of little Beanie so he gave him to me as a puppy.


Sophia from Brazil. It was a long journey but not an arduous one. I put her into a veterinarian's office in Brazil and they worked on her paperwork to bring her out of the country and enter the United States. It took about 6 weeks. I was in New Zealand when she was officially released to come to North America, so I had her tag along with an American passenger and she landed in San Francisco rather than Los Angeles. My amazing assistant, Helen, and her husband Dale went to pick her up and keep her for three weeks until I could come and get her since I was still away.


Oh, what to do with Sophia once she came to my little ranch. She kept escaping from the 1/2 acre yard and she didn’t know what I expected of her. She would roam the rural neighborhood. My son, Hunter had taken a break from college and was living with me. She’d trot happily past my entry gate, I would ask if she’d like to come in for a meal. She would wag her tail and away she’d go. I asked Hunter if he’d let her live in his room for a few weeks until she knew she could live in the house and sprawl out on the furniture. She then became a house dog very fast. She learned she was welcomed in the house. I didn’t want her running the land and doing what she’d done in Brazil. She could eat at home too. The neighbors would tell me Sophia was digging at tree roots and eating rattlesnake eggs. It was a talent I could’ve rented her out for… Ultimately what did I expect of her? I wanted to give her the comforts I knew she could never have if she stayed a wild dog.



Daily Routine With Your Adopted Dog


  • Bathroom times - go with them to the yard and stand by the door and wait for them, until they are comfortable with going to the yard by themself. Walk them if you are in an apartment or yard-less home. I usually let them have another bathroom break after each meal. And a few times during the day and at bedtime


  •  If you have a secure yard, they can stay outside for a few hours during the day


  • Feeding - twice a day


  • If you are going to work, crate them. if they are anxious and unsettled the first few weeks. You can use a thunder jacket to make them feel secure. Give them a peanut butter kong (no xylitol) and a chew toy or two. And if they are severely anxious give them a little Benadryl or some melatonin. (small dogs small dosage)


  • A daily walk, but don’t let them pull or lead. Get the necessary collar or harness.


  • Train the dog for only a few short minutes. sit, wait, lay down etc…


  • Treats


  • Cameras in the house and yard if you need to see what is happening

Tara Sutphen offers Horse Therapy






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