A while back, some of our organization's friends and supporters contacted us about a dog who was at one of our local high-kill-rate shelters, completely shut down out of fear. This boy, who was believed at the time to be a Great Pyrenees, would not walk, eat, or drink. And in the shelters this type of shutdown can be a recipe for the fast track to the euthanasia list, as they are often not deemed adoptable. So off to the rescue we went. When we arrived, Rocket would not even pick up his head. So with the help of one of the shelter workers we carried him out the front door, and this was no easy feat with a 120-pound completely limp dog! But once that big boy's nose felt the fresh air, everything changed. He went flying out of our arms, straight into a stiff stance, feet cemented to the ground, with a complete look of "Where am I and who in the world are you?!" Refusing still to walk, we backed the truck up to him and loaded him in, only to see yet another complete change, as he relaxed, smiled, and enjoyed the ride home to the Ranch.
For the first few days, Rocket chose to just run around in his 1/4-acre enclosure, with no interest in letting any humans near him. We of course are very familiar with the many ways that animals cope with the trauma they experience prior to rescue, so we just let him have that time to decompress. Then, on day four, he decided that the Ranch just might be an okay place after all, as he walked right up to his foster dad and rolled over for a belly rub!
The more we got to know Rocket, the less we were convinced that he was really much of a Great Pyrenees mix as the shelter had guessed. Sure he is large and white, but those are the only traits he has that even remotely suggest Pyrenees. His behavior and body language much more strongly suggested Husky, and after several games of guess-the-breed one of our kind donors happily provided a DNA test so we could figure this out once and for all. And sure enough, our silly Rocket man is 50% Husky and 33% Great Pyrenees, with the remainder being a random mixture of breeds. But to anyone who knows him well, he is all Husky, just with the Great Pyrenees size. And that alone should tell you what a challenge we have! And yes, it is a challenge we love and joyously embrace!
Based on Rocket's behavior, we are fairly certain that he had very little to no socialization prior to being surrendered to the shelter. He just did not know how to "dog." So we have been taking our time gradually socializing him, and helping him learn how to function in the human world. We are learning more and more every day about his responses to various situations, and how we can best use his skills and interests to help build him into the fantastic dog we know he can be. And although he has made tremendous strides and has learned to live happily with other dogs and to more comfortably make friends with new people, he remains extraordinarily fearful of new environments. But we believe in our big guy, and will continue to work with him and help him gain more confidence, one step at a time.
Due to Rocket's current behavioral challenges, and his need for continued specialized training, he is only available for adoption or transfer to an experienced professional who can help him further meet his developmental goals. Rocket's adoption fee will be fully waived for the right individual or organization.