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foster dog


Gilbert enjoying the yard and the sun on a better day.

Gilbert enjoying the yard and the sun on a better day.

Pasco County Animal Services in Land O’ Lakes, FL, decided to fumigate Building C in the spring of 2015. All animals had to be removed for one week. Burt and I agreed to take one dog for that week. One of the staff asked us to take Gilbert, a Weimaraner mix, because he humps people. He had failed a SAFER assessment by biting the fake hand. He was consequently labeled a resource guarder. When volunteers would take him out he was happy and well-mannered with possible adopters…until he started to hump them. She thought if we could get him to keep his feet on the floor, he could get adopted. I picked him up on 4/30/2015.

He was gorgeous! His short coat was sort of a brownish-gray and he had yellow eyes. He was tall and thin with small feet for his size. Burt and I really liked him and he liked us. Our dogs did not like him. He didn’t follow the house rules they had established among themselves. For example, Molly wasn’t allowed to take his toys and he did not see Candy as Queen. He had excellent house manners. He wouldn’t come into the kitchen, he went to his crate on cue, he was completely housetrained, he could shake with both paws, he knew all the basic cues, and he never took anything except dog toys.

I worked with him for that week and he got better in all areas. I could trade for anything he had in his mouth, put food into his bowl while he was eating, walk by him when he was eating, and pet him while he was eating. We worked consistently and calmly on having him put his feet on the floor instead of humping. He only humped people, not the dogs. He could safely go into the yard with the other dogs and would come when called.

After the week was over, I took him back to PCAS. I also gave a presentation to the staff that day on my training methods and used Gilbert as my demo dog. He was perfect until we’d been there 45 minutes and he was done. The staff took him and put him in a kennel. He was there 2 days and we decided to go get him again and see if he would fit in to the household well enough to adopt. He spent most days loose in the house. The other dogs would not walk past him; they walked around him. We took him to the vet to get him a dose of bordetella so we could board him with our dogs. He did ok at the kennel, though he went in to the play yard by himself.

One day while we were all in the yard, he walked up beside me and put his head under my hand and I knew we were making progress. Every day he humped a little less. As long as there were no resources involved he’s did pretty well. Still pushy when he wants to play with people or the other dogs. It’s like he doesn’t know how to ask politely. Burt and I still really liked him.

May 18
I just used the pool guy to teach Gilbert Look at That. We went from “must kill the pool guy” to a glance and a Sit. Much better!

May 19
I can grab toys Gilbert has now. I can put my nose on his nose while we’re playing. I can give him a hug while he has a toy. He’s finally quit humping Digger. He’s becoming a much more mellow guy. He’s not ready for adoption yet but he’s better.


On May 21st, I was feeding the dogs breakfast and forgot a can of food on the counter. Digger stole it, as he often does, and took it into the yard to eat. Gilbert saw him and decided to take it. Digger has NEVER defended anything as long as we’ve had him. That day he did. Gilbert and Digger got into a fight, then Molly joined in. The 3 of them are tumbling around the yard, sometimes standing up, sometimes on the ground. Noisy with lots of teeth flashing. Luckily I don’t see lots of blood. I’m yelling LEAVE IT and Digger backs off. But Gilbert and Molly are still going at it. Molly is trying to get out but Gilbert keeps going after her. I pull him out by his back legs and he turns around and bites me hard. Then goes back after Molly. I pull him out again and get him to follow me into the house. I grab a handful of treats and toss them into the crate. He goes in after them.

I wrap a towel around my hand and arm and take Molly to the vet (because the vet’s office opens before my doctor). She’s not too bad, just a bite on her chest near a front leg and a couple nicks on her ear. We take her back home and then go to my doc’s. I get a bunch of steri-strips all over my hand and arm. She counts 20 wounds in total, some deep, some superficial, that she puts on the report to PCAS. Gilbert had been at our house about 5 weeks in total.

I cried coming home from the doc but we couldn’t put our dogs at risk. If he had gone after our old dog she would have been badly hurt. When we get back home, I put our dogs in the bedroom so I can safely take him into the yard without them interacting. He and I both still have very high levels of cortisol but he walks in the yard with me. I sit in my chair under the trees and he comes over to me. I try to check him for injuries but he doesn’t want to be handled. I don’t see any wounds. I call PCAS to come pick him up though I feel like shit doing it because I know it’s most likely a death sentence for him. When the Animal Control Officer got there, he happily walked out to the truck with me and I felt even worse.

The next day I’m even more swollen so I go to the hand surgeon. He opened the worst punctures and flushed everything out. Gilbert had also broken a bone in my hand. Gilbert was in quarantine for 10 days and failed another SAFER assessment. He was put down.

I couldn’t even talk it about for weeks. I still feel disloyal to him for sending him back to the shelter and responsible for his death. Even now, months later, I can’t think about him without crying. It will be awhile (if ever) before we can have another foster. I’m so sorry, Gilbert.

Burt and Gilbert napping sad emoticon

Happy guy in the yard

g bite 4g bite 7






First brace for a week.

First brace for a week.

Second brace for 6 weeks.

Second brace for 6 weeks.

Final brace until the bone heals.

Final brace until the bone heals.


Sombra Update

Sombra smiling

Happy Sombra
Sombra lived with a family until she was about 10 months old. They surrendered her to Miami-Dade Animal Shelter. She’s now now and needs to find a home, either permanent or foster. The person who gets her will be lucky!

She’s spayed, UTD on shots, 75#, groomed, and being trained. She’s a Dutch Shepherd. When she left the shelter, she had absolutely no training or socialization with people or animals but everyone who meets her has good things to say about her.

Here are some of the things people are saying about her: … has a watchful eye and a playful spirit … rode well in the van right out of the shelter … slept easily in the van at the end of the transport … sweet and eager to learn … eager to please … fast learner … very trainable … highly intelligent … super smart, alert dog … she will be a rewarding companion.

Sombra is getting socialized with people and other dogs. She’s going into town and learning how to act. She’s happy and healthy. She should be able to do well with a family, though she may not do with small children because she can knock them down. As one person said, I think she would adapt as easily to a life as a horse ranch field hound, farm or family dog. She wants to please and is smart enough to learn quickly. She will easily become all the dog you want her to be.

The person who gets her should be willing to continue formal training for awhile to give her the best chance at success. She’s young and will need active play time or a long walk every day.

If interested in seeing her, call Marilyn Wolf at 727-372-9825 or or Julie Shumer at 904-607-2961.


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