Submitted by Louise Hebert
Meet Skylar, a 4-year-old Maltipoo. At 10 pounds, she thinks that she is much bigger than she really is. She bosses my son-in-law’s Pit/Lab mix around and growls every time my daughter’s greyhound comes near her. She lets them know who is in charge!
She follows me where ever I go. Quite often, I will walk her off leash and she stays right with me. Unless she spots a rabbit. Then off she goes, but she will stop dead in her tracks and return to me the minute I call her.
Does she have some quirks? Of course, don’t we all? She is not overly impressed with large men. She will turn over on her back in a frightened, submissive manner and pee. If people follow a simple rule when they greet her (don’t talk to her, don’t look at her and don’t touch her) she will eventually come to the visitor when she feels comfortable.
She barks at anyone that comes to the house, enough for everyone to know that she is around and is not particularly happy with the intrusion. She has a Florida grass allergy, but that is controlled with a rather expensive allergy medicine given to her every day. She is a foodie. If there is food around or even the possibility of food, there she is ready to eat anything that may come her way.
There are very good reasons why she is afraid of men, has a rather significant skin allergy and is always on the lookout for food. When I first found out about her, she was in a local shelter for just one day. The shelter called me to see if I could foster a mom and puppies as soon as possible. At the time, the shelter was overloaded with puppies. How could I resist! I visited all the potential fosters and there she was……Sitting with her 5 puppies, most of her hair missing and very emaciated. She looked at me as if to say, “Help, these puppies are driving me crazy!”
I took her and her puppies home for rehabilitation and socialization with the hope of getting them all adopted. One of the shelter’s vet techs gave me a brief rundown of her history. She was brought to Florida from Arkansas. She lived the first 2 years of her life with a hoarder in a two-room shack with 40 other dogs. Can you imagine trying to survive? Can you imagine trying to get enough food to nourish yourself and your puppies? Can you imagine how afraid she must have been being around a male who did not take care of her?
I brought her and her puppies home, transitioned them to food, brought them outside and socialized them. I asked neighbors to stop in so they all could get used to humans and gentle touches. To be honest, Skylar was not a great mom. She was just under 2 years old which is too young to have puppies. She really was not interested in them but had completely attached herself to me.
I would sit in the play yard with her whenever her puppies needed to nurse. It was quite apparent as the puppies grew that there were at least two sperm donors, a mini pin and an Australian sheep dog……OUCH! Eventually, all 5 puppies were adopted out. Skylar regained her strength, put on some much-needed weight and her hair started to grow back. When she was spayed, the Vet had to repair a protruding hernia that was caused from the birth of the 5 puppies that were simply too big for her.
Is there another foster failure in my future? Once the new Cape Coral Animal Shelter opens, I am sure that I will be fostering and adopting more dogs, but for now, Skylar and I are perfectly happy hanging out together.