This Frightened Dog Refused to Leave Her Couch Until Her Guardian Angel Showed Up

This Frightened Dog Refused to Leave Her Couch Until Her Guardian Angel Showed Up
Serena is currently living at Deer Run Animal Hospital in Schererville, IN. She is in need of a foster home.

Dr. Jokela, at Deer Run Animal Hospital in Schererville, IN, was not looking to take in another rescue dog, particularly with Lucy still needing a home. But then again...well, just look at her:

I'm hoping we can all band together and help her out. Peace for Pits would love to take Serena into their care but they need a foster home for her. Here is Serena's story as told to me by Dr. Jokela:

"At Deer Run Animal Hospital we offer free first exams for adoptions from Lake County Indiana Animal Control just to try to help these pets and people get off to a good start.  Sometimes I find great new owners, but sometimes I find mismatched pets and owners not up to the task, a sad and heartbreaking situation at best.  Such was the case with Serena, an 18 month old pit bull type dog.

Serena's adopter scheduled her free visit but then cancelled over and over.  I had my staff try to reach out to her to see what was up.  I knew the dog was unspayed and was worried about her. The owner said she could not get the dog in the car to come, so I put my trainer Liz on the case and she talked to the owner over and over but still we got nowhere.

I finally asked for the owner to come without the dog so I could talk to her.  She agreed and a nice elderly lady showed up to the appointment. She was recovering from a recent surgery and I could see that a young large breed dog was going to be difficult for her to care for.  She told me she loves her new dog but cannot figure out why the dog will not get off her couch.

This frightened gal spent a month on her adopter's couch. But with the right approach she quickly revealed what a sweet girl she is.

This frightened gal spent a month on her adopter's couch. But with the right approach she quickly revealed what a sweet girl she is.

As the story unfolded, it appeared that in roughly a month since adoption, the dog had NEVER even been outside of the house and hardly EVER off the couch except to eliminate on the tile floor near the couch.  To complicate matters, the woman has a kitty that goes outside and had brought fleas into the house.  So now I felt really sad about the kitty and Pittie AND the lady in the flea-riddled home.   I gave her a dose of Frontline for the Pitte and the Kitty and I told her she will need to do more about the fleas but at least apply the Frontline for now.

She asked if someone could help the dog and I explained yes, we certainly do spay and provide basic health care at Deer Run.  I also told her we work with fearful dogs but it takes resources to do so, time, money, transportation, etc.  She says she loves the dog.  I have no doubt she does but I also know that she lives in a very impoverished area and likely would not have the resources to give Serena what she needs.

Her heart was in the right place. She went to the shelter specifically to get a dog that no one else wanted but she has no experience as a dog owner and was in over her head with such a fearful dog.

I know I could turn away and say, not my problem, but I just couldn't bring myself to do that. Instead, I decided to make a house call.

The adopter was right. Serena was positively glued to the couch!

She had all the body language of fear as she tried to burrow as deeply into the couch as she could. So out came the hot dogs and cheese and she did eat!! Thank Goodness! She was soon taking treats very gently from my palm. Poor terrified baby!

Sadly the lady asked, "Did you bring any food? I am out of money and I don't have any dog food left." She had been feeding Serena dog food that a friend was dumpster diving for behind a pet store.

We talked then about what was best for Serena and for the woman, as the situation looked ever more hopeless for her to give the dog the basic care she needed. She agreed that it would be best if I could take her.

Lots of squeeze cheese and many minutes later, Serena let me pet her. She stayed 'pancaked' on the couch but eventually I was able to get a harness on her. A big step for a frightened pup!

We sat there for a while longer snacking on cheese and hotdogs. Then I stood up and moved a little. She still took cheese from me...a good sign. I start to step away a bit and then Serena got up!!! She finally stood on the sofa! So I gave more squeeze cheese, she continued to reach forward for it. I gradually backed away with a long leash hooked to the front of the Freedom Harness. I sit next to the lady across from Serena's sofa and she moved forward and stepped off the couch and came toward us. The lady was amazed and I was relieved!

I added a second leash to the collar on her neck since I wasnt sure I had the Harness adjusted well yet and didn't want her to slip out. She followed me to the door. She hesitated at the door but seemed to sniff the air with interest and the sunshine seemed to call to her. She finally moved through the front door for the first time since entering this house.

We got a bit stuck on the steps down to the sidewalk but eventually she followed me to the car and I lifted her inside.

She sat panting in the car as I drove away. I stopped at Mc Donalds and got her a hamburger which she would not eat in the car but did eat when she got to Deer Run.

This next part might be TMI, but still...when she got to Deer Run and outside...let's just say I think she had been 'holding it' for a REALLY long time! LOL. She looked so relieved to finally be able to 'let go', and did she ever!!!

Even after just a few hours at the clinic you could see her begin to relax.  She was still nervous, she allowed us to draw a blood sample with literally no restraint. She reached her head forward for petting.  She walked by my older lab laying on the floor with no reaction. She pays no attention to cats. She kept her tail tucked but  was starting to wag it, even so.

She is very, very sweet.  She wants to be close to people but is frozen in fear when she first meets people. She does want to be petted when she knows you.

Serena loves people and soaks up affection once she knows they are safe and kind.

Serena loves people and soaks up affection once she knows they are safe and kind.

She is about 50 lbs and in good body condition. Hair coat is slightly sparse at the moment, likely from the fleas.  We have her in a private room with fluffy blankets she has curled up on them and is very quiet. I have put her on Trazodone to reduce her anxiety. I think it will help her transitions but she may not need it once she is in a stable home.

I think she needs to be in a safe quiet loving home more than my hospital even though she has a private room so we'd like to get her into a foster home and Peace for Pits is willing to take her if a foster will step up to take her.  Serena craves human companionship and I believe she will be an easily adoptable dog. She is pretty little thing. I think she will blossom as she learns she is safe. I do not see her as being difficult to handle.

I am very hopeful for her and I am glad I was a busy body and butted into this situation.

She will do best with a foster who will move slow and give her time to get comfortable as she is presented with new situations. I believe she will do well with a foster or adopter who can read her body language when she is not ready to move forward and allow her time, space, and choice to do so when she is ready. I think she will eventually be a good candidate for the pace and safety of an A Sound Beginning class.

We've had her for a while now and she continues to make wonderful gains! She seems to be housebroken She gives gentle nudges for pets. A tiny spring is starting to show in her step and that tail is starting to come up and give some soft wags! She almost tries to PLAY BOW to me but catches herself, she is still not confident enough but she WANTS TO!"

I had the pleasure of meeting Serena recently and can vouch for her heart melting sweetness. She is the prettiest little thing, with the loveliest muted brindle coat and delicate face. Even though she approached me with an 'army crawl' she did initiate coming to meet me and did accept petting. She has learned sit and is working on other commands and seems eager to learn.

Can you help by fostering or sharing her story so we can network for her? That would be so appreciated!

Have questions on Serena? Give Deer Run a call directly at 219-864-7180.

To learn more about fostering for Peace for Pits, visit this page. The foster application for Peace for Pits can be found here.

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Filed under: Foster Opportunities

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