Louise… Falling in Love with the “Last 10%”

by Hilary Bentley • Posted in: Behavior, Donations, Fundraising, Pets Needing Homes, Special Needs Pets

Louise makes it nearly impossible not to fall in love with her.  The first word that comes to mind when thinking about this beautiful oreo cookie colored girl is lovely.  Louise is lovely inside and out.  And that sweet face and endearing personality have earned her a plethora of nicknames including Sweet Louise, Weezy, and Weezin’.  Her fan club extends far and wide through APA! and those who knew her at Austin Animal Center before we pulled her from the at-risk list.

Sweet Weezy is another dog from that “last 10%.” But she made it out and she is ready to take the next step and finally make her way home.  She came to the LFS progam when she was transferred to TLAC along with 26 other large, long stay and/or behaviorally challenged dogs from AAC.  21of those dogs have since been adopted out of our TLAC location.  One dog, Mimi, was transferred back to AAC where she was adopted out as part of the wonderful Hard Luck Hounds program.  Of the original 26, only Louise, a sweet wiggly girl named Lollipop, and a snuggly, snorty boy named Oliver (all LFS dogs) are still waiting for their people.

Louise loves people.  She loves cuddling, belly rubs, and trying to fit herself in your lap.  She also loves sloppy face kisses, taking naps, and is a complete whiz at puzzle toys (she shows up all the boy dogs!).  Louise rides nicely in a car, appears to be housetrained and have wonderful home manners, and wears an expression on her face of being constantly expectant and hopeful.

That is not how sweet Louise arrived, however.  This dog with the big heart and ready smile came to our program hand shy, flinching at being touched, and cowering from new people.  She wanted to trust.  She wanted to relax.  But she was afraid.  Luckily, Louise not only found herself in a program where she could get the support she needed, but she arrived here with her very own advocate in the form of long time shelter volunteer and ‘misunderstood’ dog advocate, Jae.

Jae was in Louise’s corner from day one and was likely the first person she truly trusted.  She was there at the shelter to work with her and brought her home for slumber parties where Louise proved she’s a girl who just wants a good toy to dismantle and a snuggly place to cuddle up.  Not only did Jae love Louise, she knew what was at stake.  Sharing the same kennel in the high stress shelter environment with another dog, Louise had acted out and caused injury to her kennel mate.

This lone act got her banned from the adoption program and condemned to death.  Those original 26 dogs were initially housed at TLAC simply as overflow.  However, due to their futures were they to go back, APA! took custody and set out to give Louise and this new group of LFS dogs a second chance.  Louise has been stealing hearts ever since.

From serving as resident smooching ambassador when Best Friend’s trainer, John Garcia visited…

…to finally learning to relax and feel safe, Louise is doing amazing.  The above photo was her very first nap in the life rooms.  She started out pacing, then laid down for cuddles but still flinched at unexpected touches.  Finally, she heaved a deep sigh like she was letting go of her fears and fell asleep.  It was a wonderful moment and naps and cuddles have since become a regular part of Louise’s routine.

In addition to working on Louise’s tension and feelings of fear towards people, we are also actively working on her challenges with other dogs.  While she is not comfortable with other dogs and will need to be the only pet at this time, she is making very good progress.  We are using the BAT program for reactivity and engaging in a lot of parallel work sessions with other dogs and Louise is navigating this training wonderfully.  We feel she is ready to continue her training in a home where she can relax and bond with a person or people of her very own.

Gone is the dog who paced out of stress, afraid to relax, and cowered, shaking from hands moving to pet or leash her up.  In her place is a beautiful, affectionate girl who waits by her kennel door for her people and freely gives kisses and cuddles to her friends.  Louise is going to make someone a wonderful companion and we are lucky to have saved her and gotten to know and learn from this beautiful soul.  Email email hidden; JavaScript is required or come to our TLAC location at 1156 West Cesar Chavez to meet this sweet girl.  Louise comes with a post adoption training scholarship to support her adopter in helping Louise meet her full and amazing potential.

Louise sticks her tongue out at the idea that she and dogs like her are “unadoptable” or not worth saving.  It’s simply not true.

We have started a drive to raise funds to hire professional dog behaviorists help us work with and develop training plans for dogs like Louise.  Can you commit to $25 per month to pay for an hour of professional training per month?  Our goal is to build up to 100 hours of training per month so we can save more of Austin’s homeless dogs this year!

You can set up a recurring or one-time donation here – just select “dog behavior program” in the program dropdown so we know your donation is to pay for training.  And $25/month makes you part of our Constant Companion Club!

Visit our program page and follow the LFS dogs on facebook to see how else you can help give these dogs a chance.

One Response to "Louise… Falling in Love with the “Last 10%”"

  1. Arianasays: March 16, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Well said, Amy. Thank you for writing the post Louise can’t write bc she can’t type.