Meet Jessie, a joyful gem! She is a former stray who is approximately 5 years old and is being fostered in Andover, Minnesota. This sweet girl has been in foster care with us for two weeks now, and we’ve been getting to know her. Jessie has long, soft, silky fur with cute white "stockings" on all four paws, and a teeny, tiny bit of white fur at the tip of her tail. She also has white fur on her face, along with black, plus a few tan and brown spots. The markings make me think that she might be a mix, but the temperament is golden, that’s for sure! The white fur makes her look older in some pictures – not that she’s the kind of girl who cares – but the vet said that 5 years was a pretty good estimate.
And I’m going to say this a few times, so that you’ll know what to expect from Jessie: She is all about love. She gives kisses, lots of them. Luckily, the kisses are not sloppy and wet, but just dewy licks of love. She also gives hugs, by coming up as close as you’ll let her be, and just rubbing her head and body against you. She seems happiest when giving and receiving affection, devotion, and tenderness. She is adorably fun, and she will reward you with fondness and adoring friendship.
Here’s what we know so far about Jessie:
- In case you didn’t read the last paragraph, Jessie is looking for love! She is constantly on the alert for someone who will pet her and give her attention. And she’ll take any notice she can get. In fact, if you happen to be sitting with your feet up and you don’t want to pet her with your hands, she’ll move to your feet, and see if you will pet her with your feet!
- She can be very assertive about trying to get attention, especially in the beginning or with new people. It’s as if she is worried that all the good things are limited in quantity, and she has to get it before it is gone. She has started to calm down with our family, but she is still quite persistent with anyone new.
- She also likes to use her claws to get attention, but she is both treat and attention motivated, so we'll be able to get her on the right page soon. It is funny to watch us sometimes, because we have conversations with our backs turned to each other and to Jessie, because we are attempting to extinguish the behavior by ignoring her whenever she does it. I was starting to think we might also have to start using the kennel (in addition to the ignoring behavior), but in the past 3 or 4 days, she really seems to be catching on.
- Speaking of kennels, she loves them. On her very first night with us, we had to clean the kennel because we had used it to transport another RAGOM dog – one that needed a bath. Well, she could hardly wait for me to get that thing back together and almost shouldered me aside in her attempt to get in there – she didn’t even want to wait for the pad to go on the bottom. I think she was tired and stressed, and she knew that the kennel would be a safe and good place to chill. Since then, she uses it at night and while we are gone, and she goes into it with no fuss, no barking or whining, and no issues whatsoever. Since that first day she has not demanded to use the kennel, but it almost makes me think that she should go to a home where she will have one.
- Jessie has a firm and unwavering belief that squirrels exist on this earth only because they want her to chase them. Just this morning on our walk, she saw one and immediately lunged, forgetting that she had a gentle leader attached to her collar. I was caught off guard, and very glad that I had looped the leash around my hand. And then Jessie just looked between me and the squirrel, as if to say, “But Foster Mom!!! It’s a sskk-whirrr-ellll!!! He WANTS me to play with him. No, can’t you hear him?? Yes, I can too speak squirrel. I just know that’s what he is saying!!” So I’m guessing a home with pet rodents or rabbits might not be a good match for Jessie.
- Because of the “obsession” with squirrels, Jessie will need a fenced yard. I can only imagine that she might have been lost in the first place because of this very issue. All it would take is one squirrel, and Jessie would be off and running, all thought of family, food, and shelter forgotten and out of her brain. On the other hand, if you happen to have a bird feeder in your fenced yard that is looted and ransacked by neighborhood rodents with long bushy tails, Jessie would love to help you out, and might just be the perfect dog for you!
- When it comes to cats, I would say that Jessie is probably overly curious and snoopy, but could learn to get along. We have a resident fraidy-cat who is very savvy when it comes to dogs, and our cat will come to the door when Jessie is in the room, but is wary and will not get close. But if our cat was truly worried about Jessie, I know from experience that she wouldn’t even come out of hiding. So, I believe that families with confident, assertive cats who have all their claws, and who are willing to spend some time teaching Jessie to keep a respectful distance would probably do fine.
- Jessie loves her toys. All of them, but especially balls and stuffed animals. She knows which ones are hers, and only plays with the canine approved toys. She is very cute with them, too. My 6 year old niece was over a few weeks ago, and unbeknownst to me had taken some stuffed animals behind a loveseat, and had set up a little play area back there. Well, after the niece had gone, Jessie went back there, and came out with a stuffed rabbit, and brought it to me as if to ask: “Foster Mom, you know how much I love to shake the dickens out of these things, but is this one mine? May I please play with it?” And she gave it right up when I told her, sorry, but no. Of course I immediately broke out a new tennis ball for her – which, in case you did not know, is the BEST! The first time we gave Jessie a tennis ball, she carried it around in her mouth, and no, I’m not kidding, for 3 hours straight. She had a glint in her eye and a prance in her step, and was pleased as punch.
- Which leads me to something I’m still mulling around: Jessie may be a resource guarder. This means that she loves her toys and her food, and she will warn anyone who gets too close to back off. She did it once with her food dish by growling at the resident dog, who actually was heading outside, and wasn’t planning to go anywhere near Jessie’s food dish. And Jessie hates to give up her toys, even though she is dying to have you throw the ball (or toy) for her. We are also trying to extinguish this behavior, this time by never trying to take a toy away from Jessie, but if she happens to drop it near us, we praise her lavishly, and then throw the toy immediately, so that Jessie can have the fun of chasing it, and can have it back almost as soon as she gave it up. I’ll be watching her carefully in the coming days, because a resource guarder is probably not a good match for small children.
- She loves car rides; I think she would go along with anyone who invited her into their vehicle. She’s not a big pest while driving, but she does check in occasionally with those patented golden retriever nudges.
- Jessie is housetrained, but has had 2 accidents – both were #1, not #2. Both happened during the first week that she was here. One of them was because I did not understand her signal, which was to pace – but only twice. It was: step-step, fidget, step-step, whoops, gotta pee. Needless to say, anything that looks anything close to a pacing action now gets our attention and a trip outside. Because her cues are so subtle, we are also more careful about making sure she goes outside at regular intervals, and we have had no further issues.
- She weighs 75 lbs., but is 10-15 lbs. overweight, so we are increasing exercise and decreasing calories.
- In addition to getting too much food, at least some of it was not good food, because she had tapeworms, yuck! The nice vet gave her a shot and some medicine. She’s all done with her medicine as of last Wednesday, so they are gone, and good riddance!
- The vet also gave Jessie a microchip and brought her up to date on all her shots. Other than the weight and the icky worms, the vet says Jessie looks to be in good health.
- Despite the lack of a visible scar, the vet thinks Jessie is spayed, because she thought she could feel sutures embedded in the abdomen. So we'll have to just watch, and see if Jessie goes into heat. If so, she will need to be spayed before adoption, but so far it is looking good.
- Jessie did get sick last Saturday - she vomited once. I'm wondering if she has allergies or else if all the changes upset her a bit? We gave her plain rice for a day and a half, and she has been fine ever since.
- She also seems to have an itchy bottom, although it has gotten much, much better after the de-worming. Jessie has obviously had some matted hair trims recently – I’m guessing the humane society, perhaps, where she was held until RAGOM came along -- and I did a bunch more trimming. I did get a stool sample to the vet yesterday, so we'll wait to see if there is anything to be concerned about there.
- Jessie loves to go for walks, but hated the gentle leader until she learned that she gets treats for letting me put it on, and treats for being good, and treats for walking nicely (I use carrots or broken up treats, so as to minimize the calories). Now she greets the sight of the gentle leader with excitement and tail wags. She still is not overly fond of it, but I'd rather be certain that that the she can't pull me around. And I’m sure the squirrels appreciate it too!
- Jessie does not seem to be very well acquainted with being brushed, so it takes a few of us together to do it because she needs to be distracted from "helping" (she tries to sniff the brush all the time), but she also seems to thoroughly enjoy it once we get going.
As you may have gathered, there are a few things I still hope to learn about Jessie so that we can help her find the right home. Questions I have include the following:
- Is she spayed?
- How does she act around young children?
- Is she a resource guarder? Or was that growl just a one-time thing?
- Does she counter surf? Actually, I know she does, but we haven’t really tempted her much yet, so is this a big issue, or a small one?
- Is her itchy bottom resolved? And what are the results of the stool sample test?
- Does she have any allergies? The first day with us, she did some funny huffing, which the vet called “backwards sneezing” and she did lots of regular sneezing too. I haven’t noticed any hot spots or rashes, and the sneezing has decreased greatly, so I’m waiting and watching.
I think we’ll have our answers in the next few days, and then Jessie can find a home where she will love and be loved forever! She wants nothing more than a devoted family who will accept and give a little time, affection, and joy. Will it be with you?
Jessie was adopted today by Dennis H.
We met yesterday, and had agreed to talk at 9:00 a.m. today. Well, Denny called at 9:00 on the dot, and I think he would have come straight over if I hadn’t mentioned that I needed to get paperwork prepared and copies made. And the greeting between Denny and Jessie was really sweet. I was on the front porch with Jessie, but let her go to greet Denny. She bounded down the front steps, so glad to see him again. He stopped and petted her, and Jessie wiggled happily and gave a few licks, and Denny kept on petting, and well, the admiration between the two was mutual. Denny asked Jessie softly, “Are you going to go home with me today?” The emotion and loving hope in his voice was obvious.
So we did paperwork, and then Jessie hopped right into Denny’s truck when he asked, and he gave her a toy that he had with him, and off they went. Happily ever after, that’s what I’m hoping!
I’ll call Denny tomorrow to make sure everything’s all right.