Friday evening, we welcomed our first foster: Brando!
And he is a BIG boy! Isn’t he handsome? He was supposed to be called “Brandon,” but I rechristened him Brando, as in Marlon Brando, because they both share good looks and brawny presence.
He came to us with tons of powerful, nervous energy and a pretty overwhelming shelter stink.
My first thought, upon meeting him, was: “OMG. We cannot handle this dog.”
He was so powerful and SO anxious; I couldn’t even imagine letting him come indoors. When we did come inside, he jumped up on everything, whined, cried, raced from room to room… clearly so stressed out.
But after some more time outside, and some relegating to certain parts of the house (thank God for baby gates!), he seemed able to finally calm down indoors. He still paces quite a bit and whines when something in the environment changes, but I think he has the potential to be a great house dog.
As far as his background, we don’t really know much at all. He was found on someone’s back deck in the country, and that person took him to the local animal shelter. Southeast German Shepherd Rescue got wind of it and decided to bring him in. The shelter says he’s 6, but I feel like he’s younger than that. His energy level alone would lead me to guess 3 or 4. His teeth also don’t look that bad, although some of the front ones seem rather ground down. My best guess is that he did have a family at some point, although I’m not entirely convinced that he’s ever lived indoors before.
Despite a poor introduction to Pyrrha (he came charging out of the car, and his transporter could not stop him from rushing straight up to Pyrrha), the two of them have gotten along quite nicely.
Here are some photos of them during a water break on the first day they were introduced:
They are both FILTHY from the mud in the backyard (all of that snow finally melted and turned the yard into a swamp).
They have continued to live together peaceably, which was a great relief. Pyrrha seems delighted to have a playmate, even though I think she will look forward to Wednesday, when he gets neutered (there has been a lot of humping). The only issue is that she likes to start things with him, and then when he fights back, she cries and gets irritated. She’s a big diva, essentially. But he is rather even-keel about her and seems willing to romp and play.
On Saturday, we took him to the local self-serve grooming salon for a much-needed bath! I can’t even describe what he smelled like. It was so horrible.
The bath clearly made him anxious, but he was such a good sport about it. He only cried for a little bit and then finally habituated to the experience. We gave him lots of praise and treats!
(Above, Brando post-bath. See how happy and shiny he is!)
Another fun personality trait of Brando’s is that he loves Guion. This, obviously, delights Guion, who has put up with playing second fiddle to me in Pyrrha’s love hierarchy.
Brando is friendly to me, but he doesn’t seem overly thrilled that I exist. If Guion enters the room–or, heaven forbid, exits it–Brando flips out. It’s kind of cute, and Guion, of course, LOVES the attention and affection. I often walk into the living room and find Brando sleeping on Guion’s feet. Precious.
This behavior naturally makes me wonder if Brando was formerly loved and cared for by a man. It would make sense to me.
Brando is fairly vocal and doesn’t like being left alone. Aside from his lack of training and unruliness, this would be his only other fault–that we can tell so far! I doubt he’s ever been crate trained, so we’ve been trying to make the crate a happy place for him, despite the fact that he cries and cries whenever we put him in there.
I’ve been feeding him his meals in his crate, and we give him treats when he’s in there. He’s learning to tolerate it. I was pleased yesterday afternoon to see him finally settle down in there and take a nap.
Yesterday, we took the dogs on a two-hour walk around town. That thoroughly exhausted them both! They both met lots of people and other dogs along the trail, which was a good experience. Brando seemed a little overstimulated by everything at first, but after an hour or so, he was able to chill and accept the fact that we were going to pass all kinds of people, kids, bikes, runners, and dogs.
Overall, he is a happy dude with a ton of potential. I am confident that he will find his forever home in no time at all!
More to come!