Dudley – Adopted May 16, 2012
It’s hard to imagine a dog like Dudley, with a heart of gold and a zest for life, not to mention his BIG infectious smile, could be stuck for so long (4+ months) at the shelter and was almost destined for euthanasia multiple times. If not for Hard Luck Hounds (HLH) giving him a chance and the numerous volunteers who recognized his true worth, continued to work on his skills, vigorously advocated for this wonderful dog, it would have been curtains! But this tale has a happy ending – Dudley was saved and is now living in a wonderful forever home with his new BFF Kasey, and two little brothers Kamo and Chui. Dudley gets along great with his two new canine companions and he is truly living the life of a dog, soaking up all the love he can get and enjoying the simple things like rolling in the grass and swimming in the pool.
Dudley’s life was turned upside down in when his previous owner was incarcerated and, having no other family or friends that would take him, he ended up at the Austin Animal Center on January 6, 2012. After some initially promising interest in adopting him and a failed meet & greet with one potential adopters other dog, Dudley’s stay at the shelter went on … and on.
He is a large, strong dog who, despite his best smile, can appear intimidating to some people. Add to that the fact that Dudley also had Heart worms … and Dudley really required the right home, and the right owner who was committed to him. This sometimes takes a great while and as his stay extended from days to weeks to months, his kennel manners degraded almost completely which is all too common for longer stay dogs – just imagine being locked up in the kennel for most of the day … every day. Yet his demeanor, friendliness, and joy of life and interaction NEVER degraded. He was always so patient & sitting nicely in his kennel watching other dogs and people walk by, but then would get EXTREMELY excited and jumpy when you entered his kennel (he just knew that this might be his chance for a walk or maybe, just maybe, to finally go home with a nice family). Well, his exuberance and jumpiness was starting to get the best of him & he was turning off many potential adopters and even intimidated some volunteers and shelter staff members. So Dudley was put off-limits to customer interaction without the aid of experienced volunteers or staff to assist any interested parties. This one restriction alone made it increasingly difficult for Dudley to find the right home & the sad thing about Dudley’s situation is that HLH volunteers recognized how GREAT of a dog he was, and how awesome he was walking on the leash and interacting with people and other dogs once outside of his kennel, but his jumpiness and lack of kennel manners really made it difficult for visitors to see his behavior outside of the kennel.
Fortunately, a couple of volunteers brought Dudley to trainer Tara Stermer’s attention. She spent an hour working with Dudley on his kennel manners and teaching several volunteers those techniques for working with him. At the time, Dudley would attempt to rush out his kennel door whenever it was opened; if you managed to restrain him from escaping, he would jump up excitedly on you. He was never mean and never a danger, but walking into his kennel often meant leaving with bruises and scratches from his over-exuberant behavior. But by the time Tara was done, Dudley was sitting calmly on his bed in his kennel facing a wide-open door. So with HLH advocating for Dudley, implementing intensive in-kennel training from dedicated volunteers trained by Tara, and getting Dudley OUT of the kennel to meet people at every possible event for dogs that HLH and the shelter was involved with … this proactive promotion of Dudley finally payed off BIG. His new owner Kasey encountered him while one volunteer was making introductions to many visitors during a late night adoption push May 15, 2012 at AAC and she immediately fell in love with him. But there was a catch … she had two smaller dogs, whom would have to meet Dudley (and get along with him) first. The very next day, HLH and AAC volunteers and staff helped facilitate a professional Meet & Greet for Dudley and Kasey’s two dogs and he got along INCREDIBLY with them! Kamo, a terrier about 1/10th of Dudley’s size and energy level, was even able to keep Dudley in check when he got just a little too playful during their socialization in the exercise pen & Dudley just back off dutifully and seemed content to be the Beta dog in the new order. The adoption of Dudley then went off without a hitch and Dudley is very happy and content in his new forever home.
When asked about Dudley and his behavior after the adoption in his new home environment, Kasey said “Dudley is doing awesome. He hasn’t jumped up on me once & he greatly enjoys his new home and is doing AMAZING ” and “Everyone (Dudley, Kamo, Chui) is doing great Thanks!”. Kasey is working with her veterinarian to finish his heart worm treatment and plans to continue training with Dudley using the training vouchers provided by the Hard Luck Hounds program.
It’s wonderful to hear that Dudley’s single fault, his poor kennel manners and infamous jumpiness, had vanished immediately upon being taken out of the shelter and placed into a loving home, where he gets to soak up ALL of the attention and love he can. Yay Dudley!! We miss you, but are so happy for your new life! Thanks to Kasey for saving him & thanks to HLH for giving Dudley 110% to help him.
- Volunteer Keith P.