I haven’t been able to blog, or do much of anything, lately. HUNTER is the reason why. HUNTER is our latest foster dog for Save Our Setters.
He is an extremely handsome Irish Red & White Setter. He has been neutered comes to us extremely well educated. HUNTER is housebroken. He has mastered “Sit,” “Down,” “Stay,” “No,” and “Heel.” He is absolutely beautiful at heel and he is just a joy to walk with.
HUNTER was rescued from a shelter in the Upper Peninsula. In theory, HUNTER was a stray. I don’t believe it for a minute. The woman who turned him into the shelter knew his name and that he was an Irish Red & White Setterr. The Irish Red & White Setter is a relatively rare breed. They were the original Irish Setters, until the community decided to breed the white out of them and produce the now familiar all red (or at least predominately so) Irish Setter. It took some serious effort to maintain the “original” breed.
So, she knew his name and his unusual breed – but he wasn’t her dog? Since HUNTER wasn’t her dog, she didn’t have to pay the $20 owner surrender or provide any medical records.
HUNTER was obviously somebody’s baby. He was in very good condition, he is obviously well trained, and he is extremely affectionate. He gives big, warm, wonderful kisses at every opportunity. I simply cannot imagine why somebody would simply surrender such a wonderful boy.
His desire for affection is basically his only problem. He simply has to be touching somebody all of the time. I must have made a big impression on him when I rescued him from the shelter, because he definitely prefers me – over pretty much everything and everybody else. The studio where I work, and my bedroom are both in our basement, which is the wholly owned domain of the cat – meaning no dogs allowed.
If I leave to go downstairs, HUNTER starts whining and whimpering. Even if Dad is petting him, he whimpers and whines for a good 5 or 10 minutes after I leave the room. He circles the top of the stair endlessly waiting for my return. It is kind of heartbreaking really. This big handsome lad, fast and strong, whimpering like a baby because I have left the room. We are working a variety of techniques trying to build up his confidence that I won’t abandon him and I will return to him. It is a slow, delicate learning process and it is eating up a lot of time.
HUNTER also refuses to use the crate. We’ve crate trained all of our fosters. For one thing, we feel it makes them more adoptable. And secondly it usually provides the dog with a sense of confidence to have a safe, quiet, warm, private place to call their own. In the wild, dogs will look for or create a den – the crate provides them with that same feeling. Perhaps most importantly, it gives us the assurance that while we are away from home nothing will be destroyed. Fortunately, we are seldom both gone from home. So we have until Tuesday, when Dad has to go in for his chemotherapy, to get HUNTER use to the crate.
HUNTER also wants very much to play with SUE. SUE loves to play with people, and she is generally O.K. playing with dogs. But her play mostly revolves around her stuffed animals. With DANNI that was a bit of a problem because DANNI would instantly destroy a stuffed toy. With HUNTER it is also proving to be a problem. This poor boy must not have had any toys to play with in his previous life, because he just does not seem to understand that they are O.K. to pick up, toss, fetch, carry around, etc. So he approaches SUE to play, she runs and gets a stuffed animal, drops it in front of him daring him to pick it up and run with it, and poor HUNTER sits and looks at it like “what do I do now?”
In the grand scheme of things, these are pretty minor issues to work out. But they do take a lot of time – trust and crate training are pretty abstract concepts to teach a dog. But we are absolutely positive that HUNTER will come around fairly quickly and become a truly great pet. Maybe even more so than with DANNI, I’m already jealous of the family that will be blessed to provide a forever home for HUNTER.
So, if you haven’t seen or heard from me lately, HUNTER is the reason why.
And, of course, if you are interested in adopting or sponsoring HUNTER or any of the other precious setters – PLEASE visit Save Our Setters. They are truly great people doing outstanding work for the dogs that they save.