Fostered in Southern California
Rescue Coordinator: Danielle Monroy
We are delighted to describe a new guest in rescue this week: Belle, a 7 year old purebred female, spayed, housetrained, obedience trained, and very, very sweet. Belle is coming off a few months in a shelter environment where she behaved beautifully with other loose dogs, and proved herself to be very smart and very funny, like any kerry. Belle is a relatively quiet kerry, and so far does not seem to get excited about much except food -- which she is very excited about. Belle has not shown any issues with sharing treats or toys or affection or the couch. Still, she should go to a home that does not have young children, and where there are rules such as sitting and waiting for her food bowl to be put down for her. Belle knows her basic obedience commands, but will need a touch-up in leash manners, as she doesn't like it when bicycles or joggers whoosh past her, and will lunge after them as if to give chase. As food-motivated and eager to please as Belle is, she should respond very well to being trained out of this behavior with food rewards. Belle may have been handled roughly at some point, as she cowers a bit when she hears loud voices, so she should go to a home where only positive training methods are employed. Belle is getting over a skin and eye allergy that went untreated for several months, and her food motivation combined with a lack of exercise has allowed Belle to become rather.... well..... let's just say Belle has some NY's resolutions to work on, in the diet and exercise department. She is a very tall kerry, a good 21 inches at the shoulder, and weighs 50 lbs -- she needs to lose a good 10 lbs of that! Belle will have a lovely black and silver coat given a month or two of good nutrition and proper care, and her ears are set. Her tail was cut too short for a kerry -- she has a schnauzer-like nub for a tail, but it works very well.
Belle's eyes and skin are improving dramatically, but she may always have sensitive skin. Her new family should be willing to accommodate the occasional recurrences, and perhaps look into hypoallergenic dog foods. Despite the need for a bit of extra care for her allergies (and there is a wealth of helpful experience with allergies within the kerry community), Belle is anything but high maintenance. She is a darling love of a girl, and her favorite thing is to lie with her head on your lap -- snoring. (The snoring should improve with weight loss.) Belle bonds quickly and should go to a home where someone is home most of the day to lavish her with affection, and where someone enjoys walks, so Belle can rediscover her girlish figure -- at 7, she has years and years of affection, loyalty, and kerry sparkle to give to a forever home.
Miss Belle was adopted by her foster family in San Diego.
I'm forwarding a note from the adopter of Southwest Belle, a kerry found in a shelter just before the holiday season last year. The story is not told quite exactly how I remember it, but, this is my older sister who is a much better human being than I am, so, I guess her version is okay to print since it ends well for Belle. :-) At the end of the story, my sister asks me to not send her any more kerries. I totally am not promising this. :-)
Message from my sister:
I got the call in late November from my sister in Massachusetts; "I'm sending you a Kerry." Now my family has owned and loved Kerry Blues for decades. We grew up with Kerry Blue puppies around our feet. My sister, Sharon Arkoff, in addition to owning and rescuing countless Kerries is the Rescue Coordinator for the Foundation for the East Coast. My current Kerry was blind and had health problems. "No Sharon, I don't want a Kerry, I've already got an old, blind, sick one. Don't send me another."
"I've got to get this Kerry out of the shelter, some people will drive to you in San Diego and drop her off, and you only need to keep her for a few days."
"No, don't send me another Kerry!"
"Her name is Belle; she's coming in a few weeks."
"Sharon, don't send me another Kerry"
Christmas Eve, two wonderful Kerry owners arrive at my house with Belle. What jumps out of the kennel is this huge, fat, ears not set, nub of a tail, cleaned, but not kerry groomed, dog. Is she really a Kerry, I wonder? She outweighs all three Kerries in attendance by at least 15 pounds. Due to some skin disease her coat was thin so it was hard to really identify her breed.
The transition wasn't easy. We are pretty sure Belle was abused, because she absolutely cowers when voices are raised. She is obsessed with food – she is like a bear, prying open cabinets, chewing through backpacks; if there's food available, she'll find it and get to it. She's eaten 3 ears of corn (husk and cob), loaves of bread, a couple of pounds of flour, tomatoes, chocolate (a bag of Hershey's kisses – the foil went right through her!), a frozen steak, and the contents of many trash cans. And that's just what we know about.
A first she refused to leave the house. She would run out, do her business and run back. If she was sleeping and you touched her, she'd leap up as if to bite you (which she never did). With Franny's (my older Kerry) various illnesses and Belle's bad skin, ear and eye infections, I spent a lot of time at the vets. I couldn't take Belle on walks unless I brought my other dog as company. And she didn't even like my other dog. Belle could never quite figure out why Franny kept invading her space and there were quite a few fights at first. I spent the first month, managing both dogs, feeding them separately, and training Belle where she could lie down and where she couldn't. On the leash, she'd lunge at other dogs, motorcyles and bikes. I called my sister several times to tell her to come get this dog.
In turns out, Belle is a diamond in the rough. She is extremely smart and wants to be loved. She knows many voice commands, sit, stay, roll over, go lie down, go get Daddy; the last one will send her running into whatever room my husband is and leap onto him. She loves children. She is a love whore! When my teenage daughter comes home with her friends, Belle, who is constantly at my side, abandons me to go lie in the middle of the girls, looking at them with her big brown eyes and wagging her nub of a tail. While she used to be very reactive to bicycles, other dogs, and motorcycles, she now looks to me to see how she should behave. She is absolutely perfect off leash; listening to commands and waiting, of course, for her treat.
We still struggle with her weight, but after every walk we come home and she runs into the backyard to take a cool down in the pool. She wades in, floats slowly about the pool (she is quite buoyant) and comes out to dry off.
There were times when we really had enough with Belle and her neuroses, but it's been almost a year and our family is so grateful we did not give up on her and send her to someone else. The other day, I was walking her (off leash) and she met another dog. For the first time, I saw Belle actually romp and attempt to play. Her nubby tail was up in the air, her shaggy ears flopped about as she tried to leap and run. She even has begun to be a little picky about her food!! She is so loving and affectionate. Her trust in us is amazing (I believe in large part, because we've showed her trust and respect). What was a once a fat, eager to please, but fearful dog, has slowly been turning into a confident, happy, (and yes, still fat) dog. I am no longer angry with my sister, I am grateful. But don't send me another, Sharon!