2008 Foster Photos
MAX age 1, came into Rescue because he bit one of the twin boys in his family and has been generally nippy. He is a very friendly little fellow except when he doesn’t get his way. Then he asserts himself. His family admits that the boy was probably at fault when this incident happened however, they plan to adopt a toddler from Russia and don’t want to risk problems when she arrives. We don’t normally take “biters” but at his age, we felt that it was likely that it was just puppy nipping that was poorly handled. People often mishandle this type of misbehavior when the dog is young and it can then develop into real biting. But if handled properly and firmly, the dog can become a wonderful addition to the adult family. Max went to a foster home that understands that while he can be loved, he cannot be spoiled and allowed to “run the show”. Max responded nicely and has now been adopted.
OHME who came straight from the shelter’s family had a new baby with health issues. Ohme is 8 years old. She is a Westie/Dachshund mix. She looks just like a Westie except that her ears are more rounded than normal and don’t have the normal Westie hair on them and her coat is not as white as a Westie normally would be. She is undersized for a Westie but 12-pound Westies do exist. Her personality is Westie-like. She will play ball for as long as you will throw the ball. She is loving and friendly. She gets along with people and dogs (as long as the dogs get along in return!)
Once in foster care, her name was changed to Mindy. She has proven to have a great personality. She went to the vet and had a dental and her medical was otherwise caught up. She then went to the groomer who reported her to have behaved very nicely. Mindy has now been adopted and is reported to be doing well in her new home.
CHARLIE (age 5) has the age old story. He was the “baby” of the family and then they had human children. Now they don’t have time for Charlie. Charlie cries and whines a lot for attention; he barks out the window at squirrels. While being busy with a 2 year old and a 10 month old, he is getting “annoying”. Fortunately, he does well with the children but he isn’t as happy as he could be if had had someone to pay attention to him.
Charlie came in to foster care and was taken care of medically while the foster family lived with him for a while to get to understand his needs. He has now been adopted and is doing just great in his new home.
October….Charlie’s family is another victim of today’s economy and Charlie came back to foster care. They report that he was a great dog and did well with their family including the grandchildren. Charlie has since been adopted again and is the center of his new family.
DEXTER (almost 4 years old) came to foster care when he bit his 3 year old. She tried to give him a kiss. This is so common. When kids are bit, it is frequently in the face because they tend to be at face level and they often suddenly try to kiss and hug. Many dogs do not want to be kissed, especially by children who are not always the most gentle and often make sudden moves. A child coming at a dog, directly at his face, and likely looking into his eyes (something that dogs see as a challenge) when they do it, are so often bit. The dog isn’t viscious but he would do better in an adult home. Dexter was sold from his “breeder” at age 6 weeks; the next couple of weeks with his mom and littermates would have been very important for “bite inhibition”. People should consider turning down a dog who is less than 8 weeks of age when removed from the litter.
Dexter had a “glitch” while working towards a new home. He came in overweight but had no appetite. Over time he began to throw up and eventually could not keep anything down at all. His tests indicated possible liver involvement but nothing could be found to identify the problem. A specialist did tests and also was not able to pinpoint the issue. However, after force feeding him small amounts of food and antibiotics for a few days, he seems to have turned the corner. He has begun to eat off a plate and seems to be recovering. We believe he arrived with an internal infection of some sort that moved through his system and gradully made him very sick. He had us very worried for a while but he now appears to be recovering and we hope there will be no lasting side effects. Note: As of May 9, Dexter’s blood work has shown a real improvement and he is eating on his own. He is barking because he is hungry and is playing. He is acting like a “real Westie” for the first time since he has been in foster care.
Dexter recovered fully and became a different dog. We believe he was sick when he arrived which explained his lack of appetite and perhaps some of his behavior that caused him to be surrendered. Dexter has now been adopted and is doing well in his new home with his new brother.
JACK (maybe age 5) was part of an abandonment case. They found 16 dogs abandoned in a home last January. He sat in the shelter for 3 months until the owner finally signed off. When we first saw him, we could not even see his ears and it was hard to tell if he really was a Westie. We got a groomer into the shelter and found a Westie mix under all that hair. But we couldn’t just leave him there so we brought him out and he is now in foster care. Jack is a very sweet little boy with a unique look to him. He is taller than most Westies but will look less tall when he gains a Westie skirt. He has some brown throughout his coat. Jack had a difficult recovery from his neuter (done in the shelter) when he reacted to some internal stitches. But that has now been resolved and he has been adopted.
ABBIE (about 2 years old) was in a shelter which is not rescue friendly. We managed to get her out. She is handshy which can be a sign of abuse but sometimes dogs just are like that. Abbie was groomed and turned into a beautiful little 13 pound female. After her spay, she developed a “false pregnancy” and is mothering all her toys. She even stole the remote control and took it to her bed! Abbie has now been adopted. Because she was a bit of a bully towards the weakest dog in any pack, she is now an only child.
AVERY age 3 has been in three homes in his life. His last home loved him but the owner had an illness of his own and the stress and struggle of caring for Avery with his skin issues was just more than he could handle. Avery went into foster care and with careful management of his food and environment along with medicated baths, he is now doing well and growing his new coat back. Avery will always have allergies and needed a home that can work with him to keep things under control. Avery has been adopted and is doing well in his new home.
MC GOO was a stray. He was found by a family who brought him in and took care of him. He was covered in fleas and had skin issues. They nursed him back to health but he just wasn’t good with their toddlers. They asked us to find him a new home. They had named him Buddy but the foster home had another dog named Buddy and had to make a change so they renamed him. McGoo has now been adopted and is doing well.
We learned of three Westies found as strays. We assume they were dumped by a puppy mill since none were altered and they had no training of any sort. They were in the Montcalm County shelter. We were able to get them and put them in foster care:
RIVER was one of the females. She was initially estimated to be six years old but after medical care and time, that estimate changed to perhaps 2 years old. River had a lot of skin issues which we treated. She started out a very sad little girl who appeared to have given up but after only a couple of weeks of love and medical treatment, she came out of her shell and turned into a very sweet and intelligent little girl. She has now been adopted and is learning the difference between a puppy mill existance and life in a home with love and a caring family.
IKE was an older male. He was initially estimated to be 9 years old but his behavior seems younger. He had a lot of damage to his teeth, probably from chewing on the bars of his cage. His one ear is down due to scar tissue, perhaps from a dog fight. Ike is a gentle little boy who enjoys attention from his human. Ike is enjoying his new life with a Westie brother and a cat!
BELLA was thought to be the youngest of the three at about age 2-3 years of age. Later we were unsure which of the girls was the youngest. Bella is a playing machine. But she does exercise her alpha side over more submissive dogs. Bella has now been adopted.
Rocky age 4arrived in the most pitiful condition. While he came from a private home, he arrived in just about-as bad of condition as any puppy mill dog we have seen. Not only had he not been treated for the severe hair loss, he had fleas and was aching for attention. We were told he was up-to-date medically but his records indicated he hadn’t seen a vet since 2006. At the last minute, they just mentioned that he had some hair loss. Rocky belonged to a family with teenage boys and apparently when they got to an age where they had other interests, the rest of the family did not fill in to supply Rocky’s medical and emotional needs. It is hard to imagine when he was last groomed. The above photo was after grooming. The two below are on his first day before we had done anything.
Rocky had nipped a couple of children on the lip when they put their head right into to his face. His foster home is taking things very slow and calmly with him. He has now settled in and is getting along very well with the other dogs. He is good with people and better every day. He goes for walks with the teenaged girls and when he visited grandma, he went up to her and began to talk to her! His housebreaking is in progress. He sticks very close to foster mom. This may be the first time he has received appropriate attention and caring and he shows how much he appreciates and wants it.
MULLIGAN came from the Humane Society of Huron Valley. He is 6 months old and was given up because he bit the 8 year old boy in the home. Many Westies have problems with young children which is why we don’t place with children under the age of ten. His foster home did a lot of work with Mulligan in hopes of overcoming his past. But his upbringing left him too damaged to allow him to cope. His biting incidents became worse over time despite all of our efforts and he could not safely be kept as a pet. Sadly, Mulligan has “gone to the bridge”.
OLIVER was quite a surprise to us. We saw him on Petfinder and he looked like a Westie. He was listed as a full Westie, not a mix. We called and they told us to get him fast because he had only 24 to 48 hours to live. So we rushed over there and found a dog who was only vaguely similar to a Westie. He is clearly a mix and probably of more than just two breeds. We normally don’t take dogs like this because we don’t have space but we could not leave him behind to die. So we took him in. Oliver is a great dog….very young, we believe younger than the 3 years that was assigned to him. He was a stray and age isn’t possible to assign with any level of confidence…but he acts like a 1 year old. Oliver is only 28 pounds but he is mixed with a larger dog so towers over the Westies. We are calling him a Golden Wusky. He has brown floppy ears and a large curled tail. His white coat has light brown spots on it. He is very friendly and a wonderful size for someone who wants a “larger” dog but doesn’t want to go all the way into the big breeds.
After working with him for a few weeks and seeing him safely through his kennel cough, we were able to transfer him to a rescue which is used to working with larger dogs and in a better position to find him the right home. We understand he has now been adopted.
What are the chances this would happen twice in a row! But a shelter up north had a Westie mix who again looked pretty Westie in the Petfinder photo but when we got there we found another mix that included a larger breed dog. We also took this guy in and TOBY was fostered in Gaylord. Toby was listed as a stray but he clearly has had quite a bit of training. He is well behaved and very playful. He is living with a Westie and having a good time. In October, his foster home decided to adopt him.
WINSTON we just took in from a shelter mid-state. He has joined the pack of two Westies and is now learning pack manners while we get to know him and update his medical. When he is groomed we will put out a better photo. He is seven years old and was turned in because he wasn’t doing well with children. The foster family noticed that he seemed to be sensitive to being touched on the sides and a vet visit revealed a disk problem. He is being treated with Rimadyl which will allow him to be more comfortable and less sensitive.
His foster home reports that Winston is a brand new guy now that he is comfortable. He has now gone to his forever home and is doing very well.
FERGUS is a six-month old puppy who was purchased by a 78 year old lady as her pet. Fergus was just too much for her to handle. He has a tendency to try to chase cars and has managed to knock her down a couple of times. His other, largely natural terrier behaviors, were a surprise to her and something she wasn’t prepared to work with. Fergus was fostered in a home who understands that terriers will bark at anything, go after the vacuum cleaner, and can sound pretty fierce in the process. He has now been adopted.
We took in an older girl who was found as a stray. JOSIE is 10-12 years old (estimated) and was found in pretty scruffy condition. Her finder took her to a vet and had her cleaned up and checked over. Then she called us and we agreed to take her into care. Clearly she is not a well-bred Westie but we don’t know if there is a “mix” involved or just poor breeding. Our initial vet visit indicated that she is in pretty bad shape. Currently we believe that she must lose an eye to an ulcer. The other eye has a cateract so she has some vision but it is pretty limited. We believe she is deaf also. She very much needs a dental and will probably lose some teeth. She has arthritis especially in the hips and a bit in the spine, probably due to an old injury. She is being tested for possible Cushings. She may be incontinent. We plan to have her surgery on Thursday to remove her eye and do her dental. We are treating the arthritis with pain meds and are waiting for the Cushings results
We continue to wonder why people do this to dogs. Someone had her for a long time and suddently she is found as a stray. Did her owner die and family members dumped her? Or did her family come into hard times financially and dump her? Why not take her to a shelter? How could they do this? Fortunately, Josie has a waiting adopter who has experience with a previous dog in similar condition. Between our efforts and those of her adopter, she will have a “quality of life” for the rest of her time here on earth.
Josie has now had her surgery and is doing SO much better. She is starting to show some interest in life and is getting used to going outside when needed. She has begun a very nice recovery and is sleeping through the night.
At the end of October, she was adopted and has now been renamed “Dolly”. Dolly is doing very well and finding her “Westitude’ now that she feels well and is being loved.
CASEY age 8, was turned in to a shelter because he “had an attitude and peed when he was mad at us”. We took him and got him to the vet. He had a dental issue resulting in pulled teeth and he had bladder stones; two sharp ones were stuck and had to be crushed to be removed. Now that he is home and no longer in pain,he is a happy boy who wants to play with the other dogs and who is showing every sign of being completely housetrained. Charlie is a very nice boy and a good looking Westie at that! Some people should simply not own dogs. He has found a forever home that will take care of him and consider taking him to a vet when things are not quite right.
5-year-old REGGIE’S family found they just didn’t have time for him so he was surrendered to Rescue. His foster mom has boarded Reggie in the past and knows that he is a good boy without any known issues. We have brought his medical up to date and he was soon adopted into a home with another dog for him to play with.
COOPER age 6, had a happy home but she wasn’t doing well with children. She had surgery on her knee (a common Westie issue) and was sensitive to small children who might hurt her. The family had a small child and couldn’t risk keeping Cooper. She does like to “talk” and will probably always be something of a barker. Her foster home is really enjoying her time with them. While in foster care she blew her other knee, had surgery and is currently recovering. (Note: It is typical that if one knee goes, the other will go within 18 months of the first one so she was right on schedule.)
ROXIE age 2+, came to Rescue because her owners could no longer afford her meds. Roxie has some allergy/skin issues which many of our foster dogs have had. She also appears to have a pretty severe ear infection. We started her on daily medicated baths, Atopica and ear meds. She had a urinary issue but antibiotics seem to have that under control. She is looking very good now and we are reducing the Atopica. She continues to do well receiving it every other day. In time we will try to go to twice a week but she will probably be on this medication for her entire life. Her baths are less frequent now but still more than the average Westie. Roxie may take extra care but her personality makes up for it. A family willing to give her their time and regular meds, will find they have a great little girl.
AVA is about 3 years old. She came out of the Al Van Shelter in South Haven. Her owner said that she wasn’t housebroken and that she didn’t have time for her. Ava arrived stained completely yellow and in a real need of grooming. She was small and scared. Ava was sick with a 24 hour virus when she arrived but is now recovered and has joined a new family and a new life.
Heidi/Megan was found as a stray and ended up at Detroit Animal Control. We heard about her and investigated; we pulled her as soon as she was available. She was listed as a mix but that may have been because she was stained yellow. After 3 baths at the groomers, she finally turned white again. She is now in foster care, learning about house training. She has had a dental and is doing well medically. Heidi is estimated to be between 2-4 years old. She is very playful and busy. She gets along fine with all of the other dogs. She is very much oriented to humans and wants to be with someone at all times. She even jumped in the shower at first, just to stay with her foster mom. Megan gets worried at times and will nip but has not broken any skin. It is more a show meant to scare away a threat than a real follow through. We are working with her to help her understand that she will not be hurt and that she can trust us. It can be a hard lesson for a dog who has been a stray and has had to protect themselves.
Megan needs a home where she can get a lot of attention but where the owners are terrier-experienced and will make sure that she isn’t allowed to misbehave. They will find they have a very loving little girl on their hands. Her foster home reports progress with her issues but it is likely to be a fairly long foster situation. (At the end of December, her foster mom decided to adopt Megan. She has made a lot of progress and is doing very well with the elderly (blind and deaf) dog already in the home, seeming to take care of her and watch out for her needs.
HARRY about 1 year old, was found as a stray and was at a shelter. He did not pass the temperament test and the shelter would only release him to Rescue. We took him into foster care. At first he seemed nice and playful but as he became comfortable, he showed a very uneven temperament. After several days, he bit a family member twice. Because we cannot place a dog who is a biter, we were forced to put him to sleep. We believe he came from the same litter as two other pups we have seen in rescue this year. One went on to become a good family member but the other also had to be put down due to temperament.
RONI is 11 years old. She is a good, healthy girl whose mom lost her job. Roni’s mom had to move to a location that does not allow dogs. She hid Roni as long as she could but could no longer risk being evicted. Roni was very much loved but she had no choice but to give her up. Roni finally arrived in foster care and did well. We are happy to report that she has found a family that will love her and give her a good home for the rest of her life.
ZIGGY’S family bred their Westies and kept one of the resulting puppies. But whent they had a new baby he received less attention and, as often happens, he acted out by marking and chewing on items. So at age 1.5 years he came into Rescue to find a new home with lots of time for him. He is currently in foster care and is behaving like a gentleman!
JACK’S owner is single and has been working very long hours. She has had to leave Jack for 13 hours a day and he just could not avoid accidents. He wasn’t getting much attention because she was never there and she could not go out without feeling guilty for leaving him even more. She reluctantly decided he needed a home where people could spend more time with him. Jack (age 6) came into foster care and really did not show us any issues. He has now been placed in his ndw home.