One Brave Little Beabull
Prior to this moment, Luke and his 16 dog companions rescued through the Companion Animal Placement Program (CAPP) had only stood in chicken wire cages, stuffy plastic travel crates, and the pebbles of the Healthy Pet Center’s dog yard in Delmar. And still, this dog had such a happy disposition.
Of the two pups who arrived at Dog House Adoptions’ foster care, Luke was also the first to master the stairs, to pounce on a toy, and to kennel up nightly for treats. These things he often taught his sweet “brother in life.” But the one thing he didn’t do first was get placed in a new home.
Adjusting to many sudden changes with a spring in his step, this one thing got this pup down. When his puppy brother moved on, Luke had no idea how to be alone. Nor did he know that his own family was waiting for him and that they picked him out the same day his dear friend was chosen.
Luke’s Family Prepares for His Arrival
After seeing Luke on WTEN’s Pet Connection, Lisa Lehman and her son Dan came to meet him at CAPP’s adoption clinic at the Healthy Pet Center in North Greenbush.
Dan took to Luke immediately and Luke to Dan. The two investigated every nook of the store together while Lisa spent over an hour asking about Luke’s needs as a puppy, his mill sensitivities, his likes and dislikes, his schedule, and what he ate.
At the end of their visit, Lisa and Dan went home to discuss possibilities with Lisa’s husband Walter … and the entire Lehman family voted unanimously to adopt Luke!
Changes Coming ‘Round Again
In the week leading up to Luke’s home visit, he was going through big changes. Without his little Beabull brother, Luke desperately needed the 24 hour companionship he was accustomed to. The only way to console this poor, lonely dog was for foster mom Kim Clune to become Luke’s missed puppy pal.
I slept next to him, I ate my dinner when he ate his, and he napped at my feet as I worked in my office. For playtime, I grabbed the free end of the toy in his mouth and ran side by side with him just like his best friend used to do. Over the course of a week, I’d step away for mere moments then come back. And those moments grew to full minutes as Luke’s confidence grew.
With Change Comes Good Things
In a email sent to Luke’s waiting family, Kim shared her newest observations:
Crating is no longer an option, but we’ve found the alternative an enormous improvement. Luke has taken so well to walking around our whole house, learning wonderful house manners, and interacting very well with our cats. We’ve been filling up his lonely times with positive experiences and he’s responding wonderfully.
He’s taken in so much change in the past two days and, while the separation from his brother was distressing for him at first, he’s become even more bonded to people. I’m guessing this is going to make him an even better best friend in your household than first imagined.
So really, the only thing that’s changed is that he won’t do well to be confined to a crate, which we had assured you when we first met. I suspect it reminds him too much of the mills but that it’s far more frightening to be caged and alone than crated with a friend.
What Luke has learned in just two days is that his response to positive training and guidance earns him freedoms he never knew existed. He’s been sleeping next to me for two nights and appreciates a gentle head pat if he’s woken by a strange sound, and he sleeps under my desk at my feet while I’m working at the computer. He’s had no accidents in the house since we stopped crating. (Perhaps he was stressed and hid it because his brother didn’t mind.) and , while he sometimes doesn’t like what’s on TV (dogs barking and villains), he can sit through lots of programming without issue. His bathroom breaks are farther and fewer now too. He takes so well to gentle redirection and never, ever requires a harsh tone.
Playtime with two dogs used to require very little human interaction, but Luke quickly learned that humans throwing toys is just as much fun, as is the game of keep-away with any found stick. He also charges around the yard top-speed by himself, which is a riot to watch. If you ever wanted to enroll him in an agility class, he would be amazing. His reflexes are so sharp and he maneuvers around any object on a dime. He also sleeps like a rock afterward.
Bottom line: Luke may be sensitive, the kind of dog who wears his heart on his sleeve, but this makes him even more desirable in my book. He’s such a resilient dog and a pleasure to get to know all on his own, without the distraction his rambunctious puppy brother. He’ll just need a good amount of positive and fun interaction with you, doing everything you do, for a couple of days before he settles in. Once he becomes comfortable with you, you can work on leaving him for short amounts of time in a puppy proof room.
Luke’s Family Responds with Big, Open Hearts
Before we arrived for Luke’s home visit, Dan had responded to the email above. His words would ease the heart of even the most discerning of foster moms:
I personally love that Luke is sensitive and I’m glad to hear that he’s doing better… I’m officially in love with Luke because he’s such a sweet boy.
Having already met the ever inquisitive and compassionate Lisa, her husband Walt also charmed us with his desire to negate the horrors this little rescued mill pup has faced.
The proof was in the peeing. When Luke (who was just learning to curb his indoor urges) christened their floor, the family’s reaction was without fret. The piddle was quickly whisked away and Luke was shown where to go outside.
Luke’s new family is the salt of the Earth. With endless love and patience, Lisa, Walter and Dan Lehman are quickly and diligently putting the final touches on acclimating Luke to his forever home. You can see them all in action in the sweet video below.
We’ll never forget your time with us, Luke. Thank you for all the love and gobs of fun!
Dog House Adoptions has worked collaboratively to help place 17 rescued mill dogs, an effort spearheaded by the Companion Animal Placement Program (CAPP) and the Healthy Pet Center, with additional support from Pet Connection’s Steve Caporizzo, Pack Ethic and Homeward Bound.