Join Date: May 2009
Submit Photo: 2
Photo Submissions 2 Times in 2 Posts
I am New
I just was approved for the group; in late October my DH and I adopted two rescue Havenese (Shadow and Jesse James, you might have seen them on the rescue site). We are loving these little guys but I really wanted to find some sort of group where I could ask questions and get opinions. We lost our beloved cocker spaniel over a year ago due to old age and declining health. We waited for months before making the decision to get another dog. I knew I wanted a smaller dog this time, one that I could easily pick up. As our Sadie aged and needed more physical help, I wasn't able to safely lift her. So, a smaller dog! But, we also knew we wanted only one dog, Ha! Did a ton of on-line research looking for various breeds and narrowed it down initially to three, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Havenese (which we had never even heard of) and cockers (DH insisted that we look at cockers again as we both grew up with them and love them). We were so blessed that Shadow and Jesse James became available before any of the other rescue dogs and they were placed within an hour or so of our home in Cincinnati. We still wanted only one dog and rescue would only allow both of these little guys to go together. Long story short, we decided to travel and see them (the foster parents were wonderful at encouraging us to at least look at both of them). We fell in love and now they are ours.
We did a ton of reading on rescue dogs and what to expect and Carole and Cal, the foster parents, were so helpful in providing us with detailed information about any issues, behaviors, what they liked, etc. Initially they were really scared and timid, especially with me. We just decided to go really, really slow with them and let them show us the way. We did discover that they were more secure on the bed with us so we let them sleep with us (another thing we weren't going to do as Sadie had crowded us out of bed for years). That turned out to be a really good decision. At first only DH fed them but then we switched and decided to have me be the primary feeder to get them used to me. That worked well also.
While I wouldn't say they are 100% socialized yet they have come very, very far. Both now seek affection from both of us (one is still a bit shy though). One has some mild medical problems; he had really bad diarrhea and it took some time to calm it down and his liver enzymes are still a bit elevated. He also needed his teeth cleaned and that might have been part of the problem.
The one thing that has thrown us more than anything and which we thought we were prepared for, is grooming. Both were really scared of a brush, a comb, any thing, including just our hands near their bodies. They also threw up in the car, making it impossible to take them to a groomer. We thought of bringing in a groomer but they were so fearful of people we just decided to muddle along. One can now be groomed into something reasonably approaching a tidy looking dog (they both have long hair as they hate clippers and scissors) but the other we decided to try to cord as he is horribly scared and has very thin and sensitive skin to boot. The vet combed him out when she cleaned his teeth but one drop of water = instant huge mat (or so it seems).
We don't have much of a clue about cording and have read the little we could find but it's not much. If you have any ideas about grooming and cording, I'd love to hear them.
We love our little guys so much that we are considering fostering in the future, once we are sure these sweet boys are feeling really secure.
Thank you for letting me join; sorry the post is so long but I wanted to give you a good overall picture of our experience.