When Jon and Kristi first adopted Lazarus, they gave him his first bath in what appeared to be a very long time. This is the finished product. What a sweet boy!
One of the leading reasons pets are dropped off at animal shelters is that the owners were not educated on the potential breed or make up (of a mixed breed) that they adopted. Nor were they prepared for the level of responsibility it takes to properly raise a pet. No doubt, in a moment of well-intentioned enthusiasm, they bring home the newest member of the family with Norman Rockwell-esque visions of ‘Man’s best friend: loyal, tried and true.
Uh-hmm. To the owner’s unfortunate surprise, Fido is rambunctious, hyper, stubborn, sassy, always barking, always hungry – sucking up everything in his path like a Hoover vacuum with 350hp under the hood. And that’s just in and around the house. Taking him for a walk is like deep-sea fishing off the coast of Mexico, minus the chair that you can strap yourself into. He wants to chase everything, all at once, all the time, and you’re along for the ride.
This ride with Lazarus has shown Kristi and I the above in all its glory… or gory, however you choose to look at it. It makes me wonder how many families have gone to adopt a pet with the best of intentions, only to give the pet up months later after throwing in the towel due to behavior problems.
When Lazarus came to us, Kristi and I approached this endeavor as a temporary foster situation until we could get him healthy. That is still very much the goal, but we’re also going to have to address some of his behaviors if we hope to find him a good home that doesn’t make the common mistake described above.
Since July 28th, the day that Laz came to us and the day we first went to the vet, he has undergone antibiotics for the tick-born illnesses, as well as two rounds of Heart Guard, which prepare him for the full heartworm treatment. (The Heart Guard kills off the babies, as well as helps prevent re-infection from mosquitoes.)
Laz has gotten all his vaccine boosters and is starting to put on some weight. When he came to us he was about 46 lbs. We’ve gotten him up to about 53 lbs. He should be in the 60-70 lb. range though. Laz has also been on steroids for the last two months, which also help prep his body for the full heartworm treatment. Just FYI, steroids make your pet super crazy so if you have to give your pet steroids, be patient during this time.
Some of the behavior challenges could be due to the steroids, but I think while the steroids may be amplifying some things, we still have some behavior issues to address. For example, he has separation anxiety. The good news is that he loves his crate. He does wonderful in it. But when we bring him out, we have to stay with him full time. Normally this is not an issue as it gives us time to spend with him. But take a Saturday for example, and we want to leave him in the back yard for the entire day so he can enjoy the beautiful East Tennessee fall weather. He goes crazy if we’re not with him every moment.
Laz is also a jumper. Something we need to work on. He is a lab after all, but there are times to play and times not to play. Laz enjoys a bit of a nip here and there. Not a biter, mind you, but a nipper. We’ll need to curtail that habit as well. Otherwise, he is a very normal, very playful lab. He is learning basic obedience commands quickly and we are getting him to consistently sit, stay, lie down and come. So, the adventure is just beginning. It’s an opportunity to practice what we preach as a brand that’s dedicated to helping protect, teach and love our pets.
ABOUT JON As Point of Purchase Manager, Jon directs the packaging team from design and engineer to photography and tradeshows. He makes sure that when our products hit the shelves, they are bundled in the best package for the consumer and retailer. He came to PetSafe from Goody’s Family Clothing Corporate Headquarters, where he was Copy Chief in the Advertising Department. In addition to fostering Lazarus, he also has a Shih-Tzu named Priscilla.