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Joel is a timid, sensitive soul who came out of his shell with cats and dogs but took time to warm up to people. He has the perfect home now, with someone who loves him for the goofy, worried boy that he is.
Joel bonds closely with his people but takes time to accept new people. This may change in his forever home, but he may always be shy with strangers. Joel is ok being alone most of the day but needs a good walk, some loose play time, and a good cuddle session to keep him happy and calm.
It takes some time to help a nervous dog like Joel adjust to life in our human world, but as he reminds us every day, he’s worth it.
First Outing 1/30/19
The first time that I met Joel, he scrambled frantically to get away from the leash and clung to the ground in terror when he couldn’t. He continued this behavior, more or less, for the entire three or four hour period in which I had him out.
Despite my best efforts, he got between me and a trashcan and toppled it over, then bolted terrified at the end of his leash, digging into the ground to escape before finally clinging to the ground. He darted and circled at any length of leash.
If I stopped, he ran at the end of the leash in wide circles around me. I don’t have any video of that first walk because I wouldn’t have attempted to hold a camera or phone and him at the same time. It was only after several hours, when we sat down for a break, that I felt confident enough to shoot this video.
The only time he stopped is if he was being petted. Then he would stand still under my hand, leaning into me every so slightly while he looked around with a terrified expression at everything around him.
Joel was willing to meet strangers, as long as I had my hands on him when they first met. He showed no signs of happiness or affection though, just stood quietly like he didn’t know what was going to happen next.
Meeting His Foster 2/5/19
A foster expressed interest in Joel after his first time out with me, so I brought him out again so that she could meet him. He was still a very worried boy, but he opened up a lot on this second outing in my home.
We got to see him express a little interest in toys and for the first time he sought out affection. Very importantly, he came for treats, so we didn’t have to worry about catching him whenever he was loose in the house. He was adorably concerned whenever someone left the room, jumping up to look out the window in the back door.
He was still very nervous and paced around constantly, but we got to see a little bit of the dog he might be. He also appeared to be housebroken, since he did his business once we took him out after he’d been inside for several hours.
Joel seemed to enjoy just chilling out on a blanket and watching video games, which was very cute.
Going Home With His Foster Family 2/9/19
When the staff at Alachua County Animal Services heard that a foster had come forward for Joel, they were very surprised. “She is going to have her hands full with him,” was the understandable reaction. Nonetheless, the foster was determined, and the shelter tested Joel with some of the shelter cats to see if it would be possible for her to have him with her two cats.
When she came to pick him up, the foster director again emphasized her concerns. “I needed reinforcements to catch him from the yard. He hid the entire time behind the bushes.”
The foster was not deterred. I got Joel out of the kennel, talking to him gently until he stopped spinning in nervous circles on his bed and let me put the slip lead on him. He plunged straight ahead down the gauntlet of barking dogs and I took him into the play yard to give him a bath.
When I picked him up and plonked him in the bath he calmed down a little. He stayed calm through his bath but leaned heavily on the wall of the tub. When he was clean and dry, we drove him to his foster home. He sat between my legs in the front seat, since the crate and supplies that Animal Services had given us took up the entire backseat and trunk of her car. He was very calm, sitting there between my knees and making my feet go numb under his weight.
Once Joel was settled in his room with the foster’s cats in another room, I left them alone. Over the course of the next three or four days, she gradually introduced Joel to her cats, and watched him blossom.
He became playful and goofy, and was excellent about communicating with the cats. He backs right off when he is swatted at, but clearly understands play gestures and offers lots of play signals along with giving them space when they want it.
Joel still had a ways to go before he was the self-confident, happy dog that he deserved to be. He was still worried that something bad might happen, or that someone would be mean to him, at any second. That said, it is astounding how far he came in only a few days. It just goes to show that sometimes all that a shelter dog really needs is to go home with someone who will show him love and take some time.
Temporary Foster 3/7/19
Joel stayed with me for a week while his foster was on vacation. He did well with my three small dogs, although he wanted to play so badly he annoyed them sometimes. He spent the day mostly crated and went for leash walks and had loose playtime in the house and yard twice a day.
He was quiet and well behaved in his crate unless another dog was staring at him, in which case he barked and play bowed. A barrier between him and the other dog solved the problem immediately.
Joel had been walking well on the leash unless he was overstimulated, in which case he still tried to bolt. He would respond to recalls when in this state about 20% of the time. I took him to the Farmer’s Market and he relaxed a bit around the other dogs. He met lots of dogs nicely, and enjoyed hanging out at the booth with Jon Wedemeyer, of North Florida K9 Behavior Center.
Joel sat on my lap most of the time. He greeted lots of dogs nicely and even sniffed some people willingly. He had several people interested in adopting him as well.
Meeting Maggie and Trip to the Farmer’s Market 3/9/19
Joel, his foster, me, and sweet Maggie, who was at ACAS at the time, took a trip to the Haile Farmer’s Market. Joel had a blast playing with Maggie in my yard. They got along immediately and were playing non-stop until we took them to the market.
Maggie is the picture of confident and out-going, and she did a great job reassuring Joel and drawing him out. He takes lots of confidence from other dogs in general, and Maggie really did a lot to make him feel happy about new experiences and people.
Joel loved meeting all of the dogs at the Farmer’s Market, and he was even happy to meet some people. He wa much less shy about meeting new people when there were plenty of dogs around.
Joel was wonderful with kids. He was more likely to stay still and accept petting from children than grown-ups, and kids are drawn to him. He was a very good boy, and had a wonderful time.
Adopted April 2019
Joel’s foster mom did an amazing job advertising for him on social media, and finally, the perfect new mom came forward. He’s a spoiled only child, but his new mom’s friends have cats and dogs for him to play with all the time.
It was hard for Joel’s foster mom to say goodbye, but it was wonderful for both of us to see him find such a wonderful new home.