Faith, Trust, & Foster Pups

Helping dogs on the road to forever, forever finding ourselves as we walk that road with them.

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Baby Boy Balton (and a quick update on Cora Beth!)

Not long after the joyful departure of Cora Beth from the Heun Homestead, we brought in our newest temporary house guest. BUT while we’re talking about her, a quick update from her adopter 🙂

Cora continues to progress.  In the mornings, she greets us, accepts a bit of petting, and wags her tail some.  When we come in the door at night, she comes trotting over along with Rosie.

We have resolved the barking-in-the-crate at bedtime issue:  she just wanted company!  So now when we crate her at night, we make sure Rosie stays in the room, too.  That has worked out well.

I have started click training her (although the click freaked her out, even in my pocket with my hand over it to muffle the sound – so I am using the click word “yes” instead of the actual click).  She quickly caught on to looking into my face in order to earn a treat.  It’s so cool to see her learn!  I still work with her by being on the same level as she is (floor or bed), though sometimes I can sit on a chair.  She is still too nervous to accept click training work if I am standing.  But given the progress she’s made in less than two weeks, I’m confident she will graduate to more advanced work.  I am just taking it slowly and working to build her confidence and trust.

Hooray happy endings!!!

So, onto new foster Balton. Allowing us to continue our run of Shepherds, Balton arrived to us the Wednesday after Labor Day. He has been with us just a smidge over 3 weeks. So, technically I guess he’s more like new-ish foster. He was hanging out at Wagtime, a wonderful Lucky Dog partner who graciously boards foster dogs that don’t actually have a foster home to go to. 

We had been made aware that there were some training issues he needed to work through, and it seemed he had become protective of his last foster. So Nick, Ollie and I went out there to meet Balton as a family unit, in a neutral setting, to make sure it was a good fit before we brought him home. Obviously, the meeting went fine, since he’s still hanging with us. He has earned a few nicknames: B-man, Balthazar, Michael Bolton, Balto-licious, Yoda (for his adorable ears), the list is a work in progress and continues to grow.

This poor young lad was found as a stray down in South Carolina, with an embedded collar. So, maybe Balton had a family before he came to Lucky Dog, but until the shelter staff at Florence County Humane Society picked him up, nursed him and his neck wound back to health, and sent him along to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, our best guess is he wasn’t all that well cared for in his once upon a time life. But that hasn’t dampened his spirits and enthusiasm for life. Balton is a goofball, and when he is in his element, you will find him trotting about the house, tail wagging in a circle, seeming to be without a care in the world. 

He loves to play with any toy he can get his hands on, thoroughly a enjoys a good romp, wrestle, or chase with his canine buddies, and when he is all tuckered out, loves to snuggle and be close to his people as he can be. And even though we weren’t his first foster family, Balton took to us rather quickly and after an evening of sniffing, exploring, and attempting to mark our couch. He found a way to worm his way into our hearts (while attempting to worm his way onto our laps). You often find him close by, and he likes to find a soft spot on the rug while I work at home. When Nick or I come home from being out and about, he is there at the door with a very enthusiastic “welcome back”. We’ve been working on trying to take the enthusiasm down a notch, since it can involve jumping or mouthing. But he’s getting there and starting to mind his manners, and although sometimes he forgets is size and plays too rough with Ollie (1/5 his size), he respects and loves his older foster brother, and listens quite well when Ollie tells him he’s had enough of playtime. 

But, like any good diamond, there is sometimes a little rough to muddle through. Balton, wonderfully loving and sweet as he is when he feels safe and secure at home, developed some pretty bad stranger danger somewhere down the road. We don’t really know how or when it happened in this young pup’s life, but our goal is to help him get past it. And this will need to be the goal of his forever family too. Fear of strangers is nothing new for us, but Balton handles his fear differently than our previous shy dog fosters. Our past fosters would deal with their fear by hiding behind us or a chair, under a car or table. Balton’s fear response is one of barking and lunging to tell people to back off. For a dog like Balton, his reactions are based in fear, but can be just as scary for people on the receiving end. 

We’ve been working with a trainer (Toni from Anytime K9), who has been tremendously helpful in giving us tools to learn how to help manage these interactions and improve Balton’s impulse control, so he can begin healing and his new family can know what to expect. In the time we’ve had him, he’s coming along nicely as he gets more comfortable at home. He still barks at the cats, but is more easily steered away and distracted from them with some treats and lots of praise. He has learned “sit”, “touch”, “focus”, “”down”, and “wait”. He sits and politely (though enthusiastically, and with a little bit of drool) waits for his dinner now. He is very food motivated, and we are using treats to show him that good things happen when strangers pass by. 

Because of his stranger danger, and because he is a strong dog, he will take a special family to be prepared to work with him and be a strong, loving leader committed to his continued success. And for now, he’s sitting out from adoption events (since for a dog, they tend to be stranger after stranger after stranger approaching, which can be super stressful for a pup like Balton). Our next big goal in helping B get adopted is getting him comfortable enough to go to events to meet his potential forever family. In the mean time, keep following his foster follies here and on Facebook, and if you or someone you know think you might be the right family for him, check out and share his bio.

Adopt me please, I’m quite a catch!