This is Felicia.
She is a black lab/border collie mix, about 13 months old now.
I adopted this little lady from the Humane Association’s animal shelter…
When I first met her, all she could do was cower. Once she got through that, she became a bit aggressive, mostly from severe anxiety disorder.
Felicia has made good progress: During her first month in my home, she was afraid of everything: An unexpected noise, furniture, the kitchen garbage can… Now she is much more relaxed in that regard.
She still has a number of challenges: Separation and stranger anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, problems with aggression. Her rehabilitation plan includes medication, behavior management, calming coats, essential oils, a lot of patience and love. When she is behaving, Felicia is a nice little dog. I say she’s like “the little girl who had a curl right in the middle of her forehead…”
When Felicia was still at the shelter, I was told that she was brought in by people who simply didn’t do anything with her siblings and her, so they are timid. Hmmmmm, I don’t know that I buy the story. Felicia cowers at any hand movement that could look like she might be hit. She also freaks out if I try to dry her off with a towel and she is very protective of her hind quarters.
As for the separation anxiety, it turns out that shelter dogs often have this problem. It makes sense: Imagine that you are relaxing at home; then one day, you are taken to a strange place and put into a cage. Nothing is familiar; no one comes back for you.
If I had known then what I do now, I’m not sure I would have adopted this little dynamo. She truly is a handful. It is something to consider when getting acquainted with a shelter dog.
Now that Felicia has been here for almost six months and I know her, I’m glad to keep her and do the work it takes for her to be well. I really want Felicia to succeed. None of the alternatives are all right with me: Take her back to the shelter? No. She would be destroyed by that. Euthanize her? No. She has too much promise for that… Besides, now that she has found a place in my heart, I would miss her.
I have been told that it takes several months to rehabilitate an animal that has been abandoned or abused. I get encouragement from this: There is hope for Felicia.