This is our newest arrival, Ella, who came from Shreveport on Friday evening. She completes our four-pack from Louisiana for the month of February! As you can see, she's missing the front leg we had to have amputated before she could travel to us. Ella is a beautiful, sweet girl but is very scared -- Rebecca with the rescue group in Shreveport had told us she seemed very fearful of people. Sometimes she will let us get close to her, other times she runs from us; even when she lets us get close, she has her tail tucked all the way underneath her, while it quivers in a kind of I'm-not-sure-about-this" greeting. She is not aggressive in any way -- not with us, the other dogs, over food, etc. She does great with the other dogs, in fact.
But last night she wouldn't let us get near her, and it took about 15 minutes while we herded her around the outside of the house before Alayne could finally get close enough to take her by the collar. She is not leash trained, either, so that adds to the challenge. Yesterday she'd come up to the front and back doors of the house, but whenever we'd open the door, she'd take off. It was obvious she wanted to be inside but didn't trust us yet. This morning, after we let her out of the cottage, she wouldn't come anywhere near the house, and we finally had to herd her towards the back fence until we got her in a corner where we could put a leash on her.
Ella clearly had bad experiences with humans, and we have a lot of ground to overcome.
Once we got her back in the house this morning, she ended up lying down near Gabe ... so I started scratching and petting him so she could watch Gabe melt into me. He just loves being made over, and he presses his head into my chest and rubs and rubs against me. The more Ella sees this kind of response, the more she will realize, "Hmm, maybe these human creatures aren't so bad after all."
The first two dogs Alayne and I adopted after we got married in the mid-1990's -- Dolly and Dillon, who have since passed away -- were both considered "unadoptable" by the shelter that had them because they had been abused as puppies and were absolutely terrified of people. Compared to them, Ella is a social butterfly, and I suspect we will have her turned around before too long.
So although she's missing a leg, I'd have to say her real disability right now is in her head and it's called "distrust." The cure for that is time, love and patience.
Widget is doing wonderfully -- back to being the ranch boss!
Please vote for the ranch in the Shelter Challenge -- and you can vote every day! We're currently in third place, putting us on track to win $3,000 for the animals. Enter "Rolling Dog Ranch" and our state postal code, MT, for Montana, and it will bring up our listing.Vote in the Shelter Challenge here.
Last year we won $3,000 in the first round and then won the $20,000 Grand Prize in the second round, so your votes really do add up and make for a wonderful gift for the animals here.