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Rescued Animal of the Month: January 2016:

Each month we will feature a rescued animal success story.

Buttons' Story:

On July 4, 2013, we received a call from NASAP advising us they had a Shiz Tzu coming into care but there were no foster homes available and would we be interested in bypassing the adoption process and taking this dog in. Without thinking, I said yes. When I got off the phone, my husband asked me what color was the dog? I said I didn’t know. All I knew was that he was 4 and had some trauma we needed to work through with him. Two days later, sight unseen, Buttons was brought to our home. Buttons is our gift from heaven. I maintain that Berkeley had a paw in bringing Buttons to our home.

We are the third guardian. What we know of his journey is that he lived penned in a basement with a Pomeranian from the time he was a puppy. Buttons suffered trauma and abuse at the hands of humans and was frequently pushed/thrown down the stairs. Buttons was rescued by an elderly couple but after 3 years with them, they were unable to keep working with him due to their own failing health. Buttons came to us a completely shut-down dog. He did not know how to use stairs, either going up or down. He shook uncontrollably and was fearful of humans.

Buttons has been with us for almost three years now. In that time, he has learned trust with his paw-parents. Buttons no longer cowers under the dining room table and shakes when visitors come to the house and on occasion, you might even get a sniff from him! Buttons has started to engage in play and we always know when that will happen as he goes into a room and starts to bark. After about a minute or so of barking (assuming no one comes to check) he comes burning out of the room, flying down the hallway, around the furniture, tags his brother Bandit (our other rescue) and proceeds this game until someone chases him - furry friend or human - it doesn't matter to Buttons.

Buttons has also learned to use the stairs! There are still times where he wants to be carried up and down but he has become quite adept at navigating so long as there are no obstacles at the bottom or clutter on the steps. Buttons has gone from a 23 pound double chinned boy to a svelte 15 pounds. Over time we slowly took him off the diet of Caesar and marrow bones and switched him to Acana Wild Prairie and put him on Core Grain Free Beef and Bison. Only healthy snacks are allowed and in moderation.

The confidence he has gained through his weight loss, his overcoming his fear of the stairs and being encouraged, loved and supported has made all the difference. With the right amount of patience and understanding, any dog can learn to unpack their old life.

We believe in never pushing an animal outside of their comfort zone, but that takes incredible patience and dedication on the part of the guardian.

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