Friday, July 15, 2011
A friend of mine who volunteers at a dog shelter here told me they had an airedale come to the shelter, so of course I had to call and see if I could help. I was mainly interested in fostering him, but who knows, AJ says maybe we'll keep him if he's better behaved than Griz. Haha. So, his name is Fritz. He's part airedale, part something else with long straight black hair. They told us he's 9 months old, which is probably pretty close. I like to think I'm good at telling that sort of thing (duh because I'm a nerdy dog lady), but it's hard to tell how much of what I see is puppy, and how much is the other somethin' that's in him. They warned me that he is very nervous and shy and afraid of men. But they also said he loves to play with other dogs so we decided to try this out.
We (Griz and I) met Fritz at Petsmart first. Griz was fine with him, but could tell that Fritz is a little weird. Fritz had his tail between his legs, wouldn't look at me, tried to hide if a man walked by...I felt so bad. I walked the both of them around the store and they did alright. Once in a while Fritz would get nervous and try to lean into Griz, which bothered him a little.
We decided to see how he'd do in our home. The lady brought him over and after a few minutes Fritz had his tail wagging playing with Griz. That alone gave me so much hope. He doesn't mind Griz being bouncy and loud and obnoxious, he has total trust in Griz and follows him around. If I need Fritz to go down stairs or outside, Griz has to come too.
I can tell Fritz is just a sweet guy. He hasn't growled or barked. The only peep he has made from he cried yesterday morning when Griz left the living room and he was still in his crate. So Griz went back to hang out with his new friend. (awww...)
Now with us, he is warming up a little bit, but he's very nervous about everything we do. He prefers to be ignored, and to walk behind you all the time so you're never behind him. He's very curious and hangs out with me in the kitchen while I make dinner. As long as I don't reach out to him or open a cupboard in his face, he actually doesn't mind the noise or anything.
Fritz came to us pretty smelly. And his crate was smelly. I took the crate outside and washed it, and put lots of padding and blankets in it for him so he's got a safe place. Once I get him in there he immediately sits down and looks calm, and drinks a gallon of water. Then the scary bath. I took Griz in the bathroom with me, who just laid down and groaned and napped. Fritz was scared but I helped him into the tub. Amazingly his tail wasn't completely under his bum and he tolerated the bath. I think we bonded a little. I felt so bad feeling his skin and bones...He was very good and I like to think he feels better now.
Fritz is nervous around AJ, but not terrified like I was afraid he would be. When he thinks AJ isn't looking, he'll come up and sniff his feet and hands. AJ even laid down next to him and started inching closer and closer to Fritz and he was just fine. The lady who had him before us told us it took him 3 weeks before he came to her when she called him. I think we're doing pretty well so far.
Basically Fritz dashes away from us all day and once we all sit down and relax, the one time during the day that Fritz wags his tail is when he decides it's ok to wrestle with Griz. It makes us so happy to see him be confident for 5 minutes. What would be do without big goofy Griz? I had to get a video of the two of them, it's a rare occasion when Fritz acts this comfortable!
The good news is I know Fritz is curious. I can tell he is sweet and loving but probably just really afraid of letting people into his heart right now. I can't tell you how happy it made me to see his finally sit and lay down his first night after several hours of pacing, and even seeing him finally poop outside! He's been eating lots and lots of food and hopefully he'll gain some weight soon. More updates to come :)