Virgina/DC/Maryland Foster Needed Immediately - Please Help!
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  • Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I have a situation that warrants immediate attention. I'll do my best to explain the situation and then I will deliver my plea for help.

    My name is Jason Newton. I am the current owner of a nearly 9yo pure bred basenji. I adopted "Tucker" from a basenji rescue organization about 5 years ago. Tucker has bitten several people, but does not fit the characteristics of an 'aggressive dog'. And, yes, I am biased because I love this dog and want to do everything I can to keep him in our home and safe. Tucker is a dog that will only bite if he is approached in fear or by a stranger without proper introduction. If ignored, he does not act aggressively at all. My wife and I chose to muzzle him about a year ago because we have an older woman who lives with us and constantly messes with the dogs because she is a drunk. Since being muzzled, we have had no incidents, but prior, he had bitten this older woman. The majorty of the bites have been minor, but a few have drawn blood. Fortunately, he has also never been reported to any authority for biting or I might have already lost him.

    It is a difficult reaction to explain as I never know if someone will warrant Tucker to lash out or not. I think Tucker is a resource guarder and I am his primary resource. He also exhibits this behavior in the home, as I think the home and my wife are his secondary resource and he guards them as well. Most of our family can come and visit with no incidents, he simply has to be ignored. While ignored, he sniffs and explores and will sit down almost right on top of anyone and does not exhibit any bad behavior. But if you pet him or try to move him off of you, he might get snarky.

    My wife and I had a child just 11 days ago. While Tucker ignores the child, presently, we fear that when the child becomes mobile and curious, there may be problems. Tail pulling, reaching and grabbing… We're simply not sure how Tucker would react and are fearful of the consequences should we give it a shot and find out the hard way. Additionally, while we have areas of the house gated for separation of dog and baby, we are not trusting enough in Tucker to allow him to go near the baby unattended - if at all. I sit on the couch with the baby now and Tucker lies next to me and completely ignores the baby. But it's that one time a basinette is toppled or he is on the floor in the carseat after being out that we fear. We simply can't be everywhere all the time.

    Tucker was abused in his past. His tail has been torn off - he only has about 5" of is tail left. I was home number 6 for Tucker and I committed to providing him with his forever home. I was unmarried and childless at the time. At that point in time I had no idea that 5 years later I would be married and have a child.

    Some of you may have seen us at a few of the meetups as we have attended 2 or 3 of them. One was at Cameron Station and the other was at Ft. Ethan Allen I think, on Old Glebe Rd. He seems to do fine in the dog park around other dogs.

    Given our present living situation, we simply cannot have the dog in the house with us. We are presently building a new home and are in the permit phase as I write this. We have a contract, plans, etc. The county estimates about 6 more weeks for the permitting process. The construction schedule is 6 months beyond that. We are planning a secure dog room in our house as well as a dog run in our backyard in an effort to provide peace of mind and a means in which we can rest easy with both the dog and baby in the same house. We really want to keep the dog, but cannot at this point in time.

    We are seeking the right person to foster Tucker for approximately 8 months. I do not know if this is even possible, but my heart fingers are crossed that it is. Once the new home is completed, we will reintegrate Tucker into our new home.

    There are a few more things that need to be made clear. Tucker wears a muzzle in our home 24/7, except when I am home alone or he is eating. He wears a basket muzzle that allows him to drink, yawn, etc. He also suffered a lens luxation a little over a year ago and is currently taking eye drops 3 times to manage this condition. Other than that, he is a healthy dog and has a couple years left on his 3 year rabies vaccination. He is also neutered. I have been told by the rescue organizations that if they take him back and he does not pass the temperment exam, he'll not be rehomed and will be put down. This is not an option for me.

    The only other option I have found is a 'takes all dogs' sanctuary in Texas. They will take tucker, but I will never see him again and this I cannot bear to swallow. As fellow basenji owners, I'm sure most of you know what it feels like to know your dogs life is at risk. It is a terrible place to be.

    And, for the record, I have seen two behaviorists, one class trainer and one one-on-one trainer in efforts to rehabilitate Tucker, but all failed due to differing situations where one moment my wife tells me to get rid of the dog (like this) and then we're going to 'try again and see how it goes'. With the baby, he has to be out of the house until we can accommodate him in about 8 months. I have contacted every shelter and sanctuary in Va. All local sanctuaries are full and are not taking in additional dogs. I am avoiding the shelters because I think that, regardless of no kill or not, that Tucker might meet his end there. I simply want Tucker to be able to live out his full life and be happy (with me) in doing so.

    I am reaching out to all of you in the hopes that I can find a foster for this time period or someone who might want to foster AND work with Tucker - for around 8 months. I realize this is a rather large request but I still have high hopes that networking and the community might hear my please and respond positively. Tucker will require patience and distance for a period of time to adjust.

    My intent is to fully support Tucker while in foster care. Any financial or medical issues will be taken care of by me. I will also be more than willing to provide food, bedding, muzzles, leashes - anything he needs to be comfortable in foster care. I will provide the medications and the cost to cover any medications. I will provide the heartworm prescriptions and fleat/tick applications as necessary. I can even take him to the vet assuming the foster is within reasonable driving distance. I have an insurance policy with VPI and would prefer to not have to discontinue this policy - so the responsibility for vet visits and medications will be fully borne by me.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Jason Newton
    (703) 867-8708 (m)

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  • I think in all fairness, you should include the link to your post that was made after his second behavioral evaluation, http://www.basenjiforums.com/showthread.php?8816-Need-Home-for-Basenji

    The behaviorists did not "fail" to rehabilitate him, they gave a recommendation you were unwilling to live with.

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  • Nor did I say the behaviorist failed.

    What I said was, "And, for the record, I have seen two behaviorists, one class trainer and one one-on-one trainer in efforts to rehabilitate Tucker, but all failed due to differing situations where one moment my wife tells me to get rid of the dog (like this) and then we're going to 'try again and see how it goes'."

    It's simply how you read it - defensively or like I meant it. And just so I'm more clear, I meant that the training failed because differing situations caused stops and starts and irregularities in the training. Therefore, I failed because life got the better of me. Behaviorists aren't normally known for rehabilitation, they are known to assess and provide recommendations and, in some cases, medication.

    And you are correct. I am unwilling to have Tucker put down.

    I would also include the link where the rescue organization that allowed me to adopt Tucker listed that Tucker did not bite, but that page doesn't exist anymore.

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  • If you know the link location you may be able to pull it up using the Way Back Machine but you need to know the link.

    But the link from the rescue organization does nothing for the person you are asking to take in a dog that 2 behaviorists recommended be euthanized or at the very least have NO environmental changes, it is really critical information. He has been evaluated as a dangerous dog and while it is not right that the bite information was not disclosed prior to placement it does not effect his current status as a known biter.

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    I think what you're trying to do for Tucker is very noble. I hope you can find someone who is able to help.

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  • I understand you love Tucker and have been trying very hard to make things work but by other posts you have made, like "He shivers all the time," you are managing the outward behavior but not addressing the mental anguish of this dog. The shivering is a sign of the stress, fear and anxiety this dog is living with 24/7. Now, you are asking for someone to take in this dog and put their household in jeopardy of a severe bite if management fails. You may want to consult a lawyer about what your legal liability is if he bites while being "fostered" for you and consider what that might mean for your family.

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  • I did talk to a lawyer and have one in the family. In their experience, anyone who gets bitten typically will sue their way all the way up the food chain…including the foster or new home, me and my family and the rescue organization that adopted out a known biter. The family that gave Tucker to the rescue I got him from actually gave him up because of exactly the same thing - he started biting them and other people just prior to having a baby.

    Tucker has never been reported, which is a good thing. Me knowing he is a biter, well, that's another thing. A risk I have accepted for 5 years. I am sad that the risks have escalated now, with the addition of a family member, to a point where they are over my head.

    I think I may have found a solution today. I found another dog lover like myself who may be willing to take him. His brother actually runs the sanctuary that I was intent to send Tucker to about a year ago when it became a reality that, in the end, I would have to part with him. He has 3 of his own and the three he has aren't his first B's. Like me, he is willing to do anything it takes to save a dogs life, and he's been a part of the saga for over a year and knows pretty much what I know about Tucker. The sanctuary is for end of the line dogs, mostly dogs that bite and have no other recourse aside from euthanasia. The people involved know what is going on - and I would fully disclose all of Tucker's quirks to anyone who was willing to help out. And the person I am speaking with will most likely take Tucker permanently to avert any subsequent re-homing, and his lifestyle is condusive to this option.

    As for the shivering, I'm not sure how far back you are researching my threads, but that ended quite some time ago. Tucker is happy where he is, muzzled or not. And just so you have your facts correct, only one behaviorist recommended euthanizing him.

    I am glad that everyone is not as negative as you seem to be.

    While you may think he is living a cruel and fear filled life, you have to be in my shoes to accurately understand the situation.

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  • I am sorry that you find me so negative but I am trying to make sure that you and anyone who may choose to help you with Tucker understand the seriousness of the situation. Tucker may never have been reported for his bites and you make think that lessens your liability but you have posted publicly about multiple bite issues and his evaluation status by 2 behaviorists that concur that he has serious aggression issues so though he has not been reported, you are aware that he poses a bite risk and that information is public.

    If there is someone who is willing to take on this risk and has the means to manage him then I am glad you have found that for Tucker. I sincerely hope nothing bad happens and I don't feel bad for pointing people to the other thread or pointing out that there is alot to consider when it comes to a known biter, reported to the authorities or not.

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    Lisa is right. Passing on a biting dog is a legal nightmare. Someone has to make a hard decision to give the dog and "future' owners peace.

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  • The biting dog was passed along to me by BRAT.

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  • Jason, I just sent you a PM…. and on a happy note, CONGRATULATIONS on your little baby! Boy or Girl? :)

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  • @Patty:

    Jason, I just sent you a PM…. and on a happy note, CONGRATULATIONS on your little baby! Boy or Girl? :)

    It's a boy. We call him "Ren". His name is Russell Edward Newton. :)

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  • First Basenji's

    First, Congrats to you Jason and your wife as you begin your life with Ren. So, I am reading along, and it stops after your comment on Tucker from BRAT. What has happened to Tucker? I just hope the best for you and him so he stays with such a concerned owner. You are doing the best you can from what you have said. Waiting for an update….!

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  • I have some things in the works. I'll keep you posted.

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  • Tucker has been in his new home for nearly a month now. He was adjusted from day one. He is very happy and is getting along with his new poppa, the housekeeper and all three other Basenji's. It's almost like he's a new dog. I'm very sad that I had to part with him but I am very happy that he is happy. I can only conclude that the lifestyle that my wife and I led along with the ever changing variables and instability made him the dog he was when he was with us. Tucker was not a dog to wag his tail…he did sometimes, but very seldom and it was a half effort at bestr - but I always thought it was because it was broken off by some _ _ _ _ _ _ _ in his past. He licked my hands, but never my face. He does both of those things in his new NC mountain home.

    His new daddy has 20 years of Basenji experience and is very loving and attentive to his dogs as he also now is with Tucker. He works from home so he has plenty of time to spend with the dogs and plenty of time for walks every 3 or 4 hours in the mountains (he takes the dogs out a LOT!).

    It's no wonder why Tucker is so happy in his new home.

    Just wanted to fill you all in since the transfer was a raging success.

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    Happy to hear the news! Some dogs just do not get along in some households. I took in an older puppy that did not work out in his previous home. He was not adjusting well to my home either and after several months went to another home and it worked out great. My home was just too busy with the other dogs. I believe he was getting overstimulated at my home and needed a more quiet home where he could get more one on one individual time.

    Jennifer

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  • Great to hear

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  • Very happy to hear this. I have been following your Tucker situation since before I joined the forum. And I totally agree not all homes are right for all dogs, no matter how good the home and people sometimes it just doesn't fit. Glad you found the right place for Tucker. :)

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  • Love ins't always enough to fix a bad situation. I too have followed your love for and trials with Tucker, and though you miss him, it must be wonderful to know he is happy now. I'm sure he loved you too, but the situation was just not good for him. Congratulations, and thanks for the update. Enjoy that new baby!

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  • Just as an example of the situation Tucker was living in… The unstable woman that lives with us (and has for over 2 years now) got drunk (again) last night - REALLY drunk. Was stuffing kibble through the screen door of our other dogs crate last night. After I caught her, I told her to stop it and that she knows she's not supposed to do that. I left the room and watched from afar as she struggled to get back on her feet and paused to pee on our kitchen floor while she was squatting to get up. She failed to stand, so she then CRAWLED to her room and spent (no joke) 45 minutes trying to climb off the floor and into her bed. My wife moved the baby camera out of the baby's room and into this woman's room to keep an eye on her. I watched her crawl halfway onto the bed and then slide back to the floor at least 4 times before I got bored and stopped watching. The entire time she was shouting "God! I haven't done anything to deserve to go to HELL!" She never made it into bed and my wife came home an hour or so after that and finally managed to get her into bed.

    All I can say is that I'm very excited we'll be moving out of this situation in about 6 months. I just hope the baby doesn't absorb any of this crap behavior. Fortunately, we're on one side of the kitchen and she's on the other so she really never crosses the kitchen into our part of the house...

    It's difficult to explain the entire situation, so I won't bother to do so here. There are just too many variables to put it together into an intelligible story.

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  • Hi Jason

    I was around way back when you first got Tucker. I'm so very happy to hear that you are all going to better environments. And congrats on your new baby!! I've since had 3 myself ;O) Good luck to you!

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