When I first brought Ziggy home, I knew right away that he was a challenge. In fact, about a week after I brought him home, I made arrangements with a local shelter expert to temperament test him. I was sure he would fail, and we planned to have him euthanized at that point. I had never euthanized a foster dog before, but I thought Ziggy would be the exception. It made me really sad, but he was pushy and aggressive with not only his sister, but also the two adult dogs in the house (Remi and Noelle). What kind of four-month-old puppy takes on a Great Dane and an adult pit bull with no regard for his own safety? I knew with that kind of behavior, I could not keep him safely at my house. So the evaluation was scheduled, and I tried hard to not get any more attached to the silly dog than I already was.
Then Ziggy got sick. He had Parvo, and what a tough decision that was. Do we spend the money to treat this dog who is being evaluated to be euthanized? Is it fair to our donors who gave us their donations, or is it being wasteful? But is it fair to Ziggy to just euthanize him instead of treating him? What if his aggressive behavior with the other dogs was because he wasn't feeling well? I had my doubts, but my rescue group didn't - they said let's treat him and hope for the best. So we did. And he recovered, and his behavior did change! He could still be pushy, but he was at least manageable. He learned to get along with not only Remi and Noelle but also all of the other foster dogs and even the cats. And so life with Ziggy began.
It's been a roller coaster since then. Ziggy never fails to amuse me. He is silly and rambunctious and incorrigible. He is the most food-motivated dog I have ever met. He is also the smartest dog I have ever met. He is stubborn and yet easily distracted. He is independent and has no desire to cuddle with anyone. He doesn't particularly enjoy being petted. He ignores trees and fire hydrants but loves to sniff storm drains. He is just goofy, all of the time. Life with Ziggy is always amusing, but it is not always easy. He can be pushy with the other dogs. He guards his crate and his food and even the water bowl and will scare the other dogs away with just a lifted lip and a low growl. I have to be on constant alert and can't leave him unattended. In addition to the potential for a dog fight, he can't be unattended around children because he is too mouthy. I still end up with bruises on a regular basis from Ziggy deciding to get my attention by jumping up and grabbing my arm in his mouth. He is not aggressive with people, just mouthy when he wants to play or when he is frustrated. I've been trying to train him to stop that from the time I got him, but in spite of his intelligence, we have had limited improvement in that area.
So now we're talking about a dog that can't go to a home with children, can't go to a home with a dominant dog, can't go to a home with a small dog, and has to have someone who is very experienced to handle him and is able and willing to work a lot with him. In addition they have to not be afraid of pit bulls, not live in a city that has breed bans, not have one of several insurance companies that have breed bans, and be willing to deal with the extra work that a deaf dog like Ziggy requires. Oh, and they have to accept that Ziggy is not at all a typical pit bull. He has loyalty only to anyone who has food in their hand, and he doesn't like to cuddle. He is so not a typical pit bull. And lately he's developed some more pushy behavior with people. He's still Ziggy - he's the same goofy dog I've been writing about for the past year and a half. But his behavior continues to get worse instead of better, and I have been unable to change that.
|Ziggy prepares for boot camp|
I'm going to be setting up a chip-in fund to help pay for Ziggy's rehab. There's no guarantee it will help, but I have to try. If you can donate a dollar or two to help pay his way through rehab, that would be greatly appreciated. I'm going to ask if they'll work on treating his drinking problem while he is there.