Friday, August 10, 2012

A Day in the Life of Rogue

Meet Rogue! At six years old and a petite 17 pounds, Rogue is one of six shibas recently rescued by MSIR from a commercial breeder. Rogue came to us, her foster family, earlier this week. Over the next few posts, I would like to introduce you to Rogue and allow you to follow along as she begins her life outside the "puppy mill". In the short time that she has been with us, Rogue has been faced with many challenges, and there will surely be many more in the weeks to come. These challenges, however, will be lessons learned not only by Rogue, but also by all other commercial breeder foster families and adoptive homes out there. 

Commercial breeder releases often make for the most difficult fosters because their prior exposure to humans, if any, is usually very unpleasant. It quickly became apparent that Rogue had not spent much time outside of a kennel. Upon arriving at our home in Minnesota, Rogue choose to stay in her kennel for the majority of the first few days. Her time was spent napping and observing her foster siblings. She did not eat and did not allow any human touch. While we were anxious to let her roam and get to know her personality, we have learned that it is often easier on a mill rescue like Rogue to just simply watch for a while. This allowed Rogue to adjust to everything from the sound of the dishwasher to the movement of others and the smells of her new home. All of these things have caused Rogue some stress, but the improvement she makes each and every day is simply remarkable.

Rogue also struggled with eating early on. While this was partly due to anxiety, it was amplified by the fact that Rogue is missing several teeth. She is still not eating as much as we would like, but she nibbles on rice and some irresistible meats (bacon appears to be her favorite) every few hours. She is not trusting of humans, yet, so we've found the best success with feeding her in her a separate part of the house. This allows Rogue to eat without her shiba siblings watching her.

Of course, there have been additional challenges for Rogue these first few days in her foster home. There is no doubt this new life will take some getting used to, but watching her progress reminds us every day of why we rescue and foster these dogs. Despite her heartbreaking past, Rogue has a sweet temperament and is interested in EVERYTHING! There is simply no doubt she will make some lucky family very happy one day soon. Until that time comes, Rogue will continue to explore and uncover what life outside of the mill has to offer.

While we aren't sure what the weekend will bring for Rogue, tonight she is conquering the couch!