Jackson puts the “T” in Terrier

It’s funny how the saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” applies to so many things in life, including the animals at the Dumb Friends League. And, for one 7-year-old pup, the adage fits him to a T, and that would be the “T” in Terrier.

After Jackson and his four-legged brother’s human mom passed away, his dad’s health started to deteriorate, and while he clearly loved his pups, it was becoming increasingly difficult to care for them. Both pups were reluctantly relinquished to the League when his human was moving to an assisted facility that did not allow pets, and no family members or friends were able to help. We learned that Jackson loved to play fetch and did not like fireworks, which isn’t unusual with animals. Jackson used a doggie door to get in and out—and this comes up later in the story about judging a book by its cover—so he didn’t really signal when he had to go out nor did he use a leash because his owner had difficulty walking. Jackson was more of a free-range pup in the sense he came and went as he wanted/needed but only in his fenced yard.

When Jackson came to the League, our staff noted he was friendly and exhibited signs of social behaviors, sought attention and allowed all handling, but he also showed signs of fear. It was determined that Jackson would benefit from participating in the League’s Canine Courage program, which uses positive reinforcement training to help dogs overcome challenges such as overstimulation, fear, body handling issues or frustration. Jackson was scheduled for three sessions with a note of “OK to extend out if needed,” and Jackson decided to take them up on adding a few more sessions to the program. No need to rush this pup! On any given day, Jackson’s program notes indicated he “does not walk on a leash,” “struggled with leash walking” and “reluctant to walk on a leash.” You get the point. But, can you really blame Jackson when he was never taught how to walk on a leash properly? Our staff believed that Jackson would make significant progress in a short time once leash walking was introduced on a regular basis. And, even though the pup was hesitant and did not have perfect leash manners, he always remained a calm gentleman.

Once Jackson was ready to find a new family, our team determined his dream home would be one with lots of love, on the peaceful side and with no children under the age of 6.

Enter Alyssa and Caden.

The couple saw Jackson on the League’s website and fell in love with his photo. “I’ll be honest and say that I was mildly hesitant after hearing and seeing that he was unable to walk on a leash and that there was a likelihood that he would need to be potty trained because he had only ever used a doggy door with his previous owner, and that he was overall a pretty anxious guy,” said Alyssa. “But my fiancé knew that this precious guy was meant to be a part of our family and still wanted to move ahead with meeting Jackson.”

Alyssa recalled that when they first met Jackson, he was nervous and shook with apprehension. “After a few minutes with him, I crawled onto the floor, and he immediately climbed into my lap (still trembling, but seemingly happier to be near someone),” said Alyssa. “This was the moment I knew he was going to be the newest member of our family.”

Caden and Alyssa brought their other dog, 13-year-old Egor, to meet Jackson so that they could see how the two pups interacted and finalize the process so Jackson could join his new family. Initially, Jackson was, how shall we say, a bit tentative in the socialization process, freezing and refusing to walk on his leash, but with some positive reinforcement and patience, paw by paw, Jackson moved forward toward his new family and life. Once he was comfortable, Jackson was excited to follow Egor around.

“Jackson was nervous but brave during his first few days in our home, and he settled in quickly to our routines and lifestyle,” said Alyssa. “Each day, Jackson does something new to show us he is settling in comfortably, and it makes us so happy to have found this guy.”

So, remember the not judging a book by its cover comment? Turns out that Jackson is quite the proficient leash walker, and Alyssa said that Jackson is excited to discover what’s next on the trails with her and Caden. It’s not particularly surprising to hear that Jackson loves going to the park to play fetch–because, really, who doesn’t? Although, Alyssa suspects that the park is a new experience for the pup based on his previous home situation.

What about the unrestricted use of the doggie door for his bathroom business? Alyssa is happy to report that Jackson is doing very well in that department, and while he had a few accidents inside during his first few days home, once his nerves subsided, he’s done well on his newly-created schedule. Go, Jackson!

“Jackson is the perfect blend of adventure pup and sleepy pup, which is exactly what we had hoped for when we began looking for a new dog,” said Alyssa.

Had Alyssa and Caden—and, we can’t forget to include Egor—judged a book by its cover … err … a pup by its current behavior and not been receptive to seeing Jackson’s potential, the dog who was a bit anxious and reluctant to walk on a leash would not have made their family complete. “I’d like to thank the League for all you do. Your facility is impressively clean, and your staff and volunteers are incredibly helpful and kind. Without your hard work and caring team, we wouldn’t have found this special little guy, so from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much.”