Oh my gosh-I can’t even believe everything that Kevin has been through! There have been many tears shed by Chain of Hope volunteers over Kevin. He has been quite the dog to rehabilitate. The GREAT news is that Kevin was just transported and transferred to Recycled Rotts in Illinois, a great rescue group who have stepped up for Kevin. What an answer to many prayers for this boy!
We first came across Kevin, who used to be called Diego, probably 1 1/2 yrs. ago. We spotted him chained up under a deck in midtown. He was very skinny and was pretty growly at us. He was a pretty unhappy boy, deservingly so by the conditions he was kept in. We put Diego on our monitoring list. We got him on a collar and tie-out cable. We hung fly bags to help him with the fly situation. We put ear gel on his ears to repel the flies. We spoke with the owner about his care, I brought him in for neuter and vaccinations. The owners began stepping up and Diego began putting weight on. He started having clean water when we went. We struggled with the owners to clean up the feces because that was pretty bad and the flies were awful in the summer. Diego began accepting us and quit growling at us every time we came. We were careful with him, he was a little unpredictable, but he was recognizing us as bringing good tidings! We continued monitoring this situation.
One day we pulled up and Diego was tied up in the corner of the yard, his doghouse was moved and it had fallen off of the driveway and was laying on it’s side. He was thinner than usual. Chained up under the deck where Diego used to be was another Rottweiler! We asked the owner about him and she said he was a stray, so she tied him up and was feeding him. I think she had good intentions, but was totally not equipped to take care of one dog, let alone two. We continued monitoring and both dogs were getting thinner and thinner. We finally talked the owner into letting animal control come and get the one that had been a stray. She clearly could not take care of it. It was cruel to tie these guys up and then not feed them properly. We were back to just Diego over there now. We moved him back over under the deck and continued to visit him. This is what Chain of Hope does. We are incredibly busy, but we do not forget about these dogs out there. We continue to make sure that they are cared for. It’s incredibly time-consuming, but we’ve saved many dogs by staying involved long past the spay/neuter surgery or whatever. It was clear that Diego was quickly falling through the cracks.
Finally, we were able to make Diego a Chain of Hope dog! We renamed him Kevin. We always rename these dogs-they have to lose everything about their past life! Kevin went out to our boarding facility, as we began contacting rottie rescues. They did not have space for Kevin at that time. About a week later, we were able to transfer Kevin to Wayside Waifs. He spent a few days out there, but then I got the call to come back and get him. His food aggression was pretty bad and he failed his dog-to-dog test as well. They didn’t feel that they could adopt him out like that, so I picked up Kevin and returned him to the boarding facility . Then, poor Kevin became very ill. He went through a bout of the horrible respiratory stuff and he also battled through the diarrhea, stomach stuff. This boy would not eat, he was totally lethargic. He laid with his head in Barb’s lap as she and the other volunteers tried to nurse him back to health. It was a long struggle, but Kevin finally turned the corner, health-wise.
It quickly became evident that Kevin had some issues to work through. He was pretty much out of control. Walking him was a nightmare, he was jumpy and would leap up on us and try to bite us. It was like he got in a zone and was so ramped up, he couldn’t control himself. Volunteers were reluctant to walk him. He was very food aggressive with staff when they would go to put his food into his bowl.
We had a trainer evaluate Kevin and it was videotaped. I sent the video to rottie rescue and they thought that his issues were workable. However, they still didn’t have any space for him. They told me that they would put him on their list and they would let us know.
In the meantime, I was getting so many concerns about Kevin from volunteers that were dog walking at the boarding facility, that I had to tell everyone that no volunteers could walk Kevin until I got out there and evaluated him. This place does have big, outdoor runs, so at least he was getting outside and getting some exercise. Everyone was very worried about Kevin and I think most people thought that Kevin was not going to be able to adjust and get into a forever home.
I took a morning and went out to visit Kevin. My heart was heavy because I had had so many reports of his aggression and I knew that we could not keep an aggressive dog in our program. Kevin would only be taking a Chain of Hope spot that we could’ve probably moved several dogs and gotten them through our program in the time it was taking to give Kevin a chance. I was sad as I went out to see him that day because I knew I had to make a decision. I don’t take that lightly and it literally hurts my heart.
I went to get Kevin out of the kennel and the first thing I did was put a prong collar on him. It was like night and day! I use one on my own strong dog and it helps immeasurably. We walked to the play yard where I threw the balls and toys for Kevin. He had fun and ran around-I had very few problems with him. I then took him out for a walk. What I was seeing in Kevin was a great big, strong dog that was still really a puppy. He had grown up on a chain and totally missed his puppy hood. He was a wild child, but I felt like with discipline and positive reinforcement, Kevin could be alright. I could not justify putting this boy down. He did do the jumping and biting, etc., but I would immediately pull down with the prong and tell him “down”. I wanted to keep giving Kevin a chance-he deserved it.
It was then that Barbara, Tom and others stepped up once again for Kevin. They began getting him out and working with him again. Barbara spent hours and hours with this boy, teaching him, encouraging him, rewarding his good behavior. Things began to change in Kevin. He began learning and putting it all together and with the patience and love of Barbara, Tom and the others, Kevin began turning into the sweet, wonderful, dog that we knew he was. It took months and months, but we finally heard from rottie rescue-thanks to Barb Krimminger for not forgetting about him! They finally had an experienced foster home for Kevin! We were all so excited and happy for him. This boy had been through so much and he was finally making it into an excellent rottie rescue program called Recycled Rotts. Here is what Barb K. had to say about Kevin after he arrived from his transport: