Clearly, Elsa was once a well behaved family pet. But something happened that caused her to be terrified of people.

Last Updated Oct 4, 2021


Elsa was picked up as a stray in a suburb of Knoxville TN. Elsa was transferred to C.A.R.E. in Jefferson City and Sigrid became Elsa’s sponsor. At this point, Elsa was described as terrified of people. She would back into a corner and try to melt into the floor if anyone approached her. She would not walk on a lead. If picked up she would void her bladder and bowels all over the person. But she tugged at Sigrid’s heart and Sigrid determined to save her.

Elsa was spayed on September 13, then transferred to Piney Mountain Foster Care for psych rehab. All of us expected it to be a long process.

Base Info

  • Arrival date: Sept 13, 2021
  • Breed: Schnauzer mix
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: Adult
  • Birthdate: Unknown
  • Weight: @ 35 pounds Sept 13
    ……….….. 48.2 pounds Oct 5
  • Spayed: Yes.
  • General Health: Excellent – a little skinny
  • Temperament: Timid, sweet, happy
  • SAFER Test performed: No – too scared at admittance
  • Departure date: Undetermined

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes, she loves other dogs
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Yes
  • Preferred style of play: She likes to run and will tussle a little but is not fond of rough play.
  • Is affectionate: Wants to be – is timid
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Probably
    . Cats: Unknown
  • Jumps up on people: No
  • Mouths: No
  • Walks well on a leash: Does very well in known areas, balky when going someplace new,

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters her crate: Yes, with bribe
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Yes, except if she needs to potty: whines.
  • Understands going outside to potty: Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: Yes – goes to door or whines and looks toward the doorway.
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No
  • Engages in kitchen counter cruising: Yes – must keep an eye on her
  • Stays off people furniture: Yes


Progress Updates

Monday Sept 13

Marie and I went to Jefferson City to meet Sigrid as the van returned with dogs and cats who’d been “fixed” that day. Elsa was still little bit loopy but the shelter staff managed to move her from their transport crate into mine and we loaded her into our truck. She traveled well.

At Piney Mountain, we moved her transport box inside the kennel building before opening it. I needed to remove the toggles and take the top of the transport box off to get Elsa out of it. She is very scared, but makes no attempt to bite as I handle her.

I gave her a bowl of kibble for dinner, but she didn’t eat it. Then I put a harness on her, to avoid injuring her neck, and attached leash. Getting her into the play yard to potty was a matter of interlacing my fingers under her chest, one leg on either side of her, and trundling her along with her front legs just off the ground and her hind legs digging in to resist. Once in the play yard I released her and sat down (to be less intimidating).

She did not potty – but because of the surgery she had not eaten or drunk anything all day, so that wasn’t surprising. I offered her treats to allow me to approach her, then try to get her to approach me. That worked well. Then I trundled her back into her box, removed her harness, and got her settled for the night.

Tuesday, Sept 14

Elsa seemed to have had a good night. She kept her room clean. She has not eaten yet (I left a dish of her kibble in with her overnight) but she did eat a beef stick and several of our peanut butter cookies as well as a few Bil-Jac treats before she went to bed, so she’s not starving.

Busy day today. I had a delivery to make and errands to run in the early morning, then kennel cleaning, then a veterinarian appointment in the afternoon. Kennel cleaning took longer than usual because I did some rearranging so I could get Elsa into the Pit Bull crate (more room in there in case we need to use some form of licking deterrent) but I could not have it sitting out in the middle of the floor. We went outside for a while before I put her in her new room. She was not happy with it until I put a heavy blanket over the top and back. She seems content now. And she did eat her kibbles while I was out on my errands this morning. I left her harness on while I went to run morning errands. When I got back I found she’s chewed the harness off. I tossed that one and got out another, I’ll just be sure to remove it when she’s left on her own.

After dinner play time yielded some interesting steps. Feeling that she’s cowed by my following her around at leash length and will not potty, I put her on a 12 foot lead this evening. That didn’t really help for I was still “following her”. So I sat down and let her circle.

We got to where when I called and held out my hand she would come over to me just close enough I could scratch her under her chin. I let her drag the lead while exploring the yard. She seemed fond of Maggie and hung out near her kennel for a while. Blondie Bear was also loose in the yard and the two of them walked together for a while.

She still didn’t potty. It’s not uncommon after spay surgery to be either loose or constipated. I gave her canned for dinner, I’ll give her another can for breakfast to make sure she doesn’t get plugged up.

We also looked at her incision tonight. It looks great. No indication she’s been licking.

Wednesday, Sept 15

After breakfast, Elsa went outside and into the play yard to say hello to each of her neighbors.

Elsa urinated copiously but produced nothing solid. After some wandering, she went over and sat beside the gate, seeming ready to go back to her room. Accomplishing that was not so smooth, but it was not traumatic either. Still skittish, but doing better.

Mid-morning: We have POOP! Large quantity, normal consistency but there are live worm segments present. This afternoon I’ll start a 3 day course of Fenbendazole (SafeGuard) that will take care of them. She just needed to get ALLL THE WAY across the yard from me to get past the modesty.

Thursday, Sept 16

While I was cleaning kennels Elsa was softly calling me, “I need to Goooooooooooo”. So I rushed getting Maggie back in her room and let Elsa out. She went straight to the gate and trotted across the yard to a spot she liked and defecated. She was much happier afterward.

Elsa is an exceptionally clever girl! At the 2:00 play time I went out and Luna was dancing around inside her bedroom, seemingly enthralled by something goin on inside the building. I peeked through the roll-up door windows and saw Elsa running loose inside.

She did no damage, only got into a trash can that had a coupe of empty dog food cans in it. I took her out in the yard and when I put her back I made triple-sure the door latch was down and locked. This evening I went out to check, and she was loose again! One would think she has some Border Collie in her! I’ve wired the latch, and will see if she’s still contained when I take her dinner out in a few minutes.

Friday, Sept 17

Just finished evening yard time for the dogs. Elsa is doing well with Go Walkies, where I hold onto the handle of her harness and keep her walking beside me. She destroyed the orange harness this morning and is using a grey one now. Better design: just one buckle to mess with so it’s easy on-off which is good because I take it off after each yard time. She also got quite chummy with Blondie Bear today.

Saturday, Sept 18

I moved Elsa’s room into the back of the building next to Pearl’s bedroom. Elsa seems to like being bunked in next to Pearl, she is calmer now between yard outings. It also seems to help if I leave a light on back there. Up front the garage door windows let in lots of light, back there it’s a bit dark. The yard run we just did went well. She didn’t do anything, but getting her to “walkies” out to the yard took almost no coercion at all and just a little to get her back inside. While outside she was snuggling up beside Maggie’s kennel and they were “conversing”. Twas quite sweet.

Sunday, Sept 19

As we walk back and forth between kennel and play yard I use a standard leash and she walks along beside me BEAUTIFULLY! Loose leash. She only get reluctant when we get into new territory (like going into the house for the first time).

She is quite bright, and so much wants to be included and loved. It’s just a matter of gently introducing her to new things, building on the trust we have formed.

We brought Elsa in the house this evening to see how she’d do, and she did beautifully. I took her back to her room for dinner. In the evening Marie was working with Blade and could hear Elsa crying because she’s lonely. I got a large wire crate out of storage and set it up in our bedroom (all the dogs sleep in there at night). We brought Elsa inside again just before we sat down to our dinner. She behaved exceptionally well: no begging. She snoozed in the den with me until bed time, went outside to potty then into her crate I set up for her.

She slept peacefully all night. Went out with the others to potty in the morning and ate breakfast in the kitchen with the other dogs, no issues at all. It looks like we have another house dog!

Monday, Sept 20

Clearly, Elsa has been a house dog before as she is doing wonderfully. The only issue we need to keep working on is getting her to walk on a leash and go willingly wherever I go. Right now she leash walks well if we’re going somewhere she’s familiar with, but new areas are met with heavy resistance. Once we have that conquered, Elsa will be ready to go home to Sigrid’s for final training and placement for adoption.

Saturday, Sept 25

Elsa has recovered from her surgery, is feeling fine, and has settled in here to the point she is getting playful with our other residents. She is especially fond of Josephine, our little Dachi-Beagle. Josie was intimidated at first because Elsa is so much bigger, but when she found Elsa to be careful not to hurt her, she joined into the play. And Callie Roo makes sure the play does not get out of hand.

We are almost to the point where I can let Elsa out into the yard to potty and play and she will come back when I call her. She will come to the point of peeking around the corner of the house, but if I’m in sight she will duck back and return to the yard. When I go after her, she evades me very little and will walk calmly with me back to the door by my loosely holding the handle on her harness.

Monday, Oct 4

Elsa is just about ready to go on to her new home. She will need some time to adjust after the move (she relies on routine and familiarity for comfort), but she has become a regular member of our family. She has started helping herself to any food I might leave momentarily unattended on the kitchen counter, so I have to be mindful of that.

She is, going outside to potty with the other house dogs, and is more often coming back with them rather than making me go out to fetch her back in. When she does not come back on her own it’s because it’s a nice day and she’d rather hang out by the kennels and chat with Pearl and Maggie.

If I take her outside around 8:30 PM she sleeps through the night and will “hold it” until around 7:30 AM.

Pearl Brindusky