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Helo Fluffbum: Notes on a foster dog

This handsome boy was named Kilo, but I mis-heard it as Helo (HEE Low) when we were introduced and liked that so much I decided to keep it.

Last Updated: Sept 19, 2020

Base Info:

  • Arrival date: Aug 26, 2020
  • Breed: Siberian Husky
  • Sex: Male
  • Age: Youth, Adult, Mature, Senior
  • Birthdate: Feb 2019
  • Weight: 47.2 Pounds Aug 31
    .              49.7 pounds Sept 8
  • Neutered: Yes
  • General Health: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor
  • Temperament: Typically hard-headed (it’s a Husky thing), but exceptionally calm and non-vocal for a Husky … at least when he’s happy.  Working through separation anxiety.
  • SAFER Test performed: Yes (short form) PASSED
  • Departure date: Adopted Sept. 19, 2020

History

Helo appears to have been well cared for, but his former owner decided to re-home him.  Reasons are unknown.   Two ladies offered to help find him a home.  One of them contacted Friends Animal Shelter who immediately referred her to Piney Mountain Foster.  And here he is.  His friends say he shows signs of depression and anxiety.  My task is to help him with that so he’s ready to move yet again as he seeks a forever home.

Husky Hindrance

Huskies are a unique breed.  Many people adopt them because they are GORGEOUS but don’t stop to investigate the breed-specific traits that come along with these dogs.  Many of these dogs end up abandoned or surrendered to shelters because these people are not prepared to care for a Husky.  Some of those issues are:

  1. Huskies shed like fiends!  Seriously, if you can’t handle dog fur all over, you don’t want a husky.  Their fur is long and soft and a pleasure to pet, but it floats around.  You NEED to brush them daily or they get matted.  If you don’t have a good vacuum cleaner and time to do the brushing, don’t get a Husky.
  2. Huskies are very intelligent.  And clever.  And devious.  You need to be the leader of the pack and set your boundaries and stick to them or the Husky will train you to do things the way SHE wants to.  That is NOT good.  Dominance leads to aggression.
  3. Huskies are sensitive.  Do not use violence to discipline these dogs — it will not end well.
  4. Huskies are adverse to confinement.  This breed does especially badly in shelters, spiraling quickly into depression and despondency.  They also do not do well confined to a crate for long periods.  They are social and enjoy companionship and interaction.  If you plan to go off to work and leave your dog alone all day you probably don’t want a Husky.
  5. Huskies tend to be vocal.  They will talk to you – and argue with you.  They will sing to you.  It’s what they do.  Helo is unusual in this respect in that he is quiet most of the time.  He will talk to me when he gets playful and wants to argue.  He talks to me when he needs to go out.  He will sing along with the other dogs when they get up a glee club session.  But otherwise he’s unusually quiet.
  6. Huskies are athletic dogs with tremendous stamina (think sled dogs).  They enjoy running and will need regular exercise.  If you are an apartment dweller and plan to leash walk your dog briefly twice a day, you definitely don’t want a Husky!

But, having said all that, because they are smart, and strong, and devoted they make excellent companions — if you are prepared for their eccentricities.  Because of all this, we are seeking an adopter who has experience with Huskies or a similar breed.

Helo’s Progress Summary:

Detailed notes on this foster dog’s progress are posted below the summary.

Relational Behavior

  • Relates well to other dogs: Yes
  • Can eat food/treats near other dogs: Not so much.  Is possessive about food, treats, and toys that are “his” (see Sept13).
  • Preferred style of play: Likes running and chasing another dog.  He likes to play soccer with a human!
  • Is affectionate: Yes in an aloof sort of way right now.
  • Is good with:
    . Men: Yes
    . Women: Yes
    . Children: Yes
    . Cats: Yes.  Will chase, shows no aggression to calm cats.
  • Jumps up on people: Not normally
  • Mouths: Sometimes, playfully – we’re discouraging that.
  • Walks well on a leash: Does well with a front-clip harness.  Pulls hard in Std harness or collar.

House Dog Training

  • Willingly enters his crate: With a bribe
  • Is calm/quiet while in crate: Not if left alone
  • Understands going outside to potty: Yes
  • Alerts me of need to go outside: Yes
  • Is destructive of bedding and/or toys: No
  • Refrains from kitchen counter cruising: No, but learning.
  • Stays off people furniture: No, but learning.

Terms of Adoption:

  • Terms of Adoption:

    • Submit a completed Adoption Application (PDF form, print, complete, return to Dennis).
    • Contact information for your veterinarian is required and we will do a reference check.  We do not adopt to people who neglect their dogs.
    • An adoption Contract must be signed by PMFC and Adopter.  This is a legal document and an actual signature is required.  If the form must be mailed back and forth, allow time for that to happen.  Electronic PDF is allowed if you can print/scan.
    • Adopter arranges transport.  We have worked with HEARTS LLC (fees are paid to the transport service).
    • Adoption fee is $200.00  This generally does NOT cover what we have invested in medical care and room & board.  But it helps.

Commands:

  • Comes when called: Sometimes
  • Sits on command: Yes
  • Down / Off: Yes
  • Shake / Paw: No
  • Kennels on command: Yes

Medical

  • DA2PPv: Aug 27, 2020 (PMFC)
    . Booster: Sept 19, (PMFC)
  • Bordatella: Aug 27, 2020 (PMFC)
  • Wormed: Dates | Product | Dose | By
    . Sept 1st to 3rd, Fendbendazone, 16 ml PMFC
    .
  • Rabies: Sept 8, Cedarwood Veterinary Hosp.
  • Microchipped: Sept 8, PetKey, Not registered
    To register: https://www.freepetchipregistry.com/
  • Spay/Neuter: Done prior to admission
  • Heartworm Test: Sept 8, Cedarwood, NEGATIVE
  • Flea/Tick preventative:
    . Sept 1, Fipronil topical, 44-88 Lbs
    .
  • Heartworm preventative:
    . Sept 8, Ivermectin solution, 0.5 ml
    .
  • NOTES:
    .
    .

Diet

Victor Classic – Professional Dry Dog Food
1½ cups plus 3oz Stew AM and PM (to gain weight)
PMFC Peanut butter cookies given as rewards for compliance.
Occasional treats include:
Retriever Beef Basted Sticks
Jones Beef Hooves
Grillerz Pork Femur
Oinkies

Gallery

In chronological order, newest at the bottom. Some pictures are linked to a more detailed Doggy Tale about that update, click those to open the related story.

Enjoying the cool indoors with the family

Bed time snack

Hanging with Doug in the den

Yes, can I help you?

Discussing the “no dogs on sofa” rule with Buddy Beagle.

I’ll navigate, I can sniff out the Sonic.

Progress Updates

Progress notes are listed below, in chronological order, newest at the bottom.

Aug 26

Helo arrived for an evaluation around 5:30 pm.  The eval went well and we decided to accept him into our program.  Laurie filled out the surrender form and they donated a crate, his collar and leash, and food, and a case of Eternal Beverage bottled water, and some cash!  Their generosity is appreciated.

Enjoying the cool indoors with the family

He had done well with the meet-the-gang session, so I set up our largest wire crate in the living room where he could see us as dinner was prepared and consumed.  I fed him when I fed the other dogs, but he wasn’t interested in dinner until much later: 8:30 or after, he got a drink and decided to have a bed time snack.

Then we retired to the den so I could build this web page.  Once it’s posted I’ll get ready for bed and go sleep on the sofa next to Helo’s crate.  That should keep him calm tonight so everyone can get some sleep.

He’s done exceptionally well at dealing with and relating to the other dogs, even when Buddy decided to go all Beaglesaurous on him, Helo just walked on past him without getting snarky in return.  Good Boy!

Want to keep up with developments on Helo?  Use the Subscribe thingie below and we’ll automatically e-mail you when this page is re-published.  That should be about once a week.

Aug 27

We had an excellent night. I slept on the sofa next to his crate so he did not get lonely and anxious. I waited for him to go to sleep and tried sneaking off to the bedroom, but he was on his feet instantly, ready to go with me if I left the room.  So I stayed put.

I woke up several times and found him sitting there staring at me, but being really quiet and well behaved.   He woke me at 2:30 by whining.  I left him long enough to erect a baby gate in the hallway, to make sure we did not get charged by a roaring Beaglesaurous, and slip my shoes on, then I released him from his crate and clipped on his leash.  He RACED to the back door, went out onto the gravel walkway beside the house and peed.  He did not try to go around the back of the house (which would have set off the Beaglesaurous as well as the outside dogs).  He came back inside, got a drink, I got him a snack, and he went back into his crate to eat his snack.  He went back to sleep for another hour when I decided to get up.  He explored the house for a while as I made coffee, then we settled into the den and I worked on his admission paperwork and some other quiet chores.

Catching a few more winks

Helo went back to sleep. He has been a very good boy!

I will be taking him to Kathy’s Grooming later this morning to board for a few days.   We have a doctor’s appointment on the far side of Knoxville today and will be gone most of the day.  Leaving him crated indoors while we go away is probably not a good idea, and it will get too hot in his “contingency” kennel to leave him there in the daytime. Once that building is renovated, it will be insulated and air conditioned.  Things will be different then.

There is a strong possibility that Hunter will be getting adopted on Saturday.  He’s been in Room #4 – which is a light security room sitting on gravel with kennel decking on the ground to keep him out of the mud in rainy weather.  Hunter has been very happy there and makes no attempt to escape.  But Helo has a history of digging out of a kennel if left alone all day.  I can move Bailey into #4 and put Helo in Bailey’s room which is a standard room on the main concrete pad – there is no digging out of there!

I hope to have him in the house with me when I’m inside so I can work on easing his separation anxiety and preserve his housebreaking.  That’s my plan right now, anyway.

Aug 31

Hunter was indeed adopted Saturday and I moved Bailey to room #4 to see how he would do in this new enclosure.  He has done well.  So Room #1 is available for Helo to use when he’s not in the house with me.  I’ll be going to retrieve him this morning.

He rode really well in the truck last week, so I plan to take him with me on some of today’s chores.

* * * Helo has arrived * * *

Kathy said he did well while staying with her.  He hated being crated (tore up the crate) but was good in a kennel.  He rode well again today as we went to the bank drive through (where the ladies were saying what a beautiful dog he is) and to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital (where the ladies commented on what a calm, well-behaved boy he is).  While there I weighed him.  I expected to see 70 or 75 pounds on the readout based on his overall size, but it came up 47.2 pounds!  “That can’t be right”, we all said, so I did it again, making sure the scale was not up against the wall and nothing was blocking it … 47.2 pounds!

When I feel around his hips, he is pretty bony under all that fur, I’ll do my best to get some pounds on him before he leaves.

Yes, can I help you?

Helo spent all day running loose in the house with us.  He got along well with the 4 other house dogs.  He rode along with me on a couple of runs.  Then he picked out a bed in the bedroom to sleep on.  “No, Helo, not THAT one.  Any of the others.”  He did get down, got huffy about it but he did comply, and chose a dog bed.  He alternated between that and sleeping on the floor in the hallway.

Buddy Beagle needed to go out around 3:00 AM.  Helo wanted to go along.  I leashed Helo and took him out on the walkway but not out where we would disturb the outside dogs.   Helo was compliant and both he and Buddy were back inside quickly.

Helo suffers from separation anxiety.  I am working on that.

Sept 3 – Helo’s Adventure

Helo has proven to be a fine, companionable fellow while he is with us.  He’s been quite calm, except for one night when he got the zoomies, he gets along well with the 7 other dogs who are here.  He’s gotten a little snippy at meal times, but otherwise they all get along fine in the house or in the yard.

He gets upset when we leave him alone, though.  Crating is not an option unless it’s a plate steel crate.  Kenneling works if it’s on concrete and is well secured.  He’s a digger, and will tunnel out of a kennel on dirt.

Seeing this happy face in my mirror just makes me smile.

Today we had a number of errands to run, so we took Helo with us.  He was an excellent rider, sitting or lying on the back seat of Marie’s car as calm as could be.  Sitting up to look out the windows when something interesting was happening, snoozing quietly otherwise.

We went to the county animal shelter to evaluate another Husky that was picked up by Animal Control.  There are lots of dogs there, not all of them were pleasant to Helo as we walked around.  Helo just kept walking and sniffing.  There were several cats roaming the hallways when we went into the main building, Helo was curious about them.  When one came sauntering by, Helo sniffed at it, then dropped into a play-bow and woofed at it.  The cat puffed up and backed away, “You’re too big.  No play.”  Helo let it go.

We visited the Wags to Wiggles boutique and Helo was gentle and mannerly.  He knocked nothing over, and made new friends among those who were shopping.

We then stopped in at a Subway Sandwich shop to buy lunch which we took up on the Foothills Parkway to sit in the car at an overlook and eat.  We brought things for Helo to munch on, but he wasn’t interested in those, just the water we offered him.  But he sat on his seat and left us unmolested while we ate our sandwiches.  Then I took him for a walk before we headed back home on Interstate 40.

Once home he got a big drink of water, went in the yard to do all of his business, then crashed next to my desk chair as I got caught up on some office work while Marie went back out to do the weekly grocery shopping.

When she returned I crated Helo, Callie and Buddy to keep them from running out the door as I  carted in the supplies.  Helo howled a little, but did no damage to the  crate.

He had a great time on his outting.  We had a great time, and everything went as smoothly as it could possibly go.  He’s a great traveling buddy.  In fact we were joking during lunch that since Helo’s two favorite things are sitting on the couch looking out the window and riding in a car/truck, his ideal adopter might be some retired folks who do a lot of RV traveling.  Then he could sit on a sofa looking out the window WHILE riding.  What could  be better?

Sept 5

Piney Mountain Foster Care’s Board of Directors met today.  There was much to discuss, so we knew it could run long.  We decided to take Helo with us rather than kenneling him while we were away.  We appointed Helo temporary Sergeant At Arms, and he greeted everyone at the door – to make sure they all smelled of dog.  Anyone not bearing the scent of a dog would not be welcome, according to Helo.  Fortunately even Pam, who has goats and cats, but no dog, had been around a dog that morning so she too was admitted.

Bored at the Board meeting, but being quiet.

Once the meeting was called to order, Helo went into stand-by mode: alert in case anyone acted up and needed to be ejected, but not interfering otherwise.

All the board members were amazed at how well behaved Helo was, not interjecting his own comments, not begging treats, not wandering around being distracting … he changed positions a few times, going to lie next to different people, but being completely unobtrusive.  In fact he was SO good we decided to treat him on the way home with a trip to a small park by the river.

When riding, Helo wears a safety harness and strap that snaps into the seat belt buckle

Sometimes things outside fascinate him.

Helo liked the riverside park

He enjoyed walking in the grass.

And playing among the rocks

We weren’t sure if he’d be interested in the water.
Once he dried off we headed for home. I like to ride.  I don’t want to get out …

… and you can’t MAKE me.
“Actually, yes I CAN.”

Oh, but, DAAaaad!

Once back home we had lunch, and yard play, and headed inside for nap time (some of us take naps, some of us don’t), then on to the usual Saturday chores, and dealing with minutes from this morning’s meeting, and posting this update because we’re out of broccoli and I can’t make doggo stew like I planned.  I’ll pick up some greens on our way home tomorrow and make stew then – post this update now.

Sept 13

Helo had visitors yesterday afternoon: Erin and Michael drove in from North Carolina to meet him.  They have been discussing Helo with Dennis, our Adoption Coordinator, checking him out on our web site, and decided they really needed to meet him in “person”.

During the meeting Erin asked me if Helo tries to climb over our 5 foot chain link fence.  In answering I kind of went down a rabbit hole about what I do to discourage that and never did offer a proper answer to the question.  So, if you’re reading this update, Erin, the answer is “no, he has never tried to climb the fence.  But he is reported to be a prodigious digger, having tunneled out of a dirt-floor kennel twice before he got to us.”  Anyone wanting to kennel him while away for long periods will need to put the kennel on a concrete slab or at the very least put down heavy wire fencing on the ground under the kennel and wire it to the kennel rails so he can’t dig tunnels.  Anyone insisting on leaving him for long periods had better put some of that fencing across the top of  the kennel too, just because he hasn’t tried scaling a fence doesn’t mean he won’t, Huskies are known to be excellent climbers.

Playing soccer is FUN!

The visit went well, mostly – more about that in a moment, and Michael even got Helo to play soccer with him!  Helo enjoyed that immensely.  Blondie Bear watched from her position on her Coolaroo up by the house.

When Helo got tired he went back into his room for a drink of water.  He snagged his pig ear that I keep in there for him, but he doesn’t chew on because he refuses to chew, or eat, or even drink, if he’s “incarcerated”.  It’s the same thing in the house with his crate: if the door is closed he will not eat, only lie on the floor and look dejected.  If I open the door, (once the others have finished eating and gone outside to potty) Helo will walk out of his crate, turn around, go back in, and eat.  He’s SUCH a Husky!

Helo snagged the almost unused pig ear and took it out to lie in the grass and chew.  A red flag popped in my mind, but I squelched it and let him go.

A couple of minutes later, Helo came back over to where all the peoples were and he sought some loving.  While he was getting lovies, Blondie sneaked down to check out that pig ear.  Helo saw her over there and ambled over to see what she was doing.  Apparently he tried to take it back from her, she resisted, so Helo initiated an argument.  It was loud and vicious sounding, and Micheal and I jumped in to break it up.  Blondie came away with a couple of minor scrapes, Helo was unharmed, and the pig ear went back into his kennel.   And stayed there.

Helo is possessive of HIS stuff.  The funny thing is that there are yard bones scattered around the play yard.  Other dogs can pick up one of those and chew on it and Helo doesn’t care.  Community property.  Buddy Beagle and Callie Roo swap crates all the time, no one cares, including Helo.  But if Buddy goes nosing into Helo’s crate, Helo will come warn him off.  So I keep the door closed if Helo isn’t using it somehow.  This possessiveness is really Helo’s only down side — other than shedding like a fiend.  And we are working with him on that … the possessiveness, not the shedding.  We can’t do anything about his shedding: Huskies just do that.

Sept 15

Guess who slept on the people bed last night.

In our house we have like 800 dog beds (slight exaggeration) scattered around the house, so the ONE people bed we have is off-limits because we know full well that if they conquer that we will be sleeping on the floor.
Helo was sacked out on the tile in the hallway, in front of a fan. (his favorite place) when I handed out bed time cookies. He came into the bedroom with the rest of us to get his little treat, and turned to return to the hallway. I asked him if he wouldn’t like to sleep on the empty dog bed in the bedroom. He looked it over and said, “Nah, thanks anyway.” and turned to go out.

Marie said, “Oh, come on Helo, come sleep with us.”

He spun around, “Really? With you? ALL RIGHT!” (I knew what was coming I could see it in his face) and he made an amazing leap up onto the bed and curled up between us.

“That is NOT what she meant.”

“Don’t care, it’s what she said.”

We figured he wouldn’t stay long anyway, he gets too hot on beds of any kind. And he is such a good boy otherwise. He hung in longer than I thought he would but eventually did get down and returned to his cool spot in the hallway.

Now we’ll just have to see if this becomes a new bed time routine.

Sept 19

Yesterday Helo and I went to take Valley to meet the big transport to New Hampshire.  Just as I was pulling in to make the hand-off my phone rang.  It was a repair company needing access to the church where I am a Deacon.  I told them it would take about an hour to get there from where I currently was (and to make the hand-off).  They agreed.

The hand-off went smoothly and Helo and I went trucking off to Cosby.

While the repairs were being made, there was nothing at all for me to do except make sure everything stayed secure.  So Helo and I conducted a thorough examination of the building, looking for scuffs and scrapes needing paint, cobwebs that needed removal, anything that might need attention.  As I went around, stopping to look an area over then moving on, Helo was perfect about staying with me:

Michael, Helo, Erin a happy new family

A Michael and Erin came to adopt Helo this afternoon.  Michael is a contractor who hopes to take Helo with him when he goes out on job sites.  I think Helo will love riding around with Michael and accompanying him on the job.  It seems the perfect match for this big, low key, devoted, boy.  I will miss him, but he’s going to have the time of his life.

I wonder if they make hard-hats for dogs.

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