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Mystery Steele: Notes on a foster dog

Mystery is a chocolate lab, husky mix, but she is definitely a Husky in build and personality. If you like the quirky, independent personality of this breed, you’ll love Mystery.

Last updated: February 12, 2018

Base Info:

  • Arrived here: January 11th, 2018
  • Breed: Chocolate Husky
  • Sex: Female
  • Age: Approx 2 years
  • Weight: Approx 60 pounds
  • Spay/Neutered: Yes: Feb 9, 2017
  • General Health: Good. Other than being in need of a good brushing, her fur, skin and teeth look to be in good shape. I see no sign of injury or disease.
  • Temperament: Good. She is lovey and affectionate with people. Accepting of strangers. She plays well with our other dogs now: was a bit guarded when she first arrived due to kennel stress.

History

Mystery was picked up as a stray and taken to Newport Animal Control in November 2017. Because Huskies do not do well in close confinement, she became stressed, depressed, and aggressive. N.A.C. management asked Steele Away Home to take her in so she could get out of that environment and regain her sanity.

Known Issues & Progress

Mystery is a Husky. Huskies have a personality all their own. I’ve worked with Huskies in a shelter environment before and they do NOT do well in close confinement. It’s heartbreaking to see how fast this spirited, independent breed sinks into depression when incarcerated. That was the case with Mystery. She came to Piney Mountain because we have a large, fenced play yard and big pens for our fosters to live in until they can begin house training.

Upon arrival (yesterday), she was fine with me: friendly and obedient, but when other dogs came near her pen she would bare her teeth and charge the fencing to warn them off. Some of them did not take too kindly to that attitude!

I’ve given her several solo play sessions in the yard – which she enjoys immensely — and she is calming down already.

After a few weeks she is able to play with the other dogs in the yard. She’s a bit too rowdy for Josephine’s taste (Josie is our smallest) but she’s not being mean, just big and bouncy.

Housebreaking

Doing well. There have been no incidents in the bunkhouse. Even when in her pen, she will avoid defiling her 10′ x10′ space as long as I let her out regularly. She usually needs to run a couple of laps to get her bowels moving … then slams on the brakes and assumes the position. She’s funny.

When I’ve got her loose in the bunkhouse she has not shown any tendency to chew things up or get into things. She’s curious, but not invasive.

Gets Along With Other Dogs

Not so good at the start, but that changed as she felt less stressed.

After a few days to decompress, Mystery wanted to play with her roomie: Angel. That went well. She and angel have had several play sessions together (see vids below).

Mystery HAS become possessive of my attentions and will warn off other dogs if I’m in her pen with her. If I’m in the yard with both her and another dog, there are no issues. She also shows food-guarding behavior with dogs — not with me.

People Skills

Very good. She is friendly and comes when called. She does not jump up on me (much) and she walks well on a tether/leash. She has had some training before.

It got to a point where when leash-walking her between Bunkhouse and play yard she’d be dragging me along. I put her in a Walk-Right! ™ harness and that cleared up right away. Then, one night, she chewed the harness off. I’ve ordered another, but in the mean time she is responding better to a “slow” command and tug on the collar-mounted leash. She learned and remembers even without the harness.

I got the harness, but don’t need it. Mystery now walks very well on a leash and collar.

Miscellaneous

Mystery is a typical Husky, and as such can be more of a handful to manage than most other breeds. Huskies tend to be highly intelligent, deviously clever, independent thinkers, and OPINIONATED. They are also hilariously entertaining and devoted family dogs. To manage a Husky, you need firm boundaries and a good routine. Let a Husky decide she’s in charge of the household and you’ll have a frustrating challenge on your hands.

I brush her daily and she’s looking much better. She loves the brushing too. She talks to me constantly while I’m doing it. That is SO cute!

Feb 12: After a dog gets fixed I like to take them for a “just for fun” truck ride so they don’t come t think that getting in the truck means someone is going to cut parts off them.

Today I had errands to run, so I took Mystery Steele with me: she was spayed last Friday but is feeling better now. She was not at all hesitant, hopped right up into the truck and settled herself on the passenger seat. She rides really well!

One of my stops was Tractor Supply Co. in Newport. She went in with me and did a superb job of staying right beside me, never pulling on the leash, never toying with products, never having to be coaxed to come along, quite calm when I stopped to speak to a store employee. I was SO proud of her! We even met a Weimaraner puppy who was a bit bouncy and overly friendly, but both did well and were quite civil to one another.

Gallery

In roughly chronological order, newest at the bottom. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
Some pictures are linked to Doggy Tales about Mystery, click those to open the related story or video.


Looking better after a good brushing

Wanna Play?

Mystery has a great sense of humor.

This girl can really run — and loves it!

The next day I let Mystery and her roomie, Angel, out to play in the snow:

Mystery and Angel get a long play day in especially nice weather.

Mystery has decided to challenge Blondie for the Grand Dame position. (click-vid)

Mystery likes to munch and wander at breakfast time (click-vid)

Enjoying a Big Bone

She rides well. Calm. Sometimes needs petting to reassure her all is well.

Definitely a husky, such a derp!

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Jasmine is a Jewel

NOTE: This post is about one of our foster dogs. This is an experiment. I’ll open up with introduction info, then as new information and adventures become available I will ADD THAT TO THE END OF THIS POST rather than putting up new posts for each adventure. The goal is to keep all of the pertinent info on this dog in one place and in chronological order. That is advantageous to rescues or potential adoptive families who come to learn about this dog. Each time I add new info I’ll change the date below so you know if it’s worth scrolling down to look for new info. Thanks!

Date last updated: Jan 4, 2017


Jasmine is a Chocolate (Lab) Husky with blue-grey eyes and gorgeous, exotic coloring. She is full of personality and affectionate, but at the same time so skittish of people we have to be very careful around her. Loud noises spook her. Sudden movements spook her. Reaching out to her spooks her.

She is friendly and open with all the other dogs and likes to play. It’s just people she’s scared of.

Jasmine’s Background

All we know of her is that she was owned by a young woman (local) who either joined the military or was in the military and was assigned to an 8 year tour of duty in Japan, and Jasmine could not go with her.

Buster’s Double Dog Dare

The Dogtor is in

Yesterday Joy O’Hare donated a narrow futon pad that she no longer wanted. She thought it might make good dog beds. I agreed, and was happy to haul it back here. I set about cutting away the excess fabric and Velcro on the back the webbing that connected the two pads but allowed them to bend and fold.

Buster tests the new dog bedThe result was two 28” x 35” x 4” thick pads with removable covers. Buster spent all afternoon enjoying the one I put down to try out. Joy was a little worried that the dogs might react to the cat fur she could not vacuum off of them. But that was of no concern to Buster.

When it was time to retire for the night, Buster was adamant that he preferred to sleep in the office on “his” new dog bed rather than in his crate. This was not an option, but it took some time to convince him of that.

This morning after The Fosters had breakfast and some yard time, Buster was again insistent on going inside and to the office. It was still a little chilly out – and Buster has been a bit jealous of the extra privileges Hercules has been getting during his final phase of house breaking – so I decided to allow it instead of insisting he go to a pen outdoors like the others.

Upon entering the office, he was horrified to find that Cochise had already claimed the new dog bed!