Valentina Steele: Notes on a rescue dog

This is a foster dog diary post. Updates will be added to the end of this post to keep all information on Valentina in one place and in chronological order.

This post was last updated March 23, 2017

Valentina Fast Facts

  • Intake date: February 14, 2017
  • Breed: English Blue Tick Hound (likely full-blooded)
  • Sex: Female – unspayed, has welped at least a couple of times.
  • Age: ?? Young ??
  • Intake weight: 47 pounds.
  • Health: Fair. 20 pounds underweight and severely dehydrated at intake, but no other issues apparent. Valentina was innoculated and wormed at intake.
  • Temperament: Gentle, submissive, friendly.

Valentina’s History

Valentina was found, immobile, alongside a local road. The woman who found her scooped her up, put her in the car, took her home, and cared for her for a day or two. Valentina had no collar. That’s when Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue was called in to help her.

Amy went to evaluate the dog. She accepted her, named her Valentina since she came into our care on Valentine’s day, and took her to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital to be scanned for a chip. Dr. O’Conner found no chip to help locate her owner. The Doctor believes Val is a full-blooded English Blue Tick hound. She is a good 20 pounds underweight and severely dehydrated. There is no sign of severe trauma such as being hit by a car, as was feared.

She is sweet-natured and appears to respond to hunting commands such as “load up” and “load out”. Based on her breed and these responses she may have been someone’s (expensive) hunting dog. But she’s been on her own long enough to lose 30% of her body weight and develop some problems.

valentinaValentina has met the rest of our crew. She is not scared of them, just nervous and submissive. Val and Spencer have accepted one another as neighbors, and all the rest have been out to look her over. No objections were raised.

February 15, 2017 by Doug

Yesterday over the course of the afternoon, Valentina drained a 3 quart water bowl! She has a good appetite and eats all I give her. Amy sent out a flat of high-moisture canned dog food for her, as well as wormer, and I’m adding coconut oil to the food to help her gain weight. I’ll give her a few days on the straight canned food then start mixing kibble into it so by the time the canned is gone she will be able to tolerate kibble.

That first day she would not come out of her dog house while we were outside. I did find poo piles, but she’d sneak out while the dogs and I were elsewhere. This morning too, she refused to come out of the igloo, I put her food bowl inside for her.

But this afternoon, Blondie and I came across the yard and stopped by to say “hello” to Valentina. Not only did she come out of the igloo to greet us, but when I opened the door to go in, she looked like she wanted to come out. So I let her.

She wasn’t too sure about Blondie at first, but Blondie was her usual gracious self and they quickly became friends as Blondie escorted Val around the yard to do her business. She walks like her hind feet hurt. I’ll take a look at them tomorrow. When I called her, she immediately came all the way across the yard to me. She has been trained. I’ll explore how much she knows in the coming days.

February 16, 2017 by Doug

What a difference this morning! Valentina greeted me at the gate, was eager for her breakfast, and afterward to come out and hang with me. Such a change from the timid creature who hid in her dog house all the first day. I think we’ve earned her trust!

Her water consumption has tapered off to a normal amount now and her stools are looking like they should. We will continue the canned diet for a while as I wean her over to kibble.

Valentina’s Photo Gallery

new hobby Happy sleep
I'm being good pretty feet Valentina Valentina posing

We will fill in the blank spots as we get good photos.

February 18, 2017 by Doug

Marie took Spencer in the house this afternoon, just to be sure he didn’t forget how to behave indoors. That left Valentina outside by herself and she was crying about that. So I grabbed one of the special treats we got in the February Bullymake Box to comfort and occupy her until her neighbor returns.

February 20, 2017 by Doug

Valentina is looking a little less gaunt, and her energy levels have risen sharply. She is also becoming quite the snuggler. She likes to lay her head across my knees while I massage her back. Here’s a look at how she’s doing.

February 26, 2017 by Doug

Before Spencer left, he had several chew bones in his pen, mostly because he didn’t consume them like most of us do, and Valentina managed to fish one out by reaching through the fencing with her long foreleg. Spencer saw her doing it and let her. When she got it she raced off and enjoyed her well-earned treat. Nothing tastes better than a stolen bone!

Her little treat did nothing to diminish her appetite for dinner after the play session. Notice that, though she is eager to eat, she gets down off the door so I can open it. I didn’t even have to tell her, she knows now that’s how it works and complies without being told. Also, she does not wolf down her food as some starved dogs would. She takes her time in eating, thus saves herself the problems that can come from too rapid intake. Though she was abandoned, she still has manners. Notice too the stuffed toy on her Coolaroo at the end. Valentina is a “Girl with a Porpoise”. Marie bought that for her to snuggle with at night in her dog house. She got that ten days ago and it is still in perfect condition. So are her blankets for that matter. Valentina is not destructive of her bedding and toys, although she uses both.

February 28, 2017 by Doug

Valentina has taken up a new hobby today: ferreting out some rodent who is hiding under the roots of a maple tree.

This evening we will again try bringer her inside and crating her for a visit. The last visit did not go well. She was scared by the alien landscape of “inside” and the crate I was using was too small. Perhaps claustrophobic, being a transport box. I’ll try a large wire crate, and combine her coming in time with dinner being served. Perhaps the meal upon arrival and better visibility will help her settle in.

If she settles in for a visit I can start housebreaking her.

March 6, 2017 by Doug

Valentina has been enjoying a long period of inside free-play. Mostly she wandered around sniffing stuff. When she finally decided to settle, it left Gator without a place to snooze. What to do, what to do?

Val and Gator spent a lot of time together today: playing in the yard and playing indoors. Neither has spent much time in their crates at all today. They are getting along very well now that Valentina has stopped “nipping” at Gator.

March 17, 2017 by Cochise

The Triangle

When Valentina arrived, Gator took to her immediately and they became fast friends. They ran and played in the yard. They were always eager to go in and go out together.

When Ilo arrived, Valentina spent time playing with him. Ilo would sprint with her. They would run and chase each other far longer than Gator could manage. Valentina liked both Gator and Ilo.

But Gator became jealous of the time Val spent with Ilo and began speaking harshly with Ilo at every meeting. He also allowed his frustration to show through with Valentina. She took exception and offered sharp retorts. Their friendship broke down.

It’s sad what jealousy does.

March 21, 2017 by Doug

Yesterday I was off work and had the whole day to work with the dogs, especially Valentina since she’s the one lagging on house dog skills. We worked on NOT going counter cruising, even though treats were placed around on the counters:

This evening Marie had everybody out in the play yard at one time while I was in the shop setting up crates for the outside dogs: a thunderstorm is expected tonight and it may be a rough one.

Marie was petting Ilo. Gator got jealous and tried to tell Ilo off. Ilo responded in like manner. Valentina got caught up in the fracas and went after Gator. Blondie took Gator down while Marie got Val to a safe distance. There was no bloodshed.

Valentina has been doing this sort of thing lately. It’s surprising because she has always been the gentle, friendly one.

March 23, 2017 by Doug

Valentina is at the Steele Away Home medical day today: she’s getting spayed. She will be leaving us tomorrow afternoon and heading somewhere out East. New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania. Most of our dogs end up in that area.

Normally we allow at least a week between the surgery and transport for healing: and that was the plan this time, but the mobile vet clinic would not start in the bitter cold so all the surgeries were rescheduled for today.

Valentina likes to ride

Valentina rides well: calm, not prone to motion sickness, happy to stay in the back. She loads and unloads without issue. Out on the major roads she settled in to nap on the pillows we keep behind the seats of our club-cab pick-up. In town she liked to look around.

Valentina restingIn the afternoon I went back to pick up our surgical patients. Both were awake and alert but neither was able to walk yet so I carried each to the truck, drove us home and carried each to their “room” to rest until the anesthesia wears off completely. Val seems to want to pee, but when I try to coax her outside, she wobbles. I tried to carry her again, but that upset her. Well, if she pees in the crate we’ll launder the blanket and wash her off with towels so she’ll be ready for transport tomorrow.

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