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Old 04-20-2010, 05:07 AM
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Tazwell Tazwell is offline
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Default Blind Mal-bite history-- can ANYONE help?

I work with a rescue here in Trenton, MI. Last year we pulled what appeared to be a wooly malamute (mix?) out of the Tuscola/Sanilac Pound. He was blind, and supposed to be 5 years old. When we had him checked out, the vet thought he was more like 8 years old, but Bear acted more like he was 2! Very playful and energetic, you wouldn't even know he was blind. He's such a sweet, cuddly guy.

His foster home backed out on him, but he got adopted almost immediately-- that home couldn't handle him, and returned him after a month's time. We assume he had always been an outside dog and never was taught house manners.

He was put in boarding at that time, due to lack of foster home, and he did great there at the vet's kennels. He was there for quite some time, handled by many people, and I walked him every single day and took him home for the day to roam my backyard about 2-3 times a week. He did great.

He was then adopted by an older gentleman who absolutely adored him. This gentleman ended up having Cancer, and was going through chemotherapy. One day he put his hand in bear's food bowl and touched him, without speaking to him first, and bear turned and nipped his arm. I assume this was food aggression, but his owner swears he was just "Surprised". The gentleman tried to treat his wound at home, but since he was undergoing Chemotherapy, had no immunity to anything and it got infected. He ended up in the hospital for a few days, where I had to take Bear back again.

He unfortunately went back into boarding, where I took him home almost everyday and worked with him on the leash, and with the jumping up behaviors, and tried to witness his 'food aggression', but he was never really interested in the food. Otherwise, he's just a big happy galoof. The boarding staff said that they touch him and his food while he's eating without a problem.

Finally he got adopted by this other family who also adores him. Her vet said he looks more like 11 or 12 years old, I don't believe it! Unfortunately, he's taken to nipping her husband, and I wasn't aware of this until there was a bad bite involved (the fourth time.). He bit the husband's knee and drew blood. They when bear will do this, and otherwise bear has no problem with this man. He loves everybody, and wrestles all day with the 17year old in the family. The biting could be a playful thing, because he's ALL about the play. I've never witnessed this behavior myself, but I believe it could be a prey drive thing. Sometimes he hears people walking or running by, and he shows a lot of interest in the sound of their feet, and wants to go run after them-- I could see that being the issue. The husband has always been "Just walking past" when it happens.

This family needs to bring him back, and here's my dilemma. He's got too long of a bite history to be adopted out again. I have no foster homes to take him, at all, and I'm out of time. Despite his bite history, He's truly not an aggressive animal. His bites have never been "attacks", just a nip and he's on his happy merry way. He's extremely sweet, and loves to cuddle, and he's a big beautiful guy! You wouldn't even know he's blind, he gets around just fine. I think he needs to see a behaviorist, to evaluate his problem, and perhaps even be adopted out again-- it's not just something I can do. I will try everything I can for him, I just wish I could keep him myself. He LOVES being outside, all the time if he can-- so being an outdoor dog wouldn't bother him one bit. You simply wouldn't believe the temperament of this dog, despite his age and handicap! Not nervous around anything, ever.

Any suggestions? By the way, here's his Petfinder page from way back when. More pictures upon request... Adopted Alaskan Malamute: Bear/ Adopted!: Petfinder

I know it's a long shot, and with a bite history, there's not much that CAN be done... But he deserves a CHANCE, a chance with an experienced foster with whom he can see a behaviorist/trainer. He deserves at least that. I simply can't euthanize him without that chance! It wouldn't be fair.
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