Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 7 years
Size: 91 lbs
Health: Neutered, arthritis in the hips, on a liver supplement
Ideal Match: A special person looking for a challenge & willing to take a chance on a tough dog that really needs it. And perhaps someone who has always secretly wanted to have a bear as a pet. 🙂
Bio by Liz, Deeker’s favorite & one of our lead kennel attendants:
When I met Deeker, he had already been at LCAL for 184 days. During that time, he had gone from a 120-pound dog that could hardly support his own weight, to a 90-pound black bear dressed up as a German Shepherd.
You see, he’s not a normal dog. Somewhere along the way, he lost his trust in unknown humans. It is always traumatizing for any dog to enter a rescue, but even more so for a dog who’s been in a home for 6 years of his life. And it is stressful for a dog to be in the kennels so long.
Deeker began showing resource guarding behaviors after being put on a diet. When he started losing weight, he must’ve felt like he was starving because everything became dinner. The trash on the sidewalk, the crumb of bread in the flower bed—everything was a meal. From napkins to entire tennis balls, this boy can eat it. This made him difficult to handle safely, in certain circumstances.
Usually, I would fish trash or a ball out of a dog’s mouth, but not with Deeker. Deeker will bite to protect his “treasure,” which I am fortunate enough to have not experienced (knock on wood), and has done so twice—just enough to break skin. He became a staff-only dog and we got trained on how to handle his behaviors by a professional dog trainer. He started getting better! He began looking to us for praise and reassurance instead of looking at the ground.
Deeker has now been at LCAL for over 388 days and counting. His guarding behaviors may have improved greatly, but not with everyone. I mentioned he doesn’t trust people he is not familiar with, and that is still mostly true. While we staff members can handle and interact with him without any incident, he doesn’t have that same relationship with everyone. In fact, he initially comes off as a pushy barking bulldozer bear who is now trying to swallow your wrist (he forgets his manners when he gets excited). After a while, though, he becomes your shadow and best bud. He even leans into me for hugs sometimes.
I’ve learned a lot from Deeker. He is the most bear of a dog I’ve ever met, and that seems to be the general consensus with anyone who knows him. Not just because of his ears, either. If you’ve ever seen domesticated bears, wolves, big cats, etc., you may notice they are tame. Tame, but still a wild animal. Their handlers know this, and treat them as such. We have noticed similar traits in our Deeker. You have to stay aware of his cues when you interact with him.
Deeker is our bear and he talks like one, too. Roars to get your attention and responds to every word you speak. He does have a habit of interrupting you if he doesn’t like what you’re saying. I learned that to really connect with him, you must be equally as stubborn as he is, firm in your own boundaries, and respectful of his.
Unfortunately, Deeker is struggling. Living at the rescue has his recovery and progression at a plateau. He doesn’t have the stability and safety a home offers. Living in a high stress environment for so long has him struggling to relax. His physical ability is deteriorating.
Deeker needs a home with people who are looking for a bit of a challenge. Someone who will give him a relationship built on trust and teach him to trust others. Deeker is stuck in rescue-dog limbo, and is looking for relief. Relief from the less-than-ideal environment that he is exposed to daily, and has been exposed to for over a year. I know that we at Last Chance at Life Rescue are not unique in our compassion and love for our animals, so we are looking for a like-minded someone who can help Deeker.
I can’t fully describe this good boy with words. You have to spend time with him to recognize what a wonderful animal he is. He’s got a rough exterior, but really wants someone to scratch his back, hold his paw when he asks you to, and supply him with enough tennis balls to put Wimbledon to shame. We’re looking for a compassionate and caring individual who can be his person (whether it be foster or forever), and show him he is safe.
For more information please contact our team. firstname.lastname@example.org