MochaToo may be the luckiest rez dog in the world.
CAWL’s first ever spay/neuter trip to the reservations of the four corners area lead us to MochaToo. She was completely feral and in an Animal Control holding pen. CAWL brought MT and about 10 other dogs back to Denver in June 2009. All the other dogs were adopted pretty quickly, but MT would not even walk if anyone was around. She only moved when she was alone.
I put MT in a stall in my barn. She did not leave the stall even with the door open for over three weeks. She ate and drank when no one was looking. She always went potty in the same corner. She would not look at you. I would go in the stall twice a day to feed her, clean and then sit with her for a while. I would get closer and closer by the day. Soon, I started touching her hind end. MT would urinate every time I touched her. This went on for months. Finally, one day, I left the barn door open. I knew there was a chance that she would run away but she hadn’t been outside for weeks and I had to try something. For hours, she stayed inside. Then I saw her standing in the doorway. She saw me and ran back to the stall. I knew I had her! She would not run.
Over four months she and I slowly–very very slowly–formed a relationship. I could touch her all over and she would follow me around the property to do chores. MT always returned to her stall but winter was coming and in order for her to improve even more, she had to move to the house. While, she would follow me in the open, she would not follow me into the house. My husband, Kyle, and I carried her to the house one night and put her in the fenced back yard. She knew all of our dogs but had never been inside a house. We left the back door open in order for her to come in on her own and after only about a week, she did. MT, by her own decision, was in the house.
The next year was more of the same. MT started to trust me more and even started coming up to me for attention. I could still only pet a few spots when she approached me but she was approaching me. I started making her sit for her food, and being a Retriever, she was food motivated! The one thing that MT never understood was walking on a leash. Anytime, she felt any pressure on her collar, she would lie down and almost go comatose. I let her drag a leash around for five days, and coupled her with my Border Collie, she still never would walk more than a few steps and then drop to the floor. I am not proud to say that I even tried the tough love thing and dragged her about six feet one time. Please do not try this with a scared dog, as you know that it did not make her any less scared.
After more than a year, I had pretty much decided that MT was who she was. I loved her and she loved my dogs so she sat here. While she was available on our website for adoption, not many people called on a dog that they would have to carry home. While I was resigned to the fact that she would stay here and we would play musical rooms with the cats, MT was never cat safe, Lisa G knew that MT could be so much more, so she contacted Best Friends and wrote the nicest request for help that I have ever read. It worked and MT was accepted into Best Friends for training and rehabilitation. While I cried filling out the paperwork to transfer MT to the largest sanctuary in the country, I knew it was the best for thing for her.
Many plans were made and many emails sent. We left on Friday January 6th for Utah. I loaded the truck with her kennel, blanket, water bucket and her food. At 4:25 am Kyle and I carried MT to the truck. Even though she was so scared, she tried so hard just like every other day of her life. Ten hours later we arrived at Best Friends. Everyone that helped me check MT in and carry her to her quarantine kennel was so kind even though I was crying my eyes out and looked like a huge fool. I wanted to stay calm and make her feel confident but it did not go that way. MT did amazing considering I was a wreck. Paul, the care giver of so many shy animals, assured me that MT would walk on leash and get adopted. I nodded. I had spent over a year and a half trying and was shocked that he was so confident.
I planned to stay and volunteer for the next couple of days but had already said my goodbyes to MT. It would just confuse her to see me so on Saturday I worked in other areas and learned a lot. During one of my breaks, Michelle, a trainer, saw me and let me know that she just carried MT in to the HQ for an initial exam. Michelle said that MT was very good for being carried. Later that day another volunteer, Sue, told me that she checked in on MT and she was doing very well. Obviously MT was doing much better than I was!
Sunday was the same with volunteering and getting updates on MT. Everyone at Best Friends could not have been nicer and they all thought MT was gorgeous. It was great to hear it. Paul told me after my lunch break that MT went on a walk over lunch. While it was not pretty she was walking on a leash after only two days there. She is well on her way to being adopted! Lucky little girl.