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Discussion Starter #1
I told you all I'd gotten a new chocolate lab lady and how scared she is. Well now that I've had her a while I've learned just how badly abused she was and have developed a plan to get her past it.

Hickory wasn't only neglected and malnourished. She's been de-barked and obviously beaten. The difference in her in just this short time of having decent amounts of good food is encouraging. She's gained weight and has bonded well with Bella and Chip, so there's a lot of play going on between them.

The hard part is getting her to trust humans. I took her collar off and turned her loose in a 32' x32' run and figured I'd just wait for her to decide to come to me... so until today she's avoided human contact all together. Today I went out with treats as usual and sat on the ground petting and handing out treats to Chip and Bella. I could see Hickory wanted to approach me, but she would get within a couple of feet and panic, spinning away and pacing. Finally she went into the dog house, so I stood near the opening handing out treats to the other 2 and occasionally tossed one inside to her.

Finally I stuck my hand inside the dog house and held a treat for her to see and she inched forward and gently took it from my hand. After a couple like this, she stuck her head out of the dog house and let me scratch her neck and ears. She even licked my fingers a bit. I was SO excited! Her tail was wagging and she was finally coming to me.

I know it's going to take a lot more time to get her to trust me, but I just had to share my excitement.
She still has some filling out to do, but this is how she looked today.
 

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OMG I'm sitting here crying, how can anyone debark a dog and abuse ooooooooooo dont get me started, they shoud be drawn and quartered :evil: !

I'm so glad Hickory has someone to love her and give her such a good home, bless you Tink for taking her in
 

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Tink
What a wonderful story. She is so lucky to have found you!!!
I agree with Mary, I have no use for people who abuse animals
I would string them up and not think anything about it.
I have a handful of cats with me who were abused and it is just
sickening that somebody can do this to such trusting kind creatures.
Thank God that most animals through love and kindness can be brought
back and learn to trust again...............
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Megan for the sake of not making you physically ill, I won't go into details; but it's intentionally destroying the vocal chords so the dogs bark is much quieter. In her case, it sounds like she's got laryngitis. She still makes a noise, but it's sure isn't a typical lab bark. Since she'd not had vet care, not even so much as a rabies vaccine that anyone knows of, I doubt it was done by a vet.
 

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Tink, in a too often horrible world, you are a ray of sunshine and hope. Bless you for all your caring and for taking in such a beautiful little soul!! Sorry to be so sappy, but you got me all teary again....darn you!!

Hickory looks wonderful and with your help is going to have a great life now!!
 

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Its sad when a dog is abused and the thought of debarking is horrible!

TINK keep up the great work so Hickory once again learn that there is trust and love available without any abuse.
 

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My heart fell. I am sad she was treated so badly but I am very glad you found her. She will come around. She is beautiful.
 

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Oh Tink, Hickory's story made me cry. I thank God you have found her and she will have such a loving, understanding forever home. You are an angel!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks all, I knew you'd understand my excitement. :lol:

I've discovered Hickory likes onion and garlic potato chips and fig newtons. I've been cleaning out the stuff that got pushed to the back of my pantry so use it as treats for the dogs. LOL They don't care if the chips are a bit stale... they just love the fact that someone is out there feeding them by hand.

I got Hickory to lick the salt off my fingers again tonight, and her tail was thumping against the inside of the dog house when I talked to her. She did come out again after that and was bouncing around like a pup inviting me to play, but kept her distance while she did it. When I spoke to her her tail would wag and she's looking at me more each day rather than hiding her eyes.

She's acting excited now when I come out rather than just worried, so she's trying... even as scared as she obviously is, she's shown no aggression or threat to keep me away. I find that very encouraging, as many dogs will bite out of fear that don't otherwise... but she doesn't seem to even consider it. SO I think the good personality is there... just buried behind the fear. I just have to help her to relax and let that shine through.
 

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Great news Tink!!!
Special food works like magic! Especially from the hands of the "Alpha Dog" of the family! :D
Would Laying down on the ground entice her to come to you?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Judi, I sit on the ground, but the run she's in also has Bella and Chip in it, so it's really hard to get them to leave me alone long enough to focus on her. Once I get on the ground they're both right on top of me licking and making sure they get as much of my attention as possible. While she really enjoys their company, they do complicate this process a bit. I do think though that her seeing how much they love and trust me is probably good for Hickory to witness. Neither of them has the slightest fear of me, and both will cuddle as close to me as they can get while i"m seated out there. Often they're struggling to push each other off my lap. :lol: Did I mention I have a dog wardrobe that I save for just when I'm out playing with them?

We're planning to add more runs very soon, so when they're up I will be able to take the other 2 out while I concentrate on her... but right now I think she'd be stressed if I DO concentrate on her individually. I purposely act very nonchalant about her coming near me or not. I leave the choice strictly up to her and I offer her treats or occasionally speak to her, like I do the other 2, but if she doesn't respond I just let it go. She's definitely interested... gets a bit closer to me each day; but I'm afraid if I put any stress on her yet she will regress. She has tried sneaking up behind me to sniff me, and I pretended not to notice. Laying down out there now would probably result in the other 2 laying on me. LOL
 

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Tink, it's probably good for her to have Bella and Chip with her - maybe it helps her to not feel so alone, I'd say with what progress you've made already, she is gonna thrive on the attention of you and Bella and Chip
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks all
We took the other 2 dogs out of the run tonight so I could just sit in there with Hickory and see how she'd react. She ended up coming to me several times out in the open to take treats out of my hand; licked my fingers shyly; and let me pet her head and neck quite a few times. She would then trot away and pace a bit before coming back for more. She decided getting her ears rubbed was nice. :D

So slowly but surely she's improving a little more each day. My youngest dd, who is like snow white with most critters (she absolutely attracts them) went in and tried to make friends but Hickory wasn't having any of that.
 
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