From Feral to Forever
The Lexington Humane Society is fortunate enough to be able to help the animals of Lexington, Kentucky as well as animals outside of Lexington. Animals can find themselves at LHS one of three ways: coming in as strays or owner surrenders from our partner organization, or from another animal welfare organization.
In June of 2019, a hoarding case in Ashland, Kentucky was brought to the attention of LHS. An upwards of 30 dogs were found in unsafe conditions. We, of course, answered the call for help. Six dogs – Montana, Kentucky, Colorado, Georgia, Dakota, and Oberon – were brought to our facility for a second chance at life. It’s very common for animals from hoarding cases to be uncomfortable with humans. The changes they face can be terrifying for them, and their prior lifestyles negatively impact their socialization skills. However, the dogs involved in this hoarding case were more than fearful and unsocial. They were feral, not unlike a feral cat. They had never worn collars or walked on leashes. They had never had the chance to exist in a home or experience a relationship with humans.
Our staff was hard at work to meet the challenges these dogs faced head-on. We were going to figure this out together. Our Train-A-Bull Specialist pored over behavioral research and spent hours a day working on socialization skills so these dogs could become used to human touch, could become comfortable enough to eat food in front of us, could become comfortable enough to make eye contact with humans, to feel brave enough to not hide under their beds.
We determined that for them to be most successful in their new homes, we would have to establish some ground rules. All of these dogs needed to be adopted into a home with a confident and dog-friendly dog sibling who could bridge the gap in communication between them and their humans. This dog would teach the one from the hoarding case how to be a dog. They were flight risks, so they needed to go to a home that had a securely fenced yard so there was no chance of them escaping leashes. They needed families who were understanding of the information we could provide and willing to commit to the uncertainty of their ability to be as “normal” and socialized as possible.
We’re thrilled to report that all of these dogs have been adopted into their forever homes! Teddy’s (formerly known as Kentucky) family writes, “Hi! We just wanted to drop a quick note and thank you on our boy Teddy (previously known as Kentucky). He’s doing great, learning to come and making great progress in potty training, and has made himself at home! He loves car rides, walks, and his big fur brother Baron. We know you guys worked hard with him to find his forever home, and we appreciate all you do and we love him dearly! Sincerely, The Joiners”
These dogs have demonstrated to us that “normal” looks different for everyone, and investing in the health and happiness of others is a tremendous reward. Donate today to help your Lexington Humane Society invest in and change the lives of animals like Teddy, Montana, Colorado, Georgia, Dakota and Oberon!