I kept volunteering at the shelter, and kept walking Zato.  But he was not impressed with being returned.  He was now in the little crate in what they called the grooming room, and usually the door was shut.  Zato isn’t a big barker, although he can join in on a good howl with the rest of them. I was walking towards the kennels one afternoon and passed the grooming room.  The door was barely open, maybe 3 inches, and the field of view was the front of his crate.  All I could see was one of Zato’s eyes, and it was right on me!  Then I heard him bark for the first time.  It was constant and frantic.  It sounded like he was saying GET! ME! OUT! OF! HERE!  And of course, that upset me.  I felt so much guilt for bringing him back. I also knew that as a bully boy, his days were numbered, and after reporting a bite (it was impossible to hide the bite on Richard’s arm), he now had two strikes against him.  The shelter manager really liked him, and I would later learn that he had been on the kill list more than once, but he was spared because she said she just couldn’t be in the room.

Meantime, we were analyzing what went wrong, and became determined to try again.  We didn’t know if they would let us have him again, but I put a bug in the shelter manager’s ear to let me know before they “did anything”.  Weeks passed and one Friday out of the blue I got a phone call.  The shelter manager simply said, “If you want him, you need to come right now.”  So I did, and brought him home for the second time.

The second time went much, much better.  We got it right and so did he!  Zato had been for a long drive on the way home, and then a long walk around the neighborhood and yard before we brought him in.  He took everything in and got to smell (and scent!) everything in the yard. Thatcher was inside.  Then he had some treats and we went in.  Thatcher was in another room with the door closed.   After he was completely relaxed, we asked him to go in the crate, which he did just fine with treats.  Then we let him sit a while and rest, and eventually we let Thatcher in the room. Then we ignored them both, turned on the tv and did whatever we would normally do.  They had a sniff and she walked away and he took a nap.  We worked with the crate for a few days.  Sometimes he was in there and sometimes she was in there for short periods of time. In the end, the crate was folded up and they were just fine.  They ate separately and slept separately for a while, until they got used to each other and he got used to us.  After that, it was smooth sailing :).   Thatcher Bugaboo passed away in 2009 at the age of 15, and she will always be my girl.

 NEXT POST:  Zato to the rescue, literally…