Senior dog spends record time at shelter

Submitted by the Animal Protection Society – Friday harbor

APS-FH shelter dog, Libby, has been in rescue care for almost eight years; three of which have been spent here with us.

Eight years, let that sink in… It’s hard to wrap your mind around the amount of time that this sweet soul has spent living in a stressful shelter environment without a family or person to call her own. Libby was originally adopted directly to a family on San Juan Island by a rescue in Mexico where she had lived for almost five years. Not much is known about Libby’s history prior to her arrival on San Juan Island. Her Island adopters were an active family, and Libby, a sensitive girl, likely found herself over-stimulated in that environment. One of the symptoms that arose was her fearfulness towards men. Unfortunately, due to her reactivity to a male member of her adoptive family, Libby was surrendered to APS-FH just after a couple of days in their care, marking her return to the shelter system.

Since her surrender, Libby has been under our care for an additional three years. Over this time, she has become a favorite among staff and volunteers alike, continually surprising us with her growth and delighting us with her quirky personality and newfound interests. Libby easily captures hearts with her lopsided ears, crooked face, sideways body launches, and joyful buckin’-bronco-roos. She forms bonds with those she trusts, displaying affection through dancing, prancing, bowing, seeking belly rubs, and giving soft fuzzy kisses.

There has been lots of interest in Libby over the years, including two short-lived adoptions but she has been returned each time due to her reactions towards men. Libby’s fears and stressors can lead to what is referred to as ‘trigger stacking,’ where multiple stressors can cause her to become reactive.

To ensure her success in a home environment, it will be important for Libby to be given time and a protected space in which to decompress from her years in the shelter system and adjust to all the changes, before working on socializing and building trust – particularly with male individuals. Libby is fully capable of having male friends, in fact, she has many whose company she enjoys, but she learned to trust them in an environment where she felt safe and secure.

While at APS-FH, Libby is engaged in developing coping skills and enhancing her daily routine through activities like playing with her favorite toys, going on field trips to explore the shores and nature trails, and interacting with other canine companions. Additionally, we’re helping Libby prepare for life beyond the shelter by focusing on socializing with men, mastering “leave it,” improving her recall, and other essential skills.

An ideal home for Libby would be with someone dedicated to continuing her force-free training under the guidance of a professional trainer, with support from the shelter. Although she can be selective about her dog friends, Libby has a soft spot for young pups and serves as a ‘nanny dog’ at the shelter. However, due to her insecurities, we believe she would thrive best as the only pet in a home where she can feel secure and loved.

Every dog deserves the love and companionship of a forever home, and we are committed to finding Libby the perfect match. She has an abundance of love to give and is eagerly waiting to share it with someone who will cherish her. Though she may require a little extra time and patience, the rewards of welcoming Libby into your life are boundless – filled with entertainment, laughter, joy, and, of course, those soft fuzzy kisses.

Contributed photo
Even snow doesn’t slow Libby down.

Contributed photo Even snow doesn’t slow Libby down.