These are not your average dogs that you see coming into the shelter to find their forever homes, these dogs are very special for one reason in common with each of them: all three dogs came in feral. This means they had little to no known contact with people, appearing as wild dogs.
Duke came to the shelter in September of last year, 2019. He was at Coconino Humane for almost a year before finding his forever home. When Duke came to us he was a terrified, food aggressive, and quite the wild dog to say the least. After months of training and hard work from staff, fosters, volunteers, and other dogs here at Coconino Humane, Duke learned how to walk on a leash and develop proper manners that a normal dog would have in a home. He is now happily adopted and living comfortably with a King Charles Spaniel companion, loving his life of being welcomed into a happy family.
Kai came in as an adult feral dog caught in a trap, trying to chew his way to escape as staff escorted him into the shelter. We couldn’t go in the kennel, give him attention, or give him new bedding because he would lunge upon entering. After a lot of hot dogs used to show him that the shelter is full of love and rewards, Kai finally warmed up to staff. He started learning how to walk on a leash; in fact he picked it up quickly! Over time he began greeting staff with a wagging tail and a smile and even began to enjoy group play time in the yard with other dogs here at the shelter. He has now been adopted into a wonderful home and has been learning how to be an inside dog and guard his yard from squirrels.
Hazel came to us in April as an adult feral like Kai. It was easy to tell that Hazel wanted to be loved but she was just too nervous and reserved to open her heart quite yet. Having lived on the reservation for most of her life as a wild dog where people were constantly trying to catch her, leashes terrified her. A man took her home after she was first caught, not knowing how wild she was, and she ended up jumping over his fence because she did not understand what it meant to be a part of a family. She then spent a few more weeks fending for herself. With the help of Northern Arizona Animal Search and Rescue and some above and beyond volunteers and staff members, Hazel learned that leashes may not be so bad after all! With the use of positive reinforcement, Hazel was walking on leash and approaching people in no time. She was paired up with Kai in her stay at the shelter and he helped teach her to walk nicely on leash. Hazel has been adopted into a wonderful home learning to coexist with a group of cats, and she finally understands the meaning of a loving family.
At Coconino Humane Association, we do our best to make sure that the animals in our care get the love, attention, and time that they need in order to find their forever homes. Even the wild ones who just need that extra helping hand to show them what love and trust is.