JOSEY “Wags” AB#16-152


Josey with child

Josey "come"

Josey "sit"

Gender: Female
Age: 6 years DOB: 03-09-2011
Size/Weight: Petite/33 pounds
Color: Mainly white with black ticking, some soft brown ticking on face and legs, one black ear.
Breed: English Setter

Socialization/training: Very comfortable with people in all settings: recognizes her name and “sit”, “come” commands. Respects household rules.* Happy car passenger; handles bath, vet, groomer, etc, with no fuss. Popular “therapy dog.”

Good with Children: Yes. She visits neighborhood children and is patient and gentle with everyone. My ten year old neighbors walk her often. She hasn’t been exposed to children younger than four years old while in our care.

Good with Dogs: No. Josey does not attack other dogs, but turns sharply on those who approach her. I believe her deafness contributes to this, as other dogs often approach from behind and startle her. She tolerates visits and double leashed walks with her foster cousins, but will not share her food or bed. She needs training to reinforce proper behavior when meeting other dogs.

Good with Cats: Yes. I thought her prey drive would be a problem, but she repeatedly ignored the giant kitty we visited for her cat test. (To be fair, the cat is the size of a space ship, and I avoided it, too.)

Good with other critters: No. Josey shook a cute guinea pig named Bunny in her first foster home, and Bunny died.
One reason Josey was rejected by her adoptive household is because she was “worrying the neighbor’s chickens.” (As if chickens don't have enough to worry about? They're in every 3rd recipe!)

House trained: Yes! Josey was the most difficult dog I’ve ever house trained. She arrived to bitter cold here and perhaps saw no reason to go outside when the indoor facilities were so cozy. We would not make her available for adoption until she mastered this, and she HAS! Two full weeks dry and clean!

Crate trained: She uses her open crate as a nap/hangout/snack shack and spends plenty of time in it, but please don't close the door. She frets if she can’t be near her people, will bark and slobber up a mess. If she must be confined, a few squirts of cold water will stop the barking. Nothing stops the slobbering.

Leash trained: Yes. Gets most of her exercise on leash. Stands calmly at a stop, but may pull moving forward (Squirrel!). Frequent direction change reminds her to stay with you. She’s a happy girl on her leash. She relieves herself in the yard between walks on a 20 foot lead tied to the door.

Activity Level: Moderate: 1-2 robust daily walks- (hike on a long lead, supervised roaming in a fenced yard)). Josey is always eager to head out for a walk or jog, but not suited for serious running. If she overexerts herself, she gets stiff and a bit wobbly. She’s a “window hunter” and a frequent napper indoors.

Fence: Preferred, not required. Invisible fencing may work out in the future using vibration instead of sound cues, but should be at least 6 months down the road.. Josey should always be leashed and carefully supervised outdoors. A long lead will allow her to trot, sweep, search, and get comfortable with her new surroundings. She is used to long walks in this fashion, 1- 4 miles, as often as possible. She sometimes roams loose in a fenced nature area, but returns quickly to
me. She did fair with the tiny bit of off-leash recall I tried, but her deafness is too big of an obstacle at this point to risk losing visual contact.

Socialization/training: When Josey arrived to our foster care, she viewed “indoors” as “outdoors” in every respect, did not respond to her name or commands, and hated to be alone. Now she can stay home by herself, and happily accompanies me (foster mom) wherever dogs are permitted and a few places they usually are not.

She recognizes her name sign (the ASL/American Sign Language letter “J”) and will “come” or follow me if I pat my side a couple times (ASL for “dog”) She knows the ASL sign for “sit” and will obey for a treat. She is working on “down” and knows to “stop” at a room entrance if I put my hand out stiffly in front of me, palm toward her. Structured obedience training will access/sharpen more basic commands, but she has made a good start and proven herself trainable.

Josey is learning to be independent. We practice separating, and she now watches departures and arrivals from the window without getting worked up. She has earned our trust to roam the first floor while we are at work, with one exception: *Josey can’t resist feather-filled furnishings. She knows she’s not allowed on furniture, but the call of feathers incites her to pounce on and claw through our down couch pillows until the area looks like a chicken slaughterhouse. She is now banned from the living room until the end of time. Aside from that couch (my favorite. :)) and randomly chewing through a vacuum cord her first week, she’s caused no damage and has become a pleasure to share our home with.

Behavior: Sweet, calm, watchful indoors; alert, ready to explore outdoors; tail always wagging. She is naturally gentle and never pushes with her head or body or jumps up on people. Her comforting presence has made her a very popular “therapy dog” at our local nursing home. She wags her tail constantly, and her striking markings command attention
everywhere we go. 

Josey wants to be near us at all times, but accepts that she’s not welcome in the upstairs rooms. If I’m in the kitchen, she settles in her open crate within view. She rests on a mini trampoline in the den to keep her foster dad company. (Watch for our decorating style to be featured in an upcoming House & Garden!) She’ll snooze in her big bed in our family room if we’re in there, and after a few deep snuffles outside the bedroom door at bedtime, curls up in her bed on the landing and sleeps until morning. .

Medical History: In very good health. Up to date on all vaccines, heartworm negative, spayed, & microchipped.
Primarily deaf, some arthritis.

Josey had large benign tumors removed from a rear leg and her tummy. The tummy sutures ruptured and were repaired, leaving her with an extra handful of tissue hanging down. Her coat completely masks this; she actually appears more deep chested than she is.

She trembles when she’s cold, nervous, or overtired, sometimes wobbling right over. Our vet thinks this is related to mild osteoarthritis, and recommends condroitin/glucosamine, which we haven’t started. Josey began a daily capsule of fluoxetine (canine prozac) 4 weeks ago, and has become a calm, happy dog. This can be discontinued when she settles into a stable environment.

Foster Comments: Josey, aka “The Outlaw Josey Wags” came to rescue last Thanksgiving as a stray in rural South
Carolina. Above and Beyond English Setter Rescue sponsored surgery, spaying, vaccinations, and dental cleaning, plus follow-up surgery to repair ripped stitches, and Josey (then Mayflower) traveled to her first foster home. She stayed just a short time before unforeseen issues bumped her to a second foster family. It was in this busy Georgia home filled with lots of kids and animals that Josey dispatched Bunny, the unfortunate guinea pig. She was adopted by a nice man soon after, but returned when he realized she was “not housebroken, destructive, would not come when called,” and spent her first hours digging out of his yard to go “worrying the neighbor’s chickens.” Around this point it was discovered that she couldn’t hear.

In 12 weeks, she had been through two shelters, 3 vet clinics, many surgeries, 2 foster homes, adopted and unadopted, and was in urgent need of a new foster family. With murder and chicken shenanigans on her rap sheet, nobody was in a hurry to take in our deaf, shaky, house soiling, anxious little bandit.

Lucky for Josey, the phenomena I call "Foster Hero Fantasy" kicked in! It’s when fosters believe that we, alone, are inexplicably equipped to transform a rogue pup into an outstanding canine civilian. We’re certain the poor dog just needs the RIGHT handler to reverse the bad path they’ve chosen. Josey’s deafness added richness to my usual FHF. I
would be Annie Sullivan to her Helen Keller, pry open rusted shutters of communication. Josey would master 40 signs in 40 minutes like a dog I saw on the internet, and become the darling of the local deaf community. We would tour schools, meet Ellen DeGeneres, link a worldwide community of deaf rescue dogs…!

You can laugh, but I’m pretty sure a lot of dogs get out of shelters based on similar delusions. It did not work out that way. Josey found herself 50 degrees fahrenheit from the warm world she knew. Instead of thanking us for our help, she urinated and defecated in every room she could, every chance she could. She barked at night in the crate, but if we let her out she clawed at the bedroom door. She popped up on the furniture and went bird-hunting in our couch. I plugged the vacuum in one day; it didn’t work. The cord was chewed through. I’d be sitting typing an update about her to the rescue, and she’d squat and make a puddle right next to me, wagging her tail. She had me in tears.

3 weeks in, Josey caught on to me signing her name, connected it to incoming bologna cubes, and started watching me more. This was our “moment at the well,” - quite exciting! She figured out the potty deal, fell into a comfy routine, and basically relaxed. I took her to the nursing home where my mother is staying and she made everyone happy, so I kept taking her back. We spend hours there, and Josey stays quietly at my feet while I visit my mom, then trots brightly in and out of rooms to cheer up her “regulars.” She is sweet, gentle and patient with everyone.

She really is a great dog. Josey needs a family who will celebrate her special gifts and give her lots of double thumbs up, her sign for “well done.” More than a big fenced yard, she needs patient, loving and expressive guidance. No special skills are required, just a positive attitude and cheerful consistency. She will respond to your love and attention in equal measure, and learn as much as you’ll teach her. She’ll be wagging her tail the whole time.

Adoption fee: $300.00

Foster location: Clarence, NY
In most cases volunteer transport is available for your adopted dog to within 2 hours of your home.


CRIME SCENE: Feather filled red couch