Sunday, March 3, 2013

Meet Cheeks!

We have decided to become a foster family for this sweet girl!

Her name is Cheeks, and she is a 2 year old Staffordshire Terrier/Shepherd, possibly Boxer mix as far as they can guess. We don't know a whole lot about her, but we do know she was found by a woman at a gassing shelter in Georgia. The woman brought her to Michigan where she found out that Cheeks was expecting puppies! She fostered her until her puppies were born and weaned, and they have all been adopted through a shelter in Grand Rapids. The woman couldn't keep her any longer so she was given to a rescue group in the Detroit area.
Whew! This girl has covered a lot of ground!
We applied to be her foster family and the next day I got a call telling me I could pick her up from the local vet where she had just been spayed. So off we went to meet this little girl and bring her home.

She is a pretty timid, submissive dog so we have been working on her confidence. Each day she comes out of her shell more and we get to see how sweet and silly she really is. She is a total love bug who loves a good snooze on the couch (she even snores!):

She wasn't too sure about getting a bath the other day...what a sad doggy face! :)
She walks really well on the leash, although she is still unsure of loud noises on the road and people walking around. She bumps against my leg periodically as we walk for a little reassurance that everything is alright.

She doesn't really know how to play, and has no interest in balls or chew toys yet. But she will run and jump with me in the yard a few times when we go out in the backyard. I have to initiate the play though, she is still unsure how to do that on her own.
We're working on her basic commands, and she is quite smart. She wants to please, although when she doesn't want to follow a command, she will flop down belly up, being submissive and looking darn cute in the process. Little stinker. :)

We discovered that she had some separation anxiety, particularly with me. When I would leave the room or the house she would either immediately follow me, or whine that she couldn't get to me. The first few times we left the house, she was a mess, and caused a mess. She urinated on the carpet and damaged a door trying to open it. The rescue group brought us a crate for her, and we tried that, although it was rough goign for the first couple of days.
Turned out that she hadn't been crate trained before we got her, and the first few times she was in the crate she tried to dig her way out. Once I found out that she hadn't had any crate training, it made sense why she panicked the first few times she was in there. But we have worked on that, giving her meals in the crate, nights in the crate, and short periods of crate time during the day when we are home (kind of like "tummy time" for babies), so that she learns it's not a scary place to be. A few days in, and this is how she reacts to the crate now:

She still isn't thrilled when I leave the house and will still whine, but she doesn't urinate on her bedding anymore, and only messed up the blanket with a few swipes of the paw at the door before she settles down.

She's awesome with kids. That was one of the requirements I had about taking her. We had friends over for Oscar Night and had a total of 6 kids in the house, from a crawler just a year old to Davin who is 7. We had only had her 2 days at that point and she was great with all of them.

She also couldn't care less about the cats. The kitties, however, weren't as convinced. Noodle (my tuxedo cat) settled in after a couple days, but Jewel (above) is still a little unsure about it all. Neither cat is afraid of Cheeks (or any dog for that matter), and in fact Jewel stepped right in to show the dog who was boss. Poor Cheeks ran into her by accident and came out of it with two small scratches and a piece of a cat nail in her muzzle. Needless to say, she gives Jewel wide berth now! But Jewel officially came out of hiding after 5 days of self imposed solitary confinement in the basement (beyond a head poking out of the cat door to give a hiss or a growl if the dog walked by). I think her need for attention finally won out. lol

Who wouldn't fall in love with this sweet face? We've been asked a lot if we are going to adopt her. At this point I can't say yes. She's an awesome dog and will be a great pet for a family, but I also know that at this point, she is such a submissive dog, that I think a family with another calm, stable dog would be so good for her. She could learn a lot from another dog; how to play, how to keep her anxiety down, etc. Without trying to sound like the Dog Whisperer, I really think she would benefit from a "pack". She looks to me as the leader (smart girl! lol) which I think is why she gets upset when I leave. I would love to see her as happy and comfortable with any person as she is with me. Hopefully we will keep helping her move forward, to fulfill her true potential, and if that happens I will be so proud to see her with the perfect family who will love her as she deserves to be loved.


  1. It was great meeting Cheeks! She's adorable! She wasn't too sure about us when we came over for the Oscars but she was quiet and stayed calm. I think she would be a great family pet. She's becoming pretty attached to you guys and I think the kids and you are too becoming attached to her. ;0) If you can't keep her, I hope she finds a home soon! She's such a nice dog!

  2. Poor Cheeks! She has been through a lot. No telling what she experienced before making her way to you. Blessings to you and your family for taking such good care of her. Best wishes, Tammy