Day 21, Gratitude for Little LuLu –the Survivor

LuLu at the vet wearing her nervous smile.

LuLu at the vet wearing
her nervous smile.

Lulu is a lesson in survival. While Tala and Mukki are rescues, their history is a mystery. Both were rescued and little is known about their past lives. Lulu was part of a large, public rescue in Denver, NC. She weighed 25 pounds and unknown to everyone was a few days pregnant. She’d been bred nonstop for five years and showed obvious signs of malnutrition. Her legs are very short, she is unable to mush with the other dogs, even though her heart is in it, she can’t keep up. She can only mush with Tala, an experience best described as mushing with a large, stubborn hog.

Lulu has been traumatized, when the authorities entered the property Lulu was in an outdoor space, the size of a crate full of mud with no food and only puddles for drinking. An old metal barrel was being used for shelter. I knew that when I agreed to foster that we’d probably end up keeping which ever dog I brought home. I had my heart set on two large red Siberians, since my dear husband was competing in local dry mushing competitions, this would work out best. I walked towards the two reds, escorted by a rescue volunteer, when I felt something. I was drawn to a crate with a dog cowering in the back. The girl told me that they hadn’t been able to process this one, since no one could get her out of the crate.

A little mud never hurt a lady

A little mud never hurt a lady

I looked longingly at the two big reds awaiting me and sighed. I squatted down onto my heels and looked into the crate. There an incredibly dirty dog cowered and returned my gaze, she shivered and yawned -both signs of fear. I asked the girl to open the crate and she reminded me that the dog will not come out. I smiled back at her and said it was okay. I crawled inside. My plan was to bring the dog out, so she could be processed but she used some sort of Jedi mind trick on me. I attached the lead to her collar and made a clicking sound in my mouth, like one does with horses. I said “Come on.” and I crawled out. She resisted being pulled out. “See!” the girl said with vindication. I ignored her and turned to walk away. I made the clicking sound, started walking and the little dog scurried out to join me.

She exhibits many odd and dysfunctional behaviors, perhaps her oddest is completely submerging her head underwater. She likes to dig in a stream’s sandy bottom and then dip her head in and out. It took five years for her to allow us to touch her and often she will give us a look that makes us feel as though we’d touched her inappropriately. But, even allowing us to pat her is a big hurdle. The only time she forgets her reticence is when I’m in the kitchen, she knows that I will give her a treat. Siberian huskies have no willpower when it comes to treats. Other breeds that respond to treats as rewards in training often will continue without treats, not Sibes! It’s treats now and treats forever! So, while Lulu might be emotionally scarred for the rest of her life, she has a lifetime of liver treats and nibbles from the table to sooth her soul!