This cute pup is Susie. She is a 1-year-old Cockapoo (cocker spaniel x poodle) with curly, cream hair. Susie is approximately 20 pounds and would be considered a medium-sized dog. She is loyal and fun-loving which makes her a good companion for many activities.

Susie spent her entire life in a puppy mill. The puppy mill’s intentions were to have her bred and profit from her puppies eventually. The Parvo Virus went through the mill and this is when Susie’s life changed for the better – she was able to escape that terrible place because the mill decided to clear out their dogs. Luckily, Susie did not get the Parvo Virus and was able to join us shortly after she was rescued. At the puppy mill, she spent most of her time in a barn inside a small pen. For the first few days, Susie was very uncomfortable in her new space, it was so different from what she had been in before. She slowly began to show us that she had a playful side and we see that daily now – she loves to show us her zoomies after supper.

Susie went to the vet and had her spay surgery. The vet mentioned a small heart murmur that would be something to keep an eye on, but it is not a problem right now. Susie also tested positive for Anaplasmosis (a heartworm/tick-born parasite), but with oral medication treatment, this was treated. Susie was also groomed and this made a world of difference (you can preview her before picture on the Pound Dog Rescue Instagram or Facebook page). Susie was so matted that she had to be taken down to a very short coat, but her curls should grow back nicely. She seems so much happier and is better able to jump, run, and pounce.

When Susie joined our home, she was so scared of everything, especially the outside. Since she was so scared, she would hold her pee for over 15 hours, refusing to go outside. We would spend hours outside, hoping that she would go to the bathroom outside. After a week of this persistence, she finally went outside and began to relax. When she is taken outside, regularly, she will go and usually doesn’t have an accident inside. We won’t say ‘never’ because she is still learning, but accidents do not very often anymore.

After having Susie for a couple of weeks, we took her on a road trip to a cottage. She was nervous in the car, but crating her was very helpful. Susie loves her crate and since day one has slept an entire night. She will be fine to spend her day in a crate as well if her adopters work out of the home. Susie will need to be crated in her future home when left alone to decrease the anxiety of living in a new environment. The crate was a big step to helping her become comfortable and since she still has puppy tendencies, you can keep track of her more that way.

Susie is very treat-motivated. With the love of treats, she has been able to learn a few tricks like, ‘sit’, ‘down’, ‘spin’, and we are currently teaching ‘heal’ and ‘wait’. Being in a pen for most of her life, Susie had never encountered stairs. This was one challenge that she took on and it is safe to say, she has mastered the stairs. Sometimes she will be so excited to go outside that she jumps up two stairs. Susie’s new family will need to commit to continuing her obedience training to bring out the best in her.

When we began to take Susie to different places, we quickly realized that she is considered a ‘reactive dog’ as she frightens easily by unexpected noises or fast moving things.  When Susie is placed in a situation or hears a noise that she thinks is threatening, she will immediately bark, sometimes growl out of fear, and/or pee. The peeing does not happen often anymore. Some of her fears are hearing the jingling of collars outside, people entering the house, loud shrieks of children playing, dogs that are larger than her, and people that seem to ‘appear out of nowhere’ on walks. Appropriate socialization with new friends and new adventures would help Susie overcome a lot of these fears that she has. When Susie meets other small dogs, it is important to ensure that she does not meet on a leash. When she meets a small dog on a leash, it forces her to meet them face-to-face, which is very intimidating. Rather, we ask the owners of the small dogs we meet to take a short walk with us. This gives Susie an opportunity to smell the dog in a natural setting and a fun walk. After this initial meeting, she is usually happy to see the dogs again. Given this information, Susie would love to be the only dog in a home, or live with another small dog to help her learn.  Susie also needs to live in a quiet, rural area or small town or very quiet neighbourhood. She is not suitable for city living with all the traffic, people and noises.  She also would not do well in apartment building living where she would have to encounter busy lobbies and hallways, and elevators. But she could live in an apartment that was part of a house, or a townhouse style condo, semi-detached or a detached home.  A secure fenced in yard would be a nice asset for Susie but not a necessity. But if the yard is not fenced she will need to be taken out on leash every single time as she will never be a dog that can be trusted to be off leash outside of a secure fenced area. Her adopters need to fully understand this.  Susie startles easily and when scared will bolt. So she can NEVER be trusted to be off leash and also is not a dog that can be tied up in the yard unattended.  She needs to be supervised when outside at all times to ensure her safety.

Susie can be a sweet, cute, and energetic dog. She loves finding anything small to chew on. This being said, Susie needs to be supervised when she is out of her crate. Dog toys usually keep her pretty happy, but she will find anything that will satisfy this need to chew (she doesn’t chew on furniture). As Susie matures, this need to chew on different items in the house will diminish. We just have to be extra careful right now. Susie loves getting affection from us and will often join us on the couch for some cuddles at night. She has now begun to roll on her back for belly rubs, which we love. Something that we have loved about Susie since day one was how she laid on her stomach. She will initially lie on the floor like a normal dog and then dramatically push her legs out into a frog position. She can be such a quirky dog sometimes.

When Susie thinks we are going on a walk, she will bolt up the stairs. We have been working on ‘wait’ at the door and this should come soon. On walks, Susie has her tail up high (which was the complete opposite behaviour a couple of weeks ago, when it was between her legs the moment we went outside). She is so happy to be walking and smelling all the smells that she missed out on. Susie does pull on her leash, so a short leash and being walked at your side is what she benefits from. She also needs lots of treats and encouragement to follow. As she begins to get used to her surroundings she should begin to relax and not have to smell EVERY blade of grass 🙂

Since Susie is young, she has some puppy tendencies and will chase small objects like leaves rolling by, birds, squirrels, or sometimes cars. She needs a martingale collar for safety when walking her, as those types of objects can be very unpredictable and we wouldn’t want an accident. We have not introduced her to cats, but my prediction is that she would do the same ‘pouncing’ action to a cat. Susie would probably appreciate a home that does not have cats living there too.

Susie would love to join an active family that can take her on longer walks. She loves smelling different smells and is just enjoying her new life. Often on her walks, she will find a small stick and carry it for a short time on the walk – she’s such a funny dog!  We try to give Susie two or three, 20, or 30-minute walks, and we usually do a couple of longer 1-hour walks on the weekends. Susie has been introduced to children and due to her reactiveness; she needs a quiet, adult-only home, to ensure patience is used around Susie, as she is still nervous. She is also a flight risk dog and would bolt out a door or gate left ajar so again, an adult only home with people very attuned to keeping her safe and secure is required.  A home where children visit often will not be suitable either.  For the occasional visiting child she could be crated when they are over for her safety and security.

One thing that we love about Susie is how excited she gets when she is fed. She is so happy wagging her tail while running backward, then forwards, then back again, and even throwing in a small spin. With all the excitement around mealtime, Susie is not possessive of her food. We have been working on waiting for her food and hopefully will have made some gains in this area. Being treat motivated and smart helps her catch onto these small routines quickly. Susie eats twice a day and her eating times are flexible. She currently eats dry food.

Susie is such a sweet, loving, playful, and fun pup. She deserves the best owner or family that will give her the attention she wants and needs. Susie is such a joy to have around our house and although we are sad to see her go, we are so excited for her to find her forever home to share her affection.