Occasionally, Much Love has a dog who needs to try a few homes before he finds the right one. That was the case for Sylvester. This guy was found walking the streets of South Central. He ended up in a shelter, until Much Love rescued him. He was adopted out to two homes, but returned for showing some dog aggression. Poor Sylvester had all the bad luck in the world until one day, a sweet woman named Sasha was surfing the pages of Craiglist.
Sasha and her husband Nelson had just bought a home with a fully fenced-in backyard. They had noticed that their seven year old female Rottweiler seemed depressed and “like an old lady already”. She had no vivaciousness anymore….except when other dogs would come around. The couple went on a mission to find a friend for their little girl.
While surfing the Craigslist pets page, Sasha saw a picture of Sylvester with his head cocked to the side and lip curled under his teeth, wearing his “adopt me” bandanna. She made plans to come down that weekend to the Much Love adoption day. “One of the volunteers walked with us up and down Main Street,” says Sandra. “He was oblivious to all the people, skateboards, babies, bicycles and chaos. Santa Monica can be a pretty crazy place on Saturday afternoons.” She spent time with Sylvester, fell in love with him, and then had to say goodbye. She recalls, “I thought about him all night. It really broke my heart that he was not at our home with us. He was such a good dog, walking perfectly and trying so hard to be good.”
She told her husband that he needed to meet this guy. She informed Nelson about Sylvester’s history and his dog aggression issues…and yet he was still open to meeting him. Nelson recalls, “I still remember that day clearly even though it was almost 3 years ago now. A volunteer had brought him over to introduce the dogs and so I could meet him. I remember him hopping out of the SUV, looking at me, and then put his head down. I interpreted it as his way of saying, ‘oh no, not again.” That was when I decided that no matter what I was not going to give up on this dog… no matter what!”
Their home check was approved and the adoption was finalized. Sylvester, nicknamed Sly, had found himself a new home! It wasn’t easy at the beginning. There were some fights between the dogs. Nelson decided to find a dog trainer for Sly. He scoured the internet. Some of the trainers’ techniques sounded great, but some didn’t resonate with him at all. He felt that being aggressive to cure aggression didn’t sound like the answer. Nelson decided to start with crate training and techniques he learned from buying Season 1 of the Dog Whisperer. He was very firm with Sly and didn’t let him get away with anything. Nelson confesses he was discouraged by the rate of progress until he realized that you shouldn’t expect overnight results. Training continues throughout a dog’s entire life. He knew that he was doing everything he could for Sly.
Sasha says that “Nelson is mainly the trainer and the enforcer I am the one that tucks him in at night. It makes me so happy to know he’s sleeping in a clean bed with a full belly. I love that dog.” They both have a sense of pleasure in knowing that they rescued a dog from a rough life of abuse and starvation. Nelson says, “Now he gets top grade quality food and treats, a 2 mile walk every morning, sleeps inside, brushed twice a day and lots of love. After going through hell and back, Sly has finally made it to vacation.”
CHECK OUT SASHA’S BLOG FOR THE LATEST SYLVESTER NEWS!