Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two of the Missouri 500: Update on Sophie and Kiva

Sophie and Kiva are two of the girls from the Missouri 500 dogfighting bust that occurred last summer. They’ve been with me for almost six months now and are fabulous little girls!

Kiva came first. She was so shy that when she came out of her crate, she would lay flat on the ground, licking her lips and wagging just the tip of her tail. She will always bear the physical scars of dog bites, but the emotional scars are just about gone! She’s learned a lot in the last six months: how to live in a house, how NOT to potty in the house, and, yes, even how to sneak up on the couch when mom isn’t looking! Her sable coat is soft as velvet and her sweet eyes will melt your heart. When I watch her racing around the yard, playing with her friends or her flirt pole or rolling in the grass snorting in pleasure in the spring sun, I can’t imagine her previous life on a chain in the dirt. Dogs are fortunate that they live in the moment; I can’t imagine she will ever forget her beginnings, but they are obviously only very distant memories now.

Sophie was released from the St. Louis shelter about a month after Kiva was and has been with me for just over 5 months now. She doesn’t have the physical scars that Kiva has, but her emotional scars run much deeper.

Sophie came to me scared of everything—she could barely come out of her crate on her own power and would constantly run back to it
as her only safe place. After a few days, she was able to come out into the bedroom her crate was in, but no further. She would stand in the doorway looking out as I called and encouraged her and then dash back to her crate and sit there waiting for me to come into her room and pet her. I started tossing cookies on the floor to get her to venture out of her safe zone, gradually getting her to chase the cookies into new rooms of the house. After a couple months, she had conquered the upstairs but was too terrified to venture downstairs, and she would always dash back to her crate when something startled her.

Housebreaking is hard when the outside world is full of scary noises, sights, and sounds! It took months before I could stop carrying her outside several times a day and even now she has moments when she needs that boost again. After about four mo
nths, she finally gained the confidence to tackle the basement. It took a few weeks of starts and stops, but now she plays downstairs like a pro, doing zoomies around and around the playroom. She is working on the backyard now and most days can play outside with Kiva but will still have moments of that crushing fear that causes her to run for the door again.

Both of these girls are available for adoption and would make for wonderful dogs in a home where they are the only dog or living with a compatible male. They are both great with confident kitties, but timid kitties would be overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. If there are children in the house, it would be best if they were older—although both Kiva and Sophie are tiny, they are solid and could knock the little ones down. Both would love to have a fenced back yard to play safely in—especially Sophie, as she’s just not ready to go for regular walks in public yet.

You can find more information on these girls at and

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