Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Service Dog who Wasn't

(Photo by April Taylor)

How To Kaylee

By Catherine Morgan and Friends

Kaylee’s Story

I have had the pleasure of working with Kaylee for most of the last year training her to be my service dog. But as the year has gone on, it has become clear that while Kaylee is the best dog a woman could ask for, she is the worst service dog. There is no way to explain how heartbroken I am about this. But, I have to rehome her. Thankfully, with the help of dear friends, Kaylee will be going home with you!

Kaylee (6 months old) spent some time with a friend before I was able to get her (Photo by Mary Zeman)
Kaylee came to the Morgan family via Craigslist, and some very determined friends. She was being sold by a family that thought she was “cute” only to find out that Huskies aren’t just pretty pictures. Originally, Kaylee was a pet store dog, meaning odds are good she also a puppy mill dog. When she came to live with me, she had ear infections in both ears, a UTI that had backed up into her kidneys, and no training at all. She was just 6 months old. Kaylee was not in good shape, but in true husky form, she was not going to be held back!

(Photo by Mary Zeman)
Those first months were hard for all of us. Mya, Kaylee’s predecessor, was very sick and dying. Kaylee was very sick and a puppy. And the whole family was packing up to move to someplace we had never seen before. But Kaylee faced it all with the courage only puppies know, and after months of vet visits, and lots of love, we all settled into a new routine. Kaylee’s training was coming along beautifully, and we all thought it would be smooth sailing until forever. And then it was time to walk Mya to the Rainbow bridge.

The loss of Mya so soon after the move was hard for all of us, but I think it hit Kaylee the hardest. For weeks she had trouble getting to sleep, she would track Mya’s smell looking for her, and Kaylee’s mentor was no longer there to explain to her how things worked for me. There was a lot of crying and yelling on all of our parts for the first month after Mya left us. But as winter turned into spring, we all got our smiles back, and Kaylee and I were able to start her service dog training in ernest. 

At a time when I couldn't feel comfortable anywhere, with anyone (even myself), or in any situation, I could connect and feel comforted by Kaylee. She is an absolutely magnificent animal, radiating such love, ease of being, and joy that it is almost palpable. ~Mandy Caughey (Kaylee’s best human friend) (Photo by April Taylor)
I don’t think Kaylee has a serious bone in her body. No, really. Given the choice between being a dignified service dog, and a goofy husky, Kaylee is always a husky first. It is this more than anything else that I love about her. Kaylee helps me smile no matter how low I am, and can pull me out of depressive states like none of her predecessors could. 

However, it is this exact same trait that is making her service dog training fail. You see, Kaylee wants to run and jump and play. But all of those things cause me great pain. I have been working with friends for months attempting to get her the activity she needs, but I’ve been failing her in this regard. The result has had tragic ends for several other creatures in my care, and it is breaking Kaylee. I can no longer pretend that I can give her the home she needs.

Because Kaylee has been passed around so much in the first year of her life, I know this change is going to be hard on her. So here are somethings you should know about Kaylee that will make life easier for everyone…

Kaylee’s Need To Know

Kaylee has all sorts of digestive issues, and gets diarrhea easily. A few tablespoons of yogurt a week makes her all better. Make sure you change her food very slowly. She is currently eating Wellness Simple Natural Limited Ingredient Dry Dog Food, and Wet Canned both in the lamb and oatmeal flavors. For treats we've tried everything you can imagine (from meats and cheeses to fruits and veggies, and every store made treat ever) and she likes just about everything. As long as she doesn't eat too many a day she's fine. 

She has MAJOR separation anxiety. She will chew everything she can get her mouth on if you leave her alone. She has a script for Xanax given by vet if you'd like to have it filled. 

“good girl” = general release. “lay down” = prone. “down” = get off of that thing you're on. “hup” = general jump term, WARNING! this is also used as a service dog term for pull hard. “bone down” = drop whatever you just put in your mouth. 

Kaylee takes her meds all by herself if they are put in spray cheese.

Kaylee thinks she a lap dog. You have been warned.

She passionately loves the water. Except when it dumps from the sky into her ears...but who can blame her.

She LOVES squeakers, but only because she can chew the squeaker out. I suggest the spiky balls and shapes if you want it to last more than 10 seconds. I'm sending her with what's left of her toys. May the force be with you.

She overheats easily, so easily in fact that it's uncomfortable for her to have beds or blankets in her crate. This works out well since if you leave blankets or beds in her crate, she shreds them the first time you leave her alone. So far though, she’s never eaten the pieces.

She will nap with you during the day, but is happiest sleeping in her crate at night. “Bedtime” tells her to go to her crate, and wait for a couple treats.

I have never had any problems with Kaylee and other dogs. In fact, she has made friends with several dogs in the neighborhood, at the dog park, and with my friends dogs

Kaylee and her very best friend in the whole world, Sirius. Believe it or not, these two pictures were taken 6 months apart. (Bottom Photo by Courtney Benjamin)
KAYLEE IS NOT GOOD WITH CATS OR SMALL DOGS. I cannot state this strongly enough. She will kill them if given half a chance, so don’t EVER leave her alone with them. She will actively try to tell you that it’s ok this time just for this couple minutes, it’s not. Don’t do it.

I call this, the stand off.

One Last Thing

My service dogs are the center of my Universe. Everything I am able to do is because I have them in my life. So having to let Kaylee go is to intentionally make myself non-functional. If I had any choices that would let me keep her, I would be taking them. For this reason, if you find that for whatever reason you can’t keep Kaylee, please contact me. There will be no questions, and no judgement. I only want what’s best for her.

Thank you so much for taking in my baby. I hope she brings you all the joy she has given me. ~Catherine Morgan

Bright eyed, bushy tailed, tongue lolling. Seriously, have you seen that tongue? This should be a car window decal for the new family. Kaylee loves life and is ready for anything and everything. And the next several things after that. She is the epitome of a husky with her eagerness, intelligence, and independence. "Love her but leave her wild". ~April Taylor (Picture by April Taylor)

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