Sylvia – Notes on a Foster Dog

Sylvia is one of many dogs taken to the Humane Society of Jefferson County after Animal Control removed them from a hoarding situation.  Most of them are Shar Pei mixes, as is Sylvia.  All of them exhibit some degree of fearfulness.  Some also get aggressive when scared. Sylvia was by far the worst and the staff at the Humane Society knew they were not equipped to work with a dog so fearful, so they appealed to Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue to help.  But not before she stole the hearts of the shelter staff.

Sylvia had recently given birth to a litter of puppies, which she lost due to her living conditions.  At the shelter, a litter of motherless pups were brought in and they tried giving them to Sylvia.  She eagerly adopted them and mothered them until weaned.  But she needed special accommodations because she was so protective she’d charge the fencing if any dog was walked by.  Once her foster mother duties were completed, she went into foster care herself.

Amy Huff was her first foster home and brought her a long ways from the terrified, aggressive dog she was.  But Sylvia needed more group interaction, so Amy began bringing Sylvie here to play in our yard, meet our dogs and to meet me.  That went well and after a few weeks of visits, Sylvie came here to live, and I’ve been working on socializing her further.

Sylvia is now quite accepting and friendly with both me and my wife, Marie. She has gotten along well with all of our dogs … to a point. The first relationship to get trashed was with Blondie Bear.  At first Sylvia ignored Blondie while they were in the yard together.  But after a while Sylvie decided to challenge Blondie:

I needed to step in quickly to avert a potential fight.

That relationship has degraded from there.  Because Blondie does not slap her down for insubordination, Sylvie figures she’s the boss and gets nasty any time Blondie wanders by.

Sylvia once attacked Cochise as well.  He was just walking past, minding his own business when she attacked him.  Since then, Sylvia plays in the yard alone.  This also means she cannot come in our house because Blondie and Cochise (our mentor dogs) live in the house, so further house-manners training is out of the program.

I have tried working with her, and a professional trainer was contacted by the rescue, but we both feel that since there is no consistent trigger to her outbursts, we have little to work with.

Amy has talked to the shelter about taking her back since none of our rescue partners will accept a dog who needs to be the only dog in the family.  They don’t see any hope in her either, but will euthanize her if we want.

That is NOT what we want.  So Marie and I are thinking outside our normal box and approaching no-kill shelters and new (to us) rescues in hope of finding one that will help Sylvia find a suitable home.

  • Sylvia is 7 years old.
  • She has been spayed.
  • All her shots are up to date except rabies and she is on heartworm preventative.
  • Amy had her crate trained and pee pad trained.  We have not been able to further housebreak her because she would need to co-exist with Blondie Bear.
  • Sylvia bunks in a pen and has Julian and Buddy as neighbors.  She is amiable with both of them.
  • Sylvia does show strong alpha-dog tendencies including an insistence on peeing on all the spots the male dogs have marked.

Sylvia plays with “The Gang” in the yard. Cochise is missing: he’s taking a nap. (This was shot a while back)

Sylvia plays better with Julian when Josie is not in the mix.

As you can see, Sylvia can play well with others. Her problem is that on the rare occasion she pops off and goes aggressive on someone. This is now an on-going issue with Blondie Bear – probably because Blondie is the alpha female here. Blondie never initiates these hostilities.  Sylvia does not show open hostility toward anyone else, and she has been in the yard with Julian recently.  Julian is a laid-back teddy bear of a dog, so he poses no threat to Sylivia’s dominance.

If you are able to help Sylvia find a home, please e-mail us at and thank you!

“Buddy”: Notes On a Rescue Dog

Buddy is a 92 pound, senior, Golden Retriever picked up by Animal Control as a stray and delivered to an animal shelter.  The shelter vet looked at him and decided he didn’t have any obvious, serious health problems, but could not tell for sure what shape he was in without a good examination and blood tests.  Because he’s a senior, and because he does have skin issues and wounds on his feet, it’s not likely the shelter will invest limited resources in that examination, nor is it likely he will survive long in an over-crowded shelter.  So I brought him home as a foster-project.

June 30, 2017

Removing maggotsI took him to Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital right away and it was no trick at all to find out that we has infested with fleas and ticks (even I could see that) but he also had three large hot spots where the skin was raw and the flies had laid eggs, resulting in those areas being infested by maggots.  Two vet techs and I gloved up and worked for over an hour and a half to pull around two dozen ticks off and cut away the fur to expose the hot spots and clean out the maggots.  Continue reading ““Buddy”: Notes On a Rescue Dog”

Josephine – Notes on a foster dog

Josephine first came to our attention when the Humane Society of Jefferson County posted an urgent plea for rescue or foster of a female beagle mix who was so terrified by the “shelter” environment that she was at risk.  My wife, Marie, decided we needed to help this poor thing.  After some communication through Facebook, we drove out to pick her up for fostering.

Age: Approximately 9 months (as of May 2017).

History: Picked up as a stray by Animal Control in April.  She was terrified of everything.  The shelter environment only made that worse. She was placed into foster care to give her a peaceful environment and to work on her fear issues.

Health: Initially, her health was quite poor: the vet wasn’t sure she would survive.  By the time she came here her health was much improved except for a fungal skin condition brought on by anxiety, which is being treated.  She has been spayed, wormed,  and is current on vaccinations.

Personality: Once she calmed down she has become a playful, spunky, silly, lovable girl.  She craves attention (loves a gentle belly rub) and seeks it from people she trusts.  Josie is friendly and playful with all of our dogs, even those 3 times her size!  She is fearless and open with all of them. Continue reading “Josephine – Notes on a foster dog”

Julian – Notes On a Rescue Dog


When I first met Julian, he was sitting in an outside pen at the Humane Society where I work.  He was a mess.

Julian had been picked up by animal control because a resident called to report a dog fight.  I don’t have details about exactly what happened or what became of the other dog, but Julian got chewed up pretty badly, especially his head.  We were giving him antibiotics to fight infection and help his wounds heal.

He was sitting, with his feet all bunched up, on a toilet seat cover.  Someone gave us a bunch of them to use as comfies — we use them mostly for cats in their wall crates.  But here was this 60 pound boxer bunched up on this woolly toilet seat cover like it was the best thing in the world: an oasis of comfort in an otherwise miserable existence.   It was funny and heart breaking at the same time.

Over the weeks, Julian began to mend and he proved to be gentle and friendly when we worked with him.

Then we tested him for heartworm … and the test came up positive.  Our boss wasn’t surprised: Julian had obviously been neglected and allowed to run loose.  It was no shock to find he was not on a preventative.  She said the best thing to do was to put him down.  With his scars and the HW+ there was no way he was going to get adopted, and we don’t have the facilities to treat his HW anyway. Continue reading “Julian – Notes On a Rescue Dog”

Lego Steele – Notes on a Foster Dog

This is a foster dog diary post about Lego.  New information will be added to the end of this post so all info on this dog is kept in one place and in chronological order.

Last Updated: March 31, 2017

Lego’s History

LegoThe story we got was that her family got another family dog after having Lego for almost 4 years.  Lego did not get along with the new dog right away, so they got rid of Lego. Continue reading “Lego Steele – Notes on a Foster Dog”

Charlie & Joey Steele – Foster dog notes


This is a foster dog diary post.  New information will be added to the end of this post so all info is kept in one place and in chronological order.

Last Updated: March 27, 2017

Charlie and Joey’s History


My name is Charlie and I have a story to tell you.

My brother, Joey, and I are young: not even 8 months old. I lived in a pen with two male dogs, one of them my brother.

We didn’t have food bowls.  The people who took care of us threw food on the ground for us to compete over. We had minimal shelter  and our bellies hurt because we had worms.   Nobody gave us any love and little attention. They only looked at us from far away. They never opened the pen or cleaned it.  Some would say it was disgusting, but it was all we had known. Continue reading “Charlie & Joey Steele – Foster dog notes”

Ilo Steele – Notes on a rescue dog

This is a foster dog diary post.  New information about Ilo will be added to the end of this post so all info on this dog is in one place and in chronological order.
Post last updated: April 10, 2017

IloIlo arrived March 7th.  That name is spelled eye – ell – oh, and pronounced “Ee-low”.  Ilo is a white Husky with blue eyes, he is around 1 year old and weighs (guessing here) around 50 pounds. He appears to be in good health.

Ilo’s History

Ilo was adopted locally as a puppy.  He spent most of his life on a chain in the yard.  He didn’t even have a collar: they just wrapped the chain around his neck and fastened it.  As a result he has a gray band around his neck that will be difficult to remove.  In time, that hair will shed out, so it will go away.  Eventually.

One of our rescue families talked that family into surrendering him.  Ilo is here for evaluation and training.  His shots are current.  He will be heartworm tested when he goes in for neutering on the 17th.
NOTE: That test came back negative, so he is now on a HW preventative to keep him safe.

Continue reading “Ilo Steele – Notes on a rescue dog”

Valentina Steele – Notes on a rescue dog


This is a foster dog diary post.  Updates will be added to the end of this post to keep all information on Valentina in one place and in chronological order.

This post was last updated March 23, 2017

Valentina Fast Facts

  • Intake date: February 14, 2017
  • Breed: English Blue Tick Hound (likely full-blooded)
  • Sex: Female – unspayed, has welped at least a couple of times.
  • Age:  ??  Young ??
  • Intake weight: 47 pounds.
  • Health: Fair.  20 pounds underweight and severely dehydrated at intake, but no other issues apparent.  Valentina was innoculated and wormed at intake.
  • Temperament: Gentle, submissive, friendly.

Valentina’s History

Valentina was found, immobile, alongside a local road.  The woman who found her scooped her up, put her in the car, took her home, and cared for her for a day or two. Valentina had no collar.  That’s when Steele Away Home – Canine Foster and Rescue was called in to help her. Continue reading “Valentina Steele – Notes on a rescue dog”

Spencer Steele – Notes on a rescue dog


This is a foster dog diary post.  Updates will be added to the end of this post rather than as a myriad of separate posts so all information on Spencer is right here and in chronological order.  This should help potential adopters and rescues easily learn about this dog.

Last updated: February 20, 2017

SpencerSpencer Steele is a black Labrador mix.  Mixed with what is unknown: Mastiff?  Bear?  Clydesdale?  Something  big and sturdy!

He is 8 to 10 months old right now.  We have been told he is active.  Maybe too active.  That makes him hard to handle.  That makes him unadoptable.  So he’s coming to Piney Mountain for a little behavioral modification.

Spencer’s Background

Continue reading “Spencer Steele – Notes on a rescue dog”