Shaggy is our newest celebrity feral! Shaggy spent the first 8 months of his life in a puppy mill situation where he did not get proper socialization. When he was finally purchased and brought into a home he wanted nothing to do with the humans in the home. He was very timid and would not let any of them approach or touch him. He just kept running away. His owners quickly became discouraged and turned to Craigslist to rehome him. A trainer stepped up and said that he would board and train Shaggy for the owners. Shaggy escaped his kennel in the trainer's backyard in less than 10 hours and so began Shaggy's odyssey in the woods!
Shaggy spent 8 months living in the woods behind a Grand Rapids area subdivision. He really had a pretty good dog life out in the woods. People cooked him warm food every day, built him shelters and he even had lots of dog friends to play with! However people in the area became concerned that he would not survive the cold winter. He also had developed a mild case of cherry eye and was wearing a collar that was growing tighter by the day. Numerous people came out to try to catch the elusive Shaggy: animal control, rescue groups, even a team from The Detroit Zoo. This is when Melissa and The Devoted Barn came in to assist.
Initially everything Melissa tried failed as well. The pressure to capture Shaggy was intense. By this point he had become an international sensation! We tried making friends with him, feeding him sedatives and even a tranquilizer gun. Nothing worked. He was just too big and too amped up to fall for any of it. New crews began so show up at the location and eventually scared Shaggy away. He wasn't seen for days. This is when Melissa realized we needed to take a step back and start from scratch.
Shaggy began living in the yard of a local family about a quarter mile from where he was originally living. Melissa enlisted the help of the family and they began the long term task of slowly making friends with Shaggy. Over the course of a month they spent time with Shaggy. They never tried to catch him or pressure him. They just let him establish a routine and become comfortable with them. Finally the day came when they were able to get close enough to slip a leash over his head. He was finally captured!
Shaggy is now a part of the feral dog rehabilitation program at The Devoted Barn. He has been seen by a vet and given a clean bill of health. Now begins the task of learning to trust and rely upon humans. Shaggy is already making very good progress. He has eaten from our hands and has even come out into the barn once. However he still has a long way to go before he is ready to live in a home environment again. Therefore we will not be accepting any applications for adoption until Shaggy has gone all the way through our program and we feel he is ready for a home.
Check out some of Shaggy's news stories!