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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone.

I've enjoyed reading the forums since we brought our new family member home.

Koko is a chocolate lab that came from the animal shelter where my teen-age daughter volunteers. When we first saw her two months ago, she looked terrible - she was scrawny and missing most of the hair on her legs, ears and around her eyes. Her pads (paws) were rough and cracked. She had been picked up off the street. Visitors to the shelter never even asked about her, because of her condition. One day my husband went with me to pick up my daughter and while I was chatting with one of the other volunteers, he walked through the kennels and when he came back to the office, declared that he was in love. Apparently she had put her head in his hand and sadly stared at him with her big golden eyes.

My husband was deathly ill earlier this year, so it's hard for me to say no to him. Anyway, I asked the shelter if I could take her to our vet first and they agreed. The vet told us she was between 10-12 months old and the missing hair was due to the ticks and fleas. She also had worms, but other than that there was nothing seriously wrong. We went ahead and got her shots and dewormed. The shelter agreed to keep her a few more weeks until the worms were out of her system (we have other pets at home). In the mean time my daughter and I visited her every day and sprayed her legs (and ears) with tea tree oil and treated her for the fleas and ticks.

We brought her home a week and a half ago. We quickly discovered she was afraid of water, vehicles, people, and her kennel (at home), and she didn't seem to like the outdoors. She didn't seem afraid at the vets or when at the shelter, but maybe that's because she was used to seeing me every day and there were other dogs at the vets. Our other dog Pepper (Chihuahua) sleeps in her kennel at night but the first night for Koko was a struggle to get her in. Once in, she seemed okay. I slept with one ear open all night, but she slept all night (she even snored). It took three nights and lots of treats for her to like her kennel and now she goes right in without problems. The best part of our discovery... she is housebroken - not a single accident since we brought her home.

I've taken her running with me (more like start/stops) afew times in the morning and she still acts terrified of vehicles, especially trucks. Even if they are just parked on the side of the road. She doesn't seem too bothered by cars anymore. The first week it was a real struggle to get her into the jeep and keep her there while closing the door. No type of treat worked, not even bacon.. and what dog can say 'no' to bacon? The past few days haven't been too bad. She still digs in her heels when she sees that we're going to the jeep (I make her go with me every day when I pick my daughter up from school), but once I put her front paws on the floor, she crawls right up. We use a vehicle zipline/harness which is wonderful and I prefer to a metal barrier. Her legs still shake a little, but she now looks out the window, where before she would just lay flat on the seat. Maybe it's because she's seen how much Pepper loves it.

She's pretty much taken over the house and is so puppy like and happy here, that it was a suprise this morning when we met our neighbor at her driveway, a little old lady that my other dog just adores. Koko got really scared and wrapped herself (and her leash) around my legs. I tried to remember if she had been as frightened when my in-laws came to visit last week, and my husband reminded me that she had been skittish for the first two hours. At the beach house, she met my older daughters (who are away at college) and she wasn't afraid of them at all.

My daughter and I gave her a bath at the shelter before bringing her home and she seemed to enjoy it - stood perfectly still until we were done. I had always heard that labs love water, but at the beach, she seemed terrified of the ocean and would only go in with me, and only as long as the water didn't go above her knees. When it rained this weekend, she wouldn't go outside, until I dragged her out to the potty area. I kept her there until she did her business and then she seemed okay with the rain. All I can say is thank goodness for tile floors and wipeable walls because we were covered with mud that first rainy night.

Her hair has grown back nicely. It's all thick and shiny and I think she's put on at least ten pounds. She's so sweet and I'm glad we brought her home. Her antics have us rolling most of the time - I don't think I've laughed this much in years. This is the first time that our family has a lab and we're learning little by little, but would love to have advice from other owners.
 

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Welcome to the forum and thank you for rescuing this little one. Sounds to me like she may have had some scary experiences in the past and hence her fear of certain things, i am sure this will get better as she becomes more settled and confident.

i wouldnt worry about the ocean thing so much, Harvey LOVES to swim, but only in lakes or rivers, not in the ocean, he will go out and paddle but that is about it. He also hates the rain :)

Please post some pics of your pup, we love pics :)
 

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keep doing what you are doing. It sounds like your on the right track. Koko is a lucky pup and she will pay you back for all the hard work you are putting in. Welcome to the world of labradorks
 

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Welcome! I 2nd the request for photos. All the hard work seems to be paying off. Keep it up. She sounds lovely and just needs to gain some trust. =)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you everyone. We're excited to have her (even if Pepper isn't too thrilled). I like that term.... "labradork" - I tried uploading pictures with my original post, but had some problems. I'll keep working at it. I have to admit, I think I've put on some muscle since we got her... I'm most definitely getting my workouts and they are so much more fun than staring at the wall while doing repetitions. I think my husband is a little disappointed that she's not as attached towards him nor does she listen to hime too well, but I'm sure it's because she's with me all the time. I freelance and work from home (not that I've gotten much work done lately) and she follows me everywhere.
 

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Welcome! Thanks for rescuing her. She sounds like she will be a great pet.

I would just like to inject a word of caution about running with your dog - it's considered forced exercise. If she has to keep up with your pace and does not have the opportunity to stop when/if something is hurting her she risks injury. It happens a lot in situations like that. You say it's stop/start - you just have to be focussed on how she is doing when you run with her. You can overexercise a dog into joint injury.
 
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