We wrote about these two Mastiff/terrier mixes earlier. Apparently former fighting dogs, that were living in an abandoned car. Rescued and bought to Rita's garage and I made a visit. Steven, a good guy, wanted to adopt them and spent time with them in the garage. He will have his house ready in a week (he's just getting here to Campania).
Initially, everything went well with this married couple--but I had a feeling that they couldn't be adopted together, despite the appearance of them being "together". And yesterday we found out why. They were given a bone each and that caused a fight between them that the female couldn't get past. When I came to the place they are staying, the energies were vibrating high in the air, from both people and dogs.
After a sleepless night for many involved we joined up today to talk about their future. Understandably, Steven was afraid of coming home to find one of them dead, and the female she had strong character. Wonderful without the male....
We tested them outside, both on leashes. Out of sight from each other, they were attentive to the human in control of them, and clearly affectionate toward Steven. But once within eyesight of each other, she was growling and he was whining. In the car on the way to the Veterinary Clinic, she was in a crate, and was quiet. He was all over the crate, not agressive, but wanting to be with her. He even squeezed himself in between the top of the crate and the roof of the car.
Steven will keep the male, they bonded right a way and he feels comfortable around him, and that is the most important to be honest so that we can solve for future of the female. It was heartbreaking, I will admit, because we feel like our human intervention is causing this aggression where once they lived together. Apart, they (really she is the "problem" in this situation) are fine and should be loving companions. But together, they will always be a ticking time-bomb at best. On discussion, we all felt that it had to be like this. She would never survive on the street, that breed will be killed right away.
At the Veterinary Clinic, we took first the male in for his examination, and he was such a good boy. 31 kg, full of fighting scars and not many teeth. Around 4 years-old. He didn't blink when they gave him the shots. Absolutely amazing his trust in we people, after what he has probably lived through. Dr. Lorenzo did a great job with this brute of a dog.
Next, we brought the female in. She's also wonderful, young, probably the same age. Again, not many teeth, and her hind quarter was full of scars (yet not many around her head, and her ears are completely without marks). She was also very good in the clinic. And once again, Dr. Lorenzo handled this dog with authority but compassion... neutralizing any instinct the dog may have had to attack or nip at any of us. Dr. Lorenzo's a tough, but caring guy... perfect in this situation.
The female is up for adoption. She is very dominant to other dogs. She gives warm kisses but needs a strong, secure hand. She probably shouldn't be in a home with children. She can be wonderful with children --- we just don't know, but we wouldn't want to take that risk. This is not a dog for "beginners", she needs somebody used to dogs, and preferably used to the stronger dog breeds. Like Dr.Lorenzo said about fighting dogs, they are good around humans but get triggered by other dogs [or cats, there was one brave cat that was peeking through the window getting them both worked up].
Is there anyone out there with tough-love inclinations that want to take on this rescured girl? Steve named her Athena, and we think the name fits. She will be a great companion, but will need a firm hand along with the open heart.