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Judge Called to Save Death-Row Rottweiler

2010 April 28
Longish black fur and a smiling tan mask adorn this happy Rottweiler Mix Dog

Black and Tan Shaggy Rottweiler mix looks worried

Shelter Website Advertises Rottweiler for Adoption

The picture was sooo cute. A 6-month-old Rottweiler girl was found running the streets, taken to the shelter, and posted on the adoption website. Doc Truli’s client, Tom, fell in love with Heidi right away. He didn’t even call first. He shot off an email to reserve her, hopped in his car and boogied over the shelter to pick her up.

“We’re sorry sir, that puppy is deemed unadoptable and must be destroyed.”

Tom couldn’t believe his ears.

“But I just saw her picture on the adoption website on the internet and I came over to pick her up,” he said.

Rottweiler Slated for Destruction

“Well, we can’t help you,”said the unconcerned volunteer at the shelter. “She tried to bite a volunteer here and she has been through her behavior intake evaluation and she’s too big to adopt out with a biting problem. If she hurt someone, you could sue us, so we do not make ANY exceptions to this rule anymore!”

Tom would not take “no” for an answer.

“I’ve rescued Rottweilers before, I know how they think,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter, she has to be put down,” said the volunteer.

“I’ll sign a waiver,” he said.

“That’s what the last guy did, and then he sued us,” she said.

“Some animal shelters will not adopt out a large-breed dog with the propensity to bite.  They simply cannot aford to be sued by a grieving family if the dog hurts or maims a family member — a child, for instance.  The persistence of this good samaritan saved this dog and gave her a normal life!” said Doc Truli.

“When is it scheduled to be done,” Tom asked. (He was thinking of a way around the “rules.”)

“Tomorrow,” she said.

How Heidi’s Savior Got Around the Rules

As a lawyer, Tom knew influential people. Before 5 pm, he had phone calls and letters of support from 2 U.S. Federal judges, several lawyers, and a board member of the shelter, too.

Tom took Heidi out of the shelter the following morning and drove directly to Doc Truli’s office for a check-up.

How does Doc Truli know this whole story? Tom recited it during the hour it took Heidi to learn to trust the Doc.

How Doc Truli Gained Heidi’s Trust

Lean in, Slow and Steady, Do Not Grab or Irritate with Your Touch

First, yours Truli sat on the floor about 1 foot away from the frightened, thin Rottweiler. Tom began to tell her story. Doc Truli sat next to Heidi, without touching her, and without looking at her. Heidi panted and her eyes rolled from left to right to see where the Doc was sitting. The petrified dog did not dare move her whole head in the Doc’s direction.

After ten minutes, Doc rested the back of her hand against Heidi’s side just behind the left unilateral shoulder-blade. The Rottweiler did not flinch or move. Doc rolled her hand, without ever lifting the hand off of the dog, until the palm was firmly and gently resting on Heidi’s black fur. Slowly, Doc moved her hand up to the front of the shoulder blades where the prescapular lymph nodes live. Then up to the submandibular lymph nodes under the left angle of the jaw. Then around the top of the neck to the right angle of the jaw, and back down to the right prescapular lymph nodes.

Ease into a Physical Examination Seamlessly

Next, Doc’s left hand put the head of the cardiac stethoscope in her right hand and she pressed the stethoscope behind the left elbow in the position of the heart. Normal heartbeat. Then around the top to the right side of the chest. All the while, Doc moved calm, steady, very slowly, and kept the identical pressure on all body parts.

All assistants were ordered to stay clear of the room, the doors, or even near the doorways! Heidi’s new dad kept up a steady drone of storytelling, almost hypnotically reciting their short history together.

Next, Doc felt the left side of the abdomen and the abdominal organs, and then under the belly to the left side. Hands slowly travelled back up to Heidi’s head and her ears. Without shifting her weight, Doc Truli checked under the left and then right ear flaps. Heidi’s frantic panting slowed to a nice relaxed pant.

From the left side, Doc checked the left eye, and lifted the left lip to check Heidi’s teeth. The right was too much of a shift in position, and would have to wait for the next visit.

Do Not Announce Anything, Just Get the Job Done

By this time, forty minutes elapsed. Heidi was leaning into the Doc’s side and shivering for attention. Tom stopped his story long enough to ask, “When’s the physical going to start?”

“All done,” said the Doc.

“What? Wow! That was a trick!” said dad.

Heidi’s physical revealed a healthy, strong, skinny, starving, nervous dog.

“Tom, you have tons of work to do to make this dog happy. But see how she is leaning into me? She’s not mean; she’s lonely. She’s so starved for attention, she’s even accepting a physical exam just to be touched by another living being,” said the Doc.

Heidi followed her new dad out of the office.

A year later…

Heidi and Zena came in for yearly check-ups. Who’s Zena? A frightened, nervous, “biter,” Siberian Husky slated for destruction, adopted by Tom in spite of the rules.

Know what?

Doc Truli could not tell either of these dogs had ever growled at anyone, let alone been labelled vicious. Two happy, tail-wagging dogs, a smallish Rottweiler and a largish Siberian Husky stood shoulder to shoulder and begged for their shots, hopped on the examination table, and tilted their heads for chin scratches. Perfect sisters. Perfectly happy.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010

    What a lovely post! I am so pleased you chose to publish it.

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