Shelter dog with crippling anxiety is afraid of going outside

fantastic stories | July. 20, 2017

Aloha ended up at a big shelter in Georgia when she was just a puppy. Her intake form listed her as being abused, but no one is exactly sure where she came from or what her background is, except that she definitely came from a home with many other dogs. Whatever happened to her in the past, she definitely has a lot of issues because of it — but no one knew just how affected she really was until she arrived in New York.

Aloha was pulled from the shelter by a rescue called Shelter Chic and transported from Georgia all the way to New York. The shelter hadn’t told the rescue much about Aloha, and when she arrived, staffers were at first very unprepared for all of her issues and fears.

“We occasionally transport puppies up from the South to try and help out, but we were not made aware of Aloha's background,” Nicola Dugdale, a staffer at Shelter Chic and Aloha’s foster mom, told The Dodo. “We thought we were getting a happy-go-lucky puppy, so we were a little shocked to meet her! Sadly the southern shelters are so overwhelmed they don't have the opportunity or resources to do much more than a basic physical exam.”

The rescue already had a family waiting for Aloha when she arrived, but after only a short time in her new home, it became clear that it wasn’t the right fit. Aloha’s anxieties were beginning to come out stronger and stronger, and her new family just wasn’t equipped to handle them.

Over the course of three months, Aloha was moved around to five different foster homes. Over that time, her fears seemed to get worse and worse. She was absolutely terrified of people she didn’t know, especially men, and hated going outside, even just to go to the bathroom. Finally, Dugdale stepped up to foster Aloha, and has vowed to keep her until she finds a family, even if it’s extremely challenging sometimes.

“She has two sides,” Dugdale said. “With me and my dog she is goofy, playful, tons of energy, loves to play, a huge cuddle bug. Around every other person she's off the scale terrified, hiding in the corner, making herself as small as possible. Would love the ground to open up and swallow her. It's become too overwhelming for her to go outside, so we take her to the suburbs on the weekend where she is sometimes brave enough to run around and play with my dog. The rest of the week she uses pee pee pads inside.”

Aloha needs to find a family who is willing to dedicate time and energy to helping her overcome her fears. She needs a home with at least one other dog, as she tends to learn what she’s supposed to do and how she should behave by watching other dogs. Her ideal home would be somewhere very quiet, with very few visitors, and a fenced-in yard where she can practice overcoming her anxieties.

Aloha has a lot of issues to work through, but she still deserves a loving family. The right fit is out there, and everyone who knows Aloha is determined to help her find it.

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