Popeye (Available for Adoption)

October 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
I recently sat down with Stacee Brown, volunteer & foster for Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue about one of her long term foster cases.  I met Stacee at a fundraising event for Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue and wanted to know more about their rescue and some of their dogs.  Below is my conversation with Stacee about her long term foster who is available for adoption, Popeye!  He is October's featured Adoptable Dog of the Month!  
BB:  So tell us a little about Popeye.  He is a long term foster currently living with your family?
SB:  Yes he is.  Popeye is completely deaf.  Right out with it. (laughs)  It’s certainly not the only thing about Popeye that you will notice but it is one thing that will be apparent within a few minutes of meeting him.  However there are so many other things he will show you that you may not notice it unless someone told you.  It is definitely not a handicap AT ALL!  He is an awesome dog.  Being deaf actually affects his life very little.  He communicates very well.  Popeye will tell you that “Coming to you when no words are said is the new training rage.”  (laughs)  After all, he does know sign language.  Just let that sink in for a minute.  (both laugh)
Popeye is a white male Boxer between 5-6 years of age.  He has a brown patch over his right eye; you can see large freckles in his fur on his ears!  Typical of light fur dogs, especially short faced dogs.  He is currently being fostered in Nashville, Tennessee.
BB:  How did Popeye come to Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue?
SB:  Popeye & his brother Baskin were rescued from a life of being outside & chained to a tree.  Upon arriving at Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue, Popeye was sent to our kennel & farm facility while Baskin went into a foster home.  We wanted to evaluate them to see if they could be adopted separately.
BB:  And how did that go?  Were there any complications?
SB:  During his stay at the kennel facility Popeye was not doing well by himself, so Baskin was brought back to the farm from the foster home to see if that would help Popeye's overall health.  Baskin attacked Popeye a short time after their reunion through no fault of either dog; they were just in two different places emotionally.  Baskin was adopted shortly thereafter giving him a much needed loving and caring home to enjoy life.  
BB:  So now Baskin is loving life in his new home.  Was Popeye adopted?
SB:  Popeye's first adoption lasted about 2 weeks. His adopter works every day and Popeye's separation anxiety became apparent fairly quickly.  He came back to the farm and was adopted a second time.  While Popeye was living at his second home the adopters contacted MTBR as they had used a wire crate, plastic crate and finally a steel crate to keep Popeye contained.  
To help with his anxiety Popeye was placed on a high dose of medication and seemed to be getting worse, being deprived of love while being on a chain for most of his life had seemed to have a profound effect on him.  On Thursday March 6th I greeted Popeye from transport in Nashville and brought him home to short term foster him.  We thought it to be in Popeye’s best interest as he might deteriorate quickly if brought back to the farm where he had struggled before.
On the way home from Nashville, I took Popeye to an animal behaviorist to come up with a behavior modification plan.  The first few days with Popeye were less than stellar; I believed that Popeye felt he was going to physically die inside the crate.  When Popeye was outside of his crate, he could not rest because every few minutes he would make sure the humans in the room were all still accounted for.  I realized that his separation anxiety was too severe to put him in another foster home. My family decided to keep him in our home as a long term foster.  Three weeks into his stay and along with our veterinarians’ help, we figured out the correct dose and type of anxiety medication to best help Popeye.  He currently takes a low dose medication twice a day.
BB:  What of the behavior plan?  Did he not need the help after all or was that revisited?
SB:  Along with medication we incorporated a behavior modification plan.  Through foundation building, teaching sign language, building his confidence and engaging him in a fair and trusting relationship, Popeye is now thriving with us.  He does need the assistance of a specific training bark collar when inside the crate due to his being deaf.  The stimulus simply reminds him that no one is going to leave him and everything is going to be ok and doesn’t need to panic.  The collar helps Popeye to stay calm.  With all of these methods working together he is now able to be in his plastic crate for long periods of time, both when we are home and out running errands.
Key Points About Popeye:
  • He is a true gentle giant 
  • Very low key
  • Loves attention and love of all kinds
  • Knows sign language
  • Can’t hear you sing in the shower, which helps, mostly him
  • His tail does not stop wagging when he knows he is loved
  • You may need to be patient because Popeye is truly a social dog, he does not like to be alone
  • He doesn't care for the energy level of puppies but does well with older dogs
  • Does well with children
  • Hobbies include chilling out, being with my people, playing with furry toys
  • Likes apples, carrots, pizza bones (the crust of pizza, no stuffed crust) and The Magic Window (nuggets from Chick-Fil-A)
BB:  How does he get along with other dogs?  I know you mentioned puppies annoy him but how about adult dogs?
SB:  Popeye does very well with the alpha female and other male in our home, as well as our two sons, 5 and 7 years old.  We are very active and Popeye enjoys being a part of our lives and activities.
BB:  That’s terrific!  How is he doing now that you have fostered him for a while?
SB:  Now that Popeye has been with us for 6 months, he has learned to be calm; he can rest for hours without constantly opening his eyes to check on the humans.  He has learned to be in a "place" for long durations of time.  He will look to us for leadership and guidance.  He may never be completely cured of his separation anxiety, but we have learned to manage it.
BB:  Do you think the right family will come along for him?
SB:  We continue to be hopeful that the right family is out there for Popeye and that he will be successful in another home.  Until then, he will remain with us and continue to be the amazing Boxer that he truly is.  It just so happens that he is deaf, with love Popeye is unstoppable!  We love him unconditionally and hope the right family will see the potential in him that we have come to know and love.
Popeye ready for date night!PopeyePopeye ready for date night!  
BB:  Have you noticed positive changes in Popeye other than him being more relaxed now?
SB:  He has amazing manners and at times "listens" better than the resident dogs who hear.  Popeye has such a calm energy when with his people that he even travels with me to evaluate dogs for MTBR on a regular basis.  He helps to rehabilitate dogs and show dog owners from all parts Middle Tennessee what they should expect from a dog.
BB:  Thanks for your time Stacee and be sure to pet Popeye for me tonight.
SB:  Of course!
Photographer’s note: 
Upon arriving for Popeye’s photo shoot he greeted me with the famous wagging tail and “bean dance” the breed is known for.  If you have never experienced a bean dance you might think there was something physically wrong with the dog, when in fact they are happy to see you and it manifests into them curling their bodies in half while standing.  Their nose almost touches their tail, it is hysterical.  I sat down in a chair and Popeye got in my lap and went to sleep, content to be petted and loved.  He is not a lap dog by any means but he thinks he is and that is just fine with me.  He is a great dog and will make a forever family very happy!  I look forward to events where Popeye will be and I am glad to see him no matter where it is.  He is one of my favorites to work with.
If you are interested in adopting Franklin, or any of the available dogs from Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue please visit their website MTBR.org and fill out an application today.  
Each month we will feature one of Middle Tennessee Boxer Rescue's adoptable dogs!  
Remember, if you can't adopt, foster, volunteer, donate, or network.  Everyone can get involved and save lives.  
All text and photos are copyright 2014 Brian Batista Photography.  All rights reserved.  No unauthorized use of photos without permission.  



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