Well, Luna continues to be prove herself to be one of the sweetest doodles I've ever fostered. She certainly still has her issues...and lots of them...but I definitely see small pockets of progress.
On January 16th, Luna started her heartworm treatment. She'd been on doxycycline for five weeks prior to that initial injection. Luna is my first heartworm positive dog and I just didn't know what to expect. Would she be in pain? (yes, a bit - it's a large, deep injection) Would she be traumatized by being at the vet all day (oh yeah). Would her treatment adversely effect Callie's day to day universe (not nearly as much as I anticipated). On the 16th, she seemed fine, so the vet and I decided to not bombard her with pain meds if she didn't need them. On that day, she ate great, eliminated normally, and hopped on and off the sofa and bed with her usual aplomb and grace. Tuesday - different day/different story. While she didn't cry or anything, Luna wasn't walking normally, couldn't get in her "pee" position, and since she wasn't happy sitting or standing so she ended up in a hybrid position, kinda curled up like a shrimp, but with all 4 on the floor. We went back to the vet and got some pain killers. Luna took one, and woke up the next day, pain free, frisky, and adorable.
Since then, the biggest challenge is keeping her quiet. I hesitate to say that her extreme shyness/skittishness is "fortunate", but it sort of is for this heartworm treatment. Luna doesn't like to be walked outside for long distances...she's a business only kind of girl. However...right after Luna poops, she gets super duper happy and excited and wants to run, leap, and play. Sorry girl! She and Callie do get to have some limited play, but no running rips, no ball throwing, and no chase. They can however lay together and chew on each other's faces to their hearts content! There is lots and lots of antler and marrow bone chewing.
I feel really good about Luna's chances for a full recovery from the heartworms. She is generally a young and healthy dog. My vet has re-aged her...when she first came into the foster program she was aged at 2.5 years, due entirely to the tartar on her teeth. A few antlers later, she has teeth so clean a newborn puppy would envy them. Based on the improvement to her teeth and her looks and body shape, my vet thinks she is somewhere between 1 year and 1.5 years old, I totally believe this. She has a happy little puppy face!
Since she is responding so well to the treatment, she will soon be posted on petfinder for adoption. I hope, hope, HOPE that some very special people can see through all of Luna's fears and give her a chance. Once she gets over those initial fears, she DOES give people a chance. She loves me. She loved my parents when she stayed with them (at the very beginning). She now likes several of my friends. She's not overt with her "liking", but in Luna-world, offering your head to someone to scratch is the human-world equivalent of doing a "trust fall".
Luna will need parents with lots of love and patience. She will do best in a living situation that is a single family home (I live in a townhouse and it is frankly too noisy and active for her in the people sense. She does love how many dogs are around). This is my first foster EVER where I have said these words. She will require a physical fence. I don't have a fenced in yard, and have been known to get my back up about this requirement. It is actually a must for little Luna. She has a very strong instinct to flee - an electric fence will not contain her. Her fear will override the moment of shock. We exclusively leash walk and she does quite well with it...as long as there aren't a bunch of people around. Luna will of course have to find a home with an experienced dog owner, and she will need another dog in the home. She's a lover. Her happiest moments are when she can somehow arrange herself to sleep in a position where she can touch both me and Callie (she lays her head back and smiles - it's the cutest thing!). Luna truly adores Callie and she is so bereft any time I have left her home by herself (which has been happening lately because Callie can still run in the park!). She doesn't destroy anything or have an accident when left completely alone, but she she hurls herself at me when I walk in the door and then (once business has been attended to) plasters herself against me. Then, once she's feeling (I assume) connected to me again, she lays next to Callie and grooms her...licks inside her ears, her eyes, and snuggles. Callie generally hates when she does this, but tolerates it after Luna has been home alone. They have a VERY complex relationship and can be slightly naughty cahooters!
In addition to the physical things (fence, house, dog), Luna's new parents must have the aforementioned patience. This isn't a girl likely to have what I call an "Anne Sullivan/Hellen Keller" moment, where suddenly one day she's just fine with all people. HOWEVER - she will absolutely warm up her new "people" and gradually adapt to frequent visitors. There's not one ounce of aggressiveness to her...when she's scared she just retreats to her happy place (both in her head and at my house, on the sofa).
I cannot stress enough what a wonderful addition this girl will make to someone's family. For all her fears and all that I know she has been through, she is willing to give people a chance. I hope someone gives her the chance to have her dream doodle life, the one all doodles should have!
Some updated photos: