This morning, I drove up to Athens, GA to pick up Wilbur. I had agreed to pick up Wilbur when they opened at 8am today, so I got an early start. I got to the shelter before they opened - can you say anxious and excited? The shelter really put the fear of G-d in me with the amount of space they had available and I felt bizarrely worried that if I got there late, I'd be too late (I know that would be unlikey, but I had the angst nonetheless!).
Once the shelter opened, they let me go back with them to get Wilbur. I had a shiny new collar and leash ready for him (bright blue, so it would show nicely in his fur). He was all the way in the back, in the last pen on the left. I could barely stand to look at the other dogs - I feel an overwhelming guilt at just taking one, when they easily had two dozen, all in the same precarious situation. Deep breath. Focus.
Now on to Wilbur. He was so scared in his pen. Y'all were correct on the previous post - Wilbur did come into the shelter with his brother, Orville. A local pet rescue came in and took Orville but thought that Wilbur was too "shy" for them. The original plan was for me to go and take both of them. Shy really isn't the right word for him. He's SCARED. Once we led him out into the main office, he was a bit less scared. The leash didn't seem totally foreign to him and for that I am very grateful! I sat down on the floor and talked to him, giving him small pats. He's absolutely filthy. His hair cannot be described as "matted" - he has full-on 7"-8" dreadlocks. I found two ticks on his head, so G-d only knows what he has under all that fur. A few minutes in, he moved closer when I stopped petting him and he wagged his tail. Just two or three hesitant little wags. I started to gently stroke his ears again. He leaned in and gave me a tiny doodle kiss, right on my nose. That told me everything I need to know about this guy - and it all was good.
He was angel on the ride back to Atlanta. I didn't even put him in the crate - he just curled up on the seat and went to sleep. We went straight to the vet so that he can get fully checked and tested. He will be spending the night at the vet (at IDOG's request) and is going to my groomer in the morning (he's a very, very stinky dood - the kind of stench that makes your eyes water). Then, he will get to meet Callie and that will start a whole new adventure!
Here is what I've taken away at this point...Wilbur is a SWEET boy. You can train a dog to listen to you and you can train a dog to go to the bathroom outside, but you can't train him to be sweet. And he is sweet- the rest, we'll work on (asking lots and lots of advice from our DK friends!). I think he will end up making a wonderful pet, and will hopefully be able to find him his perfect home!