Desi may shy away from sudden touches to his rear end, but it's understandable when you learn that he had been shot eight times with a BB gun.
The beautiful 3-year-old terrier/poodle mix had eight BBs removed from his thigh and tail area after being found roaming the streets in search of his next meal. He was bleeding, starving and terrified, and expecting the worst when animal control officers captured him on the street and brought him into a Southern California shelter.
Vets thought that the most likely scenario was that Desi was held down or restrained while being used in a sick game of target practice. Through an animal welfare connection, the Santa Cruz SPCA heard about his situation and sent for him immediately.
When Desi arrived at our shelter, he was shaking so badly his crate rattled. Upon picking him up to carry him in, his whole body flinched and he even closed his eyes, not wanting to know what was coming next. It was so heart-wrenching to see such a precious animal expect a painful and terrifying experience at every turn.
It took less than a week for him to start showing us the real Desi. He carefully watched the other dogs play together happily and joyfully greet visitors, staff and volunteers. Soon, he began to emulate that behavior and with each positive experience his confidence grew.
Now, just three weeks later, watching his tail wag or seeing him make an effort to greet someone new and lick their hand feels like a victory. He's even learning to thoroughly enjoy body rubs and head scratches. The things that used to cause him to shy away or flinch don't seem to faze him anymore.
Desi has a daily morning ritual of coming in the house and rolling around on every single dog bed he can find with a true smile on his face. He is obviously on a very rewarding road to recovery.
The perfect home for this special boy would be one with an experienced owner who knows what it's like to house and care for a dog who has suffered from abuse or neglect. He prefers being approached slowly and gently, but has not shown us any aggressive or nippy behavior when he's startled.
Desi likes to be inside with his person and can jump smaller fences. He's normally very docile but like a true terrier, has his extreme playful moments and loves daily walks. He's received glowing reviews on his leash manners from multiple volunteers and behaves very well in a crate.
We would consider Desi on the larger side of small, weighing nearly 20 pounds with long legs. He has a wire terrier coat with a cute mop of curls atop his head.
We have seen this sweet boy do such an amazing turnaround and being with him for this short time has been extremely rewarding and a ton of fun. Are you the one to take him the rest of the way? Can you show him the upside of being a dog loved by a true family? If so, Desi is here and waiting for you!
Call the Santa Cruz SPCA at 465-5000, or visit www.santacruzspca.org. The SPCA, at 2685 Chanticleer Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The SPCA Mall Adoption Center and Gift Shop at the Capitola Mall is open on Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The SPCA's adoption package includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, micro-chipping, an ID tag, collar, a free vet exam, one month's free health insurance and other animal care materials.
Consider donating to the nonprofit Santa Cruz SPCA, which receives no government funding.