Our new Happy Tails series will introduce you to some of the animals rescued and aided by Spirit’s Mission. We’re pleased to kick off the series with Gus, our very first Happy Tail, written by our Treasurer, Vicki!
Gus was Spirit’s Mission’s first rescue/surrender from Saik’uz. It is unknown whether he was ‘dumped’ on the reserve in 2013 as a very young puppy, or if he was born to a stray Saik’uz dog, but either way he was homeless.
Gus managed to survive the first year of his life, enduring the brutal northern winter, and when Spirit’s Mission held our first wellness clinic at Saik’uz in 2014, he was brought in by a family from the community who said the whole community wanted him gone. He was a stray, he was a nuisance, he was a pest.
After some discussion amongst the Spirit’s Mission crew, it was agreed that Gus would come home with me.
Gus had a few things going for him. Despite being homeless, he loved people, he got along well with the community dogs, and he had the most gorgeous blue eyes, pleading for love and a home.
The first months with Gus were a challenge. He had never been in a house and was not house-trained, could be destructive, and suffered from separation anxiety when left alone. He would not come when called, and in fact would avoid coming near whenever someone reached out to him, instead displaying his distrust with repeated games of “keep-away”. But he desperately wanted to be close, to be petted, to be loved, and gradually, with the help of his new dog-sister Weezie and big dog-brother Diesel, he learned that coming when called meant really good things could happen including all the perks of being a house dog.
Now, 2 ½ years later, Gus has come so very far. No more “keep-away” for him. He comes like a rocket when called! He has learned so many things, and is in fact trained in the skills of a Service Dog. As a dog trainer for Citadel Canine Society, I train service dogs to help veterans and first responders with PTSD. Gus works with me as my demo dog, helping Citadel candidates learn how to work with the service dogs they have been given. My handsome, very special, very clever blue-eyed partner is a star!