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  •  Three years ago, we made the best decision in deciding to adopt another ESS.  Zoey then came to us and is the BEST dog ever.  She is not only beautiful but so well behaved and is loved by everyone. We can't thank MAESSR and Debbie enough for giving us Zoey.                                                                                                                                                                                                  Judy Minnick, NJ              

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Sparky 8

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Entered: 11/13/2015
Status: Adopted
Age: 4
Color: Black/White
Weight: 65 lbs.
Gender: Altered Male
Location: Fayetteville, WV
Health: UTD, HW-, treatment for a stomach infection and a minor leg wound complete, weaned from a fiber
Health Cont.: supplement and OTC anxiety medication
Temperament: Good with adults, has met a 10 year-old well, good with other dogs but may be happiest
Temp. Cont.: as an “only” dog, unknown with cats

Sparky 8's Story . . .

Update 05/01/2016:  “His foster mom has repeatedly seen him immediately light up when meeting dog-friendly gents who make eye contact with him and open themselves to a lively exchange.“
All good news for Sparky this time…his tummy upsets seem behind him, except for when he grazes on spring’s new greens to excess.  The recurring “before breakfast” incidents have ceased and he’s back to being trustworthy in all respects for an 8 hour night.  Thank you, Sparky!
The highlight of this last month was a road trip to the Richmond Springerfest.  He loaded without a worry, traveled quietly, and was a well-mannered house guest in the home of another foster family.  That family’s current foster shared her space and even her bowls with Sparky, and, when it came time to settle, he graciously stretched out on the floor next to the people bed and was down for the night.
Given his background, the multitude of Springers that Sparky mixed with at Springerfest may not have been the largest number of dogs he’s ever been surrounded by.  But, adding to their energy were their families and a full day of varied activities.  He did really, really well.  He enjoyed an on-leash walk around the lake, was calm when introduced during the Rescue Parade and napped peacefully in his crate during lunch.  In the afternoon he trotted amid many other Springers in the off-leash ring and spent a lot of time patiently waiting on the end of his leash while visiting was done.  He remained gentlemanly during the auction and slept all the way home.  His sights are set on Langhorne for MAESSR’s next Springerfest on May 7.
Sparky has come a long way in foster care.   His pace has been slow and he’ll likely never be a dog with a long list of commands in his repertoire.  He seems a dog that may have had little offered to him in earlier life but he has grown into opportunity.  It’s clear he can bond with his human and, though engaging with women, he’s drawn to men.  His foster mom has repeatedly seen him immediately light up when meeting dog-friendly gents who make eye contact with him and open themselves to a lively exchange.  Once bonded, Sparky loves to be close to his people.  Recently he dug his way out of his “securely” fenced yard, only to dash to the kitchen door so he could be let inside.  What a joyful outcome!  He also has taken up sleeping at his foster mom’s feet at night, never closer but always there.
Sparky is a steady dog who responds to patient and consistent leadership; this, coupled with time to build trust in his people, has enabled him to carry out basic requests that had earlier been scary to him.  One basic that’s still scary is nail trimming but, with his vet’s assistance, that has been done.  He’s a rather quiet dog but puts out a huge “woof” when someone comes to the door; no one would get in the house unannounced with Sparky on duty!
If you’re festing at Langhorne, you’ll surely notice this handsome boy…the big black and white with a beautiful tail.  Please take a minute to say “hi” and cheer him on in the Doggie Olympics!

Update 03/12/2016:
  His nose was level with the antlers, bulk treat bins and the bagged foods; he took in smells and that was all!
Perhaps Sparky’s favorite season has just passed.  When winter really set into his area and 17 inches of snow covered the ground, he was ecstatic!  Watching him roll in the fluffy stuff, even when there was only a few inches of it, was a hoot.  Winter fully invigorated this dog.  His foster mom decided there must be some “husky” somewhere on Sparky’s family tree. 
With the onset of spring, Sparky is encountering more people when he visits the town park.  He’s at ease with increasing busyness around him; he passes the basketball court when it’s full of young people shooting hoops.  He moves through the little people’s playground with comfort and maintains a steady pace.  Skateboarders and bicyclists sharing the exercise path with him aren’t a worry nor is other foot traffic.  He does notice dog-friendly people, and, if someone makes eye contact with him and smiles, he is usually eager to pause for a polite “meet and greet.” 
Recently a big-box pet store was Sparky’s destination.  If this kind of adventure was a first for him, it didn’t show.  It was mid-afternoon so other shoppers were minimal, giving Sparky the chance to explore every aisle.  He walked by the fish, birds, the reptiles, those little furry rodents, and the kitties awaiting adoption with nary a notice.  His nose was level with the antlers, bulk treat bins and the bagged foods; he took in smells and that was all!  At check-out, there was a congestion of folks and Sparky stood quietly beside his foster mom, taking it all in stride.  With such good manners, he’ll get to go again!
Between eating every meal in a crate and routine errand running, Sparky has bagged hours and increasing ease in crates...huge ones, medium-sized ones, plastic and wire.  His house manners are splendid, so crating isn’t needed in the home.  However, for the sake of safe travel and those occasional overnighters at the vet’s office, acceptance of crates has been important.  Some dogs learn to “sit.”  Some learn to give “paw.”  Sparky has learned to “go to kennel”...good boy!
While in excellent health overall, Sparky has had some digestive upsets while in foster care.  In concert with his vet’s counsel, slow changes have been made along the way to put that to rest.  He’s currently finishing a round of medication for an intestinal tract infection and is receiving an inexpensive OTC med.  Together, the benefit for Sparky seems at hand.
Sparky’s a good boy.  He asks for so little, is easy to share a home with, and is such a pleasure to be out and about with.  He’s a very handsome head-turner...that’s evident as one watches how others react to him and hears the compliments they offer.  He could easily be an “only” dog and will thrive with people who enjoy a daily walk as much as he does.  If you live in snow country, he’d really like to meet you!!

Update 01/17/2016:
  Much that makes Sparky atypical also makes him a treasure.
Much that makes Sparky atypical also makes him a treasure. His sizable stature puts those engaging eyes and expressive ears at one’s finger tips.  His soft, restful nature makes him an undemanding constant in one’s home.  His obvious delight when his lead comes out makes walking with him absolute pleasure and seems to bring him more pleasure than off-leash time.
Through short, daily training sessions, Sparky has gained confidence in humans; his rather blank look when he first arrived has succumbed to one of trust.  He’s added a number of commands to his original list of one and is continuing to work on “give paw.”  That comes easily when getting into or out of his harness but still eludes him at all other times..... :)). 
Sparky’s most heartening progress has centered on remaining at ease when the door of his travel crate is closed.  That singular movement had been terrifying to him.  He would enter and sit, ride well, and unload calmly; it was the door closing that triggered upset.  Desensitizing him to that has been largely successful.  Simple daily exercises rewarded with high value treats were small investments toward this outcome.
Along the way, Sparky has given his foster family a moment of “terror.”  He’s not been a gate-darter but, one beautiful afternoon, he was taken for granted and seized the moment.  He slid past his foster mom and found himself in the unfenced part of the backyard.  There was a look of surprise on his face when he realized what he’d done!  With fingers crossed, his foster mom asked him to “come,” and then laughed as he gleefully made wide loops around the yard; this little scene played out safely and almost too quickly when Sparky bee lined for the kitchen door and stood there waiting to be let in.  Apparently the lure of pork roast in the slow cooker overcame his joy of loping in boundless spaces!
This boy’s almost ready for an adopting family.  For someone who works from a home office and would like a quiet companion while knocking out the daily tasks, Sparky would be a perfect choice.  For someone who has wavered from their New Year’s resolution to walk daily because they lack a committed partner, Sparky would be an outstanding choice.  For the family with a gentle, sharing resident dog who simply needs a buddy during the work day, Sparky could be a comforting choice.  Sparky has no special needs, beyond a patient, thoughtful person who will either not need to crate him when on the road, or, who will continue to support the desensitization that he’s accomplished.  Say “yes” to this one and put a warming spark in these winter days!

“His tail tells all...he carries it high when walking and swishes it from side to side.  He could be perfect for someone who needs a nudge to get out of the house every day for healthy exercise.”

Mr. Sparky is in (at least) his 4th living arrangement in the last 5 months.  Initially, he was part of a hoarding situation in Virginia that included over 80 dogs.  When authorities stepped in, another breed rescue received him but contacted MAESSR after determining him to be a Springer.  He was immediately welcomed by his first MAESSR family and spent 2 weeks with them.  He adapted well in their working household but moved once more, mainly to see how a quieter home with fewer dogs might suit him.  After 2 weeks of settling into his current home, Sparky’s doing great; becoming acquainted with him is a pleasure.  He may be benefiting from a minimal dose of an OTC medication that assists with anxiety, or, he may just be a truly mellow fellow.  He certainly is one of the most laid-back Springers his foster family has met in quite a while.

Sparky has 2 canine companions in this foster home...a 4 year-old and an 11 year-old.  There have been a few spats and no play bows among them.  Games of chase in the yard have been short and usually broken up by Sparky.  Indoors Sparky will sit alongside the other dogs for treats and is content to settle on whichever dog bed the others leave open.  He has shown no interest in toys and may be a dog that never learned to play.  He could likely share a forever home with another easy-going dog but is also one who likely wouldn’t miss canine friendship if he was an only dog.

What Sparky does like is going for walks.  If he hasn’t been out by noonish, he often casts yearning looks at the door.  Instantly excited when the leash comes out, he will sit to get it on.  He walks nicely on a Harness Lead, both on a trail and on sidewalks.  He sets a nice pace and keeps moving.  If a very enticing smell comes his way, he’ll slow or stop but quickly resumes his circle.   His tail tells all...he carries it high when walking and swishes it from side to side.  He could be perfect for someone who needs a nudge to get out of the house every day for healthy exercise. 

When meeting adults while out and about, Sparky has been very at ease.  He notices people but is quite willing to pass them by if they’re not interested in stopping for a visit.  When his foster mom does stop to chat with dog-friendly strangers, he is calm and patient but makes no effort to step forward for petting or to be part of the exchange.  A measure of his steadiness...while walking the exercise loop one day  in the town park, a runner approached from behind.  Sparky and his foster mom stepped to the side to let that person pass and, as the runner did, he side-stepped toward Sparky and reached out, laying a gentle but unexpected pat on the top of Sparky’s head.  The dog never flinched and the runner didn’t break stride.  Once past, the runner turned his head back with a trusting grin.....yeah for Sparky’s good sense!   He has met a 10 year-old and reacted to that lad as he has all adults...accepting but cool. Being close to heavy traffic doesn’t bother him either.
Sparky’s list of commands seems limited to”sit.”  His foster mom suspects no one has taken the time to teach Sparky basics, so he’s working on “stay,” “give paw,” “load up” and “go to kennel.”   With mini-lessons daily and hot dog bits in hand, he’s catching on.  The only request he takes issue with is crating in the family truck.  He’s learned to crate nicely in a wire crate in the house where he finds his meals.  He naps there at times too, but the plastic crate on the truck is a worry.  Work continues with repetitions and lots of hot be continued!
Sparky is housetrained, doesn’t counter-surf, doesn’t nose into anything in the house and sleeps on a dog bed at night in the bedroom with the other dogs and his family.  When no one is home except the dogs, he crates willingly and is relaxed when his family returns.  Once loaded for errand-running, he does ride very well and is quiet during short stops that his people make along the way.  

At meal time, Sparky is funny too.  As dinner time approaches, he often brings the bowl from his crate to the living room...quiet, fairly subtle and very effective in getting his message across... :)).

About his health, Sparky checked out well when vetted.  Recently he completed treatment for a minor leg wound.  It’s scabbed over now and not a bother to him.   At 67 pounds, he’s definitely a big boy and well-nourished but not really fat.  One thing his family likes about him is that they don’t need to bend down to give him an ear rub.  With 4 paws on the floor, his black face is right at their fingertips! His coat is growing in downy-soft after a major shave.  He’s exceedingly handsome now and just keeps getting better.

It’s OK not to know more about Sparky’s past.  It’s great that he’s doing so well right now, and, in due season, it will be a measure of his goodness when he has a family of his own to love him and assure him that he won’t need to move again.......ever.  Check back on his progress; he’s a good dog!