A Forever Home for Chip

Chip the rescue dog

With a day of celebration and good cheer upon us, it seemed like the perfect time to share a Happy Endings story. This handsome black lab Australian shepherd mix is named Chip and he was recently rescued by Fort Collins local multi-taskin’ entrepreneur, Jeanie Sutter.

Last week I sat down with Jeanie at The Bean Cycle  to hear more about the newest handsome man in her life and how they came to be Fort Collins’ latest high-energy duo.

Chip is a 9 month old, 65-pound bundle of high energy and fun, mixed with a little shyness. He came from La Junta Colorado and was initially fostered through Paws and Co, a “foster-based, volunteer-run rescue that rescues animals from Colorado shelters, places them in loving foster homes and works to find a quality adoptive home for each animal.”

One day Sutter was on Facebook and that’s when she saw Chip for the first time. “I had been thinking about getting a dog for a while. He has such a beautiful coat and was just such a handsome fella. At that moment, I knew he was my dog,” said Sutter. “I got in touch with Paws & Co right away.”

Chip’s Backstory

Chip was adopted by a family as a puppy. He was kenneled all day long and did not get nearly enough exercise. His adoptive family had a few kids as well as another dog taking up their time and attention, so Chip did not get a lot of one-on-one time with someone willing to train him, and he was getting to be a bit of a handful.

Here's an example of some of the behavior Sutter is trying to change.

Here’s an example of some of the slightly behavior Sutter is trying to change.

As he continued to get larger and his energy level increased, the family was concerned the arrangement was no longer working, especially with little ones in the house. So, the family decided it was best to give Chip back to Paws and Co. in order to find him a forever home. Through that organization, Chip was fostered by local families that had the time and space to take him in and love him, but the arrangement was always temporary. That is, until Jeanie spotted him online…and the rest is history.

Chip Now, in his Forever Home

Chip has now been in his forever home for two months and he’s doing so well!

Chip is great in the car, he’s learning basic commands and tricks like sleep (where he lies down and puts his paw over his eyes), and is falling in line now that he has an owner that can match his energy level and understands how to connect with him. Sutter also has a flexible schedule, which allows her to exercise her new pup frequently throughout the day.

Chip currently has a bit of separation anxiety, and Sutter feels it’s most likely because of his unstable initial home life where he was always placed in a crate or bounced around to foster homes with an uncertain future. Although he was well-cared for in foster care, the uncertainty of a permanent home can make any animal feel a bit insecure or unsure if their next stay is forever. But, Sutter is consistently working with Chip to reassure him that he’s safe and sound.

Chip making himself at home.

Chip making himself at home.

“I can’t lie, that first night was tough!” she said. Chip cried, whined and seemed completely uncomfortable, but because Sutter hadn’t lived with a dog for a long time, his behavior made her a bit anxious at first. Sutter’s biggest concern was making sure she could support him in making a smooth transition so that Chip could relax and focus on being a happy dog. So far, it’s working!

Chip is also still very much a puppy at nine months old, and his breed/heritage makes him a very high-energy dog that needs exercise, attention and ways to utilize his intelligence. HIs “puppy mind” also gives Sutter an opportunity to train Chip and show him that he is not only safe, but very loved. Right now the two are working on building a connection and level of trust so that he can be more relaxed with her and with other people.

Here's Chip, outside and ready for anything!

Here’s Chip, outside and ready for anything!

“We are working on his separation anxiety and despite some of these challenges, I know I’m his person. I’m working with Chip to be the companion dog I know he can be,” said Sutter. The pair are currently focusing on play/fight balance, some basic tricks and general dog training. Sutter has done some work with Chip through the Canine Learning Center, and is also working with local holistic veterinarian Priscilla Dressen with North Star Holistic Animal Care.

“One of the biggest pieces of advice I can share about being a recent rescue animal adopter, is that people need to be prepared for the commitment of taking on a rescue puppy or dog and be willing to work with their story”, says Sutter. “You don’t know all their baggage, and it’s so important to take the time to build trust and work together, no matter the learning curve.”

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