Alastor/Al (formerly Bubba, Goofy, or Wink depending on who you asked) came from Star Valley, ID where he was shot numerous times with a BB gun. Two of the pellets were lodged in his right eye, his body was covered in wounds and scars, and he was emaciated. The first photo here is pre-eye-removal surgery (a screenshot from his adoption photo on the AAC Instagram). When I adopted him, he was still recovering from surgery, and had been staying with his foster parents in Jackson (he is with his foster dad in the second photo, post-surgery).
When I met Al, he was completely terrified of new people. He would not even accept a treat from me. I quickly learned that he was going to require a lot of time, patience, and energy. His fear of humans was a huge hurdle. When introduced to a new person, he would bark uncontrollably and sometimes lunge as if he was going to bite the person. Many of my friends were afraid of him— he is a big dog and his bark is really loud and scary!
Despite his fear, I made sure he was around new humans frequently to show him that people are not all bad! It was challenging at first because he was inconsolable around new people and often appeared aggressive, and their fear of him made him react even more poorly.
Eventually, as I got to know his personality, I discovered it was best to instruct new people to ignore him at first and avoid making eye contact. When they did that, he would eventually approach them. If they continued to ignore him, he would typically decide they were “ok” with him and actually often lean up against them— this is his signal that he wants their affection!
It did take a while to work out this routine, but once we started doing it, almost every interaction with a new person was more positive than the last. Routine, security, exercise, and time have done wonders for Alastor.
Now, after two years with him, Al is an AMAZING companion. He is a fantastic trail dog (he loves biking!!!), he loves meeting new people (!!!), and he loves other dogs. My mom says he is a “dog-whisperer” because he startlingly befriended her aggressive and reactive ex-fighting rescue dog and now they are the best of friends.
He has tons of dog and people friends around our neighborhood and he is always SO stoked to see them! New people even often comment on how well-behaved he is!!!
The past two years have been turbulent, but heart-warming and deeply rewarding. I cannot thank the amazing folks at the AAC enough for giving Al a second chance after his tragic and brutal early life. He is quirky, goofy, clumsy, playful, zoomy, gentle, and happy. He has big emotions that he wears on his sleeve and I absolutely adore him. He has captured the hearts of so many people in The Valley and beyond. Al is my very very best pal and has changed my life immeasurably.
Much love from Al and Sarah!