By Christy Avery

Jax was found abandoned, tied to a lamppost outside the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. A clear victim of neglect, the seven-year-old Chihuahua-Dachshund mix had a swollen, misshapen eye and a bad skin infection. Once safe at the Seattle Animal Shelter, the sweet little dog became a favorite of staff, happiest when he could curl up in someone’s lap or sunbathe under an office window. A veterinarian prescribed eye surgery, which would be paid through private donations, and a foster family offered to care for Jax after surgery. Jax’s needs, however, turned out to be more complicated than expected.

He was terrified of being left alone. His high anxiety level meant that he had frequent accidents, and he became so panicked in a crate that he injured himself. Two successive foster families tried hosting Jax but felt overwhelmed by his needs.

Sandra Becka, his third foster parent, immediately began working on reducing Jax’s separation anxiety and improving his housetraining. Within two weeks, his accidents were reduced from about twenty per day to one. Within two months, Jax rarely had any accidents. Jax warmed up to Sandra’s dog Shiloh right away, and his presence helped Jax become more comfortable at home when Sandra wasn’t around.

However, his eyelid surgery had not reduced his eye infections, and a specialist recommended that the eye be removed. Sandra nursed him through the second surgery, also paid through private donations. Happily, after this surgery Jax no longer suffered from chronic and painful eye infections, and he remained as active and content as before.

Jax4Stealing a new family’s heart

Jax received a number of applications for adoption, but one stood out—that of Danielle and Nat. The couple had been looking for a second dog after their 14-year-old Chow Chow mix passed away in 2012. Their 100-lb. Rottweiler mix, Tanner, has little tolerance for large, energetic dogs or puppies, so they focused their search on mellow, respectful older dogs that were smaller in size. When they saw Jax’s photo on Petfinder, Danielle thought, “What a heart stealer!”

Even though he was shy with the new family and Tanner, Danielle liked his curiosity, his energy level, and the way he interacted with Tanner. Sandra was honest about Jax’s previous issues and warned the new family that he may regress in a new situation, but Danielle expected that any dog could take up to a year to fully transition into a household. When the meeting was over, Jax followed the family to their car with his foster parent in tow, a sign to everyone that he had found his forever family.

Three months later, Danielle calls Jax “an amazing little guy. He’s spunky, courageous, loving and loyal.” Jax goes everywhere with the family: camping, swimming, to bicycle races, to friends’ houses, to the dog park and more.

Danielle continues, “He runs and plays with abandon, and has an obvious love of life, which we are so very happy to be a part of now. We are incredibly thankful for the care that both SAS and Jax’s foster mom gave him, because while he—and we—certainly still have a lot to learn, he’s come a long way in a short amount of time.”

Please consider donating to SASF to help more animals like Jax.