Hannah was brought to me in January of 2001after she had been rescued from an abusive situation. From the age of eight weeks through four months she had been confined to a small cage in a spare room of a house. She had virtually no socialization. Her collar was embedded in her neck and she was suffering from malnutrition. I was to provide medical care and a temporary foster home until she regained her health and could be put up for adoption. It didn't take long for Hannah to win my heart with her sweet and gentle nature. I knew she would be my forever dog when I discovered she suffered from more than just physical problems.
It should have been no surprise to learn that Hannah was terrified of going outdoors for any reason. Until she came to live with me, she never even saw the outdoors much less went out. Taking her outside resulted in Hannah throwing her body against the door repeatedly and screaming until she would nearly hyperventilate. No amount of petting or gentle words would calm her. She would not be bribed by even the tastiest of treats. She was oblivious to all except for getting back inside the house. Housebreaking was impossible. Even though she loved playing with my other dogs and followed them about the house, she refused to follow them outside. She just watched through the window and whined until they all came back inside.
Although I've had many dogs with various behavioral issues, I had never encountered anything quite like this. I sought the help of dog behavioral experts in my community and tried their suggestions, but Hannah's fear only intensified. Many people thought Hannah would never overcome her fears. I didn't want to believe she was hopeless and refused to give up. Somewhere there had to be someone who could help. Out of desperation I turned to the internet and discovered a wonderful forum run by Sarah Wilson, one of America's premier dog trainers. With her expert advice and the support of this wonderful community Hannah has overcome her fear. It took diligence and time, but with these folks guiding me, Hannah succeeded.