This is Beasley, an FBRN foster girl we are a little worried about.
Isn't she gorgeous? She's an absolutely stunning dog, but she seems to have a screw loose, and we are doing all we can to diagnose and figure out if we can and how to save her.
Beasley is that scary thing, a people-aggressive dog. She does not like to be told what to do, and we don't mean in the ordinary way that most Frenchies don't like to be told what to do. She really doesn't like to be told what to do. She has come progressively closer to biting her foster moms during fits of temper, and although we have taken her to a professional veterinary behaviorist, we are not seeing the kinds of improvement we had hoped to see.
As the numbers of Frenchies coming in to FBRN continue to rise (have you visited our foster pages recently? Look at how many dogs we have in foster care and on the available list!), we are very likely to see more dogs with behavioral disorders. These dogs are very difficult to place in foster homes, because so few of our volunteers have the facilities or training to know how best to address the unique problems presented by hard-case Frenchies, but also, of course, because we hesitate to place dogs who might bite in our volunteers' homes, where their own dogs or families might be placed in harm's way.
We are now looking for volunteers who are willing and able to take in behaviorally difficult dogs and to work with them, along with support from trainers or behaviorists, to reboot their responses so that we will not have to euthanize these dogs, or at least they will not have to be euthanized until they have had every chance to overcome the bum hand of genetics and history they may have been dealt.
Folks who work with challenging dogs must have even temperaments themselves, must understand the importance of consistency and must be willing to work closely and at length with dogs whose progress may be slow or intermittent or, in some very sad cases, who may not be safely placed with any family or person ever, and must be humanely euthanized. Volunteers interested in working with challenging dogs should also have the means to keep the dogs safe and separate from their own animals and family until such time as the dog is proven to be rehabilitated.
We work very hard to do the best we can for every French bulldog who comes to us. We have a certain luxury in this breed rescue in that even with the swelling numbers we are seeing, we do not yet have to make cut and dried decisions about what degree of disability we'll accept in a foster, or to deny a dog a second chance if she has any history of aggressivity or biting. That day may come. Until it does, we will continue to look for ways to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome every Frenchie who needs us. If you'd like to volunteer to become a foster family, or to help in transports, training, organization or any area of specialized skills you can contribute, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Sally Curatola, and let her know your interest.
We know we can't save every Frenchie. But with the help of educated and dedicated and hard-working volunteers, we can at least know that we did all we could or knew how or were able to do. And we'll continue to be proud of what we do and the people we work with as we keep on keeping on.
Meanwhile, Beasley continues to have good days when she plays with her ball, enjoys tummy rubs and pretties up the landscape. We are hoping we will soon unlock the chamber of her personality that causes her to lose her mind sometimes, and help her be the basically bossy, but not ballistic, young bulldog she could be.
The Frog Princess