Foster Friday: Timbaland
“The floor is lava” is not just a game for 8-year-old Timbaland, it’s a real fear. When we transferred Timbaland into our care from Buckingham County Animal Control in early November, it became apparent that he was terrified of the flooring of our humane center. Our animal care technicians outfitted his kennel space with blankets and mats to make him more comfortable, but the frightened pup continued to refuse to walk on the floors. Our shelter staff did everything they could to help Timbaland including using a cart to wheel him in and out of the building. Though Timbaland showed no signs of pain, our staff worried Timbaland’s behavior was due to a medical issue.
Richmond SPCA Associate Veterinarian Dr. David Molinas performed Timbaland’s neuter surgery and also diagnosed a heart murmur that would need further diagnostic testing. The results were heartbreaking. Not only was it discovered that he had leaky heart valves, but radiographs showed bullet fragments in his body. Though these issues did not contribute to Timbaland’s fear of floors, it was determined that he would need more medical treatment and time to heal from his tragic past.
Armed with heart medication and a training plan, dedicated Green Team volunteer and foster provider Susan Kerynat took Timbaland home to heal. Susan outfitted her home with a network of rugs to help Timbaland and began working on acclimating him to different surfaces. In the time he has been in foster care, Susan reports that he is making great progress and is “a study in patience, moving forward, going backward, trying again, building understanding, fear and bravery. I have no illusions that he will enter his new home full of confidence running around, exploring.”
But with Susan’s help and the guidance of behavior and training manager Jackie Laubacher, we’ll have a management plan that will prepare his future guardian to best provide for his needs. We look forward to seeing this brave dog continue to flourish in Susan’s care and to finding him the lasting and loving home he deserves when he is cleared for adoption.
Anne Goddard Rand is the communications specialist at the Richmond SPCA. Prior to working for the Richmond SPCA, she worked in the wildlife conservation field with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the National Wildlife Federation.