The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Java, the Australian Shepherd/Belgian Shepherd Girl~Adopted

Java, the Australian Shepherd/Belgian Shepherd Girl~Adopted
Beautiful despite the hair loss

Last week, TDL pulled the lovely Miss Congeniality from Lake City Humane Society/Columbia County Animal Control in Lake City. While I was there, shelter manager Jennifer Marshall showed me another dog she wanted TDL to consider: Sheba, a beautiful shepherd mix that was suffering severe anxiety due to the rigors of shelter life. We didn’t have a foster spot at that time, but I promised Jennifer I’d try to find one and return for Sheba if I could.

Well, thanks to the crossposting of TDL’s supporters and our newest foster, Emily Womack-Golecki, we were able to pull Sheba the following Saturday!

I was super excited to go get Sheba, so much so that I arrived just as the shelter was opening. I knew she’d been really stressed and losing tons of hair because of it, but I still wasn’t prepared for the sight I beheld when Jeff, a member of the shelter’s staff, brought her to me. Wow! This poor girl’s ears were bloody, she had tufts of hair just hanging onto her back and abdomen, and her back legs from hock to tail base were completely red, hairless, and covered in sores where she’d been scratching. Her once-full tail was now one big dread lock. Much more “stress” and she’d be completely bald!

I love her ears

Saturday, June 11, 2011:

After we’d exchanged the necessary paperwork, I asked Jeff if we could try Sheba (now Java) in the cat room. I don’t have cats, but I wanted to make sure she was okay around them as that’s one of the questions we receive most frequently from adopters. Silly me, Java couldn’t have cared less about the cats — she was more interested in getting the attention of the children petting the kittens. Well, that answered another question: How was she with kids? From the look of things, pretty darn good! With that, we were homeward bound …

Crazy ears!

It wasn’t until we got home and I was bathing Java that I realized just how extensive her hair loss/skin condition was. She was covered in sores from where she’d been scratching herself and the better part of her body was red and inflamed. I consulted with Holly and Gisele, both of whom reassured me that Java probably had either a flea allergy or a food allergy. But there was also the possibility that she had mange, maybe even sarcoptic mange (the variety that is highly contagious to both dogs and humans), so I quarantined her in a separate room, away from the rest of the pack. Despite the collodial oatmeal bath, Java was really miserable at this point and crying loudly while scratching and chewing on herself, so I gave her 50 mg of Benadryl in the hope that it would help her rest.

And then I sat down at my computer and Googled “sarcoptic mange.” Mistake. BIG mistake.

You see, there are two things I know with absolute certainty about myself. 1. I will not, under any circumstances, eat mayonnaise. 2. While I hate ticks with a purple passion, I will go after them (with tweezers, not bare fingers). Mites that burrow into flesh and then lay their eggs, on the other hand, I simply do not “do.” The mere thought sends me into convulsions of horror.
I quickly e-mailed Gisele and Holly with my latest suspicions. Their responding e-mails were sympathetic enough, but I imagine they thought I was overreacting … and they were probably right. All I could think of at this point was an army of microscopic flesh-burrowing mites making their way to my bedroom while I slept. Java continued to scratch and claw at herself all night, which did nothing to ease my fears. Ugh. ~ Amy

Sunday, June 12, 2011: Today, in addition to being extremely itchy, Java developed diarrhea. I have an idea her upset stomach is due to all the changes — environment, diet, etc. — but will be glad to hear what Dr. Hendrix has to say when he sees her tomorrow. Although she’s not eating, she is drinking and remains bright and active on our walks. I’ve been giving her 50 mg of Benadryl every 8-10 hours; it seems to take the edge off the itch, for a little while anyway. As expected, I’m starting to itch myself. Of course, I’m imagining the worst because … well … that’s what I do! ~ Amy

GOOD NEWS! Dr. Hendrix does not think Java has sarcoptic mange. He took five skin scrapings from different areas on her body and didn’t find a single mite. Instead, he believes Java has allergic dermatitis with a secondary infection caused by all her scratching. At this point he couldn’ t say whether the allergy was food- or flea-related, so we’ll have to work on that one. Java also has a pretty severe ear infection. In the positive column, both her heartworm and her fecal tests came back negative, which is definitely cause for celebration! She may look a mess right now, but Java is actually in much better shape than expected. And now I can stop itching! Yahoo!

Lovely face

Monday, June 13, 2011:

Java currently weighs 50.7 lbs., but could stand to add 5-7 lbs. to her lanky frame. Dr. Hendrix agrees that she is approximately 4-years-old.  He has advised us to keep her on antibiotics for several weeks before attempting to spay her. That means Java’s on medical hold for the time being. Stay tuned, though, because we’ll be posting updates and new photos soon! ~ Amy

Thursday, June 16, 2011: Java goes to the groomer tomorrow for the spa treatment. I’ll be sure to take before and after photos, just like they do in “Vogue” magazine. She may go in a “don’t” but she’s going to come out a “do”! Stay tuned! ~ Amy

Thursday, June 23, 2011: Java is now staying with new foster Emily Golecki, her two girls, and their Australian Shepherd in Wesley Chapel. Here, Emily tells us about our girl’s first day in her new home:

“Hey Amy, It was no problem at all coming up there and what is funny is she actually laid down and fell asleep in the car on the way home. When she first got to the house I took her for a little walk and then we introduced her to Kurri who I think was more excited to see J than she was to see Kurri. Java actually curled her lip as if to snarl but never made a sound, she still has yet to bark or growl. She was a bit timid at first but now moves around the house as if it were her own. She is definitely an alpha which is funny because so is Kurri so when they walk together it is like they are competing to be first and they actually shoulder bump each other as if to say “out of my way!” but they don’t fight or argue, it is like a friendly rivalry.

Java and and her Aussie foster friend, Kurri.

She is timid around men. My dad came by and she hid in the kitchen and then again when my “boyfriend” came by last night she was real shy almost afraid but was okay taking treats from both. She LOVES the Dentley brand raw hides, hates milk bones and would only take her pills with a bit of peanut butter. I kept her in the crate over night as she did have a pee pee accident after her nap yesterday but that is to be expected during the transition. She does try to mount Kurri but I just give her the look and she moves away as if to say “what? I am not doing anything” LOL but I think it goes back to the Alpha thing. OH and she love love loves to eat! I generally give Kurri dry food in the morning and wet at night so last night I mixed Java’s dry food with a can of wet, you would have thought she hit the lottery! She was so excited. Then this morning I did the ½ and ½ of the two dry foods. So far no diarrhea woo hoo! I don’t think that there will be any problem putting a little weight on her. She did scratch a bit but I gave her some Benadryl this morning and you were right about her hatred of having her ears washed out. I am still not convinced I am doing the drops right but I just squeeze it in and try to massage it before she runs out from underneath me.

One more story, she went on her first jog last night. I have to teach her to run in a straight line as it is not good to stop in front of your human lest she go flying over you and does a face plant on the concrete. Needless to say I busted up my knee and feel like I got punch in the chest but she stopped to come back and make sure I was okay instead of running off. We will try it again tonight as she seemed to enjoy it once we were back up and running again. She is so graceful compared to my squatty dopey kurri. LOL. Well that is my epistle of day 1. We will see how day 2 plays out especially with me being back at work today. I am sure Kurri is taunting her outside the kennel as payback for the head humping this morning.”

Java is currently being fostered in Wesley Chapel. You can enjoy many photos of her in her photo album. If you think that you might want to give her a forever home, please first review our Dog Tips page, then read our Adoption Process and e-mail


06/29/11 Foster Update: Java has adjusted very well to her “home”. She and Kurri get along great as Kurri has pretty much accepted that she is part of the household for the time being. When she first came she tended to be very timid around men. Now when my dad comes over she comes right up to him to say hi. I think that she has learned that he is good people and always has treats on him for her. She is no fool! LOL. Other men she is kind of leery about but if given time and gifts, she will warm up quickly. She is a female after all. She is great with my daughters and doesn’t seem to be wary at all when they get crazy (they are 5 and 7).

She has not chewed a single item in the house and to date I think I have only heard her bark twice both times it was to wake me up to ask if she could jump on the bed. As she has become more comfortable, her playful personality is starting to come out. She loves wrapping up and playing in the sheets as I am changing them out on the beds.

She is also putting on weight nicely and her coat is looking shiny. Holly recommended getting Halo Dreamcoat from Whole Foods especially since she seems to have sensitive skin. Her bald areas are healing nicely but there are times she is still itchy. I know when I have a scab it itches like crazy so that is understandable. It does make her a bit restless at night when settling down to bed but once she is asleep you don’t hear a sound out of her until morning. I have also found that by making her sleep in her crate she settles faster than letting her roam free at night.

Another interesting fact, My sister is a self professed cat lady, she does not care for dogs but tolerates them because I have them although she does like Kurri. Elizabeth stayed at my place on Friday and Saturday while I was in Birmingham to look after the dogs for me. She fell in love with her and Java became her shadow. She even stayed over on Sunday just so she could continue to hang out with her. If Java can melt my sister, she can melt anyone. She is just a sweet and smart dog.

She doesn’t mind having a bath, I think she just tolerates it. I will bathe her again Thursday evening before her surgery as I know it will be a couple of weeks before she can get her tummy wet post-op. Plus the oatmeal shampoo makes her feel better.  I have attached two pics, the laundry one was taken on a phone but she was just too cute to not try to get a shot. The other was taken this morning, she was so happy and smiley.   ~ Emily Golecki

One thought on “Java, the Australian Shepherd/Belgian Shepherd Girl~Adopted

  1. Java is beautiful, smart, playful, well behaved, polite and listens very well!!! She was very attentive to our puppy without being overbearing. Her skin issues seem to be healing nicely, and she didn’t appear bothered by it at all. All she needs is her perfect match and there will be lot’s of love all around! Kudos to Amy for making her feel right at home!!!

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