Dog ID: 20-033

July 23, 2021

My husband and I adopted Chiller on Nov. 5, 2020. Our old Black Lab, Maggie, had died in September and we really missed having a dog. We already had 7 cats so needed to get a dog who was good with that. We went to the Humane Societies in both Madison and Milwaukee to look at dogs but found nothing that met our criteria. We applied to get a dog from FETCH rescue and GRRoW. Since I volunteer with GRRoW I knew the wait could be long. I looked at Chiller’s updates online and thought he might be a good fit. We drove 2 ½ hours to meet him at his foster home and fell in love instantly. Chiller’s bio said he lived with a cat and was good with them. He was older than we wanted but seemed very alert and active for his age (9 years). He had a few quirks, his foster mom said. He would jump straight up in the air when he got excited, was afraid to walk on bare floors, and wouldn’t eat his food or drink his water if the dish was on the floor. He startled at the least little noise and was afraid to walk near unfamiliar vehicles. You had to hold his water dish up off the floor for him to drink. He would bark when he wanted to drink, go outside, or wanted attention. He would only eat his kibble if you put it on the carpet. He trained us very fast! I put a plastic bib on the living room rug, dumped his kibble on it and he would eat it in about 15 seconds flat. Then he would look at the door to the kitchen and bark or whine for his drink of water.

We didn’t like the name Chiller and wanted a more friendly name so came up with Willie. We thought he would adjust to that because it sounded vaguely the same. Willie changed our lives right from the start. It turned out he was afraid of cats. Our cats are VERY friendly and tried hard to win him over. He gradually grudgingly accepted them. He wouldn’t walk on our bare kitchen or hallway floors so I went out and spent $300 on rugs to cover every inch of the kitchen and hallway. He still was very wary of walking through the kitchen and we had to get a leash and walk him down the stairs and out the kitchen door to potty. He knew the leash meant he was going outside and would willingly come along. He refused to use our doggie door to get outside to the fenced in dog yard.

Willie got very agitated in the evenings. He would pace back and forth and grab a shoe or couch pillow and parade around with it in his mouth to get our attention. He tore apart every stuffed toy we gave him. He didn’t really like hard toys but would play with a tennis ball on his own. He loved to play frisbee, and would retrieve a chuck-it tennis ball for hours. He loved his soccer ball and would bring it to us, telling us to go outside and play with him. We had to remember to offer him water at least 6-8 times a day so he wouldn’t get dehydrated. He would start barking at us at about 8 pm because he wanted us to go upstairs to bed! Sometimes it was easier to do what he wanted us to do just to calm him down.

Life went on. We went on long walks every day and Willie seemed really happy. I bought him a kiddie swimming pool which he loved. He wasn’t a snuggler but would sleep at the foot of our bed, with cats piled around him. I wondered about his past life and sent a list of questions through GRRoW to his surrendering owner. It turned out he had been like this his whole life. He was an outside dog in North Carolina and only came into the house in the evenings. He would sing along with the Jeopardy song on TV, and I videotaped him doing it. It was so funny.

He turned 10 in March and we had a party for him. He loved our friends and would run from one to another giving and getting lots of attention. Then he began to not want to go on a walk. He would sit down and refuse to go any farther. We would turn around and go back home and play with the frisbee. He didn’t seem sick. But then he hurt his left front foot running after a ball outside. I took him to the vet and when they were x-raying his foot they discovered a lump on his side that turned out to be a very fast growing cancer, called a hemangiosarcoma. It is very aggressive, metastasizes early and does not respond well to chemotherapy. They did not recommend surgery. Our beautiful Willie would only live a few more weeks. We were devastated and I cried for days. We took him home, gave him all the attention, love and treats he could want. Our friends came over to say goodbye and Willie would seem good for awhile but the day came when he no longer would eat anything and we knew it was time. We only had him for 8 months and he has left such a big hole in our lives. I still think he will walk through the door, and think I have to let him out before we go to bed. We had hoped to have at least 4 more years with him. The only consolation is I know he loved us and had a good final 8 months with us. I know we will get another dog but we will never forget our Willie!

November 5, 2020

Chiller, now Willie, is working on getting used to all the sights and sounds at his new home. He loves his walks, carpeted floors and quiet spaces. For 9 years old he is certainly active and loves to jump straight up to show how excited he is. It will take some time for him to get used to everything so right now we are giving him lots of space and calm.

October 26, 2020

Chiller is a 9 year old who has the stamina and ability of a 5-6 year old. While he is physically active and in good condition, he has many fears other than the usual storms and vacuums. He doesn’t like garage doors opening, cupboards banging, the ice maker and definitely must have a full carpeted home. Because of his horizontal jumping at cars and anyone else when walking, he would benefit from a large fenced in yard. He is 58 pounds and can gain a few pounds. His coat is shiny and silky and he looks like a little doe. Inside the house he likes to spend his time laying down next to anyone who is sitting down. With the exception of his fears with noises in the house, he is a wonderful during the day. He sleeps through the night and whines when he needs to go outside. While he likes toys and bones, he will chew up soft toys and your throw pillows. He gets along with another dog in the house but could be the only dog and has lived with three cats. He likes to be petted but is not pushy about asking for affection.

October 19, 2020
Chiller had a long ride to get to his foster home but he loves car rides and chilled the entire trip. He loved to explore his new surroundings and was hesitant about floors without rugs and new noises. It took him a little time to get used to everything that was new and now all he wants to do is rest near the closest human. He gets along with the resident golden and loves to take long walks. This nine year old has more energy than many of the 3-4 year olds we have fostered.