The 4-month-old German Shorthaired Pointer was hyper, mouthy, and very injured. Mocha Chip, as he would be named, was brought in from another shelter when the shelter’s staff noticed he wasn’t using one of his back legs. He was brought to HSSV, where our medical staff examined him and performed x-rays. They discovered that Mocha Chip’s hip joint had suffered major trauma, which would require surgery.
Our medical team wanted to try to fix his hip as soon as possible, so Mocha Chip was rushed into surgery just a day after arriving. His surgery, known as an “FHO”, removed the hip joint, which allows the hip to create a false joint so there would no longer be painful bone-to-bone contact. It’s an intensive surgery meant to remove the dog’s pain and give him a normal quality of life. Mocha Chip’s surgery was smooth and successful, and after a few hours of post-surgery monitoring, he was sent to an experienced foster home with Melissa and her family.
Melissa had just finished fostering a teeny tiny Chihuahua puppy, and when our foster team saw how gentle her large dog Cleopatra was with the puppy, they thought Cleo might make an excellent gentle play buddy for Mocha Chip. He would need to be a little careful as he recovered from surgery, but our medical team also wanted him to get some exercise and play to make sure his hip regained some range of motion and muscle.
The first day when Mocha arrived at Melissa’s house, he was terrified, confused, and a little out of it from the pain meds. Melissa and her family gave him a few days of quiet time, rest, and lots of TLC. Over the next few days, he started to feel better, and the family began to gradually introduce him to Cleo.
Cleo was amazing with Mocha. She would lay on the ground while they played, letting Mocha have the upper hand and keeping him from overexerting himself with rough play. As the days wore on, Mocha and Cleo did everything together. They played together, napped together, and ate together. Mocha loved Melissa’s two young children and even kept them company during online school.
But while Mocha Chip seemed to be healing well and had clearly settled into life with Melissa’s family, Melissa noticed that he was becoming nervous around people he didn’t know and in new situations. As an experienced foster, Melissa worked on Mocha Chip’s nervousness by using treats and positive associations with things he was scared of, but she knew it would be an ongoing work in progress.
After more than a week having a blast in Melissa’s home, it was time for Mocha Chip’s next check-up. He was nervous with the medical team, and didn’t like his surgery leg being handled to check on it. The team went slow and gentle with Mocha’s exam, and used lots of treats to help him feel more comfortable. They found that his leg had healed well during his time with Melissa and they were encouraged by his progress. But they wanted to see his behavior improve. Our behavior and medical teams decided that Mocha would stay onsite at HSSV for the rest of his recovery in order to receive behavioral support.
Over the next few days, our Behavior team worked with Mocha Chip to increase his confidence around new people and in new environments. They worked on introducing him slowly to new things and pairing it with lots of positive reinforcement. He was paired with social, confident dogs during daily playgroups and watched and learned from them. He received solo training with our staff and volunteers so that he could work on his confidence with learning new things.
Within just a few days, Mocha Chip’s confidence had already started to increase. He was more accepting of meeting new people, and less nervous on walks in new places. Thanks to all the hard work from Melissa, our staff, and our volunteers, Mocha Chip was ready to find his people. It didn’t take long! After a single day on our adoption floor, Mocha Chip found his home with an incredible family that was more than happy to give him the time and attention he needed to warm up to them and is dedicated to continuing his training.
Saving puppies takes a village, and we’re convinced that we have the absolute best village around. Our amazing crew of foster families, staff, volunteers, adopters, and supporters help us ensure that animals just like Mocha Chip and healthy, pain-free, and set up for a successful next phase of their lives. To help us continue to care for puppies in need like Mocha Chip, please donate today! And don’t forget – if you haven’t already, sign up for our eNewsletter to get stories like these delivered to your inbox monthly.