Over 730 Days in the Shelter: Is This Dog’s Unique Head Wobble Keeping Him from Finding a Loving Home?

The Arrival of Brady: Challenges and Resilience

In mid-January of 2022, the Espanola Humane Society in New Mexico welcomed a young Brady and his siblings. At merely 6-8 weeks old, Brady was diagnosed with eye nystagmus, a condition causing involuntary eye movements.

Brady

Although the litter displayed normal behavior, requiring no immediate treatment, the shelter held hopes that Brady’s condition would naturally resolve as he matured. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

“It was difficult to know exactly what caused the problem, but he appeared to be born with this condition”

Candi, Brady’s rescuer & foster

Despite this, Brady showed no balance issues and remarkably adapted to his vision challenges. Sadly, his condition persisted, now accompanied by a slight head wobble, which may be linked to the same cause. This unique trait, while a challenge, has become a distinctive aspect of his endearing personality.

Eye Nystagmus in Dogs

Eye nystagmus in dogs is when their eyes move quickly and uncontrollably, on their own. It’s usually not just a random thing but a sign that something else is going on health-wise. Some pups are born with it (that’s called congenital), while others might develop it later because of different reasons.

Eye Nystagmus in Dogs

Brady likely has acquired nystagmus which can result from a range of issues including vestibular disease, which affects balance; head trauma; inner ear infections; or neurological problems such as brain tumors. The head wobbling goes hand in hand with the eye movements.

Head Wobble in Dogs


Head wobble in dogs, or what some folks call head tremors or bobbing, is when a dog’s head moves on its own, kind of like a side-to-side or up-and-down rhythm. Sometimes it’s so slight you barely notice it, but other times, it can be pretty obvious. It’s different from when dogs shake or scratch their heads – that’s usually because of ear problems or something bugging them.

The reasons behind head wobble can be a bit of a mystery. In some dogs, like Bulldogs or Dobermans, it’s just a quirky thing that happens and doesn’t really mean they’re sick or anything. But sometimes, it can be a sign of bigger health issues, like neurological problems or vestibular disease (that’s a fancy term for issues with balance).

A New Beginning: Foster Care and Overcoming Fears

Brady

Brady was fostered in New Mexico where the foster family had no issue with his condition and he flourished in their home until he was placed for transfer to save him from euthanasia due to overcrowding.

Brady’s journey took a hopeful turn in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the El Paso County Canine Rescue. “As he came off the transport van, it was clear he was very frightened. Shaking and salivating,” Candi, Brady’s rescuer and current foster. Brady’s initial days were filled with uncertainty, growling at strangers more out of fear than aggression. However, with the help of the rescue’s six dogs, three foster dogs, and horses, he gradually began to feel safe.

“It may seem like a long time, but after 2 months, we made a huge breakthrough when he climbed onto the couch to sit next to me.”

Candi, Brady’s foster

Adoption Efforts and Brady’s Ideal Home

Despite the rescue’s best efforts, finding a permanent home for Brady, who has been searching for almost two years, remains a challenge.

“We have chosen not to take Brady to adoption events because it would be too ‘busy’ for him,” Candi explained, noting Brady’s preference for quieter environments. During meet-and-greets with potential adopters, Brady showed signs of warming up, though he remained overlooked. “After that last one, we decided to take him into our local farm store…But we noticed his shaking and salivating again,” she added, underlining the importance of finding a family that understands his needs.

Brady

Progress and Socialization: Brady’s Growth in the Foster Home

Brady’s time at the rescue has been marked by significant milestones. From initially keeping his distance, he has grown to meet his foster family at the gate, though still showing signs of play nipping. “He still prefers his meals outside of the kitchen…But after he is done, he will come into the kitchen to see who is not done yet,” the foster parent observed, indicating his increasing comfort. Brady’s interaction with new foster dogs and puppies has also been positive, despite initial hesitancy.

Understanding Brady’s Needs and Nurturing Environment

Brady

Brady’s unique head wobble, a part of his charm, adds to his distinctive personality. This along with his sensitivity to sudden loud noises and crowded spaces, requires a special environment.

“Sudden loud noises frighten him more than I have witnessed in other dogs…he will dart outside”

Candi, Brady’s foster

The routine of providing Hemp calming treats has helped ease his anxiety. Brady’s ideal home would include at least one other dog, a spacious yard, and a family that can appreciate and love him despite his minor disability.

The Role of Rescue Organizations and the Importance of Adoption

The story of Brady highlights the crucial role of rescue organizations in changing the lives of animals like him. “Rescue organizations change that for all of the Brady’s out there! Before adopting, be certain you are well informed of what you are prepared to care for,” the rescue urged, emphasizing the importance of informed adoption. El Paso County Canine Rescue continues to advocate for “rescue, don’t buy,” relying on volunteers, supplies, and donations to support their mission.

Brady

Brady’s journey, filled with challenges, adaptations, and breakthroughs, exemplifies the resilience of animals in the face of adversity. His story is not just a plea for adoption but a testament to the transformative power of care and understanding. As Brady continues to wait for his forever home, his tale inspires hope and a deeper appreciation for the unique needs of special dogs like him.


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