Captain ‘Merica sits to be fed, to be let out of his kennel and to go outside.
The almost all white boxer — vague patches of black can be seen up close — has a routine that works for him and his handlers at Centre County PAWS. If he is ever adopted, he would need to embrace a similar regimented lifestyle in his new home.
“For a lack of a better word, he’s institutionalized,” PAWS volunteer Mike Warner said. “He knows the routine here. He’s still the goofball that comes out here for the back rubbing (against the grass). The people he knows hard core he’ll bring toys out to and try to sit on their laps. You still get the goofiness, but you still get his look of ‘OK, I know the routine. It’s Sunday. A bunch of people are just going to look at me, and that’s it.’ ”
Captain’s back story is a mystery, according to Centre County PAWS Director of Operations Lisa Bahr, who said the people who surrendered him told PAWS that they saved him from a “bad environment.” He has been passed over at PAWS for more than two years.
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“His favorite things are playing and running with his girlfriends,” Bahr said. “He becomes playmates with just about all of the high-energy female dogs who come to PAWS, but he sadly watches them come and go and he’s still here.”
The first was Cheyanne, a brindle and white boxer mix. Captain taught her how to play tug-of-war through the kennel’s fencing at PAWS. Their daily routine ended in early 2016 when Cheyanne was adopted.
“After Cheyanne left he’d spend whole days outside,” Warner said. “That’s when he started taking his blankets outside and toys outside. ... Afterward, you’d find him outside with his toys and he was just mopey, didn’t want to eat, didn’t want to walk, didn’t want to do too much.”
There have been serious suitors for Captain, Warner said, but no one has panned out.
Adopting Captain, much like becoming a handler for him, has to be a process. He is one of the shelter’s few level four dogs, a canine with “a specific trait or traits that you have to be more vigilant of.”
Captain is slow to trust strangers, so it takes at least three sessions with level four handlers for him to begin to warm up to a new person in his life.
“Captain is a smart boy and an awesome, awesome dog,” Warner said. “He just needs someone with patience to learn him. He won’t let you just push him around. Once he learns to trust you and has confidence in you as the dad or as the mom, he’d want nothing better than just to be at your side, to lay down and sleep with you. He’s one of the few characters here that people will never forget.”
He’s become known for his antics such as chasing bees, running from horse flies, cheeking medicine and eating “only the good stuff.”
“I’d say he’s the smartest, strongest willed dog here,” Warner said.
An ideal home for him, Bahr said, would be a house with adults “who are committed to continuing his training.”
Captain, if adopted, would come with paid professional training through PAWS to ensure a smooth transition.
“I’ll always put the extra mile in to see him get out,” Warner said. “I jokingly say I never want to see them again. He would be hard, though. He’d be hard for me. The ones like Captain have their own fan club, and they get a little going away party. I hope we have one for him.”