Pet of the Week: Shy Rufus coming out of his shell

Dorothy Butler, kennel attendant for the Humane Society of Warren County, poses with Rufus. Kevin Green/Daily

Rufus is still getting used to human interaction.

A dark-red lab-chow mix believed to be no older than 5, Rufus arrive at the Humane Society of Warren County after original lost his home and could no longer take care of him.

Rufus has come a long way since arriving at the shelter Dec. 15, said shelter kennel attendants Dorothy Butler and Erika Unruh.

“When [Rufus] first came in, he just cuddled up in the corner and did not want to look at you,” Butler said.

Butler added that Rufus started to come out of his shell “within the first week.”

Unruh said Rufus did not have too much interaction with humans before arriving at the shelter and spent most of the time at his original home outside.

“He’s still scared of new situations,” Unruh said, adding, “When we take him in the play yard, he does not like to be closed in the fence.”

“I think he kind of thinks that we are just going to leave him there,” he said.

Rufus has also been timid around other dogs at the shelter, but indifferent toward cats.

“He didn’t know what was going on, he was just scared,” Unruh said.

At the same time, Rufus appears to be indifferent toward cats.

Butler said Rufus has “met with cats” at the shelter, but showed very little aggression. “He was kind of like, ‘hi,’ and went on about his business.”

Both attendants say Rufus is simply a “sweet” dog that loves to cuddle. This friendliness, Butler said, is uncommon for any kind of chow.

“Chows are bread as guard-dogs,” Unruh explained.

However, neither Unruh nor Butler believes that Rufus would make a good guard dog. “I think he just wants to be a lap dog,” Butler said.

Unruh said the right owner would be “someone with patience that’s going to work with him [and] take time to introduce him to new things.”

A family with younger children might be “overwhelming” for Rufus.

“Older children would probably be fine and know what to do around him,” Unruh said.

Butler said he believes that, with increased interaction as well as the introduction to new situations, Rufus’ timid nature will improve.

“He just needs time to get to know someone,” Unruh said.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or