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Psycho Dog Has Left the Room

My neighbor rescued him. He kept sneaking into my yard to play with my much older dogs (and me). One day I looked out my kitchen window to see rescue aid at my neighbor's house. Went over there and they were taking my neighbor to the hospital but Pinto, aka Psycho dog, was not going to let that happen. He allowed me to pick him up and I told Don not to worry. I would take care of Pinto until he came home. He never came home. The daughter brought me an envelope with Pinto's history. He had been turned into a kill shelter in a city far away at 6 months of age. Spent the next 6 months mostly in a cage because he would bark and growl when anyone came near him, even when given tranquilizers. Was rescued by an agency near here days before being put down to sleep and then transferred to Don. The rescue, in spite of a signed contract, did not want him back. There were days when I would have driven him to the kill shelter gladly. Then I realized, he growls and barks when he is scared or when someone yells or threatens him in any way. So I started to only speak softly to him even when I would have preferred a loud scream, and praised him when he even tried to behave. He is very intelligent and I can tell when he is considering whether to go with plan A (destruction) or plan B (do what I am expected to do). I have learned a lot from him.