(via modernhepburn)Source: likeneelyohara
We have four dogs, all ‘rescues’ from previous homes of various types.
When you adopt a dog you can never be really certain of what they’ve been through before you met them and some of them may have behavioural issues due to the circumstances of their life before your home. You may strike it lucky and have no problems or you may run into difficulties. Sadly, many adopters give up on their new charges at the first hurdle and send them back into the rehoming system without really trying to work through the problems.
We went through quite a tough time with Kryssy. Mainly excessive vocalisation that upset the neighbours, a tendency to chew anything she could get in her jaws – including furniture, sunglasses and small electrical items, and an inclination to bolt at every opportunity.
One day it all got too much and I found myself sitting on the bottom stair sobbing my eyes out because it was so hard and I thought it wasn’t working out for us or Kryssy. This is the closest I’ve ever been to putting a dog into rehoming kennels. But something in my mind gave me a proverbial kick up the backside and I remembered that I’d signed a piece of paper saying that I’d look after her forever, so look after her forever was damned well what I was going to do! That was four years ago and since then the neurotic, furniture-chewing howler has turned into the most loving, squidgy, cuddle-monster imaginable. How glad I am that we didn’t give up on her.
Three years later, Billy the Wonky-Faced Whippet came to join us. He was fine with Kryssy and Jodie but he took issue with Gilmour and spent his first 48 hours trying to mount the bigger dog. This behaviour stopped of its own accord and we thought they’d settled their differences. Once Billy’s microchip data had been updated and we let him off the lead, the boys seemed like best-buddies going off on little adventures together. Whatever one boy did, the other had to copy! However, this chumminess was reserved for walks and there continued to be a certain amount of animosity between them at home, probably because Billy was accustomed to being Top-Dog in his previous home but we were not prepared to have him push his wait around with our established dogs.
There was never any fight as such be we were very aware not to let any vocal or possessive behaviour get out of hand. It was not nice, but it was controllable. Until Gilmour got ill.
Gilmour developed Idiopathic Vestibular Syndrome – a problem with the inner ear a bit like severe vertigo in humans – so the poor lad completely lost his balance and was lunging around the place like an old drunk. While Gilmour was ill (about three weeks) Billy became very aggressive towards Gilmour to the point that Gilmour couldn’t be fussed by us or even walk into the same room without being growled at by Billy. It’s possible that Billy’s behaviour was fear-aggression rather than directly offensive as he’d previously been copying Gilmour and now Gilmour was behaving in a truly strange and quite frightening manner; we actually thought he’d had a stroke when we discovered him ill. Nonetheless, with the previous mounting behaviour we’d encountered and Billy’s tendency to be a bit snappy with some other dogs, we decided that we needed to curtail this aggression/dominance so took him in for castration.
I fear some other people might have taken Billy back to a rehoming centre rather than the vet.
Gradually over the next few weeks the animosity between the boys lessened and they started to share beds – on Billy’s terms: Billy would get on a bed with Gilmour but Gilmour wouldn’t be allowed to intrude on Billy’s space. As this became more and more common, it became more and more puzzling when Billy did retaliate and growl or lash out at Gilmour, but it was clear that any close proximity between them was all on Billy’s say-so.
Then this morning, Billy got on a bed and laid close to Gilmour who was fast asleep. Gilmour, in his sleep, stretched and moved his legs until he virtually had Billy in a headlock. Remarkably, not a sound was uttered by the grouchy whippet and both boys slept peacefully for a long while.
A few weeks ago this would never have happened. Billy would at least have growled at Gilmour or, more likely, taken a snap at him.
So it just goes to show that a newly adopted rescue dog just needs time, patience and understanding.
Don’t give up on a adoption – once it works out it is the most rewarding thing ever!