Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Today I was asked to talk with a two and a half year old dog who was rescued a week ago. (This came in as a text message from someone who knew the people who rescued the dog. I don't know her name, just got a text request for help from a friend who knows the people who have her right now). What I heard about the situation was third or fourth hand. I will share with you what came through on the text and then what is more important is what the dog had to say about everything and what she wanted. Sounds like the dog was being kept outside no matter what the weather was like and she may have been mistreated in other ways as well. The rescuers have reported they cannot contain the dog in anything. For instance they say the dog tears apart crates and climbs fences. They are having a hard time keeping her contained. They say she had no confinement before but was locked outside the home.
Having heard all of that information now I will say hello to this doggie and see what she has to say about her experience, what she needs, wants etc.
First, I must say she is a joyous being. I am experiencing a tremendous smile and wagging tail. She reminds me of a big pup who is out of control with tons of energy but joyous and very sweet. She says she has not had much, if any, training. She says her people adopted her, and brought her home. She proceeded to destroy everything in the house and they tried to stop her but did not know how so they finally put her outside. She could have run away but she just stayed there for the most part. Her people loved her but did not know how to handle their situation. They did not know how to handle her. Unfortunately they did not contact the organization where they acquired her to ask for help. (I don't know why it is but I continually hear of situations where people have trouble with an adopted animal but they don't go back to ask for help when they have trouble. They even sometimes abandon an animal or take them to another shelter. (I'll have to ask this dog why his people didn't ask for help.) OK, I just asked her. She said they were embarrassed and felt like a failure. They were also committed to keep her regardless of the challenges they faced.
Some human thought of my own!
It is interesting we don't have any structured or official training on how to care for and be with or parent our human children, nor is there standard training or the automatic idea of taking training for being great parents to our animal family members (Fur and Feathered children) either. We tend to seek out training or assistance when there is a problem. Also it occurs to me we have an assumption we should automatically be great parents. Interesting.
Back to the dog I want to know what she wants, what would be helpful for the new people to know, and to do, in order to have everyone comfortable and happy. And, we want to have her ready for a new permanent home where she and her new people can be happy.
She says it did not occur to her people they could ask for help from the shelter. They worried the shelter would ask for the dog back. They were not ready to give up the dog. The thought of confiding about the problems they were experiencing had them feeling like a failure. It did not occur to them they could simply get some help for managing the dog, or give the dog back if they wished and there was nothing wrong with it. In hindsight it would have been much better than having everyone suffering. And, the dog went on to say her people would have continued to keep her just as it was if it wasn't for these people (who just rescued her) requesting to take her. She said she was grateful to be taken away as her people just thought of themselves as being failures around her and she was not enjoying them as much because it was all about them feeling bad about her.
Now the dog is with the rescuers and they are having trouble as the dog is more difficult to manage than they imagined.
Back to the dog I want to know what she wants. In addition what would she like for the rescuers to know. What can they do to have her feeling loved, understood safe and happy. How may they most efficiently work with her to have her ready for a new forever home she and her new people can be happy.
OK, here are some things I am hearing from the dog:
1. First, I want them (any people involved) to know I am not angry or upset with my people I was just taken from. Having said that I am also VERY happy to have been moved. My new people have greater understanding for what I need and more compassion. I also love being in the house, warm. Bottomline is I am not a wounded doggie. I have been neglected by simple ignorance.
2. I want to acknowledge I am a handful! I am not an easy dog to manage. I have a lot of energy and exuberance and an appetite for many things in a home. I will chew on wood, on furniture, on walls and anything I find which fits well and feels good in my mouth. I am a risk for eating something bad for me.
Let me say a few words about what is driving me. I am a very social being. I LOVE to be with another dog. Are you safe with cats? I cannot guarantee it. I am LOST without another dog. Do you like to be with more than one dog? YES! I need a dog to show me the way to be. I need a dog to calm me, to tell me when to eat, when to rest and when to run around. I need a dog to model how to walk with a human and how to do things I am being asked to do. I need a dog to be there as my friend, my family and my leader of the pack. I am LOST without a dog at my side! This has been my challenge. I have been terribly lonely and unsure and just going about my life as the joyous being I am. But I have no clue about how to make people happy. It was very confusing with my people. They expected me to tell them how to be with me, how to take care of me. I did not know what to tell them or show them. We were all LOST and it just got worse and worse. At first we were like a litter of puppies/playmates together but no one knew how to be in charge.
3. What would you like now? A DOG!!! Are there any dogs there at the new place? Yes, but we are not really together. Do you need a different type of dog? No, one of these would do. I need a dog and I need a human to lead as well. I need work to do, something fulfilling for me and meaningful for a human. I need a safe environment where I cannot escape and cannot hurt myself. I need good nutrition! I feel like I have been eating only junk food for a really long time. (I heard she has only been eating bags of dry cat food.) I heard you have been living on a dry cat food diet is that true? YES! Do you like it? At first I thought it was great but then it started to taste yucky. It had a flavor which did not see to match the ingredients. I feel bad, not really ill, but I feel wired up unnecessarily and I feel irritable and on edge compared to how I would feel if I ate a real nutritious meal.
4. I need LOTS of exercise/work to do. I need a challenge because I just lounged around outside my home and saved all my energy for when my people would come home. I would attack them with enthusiasm and joy at seeing them but I scared them. They thought I was so aggressive but on my part it was pent up energy. I suppose I could have run around but I just didn't feel like it and I think it was from the food I was eating... and I must say I am actually a big lounger. I love to sleep and lay around.
5. If I have a leader of a human, a dog or more as companion and guide, and some known structure (ie routines, consistency with human and training) and good food I think I could be good to live with.
Question for you doggie: I heard you sometimes act aggressively is this true? Yes! My social skills are very limited. I am very enthusiastic at times and will charge right in to meet and greet. This can be startling and confronting for dogs. Other times I pull back and growl as they approach me. I am unpredictable because I never know what is coming my way or how I will respond. At the same time I am in desperate need of a dog of my own to stabilize me in my world.
OK, thank you dog! I will pass this info along. Is there anything additional you would like to say? No, that's all for now.
A couple more questions: Do you want a family or one or two adults? I can go either way as long as there is at least one person who will be absolutely consistent with me. In reality I am better off with one or two humans who are in agreement to be a team for me. For instance, I like to challenge. I like to test boundaries and I like to see how far I can push. If I have the opportunity to maintain some bad habits with some family members then I will do so. If a family can truly provide consistency and structure I am in! If they cannot it may result in it now working out long term for me.
I may have more questions later but that is all for now. Thank you Dog!
Thank you, Human!