Adopting a rescue dog, especially an older one, is a wonderful
thing to do. It can bring love and gratitude into your life in a way that you have never experienced before. But it has its challenges for both the dog and the human. Huff has
a few things to say about that.
You wouldn't want that for yourself would you? Things happen. And you might not have the whole story.
Don’t believe everything you are told about your new dog. Humans have many reasons to skew the truth. Believe what you see in front of you, not what someone tells you to see.
My former owner told my new human that I was aggressive towards other dogs. But when she took me for a walk, she watched how I acted. She saw me hunch low and avoid eye contact with the other dogs on the path. She noticed how I walked a little faster to get past the other dogs. She believed what she saw, not what she was told.
And she was right. I don’t go looking for a fight. I work very hard to avoid fights, even if it means I don’t have many dog friends.
I am not aggressive. I am afraid.
Other humans haven’t always be good to me. So I didn’t trust my new human right away. I obeyed her, because I didn’t want to get hit again. But trust takes time.
She showed me around my new home while I was still on the leash. She talked softly and moved slowly. She showed me where my water bowl and food dish were. She kept my water dish full and that was important to me.
She did get upset with me sometimes. I didn’t like when she was upset. It made me very nervous. But she didn’t hit me. So maybe I trusted her a little then.
She didn’t grab me. If she wanted me to go somewhere and I didn’t understand, she would pat my sides and the gently nudge me in the right direction. She said we looked silly, but that was okay with her.
I don’t know if that technique would work for all dogs, but I am a herding dog so it made sense to me.
Give your new dog a chance to figure out what you want. I was never an indoor dog before I came here. It was nice to be in a warm dry place, but it was scary at first.
The television was the scariest thing to me. Suddenly people would appear in the middle of our living room. I didn’t see or hear them come in. Very scary. They had no scent and paid no attention when I touched my nose to them. Rude! I decided if they were going to behave that way, I would ignore them right back.
Being an indoor dog has special rules. Like no potty in the house. Who knew?
Be kind but be a leader. When I try to run away because another dog is nearby my human doesn’t let me run. She protects me and reassures me. But it is clear we are going to do things her way. I need that too.
Don’t let your new dog push you around. You need to be strong and kind.
When you get a puppy, you have to train it. Once you do, it will listen to you and probably enjoy whatever activities you enjoy. But if you get a rescue dog, expect a few quirks.
I only like to drink from the right side of my two-well water dish. I know there is water in the other side and if I get really thirsty, I will drink it. But I try to get my human to refill the right side. I will pace and show her the empty side. So she fills it for me, even though she says it is silly.
To be fair, most humans are a little quirky too.
Your new dog might not be everything you hoped for in a dog. You might want a dog that snuggles in your lap and end up with one that doesn’t like too much attention.
My human hoped for a dog she could walk in the park, but she didn’t get one.
It makes me nervous to be around other dogs, so my human doesn’t make me go to the park where there are lots of other dogs.
Being pitied doesn’t feel right to a dog. It makes us worry.
I am strong. I survived. Unlike humans, I accept the help I am offered gratefully and live in the present. My present is pretty good right now so I am enjoying it.
The past doesn’t go away. Sometimes I have nightmares or flashbacks. But that’s okay. I may never be whole, but I can still be happy.
More Adventures with Huff
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