Down the rabbit hole


One of the most wonderful things about my rescues is that I never know what I’m going to get. I don’t expect anything in particular, my experience has taught me I can’t predict the character of a dog based on the scarce information from the shelter. I pick my dogs because they have been overlooked or have little chance to find a home, that’s the only criterion. I just hope they will have a proper personality. So far I’ve never been disappointed. And, funnily enough, the most difficult ones are the ones I remember and miss most.

So now I have two dogs with fear issues. They are not scared of the same things, but because dogs are brilliant at learning from one another, I have to be extra careful to prevent the insecurities of one rubbing off on the other. Ironically, as Brian’s getting braver on his walks, Lily has started showing signs of fear of getting out of the house. Back to basic, then. Soft voice, chasing ‘fat bastards'(pigeons), making the walks ultra pleasant for her, avoiding loud noises (they trigger Lily’s fear), lots of ‘good girl’ and treats. I forgot she had been my most terrified dog because she’s changed so much. She will be fine, I’m not worried, fortunately for me and her, we’ve been together for over a year and I know her well. Brian will love the walks, too, so he’ll help to revert the process he had unconsciously started. He likes the walks – leaving the house, even if still challenging, is getting easier every day.

The point is: I don’t take anything for granted, most of my dogs will always be ‘work in progress’. But progress and develop they do-and I with them.

Brian shows all signs of an adventurous explorer of nature.

Having a rescue is an adventure. If you’re willing to take the risk and you’re ready to work with your dog, it will change your life. IMG_2722

And my personal favourite: as the dog’s character changes for the better, so does mine.


18 thoughts on “Down the rabbit hole

  1. “Having a rescue is an adventure. If you’re willing to take the risk and you’re ready to work with your dog, it will change your life.”

    Using our beloved Ray as our example of adopting a rescued dog, the above statement is so incredibly true. If you really take the time and trouble to get to know the dog; If you are willing to consult with trainers and handlers who have more experience than you and, more importantly, if you are prepared to listen to them; if you are prepared to try and understand the dog’s perspective and respect it accordingly; If you are prepared to acknowledge that, just like you and I, it is not perfect… but should be loved regardless; If you are prepared to do all those things with lots of patience and commitment, then your life will absolutely change… and to the good! Ray changed mine and I would not have it any other way now!

    For anybody who is deterred by this and thinks that a puppy from a pet store, a breeder, or Kajiji are therefore better propositions. Wrong! All dogs, like children, develop their own personalities and require your time. If I may quote from my book about Ray (“Who said I was up for adoption?”):

    Animals, like children, are long term commitments – we must acknowledge that.
    Animals, like children, are going to be demanding – they need boundaries too.
    Animals, like children, need guidance to function in our society – they are work!
    Animals, like children, can be such loving individuals – this is the bonus.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great observations! We also have a shy rescue, and she’s made a lot of progress over the years we’ve had her, so, like you, I can sometimes find it tempting to forget that she is still a very shy dog at heart and will still need lots of love, encouragement, and confidence-boosting experiences to prevent regression. You’re doing a great and admirable job with your pups; keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so very very true. My rescue, Molly changed my life. I’m a totally different person since I met her. Sadly she died last week but the short time I had her (20 months) she changed my life for the better. I’ve become more confident, my walking has got better and I’m so much happier than I was before. Now she’s gone, I have to keep the walking up and stay this way in memory of her.

    #AdoptNotShop because it will change your life as much as you change theirs.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s always an ongoing process with rescue animals, and as you say, they learn and you learn. Erin picked up the not great habit of eating my mother’s post from her old dog….she now has an outside postbox! Lovely pictures and progress report x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so interesting. I see the same thing with people – their fears and insecurities spreading to the people they are around the most. You are an excellent psychologist!

    Liked by 1 person

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