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