Note: This is a guest post by Rachel Duncan who writes the blog, Bakedblog. Her story proves that just because a dog has had a rough start doesn’t mean we have to feel sorry for her. If we can move on and give a dog a second (or third) chance, the dog can move on a lot easier.
I just got a new dog. She is a poodle mix. I got her from our local human society. When we decided she was the one we wanted, we knew nothing of her history, just that she was only 6 months old. Before they let us hold her or anything, they sat us down and explained that she was rescued from a puppy mill in Virginia along with 800 other dogs. They explained to us that she had been through a lot and was “fearful” of people and shy.
I accepted all of this and they finally brought her out to us. In a little room with just my son, husband and me, we started a bonding process with Bella. She was shy, that was easy to see, but I wasn’t sure she was fearful. She wanted to play and to touch but she didn’t seem sure. I got down on her level and let her come to me; even my son was gentle and took his time.
We fell in love with her and decided that we would bring her home. Bella was not in the best shape. You could tell she had been neglected. Her hair is long and matted. I can’t take her to the groomer until she gets her stitches removed from being fixed. So I took a pair of scissors and cut off as much of the matted hair as I could.
They gave me a package on fearful dogs and sent us on our way. Once we got home, I set Bella down and let her start to explore. She seemed to be doing great, the only time she even expressed a fear was when you would lean down to pet her. She would move away, not sure of our intent. I have to be honest, I didn’t read the packet. I just kept taking things slow with her, and within two days, Bella didn’t shy away anymore from me, my husband or our son.
She has come a long way in such a short time. She had some eating problems but today she ate with a gusto I haven’t seen before. I don’t think Bella was as fearful as they thought she was. I just think that she needed love, patience and a little time. She even readily accepted new people into her life just two days after being in her new home with us when we had family visit.
Do some dogs have fear problems? I think dogs that have been mishandled, beaten, and generally treated rotten may, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t work with them and get them to trust and love again. Giving a dog a second chance at a happy life is so worth it.