Let’s face it, everyone has a past and it might not have been a glamorous one. The same holds true for our beloved furchildren. Not knowing if they were pampered at their previous home or were, God forbid, abused, used for breeding, or chained outside all the time.
Depending on their lifestyle, there could be health and/or behavioral issues. But without knowing, you’re taking a somewhat risk when you adopt from a shelter or person. But don’t let this deter you, my belief is every dog deserves a chance at a loving furever home. When you adopt, be sure that you are in it for the long haul and will do whatever it takes to make that furchild’s life as happy as possible.
When You Adopt, You Never Know What’s In Store for You
When we adopted Titan back in 2010, we had no idea what we would encounter. I managed to get some of his history from the shelter he was at and sadly to say, it wasn’t a good one.
During the first year of his life, those most impressionable years, Titan (then Lucky) was kept outside all the time.
We later believe this to be part of the reason he’s scared of high winds, rain, thunder, and loud noises. Obviously, if he was kept outside all the time, we assumed that he had little interaction with people, thus his socialization skills were minimal if at all.
Then he was rehomed for approximately three (3) months. We were told that he was crated for long periods of time and lived with cats. I was allowed to chat with the 3-month owner and discussed, then Teddy’s, behavior.
She said he had lived with cats who bullied him. I find that hard to believe, but that’s just me. He was crated for 12 hours a day or more. Her reason for sending him back to the shelter, she said, was because of an impending hip surgery and wouldn’t be able to take care of him.
We later find out that he absolutely cannot be crated. We tried, despite my dislike for crating, and videotaped his short sessions. I believe the damage had already been done. No more crates for our boy.
Home #3 and Furever Home
When I brought Titan home, I took a few days off work so I could spend time with him. I’m not sure if that was the right thing to do or not because we bonded so instantly and when I had to go back to work, it gave him anxiety. He would tear things up around the house. We ended up videotaping him for a few weeks. The playbacks were hard to watch. For the first almost hour after I left, he went on a rampage. Destruction and Marking were his game.
I consulted two dog behavioralists, as recommend by the shelter, and both told me to rehome him with someone who could stay home with him.
I call BS! I researched on the internet on ways to overcome Separation Anxiety. We used “Trigger Words” and repetitive actions when we left the house. We started in short periods and increased. Our words:
- “Be Back” (Initially)
- “Mommy loves you”
- “Mommy’s going to work”
Within 6 months, we broke the anxiety and his fear of us not returning.
Those were trying months for my hubs and I. We argued about Titan’s behavior and how to handle him. Getting him to sleep at night was also another horrible experience. He wanted to stay up late at night but we were early risers. He would act irrational, lunging and nipping at us, especially me, the caregiver.
This is when we learned “Time Out”. There were many nights I sat in my she-cave with Titan on a short leash for Time Out, while my hubs slept of course. Melatonin seemed to be the only thing that would relax him enough to go to bed.
It took some time and routine but he finally learned and started putting himself “Nite Nite”. “Trigger Words” do wonders!
Rehabilitation can be a Mother!
If you can’t put in the time, Don’t Adopt!
I won’t say that Titan is completely rehabilitated. He still has socialization issues, especially with men. However, I don’t honestly believe it’s totally his fault. In many conversations with our Veterinarian, she seems to think he’s mentally not all there.
Unfortunately, I believe her.
Nonetheless, Titan has been a blessing into my life, our lives, and our home. There’s never a dull moment since he joined our family. It’s one of the best things I’ve done in my entire life! That’s a long time considering I’m almost 50. 🙂
[clickToTweet tweet=”I hate to think what would have happened if WE didn’t #adopt him! #pibbles #ambull #staffy” quote=”I hate to think what would have happened if WE didn’t #adopt him! #pibbles #ambull #staffy”]
I hate to think about if we didn’t adopt him. The shelter was looking for someone specific. We had chatted via email for over a week about him. Not everyone would have given him a 3rd chance at a furever home. And maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t have lasted? Would he have bene given a 4th chance?
Thankfully, we were able to open our hearts and our home to this dysfunctional American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier mixed with crazy.
But this doesn’t end our story. We still have another dysfunctional baby in our home. Stay tuned for more on Adoption and Dysfunction from Castle Pace with Princess Zue Zue.
Over to You
I’m sure you must have adopted your furchild/furchildren because we don’t buy from puppy mills, do we?
I would love to hear about your experiences. Did you have health or behavioral issues that you had to overcome? Please share with us.