Writing usually comes easily to me. But this has been a different kind of month for me. Either I had some great ideas but no time to write, or I had time and not a thought in my head. Today is kind of a combination of both things but I will write anyway.
The past week was really interesting because we did something a little different. We took two shelter dogs who had had problems fitting into a new home and worked with them for three days solid. Both pups had been adopted but then returned because of "behavioral" issues. They were both small (around 15 lbs.), one male and one female. They had never lived in a normal home environment and they both had no experience with giving or receiving love. On top of that, they were terribly fearful of other dogs and most people.
These little terrier mixes needed to learn to trust, and they needed to learn quickly. I only had three days, and my goal was to make them suitable for adoption, and to find them good homes. At the end of the three days I wanted to be sure that they would never be in a cage again. What a great test of my theories about love training. With my partner, Jon, 100% on board, we got started the moment they walked in the door. They were both terrified and shaking, so we began by getting on the floor. Our dogs, Roxy and Charlie are old pros at this type of thing, so they also made themselves small and calm. Roxy (a natural mama) made the first move. She gently let them know that she was not a threat. Then she introduced them to Charlie. Jon and I just laid back and observed these interactions for awhile. We then began petting Charlie and Roxy, all the while getting closer and closer to the little ones. We let them smell us and finally began giving them some light petting. We did this off and on all day. The rescues became more and more comfortable and even began playing with our two pooches. By the time they had to leave, they were starting to feel at home with us.
The next day it was like two new dogs entered our apartment. Instead of the timid, terrified dogs we originally met, these guys were excited to be here. They started playing with Roxy and Charlie and all four dogs were jumping up and down into our laps. We waited until late morning and took them to Koffi (our favorite dog loving coffee place). By late morning it is not too busy but there are still people and dogs there. We introduced them to new people and new dogs very gently. Both dogs got better and better. They learned by watching our kids interact.
By the end of day two Jon had a great home for the female from the owner of our local convenience/liquor store. His dog transitioned a few months ago and he was ready for the challenge of loving a new dog. I got on the phone to try to find the right home for the male. We needed experienced dog owners who would understand the special needs and training these dogs would need. I had a couple of people who wanted to sleep on it, so I was hopeful.
Day three a potential owner for the male agreed to meet him at Koffi. It was love at first sight. We had our two forever homes. That evening both dogs went to their new homes. They left here as totally revived animals. The fear was gone. The love was blossoming and expanding. I am now working with the owners and their new pets on basic obedience training. It was a smashing success for all involved.
It is ALL about LOVE! When you start with love, all the rest falls into place. It is easy to be patient with those we love. It is easy to be kind. We can learn so much from our animals.
Peace and Love,