Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why adopt a fearful rescue dog?

Written by Reggie and Gemma’s adoptive Mom

One of the reasons I can tell you that everyone should adopt a rescued dog that’s scared of everything is that when they finally stop being scared of everything, there is no better feeling.

Our progress with our fearful Cairn, Reggie has been slow and subtle. As an example, one of Reggie’s biggest fears was always the front screen door and the “BANG” it made when we came in or out of the house. Mark, our trainer, told us not to soften the door’s noise but to let it slam every time so that Reggie would get used to it. This was easier said than done when every time we’d even approach the door, Reggie would stiffen and tremble in apprehension. All I wanted to do was softly keep the door from slamming and carry him outside. Instead, I let it slam and tried my best to give Reggie an encouraging word and a hug instead.

One day after a few weeks of trying to get Reggie to be more comfortable with the door noise, I knocked one of our sconces off the wall on our way to the door. Reggie completely freaked out and ran to hide under the coffee table. In seconds, weeks of hard work and patience were erased and we were back at square one. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to throw in the towel and sulk. In fact I think it’s important to know – things happen to all new rescue owners and we all want to sulk once and a while.

Progress is painfully slow and sometimes you do take one step forward and then two steps back. However, a week or so later, I started to notice less of a jump when the door slammed. Now, 3 months later, he goes to the door on his own when he needs to go outside. The “BANG” may as well not exist.

It’s these little victories that make owning Reggie so thrilling. It’s knowing that I am erasing the fear in his life and replacing it with that doggy zest that he’s been missing. The best reward I ever got for all this was something most dog owners get all the time- a big kiss on the cheek from Reggie. It happened after we’d had him for about a month. I really felt that I’d earned that first kiss.

Please, adopt that dog that no one seems to want- it’s probably the dog that needs you the most. I promise, even if it doesn’t happen right away, eventually you’ll start earning some very important kisses of your own.

Please click here to see all of the cairns available for adoption.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

Several times when I first adopted Roland, ten months old straight from the puppy mill, I thought that this dog wasn't going to work out. Especially during at first month, it was very stressful. Now, whenever he rests his head on my lap or looks to me for reassurance, there's something special about know that I've earned that trust!