I promised you a couple of weeks ago that I would give an insight into being a rescue dog and start on how I got to where I am now.
The first thing to remember is that everything was new. House, bed, walks, garden, food. It was all different. And not just for me, but also the people I have allowed to adopt me. When I stepped out of the car at Christmas 2013, I had no idea if this was permanent or if it was to be another temporary home. I was confused, maybe a little frightened and uncertain. I only wanted to live somewhere, to feel warm and safe. Having spent months in a rescue centre for a second time, this new house was going to take some getting used to. I was allowed to sniff and explore around the house and then saw the garden which clearly gave me large scope for further investigation. I had beds, food, a crate, warmth, blankets and 2 people to fuss over me. I wanted to go and explore the garden, but they didn’t seem very keen on this idea at first. Maybe the sleet & rain outside had something to do with their thinking. We strolled round the house and, eventually, into the garden so I could try to get some idea of what I was letting myself in for. The log burner in the evenings was very welcome.
I didn’t really sleep on my first few nights, I just lay awake wondering if this was permanent or if I should enjoy this while it lasted. On the first morning, I was taken out for a walk through the local town and this was fun. I could get used to this. I even had my paws wiped when I got back, ate my breakfast and I snoozed a little. The humans were still watching me though, trying to decipher if I needed to go out, was being a pest or whether I just needed to be left alone to explore the house. The next day almost repeated itself, walk, cleaning, food and snoozing. All interspersed with exploring.
This continued for weeks, what with the early morning walks and the constant watching of each other to see what I needed or what was required of me. The number of beds increased during the initial few weeks. Of course this was most welcome as you can never have too many places to snooze. I still wasn’t allowed on the furniture but I would work on that gradually.
As we tried to understand each other, we thought a few lessons at a local dog training school could be tried. I thought this could be fun, as it meant we got to see a new place. We tried three lessons, they were free after all. It involved quite a bit of shouting which I didn’t really enjoy to be honest. After the last lesson we decided that we would go it alone. I was a confused fur, I wasn’t naughty. I had missed out on a large part of my puppy training and socialisation so I was now going to be trying to catch up. I needed guidance primarily, the discipline would follow.
Through the following months, it was still frustrating for all concerned as I was trying to learn and understand what I was supposed to do. I wasn’t really calm, I hadn’t settled properly. Maybe I was still wondering if this was permanent. I was able to run around the garden a little more, but always on a long lead.
Out on longer walks however, things were going at a slower pace. I was still pulling on the lead, straining on the collar and had even made myself ill on one occasion I was pulling so hard. I graduated to a harness as this put less pressure on my neck. I still pulled.
We would crack this. I hadn’t adopted these two to get myself out of rescue, to fail at this point. We all needed more patience to see us through. Teamwork and patience, thats what would pull us through. And treats of course. Don’t forget treats.