(Work / Other stuff has kept me from actually keeping up with this blogging thing re: technical stuff, but this is really important to me)
Rewind to six months ago; June, 2013. I wrote a post on facebook about a dog, which I’d like to share here, then provide an update.
June 9, 2013: We decided to Dober-sit this weekend for a foster-parent.
This is Rupert:
Rupert is scared of his own shadow. This is Rupert’s kennel:
It’s the only place in the world where he feels safe. He won’t come out, even for food. Walking him involves hooking up the leash and coaxing him to go outside, but it’s a struggle.
Rupert is in foster care because after escaping from wherever he was, he was hit by a car. He wound up in the Adams Country shelter where thankfully they found a vet to repair his broken pelvis.
He’s especially scared of men; at his current foster home if the husband comes near him he will urinate in fear. At this point if someone was not willing to take over fostering him he’d be put to sleep. He is basically unadoptable; no one wants a broken dog.
A human being did this to him.
He wasn’t scared of the world at birth. He wasn’t afraid to make eye contact with you. He wasn’t afraid to get up and walk around. It’s because a human being did this to him.
I can’t make you understand how angry this makes me. I’m hoping this post even begins to come close. I’m also hoping it makes you reconsider pre-conceived notions and biases when it comes to dogs, and especially certain breeds of dogs.
It could be my deep seated resentment of most of the human race. Maybe deep down inside I’m really a sentimental sap. But this dog didn’t deserve this. He didn’t deserve some human making his life a living hell to where he literally can not cope with his environment.
Most people do not have the time to work with a dog like this, and rehabilitate them.
We’re applying to take over foster care, and I will be spending time every day with Rupert. Because that’s the very least the poor animal deserves. WIth constant work over months I believe this human can help undo what another human did to him. And it’s going to be daily work to try to undo it.
So the next time someone says “Oh those Pit Bulls are vicious”, or “Those Rottweilers are vicious”, or “Those Dobermans are vicious”, or anything about how a dog behaves, I want you to take a good hard look at Rupert.
And the next time you think about owning a dog, or if you currently own a dog, I want you to take a good hard look at Rupert.
We humans determine how these dogs behave and act, regardless of breed. We humans are everything to them; their friends, their companions, their care givers.
My wife and I fell in love with Dobermans; we have two. They are the most loyal, goofy, loving dogs you could ever want. And that’s because we raised them with kindness, and respect, and positive re-enforcement. The second (Isabelle) we rescued from the same shelter Rupert found himself in. Because no one else would.
Rupert will probably never be that dog you take to the dog park, or one that’s comfortable having a small child come running at him, screaming, and wanting to pull his ears. But I do believe he can be a dog that is comfortable in his home, happy, and not terrified of humans.
If you’re single (or even married with no kids), and a dog lover … maybe think of adopting one of these dogs? It’s going to be a long process, and frustrating, and make you question your wanting to do so … but in the end? You’ll save a life. And I guarantee you it will be a rewarding experience.
Dec. 15th, 2013: We’ve had Rupert for 6 months.
That’s him, hanging out with me on the chair here in the livingroom. Sorry for the dark picture, trying to avoid laser eyes.
This has been 6 months of working with him, constantly. Progression and setbacks. He’s pretty much a normal dog around Laura, but his fear of men is still a big issue for him and me. Laura’s out of town for work so the fact that he’s decided to hang out with me rather than hide somewhere is a huge deal (he was hiding in the bedroom but our friend Shelly came over and was able to get him to come out, after she left he seemed to snap out of his shutdown mode).
I figured at the very least it was going to be 6 months before we saw anything remotely related to a normal dog. He’s still very fearful, and still has a ways to go, but you can tell he’s really trying. That should really tell you a lot about dogs. Or at least, this particular dog.So once again, I’m going to mention:
So in this world
Of the simple and odd,
The bent and plain,
The unbalanced bod,
The imperfect people
And differently pawed,
Some live without love…
That’s how they’re flawed.
— Berkeley Breathed. Flawed Dogs.
If you want a dog, go adopt one. Save a life. If you’re capable, rescue one that no one else can.