As we wrap up this series on rescued hoarded dogs, we need to think about the dog’s lifetime obstacles. Before adopting, you must decide to be okay whether the dog improves or not. Let’s continue, hearing from Franklin D. McMillan with Bestfriends.org.
Owner Perceptions of Dog’s Lifetime Obstacles
During the scientific study, mentioned in part one of this series, they were only able to get results from the dogs who completed the study. The full process from being rescued to being cared for by rescue staff and finally adoption. Not all dogs from the hoarding life make it through. Because of their health conditions when found, fear of humans and aggressive behavioral issues, many are euthanized.
For those that make it through, there is a celebration of course. But there is also the realization that this new family dog has a different normal than other dogs.
Below are some of the comments McMillian reported, from the owner’s perspective, concerning their dog’s lifetime obstacles. Several owners mentioned these insurmountable obstacles as major stumbling blocks for their dogs.
Fear is mentioned a lot. Fear of thunderstorms, fear of people, fear of anything new, strange or sudden. One owner wrote, “Her fear of being outside. She will never love being outside, but I suspect she will learn to be less afraid as we continue with training.”
Trust is another obstacle. “I honestly don’t know if Snoopy will ever get over his trust issues with people he doesn’t know or with men.”
Physical obstacles are also noted by one of the study owners, “I think Mannix will always spin. Now he spins out of excitement (food time) and less out of fear.”
What Does Normal Look Like For Previously Hoarded Dogs?
“We don’t see any reason to expect Sasha to ever become a normal dog. We decided early on that our job is to love her, feed her and keep her safe. Whatever she becomes is OK with us,” said one of the owners. (This is not Sasha in the photo – as the study did not disclose photos of the actual participants, I chose ones to best fit the storyline.
When asked, after a few weeks allotted to adapt to the family, “Would you consider your dog to be a normal, well-adjusted dog now?” McMillian stated, one in eight said yes. When following up two years later, one in three felt their dog was well-adjusted.
No dog is perfect, no family is perfect, but when we allow time and opportunity to develop a new normal, many of these previously hoarded animals become the family dog you always wanted. Love, we spell it T-I-M-E.
Leave your comments below, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts and stories.