Abused Dog Adoption
Is it for you?
If you stop at dog shelter or dog rescue you may see a pup or dog that has been abused and is in need of a new home. Your first reaction may be to sign the adoption papers and whisk him off to a new life with you and your family. This is a wonderful sentiment and shows that your heart is in the right place. Just be certain that you are prepared for the challenges that may follow.
There are special considerations that any prospective dog parent must understand prior to making a decision to bring home a dog that has been abused.
Abused dogs may have suffered in any of a number of ways. Some have been neglected and are lacking in social skills. These dogs have not learned how to relate to other dogs or people.
Some abused dogs have been subjected to cruelty. My little chi mix was kicked in the head as a puppy prior to becoming a stray on the streets. A veterinarian uncovered an old injury which left her fearful of anyone trying to pet her for a long time.
Another dog we adopted had been living on the streets of the inner city for months and was starving when a police officer found him. A 17 mos old Chihuahua, the mere site of food would cause a level of anticipation that was almost unbearable to watch. He would run to food at any minute, eat his bowl in less than a minute, then search for more.
His desire to over eat, born out of fear that this would be the last meal he would see for a long time would produce a variety of consequences such as diarrhea and occasional vomiting.
Another problem that we have seen is an intense sense of timidity. We adopted a doxi-mix recently for a family member. We had determined that we would work with him until his life on the streets and experience at the dog shelter were resolved so that he could move on to his new home with a teenager.
This little dog had such an intense fear of all people that he would run off if we simply looked his way. It took time and patience to get this little pup to accept the idea of trusting people again before he would willingly come out of his crate and be in the same room with anyone, without trembling, cowering, or bolting for another room.
Depending upon the extent of the abuse the long term physical and psychological impact upon a dog may require a good deal of time, attention, behavioral help, veterinary care and tons of patience and love.
In many cases, the impact of dog abuse can be reversed, as in the case of my dogs, and a long and rewarding relationship will ensue that makes all the effort worthwhile.
But you must be prepared. If you see an abused dog and want to make this pup a member of your family, your heart is in the right place. Just make sure that you have reserves of time, patience and money to help the dog rehabilitate medically and behaviorally.
If you do, your veterinarian and good professional dog trainer who specializes in dog behavior issues may be a wonderful resource. The ultimate reward to you and your family will be a wonderful companion for many years to come.
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