I remember being out and about with my Husband, one of our dogs and one of our foster pups. My dog had a ‘give me space’ vest on while the pup had an ‘adopt me’ vest on. Puppies attract lots of attention in public but the first question I was asked about my dog was ‘Is she a rescue too?’, ‘No….. long uncomfortable silence…. then, ‘What happened to her?’
At the time that question made me feel terribly guilty. It reminded me that I felt I had failed my dog. It also made me feel a little bit of anger and despair, towards myself, my dog and also the person asking the question. I have asked these questions of people myself in the past and even when the answer is nothing, we still wait for an explanation as to why their dog is different. And you know what? Sometimes there is no answer; sometimes a dog is just wired differently. We are way too fast to assign a reason or blame to a dogs behaviour, even as their owners. Who are we to know why they interpret life as they do? All we can do is attempt to help them change their view.
The first part of helping your dog is to put that guilt (and anger) away, whether it is warranted at some level or not. Start your dog and yourself on a clean slate. So cliché.. but embrace your not so average dog’. If it wasn’t for you who knows where your dog would be!?
Now my response to the question is ‘ha ha ha, oh no, she isn’t a rescue, she wouldn’t make it in rescue or in the pound’ and I would probably be right. Let’s face it, a shelter environment probably wouldn’t showcase her best qualities as a candidate for adoption. She will make it being my pet though and that’s the most important thing.