The Early Days….
Hi there, Lindsay here. Welcome to the second piece in my series of posts intended to support all of our wonderful adopters with settling in their new friends.
So, he or she is here – your new dog is home at last. Again; are you Excited? We are too. Taking in a Rescue Dog is a noble act and you are to be commended for your generosity.
However, I can assure you that today (Day 1, perhaps even Day 10) your new friend is highly unlikely to be feeling excited. Fear is almost certainly the dominant emotion which your dog is feeling at the outset. It can be hard for us to understand why our rescue puppy is so scared of everything, so please let me try to paint a picture from another point of view.
With a rescue dog, we often do not know their full story before they arrived at the animal rescue. Some are abandoned pets whilst others have lived most of their lives on the streets. Whatever their background, life on the streets is hard and their early encounters with humans would almost all have been unkind. They would have been chased away, beaten with sticks, had rocks thrown at them…. All of this teaches the survivors to be wary of humans so it may take some time to gain their trust.
Then they were rescued. Now, you and I know that this is the most wonderful outcome for your beautiful new rescue dog, but right now, your dog has not had time to realise this yet. From your dog’s point of view, they had a hard life – but they knew the rules. (Survive. Be wary of Humans. Watch out for bigger, stronger dogs. Find Food). They have been caught, taken away from the area they knew, locked in a kennel, taken to the vets, then eventually transported a long, long way in a van. They have no idea where they are, everything looks, sounds and smells very different.
It is very important at this stage that you give them time. Time to adjust. Time to learn. Time to realise that they are safe, that you will provide food every day, that you will not hurt them, that they have a home.
How can you make this easier for your new rescue dog? There are a number of things to consider, not all will be relevant to everyone, but take a look and see what works for you. Remember, every dog is an individual. Much like us, they will not all react the same way to everything.
- Provide a safe place that your dog can retreat to.
Arriving in your home for the first time will likely be pretty overwhelming for your Romanian Rescue Dog, (we call them Rommies for short) so it is sensible to ensure that there is a comfortable place that your dog can retreat to.
The location of this place is up to you, but in my experience, I would give your dog some say in the matter. For Example, once upon a time, we rescued Bob. Bob was an older dog, who had lived as a stray for a long time. When we brought him home, I had thought that a bed in the Kitchen corner would be great. Bob disagreed. Bob chose to lie in the hall, on the hard floor, rather than the quilt placed for him in the Kitchen. I think the Kitchen was just a bit too “busy” for him, so I cleared out a load of junk from under the stairs. Bob found this much more to his liking, and settled there very well.
A key point to bear in mind with this is that your dog needs to have a place which is “theirs” where they will not be “bothered” by these strange humans! Please DON’T invade their space, especially if they are asleep! It is vital to their adjustment that they can rest peacefully, without being interrupted by a human (you, your partner/friends/children etc) trying to stroke them or play with them. I know this is hard, you adopted a dog and you want it to play with you, but you also rescued a stray dog with a difficult past. If you had opened your home to a refugee child, you would not expect them to be a happy, loving member of the family overnight, they would need time to come to terms with their past and to feel safe, your Rommie is no different.
Look out for Lindsay’s next post that will cover lots more training tips for when you get your Rommie home.
Dedicated to saving abandoned Romanian dogs and finding them loving homes
1 Dog at a Time Rescue is a UK registered charity (number 1167007)
The Campaign to buy Happy Tails
Now it’s us that needs rescuing. 1 Dog at a Time has until September 2017 to find the £70,000 purchase price to buy Happy Tails, our rescue centre that we’re currently renting in Bistrita Nasaud, Romania. In a place where dogs are treated like vermin on the streets and in the public shelters, Happy Tails means the difference between life and death for these abandoned dogs.
Read about our campaign to rescue Happy Tails: