My current dog was found in a 10’x10′ enclosure sunburned, without food or water, emaciated, covered in fleas and ticks, and raw pressure sores and hot spots everywhere on his body. He was so fortunate that a local outreach happened to find him when they did and get his previous owner to surrender.
I remember when my rescue did this for the first time. I was laughing and crying at the same time. My bf and I refer to it as “unlocking” a new level of dog and appreciate every time she gets comfortable enough to reveal a new behavior- howling along to music, playing with another dog, taking interest in a bone, etc
After bringing him home with me it took him weeks before he would stop hiding in his crate and for the first several months he approached everything with so much hesitation. We’d go to the beach every weekend and suddenly one day he began to do zoomies, then ran to me, put his butt in the air, tail wagging, and I ugly cried because it was the first time he ever seemed to “play”.
He’s since gained 35lb, has a very vibrant personality, and lives a pretty cushy life. My boy that whined constantly in varying degrees of volume because of his anxiety. He’s currently 8 and snoozing on my bed with an electric blanket while I work.
I love him and seeing how far he’s come and how happy he is now. y dog was on that cusp when I got him, it’s only been a few months. It’s been incredibly slow progress but the first time he picked up a toy to play with I started to cry.
The first time he got excited to go for a walk I had to brace myself. Now he sleeps next to me, and rolls over for belly rubs and I smile like a fool every time. Seeing him “become a dog” has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced. Prior to him being taken by the state, he wasn’t a dog. He was a stud who’s only task in life was to impregnate. He wasn’t allowed to play or run around, he didn’t have a family to friends. All he knew was a 3×4 cage, being ripped by his collar out and into a girl’s pen.
He still flinches if I move wrong, it’s obvious he was kicked a lot. And he’s terrified of new sounds, people, and places. He still has nightmares that make him wake up with a start, peeing and whining, looking around as if he’s afraid a monster will pop out at any second. But now when that happens, he comes looking for me, asking for head pats and love. Usually leaving a stream of pee on his path, but I don’t mind cleaning up after him if it means I’m earning his trust.
The other day he went to the vet, he’s terrified of new people, but he let them give him a shot because I was hugging him (in reality keeping him from biting the nurse) so he just leaned into me and groaned, obviously scared but trusting me to protect him.
Adopting an abused dog is easy
Adopting an abused dog is easy, getting them to trust people again and be happy is extremely difficult.
I adopted my son (I call him that because we are inseparable) at the beginning of the pandemic so I was able to spend a significant amount of time with him and get him to understand that not all humans will beat a dog. Hopefully people who adopt any dog is patient and understanding enough to change the life of their dog for the better. I now have my best friend to hang out with all day.