Ben, Week 9
Nine weeks ago, a fearful, mistrustful, nervous, anxious, insecure, dangerously food-obsessed dog named Ben came into our home for rehabilitation. He could not be around small animals or young children at all, he was very reactive towards humans squatting down to his level, he could not handle direct eye contact for longer than a few seconds, he did not know how to play, he was mouthy and nippy and pushy… Ben was a red-zone case with so many issues that even I had a moment where I wondered if I would be able to help him.
Today, Ben is a completely different dog. He is more trusting of humans, more secure, happier, and more confident. He plays more, he is more respectful of rules, boundaries, and limitations, he thinks before he acts [or reacts] a lot more often, he is much less fearful, he is more patient, and he has been doing fantastic with controlling his levels of excitement himself and taking cues from us when he’s having trouble doing that. He still has a long way to go before he’s as close to balanced as it’s possible for him to achieve, but coming as far as he has in just nine weeks is nothing less than absolutely amazing.
Ben will never be able to be around small animals. They are and always will be food sources to him because of how he had to live before he was rescued. Ben will always take food he can access, even if his belly is full. It’s an effect of being a homeless street dog for so long. He is learning not to touch human food unless it’s offered to him – and he’s been doing really good with that – but he’s always going to at least try to take it if he thinks he can get away with it. Maybe when he’s really old, he’ll finally get past that compulsion. Maybe…
Overall, Ben has been making tremendous progress in virtually every area. Because of the frigid weather we’ve had for the past month and the issues we have trying to find booties that won’t slide off his feet, he hasn’t been walked. But the temperatures are warming up, now, the snow is melting, and the sidewalks and roads are almost dry enough that he should be able to at least walk to the mailbox and back without his back foot hurting him.
All in all, Ben is ready for a permanent, loving, forever home. In the meantime, I will be continuing to work him on his basics, and when I find the right family for him, I will work with them, too, so that they learn his body language and how to continue helping him progress towards balance.
Have a great day, everyone, and remember to stay calm and lead on…