Those of you who have followed the story of Good Boy, formerly known as Dallas, a dog I had fostered thru Grateful Goldens, will be most interested in his amazing transformation.
Good Boy is a dog who lives in the moment and appreciates what is happening right then and there. His greatest comfort is having dog buddies.
As previously reported, Deb Nabb, an animal behaviorist in Castle Rock, Colo., heard about Dallas through a recent column in this newspaper (“A summer plea,” Bluffton Sun, July 13). She stepped up to rescue this special foster and he now lives happily with her pack.
He even has a girlfriend, Good Girl.
Feeling safe in his home environment was another biggie, as was adjusting to men. Deb took her time with that one, eventually getting her husband, Roger King, involved. Good Boy now allows Roger close enough that Roger can scratch Good Boy’s head.
These breakthroughs might not seem big to the average person but ask anyone in rescue and you will find they are huge. Lots of dogs come into rescue being afraid of men.
It is not just past abuse that might have been the cause. Usually it is lack of positive experiences with men – maybe never having been exposed to them during the formative months.
It has been a long journey for Good Boy. When he came to me, I couldn’t touch him without him peeing and pooping. It took months to get him to take a treat from my hand. It took many more months to walk him around the yard on a leash.
It took months to snuggle with him. It took months for him to let other women touch him. We never did make progress with men, except getting him to stop barking at certain ones that he saw regularly.
Good Boy got very lucky. It was due to the help of many: one person reading the article, another person willing to make the journey. A very special person willing to take him into her own pack.
It also took lots of money to make this all possible. Rescuing is not cheap!
One thing in rescue that rescuers need to realize is that ultimately you might not be a particular dog’s savior. Someone else might be able to provide what you can’t. When you have gone as far as you can go, reaching out to others is in the dog’s best interest.
Putting one’s ego aside is hard. But you need not feel you have failed. Instead, you have moved the dog forward on his journey.
Thanks to all of you in rescue for everything you do. Most people might never realize or appreciate your efforts, but when you get to those gates of heaven your wings will be ready and hundreds of thousands of pets will be there to lead you forward on your journey.
Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy. AlphadogTrainingAcademy@gmail.com