Every dog that comes into our care undergoes an assessment, where we learn all about them to enable us to match them to a suitable home – not every dog will fit every home.
When matched and we start our discussions with potential adopters, we are honest and upfront about any challenges they may face to ensure they can provide their potential new dog with what they will need. Bear in mind, many of our dog are rescues, often from a working background and have probably never lived in a home before.
For our more ‘complex’ dogs we do need very special adopters who will have patience, resilience and understanding when introducing their new family member to their new life. Also those that we are confident will seek support if they need it. We have a team of qualified behaviourists ready to give advice and support for any issues an adopter might encounter, for the whole life of their dog.
Olivia and her husband are shining examples of this, we hand over to Olivia to tell us their story of their precious boy Gyn who was adopted in January of this year. Within this she gives hope to anyone else who feels that they are not getting anywhere – if you’re doing all the right things, you probably are….
This is a bit of a random celebration of baby steps. Partly in recognition of the awesomeness that is Gyn and also, hopefully, to give some reassurance to any of you who are currently in the ‘oh god is this ever going to get any better’ phase.
Without a doubt Gyn has been our most complex hound to date. While he is cuddly and funny and everso sweet – he also has no sense of personal space, completely winding up our other two dogs and flattening any visitors (or even just us) when we get through the front door, he finds outside completely overwhelming and walks far too much.
For so long it felt like we weren’t making any progress – he either didn’t have a walk, or it was entirely in his stroller. He’d yet again sprint into the living room and leap onto a sleeping hound in excitement. Arms and legs were covered in scratches from him leaping up to get attention. So often it felt that it’d never get any better, we’d always be in management mode, coping with things rather than helping him modulate his behaviour into something that was easier to live with (while still allowing him to be him). BUT – and it was so hard to notice at the time – each day we’d walk 4 or 5 feet further before he’d stop, and we’d need to get him in the stroller. Then he felt confident enough to have his first pee on a walk, then his first poop.
He learnt to read the body language of Kuiper and Dewi so he could join in when they found a fabulous sniff. He’d be that tiny bit more calmer coming into the living room, or his feet would stay on the floor a few more seconds.
Now when we look back to where we were compared to where we are it’s a million miles. Yes – stroller always comes with us on walks, but now he’ll get the whole way round a walk if he doesn’t see another dog/cat and even if he does often he just needs a few minutes in there to regroup and he’ll then jump out to finish the walk. Getting ready to go out is still the most exciting thing ever, but it’s shown through wagging tails and lolling tongues rather than leaping all over the place. He now knows how to get Kui to join in with pigeon patrol with some bouncy play bows rather than leaping all over him while barking. So Gyn – you are a star and we love you and all your quirks to bits.
To those of you stuck in the “oh god we’re not making any progress” – you probably are, but it might be that the steps are just so tiny they are hard to notice. Try and look back every couple of weeks and you’ll start to see it is getting better. And as ever – sooooo many thanks to Forever Hounds Trust for their ongoing support. Post homing support is such a reassurance – just being able to check in and go “are we on the right lines here?” has been invaluable in giving us the confidence to get creative. With all six greyhounds we’ve had from Forever Hounds Trust (and in their former guise as GRWE), there’s been something we’ve wanted to check with them and the support has always been incredible.Olivia