Working with and loving a dog like Daisy...an insight into a complex dog...
Daisy is a 7 year old staffy cross, his history is sketchy but until last year he lived in a 6ftx4ft metal cage on a barren industrial estate surrounded by concrete and metal for most of his life. He was lucky if he got out of the cage for five minutes every other day....some days he didn't get out at all and it's unsure whether anyone even visited him. He is fearful, highly under socialised, has the potential to react and is not keen on women at all. Understandably he could never be domesticated so he came to live with us at the Sanctuary in March 2016. He has had his ups and downs and some really bad set backs but he continues to progress. Working with severe cases like Daisy is always a learning curve and staying on your toes and game is always necessary and accepting that some things won't ever be the way we would wish them to be is just part of allowing a behaviourally affected dog be the best they can be.
Leading daisy out is not like walking a dog...it's like juggling a hand grenade...you never know if the pin will stay in or fall out....sometimes it's uneventful and other times he can bang and switch in a millisecond and his whole body becomes taught with fear. After what he came from he just does not see the point in 'going out'. Unknown territory and open spaces are terrifying to Daisy and no matter the reassurance or exhaustive tricks from the behavioural bag, sometimes he just does not feel safe and it's sad to watch a dog so frightened that the very air could hurt him. He simply does not feel safe and his rehab will be ongoing and ever changing in this area in the hopes that one day he may feel differently.
All we all wanted for Daisy was to see the grass between his toes and probably careering about the fields if we are honest but Daisy is very complex and what we want for a dog like him is sometimes the thing they fear most and enforcing it can be detrimental. Although of course we continue to take him out and work to make things better, together we have learned that he can only really, truly relax within his own skin and be the best and happiest he can be when given boundaries because to Daisy those boundaries ARE his freedom and are better than a big old hug which is exactly the love and therapy he needs. He does however love the familiar safety of his area, his house, his home with a roof top terrace and his big enclosed run.
Now then....lets talk about this house...or should we say 'Daisy's Pit'. Safe to say were Daisy a human he would have a record for GBH or an ASBO at the very least. He does not like neat and tidy, far from it...student digs have nothing on his house. He trashes everything in it within minutes of it being replaced and always with a smile on his face and a wicked twinkle in those gorgeous amber eyes...oh yes, he's quite the comic. He loves Joy to sit with him and scratch his back but she is only granted and rationed to three visits a day into his house and run; poo clear up, food and water going in, and clean duvets and if she is lucky she is allowed to grab an armful of something trashed and shredded on the way out; if you have teenagers we know you will relate. We think he was a punk in a former life because he prefers ripped clothes and usually has a coat on that looks like its gone ten rounds with a garden strimmer! Watching Joy trying to get one off him and put on another is pure comedy gold and the funniest bit is that we know Daisy is laughing at her.
So, for now that's our delinquent Daisy....progressing on his terms and loving life his OWN way and we love him dearly.
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