As our reputation has spread and grown we are getting asked to step in and help even more severe cases and having to say no when we are full is heartbreaking when we know we could help but for the sake and safety of the animals already in our care; room and finances do have to play a part. Luckily we have a good network of fundraisers now and of course fabulous supporters and we work in close partnership with a few rescues so we can move and adjust to fit when someone really, really needs us and this boy really, really did.
As with all animal cruelty and neglect, whatever the location or part of the world, it is the same, the suffering is the same, the pain is the same but the conditions are generally far more horrific in some countries. As is the scale of neglect and abuse and the sheer numbers mean that rescue is far less likely and far more difficult for those brave angels that work on the front-line. Romania is one of these places and Romania is where this little lad came from....meet 'sweet' Hobo...
This little lad came to us from our dear friend Michelle Holmes of Save The Death Camp Dogs. He is perhaps six or seven years old, chained and beaten all his life and then dumped at the shelter which was as we all know, akin to signing his death warrant. He had the worst kind of severe human aggression, no hiding he would come forward fast and not back off. Aggressive with food also and just a ball of snarling, spitting incandescent rage. He had to be darted to receive vet care and had to be sedated, crated and specially transported to get him to the UK and straight to the Sanctuary.
When he arrived, Joy managed to unload him on a slip lead which she felt would suit him having had the security of a chain all his life and he happily went into his space which pretty much astounded us all but not Joy who understands what chain dogs need and knew that she could help him. Allowing him time to settle in, she built up contact day by day with her tried and tested snack times which enable her to get close to dogs with huge issues and slowly build trust and Hobo started to feel safe and to come forward; not in aggression but with interest and Joy got to see his desire to be something other than the ball of hate and fear that his life had made him. His eyes softened and she finally saw his need for interaction....he wanted to be near her, he wanted to be different and he instinctively knew she could show him how.
He arrived with us on the 29th of June and his desire and Joy's knowledge has helped him to go from strength to strength at pace. Joy was able to touch him and then get in with him and share his space until he chose to come to her asking for her touch without the enticement of a treat. Next step was to get the volunteers involved and widen his circle of trust so the volunteers started to give him treats through the 'Magic Window'. The Magic Window is just a window but it allows Hobo to take treats from others without being face to face with them, it allows him to get thier scent and start to trust so that in time when they are face to face he already knows and feels safe with them....simple really, just something that takes time, patience and repetition. He has done so well and has already started on his next steps with Joy who can now put a slip lead on him and take him down to the play area where he was able to run free for the first time in a long time or possibly the first time ever and he absolutely loves it. He is very excitable understandably and Joy will remain his one handler for quite a while to come but we have every confidence that we can widen his circle and bring in the experienced volunteers in time.
The Littlest Hobo has broken his chains and almost all his ties with the past and is loving life and embracing freedom within the safety at the sanctuary; his new home and we are so very proud of him. From now on the only bonds that will hold him are those of love x
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