Adopting a Stray Dog, The Stresses and RewardsKeith
Adopting A Stray Dog.
The stresses and rewards of taking home an abandoned dog.
Life has been changing rapidly and it’s hard to keep up. One of the biggest changes has been adapting to my new family, a 12 month(ish) old stray dog called Charlie.
In November 2017 I was coming to terms with the end of my marriage. I have two cats already who I love to pieces.
My parents came over from England to visit. We took a trip to the mountain town of Ronda. On the way back we stopped at a viewing point to take photos of the mountains shrouded in clouds. When the car door opened a dirty, friendly dog tried to jump in.
The mountain road was remote, no houses nearby. Then I found a few scruffy blankets where the dog had been sleeping.
I couldn’t leave him there, so I phoned my friend Carl who volunteers at a dog rescue centre in Fuengirola. He asked me to take the dog to a vet to check for a chip.
The dog, who we briefly named Benji jumped into the back of the car and fell asleep on my Mum’s knee. He was comfortable with us and friendly. The vet checked him over and said he had probably been abandoned, but his health wasn’t too bad. He was thin and dehydrated.
I spoke with Carl again at FAMA and he said that they would take him the next day. Benji spent that night at the holiday apartment Mum and Dad were staying in, as my cats would’nt cope.
By this point, i was already growing attached to him. Common sense must prevail and taking on a huge commitment like a dog was not a good idea considering my circumstances at the time. He did well overnight with Mum and Dad, and the next day took him to meet Carl and the vet to have his man sprouts removed and jabs. Carl then took him away to the rescue centre.
Mow (pronounced like cow) is roughly 12. I took her in when she was a stray in Ipswich. She loves people, and hates other animals, including Enzo Cat and Charlie.
Despite my better judgement, I was already considering keeping him. I felt responsible for him because we’d found him, and I worried he may not be re-homed quickly because of his size. The cats are my first priority though. Mow is almost twelve and Enzo is two. It would have been unfair to disrupt their lives.
Rescue Black Cat
Enzo is about 2 years old. He wandered into my house as a kitten and never left.
Carl suggested taking Benji home for an hour a day. This seemed like a good idea. If it didn’t work out, he could stay at the rescue centre until rehomed.
It was time to name him. Tried Worf because I thought that was hilarious, We also tried Ron because we found him in Ronda. When I took him to the vet for another injection she said he was a cheeky Charlie and this is now his name.
We knew nothing about his history, his temperament seemed friendly and affectionate, had huge paws. The vet suggested he was a cross between a Podenco which is a Spanish hunting breed, and a Staffy. She said he may have been bred for fighting or hunting, but dumped because a lack of instincts.
The first meeting with the cats went smoothly. Mow ignored him. Enzo kept away. Charlie bounced around the house like he’d always lived there. I took him back to the rescue centre and missed him right away. Over the next week he came to the house for an hour a day, and came to work with me. Things seemed to be working out, I was about to own a dog.
Next, 3 weeks of sleepless nights, domestic chaos, animal wars. Once Charlie moved in, Enzo decided it was battle stations and attacked the poor dog whenever he could. Charlie would then chase Enzo thinking that it’s playtime. Howling, hissing, barking. It was constant.
Then there was house training. This dog is 90% bladder. I’ve never known any animal create so much wee. I spent most of my time mopping, over and over.
Charlie thinks he’s a small dog. He thinks he can sit on my knee. He can’t. He can manage two paws on my knee and two on the ground. So where could I go for help? The internet! I read articles on house training, recall, stopping the dog and cat wars, stopping the cat from trying to kill the dog, stopping the dog from chewing my limbs. These articles were contradictory though, everyone seemed to have different ways of doing things and none of them were working for me. There were many times when I wondered what on earth I’d been thinking when I took him on.
But despite his lack of domestication, my lack of sleep, and the endless mopping, I thought he was adorable. He never left my side. He came to work with me. In the car. To the park. Long walks. He was affectionate and playful, and flatulent!
I decided it was time to call the professionals, and contacted Mandy at In The Doghouse. She came to the house for a few hours and really got to know Charlie and our routine. Once she had an insight into his personality, she came up with training ideas and suggestions, all of which have worked magnificently. I won’t go into what they are, because as I found with the internet advice it seems that every dog is different.
Within a few days, Charlie was house trained, the animal wars had calmed down (almost), he comes when he is called, sits on command, goes to bed when told, and other things dogs are supposed to do. I’ve also been taking him to group classes with Mandy where he’s been learning about all sorts of good behaviours.
So after all this, three months later I still have two cats and now a dog who I love to bits. He’s still learning, and still growing. He’s entertaining, loyal, great fun, and good company.
I also think the vet was mistaken about his breed, as he could be 50% kangaroo. He likes to bounce around the house. It’s been a huge adjustment bringing Charlie into my life, and there really were times when I thought I couldn’t handle it, but I’m glad that I did.
Charlie comes everywhere with me now.
If you’re thinking about adopting a stray dog, go into it with your eyes open. Know that it will be tough, very tough in the early days but with the right guidance and training things do get better and it’s absolutely worth it.
We at Onestoppetshop personally know this person and can vouch for all he has written.
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