Gorgeous day today, frosty but clear with blue sky and dazzling sun. Took senior dog out for a good walk and then returned for junior dog, ditto. We cannot walk them together because a) they are both so strong and b) junior dog is a rescue dog with stress-induced schizophrenia.
Internally he is also balanced by a looooong tongue, but that isn’t so apparent now he is grown up. When he was a puppy it was too long for his mouth and he could never keep it all in, some always hung out! Although huge he is a puppy in an adult body, as happy as the day is long.
Junior dog is so-called because we obtained him after Senior dog, but in reality he is the Alpha Male – they are both nine years old. Junior dog also betrays his lineage: Labrador body, Border Collie legs, Labrador tail, short muzzled German Shepherd looking head but with the wrong ears. You can almost see the joins, as if the different parts are sewn on, a la Frankinstein. He is black all over except for the fact that he is going grizzled and white in places with age, as so many black animals do. He came from the RSPCA and was a cruelty case: he had been starved to within 40% of his normal body weight, kept in a yard as a guard dog with others whom he had to fight to get any food, and had vans driven at him. This left him with a fanatical hatred of all motor vehicles, a deathly hatred of other dogs and a propensity to eat too much. He has over- come many of his problems now: we have had him for five years. As long as vehicles do not come too close he no longer tries to bite us to get away from them: we muzzle him near other dogs just to be on the safe side but he loves Senior dog and they play together quite safely and he no longer pulls to get away to fight other dogs. And he no longer leaps on the kitchen work surfaces to try to crash through the window to follow me if I go out of the house. Which he did for months when we first got him: even two seconds after I was out of the door he was at the glass.
It took two years before Junior dog would wag his tail: now he never stops. We think he must have had a good first home because he knows how to hold paws and now sits with us in the evening holding hands. He also knows ‘fetch’ and ‘drop’ and ‘sit’ and will not touch his food until given permission.
With his history we think that is pretty amazing. The vet says that stress-induced schizophrenia is caused by cruel treatment. We spent months giving him treats when we left him to suggest to him that it was better for him if we were not there, and finally it worked. We also gave him his own indoor kennel quite by accident when our son gave us an unwanted cardboard box from their new washing machine: Junior dog went in at once and lay down and loved having his own space. Seemingly it made him feel safe. That helped us with the desensitization process of our leaving him alone sometimes.
I’m glad he came to us, because living in the country it was easier to cope with his problems: I don’t think many people would have been in a position to keep him. He had me in tears frequently during the first few months and experienced as I am, I thought we would never be able to help him. It is a delight to see the two dogs so happy together and the Junior dog so transformed. It is as if he has come alive again and found himself. But he has a real weight problem now as you can see!!
We try to limit him, but I think his metabolism has been damaged somehow and although he eats half what Senior dog eats he is double the size, ratio wise. However, what the hell? He was on the way to being put down when we got him, so if he leads a happy life but a slightly shorter one because he is overweight, we don’t think it matters much.
Two happy dogs and long may they remain so!