Sunday, April 17, 2011

Learn About Your Pets' Past

If you, like me, adopted a rescue with an unknown past, you have to figure it out by watching your dog in various situations. Seymour was 2 1/2 years old when we adopted each other. He was heart worm positive, had kennel cough, had much of the hair rubbed away on his neck and was malnurished. Other than that, I had no idea about his past life. We have been together for over 4 years now and I continue to learn- or think I am learning - more about his life before me.

The way he stops and tries to chase larger pick up trucks leads me to believe that he was dumped or dropped off by someone in a pick up truck. It's a bit heartbreaking to think that as abused as he was, he still misses his old owner.

He could not be more loved now, by me and most adults. He sometimes stays with my friend who has known Seymour since the day I brought him home. This sweet friend worries about Seymour not eating and blames himself "I didn't heat up his food". Seymour eats like a king there and I think he has learned that if he holds off from eating his dogfood long enough, some bacon or pieces of steak will magically appear.

Seymour goes to daycare when I work and when I drop him off in the morning, the wife comes out to the car, and cuddles him and loves on him as she carries him to the house. He has never once not been excited to go in the mornings. Did he ever know this kind of love before?

We were eating in an outdoor cafe one Sunday morning and some musicians were coming in carrying their equipment. As they neared our table, Seymour started growling and barking and trying to nip at one man's feet. I noticed that the man was wearing work boots. This has happened twice before and leads me to believe that his previous owner may have worn boots, and possible kicked him. Just a speculation.

What does this have to do with travel? I know to be aware of men wearing boots coming near us. If they are brave enough, I ask them to just put their hand out to let Seymour sniff it and he is then OK with them. Even though he is only 7 pounds, his bark can scare a grown man and it's not easy to convince them that he is harmless. He has never bitten anyone and is a real people pleaser. He would much rather be around people than other dogs. But he does seem to get along with female dogs. Actually, he loves women in general. He also loves children and worries when an infant starts to cry. Did his previous owner have to give him up because they had a child?

To get him to stop barking, I read that a dog whistle hurts a dogs ears and that can distract him. So, I purchased a whistle, he started barking, I started blowing, and he came to me. Obviously his previous owner whistled to get him to come. It didn't work as anticipated, but I'm happy he comes when I whistle. On a trip, that is important information if he ever gets loose.

So, as you learn more about your dog, use those lessons to improve the travel experience for your and your pet.

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