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Dealing with rescue dogs and their abandonment issues

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One thing many rescue dogs seem to have in common is they all have abandonment issues. That makes perfect sense since the act of rescuing from their former home means they have left it. We all feel more comfortable in our usual surroundings. It feels like home and where we belong. Dogs are no different.

Some dogs were just left and their owners never returned. The abandoned dog immediately feels they cannot trust someone and everyone might do the same thing. These dogs require your patience and love to show them you will take care of them and they are in a forever home.

One owner of a rescue dog, Betty B. told a story about the beginning with their new dog. “We wanted to get another dog before our old dog left us. She was loved to the end. Gave her insulin shots daily and finally it was time as her quality of life was leaving.”

She says that they went they went to the Steele County Humane Society in S.E. MN to look at a Chessie cross, as that is what our old dog was. Sam was surrender to the humane society as his owner had double hip replacement and could no longer care for him.

“Walked in the door and this Vizsla/Lab 1 1/2 year old dog fixed his eyes on us and the rest is history.” She says she was warned against adopting an older dog and she and her husband Lloyd debated what the problems of adopting an older dog were. Everyone told them don't do it!

“Well he attached himself to my husband instantly when we got home. The first time my husband left for a meeting, when I let "Sam" out to potty he saw the pickup was gone and it was the saddest thing I have ever seen. Sam was so confused that he circled the house on a dead run looking for my husband. After a couple more times he learned to feel secure when only I was home.”

Betty said,”Sam adapted to our schedule and we adapted to his. Wonderful dog! We needed to be patient with him and I would say after 30 days or so we all had our insecurities overcome. "

It seems her rescue dog was staying with foster parents and they sound like they were good ones. Betty remarked that the he foster people that had Sam in their home called us to be sure we were getting along good with him.

Many rescue dogs spend a short time in foster homes until they are adopted. The pounds and shelters just do not have the room to house and care for so many pets. Many of these dogs have been abandoned several times and are not too trusting of humans. They may be scared of having to leave another home, but more frightened that the humans will leave them again. This is a common problem with dogs that are rescued.

There are training programs you can follow that involve leaving them alone for one minute, then return, leave them alone for 2 minutes then return. Continue like this for about 15 minutes. Each time you return praise the dog and fuss with the dog in between their waiting times. This will need to be done over and over again and you may need a lot of time for this to work. Don’t expect overnight changes since you have a lot of negative stuff to get rid of for your pet.

There have been several places where they recommend Australian Bush Flower Essence or Bach Flower Essence as a successful treatment for abandonment. There has also been success with acupressure and acupuncture. One suggestion one owner sears by is rather unconventional, but she claims when she is away she talks to her dog in her mind. Guess it would be worth a try. Who can say what that wonderful bond between owners and their dogs can accomplish?

Betty reminds us,” Older dogs just need a little more time to settle in. This dog is amazing. We think he picked us more then we picked him! My advice....everyone wants the puppies but these older dogs have a lot to give too. Take the time to get to know the dog and let him/her get to know you.”

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