There's a dog here at the kennel that I've wanted to chat about for a while now and it's a dog that highlights the damage Domestic Violence does to our pets.
On arrival in foster his behaviour was challenging - not aggressive but always trying to escape, not happy shut in anywhere so would bark constantly. We decided we would bring him down to the kennels and have a look at this boy and see if we could work with him. His feet were horribly splayed due to horrendous interdigital cysts - also a cherry eye but that's been out for so long removing it now would be entirely cosmetic so has been left for obvious reasons.
We started working on his feet, such a gentle soul who had absolutely no problem with you touching him, his feet are very obviously painful but as we all know that when it comes to ID cysts there's very little you can do with them except treat them as they appear. Apart from his feet he's a lovely wiggly boy who settled quickly into kennel life.
A lady we have dealt with for many many years was ready to take another bulldog, she had the experience to deal with his feet, lived alone and didn't want a dog that needed hours worth of excersise. A perfect candidate for the big man and so I personally drove him the 3 hour journey to his new home by the sea. A nice quiet calm home and walks along the beach would be ideal for his feet. I left him in the home with no worries whatsoever
In fact this is how I left him
I drove home happy he was where he was meant to be - so imagine my shock when I received a call late the following night to say he'd gone for her, had gone for a male visitor and had spent the entire day guarding the house! I did the journey a second time, this time in the middle of the night, to get him back to BDHQ knowing that putting him to sleep was now probably his only option.
The next day I spoke to others that had been involved in his case and it was then that I discovered that his original home was one filled with Domestic Violence. Suddendly it all became clear - he was protecting her!! A single lady on her own who he instantly decided was not going to be another victim to a violent man. Not that the visitor was a violent man - but he didn't know that.
So the decision was made to try and recreate the situation and see if we could get the same reaction. We are now several weeks down the line and he has greeted every visitor with a wiggle.
He found it hard to settle back into kennel life though but our new kitchen area seemed the perfect place for him to sleep. So despite the name of the front of his kennel - he's not there - he's fast asleep in the kitchen.
He's also half way through a course of anti depressents, the effect the failed rehome had on him caused him to withdraw, he stopped eating, he kept himself away from everyone and just wanted to either sit in the office with me, or sleep.
We always (and righly so) worry about the affects DV has on children but very few people think about the way it would affect a dog. Many dogs end up victim to the abuse especially if the dog belongs to the victim as they are very good coersive control tools and many feel they need to stay in the situation to make sure the dog isn't hurt any more that it is already. To watch this poor dog withdraw because of what he thought was the right thing to do lost him his perfect home.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and have a dog please look into the Dog's Trust's Freedom Project. They provide temporary foster care for people caught up in a DV relationship so when you go into a refuge your dog will still be there at the end of it. With so many refuges not allowing pets it's a consideration that many people take into account when thinking about fleeing - especially if the dog gets it's fair share of the abuse. You can look into it here: http://www.moretodogstrust.org.uk/accessing-our-service/accessing-our-service