Saturday, 23 February 2008

Dog Gone!


“A Dog is For Life, Not Just for Christmas”

We’ve all heard that familiar phrase, coined, I believe, by the Dogs’ Trust. While I agree that nobody should buy a pup (or adult dog, for that matter) as a Christmas present without carefully thinking it through beforehand, I have to contest the idea that a dog must ALWAYS be for life. After all, there are times when owning a dog just isn’t suitable anymore.

This has recently happened to me.

I’ve had my own dog since my 9th birthday when my parents bought me a gorgeous black Poodle. With the exception of a few years where dog ownership wasn’t suitable, I’ve since had at least one dog in my life. My dogs have always been properly trained in that they haven’t defecated in the house, haven’t stolen food, wait nicely while their feed bowels are being filled and, after the initial greeting, haven’t leapt all over visitors every time they move. Neither have they fought with one another. I’ve trained dogs in competition obedience and agility, and would say I have pretty good knowledge of canine husbandry.

However, about a year ago I decided to get a companion for our little Jack Russell/Lakeland cross, Poppy. Off we went to the dog’s home and found a lovely little mongrel that apparently had to be rehomed because she’d kept chasing her previous owner’s racing pigeons. She was a bright little thing, and soon learned the basic rules of the house although it was apparent that she hadn’t been used to living indoors. There was one problem though – she didn’t like Poppy.


Zara attacked Poppy whenever she had the chance and visits to the vet became frequent. Her poor little scarred face was starting to look pitiful. No matter what I did – and I sought advice from every place I could think of – the problem continued. Eventually it got worse. Zara was clearly jealous of Poppy and this was causing her stress. She starting peeing on the living room and kitchen floors and, given the chance, on my bed! The fight became more violent until eventually Poppy was afraid to come downstairs and spent most of her time sitting on the landing. Zara would throw herself at visitors, insisting on sitting on their laps (even though she was too big for that) so most visits were spent commanding Zara “down”. Putting her in the kitchen didn’t help; she’d just bark continuously and that, living in a terraced house, wouldn’t have gone down well with the neighbours. The same happened if she was put in the garden.

I tried my hardest to make things work but after almost a year I’ve had to accept defeat. The situation had become too stressful for us all, not least Zara herself. She would have to be rehomed. I put adverts in shops, on the Net, on Freecycle and in the local newspaper. Nobody wanted her. Sadly, today she was returned to the dog’s home. It was the last resort, but it had to be done.

It’s strange that she isn’t here now but it’s also far more peaceful.

I hope she finds the right home soon.

Sharon J xx

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