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Thursday, July 29, 2010
Chance was one of the pups that came back, abused and neglected. We made it through the trauma stages of his return and the fear of abandonment issues, but are still working out his anxiety. We knew his former owners did things to him, but we were not sure of the details. He freaks out when I try to examine him, give him medicine, or touch him with a foreign object. It usually takes both of us to give his flea medicine or look at an injury. He will sit on Daddy's lap while I get to be the "bad guy" and play doctor. His panic is decreasing, but it is always there.
Over the course of the last year and a half being with us, Chance has become such a strong and confident dog that I've almost forgotten that the trauma still exist. Chance reminded me when I tried to give him some ear medicine by myself. He reacted. I tried to handle him as gently and quickly as possible while he fought me. He made the task difficult, but I was finally able get the drops in. Though his reaction was better than in has been in the past, it was still strong.
I was shaken by his reaction and what Chance was telling me. They had hurt him with things. Objects. As he lay quietly on his pillow, I knelt beside him and began to caress his head and his body with a gentle soothing touch. When he lifted his head I would talk to him, letting him know it was me and that he was safe. This caressing helped me work my way down his body. I was amazed when he didn't flinch and let me touch his feet and put my fingers between his toes. Then I took the ear drop bottle and rubbed his head and ears with it. I stopped several different times when he lifted his head, showing him the bottle and continued to comfort him. He felt safe. I was able to check him over and he handled it well.
I didn't realized the origin of the abuse Chance's reaction stemmed from. I'm still slowly learning how to handle situations with an abused dog. I am a survivor of abuse and there are situations that are still very delicate for me. Even though Chance is doing fantastic, he too has these delicate areas. It has shaken me to the core, the pain and fear he still feels, even with someone he trust. They don't forget any more than we do. We know when someone has hurt us, so do dogs. It is amazing how tender and sensitive their hearts and feelings are. They are caring beings, as any real dog lover knows. To see them hurt in any way is heartbreaking, but to see them still suffer from the actions of someone who was suppose to love them, is crushing. Chance made me aware of a delicate area for him and the reasons why. It gave me a deeper insight into his fears and pains and how to help him through them.