Here is a story written by Linda and Simon about their dog Taz. She is a special girl and all of us at Dr Janas love her to bits. I have decided to put up her story to raise awareness about how much damage can be done to a dog in the first few months of it’s life if not raised/socialized correctly. In Taz’s case, she came from a hoarders house, with conditions much like a puppy farm. Taz is extremely lucky that she has such dedicated owners. Many dogs like this don’t make it as the damage is too severe.
After reading this story, please familiarize yourself with Oscars Law. If you feel strongly enough to help other dogs like Taz, please sign and spread the word 🙂
Taz (whom we named after the snorting Tazzie Devil Looney Tunes character and looking identical to the Australian Tasmanian Devil) is a special, special little girl who came into our lives in October 2011. She came to us via the RSPCA after being rescued with 40+ other dogs from a Hoarder somewhere is Sydney. Taz was approximately 6 months old when she was rescued by the RSPCA and on intake she weighed a mere 3 kgs.
After having tragically lost our first little dog Piezo – our objective was to foster a dog to help out the RSPCA whilst we were still grieving. When Taz (previously named Winnie) was first brought around to our house by the RSPCA we wondered if fostering her was going to be plausible – as it took 6 hours before we could get anywhere near her (with her hiding in the back garden and running away every time we approached her). We were concerned that we were not skilled and competent enough to foster her as it was clear that she really was a little dog with special needs as she had such extreme fear and distrust of everything and everyone in the world. Clearly, the world as she had known it had not been kind to her in her short little life.
Despite Taz slowly warming up to us gradually – it quickly became clear to us that as a result of having such a poor start to life in the most formative months of her life – Taz was destined to struggle with many things that usually just come normally to dogs that are blessed with growing up in a loving environment.
A few things became clear to us over time with Taz:
1) As she had not been socialised properly with humans this would result in her being distrustful and fearful of everyone she was unfamiliar with
2) As she had not been socialised properly with other dogs (despite living with so many) she had no idea of dog etiquette, did not know how to use her nose, introduce herself to other dogs, or understand that not all dogs would try and attack her
3) She was so fearful of the world around her that through the night she wasn’t game enough to venture away from her sleeping mat to go to the toilet resulting in repeated bed wetting
4) She was so fearful that even treats/toys could not motivate her – preferring instead to ignore, avoid and try and hide
5) She would dig and incessantly bark to try to protect herself and reduce her anxiety
6) She had never walked on a leash – and she gave the word stubbornness a new meaning
7) She had never had the joy of playing with toys
8) When provided with food and blankets – she would hoard them in a little pile
9) For such a small dog – she could match the loudest of human snorers
Despite all of little Taz’s foibles we fell in love with her and adopted her a few weeks after meeting her. What we were uncertain about was how best to assist her reach her true potential as a well adapted, confident little dog who enjoyed life.
Luckily for her (and especially for us) – around the same time we rescued another dog ‘Maverick’ from the pound, adopting him through Albury Dog Rescue. Mav became Taz’s big brother, a wonderful role model for her to learn from and a great playmate. They formed an amazing affinity with each other from the get go and instantaneously her bed wetting stopped, there was a little more security in going for walks and she learned the delights of playing chase and catch especially when defeating her brother.
Still something was missing. We knew she was still missing the foundations required to be a happy, confident little dog outside of our backyard – that is….. socialisation with other dogs and with humans. This is where obedience training, puppy day care and Brydie changed our lives.
Having commenced Taz in some obedience classes we knew that whilst she was making steady progress she needed a special type of person to guide her into being the dog that we all knew was inside of her. We approached Brydie (on recommendation) and Brydie realising that Taz was clearly a dog in great need of some special help began gentle socialisation with her through puppy day care at Dr Jana’s Veterinary Clinic.
At first, Taz was unable to spend any time out with the other puppies as she was just too scared. Instead she spent her time in the staff room learning to be a little more comfortable around humans.– she has made some improvements but still has a little ways to go. After a while Brydie gradually introduced her to the puppies outside and soon after Taz was spending her days with the other dogs – although she was still a little too shy and nervous to make friends. We would eagerly read Taz’s puppy day care report card each afternoon and await feedback from Brydie as to her progress.
And then something clicked into place – and all of a sudden Taz took a momentous step forward. She started to use her nose to sniff the world around her, she started to introduce herself to the other dogs, she started to make doggy friends and most recently she started to started to play chase and wrestle with the other puppies. Seeing Taz so happy and social with other dogs really was (and still is) amazing.
To this day Taz continues to attend puppy day care with Brydie ( she has even progressed onto some obedience training) and she loves Brydie to death and trusts her inherently. We still have a long way to go – but we confident we are giving Taz the best chances of becoming a well adapted dog and we can already see the true Taz (who is cheeky, highly intelligent, agile, competitive, stubborn, persistent, protective, loyal and very loving) coming into her own and growing in self-confidence.
We often look at Taz and are amazed at how far she has come – we are so proud of the progress she has made to date and we know she still has so much potential. It still makes us sad that this little dog was given such a poor start in life and that as a result of this she will always have to conquer more fears than the average dog – we know it mustn’t be easy for her. Still, with the right people and support – like Brydie and Dr Jana’s Puppy day care we know Taz’s future is safe and we know day by day things are getting better for her and she is enjoying life a little more each day.
As I finish this story off – Taz is sound asleep on her mat on the lounge and she has just started whimpering whilst dreaming. Mav has just gotten off his mat and has walked over and rested his head on the lounge in front of where she is – concerned and watching over her. What an amazing sight and how blessed are we that we have such wonderful dogs in our life and that despite the misgivings of humans in the past – they can still find it in their hearts to love us unconditionally.