Scared Rescue Dog with PTSD Slowly Calms Due to Supportive New Fur Mom
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Romeo, Romeo, here art thou!
My four-legged adoptee from GRRR came with the name Rocky. He is a “Golden Shepherd” who hailed from Oklahoma. My dearest friend, Dianne, went with me to do the Meet and Greet on February 2, 2020, an amazing day just because of the numbers.
There was absolutely no question for Dianne and me that he was the right and perfect four-legged child for me. I was not going to adopt so soon after my golden prince, Jessy Golden Bear, died unexpectedly at the young age of 9-and-a-half from metastatic lung cancer on December 16, 2019. Little did I know, that the mahogany-chestnut-golden-copper-ebony prince that I had just adopted would be the one for me and I would be the mother for him.
Little did I know that all the skills I’ve amassed over the last 40 years in working with foster kids would be used every day with my new pup. I saw a bit of his PTSD as soon as the adoption coordinator tried to get him to go into the GRRR building so we could pay and sign papers. He did not want to go in the building; I think he was carried in.
Then when we left to go to the car, he did not want to leave the building. Roberta said he was afraid of doorways. This then applied to car doorways. We had to lift him in, and then when we got home, it took 10 minutes to get him out of the car. I finally figured out a strategy that gave him a sense of control and safety. I would pull into the garage, close the garage door, then I would open all of the car doors and leave the door into the house open, too, so he could choose when to exit the car and come into the house.
Over the next many days, I learned that he was afraid to go in and out of the house, out of certain rooms, in and out of the car, etc. He did not want to go into his one-acre+ yard by himself, and it started snowing hard the next day, and so for six weeks, I went outside with him every time he needed to go out. With the playtimes in the back yard and many miles for walkies, I logged 18,000 to 20,000 steps on my step tracker the first two months that we were together, and lost five pounds!
He also really did not care about food. I am still working on the food thing. He had a serious GI issue, and we had many accidents to clean up. I think his precious tummy is finally in the healing stages.
He is afraid to go into my finished basement, and when we tried to get him to go down to my son’s basement, he freaked out. My son took his collar and tried to coax him and he pulled out of the collar. Christopher carried him down the stairs, and we made him feel okay until it was time to leave and the same thing happened again, but this time he was afraid to go up the stairs, so Christopher carried him up the stairs.
Long story short, that first afternoon, when Dianne was with me at my house, we both agreed that his name was not Rocky! As we were brainstorming R-names, Dianne came up with the name “Romeo” and it was perfect.
He is in fact the most loving dog I have ever had. Despite the PTSD, he has been amazing in his ability to give and receive love. AND, his eye contact needs to be filmed so humans learn what true eye contact is. So, I know he has a confident spirit despite whatever happened to him before GRRR got him. His story is unknown.
He is a star at doggie day care, and when I go to pick him up, the staff is sad because he has to leave. A couple of the staff members carry him out to me because he still has trouble with doors. He passed his first class at PetSmart with flying colors. His teacher was amazed at how well he progressed because at the beginning, he was afraid to take a treat, but by the end, he loved cuddling up with Zack. Zack is a gem! He is also wonderful with clients as I do Canine Assisted Psychotherapy, and he is co-therapist, par excellence.
He has done so well that he is simply a shining and precious angel in my life. Thank you GRRR, I can’t wait to bring him to functions there. He loves all dogs and all people. He may become a saint someday, maybe St. Frankie! Thank you, Mary, for all the help you have given to me and to Romeo. I can hardly wait for you to see him again!
Finally, if I had to sum up in one sentence how I have helped him heal from his PTSD, it would be this: I invite him to things. That is, I don’t force him because that just reinforces the PTSD. But lovingly inviting him almost always enables him to say “yes” to what I ask. And certain things, like going into my basement, are things that will happen someday but I certainly don’t need him to go down with me to do the laundry. So many times, one human decides what is “right” for another, be they two-legged or four-legged, and this really does not empower the one being dragged along. So, “by invitation only” is the only loving thing to do, and by doing this, I feel so loved that I am a better person just because of my Romeo.
Sometimes I sing to him: “I love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow” (hit song from the 70s) and he sings it back with his eyes.
Story submitted by Suzanne Carter.
This story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!Whizzco