Tag Archive | aggression

Update on Felicia

I learned a lot from my experience with this precious dog.

She had to return to the Humane Association because she was too agrressive for my home and neighborhood.

By the time I took her back, she had threatened a 4-year-old child and killed my cockatiel.  She was already in “Last Chance Saloon” for chasing a man in my neighborhood and scaring another person.

 

Returning her and surrendering her to the shelter was an awful experience.  I knew she needed to go; yet I felt like a traitor.

 

What I learned:

*Some dogs will recover from anxiety disorder and learn to be less aggressive; some need a lot of time, if they get well at all.

 

*Really check out the rescue organization.  Felicia probably should have been evaluated more thoroughly in the first place.  I hear rumor that she is already up for adoption, something that troubles me:  There is no way that her problems have been solved in only six weeks.

There are organizations that make sure animals are ready for placement; others, not so much.

The consolation is, I have a different puppy.  I had no idea that Felicia was so impaired until I got my new little girl:  She was doing things at 10 weeks that Felicia couldn’t do at 13 months.

At 15 weeks, she is having to work on some of the same things that Felicia was learning at 7 months.  The difference:  She is mastering the lessons.

I will introduce her in my next post.

 

Felicia

wp_20160811_005-1This is Felicia.
She is a black lab/border collie mix, about 13 months old now.

I adopted this little lady from the Humane Association’s animal shelter…
When I first met her, all she could do was cower.  Once she got through that, she became a bit aggressive, mostly from severe anxiety disorder.

Felicia has made good progress:  During her first month in my home, she was afraid of everything:  An unexpected noise, furniture, the kitchen garbage can…  Now she is much more relaxed in that regard.

She still has a number of challenges:  Separation and stranger anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, problems with aggression.  Her rehabilitation plan includes medication, behavior management, calming coats, essential oils, a lot of patience and love.  When she is behaving, Felicia is a nice little dog.  I say she’s like “the little girl who had a curl right in the middle of her forehead…”

When Felicia was still at the shelter, I was told that she was brought in by people who simply didn’t do anything with her siblings and her, so they are timid.  Hmmmmm, I don’t know that I buy the story.  Felicia cowers at any hand movement that could look like she might be hit.  She also freaks out if I try to dry her off with a towel and she is very protective of her hind quarters.

As for the separation anxiety, it turns out that shelter dogs often have this problem.  It makes sense:  Imagine that you are relaxing at home; then one day, you are taken to a strange place and put into a cage.  Nothing is familiar; no one comes back for you.
If I had known then what I do now, I’m not sure I would have adopted this little dynamo.  She truly is a handful.  It is something to consider when getting acquainted with a shelter dog.

Now that Felicia has been here for almost six months and I know her, I’m glad to keep her and do the work it takes for her to be well.  I really want Felicia to succeed.  None of the alternatives are all right with me:  Take her back to the shelter?  No.  She would be destroyed by that.  Euthanize her?  No.  She has too much promise for that… Besides, now that she has found a place in my heart, I would miss her.

I have been told that it takes several months to rehabilitate an animal that has been abandoned or abused.  I get encouragement from this:  There is hope for Felicia.