Charley is our project. He is a rescue dog. His former owner bought him as a puppy and kept him tied up on an apartment balcony. Day and night he was chained to a post and exposed to the elements. Food was a few slices of bread thrown at the dog without any predictable feeding time. He was beaten with a broom handle.
The poor dog was left alone for most of the day. He began barking constantly. As you might imagine, the neighbors became desperate. Finally, the owner was told either the dog goes or you go. Of course, he started looking around for someone to take the dog.
After much thought, we agreed. We went into it with our eyes wide open. He was a beautiful, damaged dog. Charley had no idea how to behave in a house or with a family. He never had a chance to learn. We had to teach him how to live with us and how to stay calm
We already had one rescue dog, Arena, and she has her own issues. So the two of them make our house more than a little crazy. Both are suffering from abuse when very young. Arena was abandoned on the street and was attacked by some other street dogs.
The two have different personalities shaped by their experiences. Unfortunately, they don’t mesh well together. They are the odd couple. Charley is continually trying to get her to play and she grumpily refuses. He barks at her and she growls at him.
It makes you think. If young dogs are so sensitive to abuse, what about children? It underlines the importance of a safe, secure and healthy environment. Giving everybody a good start would make for better people and happier dogs.
All this went on as we were locked down with the pandemic. So it was extra stress placed on the family.
I learned that patience and persistence were important in helping these two overcome traumatic experiences in their earlier lives. I realized that I didn’t have nearly as much of these qualities as other members of my family. I needed to grow in this area. As a result, maybe I have become a better person. If so, the investment of time, money, and emotional energy was worth it.
I’m sure Arena and Charley would agree.