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Lurchers And Sticks

I am having a happy moment about Az.

To explain it, I shall tell (or remind) you about Az. Az was picked up as a stray about ten years ago, running in panic along a motorway, having been beaten and dumped. He went to a good home where he lived for around three years, but when one of them started working slightly longer hours as a dog warden (so coming home with lots of doggy smells), Az was not able to cope. I adopted him because as I work from home, he didn't need to be left for very long here - and as it turned out, being in a quiet place with little traffic helped too.

Az brought a lot of fears with him when he came to live with us. Houses, loud noises, road noise, car parks, built up areas, being left alone, getting lost, cafes and pubs, lorries, tractors, groups of people, unfamiliar people, children, raised voices, people carrying sticks or anything long... For a long time we had to be very careful about playing Rock Band, because Az assumed that we were going to beat him with the plastic guitars.

All these many fears have been gradually improving as time goes by, one after another, they have slowly worn away and vanished. On Saturday, for example, we went to a cafe and sat outside with the dogs, and Az was not just not-terrified - he was really relaxed and happy.   He had ham sandwiches. 


(Yogi is not woeful in this photo, do not worry -  she has merely put her nose down for a minute before making another attempt to steal my panini. ) 

Yesterday, I was doing some tidying up in the garden, and had to move a lot of long hazel sticks that we had chopped out of the hedge.   Brythen was alarmed.  It looks like Brythen also has bad associations with people carrying sticks, though he's nothing like as worried by them as Az was. This is so sad : I think a 'normal' dog seeing owner with stick would be hoping owner was going to throw the stick to be fetched, but Brythen was definitely worried I was going to hit him with it.  Brythen is barely an adult yet.  It is horrible to think someone may have beaten my big soft puppy. 

So Brythen went and made himself very small so he could hide behind Az (he has to scrunch up small as he is quite a bit taller than Az).  And Az stood on the top step, looking at me carrying a big stick, and he wagged his tail and foofled Brythen's ear to say 'it's all right Big Puppy, don't worry, all is well!'   This made me very happy indeed. 
 

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
parrot_knight
7th Aug, 2012 13:48 (UTC)
Back when I was twelve, when we first had George, he cowered if anyone raised an arm to do anything. This assumption, that he was going to be beaten if anyone raised an arm near him, took a year or so to dissipate. His other fear were yellow Tyne and Wear PTE double-decker buses, and this only went away when deregulation replaced them with blue singledeckers.
bunn
7th Aug, 2012 21:26 (UTC)
What a strangely specific fear - yellow doubledecker buses!

Az has been OK with sticks for a while now - I think it took 2 or 3 years for that to wear off, but it is still nice to see him so confident with them.
(Deleted comment)
bunn
7th Aug, 2012 21:30 (UTC)
I'm really proud of him!

I don't think Brythen has really had such a bad time by comparison : he's loads more confident than Az was, so I was a bit surprised when he suddenly cringed and hid when he saw me with a stick.
inzilbeth_liz
7th Aug, 2012 17:08 (UTC)
You brought tears to my eyes with the image of Az on that motorway and then again with his comforting Brythen. They are both so lucky to have found you.
bunn
7th Aug, 2012 21:37 (UTC)
I think I am very lucky with them too. They are both such great dogs, even if Az did arrive a little broken, it's been a real privilege to watch him coming back together.
chainmailmaiden
7th Aug, 2012 17:57 (UTC)
Aww! That's so sweet Az is doing the big brother thing for Brythen :-) & I'm pleased he's got over so many fears, I've never noticed him being scared of us when we're round & that's infrequent enough to make us virtually strangers.
bunn
7th Aug, 2012 21:40 (UTC)
I think the first time you came to visit we set up our bedroom as a space that he could retreat to, and he did spend a couple of days hiding in there quite a bit of the time. After that, he definitely remembered you. But I think people who come to role-play are probably easy for him to cope with - they spend a lot of time not moving about much in an unthreatening sort of way.
huinare
7th Aug, 2012 18:47 (UTC)
What a sad history for Az. So glad he's doing better (and I hope Brythen will become less leery of sticks, too).
bunn
7th Aug, 2012 21:45 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Brythen won't take long to get over it: he may not have had the perfect start, but I don't think anything terrible has happened to him (well, he would claim that it is terrible to have to be outdoors when it is raining, but fortunately, he's less water-soluble than he thinks he is :-D)
puddleshark
7th Aug, 2012 20:14 (UTC)
Bless them! It's wonderful when the transformation into relaxed and happy dog occurs...
bunn
7th Aug, 2012 21:44 (UTC)
It's really great to see him just being a proper dog and not having to worry about stuff.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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