Adopt a Dog Not the Past
Going to adopt a dog can be an emotional experience, but choosing to adopt a dog based on the story of their past can often lead to an unhappy ending for all. Behavior problems sometimes get a free pass because the dog has a sad past. If you adopt a dog, don’t adopt a dog because you feel sorry for it. Adopt a dog because it is a good fit for you and your lifestyle. We often thrive on the dramatic story because we want to feel like we saved a life. Once the dog comes home, excuses are often made for unwanted behavior or more stories are created to explain reactions.
The other day I overheard a woman telling someone about a dog they adopted with severe fear problems. She was sure the dog had been tortured with plastic bags because it was afraid of them. Maybe. Or maybe, like hundreds of other dogs the bag looks and moves strangely, making them nervous. Her story went on to say that eventually the dog had to go to another home because of it’s severe PTSD. Now the dog lives with another family and has none of the previous problems it had in her home. This was a very loving woman, so why was the dog so nervous and afraid of everything while in her care? She was so wrapped up in the dog’s story that she accidentally held him back, nurturing the fears and anxieties he had.
Whether you adopt a dog that is police confiscated or adopt a dog that was owner surrender their past is exactly that, past. Dogs live in the moment and are very adaptable animals. So the next time you wind up to throw a ball and notice your dog flinches, remember that this doesn’t guarantee that they were beaten, you probably just startled them with a quick movement. It is undeniable that there are dogs that have had a less than ideal start in life, but it is best to focus on the dog in front of you and not their past.