[Warning: Long, touching post ahead!]
Adoption is not necessarily the easiest process. However, by managing your expectations, and working together with the dog with kindness and a lot of patience, the best and strongest bonds can be built. Today, we have the story of Hazel, now known as Ally who was recently adopted.
“We came to know about Ally when SOSD posted photos of her on their Facebook page for one of their adoption drives. We had been quite keen on adopting so we decided to check her out.
When we got to the adoption drive and saw her in real life we sort of made the decision there and then that we would want to adopt her. Got to admit, we went for her pretty face. However, we weren’t sure if we would be even considered given we had limited experience handling a dog and was quite sure that there would be many enquirers for her (surprisingly there were none – all the better for us, no competition) So fast forward about 3 weeks later (after house inspection and 2 pack walks at the shelter), we brought Ally home for her 2 weeks homestay.
Expecting the unexpected, Ally started showing us her true character and personality which was not evident during our initial interactions with her at the adoption drive and 2 pack walks. The hardest we experienced was her separation anxiety which we were not aware. We first came to find out about her insecurity when we left her home alone (for the 1st time) and went to work and upon our return… anger, frustration and some doubt on whether we should still keep her, struck us. Hoping that it was a one-off incident, we decided to leave her home alone again to test her out. However, we barely made it out of the house – just the clinging of our keys would cause her to go into a hysterical barking and whining state. This behaviour of hers started becoming a burden for us. At any one point in time, there has to be someone home which became quite a big inconvenience and striped us off our carefree social life.
Apart from her separation anxiety, Ally started displaying other bad behaviours and we felt that she was starting to dominate and take control of us and the house when it should be the other way round.
Thankfully, during the entire homestay episode, we had the support, guidance and encouragement from some of the SOSD volunteers (really 1st class service). Soon, we saw some improvements in Ally (e.g. she started taking commands from us, able to be home alone for short periods without much damage made). It was a great booster and motivation for us in our Mission to help Ally overcome her fears and also become that calm submissive yet fun -loving and playful pet we hoped for. Kudos to Joe, Hui Jin and Alvin!
Moving forward, Ally and us certainly have a long way more to go but we are determined to get it right – getting her to respect us, and as humans, how we can be her pack leader and ensuring we project the right energy that translates into a language she understands and takes cue from.
We would also like commend Ally who toilet trained herself (not sure how she taught herself that) and for bringing so much joy in our life so far.
Finally to those who are thinking of adopting, street dogs are really smart dogs and they deserve a 2nd chance at living their life to the fullest. It’s no doubt a long term commitment that’s time consuming, and that requires discipline and patience. But training them from who they were to where you want them to become gives an additional purpose to your life and relationship (with the person you are sharing this responsibility with). Also, along the way you might and probably will feel like giving up but let’s focus on building that perfect companionship and making it happen.
On a lighter note, we wouldn’t even consider paying expensive gym membership now that we have Ally as our personal trainer who ensures we get at least 2 x 1hr very active walk/ run a day.”
– Gil & Janna