There is a hound dog in our house all day who is giggly, wiggly and a hooligan. He is red brown with a black muzzle and a whip of a tail. He is SO happy. But it wasn't always so............ When we were in Turkey we'd visit a dog shelter with a holdall of treats: blankets, knitted jumpers, chew sticks and balls. We would spend time cuddling the puppies and one family took our attention. Mum was a German pointer and she had three pups still with her when found. We named one of them Frodo. He was a shy, wary little man. His brother was bigger and braver, his sister a cutie who took after Mum. At a few months old they contacted a flea or tick based disease. The little girl died, the big brother fought it successfully but Frodo was very, very ill to the point we thought he was dying. With great skill the vet saved him and we decided to try and take him home here to Scotland.
Whenever we were out in Turkey we'd visit and he became a shadowy figure: lurking behind sheds and his brother. Each time we were there he was worse, so at eighteen months at last he was cleared to come home.
Robert and I drove from North Aberdeenshire to Folkestone in 2012, sitting in a huge , featureless barn of a place waiting for word of an arrival on UK soil. The White van arrived at midnight. All dogs and cats were cleared off it and joyfully picked up except one very scared , quivering individual, head hidden into the corner. I was told he'd been carried into the van at source, stayed in the cage all the way across Europe, and now , at destination, I decided to manhandle him out,( not a pretty sight but essential) hand him to Robert, get him into our jeep ( with Zorro- another story) and away.
When I had taken Ruby ( see first rescue) to the vet I had told her , This is the first step on a long, long journey. This one was far greater.
Frodo ( carried) and Zorro ( led) were together in our chalet in the garden. It had been a wonderfully warm and happy chalet when my mum and her little dog had spent their sunset years with us and now that Mum and Hansel, her little one, had passed on, we had a home from home for the Turkish pair where they could sleep, settle and recover from the journey.
Frodo went into a corner and stayed for six months. He came in November and saw nothing outside until April. He toileted on paper and ate heartily , thank goodness, but oh, the worry.
I got my friend, the dog trainer in about January when I was seemingly making no headway with Frodo. We sat, coffee cup in hand and she said," Don't worry. It will happen. One day he will decide to come out and when he does - be prepared , as he will be the most loyal and loving dog ever. But DO NOT make eye contact. Leave him in his own space.!" I gulped - easier said than done. Your natural instinct is to cuddle and cajole. But why ask for help unless you are to follow the advice.
In February I was asked to foster a beautiful hound-type bitch , so for company until I got her adopted, I put her in with Frodo. Did I mention he was unneutered? Oh the joy on his face and they played and played ( when no one was around. ) Frodo lay under a large table and this girlie was a jumper . So , one day, looking out of the window, she knocked the table over. Perfect . As I could now remove it knowing it had fallen without my assistance. She went to be adopted and Willie, our young lab, took over. Every morning in he would go to Frodo, " Still here! Come on out!" I though it might be a good idea to use Willie's friendship with Frodo, still without looking.
So when Willie was sitting beside his pal, I would sit on the other side of Willie, petting him. Over the week, my arm gradually went over Willie's back , between Frodo and Willie , then on to scratch, fondle and pet Frodo. By now my need was as great as his to be touched. It worked. Daily we would have a threesome, gradually getting my arm across Willie until I was scratching ears and head.
I also had the radio on all the day time and when washing his floor I would chat to him- not looking- about world affairs! I also bought kongs which I filled with tasty bits for him to while away what MUST have been boring hours. His door was always open- just in case!
I was hanging out washing in April. Willie came running out of the chalet followed by Frodo! I stood stock still, not looking, not breathing as Frodo ran round the garden and back inside. Next day it happened again and he came up and sniffed my shoes, then out he came for longer and longer to play with the others and yes, he became fixated on me. Wherever I was, he was. My heart was singing.
Every day he learnt something new. New noises, tastes, smells but always he had the open door and his den he could return to when things got a bit too much for him.
I walk the dogs every morning and one day , August now, he asked to come out. I just knew what he wanted. He wanted a walk. We have a wood at the bottom of the garden area so, with the others we went into it. He was SO proud of himself. Every day we went a tiny bit further. He would bark at passing cars- quite a rarity I may add- and try to peer through the fence at them. He is a giggler and every morning would bound out and wriggle, wiggle and giggle.
It hasn't been plain sailing since then. He did "escape" with Toorki one day but came back after two horrendously long hours , nose to the ground , covering all the areas we walked. He clambers over wire fences. He cannot go through doorways unless I am standing there. No, Robert is not good enough!! So he is still unneutered and has not been back in the jeep BUT he is a house dog, at last in 2015, all day. In he comes, finds the best dog bed and quick as a flash, is in it before the others. He is a funny character who exudes happiness and well being and at Christmas met his first strangers at the house and went up for a clap.
He has his brother Bilbo here now and I'm so glad I got Frodo on his own first, as I suspect he would just have followed Bilbo. But he had to make it on his own and has , very successfully and rather proudly, shown Bilbo the ropes!