I just rescued a dog over Christmas. I am not a dog-person, whatever that means. I'm not even really a pet-person. I live fine with or without pets. However, where we live, there are a lot of dogs that get lost, are abandoned, or even escape from abusive owners. There are strays everywhere, and sad stories are a dime-a-dozen.
My husband noticed our new rescue around our house for a couple days before Christmas. It had been raining very heavily, with flooding streets and everything. The dog had been trying to take shelter at the guard gate of the housing complex. He is very affectionate, and hilarious.
He has sarcoptic mange, I've been treating him personally for a few weeks, with the guidance of the best vet in town. He's in the house because it's been too cold for him in the garage, and I'd kept him there the first week, he was seriously depressed. He needed confinement, our other two dogs and cats are itching a bit more, so likely have contracted some of the sarcoptic mites. I'm not too worried, I'll get the house under control.
The rescued pooch is a pure bred older Basset Hound. He lovable, affectionate, slobbery, and so we've named him Sloppy George the First.
He's bonded with me, but like Yeshe said, he knows when I'm even just a touch nervous. I'm not a dog-person, and I've felt skittish around him because I don't know how to make him do something and communicate to him what I want to see him do. But we've managed to strike up a bond and communication's been easy with him. I clap my hands to get his attention, make eye contact, talk to him simply with one word commands to start training him, I will need tips Yeshe, if you can give them.
I was so traumatized by having to hold this poor dog while he was howling at the vets to get his nails trimmed. He was terrified left huge bruises on my legs. The vet kept reassuring me it was ok, but I was seriously traumatized. His claws had to be trimmed they were so long he couldn't walk well. I shook for a while after, cried, I felt so ridiculous, and it's not like I was harmed, but it was just really hard to hold him and hear him cry and not be able to help.
So it seems George will stay with us, he's very much "my dog" or more accurately I'm "his human" already. He's answering to his name, gives paw, has manners, has bonded with me as I've been cleaning him, taking care of his skin, medications, baths, dips in amitraz. Today was the third day of successfully not having accidents in the house at night. Poor thing, he was so panic'd when we gave him dry bedding and food. He was just itching, shaking, and leaning his head into my legs. It seemed like not even a question that I would do what I could to help him recover.
It's not even a big deal to have a bit of the itchies because of the mange, I've been the one handling him, so no one else in the house has itched but me. Before meeting this dog, I would have minded this quite a bit. I'm not very patient with animals the way I am with humans, and I think it's because I'm easily frustrated by the communication and my lack of ability/skill in effectively letting the animal know what we need to do to "make this work."
I just want little Georgie to be better. Vet says 15 days he'll feel a world better. I have 8 baths/dips scheduled for him that I am giving him myself. It's tricky because he knows when I hesitate and is a stubborn breed that just says, oh you're not fit to lead, I'll take charge. I'm learning to communicate with him in a way that works for the both of us. He hates the baths and dips and I totally feel for him, but he needs it to recover and stop chewing and tearing himself up...
Do you think dogs are smart enough to know when you're trying to help? I hope he understands that and doesn't just suffer at the things he doesn't like that I have to do, like baths and dips and vet visits...