My most recent rescue pup is a bluetick coonhound named Travis. I received him from his previous owner who could “no longer control him”. When he first came to me he was a fifty pound 8 month old puppy. I was nervous at first bringing him into our home since our family already consisted of an 8 year old pitbull (Natalyn) and an 8 year old yorkie mix. (Keebler) Natalyn, who does not always appreciate new friends, was my first concern. However, she accepted Travis with open paws and quickly began to show him the ropes around the home. Keebler (who is a whole 12 pounds) however took time to adjust mainly due to the fact he did not want to share his big sister with a new playmate.
Within the first evening with Travis at our home, it quickly became apparent why his previous owner had issues with his behavior. He would charge the front door if you attempted to walk outside as if he were in a panic. His crate training was light years behind. He would bawl (the coonhound bark) nonstop if you were not in his sights. Now I realize some of the behavior was due to his new surroundings, however he was a classic case of why you start training as young as you possibly can.
By the end of the first week or so I began to have my concerns. He had snapped at me which almost triggered Miss Natalyn into protection mode. We could not leave our house without fear of the neighbors calling in a noise complaint. Attempting to take him on long walks to relieve his hunting dog energy was difficult since he was not well leash trained. I will be honest, I had never given up on rescue and it broke my heart to think I was about too.
However, the fates within the universe had another story to tell. That night, something changed. This neurotic, stubborn, growling pup just changed. He curled up with me and laid his head on my lap, falling sound asleep with me rubbing is long soft ears. That was it I couldn’t give up on this misunderstood pup. He needed me as I much as I would soon learn I needed him.
The next day I began taking him to work with me. (I am fortunate to work in a very pet friendly place) He began to understand the crate, we would place him, was in fact just his puppy house that from time to time he had to hang out in. He started to enjoy his walks and realized quickly that on these walks he would meet new friends, both human and four legged. Something began to click between us. He quickly became my hiking buddy, and I believe I finally had become his puppy mom.
He recently celebrated his first birthday. The pups all enjoyed frosty paws and chewed up a few birthday hats. Travis has taught me a lot in the past few months. He taught me that sometimes fear makes you act out in ways that is not your true persona. Sometimes, you just need to a longer time to get to know someone. Just because you snap at someone doesn’t mean you don’t like them, it may mean you just don’t know them well enough to trust them yet. Taking long walks and traveling to new places is good medicine for your soul. Oh course, sometimes you need to just let out a big to get attention, and sometimes it’s just fun to create a little chaos by chewing up something. I guess there is a lot someone can learn from their pups is they just listen and watch, and I’m sure he will continue to teach me every day.