So after his first weekend of adjusting to relative normality (nothing in our house can be called truly normal!) and learning where his place was in the pecking order of life amongst the clan, Charlie was just starting to relax a little. Life was still a little confusing to him. He had arrived from a “home” where he hadn’t been taught anything, didn’t recognise his own name, there was apparently no structure and anything he did that was considered a misdeed was dealt with using physical punishment. Then suddenly at our house there were boundaries and rules, but no beatings. At first Charlie got really nervous as he knew I was asking something of him each time, but didn’t understand what. His expectation was that I would react violently when he didn’t understand. His eyes would grow wide in his little face with his ears set back, head bowed … and the hiccups would start. In his mind his lack of understanding would mean a beating. Instead however I stood patiently (resisting the urge to scoop him up and simply hold him), signaled with my hands what I wanted and asked him again. Within no time he did as he was asked and was praised lavishly with a treat, a pat and a ‘good boy!’.
Then come Monday I threw a spanner in the works by bundling him off in the car to have his nuts off. At first he didn’t want to get into the car – well who can blame the little guy, his crown jewels were about to be confiscated for good and I can only imagine that he associated the car with bad things from his first adoptive home.
One thing I’d already come to realise over that first weekend was that although Charlie was still very much a puppy at just 5 months of age, he had no idea how to have fun and simply be a puppy. There was no excitement or enthusiasm when the door bell rang or at the prospect of a car ride, just anxiety and fear. Everything he did was done with nervous insecure energy – always looking over his shoulder and ready to duck or cower away from the next beating or kick. My heart simply bled for him. We would have to have bucket loads of patience, time and understanding to get through to this little guy. To make him realise that life is not all bad and that there are good people in this world that will love and protect him. Until then we’ll have to exercise oodles of patience, give him lots of love, gently remind him of the rules and boundaries and soothe away his hiccups.
That afternoon I picked up our Boomerang Boy from the vet sans his nuts and took him home for some TLC and a good night’s rest.