Boomie Boy Charlie – Learning The Ropes

Charlie’s first night with us has gone surprisingly well, considering he is only 5 months old, in a new environment with 2 new foster siblings who still aren’t too sure who this stranger is in their midst.

Having a puppy again in the house after so many years is a bit of an adjustment – lots of toilet breaks. Luckily my job is being made easier by Kira and Bruno who are eager to teach their underling a  thing or two, like sitting quietly before their supper is put down and peeing quickly when asked to ‘pee-pee’ so that play-time can ensue. Charlie, being a bright boy, is a quick study and is catching on quickly.

Learning to wait quietly and patiently for supper with foster brother Bruno.

Putting their plates down for supper was a bit of challenge last night, as I had to make it clear to Boomerang Boy Charlie that diving into foster sister Kira’s plate and then foster brother Bruno’s would be potentially life threatening and just plain rude!

What has become clear through the day is that Charlie hasn’t been taught anything during his time with the other family. In fact he doesn’t even know his name. The saddest part is that his reactions tell us that he has been beaten, rather severely and most often by the man of the house. To see a puppy cower and collapse in a quivering heap with a simple verbal reprimand is just gut wrenching. When my husband first witnessed it last night, he scooped Charlie up in his arms and just held him close whilst soothing him. Charlie’s reaction was to nip and mock bite at his hands in initial panic, until he realised that no one was going to hurt him and that he was safe.

We made it through the night with no toilet “accidents” and absolutely no interruptions. Boomerang Boy Charlie slept soundly through the night. The breakfast round this morning went a little easier than the supper round last night. Before I let the cats out, I had Charlie burn off some energy in the garden.

Well rested and full of energy!Kira having fun with her new buddy, but not sharing her tennis ball! Notice our Boomerang Boy Charlie sporting a new collar.Kira still not sharing her tennis ball despite Boomerang Boy Charlie’s cute little dance.Giving up? … or tired?

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Boomerang Boy Charlie’s Arrival Home & Introductions

There is a reason we choose to foster kittens and not dogs. For one, kittens are easy. They can be litter trained in less than a week and as long as they have enough toys and things to amuse themselves with, they can be happily contained in the kitten nursery (one of our spare bedrooms). Another reason is that we have a house full of our own fur-kids:

  1. Kira our dominant female Jack Russell (aka Duracell Bunny)
  2. Bruno our dominant male rescue “Pet Bull” (aka Brunocerous)
  3. Smokey, Elliot, Chewbacca, Sylvester and Sweetpea our five rescue kitties
  4. Fiona, Yoda, Liewe Heksie and Momento our four rescue tortoises
  5. A myriad of Koi fish

Adding a dog to this mix, albeit temporarily, is tricky and requires some vigilance. Despite this, when Charlie’s plight was brought to our attention this week during a time when all of the registered Aniwell foster homes are full, I didn’t hesitate. My thoughts are that we can manage or make a plan, even if it is just for a few nights, until we can find a suitable foster family to take him in.

I first introduced Charlie to Kira and Bruno through the security gate. I knew Kira, being a well socialised Jack Russel, wouldn’t be a problem. Charlie is merely be a new novel toy for her. Bruno on the other hand, as a rescued Pet Bull, doesn’t have the same outlook on life having missed out on those precious puppy socialisation classes. If this isn’t a challenge enough, at 5 months Charlie isn’t yet neutered which I knew Bruno would not take kindly to. What happened next however surprised me. There was no barking, no growling, not even hackling. They all sniffed eachother through the security gate bars and in no time I had them together in the back garden with Bruno in his harness in case I needed to pull him off! Sure enough, Bruno was doing his usual dominant male posturing which Charlie thought was a bit of a game and was submitting to each and every time – a good thing!

This was my update to the rescue organisation today:

“Charlie is gorgeous and settled in at home with us. Even our Pit Bull doesn’t seem too disturbed by him. Charlie’s not used to cats … or anything that moves for that matter, so he’s being introduced slowly to the cats and the tortoises on a lead. Poor thing hasn’t been socialised at all and is frightened of any sound, movement, foreign object and strange people. He has his heart in the right place so I think he’s going to be easy to rehabilitate. He just needs some structure and discipline … and he’s a quick learner.”

After an exhausting day, we are all settled for the night with Charlie loving his new bed kindly supplied by his foster Granny who had it lying around unused. One has to wonder how anyone could return a special little guy like this!

Our exhausted Boomerang Boy Charlie.

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Charlie The Sweetest Dog

After receiving the very disturbing email regarding Charlie’s list of ‘sins’ yesterday, I headed out this morning to rescue him for the second time in his short life. As I was not sure what to expect I took our housekeeper with me – just in case Charlie proved to be totally uncontrollable in the car on the way home. On arrival my heart shattered into what felt like a thousand pieces. What I found was a confused and very frightened puppy who lacks confidence, has been physically abused in the two months he has been with his adoptive family and whose wish list of just 2 items is to understand what is expected of him and to be loved. On the drive home, I felt a wave of relief wash over me knowing that Charlie was not going to be subjected to that man nor his appalling family any longer and my maternal instincts have kicked in to heal his emotional scars.

The drive home

As you probably guessed, the drive home was uneventful although I had a million questions running through my head. How could this happen? How could this be avoided with future adoptions. The rescue organisation has a strict screening process which includes a home check when homing the rescues. I was the one who did Charlie’s home check, which has been weighing heavily on my mind. In rescue work, our biggest fear is having to rescue an animal twice. What did I miss? I missed meeting the husband and the children during the home check. Needless to say the policy has now changed to include meeting the ENTIRE family that will be living with the adopted dog or cat, which will hopefully shed more light and narrow the margin for error.

In the meantime, the introductions into our rather large family are happening!

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