Copyright 2012 Digby Van Winkle. Powered by Blogger.
Tuesday, 8 May 2012
We’d been thinking about getting a dog for years and could never
really decide on the “right” one. In hindsight though I’ve come to
realise that the right dog is only right because he is yours. Once you
have a pet you adjust to having them as much as they adjust to you. In
my mind the right dog was a happy, confident, toilet trained and calm
little ball of sleeping fur. The right dog was always well behaved and
didn’t chew anything he wasn’t supposed to (because we bought all the
kongs and chew toys and read all the books, why would he ever want to
chew?).The right dog was actually more like the impossible dog.
When we brought Digby home everything was great. He was inquisitive
and had the sweetest little eyes, loved to cuddle and wanted to be near
his new humans constantly. All was going well – until we got to know
this new addition to the house and suddenly he was racing around, always
on the move, and making a mess with his toys (the chewing was to come
later). Still, although he wasn’t exactly fitting the vision of the
perfect puppy our expectations changed in such a way that he was the
perfect puppy in ways we hadn’t actually considered.
I feel like I’m going way off track from what I actually intended to
say with this first post because it’s what everyone wants to know about
him. When Digby was just coming up on 5 months old we thought it would
be nice for him to get out into the world and gain some independance.
He’s a very devoted dog, wanting nothing more than to be around us all
the time. We decided to try to curb that by giving him some extra
socialisation at daycare, something all of the books recommended.
Unfortunately for Digby though, not even 3 hours in he made a very big
mistake – one that any puppy could make. Being the very social dog that
he is he tried to involve himself in a private game and tried to take a
toy from another (larger) dog. He suffered a nasty bite which very badly
damaged his right eye. Against the odds he did make an almost full
recovery. Although his eye doesn’t function as any good eye should (he
has no vision in that side and his eye is constantly looking to the
side) it’s healthy and gets to stay. We were very relieved once the
treatment was all over and the stitches were out, as Digby spent 4 weeks
in a cone and under what could only be described as house arrest. We
were excited about getting him back out into all of his favourite places
because we finally had our dog back! Things were different though. We
noticed that he was scared of a lot of the things that he could handle
quite well before. Motorbikes were suddenly sending him into a panicked
frenzy. Buses were terrifying him when they didn’t before his accident
and people were now public enemy number one. He was constantly barking
at people and panicking when out on walks, not being able to calm
himself down. Surprisingly though he still loved to say hello to other
dogs and it seemed to be the only thing that would help him relax. It
was almost as if he thought his own kind would never hurt him. Digby
would refuse to settle down when in a situation with many people around,
refusing to eat and visually terrified. Exposure did little and even
seemed to take him backwards as reinforcement was not possible. Digby
refused to take treats and never calmed down enough to even notice when
he was being showered with praise.
Digby is making amazing progress and is growing into a very loyal, well adjusted and (sometimes) social dog who even owns his very own beach (or so he thinks)! It's a good thing he's kind enough to allow all of his doggy friends to visit.