However, when a friend of mine showed me the picture of Loco at a local animal charity Dog Action Welfare Group, his big sad eyes said “help me” and I was hooked!
Stereotypies are no joke, and are one of the most difficult behaviour problems in animals to treat. They usually develop due to sensory deprivation, or mental trauma and frustration. As Loco spent quite a bit of his puppy-hood locked up, his release was to chase, and bite his tail, resulting in a bald tail with scars and cuts from top to bottom.
There were lots of tears and helpless episodes in Loco’s first 10 days with me, often resulting in me having to hug him tight at night time while he cried in frustration to try to get to his tail. I felt a lot of guilt because if I could not ‘fix’ him, then his life really wouldn’t be worth living.
After about 2 weeks of training, mental stimulation, Pettura Calming anti-anxiety food supplement, and lots of reassurance, we turned a corner. Loco woke up and decided that all was OK with the world!
He has come out of his shell and is the most wonderfully loving giant baby. He loves nothing more than throwing himself dramatically to the floor at my feet, even if it does mean several spilt cups of tea!
He loves to chase and play with my other dogs in the garden – though he definitely isn’t house proud, so my lovely new floors and painted walls are no longer so ‘lovely’ but he’s happy so I’m happy.
I have been tempted so many times to put my name on his collar tag, and give him the permanent ‘stay’ cue, but fostering dogs is a privilege, and if Loco were to stay I wouldn’t be able to take in future dogs in need.
I’ve been very lucky to have Loco in my life, to learn from him, to help him, and, fingers crossed to see him in a loving home of his own