Saturday was a planned day full of places to go to and things to check off the list. We had left Maddie and George at home while Mummy and I walked to buy tickets for the new film T2. On our way to the cinema, we couldn’t help but notice a distressed white poodly-looking dog tied up outside Daunt Book on Fulham Road. Mummy thought maybe the owner did not know that dogs were allowed inside so she went in to look for the owner. She instinctively spotted the owner who was engaged in conversation with staff.
We paced back and forth within her sight so she could see that dogs were allowed inside, as Mummy didn’t want to interrupt their conversation. That had no effect.Instead we thought we would go outside to keep the dog company. As Mummy stroked him, he calmed down just a tad before he started crying, twisting his lead further, and trying to jump up on the store window sill to see if he can see his owner, but he couldn’t.
Mummy went in again to ask the staff if they knew who’s dog it was. They said the owner was fully aware that the dog was allowed inside but she preferred to let it stay outside.
So we went outside again to try and calm him down. After a long while, and all hopes of the day’s event fading fast, the owner finally emerged. She looked completely rattled with the racket her dog was making. She looked at me and asked why couldn’t her dog behave like me. Thank you for the compliment. 🙂
Apparently, he has very strong separation anxiety, hyperactive and the owner doesn’t like his jumping up at her and no licking. And he was all that. She seemed at a loss what to do. So Mummy asked, as I held my breath, “Do you want to get rid of him? I can take him from you.” Oh, Mummy, I think you need to think a little harder on this one.
The owner and Mummy started to engage in conversation and she asked if we could take a walk. She asked to hold my lead as Mummy walked the other dog. Yes, he had heavy breathing, he was pulling and would now and then jump up.
“What’s his name?” Mummy asked.
He’s called Churchill. He’s a bichon frise-poodle cross. He’s a year and a half and she got him from a shelter.
It is true that his namesake Winston Churchill once said, “Never, never, never give up.” But in this case, it is not a matter of giving up but to do what is right for each other – the owner and the dog.That was the dilemma. 🙁
We ended up having a coffee and then a meeting at our home so the owner could also meet George. I listened and I wondered if Churchill was going to end up with us.
May’s comment: Still trying to make sense of what happened on Saturday, going through the course of events of the day.
I stopped not only because he got everyone’s attention with his barking but I was also concerned that he could be taken. I also thought to let the owner know the dog could go inside the shop. But when I saw the dynamics between the owner and the dog, I knew something was wrong. The owner was so stressed and she just wanted him to stop barking. But he was so stressed and desperate to see her, he barked even more. The more she backed away from him, the more he barked. I wanted so much to help, to just take Churchill to remove stress from the owner and from Churchill. It was obvious he was too much stress for her and he was so desperately needy. But I couldn’t.
I knew I was being impulsive and all sorts of things crossed my mind – what would I do when we go away? Much deliberation later, I came to realise a few things.
You can’t save every dog in distress! 🙁 I offered to take Churchill when we were discussing his issues while standing on the streets but when he bounded up the stairs to our home was when reality struck. He and George started to play as they both ran around the living room, playing with all the toys, but because he is as large as Darcy and with his level of energy meant he would have been a bull in a china shop. My home cannot accommodate highly excitable dogs bouncing off sofas. He did mark his territory which was the least of my worry – Darcy did the same thing the first day she came home. Darcy was not bothered by him.
There’s also the issue of cost and practicality. If I have a house with a garden and another pair of hands, it could work. And Churchill would have needed a lot of work. His separation anxiety meant he will probably be destructive which both Darcy and George never did. I was lucky with the both of them. We have a third dog ever so often, but it was Maddie, Jaffa or Charlie – dogs we know well.Even then, walking three is a constant tangle – especially with George darting from side to side marking his presence.
The owner deliberated and another friend of hers came and the three of us discussed all options. Her friend offered to take Churchill but that meant she would still have a connection to him. She had invested a year and a half of her time and costs but Churchill wasn’t changing. It could be that he is only 18 months old. And we talked about giving him up to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home – which was something she considered but wanted to be sure he will go to a good home. In the end they did drive over to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to see if that was an option. She couldn’t bear to leave him there.
What was the cause of his separation anxiety? Sometimes the dog comes with it. He was given over to a dog trainer for five months to see if he can be calmed down which apparently did nothing for him. In fact, the business sounded suspicious, charging an exorbitant rate and he looked malnourished during that time. So she got him back and tried again. But the struggles with the owner continued.
He also has a hernia which needs to be operated on – it could be a reason for his behaviour. Need to eliminate all possibilities before we can assess his personality.
The owner is undecided on what to do. But if there’s someone out there who would consider giving him a home, the owner would consider it. She realises that they are not the “perfect-match” not for lack of trying. She wants to be sure he goes to a good home where he will be loved and cared for. If you are interested, get in touch with me.
Aside from that, was speaking to the owner who had sincerely thought to open up an animal sanctuary for dogs like Churchill was music to my ears. I’ve always thought that when I win the lottery, I would set up a sanctuary for doodles, for no other reason than to save them from abuse, save them from situations that have not worked, for owners to feel good about letting them go – and doodle crosses because I know the breed. Cockapoos for example are high maintenance and they can be kooky, we know – high energy. Some people buying them become disoriented by their behaviour and realise they are not a good fit. So the dream is to set up a safe place where they can be kept from harm, that they can be looked after, assessed, given the best nutrition, socialised, trained or re-trained and then take the time to find them the best home. Dream big, they say. It would be an amazing dream come true, and I am sure there will be people out there who wants to help. Just need to win that “lottery” – watch this space.