Today is national mutt day and I am very in favor of celebrating the mutts in our lives. I know my life would not be quite as fulfilled without out beloved mutt, Shaggy. He is most definitely my furbaby and he brings a lot to our lives.
I have almost always had a dog with only a few years here and there without; when one dog had passed and I just couldn't bring myself to adopt another just yet. When the pain of the lost furry family member had at least begun to subside, I always felt the need to have another mutt in my life. I have had everything from a Chihuahua mix, a Husky/German Shepherd mix, a black Pomeranian, and now our adorable Chinese Crested/Collie mix from Russia.
Adopting mutts from shelters can sometimes come with some unexpected aspects that you cannot really foresee until they are in your home and becoming a part of your family. Many dogs in shelters have lived on the streets as strays, been abused, and/or abandoned. Many can have health issues and even have emotional issues that will only appear when they are in a stressful situation.
When we got our sweet boy, we thought he adopted a perfect little puppy who had no issues or health problems. It would be a few weeks before we would learn that was not the reality. Shaggy began to get sick. His stomach was always making noise and he began eating less and less. We spent a lot of time going back and forth to the vet. It took many vet visits, a lot of test, and several hundred dollars to learn that our boy has severe allergies to beef, pork, and amaranth. Basically everything we had been feeding him. Since we adopted him, we had been buying him giant ham bones as treats and would let him lay out in the sun all day long on the weekends gnawing on the bones. We had no way to know we were actually slowly poisoning him with them.
When we finally got the allergy results, we changed his diet and his health made a quick recovery. Occasionally, he still gets an upset stomach but it is nothing like it was in the beginning. After we sorted out his diet we turned to his anxiety issues.
When we started taking him out for walks on the street we found out very quickly that he has a lot of fear issues. We assume that he was abused at some point while living as a street dog in Russia before he made it to the shelter where we adopted him. On the street, Shaggy would panic and start fighting the leash whenever a car passed us on the street, a bike passed us, a person walked passed, especially men or children. He was afraid of other dogs, bikes parked on the street, trash and trash cans on the street, and even just loud gusts of wind. It was so sad.
It has been five years since we adopted him and he is doing so much better. We trained him to just sit next to whomever is walking him whenever something starts to scare him. He does a great job with this. He sits and waits for the scary thing to pass then we start walking again when he calms down.
I know people who have faced a lot less with a shelter adoption and they have turned around and taken their pet right back to the shelter and abandoned then again before they even had time to start to get used to being in a new home. Some people do not even bother taking them back to a shelter and will just dumped the poor pup on the street to acquire new stressors.
When we found out our adopted boy had so many issues, we never considered giving him up. We just worked that much harder to find out what was making him ill and worked with him to help him deal with his anxiety issues. Mutts bring so much unconditional love to a person's life. They deserve to have the same gift from their people.
I know many of my readers are also avid animal lovers so why not share some photos of your beloved furbabies with us!
Happy National Mutt Day Everyone!!