An anonymous person dropped off a very scared Lab mix of some kind at the animal shelter on Saturday.
Lab mixes get dropped off at the shelter all the time, but I witnessed this dog getting dumped. I knew of the owner. I live near the shelter. I had watched this puppy grow up through pictures and worst of all, I know what happens to my chosen breed when they hit about 7 to 10 months of age, particularly if they are a black mixed breed variety of Lab, and therefore, no longer cute.
Black Labs at around this age get dumped.
Labs have this excellent reputation for being the perfect family dog. No one tells people that as puppies, these guys are holy terrors. Some common nicknames I have heard for Lab puppies include, “Spawn of Satan”, “Demon” and my personal name of choice, “Shark”. One of the most common phrases I have heard used to describe what a grown Lab was like as a puppy is, “I thought there was something wrong with my dog.”
Some Lab puppies are not like this, but from what I’ve read and based on all the stories I have heard from all the people that I know that love this breed, Lab puppies are hell. It’s easier to adopt an adult dog from the shelter and house break an adult than it is to train a puppy. It’s easier to do absolutely everything with an adult Lab than it is to do it with a Lab puppy.
I am firmly of the belief that families with young children should not undertake the monumental task of training a puppy, let alone a mouthy puppy, such as a Lab. The person that dropped this Lab mix off had two children under the age of five. Worse, they knew nothing about dog training. They had access to a very large support group filled with people who absolutely would have helped them had they reached out to the group. Instead, they dumped their dog at the shelter and then ran to that support network for sympathy.
They said that they had tried everything. They said they hired a trainer and a behaviorist. They were heart broken at having to part with their dog.
They lied because the truth was too difficult for them to admit. The reality was, the dog was too much work for them. They lied because they didn’t know what they were doing at all. The worst part is that what they did do in the name of “training” their dog, damaged her trust in human beings. She is now afraid and untrusting of strangers. I have no doubt that she will also prove to be terrified of small children and will never be suitable to be in a home with them again.
And all these people had to do to avoid this, was post a request for assistance with dog training.
Instead, they thought they knew it all. They thought they didn’t need help and in the course of protecting their fragile egos, they very nearly got this dog killed.
The only thing they did right, the ONLY thing… was take her to the shelter.
My initial assessment of this dog was very different when I first met her, just as my assessment of my own rescues has changed over time. At first, I felt bad for the family that they had to give up their dog. At first, I thought a lot of things that over the course of time have just flat out turned out not to be true.
Over the course of the last week, I realized that I have rescued this dog before. Not once, but twice.
The dog is going through what I have read referred to as rescue PTSD. She has been rejected by her pack. She is grieving for the loss of her pack, as far as she is concerned, when they walked out the door to that shelter, they died. She does not trust others and she is terrified of the shelter. The place smells of death, even though the shelter IS No Kill, dogs do die there, and they do euthanize dogs for humane reasons. The sounds in that place as they are closing are terrifying, even to me, and this place is actually pretty posh compared to shelter that Lucy came from, which didn’t even have walls or a roof.
What this dog needs is training.
What this dog needs is structure.
What this dog needs is what we, in the dog loving community refer to as NILIF (nothing in life is free).
What she needs… is a family that actually gives a damn about her.
Great dogs do not just happen. They are not merely born.
Great dogs are earned by their owners. They are created and shaped from basic stuff, much like we mould and shape our children into adults. They are raised by men and women who are willing to put in some effort and take some time. All dogs are willing to learn and all dogs can be taught.
It’s sad that most people, just don’t have the guts to stand up and learn how to teach them.
And with that, I am introducing my blog readers to this beautiful girl, Snow. She may or may not be coming to live with me, but I intend to make sure that she gets home to somewhere and that her new home lasts her a lifetime.