Teddy's Story

  • Caryn Mitchell
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Teddy was abandoned outside the shelter in May 2003. The shelter was getting full and teddy was pretty aggressive towards the other dogs. He was fine with people but so strong that he would push out of his kennel every time the door was opened trying to escape. When people came to adopt a pet they would overlook teddy, a dark dog in a dark kennel but so desperate to get out that he would be leaping and banging against the kennel door. If someone did take him out they soon brought him back. “He’s like a train out of control” “He nearly pulled my arms off”, and if he saw another dog he would try to attack it. A new family was not looking for this kind of behavior.

He dragged us to the park, dragged us to the beach and showered us with boisterous kisses that left us almost unconscious. A behaviorist suggested a halti or gentle leader. He ran along the ground as though he was drilling for oil and removed his halti, then dragged us to the pond (we had two leashes on him). If we weren’t strong enough to ‘walk’ Teddy on a certain day we would bring him home and let him play in a fenced in yard, helping with gardening and playing ball. After urinating he would dig up two feet of turf to cover his scent. If left alone in the yard he would panic and rip down a screen door or try to dig under a fence to get close to us.

In November a few families came to look at him. If they had small children he knocked them down, if they had dogs he tried to attack them and he needed a strong handler to prevent an accident.

On a very cold night his outdoor kennel was closed off. He panicked and dug through a solid metal sheet to get out.

Why did we persevere? Just look at his face, full of love and devotion.

Teddy’s daily rehabilitation continued to include intensive training and meeting other dogs. By January teddy had improved beyond our wildest dreams. He was able to be walked on a loose leash, walked nicely to heel looking up attentively, performed sit, stay, down, come and played nicely with other dogs. With repeated contact with the same dog he would understand that everything was OK and would start to play. His training and attachment to his walker allowed us to have very easy control of him when he did see a new dog and he no longer pulled to get to it. He became the shelter mascot, everyone loved teddy. He would spend time in the office helping with the paperwork and sharing lunch. We had a lot of children come to visit him and he learned to sit for them, play gently and enjoy a good brushing.

Eight months later teddy had seen 259 dogs returned to their owners or find new homes. He would howl each time they went. We told him that he was simply waiting for a very special home.

His dream came true in the middle of January 2004. A family from Westerly fell in love with him and took him home. Not a dry eye at the shelter, kind of bitter sweet, overjoyed that he had a home and sad that he would no longer be a daily part of our lives.

During his first night away from the shelter we kept wondering if they would love him enough or if he was frightened and digging his way out of his new home? Would they return him to the shelter? Talking to his new mummy the next day we had nothing to fear. He had slept soundly in their bed. They adore him and he trots around after them all day. He has a fenced in yard and a whole family to herd around now. He has destroyed nothing and has been a perfectly behaved little boy.

Teddy could not have found a better home and he deserved the best. We wish him and his family a wonderful life together.

Author: Caryn Mitchell