Garanimals Blog

September 19th, 2012 at 5:00 am

All You Need is Love … and Patience

In 2009, my friend Angela and her family adopted a nine-month-old Vizsla from the Chicago Canine Rescue. “We had had a Viszla before and loved the breed,” said Angela. “This dog needed a home.”

Houdini had been neglected and then abandoned. “He was about 20 pounds underweight,” Angela told me. “And he had been given the name ‘Houdini’ for a reason. He could not be crated (he would tear the crate apart) and could jump a six-foot fence.” The family and shelter were afraid he would run away.

It turns out that Houdini did not want to escape. “It was just the opposite,” said Angela. “He wanted to be with us all the time.”

Unfortunately, school and work prevented them from being with Houdini 24/7. He was not happy and became destructive. “He ate a batting glove, Tupperware, my husband’s shoes, and the hands and feet off of 22 Barbie dolls,” said Angela.

Rather than giving up on Houdini, they called in an expert—an animal behaviorist. She sent Houdini and the family to obedience school. She recommended that he sleep in his own space in the house, rather than with a family member. They also learned to keep him busy, with things like puzzle toys that made him work for his food. They exercised him with long walks or runs every day. He was eventually even prescribed some medication to deal with his anxiety.

“The behaviorist said that if we worked with him for a year, he’d be a great dog,” said Angela. “She was right. It took a lot of patience, but he is an excellent companion and very protective. He even prevented a burglary in our home. We adore him. And he adores us. You can see it in his eyes.”

For more information on bringing a rescue dog into your family, click here.

Related Picture Books
Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts
The Stray Dog: From a True Story by Reiko Sassa by Marc Simont

photo credit: Houdini by Matt Dinerstein

Susan Bearman is the author of the Animal Store Alphabet Book. She also writes at Two Kinds of People and The Animal Store Blog

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