Helping a dog who’s suffered abuse

Last year, Angela, a single mother of three teenage boys, had been in contact with the Greyhound Pets of America (a rescue group that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds). She asked the group if they had an adult dog that would get along well with cats, as Angela also loved cats and had several of them.

A lovely greyhound named Bronze fit the bill. Just several days later Bronze was welcomed with loving arms in his new home.

Bronze didn’t know a lot of small things right away, such as how to climb up steps or comprehend a see-through glass door and windows, etc. He did not know how to play and was very weary of people, particularly very tall, thin males. And something also peculiar – he was literally afraid of his own shadow!

Any of these things caused fear in Bronze, and the resulting behavior was aggression, snarling and growling. Angelica was worried that his behavior would go beyond this reaction, leading into biting or attacking.

Soon Bronze showed fear towards another specific occurrence: Anytime Angela’s brother would come to visit, and wearing his usual leather jacket and ball cap, Bronze would again start his aggressive stance and snarling. The same thing happened when Angela’s sons would come home with their noisy friends.

The cause of Bronze’s fear

As you know, Bronze was an ex-race dog, so once Angela was able to contact a canine psychologist, the doctor was able to identify the problem right away. He had asked Angela to obtain a picture of the dog’s ex-trainer, which turned out to be a very tall, skinny man that wore a long black coat, along with a specific hat that resembled a baseball cap.

Add to this evidence the obvious experiences of the dog having raced at the track: lots of noisy people, confinement, guns firing, running, more confinement, lots of harsh training commands from his trainer – it was no wonder why Bronze reacted the way he did when he was adopted.

Managing these issues was not going to be an easy task. It required Angela to have constant vigilance. The doctor instructed her to remove the noisy teenagers from his presence, teaching Angela to be cautious of how she gave commands to Bronze, as well as have her brother remove his black leather jacket and ball cap when visiting.

In time, Bronze was able to calm down and within 12 months was less afraid of noise and the appearance of any man that resembled his past trainer became less of a threat. Bronze lived to be thirteen years old and because of his new owner’s love and care to learn to communicate, he was a lucky dog – one that enjoyed the right that every canine has – to be loved and included in a real family.

Lessons from this story

If you are also considering bringing home an adult dog that has had a history of competing in sports, such as a racing dog, for example, then prepare yourself by taking lessons from the above story. It will not only teach you how to communicate with your problem dog, but could also save him or her from being sentenced to a lonely life inside of the pound.