Lucy came to me in the summer of 2009 after her breeder had finished with her. She had never lived in a home before so needed to be taught everything from scratch. Lucy was in good physical condition and wasn't hand shy which made my job much easier. Often puppy farmed dogs have been horribly neglected and abused and are mentally disturbed but Lucy was one of the lucky ones.
Lucy was a dream to foster, she was quick to learn, loving, gentle and funny. She picked toilet training up pretty quickly and only messed in the house when she was anxious. She learned how to walk on a lead and was soon eager to be able to run free with my own dogs. Recall training was a bit of a challenge and took quite some time to perfect! Her little nose would carry her off after a tempting scent but she always came back, when she was ready! We managed to turn her round and have her recall on command, quite an achievement for a Beagle!
Once I felt Lucy was ready for the move to a forever home I accepted an application from a family with another dog. Generally ex breeding dogs need to be homed with at least one other dog as that is all they know and they gain confidence from them. Sadly this home did not work. Lucy was returned to me only weeks later with a report of her biting, being destructive and not being housetrained. Further questioning revealed that the destruction was of toys left on the floor by the child in the house, the biting was taking food from the childs hand when it was waved in her face and the loss of housetraining was due to her being scolded which made her anxious. I was furious to discover that she had also become hand shy.
Back to square one we went and undid all the damage that had been done in the home. Some weeks later I accepted another application from a family with experience of ex breeding girls. Sadly she was again returned with aggression issues and loss of housetraining. The aggression was over a toy when new toys had been introduced incorrectly. The existing dog was toy possessive and didn't take kindly to Lucy being given her own toy. She was told off, became anxious and the wetting started.
Back to square one again, she now had more issues than she started with! Thankfully the third, and final, application I accepted for Lucy was from Sheila. Sheila knows Beagles inside out and back to front and instantly understood just what Lucy needed. She saw the wonderful girl that I saw and has done great things with her since.
I believe that Lucys first two homes didn't work out because they didn't understand how she needed to be handled. I gave detailed and painstaking instructions on her routine and how she liked to be handled yet was ignored. Dogs are creatures of habit and, like children, thrive on consistency and routine. If they don't get that they become confused as to what is expected of them. Ex breeding dogs need to be treated with tenderness and compassion, telling them off is counterproductive. Praise the good and ignore the bad, let them take things at their own pace, be their rock. If you can do all that you will find the most perfect and loyal companion you could ever wish to have.
I fostered Lucy for Many Tears Animal Rescue, they take in many ex breeding dogs all looking for a new life. They rescue every shape, size, colour and breed of dog. All, like Lucy, need someone special to help them be what they always should have been.
2010 Copyright: Julie Higham
See also -
Puppy Farms by Julie Higham
Lucy Beagle by Sheila Thomas
About the author of this article -
"I have been involved in rescue for twelve years in various capacities and for the last two years I have been fostering and rehabilitating rescue dogs. I mainly take in traumatised ex-breeding girls and boys as I find them so rewarding to work with. I foster for Many Tears Animal Rescue in Llanelli in South Wales"
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