Wagging tails, affectionate licking, playful barks and enthusiastic requests for belly rubs are just some of the characteristics that we fondly think of when considering what it means to be a dog. Sadly, for dogs raised under circumstances where their five freedoms are denied these are not normal dog characteristics they will exhibit – at least not without a lot of time and patience.
The 10 dogs rescued by Humane Society International from a South Korean dog meat farm, were underweight due to malnutrition, lived in cramped, filthy kennels without a comfortable resting area, did not receive the proper medical care and attention they needed, were not permitted space to run, play and just be a dog and were denied proper socialization which caused them to become fearful of humans.
“We have taken these dogs out of a bad environment and are giving them the second chance to be normal dogs by providing them with their five freedoms” said Michelle Cline, Evaluation and Enrichment Coordinator.
When Romeo, Frodo, Peggie, Lory, Bud, Norman, Tamela, Elbert, Stevie and Ralf first arrived at Larimer Humane Society in early May they simply didn’t know what it meant to be a dog. Simple interactions such as being talked to directly, being petted or being offered a treat would cause them to cower with fright or even completely shut down with crippling fear – afraid to walk, move or even look at the humans around them.
With the help of Animal House Rescue & Grooming and Black Dog Animal Rescue all 10 of these dogs are now getting the second chance they deserve and slowly but surely learning what it means to be a dog. Our Behavior and Enrichment team began by providing them with time and space to settle into their new environment. Slowly over time we began to set a routine so they could begin to know what to expect next in this new and scary world they have found themselves in. These routines allowed us to decrease the level of stress the dogs experienced during new tasks and allowed them to build positive associations with daily tasks. With time and an incredible amount of patience from the Larimer Humane Society staff these dogs began to learn that people were there to help them, being on a leash meant getting to go outside to run and play and most importantly that they have the freedom to be dogs on a primal level.
“These dogs have lived their whole lives without any real freedom, the only choices they had available to them was to sit or lay down in their kennel,” said Kate Gloeckner, Behavior and Evaluation Coordinator. “For these dogs everything is new and scary. What they need is time and patience. Their new families will need to take baby steps and not force anything new on them but instead allow them the time they need to become comfortable with a new way of life and to make choices for themselves. What we have done for these dogs is provide them with a foundation of positive associations to build from.”