He Came in Like a Wrecking Ball

When you live with a dog who has been troubled for years, small victories matter. Today Chips had a small victory, in fact he had many of them and made me so proud of him.

  • He played with a dog in the park, really played and that’s a huge deal for Chips because he’s defensive and socially awkward.
  • He allowed a big black Greyhound to stand over him whilst just looking to me for his next sweetie.
  • He met a few dogs bigger than him and didn’t growl at them.
  • He met children and didn’t bark at them.
  • He saw bikes and didn’t bark at them.

If you have a dog who is robust, socially competent and not an anxious terrier, this might all seem pretty normal to you. The thing is, when you live with an anxious dog, a sound sensitive, scared, defensive dog you can’t go for a walk and take your attention off them, not really. You can walk, relax even but you can’t really have relaxed expectations of your dog friend. You can’t get lost in a conversation because things can happen so quickly. Your walks with your dog are all about your dog.

When I met Chips, I did a lot wrong and he’s taught me so much, in fact he’s still teaching me. In some ways I think I’m here for him to get his message to the world, through me. His message of hope and fear, optimism and anxiety, his message of love and his desperate, simple need to be understood. 

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He came into my life like a wrecking ball. Forcing me to learn the intricate natural behaviour of worried dogs and want desperately to help them be understood by people. Chips is a noisy, random, barky, sweet, impulsive and very special dog and I feel so lucky that he came to me with his lessons.

What has your dog taught you?

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