Our dogs learn from us, picking up on our body language and cues. Nervous dogs need guidance; they need to believe in their owner, which in their eyes is a leader. So when a traumatic event shakes the confidence of the owner, it can also have a long term impact on the dog. A lot can be done to help these dogs live a full life again. Stella and Susan are a great example.
Susan adopted Rosie near the end of December 2007. At 8 years old, she was a very sweet and gentle girl. Susan became a long distance volunteer, commuting from the Bay Area and bringing sweet Rosie with her when she came to visit. She has devoted countless hours to helping other dogs on their journey home.
When Rosie passed away due to cancer, Susan was devastated. Then in 2010, puppy Stella arrived and stole her heart. Stella was a sharp contrast to Susan’s quiet demeanor, but a decision of the heart was made.
Susan started taking Stella everywhere with her. Stella was introduced to dog parks and beaches and places with dog friends; Stella loved it all. She used to play on the beach in San Francisco with other dogs and at the dog park on a regular basis until one day she was attached by two other dogs. This was traumatic for Stella and for Susan – and it affected their confidence when interacting with other dogs.
Stella became fearful around other dogs. She would try and pin other submissive dogs, lunge and bark at others until Susan could not take her to the places she loved any longer. Susan, not sure what to do would bring her back to Homeward Bound trying to socialize and train her. Traveling four hours round trip nearly every Saturday shows Susan’s dedication to Stella.
After months of hard work, Susan and Stella have both gained confidence and are now gradually meeting other dogs and playing with no incidents! Stella is running and bouncing as she once did and is on her way back to being the dog Susan knew she could be again. With Susan’s love and commitment, Stella is now romping with her dog friends as every dog should!