Hi, this is Snoopy’s mom.
This December 2nd marks the 4th year of Snoopy’s arrival into our family in the Netherlands. A lot has happened throughout the past 4 years, but all in all, Snoopy and our family have been getting along very well. I hope my follow-up will help those who are planning on adopting.
First of all, adoption should neither be done out of mere pity or compassion, nor based on the dog’s outward appearance, but carried out as a sincere offer to understand the dog’s feelings caused by physical or mental damage. Many who adopt a dog out of mere pity or compassion will end up dissolving adoption once they find out that the dog’s character is completely different from his or her outward appearance, something that also made me understand the seriousness of adoption.
Snoopy was abused by an animal hoarder. CARE rescued Snoopy at the age of 2.
To briefly summarize Snoopy’s 4 years with us:
Very hostile to everyone except me. Extremely stressed when encountering other people; vomiting or gagging as a coping mechanism. He bit our neighbor’s thigh, for which our neighbor aggressively complained, but we begged for forgiveness. In the Netherlands, depending on the harm caused, a dog can be declared eligible for euthanasia as a punishment. Snoopy once pooped and peed all over the place and bit the veterinarian’s hand when we went to the vet.
Snoopy once saved me by licking and barking when I fainted from severe morning sickness and low blood pressure. My pregnancy at that time was not even noticeable, but Snoopy recognized. From that time on, Snoopy cared for me and my safety by standing beside me at all times. This was when I slowly realized Snoopy was slowly opening up to our family. Despite all, Snoopy was still hostile to outsiders and pooped, peed, and bit the veterinarian once more. After multiple similar incidents implied Snoopy’s was mentally unstable, our veterinarian recommended euthanasia.
Snoopy still bit strangers but became much less hostile. He was not afraid of strangers as much as before (a little shy?) and became protective of my son by not leaving his side or being alert when somebody held my son. Started displaying affection to my son. But still pooped and peed at the vet although the amount was much less at this point.
Completely done biting strangers. Snoopy would bark at strangers for 5 minutes but once recognized as my friends, he calmed down. Even when we held our son’s 100th-day party and 2-year birthday party, Snoopy stayed calm and did not bark despite being surrounded by approximately 20 people. Stopped pooping and peeing at the vet and did not need a muzzle to prevent biting the veterinarian anymore. Snoopy finally became a normal, friendlier pet.
Although this is a brief account of our last 4 years with Snoopy, we did go through a lot. I would love to write in more detail but to cut a long long story short, after 3 years, Snoopy was finally able to settle and live amongst our family and friends. Of course, there are certain times even now when Snoopy is quite sensitive, but he has no problem with our pet sitter or while playing with my son’s friends. Snoopy might even tire of playing so much with the kids instead!
It was our first time adopting, which made us realize that what Snoopy went through was much more painful and serious than we assumed. In order to help Snoopy cope with the transition, our family made sure to do the following:
- Walk Snoopy at least 4 times a day despite snow, rain, wind, and even right after I gave birth to my child.
- Never punish physically or scold. We tried scolding Snoopy for severe mouthing by tapping his nose lightly 3 times with a chopstick, but this did not work. Speaking firmly seemed to work better than scolding. Nothing like cursing or yelling, but a simple “No!” would do.
Our family stuck to the above whatever the circumstances, and I believe our diligence with following these rules was what helped Snoopy go through a smooth transition into our family.
When my child grows up a little more, I plan on adopting another rescue puppy with a similar abusive past. Helping Snoopy recover from abuse made me want to care for and help other abused puppies recover. It is certainly a very rewarding journey watching the transition from being hurt to slowly changing and becoming happier.
Snoopy is one of my life’s greatest joys.
I ask for your understanding even if my story was just a jumble of words with little structure. Writing super swiftly while my kid is asleep.
Hope my story helped those planning to adopt a rescue dog.