Duke Thorvald came to us in September. He had very severe separation anxiety. We know of at least two homes before us and suspect many others. We were fortunate to find a fantastic foster carer for him who, knowing we were his last chance, took on Duke and his issues. She let us put a pen in her back yard, a crate for inside, and accepted all the rules we gave her for caring for Duke. He came to us on a high dose of meds and we left him on it while we sought the advice of a vet/behavioralist.
We were lucky Duke accepted other people when his carer went out. It made it so much easier than our previous six month stint retraining Sandy who was only happy when her particular person was there. Duke’s tolerance was built up so he could spend a few hours alone inside when needed, and a home monitor allowed his carer to watch him when she was away
There were setbacks. The pen didn’t work as Duke worked out how to dig out and then get back in. He just wanted to show us he could do it if he wanted. He jumped to the next door property. He went through an unopened window in the garage. He redirected with the dog he lived with. Together, with the carer we worked with this.
We supplied every aid we could think of for Duke Thorvald, had him assessed by trainers, consulted with different professionals, and looked for a new and final home for him.
We have found it. Duke has been with his new family for three days and has not put a foot wrong. He is in a calm loving environment and has back up in the extended family living in the household to sit with him when his new people have to go out.
He has not finished his journey. He needs to lower his anxiety levels. Learn to accept that sometimes he will be left alone and his people will come back. And later there will be advice on lowering his meds. We will arrange a consultation with the vet who will oversee his medication and hopefully its lower dosage, and who knows, eventually withdrawal completely.
He now has a lifetime family committed to him. His new family say : Duke settled in really well. Within the first hour he had worked out the layout of our home and the pantry shelf his treats are kept. We had a very thorough handover from his foster mum so we knew what to expect and could be prepared. The support we received from Vic Dog Rescue was exceptional from our first enquiry about Duke, through his adoption and beyond.”
VicDRG are so very grateful to Courtney, Duke’s fabulous carer; to those who pet sat him; and to his new adopted family who could certainly have chosen an easier dog.
Where there is a will to save each dog – and a great foster carer – mostly we can work with their behaviour. Duke Thorvald did nothing wrong except rely on people too much. And had been let down too many times. But we did not let him down.
Yes, he is only one dog. But we are all doing a happy dance.