Haven’t posted in a few days. Feeling a bit all over the place.
On Wednesday we took a taxi with Nyx to the training facility. We’d spoken a lot with the trainer and sent a video of Nyx in her crate when left.
The trainer talked a lot with us, and said we were doing everything right and told us what we knew really – to try treat the SA we’d most likely need anti-anxiety medications, and to never have Nyx left alone as we s-l-o-w-l-y desensitised her to being left, which would take months at the soonest.
He said as we have two other dogs to care for, and given how young Nyx is suffering such bad SA, there would be a good chance we would have to rehome her, but we’d see how it went first.
The taxi driver on the way there was very chatty, and he was such a nice guy we actually ended up telling him the predicament we were in with Nyx…always a risk, a lot of people are VERY anti rehoming a dog no matter what the issue is.
Anyway the guy was lovely, he had had rescue dogs himself (from the place that was helping us!) and he told us that dogs have mental scars that sometimes you’re not able to work with. He told us not to beat ourselves up about it, we gave her a chance she wouldn’t have had and we did the best we could.
This was exactly what we needed, as we were already feeling like shit, and going to the trainer was scary as we pretty much knew what he was going to say.
We were at the facility for hours.
The first hour was just talking everything about Nyx and showing off everything she knew. Tricks, socialisation, her leg, what we knew about her, her activity levels etc etc. Nyx had zero anxiety with the trainer, always nice to see!
He played with her and we did some training. We got her used to the mini-living room that is to assess how dogs for adoption do in home-like settings. Nyx was running in and out of the crate that was in there, settling in there etc.
When she was comfortable with the room we made her a Kong and left her in the crate with a large x-pen around it, and stood outside the door for 30 seconds. Obviously she went nuts.
A while later we tried leaving her loose too, but same result.
Later the trainer brought his own dog, a Beagle, in as a stooge dog. Nyx was sooo happy to play with another dog. They got along great; she really is an extremely polite player for her age.
As they played he explained he wanted to try leaving Nyx with another dog for company.
He said he’d seen a lot of sighthound crosses bred purely for hunting, neglected, and when they wind up in rescue they struggle as they’re so used to living in the company of other dogs with no human interaction, that when they get placed in a home they over-bond to either the human owner or a canine sibling. They can’t cope being left alone, because they literally have never had it happen.
So we left Nyx in the room this time with the Beagle, and we went and watched through the window.
The Beagle settled on the couch immediately, and just tucked up and started to sleep. Nyx was pacing and whining, looking stressed. Then within a few minutes she went and lay next to the Beagle on the couch, with her head resting on the dog’s back.
A few times she heard noises and would look up alert, but she went right back to sleeping and was silent the entire 15 minutes she was alone. This was a new environment too, remember.
We went back in, greeted the pups, and sat down to talk. The trainer said he’d like to keep Nyx another hour or two, to run through more leaving scenarios and see just how much having another dog for company really would help. He really thought it would, and said he highly recommended that we hand Nyx over, and she could share with another dog until she finds her forever home, also being paired up with another dog for company.
And that was it.
Handing her over was difficult, because of course. I wanted to say a big, cuddly goodbye but I was crying and didn’t want to freak her out. We said goodbye and left her playing with the Beagle, and the trainer said he’d phone in a few hours.
A while later we got the call, and he said he’d left Nyx several more times (once for 30 minutes, which was as long as we’d been managing) and every time she was silent – the final time she didn’t whine at all, looked about then went and slept with the Beagle.
Now she is in foster and is living with a young Collie cross, and has settled in well. They have had no issues leaving her as long as she can physically lie with another dog for company. We were given photos yesterday, and were so scared to open them in case she looked sad or scared, and she looked completely happy and relaxed…my partner said it was as if we’d taken the photos!
So yeah. It’s all been really weird.
Part of me is extremely sad we let her go…a large part is relieved, overjoyed to see my boys, and knows it kinda had to be done.
I have my life back. Since then I’ve seen both dogs in the house, I’ve walked Kasper, and I’ve walked Raiden a lot! At the start of every walk Raiden refuses to move and just jumps up and snorty-whines and covers me in kisses, because he’s not used to seeing me.
Kasper is loving sleeping in our bed at night, and he was so excited to see me that when we gave him a really high value chew, he insisted on lying across my lap to chew it – this is Kasper the RGer!!!
Alongside dog walks we had a few hours out to the seaside, just me and my partner. We’d missed out on any decent quality time, and our relationship was on the rocks (my fault) so it was so nice to spend time together and not have to worry about how Nyx was doing at home.
When I saw the photos of Nyx I got really sad and wanted to bring her home…but the rest of the time, I just feel happy. Not only do me, my partner and the boys have our lives back, but Nyx is getting what she needs, too – a home where she can be with another dog when left.
We may have had her less than two months, but we loved that pup greatly and we really did want her to become a member of our family with all our hearts.
We threw our all into training her and socialising her. We made some amazing progress; she was a completely different dog from the one we brought home, and unlike either of the boys she loved to snuggle and be calm in the house…this is something we really, really wanted and was why we were looking into getting a cat a few months back!!
So…still not sure how I feel about it all 100%, most times I just don’t think about it and try live in the moment and enjoy my boys.
My parents are coming up tonight to collect a 3ft, 124 litre fish tank for our tropical fish.
My partner *loves* his tropical fish; they’ve gone from a 40L tank to an 80L tank and now a 124L haha.