Meet Fred (pictured right), my boyfriend and I adopted him from the Boston Shelter on March 17, 2011. His favorite things to do are sleep, beg for treats, give high-fives, play with the neighborhood dogs and run around the apartment. The dog you see pictured is a far cry from the dog we met six months ago.
When Fred arrived at the League’s Boston Branch in early March, he was shy and fearful. The first time he met us he ran away from my boyfriend and showed visible signs of fear (pacing, yawning, tail tucked between legs, licking his lips and his ears were pinned back). The League’s shelter staff took the time to meet with us to discuss the challenges that come with owning a fearful dog, a part of me was afraid that I would not be able to handle the responsibility. I was also afraid that Fred would never be a ‘normal’ dog or be comfortable around my boyfriend.
My fearful Freddy proved me wrong, on his first night home Fred climbed into his new father’s lap and fell fast asleep. He seemed to acclimate to us very quickly, but his first few weeks were difficult, it took us time to adjust our behavior to accommodate his fear (i.e. going into a different room to open a can of soda).
In preparation for his arrival I had purchased a of bunch of toys, a bed, a crate, and all kinds of treats for him – he was not interested in any of it. All he wanted to do was lay on the couch and sleep. On his walks he would cower, run away from strangers, shy away from other dogs (especially the vocal ones), and would cry at the sound of a flag waving in the wind.
With love and a lot of patience Fred is now the dog described above. He is happiest when he is in the dog park running with his friends, chasing after tennis balls and begging our neighborhoods to share the treats they are rewarding their own dogs with. He has brought so much joy into our lives that we would have missed out on if we did not take a chance on a ‘fearful’ dog.