Animal ‘Tail’ of the Month
Finding a new animal family member is an exciting and joyful experience and so it was for BJ when she found little Eazy at her local SPCA.
On his sign it said that Eazy was 8 years old and had been given up with his brother when their owner had passed away. For BJ and Eazy there was that flash of recognition when they first saw each other.
The top photo shows Eazy a couple of days after coming home with BJ. The bottom photo shows Eazy a month later. The change is evident.
Rescue animals come with a past, but BJ was 100% committed to helping Eazy feel safe and loved no matter what it took. Getting to know a new buddy can be challenging and perplexing as we help them to adjust.
I’ll let BJ tell you herself. She has had dogs in her life for many years, and is an Animal Massage therapist in the Charlottesville area so she is an especially keen observer of animal behavior.
“When Eazy first arrived at my house, he moved so quickly to get in the house that he ran into the front door. I interpreted this as a need to "seek sanctuary" and be safe rather than eagerness to arrive at my place!
In a short month he has come far and adapted well, but he arrived with fear reactions when approached quickly, and always had his head up sniffing when outside to assess the safety of his surroundings. Eazy was always eager to get back in the house so that our walks were so short as to be almost nonexistent.
It seemed to me that he was very "programmed" in his upbringing, because he always did the same things in the same order and never exhibited ease or the desire to explore.
Louder than usual noises caused a fearful startle response. When I get upset with my computer (and he feels that change in my energies..), he gets up and leaves the room.
As I have noticed these things, I have adapted my behavior. For example, rather than entering the house or approaching him quickly, with my mind busy with some thought, I am more relaxed, actively present, and smiling and talking to him. (I have more work to do on my computer relationship.)
The SPCA cared for him well and lovingly. He came to them with a fractured jaw, gum disease and with a lot of his teeth missing. When he arrived in my home, he refused the kibble I was given to take home. I took this as a green light to start him on natural, whole food. This diet has helped him enormously, and I have never seen food enjoyed so much!! His excitement at mealtime telegraphs ‘hurry up, hurry up.’”
I am sure many of you recognize the process that BJ and Eazy are going through. It’s all about getting to know each other. As part of that, BJ asked me to talk to Eazy to find out the “what and why” behind his behaviors and to help his adjustment in any way I could.
Of concern to her was that she had not been able to adopt both Eazy and his brother Oscar. From our human perspective, we assume separating the brothers is not the best thing to do, and BJ was worrying about this.
We were in for a surprise.
Eazy set us straight on that. He didn’t really like being with his brother so he was fine with their not being together. Checking in on their relationship, I could see that it is actually better for the 2 brothers to have the opportunity to shine in their own right. Oscar will find his own, loving person soon. He’s just as cute as Eazy!
When I asked Eazy about his former home, he sent me the image of a trailer in a trailer park. He was let out to do his business and rushed back in immediately. Walks were not part of his routine.
His life was very circumscribed which made him fearful of any change, but he and Oscar had provided comfort to his previous owner. As Eazy and I chatted, I reassured him that he was safe with BJ, and all he had to do now was relax and enjoy his new life. The results of one conversation were gratifying.
“Christina, I just can't say enough about how yesterday's chat has helped Eazy. First if all he was more willing to walk a bit further and is even exploring. Second, he was more relaxed last night and even let me massage him. And this morning he was so excited he ran around the house at full speed! I think he fully understands that this is his home now. And I feel so relieved that he does not feel badly about leaving his brother behind. THANK YOU.”
As always, it has been my pleasure to help.