Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My poor LEO has suffered from anxiety ever since he came to us. He has severe separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, and your typical dog anxieties such as weather and fireworks. He also suffers from multiple phobias: He is afraid of balloons, fast sudden movement,washing machines,loud snoring, cameras, halloween costumes (on him) and probably several more things that I can't recall at the moment.  I understand the root of this problem because the Basset Rescue told us that when they rescued him, he was about to be shot by his owner! How horrifying for me to hear this disturbing story! He was a puppy at the time, just a year old and I bet he was the cutest little Basset puppy in the world. (I always wished I saw him when he was a baby) The people who owned him were getting a divorce and neither of them could keep him but somehow he ended up with the husband at the time. He was working long hours and would leave this poor dog outside all day long and into the night. Naturally Leo would bark non-stop because he wanted to be brought in, he wanted some love, some attention but instead all he got was YELLED at! The owner's brother stopped by for a visit one day and found him just about ready to get out his shotgun. He asked him what the he** he was doing and he said, "I'm gonna shoot the damn dog, he won't shut up!" Thankfully at that point, the brother knew enough and cared enough to get Leo out of there. He took him to New England Basset Hound Rescue and got him into a foster home. From that point forward, Leo lived with a very nice couple who had four "geriatric" bassets in their home. Leo was a young and energetic pup who wanted to play all day long. Given his past miserable life being chained outside day and night, he must have thought he was in heaven. He loved all the toys they had in their doggie toy box and he loved his new elderly basset friends. He would jump on them and initiate play all day long! Those poor old bassets were so tired and had trouble understanding this little mischievous basset pup who was so ready to have some fun. He spent a lot of time in the crate to keep him from annoying the old dogs and this made him very sad :(  After going through his physical exams, he was found to be in perfect health. He was neutered and put on their website for adoption.  As I mentioned before, we were searching their website for a potential adoptee and came across his biography. His name at the time was "Diego". My son used to make fun of the show "Dora the Explorer" when his little sister would watch it every morning and Dora's cousin was named "Diego". The first thing my son said was, "We are NOT keeping that name!" We didn't even know if we would be approved to adopt yet but we were busy trying to figure out the perfect name. I was so excited the day I filled out the on line application. We did all that we could do and then it was time to sit patiently and wait. We hung his picture on the fridge In the photo, he was sitting down posing perfectly by a pumpkin and he looked dashing in his red collar.  I will always remember the night the phone call came. I was bathing my children upstairs and my husband picked up the phone downstairs. He yelled up to me that "Diego" was on the phone. I was so excited, I almost forgot that I had kids in the tub. Thankfully, my husband came up to finish bathing the kids and I went to the phone as fast as I could. The woman told me that we were approved and that she would be setting up a home visit. We spent weeks preparing our home and getting ready to be checked out. It was just as if we were adopting a real live baby. We were so eager with excitement and anticipation. She told me that someone would be calling us to set up the home check and sure enough that phone call came and they wanted to come out the day after Thanksgiving. They explained to us that they were volunteers for the agency and they were going to come out and interview us in person and check our home to see if it was safe for doggie adoption! They told us that sometimes when they came out for the visit, they would bring one of their foster bassets to see how he or she reacted to the family. The morning after Thanksgiving, we got the call from the people that were heading over and we were so surprised to find out that it was "Diego's" foster parents and that they had decided (against usual circumstances) to bring the real live "Diego" to the home visit and if all went well, they would leave him! Wow! This was a complete surprise. We ran to Walmart and picked up a crate, some food, doggie toys and anything else we could think of to prepare us for his big arrival. None of us slept very much that night. When the time came, we were all glued to the bay window in the front of our house. We watched eagerly as the blue van pulled in and the back door opened. And out he came, nose straight to the ground sniffing up all the good smells of our yard. My first thought, Oh my God is he long! Since he was sitting in his picture, I had no idea that he was extra long, it seemed that his body went on and on and on. He was ridiculously short, extra skinny, and his torso was so loooong that it was almost odd. But then I saw that face and I fell in love. We all fell in love. He came running into our house and jumped on all the furniture and he even squirted a drop of pee right on the floor. He was insanely hyper and my four year old son immediately jumped to the top of the couch and refused to come down. We ended up keeping "Diego" that day and looking back on it, I can see why those foster parents decided to do the home visit themselves and against usual routine, brought and left the potential adoptee at our house. He was driving their other dogs crazy and since they enlightened us on his nickname being, "The Mental Midget", I think their time with "Diego" was done! It could have been my imagination but I think they drove off rather fast! We decided to rename him LEO after Leonardo Di Vinci because we knew he was going to do great things for our family. My poor son spent the first 4 days up on the top of the couch. He was just so afraid of Leo's incessant energy but thankfully he soon adjusted. Leo just turned 7 this past fall and we have had many trials and tribulations with him. He still suffers from anxiety and as much as we have tried to wipe out his traumatic past with tons of love, his scars remain with him today. We continue to look for new ways to help him but it has been increasingly difficult to deal with him especially when my husband is not a dog lover to begin with. Living with Leo requires an incredible amount of patience and lots of tender love and care. His anxiety makes life with him a constant test,  but I have not and will not give up on this little guy. And so the adventure continues.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Singing Bassets

Total Pageviews