Rescue Journal

i will get a post in here while i can...

Carol  ·  Jan. 16, 2018

this computer is groaning and freezing and arnie thinks it is something us all, computers get old and worn out too. I will try to be patient as it limps along but somedays it just refuses to work!

I wanted to talk about shyla...she is quite a fascinating dog.
last evening a few of us went to hear Leif Cocks speak about the Orangutan Project, it was really interesting.
he said orangutans are persons because they think and feel and plan, they store memories and retrieve them as needed.

I have always said that the animals here are persons..not people as in humans, but persons as in unique individuals with personalities, needs and wants.

by necessity, I spend a lot of time with shyla...I have become her anchor in the storm.
she is a bit neurotic, certainly anxious, yet highly intelligent...I get a great deal of satisfaction watching how her mind works as she forms various plans and plots.
when she first arrived, there was no doubt that she was a flight risk. when I finally let her outside in the front yard on a long line, I watched her size up the fence, check out the gate, inspect the waste container half shed. I followed her eyes as she measured the distance from the ground to the top of the container and gazing even further up to the top of the fence.
and I knew that little buggers plan as soon as she was loose was to run to the gate, jump up on the container and fly over the fence. she had her entire escape fully planned.
and so she stayed long lined for several weeks until this place became her safe place and she no longer wanted to leave.
finally the day came when I knew she was home, off came the long line..she was free and she chose not to flee.
I gave her a bit more time and then I decided it was time for her to start going out for walks.
this part is interesting...
shyla does not get too far from the driveway when suddenly she decides she is too far. then she gets nervous, she cowers, or hugs her walkers knees, she clearly is uncomfortable being too far away from where she regards safety.

shyla spent her entire 8 years of living chained up. she had 3 litters of puppies before she was surrendered and sent down south. shyla hates look at koji and she seriously thought he should die. she also truly dislikes small children, we keep her away from them so that she doesn't bite. she is afraid of anyone in winter coats, heavy boots, wooly hats or hoods, and she is afraid of large men. she guards food and water bowls from other dogs too.

this tells me a lot about she probably couldn't get away from her puppies even when they were a bit older and driving her nutz, she probably really resented competing with them for food, she probably was occasionally bugged by children and couldn't escape from them too, and most likely in the north, esp in the winter...heavy coats, boots and hats obscured her ability to identify nice from not so nice people.
chained dog, trapped dog, vulnerable dog.
that had to be difficult for a dog as smart and as sensitive as her.

I have become her anchor in the storm. and she goes to great lengths to keep me as close as she can. if I sit down, she will take the shoes right off my feet and lay on top of them in her bed. if I get up to leave, she will wrap all four of her legs around my lower leg, trying to stop me. her newest trick is if I lay on the couch to watch tv, she will lay on my head. she watches me closely, waiting for me to move. when I come home she stands up and puts her paws on me and stands there silently in a hug.

a few years ago I read an article about how survivors of the holocaust and victims of genocide, and the conquered aboriginals suffered deeply from PTST and how it actually changed certain proteins on their DNA. these changes in DNA were passed down to the next generation making them more susceptible to PTST in future generations. it was actually natures survival technique to protect those living in dangerous times and their offspring to be more reactive to danger, so they could survive.

so I am also thinking, that maybe all of my assumptions of why shyla is like this could all be wrong. maybe shyla's life wasn't great, but maybe it wasn't horrible. maybe she is the descendent of a distant traumatized dog.

I won't ever know because she can't tell me. but whatever goes on in her messy little head...I know two things A. she is astoundingly intelligent and B. she is incredibly loving and loyal with me.
I hope this is enough to one day find her the perfect family who will love and protect this very special little dog.


Bridget M.

this was incredible to read.

though I think it was likely it was both.

this is something I read, too, about those suffering PTSD as a result of warfare...
though I read it in terms of health difficulties passed down because of the changes in DNA from pregnant mothers to their children. in particular, these were focused on families in Germany. (civilians). also, it followed areas that were struck with famine. (The way the famine affected the pregnant mothers' children in utero during the famine.)
There was an increase in anxiety, heart issues, depression... true, I'm not sure these issues were discussed or even treated in families before the generation this one grew up in... it was discussed that the effect of famine and warfare changed the babies in utero.
I found it very interesting.
...also, if we use this and direct it to Shyla? her litters of puppies probably experienced the same issues too.