Update, Tuesday, July, 7, 2020: Theo continues to take some tiny steps forward. We were worried that all the July 4th activities might set him back a little but we had radios blaring and fans going to mask the noises of all the celebrations and he did just fine.
He has decided he only wants to eat what I fix for my dogs, which is half Answers+ and half real meat, bone broth, fresh egg, veggies and fruit We have been trying other foods but he is not having any of it so far. We did a taste test with three very different foods, in three bowls all at the same time and he always picks the one I have prepared. I’m just thrilled he eats it and licks the bowl clean.
He is beginning to explore his new world with a little less caution. He actually walked
up to the gates of dogs in the play yards to check them out. He even wagged his tail at a Golden he introduced himself to through the play yard gate (Didn’t have our camera so missed it!). Did get a video today of him checking things out a bit.
Yesterday I offered him a dehydrated liver treat I had made and even though he didn’t take it from my hand, he sniffed it to check it out. I know that doesn’t sound like much but he showed some interested and didn’t slink away. Progress, maybe some day he will actually take a yummy treat that we offer him, I just hope I don’t get too excited and scare him when that happens!
Update, Thursday, July 2, 2020: Theo continues to take baby steps in the right direction. He no longer shrinks into a pile when we approach him. At first when we entered the room, he would hunker down on his bed and freeze. Now, if he is resting when we enter the room, he lifts his head to see what’s going on (baby steps!). We can even walk into his run and he is much more relaxed, not normal, but not in freeze or flight mode. He is now fed a 100% species appropriate diet of Answers+ Detailed Raw formula. He loves the Beef Formula and the plan is to continue to introduce him to a variety of other proteins each week. He also gets a farm fresh egg (duck or chicken) each day with a couple ounces of goats milk. He has not missed a single meal since he arrived!!!
We no longer leash him to go out in the play yard or to come in from a yard. We continue to stay with him constantly when we take him to the grass play yard, however, no longer dragging a leash because we know he we follow us when we head in. When he is in a play yard close to the inside doors, he is content to lay by the gate and watch all the activity of the other dogs and us. We are lightly stroking his head and ears while he stands beside us and he holds his ground now instead of shrinking or leaving.
He may never be what we think of as normal but do think one day he will not think his world is something to fear.
Day 3: Theo update. Theo continues to eat well. He eats about 14 oz. Mixture of lightly cooked real food and Answers Detailed Raw diet twice a day. He followed me around the small grass yard and back into the outdoor play yards today. I did have him drag a leash just in case. Didn’t take treats but didn’t cower either. Would stand still for petting and move toward me when I stopped. That’s a huge difference. I decided I wanted him more involved for longer periods when I couldn’t watch him. All our play yards are secure however our 10 x 10s are used for the Houdini’s who board here. He followed me while I swept it up a bit and got him some water. Then he just walked in and laid down in a cool shady spot. I secured the gate and put some other dogs out for him to watch and he is doing great. Head up and watching the world have fun. Every day we see a tiny change. If he truly lived his life in a crate, having more area is frightening and we just need to give him time to figure it all out and see for himself that he is safe.
Day 2: May be too soon to tell but Theo ate another full bowl of fresh real food. (That’s 3 since he came in yesterday!) This time standing and walking to it instead of me laying it down in front of him between him paws so he could eat. Baby steps. He is also moving around the play yard and is watching the other dogs interact. Keep your fingers crossed he keeps showing some interest in all the activity. Have him a real raw meaty bone this afternoon to try to have him engage in something! Even chewed it for a bit.
Day 1: Theo ate every bite of his breakfast. Hamburger, steak, Answers beef, Ground Turkey, bone broth, topped with real pieces of bacon. Licked the bowl clean. He is still very reserved but as long as he eats we are one step in the right direction! Planning to go pick up more Answers Detailed formula raw today. Also will call Dr Brown at Louisville Integrative veterinary Services Monday morning to see what supplements she recommends. They put him on Taurine and L-Carnitine supplement for his heart (among other heart meds), all good. His body needs help too. Think a vitamin for sure and God only knows what else. I’ve taken him off of everything until we get a few meals in his stomach.
My name is Theo and I suffer extreme mental trauma from being caged in a barn with no socialization for years. In addition, I was diagnosed with nutritionally mediated dilated cardio myopathy, whatever that is. All I know is that I am not able to exert a lot of energy and stumble sometimes when I walk. They say with proper nutrition, medication, and supplementation, I will get better.
One day, while pacing in my cage the local authorities showed up and seized me from a crate in a barn with about 80 other dogs. We were all living in filth and deplorable conditions. I was taken to a shelter where I was terrified. GRRAND was contacted and I left the shelter to join their rescue program. They took me to a special person’s home and reassured me they would do everything possible to improve my health and show me what it is like to experience joy, love, and a sense of well-being. Honestly, I did not believe them. Why should I? Past experience gave me an abysmal view of life.
Those first few days were terrifying for me. I was fearful of my new location and the person who took on the task of helping me. You see, I’ve never had a loving person in my life. In all honesty I’ve never had any living thing in my life. I could not trust this person or any person. The fear was palpable. I wanted nothing but to be free to run from everything new. I had no idea about where to go or what to expect when I got there. I just wanted to RUN! When offered food, treats, toys, other dogs or animals, affection, or any type of attention I just froze. Those things were foreign to me and to tell the truth they scared me to death.
The only thing that helped me settle was walking into a wooded area near this person’s property. That area represented freedom to me, and I certainly did not want to make the trip back to this person’s home. I obsessively searched for weak areas in my enclosure. My plan was to escape. I had to escape. The fear was all encompassing and I was sure my life depended on it.
One evening my person turned her back for just a moment and I realized this was my chance to run. I did not think about where I would go, my physical condition, food, or water. My food intake to that point was scarce so my weakness was heightened. The terrain was rough, and I did not anticipate the difficulty I was facing. I just ran. I could hear the anxious voice of my new person, but I knew I had to keep going. I was running into darkness, running from her even though she was so good to me, and to be honest, running from myself. It was not the sense of “freedom” I expected.
After days of searching for me I was found 4 miles away underneath someone’s deck. They saw a flyer about Theo (that’s me) and realized I was the dog under their deck. Shortly thereafter I was “rescued” and taken to a person by the name of Sharon. She is on the GRRAND board of directors and is a master trainer with the skills needed to rehabilitate me. I’ve made just a bit of progress in the past days. I’ve begun to trust that Sharon wants to make things better for me. I’m still incredibly fearful but hopefully one day I can open my heart to someone who wants to love me and become my family.
I thought you might want to see how I am doing so I asked Sharon to publish her notes on my progress. Please pray that I will come to know love and joy and find a perfect home.