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Bugsy A Rescued Boxer

Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like to spend the first 4 or 5 years of your life chained up with not more than 5' or so of freedom?  Day In, Day out.  24/7; 365.  Can you even more imagine that you had nothing to do with your time, except chew on concrete?  Neglect in its worst form.  Apparently very little human contact.  

'Bugsy' was probably purchased as one of those gorgeous pups for a Christmas present.  He was probably held and carried as a puppy until he was sore and then when the newness wore off or he peed on the receiver or defecated in the house, or even when the holidays were over, he was put outside and...chained.  

As time went by, the owners got so they were not even feeding him on a regular basis and his weight went down.  Neighbors apparently watched this deterioriation and probably not really wanting to get involved, maybe even fed him occasionally.  Finally with backbone and ribs showing through and underdevelopment of the rear muscles and legs, calloused from years of just laying around, and getting no exercise, the neighbors apparently became so concerned that they made that call.   Four or Five years later.  Why did it take them so long?  This is how old the vet(s) have estimated his age to be.  His teeth are nubs from the concrete chewing but his face has no sign of that white aging that is usually associated with teeth down to the gums.   

'Bugsy' was placed into one of the Boxer Rescue organizations and was considered a "special needs" animal.  He rarely moved. He remained in a crate most of his time and would even urinate and defecate in his crate.  He would not eat or even drink water when anyone was around and just simply froze.  He ate and drank in private, only.  Who would possibly want a 4 -5 year old un housebroken male boxer, as pretty as he was?  He showed no signs of emotion, whatsoever.  He never wagged his tail and kept his head in a humbled state all of the time.  I had never met a dog like Bugsy.  Of course Bugsy was his new name, but he never knew his old name anyway and it just didn't suit the gorgeous markings and makings of this animal.  

It just so happened that my daughter, Molly, in Atlanta, had recently purchased her first home; a condo with its own courtyard.  Lucy, her white female boxer was lonely during Molly's working hours and thus, she began the search for the right companion for Lucy.  Lucy, is an entirely different story as she too was rescued and needed another dog that would not 'bully' her.  It had to be just the right companion.  Some other boxer  that would love her and play with her and just be the best of friend, with Lucy.  It had to be a housebroken dog.  That was a MUST with Molly's search criteria.  So the search began.  Month after month went by and the search became futile.  Lucy, being a white boxer, Molly wanted a compliment to her and desired a brindle boxer.  We learned that probably a male dog would best get along with a female.  Most of the other potential rescued boxers seemed to have had a background of bullying other less assertive dogs...it just wasn't what Molly needed for Lucy.  The search continued into 6 months or more.  

With many emails back and forth, I too tried to help her find the right boxer for Lucy.  We visited Boxer rescued websites all over the nation, but the south was where we needed to be able to travel to get the right one.  There was one that just kept coming up for adoption month after month after month and no one seemed to want him.  Why?  He was beautiful in his pictures, even with his head and tail always in that coward position.  He was a reversed brindle with a lot of flashy white markings on his chest and all four of his feet.  His head was broad with a flash of white down the bridge of his nose.  He appeared just gorgeous to us, just cowardly.  The head was broad and the chest was massive, but the rest of his body was thin and untoned.  It seemed he was all head and no body.  He certainly could have been a flashy show dog with his beautiful markings under the right care.  We would call and find out about him.  

Yes, he was a special needs boxer.  Even though his veterinarian checkup and his neutering with all the necessary shots were done, Bugsy, still showed no signs of just "feeling better".  Molly would still see him at an in home visit.  

The volunteer brought Bugsy to Molly's condo and he was just blank.  There was no emotion in seeing Lucy, let alone Molly.  He had to be forced every where he went.  The volunteer explained that he was not housebroken and Molly would need to keep him in a crate.  That the feeding and watering would have to be done once she was gone.  He was that unemotional.  Bugsy had just given up.  He had no desire to live.  His hopes had been crushed a very long time ago and it would take an enormous amount of patience to get any emotion out of this stagnant beauty.  Bugsy was led into the condo and was given a spot and that's where he stayed, barely moving.  Molly had to "try" with this animal.  He was just too sad.  So she adopted Bugsy.  

I visited Molly the following weekend and even with kisses and enormous amounts of affection and with nothing but soft words or deeds, Bugsy was just null and void.  He responded to nothing.  Not even roast beef or tuna fish.  Nothing.  He would only eat once he was alone.  We walked he and Lucy around and Bugsy did fairly well on a leash but always was anxious and nervous to get back to "his" secure spot.   

The weeks and now several months have gone by and Molly wouldn't even chance a visit here in N. C. as she didn't want to "set Bugsy back" into a shell that he seemed to be slowly coming out of.  Molly would call me every day with something new that Bugsy was doing.  Even ever so slight. She came home from work one day and noticed through the window that Lucy and Bugsy were playing somewhat.  His butt was in the air and he seemed to be trying to get a toy that had gone under a table.  But the moment that Molly was spotted, there he went, back into his spot.  But now at least there was a ray of hope. 

About $800.00 worth of testing on Bugsy only proved that he had an infected anal gland and that he had a slight heart murmur, but that shouldn't be the cause of this nothingness that was going on with him.  The love and petting and walks and talks continued.  Each day, Molly would surprise me with something new that Bugsy was doing, ever so slight, but just a little ray of hope.  For instance.  Molly would be putting her makeup on getting ready to go to work, when Bugsy would get off his "safe" spot and peek through the door at her.  When she spoke to him and bragged on him for checking up on her, he would run back to his spot.  This started getting better and better until one day, he stayed.  She bragged on him and then the next day, he would come just a little closer to get that soft bragging and then maybe a scratch or two.  His defecation and urination was getting under control and finally Molly reluctantly bought the largest crate she could find and took the plastic off of the floor with the puppy pads.  She leaves him with some toys and a soft bed for her hours that she has to be away.  First thing upon arrival, the leash goes on and he goes to the courtyard to do his business.  Always with his leash on him (the only way that he would come) and never the least bit of a wag of the tail.  

Once Molly had taken Lucy out separately and when she returned, Bugsy wagged his tail at Lucy (the first of many).  Not Molly, but Lucy.  He was coming around.  Bugsy began to love to go on car rides and now goes on many errands and around town with Molly and Lucy.  But now for the big challenge.  A visit to mom's in the N. C. mountains.  Mom and her 5 rescued dogs.   

The 3 hour ride was uneventful and the longest that Molly had taken with her two boxers.  Upon arrival to my farm, we conversed over the fence and said that we would do the introductions  just as Caesar Milan would have us to, and that would be just to walk him on in and keep walking.  Quiet confidence.   

My dogs have been socialized alot and once they smelled of Bugsy and Lucy's knowingly excitement that "whoopee, we're at Maw Maw's and Paw Paw's", it was "smell and go".  "Let's Play!"   Molly turned Bugsy loose and he apparently had no under his breath threat as strange dogs meeting sometimes do.  He apparently emitted no threat at all.  There he went peeing in the appropriate places and running around the yard and boardwalk as if he had been belonging to this pack all along.  The creek was strange to him; running water like that over rocks, but he would have no part of that.  So he got the cool, mountain water in a bowl on the floor.  Molly, Lucy and Bugsy, got the sofa bed and that became his "safe spot", except when Molly was out of site and he had to find her.  This was his new job.  To be where she was.    

Bugsy is showing signs of "life" and we feel confident that he will eventually come out of his shell and be the well rounded, beautiful creature that he is.  Molly calls him her "show pony" and Lucy her little Blue Ribbon "pot bellied pig".  They are both winners....now.

 

Molly and Lucy

Stories and photos submitted by

Debra Edwards

A Chained Dog

The truly fortunate (and blessed) dog is the one that has a large fenced area, with free flowing creek water, shade trees for summer and a warm house on the outside for the colder months or even a dog door to get in with his people and/or a private, heated area.  He/she also has obstacles to play on, in or over to whet his interest  and stimulate his natural senses...and of course his own humans. (That special someone that treats them as any furry family should be treated.)  This dog usually has another canine partner as well...or five, as I do.    

This same fortunate friend goes for rides  and outings on a regular, daily basis.  Exercise for the human serves for the animal as well.  They are excellent deterrents for humans with wrong motives and they are just plain, fun.   Watch them smile as they run.  They were designed to run, that's why God gave them 4 legs.  Running to their hearts content once in a while, makes a hyper type dog, calm, as well as with any type dog.  Have you ever noticed  humans that exercise on a regular basis, are calmer?  Endorphins are raised and they are usually the happier of the population.  Well, same with dogs.  

Vacations often include this (these) pet (s) as more and more hotels/motels and campgrounds are opening up to the acceptance of our animal world.  After all, responsible pet owners are the best occupants or renters to have.  They have well mannered pets and they clean up after them in the outside world as well.  They are brushed often and thus the shedding is kept at a minimal.  The smell is washed out with regular,  baths or swims.  Have you ever thought that just merely running through the woods, is a natural way to brush a dog with tree limbs and briars and leaves combing through their fur?  The other "poo poo" dogs get the usual time with a special groomer.  These dogs have a different attitude when they go to the groomer looking unkempt, slightly smelly and a little dirty, then when they come out.  Head held high and an attitude of look at me;  "I am g o r g e o u s!"  Just like us, we feel better with a manicure/pedicure or a trim at the beauty shop...that's why they're called Beauty Shops.   

Now,  let's see, we have a large fenced yard.  Ample, clean water.  Plenty of exercise.  Someone that let's them run free in a safe environment...or someone that runs with them in "their" environment.  Regular checkups.  Good, healthy food, like ONE,  is taken on vacation or regular outings with their people and treated as the best, confidant that you would ever hope to have.  I talk to my dogs all the time.  I can tell them anything.  I trust them.  They will never repeat what I tell them and yes, they DO understand.  Now, the only thing left would be their monthly heart worm preventive and their flea/tick defense, usually dotted down their backs.  (Don't rub it in, it works on the hair follicles and goes down through the system, that way.)  Did you know that 90% of the dogs/cats that were rescued from that horrible storm , Katrina  in New Orleans and surrounding areas, were not spayed/neutered and had heartworms.  What are folks thinking?  (or not thinking!)  

The aforementioned is the happy dog.   and then....................................you have:    

The Chained Dog:      Chaining a dog, in most cases, we animal advocates consider, to be a form of cruelty.  Envision a tightening around the neck.  Have someone choke you tightly to get the concept.  Not too hard, just too tight.  Are you red in the face, yet? Some collars are like that; even life threatening tight.  Some dogs that have been rescued have literally had to have their collars or chains surgically removed as over time, it had imbedded itself in their neck muscles.  This is cruel and neglect.  Report them, please, if you know or see of this happening.     Chaining a dog is a controversial subject, so read further and let me explain.  The chained dog usually is on a 5 or 6 foot chain at most.  He can not move around freely and usually the grass that was once beneath his feet, has now turned to dirt infested with mites or fleas and  other undesirable irritations to the dog.  He scratches and itches constantly.  Duh!  Something is wrong.  Would you like it?  Besides that, he stays dirty and who wants to pet a dirty dog?   Or when you do come near him, he is so elated to see someone that he jumps up on you and he just can't contain his exuberance to do so.  He is not free all day, as you have been.  He's been chained.  After the guilt of having to chain him goes away, you get so that you don't even want to go near him.  Not even to feed him.  Or make sure that he has water.  Remember, he is totally dependent on you.  He cannot fend for himself.  He is Neglected.  He cannot find water when he is thirsty or food if he is hungry...he is solely at the owner's mercy.  Many emancipated and dehydrated dogs are found in this cruel condition, especially if the owner has taken ill or been forced to move away.  Alot of dogs are just left.  This by the way is against the law.  Report them.  In an emotional trauma, such as a divorce or a death in the family, the chained dog is probably the last thought.  It is still against the law.  

So, let's say, none of this has happened and the owner has been away at work all day.  When he does finally get home, he is tired and the hectic part of the second course of events of the day, begin.  Everyone is tired, irritable and hungry.  The kids &/or spouse is demanding attention or help or just simply needs to talk...so talk, communicate, share...that's a good thing. Sometimes it only takes 5 minutes of 100% of you.   Once they and you have gotten an orange, carrots or some nuts to curb your appetite and converse over the days events, remember your dog.  He has been chained 24/7.  Love him enough to give him 15 minutes of your time.  Your guilt will diminish, he will lavish you with love and acceptance and also always remember, if no one else will listen to you...he will...and he doesn't "go and tell."  

A chained dog is usually bored and lonely and has no other means of exertion of his stored up energy except to bark.  The neighbors complain.  A barking dog is considered a nuisance dog and many times the law is called as the barking disturbs the neighbors sleep or normal everyday activities.  The dog is already considered a "bad" dog.  Put yourself in the dogs place just for a moment.  It was designed to run.  But a chained dog, can't.  It was domesticated to be with people.  But a chained dog, can't.  And if it were to ever get loose by accident, it will run and run and run.  After all he's been chained all day, remember?  You call him back until your hoarse, but  what dog in his right mind will come back to an owner that is just going to chain him back up again.?  Would you?  I didn't think so.  Now this dog that is so smart  and you wonder why he doesn't want to come back to you., But you're so frustrated and angry, when he finally does get his running out of his system and comes back willingly, you give up on him.  After all he is a  "bad" dog . He ran away.  So you take him to the pound (where they will probably euthanize him) or just turn him in the wild, expecting him to fend for himself.  Right?.  Who taught him to  "fend" for himself.  How do you think that he is going to fend for himself when his momma never taught him to, or even if hunger does take over, where do you find the grub?  In the trash cans is one place.  Eating cats is another.  Where do you find a rabbit (that is not someone's pet) in the Suburbs?  Uh, again.  

SOME SOLUTIONS:   First, there are some dogs that must be confined.  Hunting dogs must be kept confined.   Dogs where owners love them, but live near busy traffic or a congested neighborhood, need to be confined.  Notice I said confined.  Why should an animal lover that can not afford fencing, not have a pet.  But it must be confined also and maybe it must be chained.  There is a right way to chain a dog.  Humanely.  Consider.  

A Runner.  Easy.  Cheap.  Tie from one tree (or post) to another, as far as feasibly possible.  Maybe 50'.  A ring on his lead will allow easy slippage for him to move about freely.  This slippage will not strangle him and he also has a house to escape during a storm or the cold.  In other words he can comfortably lay down and  it is high enough to allow him to easily go under it, even with raised head.  Watch him.  Help him.  (And don't use a choker type collar).  He will get use to it and it will give somewhat to his pull.  But mostly, he can run if he needs to, walk, lay down, sleep, whatever until you get home to exercise yourself...and him.      

Okay, so you can afford fencing.  This is ideal.  He is free (somewhat)or at least he thinks he is and he can interact with his humans.  He can easily be fed and watered at will, because his fenced area, also includes your back (or side or front) door.  Call fence companies and compare prices and types of fencing.  But remember, it must be high enough to dissuade a jumping or determined dog from going over.  If you have a digger, then the fence company will need to bury it in the ground somewhat to disencourage this activity.     

Secondly, there's the underground fencing, with video's to show you how to train the dog from crossing the 'beeping noise' to avoid the shock if it gets too close to the edge.  This can be more expensive and the transformers need power surge protectors as electrical storms will take one out in an instant.  Most dogs learn quickly that the beeping noise, if not heeded to, will result in a more traumatic experience.  Some even have devices that if a dog is running, as to go after a squirrel, it will get louder and heavier shock notifications...ex. beagles, by nature, are hunters.  It's just their instinct.  They can't help it.      

Lastly, is the 'dog door'.  I love them.  I have five rescued dogs and three dog doors.  One allows them to go into their part of the screened porch when the bugs are bugging them.  It also allows them to be near their humans, who are often found on the other portion of the screened porch with a dog gate separating the two areas.  Whereas to not crowd company.  Some people are uncomfortable with dogs, can you believe it? The 2nd and 3rd dog doors are closed except in inclement weather whereas they are allowed into the house, especially the kitchen area with its vinyl flooring; which of course, is easy to clean up.  I love my dogs.  They are my children.  But you might not allow them into  your home as I do.  Therefore, these dog doors can be installed into garages, or porches or sheds, especially if you have some kind of fencing around a certain area.  Put up a small exercise run area, and then give them a "dog door."  

What about those rodents or varmints?  I have 3 dog doors and have never had that trouble...I guess with 5 dogs the wildlife is greatly discouraged, as well as any intruder or unwelcome guest, might be also.  

Now, there you have some choices and some good ways to confine a loved dog without the usual cruelty associated with being chained...God forbid.  Try one out and have happier pets, a guilt-free life and happier neighbors.  You'll feel better about yourself for doing so and your neighbors will respect your efforts, I promise.   Your talking to someone that has lived in the past with many barking, chained dogs of our closest neighbors and I almost went crazy with barking dogs for yes, eight years.  Finally, they have "gotten the message".  I've tried everything.    

Peace and quiet is sooooo  wonderful, sleep is sweeter and sounder and life, as a whole Life is Really Good.     

 

   
 

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