NB: it is very hard to write with a Humphrey on top of me.
so challenging in fact that I hit publish before I wrote my thoughts. *sigh*
So, one of the reasons Dobby is such a satisfying dog to showcase as a rehabilitated dog is because the transformation is so very visible. He went from nasty nekkid mole rat to handsome beefcake relatively quickly.
But how do you visually show the changes in a dog who basically looks the same? Answer: you can’t.
Humphrey, the largest of our idiots, is technically my husband’s dog because when he saw a picture of this dog he literally said, “I love him, his name is Humphrey and I shall love him forever.” and that is how Humphrey was named and adopted.
Humphrey was quite literally a pet project of a woman who has now become incredibly valuable to the animal welfare of this island. She moved into a home and Humphrey lived, a classic case of neglect, tied to the fence at the edge of her property. Her & her husband befriended this dog, feeding him and giving him attention to the point of building him a shelter, and the husband walking him. It is my belief that these interactions were Humphrey’s first introduction to affection and he was (and is) a fan. I have some opinions about hugging dogs that can be simplified into “generally do not,” but Humphrey seems to actively seek them out. When I thought about it for a while, it made sense to me. His first FoodLady provided him with affection, food, and attention and probably hugged him. This poor dog, never having been well-socialized with other dogs and appeared to have been tied up and ignored by humans until his first FoodLady moved in next door, learned that hugs were how you show love.
Anywhoodle, Humphrey was a mess and to be honest, still is and always will be. He was found running loose and taken to the animal shelter, and when no-one claimed him, his first FoodLady contacted me and asked if I would take him in. I showed my (now) husband his photo and the rest is history.
Mr. Humphrey’s progress includes:
- was heartworm positive; now officially negative! woohooo!
- has a lot of broken teeth (his first and only toy was the chain that attached him to the fence); still has broken teeth but is not in any pain and it is next on the vet list once I get the care credit card paid down
- He is very healthy.
- He had no leash manners and was strong enough for that to make walking him very hard; he is still not perfect on a leash, but is better. He knows how to chase tennis balls and now plays joyously with the other dogs daily. Watching him run is just beautiful.
He is a very sensitive dog and when I have been sick or sad, he hasn’t left my side. Had Humphrey been raised in a loving environment where he lived with his mother and littermates until 12 – 16 months with appropriate human socialization included and then adopted into a home where he learned how to interact with his human pack and given appropriate training? he could have been devastatingly amazing. He’s unique and he’s loved; but his lost potential will always make me a little sad.
All these positive changes have been internal. When he arrived here he was a large, healthy-looking apricot-colored canine. He is still a large, healthy-looking apricot colored canine.
He will always have his limitations. He cannot be around cats, he will hunt them. He gets too caught up in pack excitement too quickly and ends up nipping humans in response leading to bruising on one occasion, but if he meets new humans by himself – they are all his newest bestest friends.
He’s never going to be perfect, but who is? Not me.