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 Post subject: difficult animals having success stories thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:48 pm 
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i wasnt sure what to name this but i thought i would start a thread where people can share success stories of difficult animals they have. they can be difficult behavior wise, healthwise, or i dont know. whatever!!

share your pet/animal success.


i will go first!

our dog Willy Moo was a stray that we adopted from a rescue group who was caring for him while he was in the pound. we had NO IDEA he hated other dogs. he is INSANELY REACTIVE. like possibly the most reactive dog on the planet EVER.
we have had SO MANY problems with him. but at the same time he is like the love of my life.
after a couple years of hardcore training he was doing SO MUCH better and then he was viciously mauled by another dog. all our training went down the tubes and now he was 10x worse (if that is even possible!)
that incident will have been 3 years ago on 9/1 (date forever burned into my memory) and after giving up for the space of almost a year we got back into training him with shiitake tons more work and lots of $$$ Willy Moo is doing SO WELL. we have him on meds starting about a month ago and they were literally life changing for us.
with the meds plus a reactive dog class and tons of training and management he has calmed DOWN SO MUCH.
he still flips out when he sees another dog but it's not as bad, he comes down much quicker, and is better at a certain distance. he doesnt freak out as much on other things any more (cars, birds, squirrels, other people).
we're planning on taking him and our other pooch to Acadia Natl Park in september for a week to go hiking.
last time we did this we ran into 1000 other dogs and had nasty people making nasty comments to us (jerk faces)
i am so eager to see how he will do!

here is a cute picture of him.
his tongue is blue because we ran out of water while hiking and gave him gatorade (d'oh!)

Image

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 Post subject: Re: difficult animals having success stories thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Awww what a cute doggie!

My cat Phantom is passed away, but he was an insanely shy kitty. When I went to the shelter looking for a cat to adopt, he was hiding in a cage and they weren't sure if anyone would want him or if they would have to send him away to a foster home for awhile. I fell in love with him and brought him home that day. I figured out why he was named Phantom pretty quickly - he would hide so well and you wouldn't even know you had a cat, except that food was eaten and the litter was used in the night while you were sleeping. This went on for a few months - I barely saw him. His favourite hiding spot was in the coat closet, and eventually he was okay with me sitting there with him and talking to him and giving him treats. I would try and coax him out of the closet with treats and he got more and more brave.

I was starting to wonder if he would ever feel okay around me and getting discouraged. One day I was sitting on the couch in the living room and he dashed into the room, looked at me, meowed, and dashed back to his hiding spot in the coat closet. He was asking me to go there with him and visit him. My heart melted and from that point on I knew he was going to be okay. It took a couple of years of gradual progress, but he flourished and started walking around like he owned the place (which, let's be honest, he pretty much did).

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 Post subject: Re: difficult animals having success stories thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Our macaw was a nightmare for a few years. He was a sweet bird, but so emotionally unstable that he would from cuddly and happy to lashing out and biting in a split second. It probably didn't help that we had no "big bird" experience, much less troubled parrot experience! We all, my mom especially, went around covered in bandages. And the yelling. OMG.

He was afraid of everything and sometimes would talk in a really harsh voice saying stuff like "get down stupid bird" and things we couldnt make out. He was deathly afraid of the broom--he would cower and make sad sounds when he say that or any stick like object. When we first moved with him, he was totally silent and then kept saying in a baby voice "good bird good bird" just over and over. He seemed convinced we were about to abandon him. We had to be sure to always have one of us in the room with him or he freaked out.

When we first took him to our avian vet, his feathers were nasty and mangy and the vet wasn't very impressed. A year later, he had a full body of beautiful, glossy bright green feathers that he took pride in preening. He hadn't preened himself before.

Now, over 10 years later, he is so well adjusted and mostly really calm. He puts up with Molly's shiitake, which is saying something because she is a Pest. She tries to snuggle under his wings, she steals treats right out of his beak, and otherwise acts like the bratty little sister emulating big brother. He gets a parrot mood swing (PMS) around molting time, but is so sweet and affectionate and happy. He rarely says the harsh things anymore.

We love him so much. We really hate the people who abused him. He is really a special, smart, affectionate bird, and we are lucky that he chose us (he really did; we didn't want a parrot, but after we met him, he gave us no choice). Molly adores him.

He is still a scaredy cat, but then many parrots are. It took him a full year in the new house before he would get down off his cage and walk around the room. He loves his new huge window that overlooks trees and the deck, and has made friends with the squirrels. He tells us when they want nuts.

Tl;dr Parrots are awesome. People suck.

This story is a big reason why I steer people away from rescue birds. It takes so much time, energy, love, research that most people probably can't do it without knowing exactly what they are in for. Not that we regret anything, but it was a huge strain on our family for several years. Too many people can't handle it and parrots end up rehomed several times, even when people had the best intentions.

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 Post subject: Re: difficult animals having success stories thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:23 am 
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I love your happy ending stories so much! And you all seriously rock for being so kind and caring and patient w/ your rescues loves. This thread is going to make me smile all day.


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 Post subject: Re: difficult animals having success stories thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:27 pm 
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great stories!!

lobster i love the story of the kitty coming out of the closet to meow at you then dashing back in because he wanted a visit!!! so sweet :-D

lavawitch...poor birdie!!! the broom story made me sad. being that afraid of a broom makes me think she was whacked with it alot :-( im so glad she is doing so well with you!!!!

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