Caring for 12 stray dogs
My experience in caring for 12 once-homeless dogs for two eventful weeks.
Managing a pack of canines
My family comes from a long line of animal lovers. We had most pets under the sun and made sure to take good care of them. I sometimes took it to new levels because I loved to research everything possible about a pet before and during my care. I could give detailed information on fishes, hamsters, turtles, birds,cats and most notably dogs. But I never came close to my aunt.Well before I was born when she was young she had a habit of taking in strays, especially stray dogs. When I asked her why she did it she always told me, "They can't speak for themselves, they can't tell you what they need. We made them need us and then abandon them!"
She lived in a rather rural area, which is good because that meant she could take as much dogs as she liked. It's bad because a lot of people discard their dogs in rural areas. She always complained against it but she couldn't help taking them in. I love dogs but I never understood why she took so many! Every two weeks I would visit and see a new face in the yard,barking in confusion as we would both watch at each other quizzically. New prospectives would sleep outside the yard because she fed them, waiting for their moment to be part of the dog pack. I always laughed at this situation but never really delving into it further.
My aunt's vacation
My opinion changed when she planned to go on vacation and I was the only one who were familiar enough with the dogs to dogsit (is that what it's called?) for two weeks! Needless to say, I was a bit intimidated, especially when I last counted there were 12 dogs! Let me explain, it's 12 dogs where only 4 have been trained. Most are newcomers,with different shapes and sizes with a lot of space to roam free. I prayed that nothing bad happened to them (at least when I was there). So the day of reckoning finally came when she left to go on vacation and I was left to care for these misfits. I guess they looked at me in the same way because some of them outright refused to listen to me! They were pretty obedient to my aunt but with little uncertain me, they ran outside, coming back when they pleased. Chasing after them was futile, calling them even more so, if I remembered their various names. Feeding time? Let's just say it was really dog eat dog. They fought as some made a mad rush for food( they were not trained so they didn't know anything about manners.)
I am my own dog!
I called my aunt out of frustration. How can she manage all these dogs by herself? She then told me that each dog has their own personality and position in the yard. She continued that each has their own story so I have to interact with each differently.So I tried practising her views and it worked. "Bruce" and "Jade" were there the longest and commands the most respect, I had to feed them first. "Spotty" is afraid of people for unknown reasons, though I could venture a guess, so I had to talk to her softly. "Shorty" was probably once a house dog so he is used to laying on the odd chair or table. "Caesar" was an abandoned or lost hunting dog, he is very high energy and needs to go for a walk at least twice a day. All of them need an early morning walk. It all worked and as I gave each some consideration and kept a routine, they listened more and it became so much easier to manage them!
There was so many things I learned about these dogs, about their past and their personality that I began to appreciate them more. I wondered why would people discard dogs like trash when there are so many levels to them. Some are still recovering from being abandoned. Then I started to appreciate what my aunt does; taking a malnourished and sometimes diseased dog and nursing them back to health as a pet, a guard dog and a loving, loyal companion. She came back, eventually and she asked me how it went. All I could ask is, "when is your next vacation?"
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