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Story of a Rescue Dog: Boo aka Dini

Story of a Rescue Dog 1: Meeting Boo

Boo1.1  By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. I was under a year old when I was rescued by ARRF. I was put into Linber Kennels because I was a terrible escape artiste. I was at Linber Kennels from February till the end of August. My trust issues and fears could not be properly addressed, and I needed to be socialized and learn to be a part of a family, and the Pana pack decided to foster me... this lasted all of three days and then they put in a formal adoption request. I have so many issues and require loads of patience, systematic desensitization, exercise, consistent fair reinforcement, etc so that I can meet the world and learn to trust and understand her inhabitants and ways. I am quick to learn, eager to please and can't wait to be a balanced, relaxed member of the family. This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

Browsing on Facebook I spotted a little guy who looked very much like my special CLAW rescue, Gumby, who went from township rescue to beloved Paws for People Therapy Dog. I then realized that even after several months this dog called Boo, hadn't been adopted and I thought I just have to network this guy and help him find a home. So I found out from AARF where he was, to go and take some new piccies of him... after all a picture speaks a thousand words, right? On Thursday the 25th of August I went through to the kennels in Krugersdorp where he was now living and met Boo. Read more...

Story of a Rescue Dog 2: Fostering Boo

Boo1.1  By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. I was under a year old when I was rescued by ARRF and was put into Linber Kennels because I was a terrible escape artiste. My trust issues and fears could not be properly addressed, and I needed to be socialized and learn to be a part of a family, and the Pana pack decided to foster me... This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

Having not slept a wink that Thursday night, I spent the morning plotting how to get my hubby to let me foster Boo. We have a small house and garden... and the PAWfect "pack" including Cyclops, Jumpies and Gumby. Fortunately both my hubby and I are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) type people, so at lunch time I eventually called him to say I wanted to fetch Boo and foster him for two weeks to help socialize him and familiarize him with family life. He agreed, but emphasized that this was a 2 WEEK FOSTER arrangement. I was in total agreement. And we both meant it (at the time...) Read more...

Story of a Rescue Dog 3: The Makeover

Boo1.1  By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

Time for the matted dreadlocks to go! I called another rescuer friend, who had recently begun her own mobile dog grooming business. Despite her hectic schedule (of work and family commitments), Lindy came to our rescue and agreed to groom Dini on a Sunday morning. Hubby and I had managed (fairly easily) to bath Dini, but I was horrified to find out that I could not bring any grooming tool even close to him - not a brush (of any kind... baby brush, rubber brush, hand glove) nor scissors, and a razor just freaked him out completely. If one tried to hold him and use any tool, he would snap at you - out of terror, however, and not to aggressively inflict harm...simply a defensive reaction. Read more...

Story of a Rescue Dog 4: Epic Failure

Dini_Portrait By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

It was Monday beginning of a new week and day four (or rather three and a half) with our foster fur baby Dini.... Despite being beyond exhausted (after the grooming ordeal the day before) I took the pack down to Ruimsig for an hour of laps. Nothing like exercise to clear the head and create calm and balance! At this stage Dini remained on leash at all times. Already he would stand happily waiting for me to put on his half check collar and leash. He was not allowed into the garage or car without it, so it had already come to symbolize OUTINGS... and one thing about Dini, he loves to EXPLORE... he is an adventurer, curious by nature. I had never had a foster before who had literally explored every leaf and blade of grass in the garden...no buried bone had remained uncovered! Read more...

Story of a Rescue Dog 5: Mind over Matters

Dini_Portrait By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

After the traumatic grooming saga I realized that it was time to seriously undertake a consistent, continuous, compassionate program of systematic desensitization. Unfortunately Dini's fears are deep-seated and all encompassing. Human tools are invariably seen as instruments of torture, whether it's a comb to a broom. A plastic bag fluttering on a branch or walking past an electric box (presumably the buzz inside?) would cause him to jump out of his skin. Read more...

Story of a Rescue Dog 6: Slowly Does it

Dini_Portrait By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

We embarked on a very busy (continuous and systematic) schedule of desensitization and acclimatization for Dini. Up early for an hour or two walk - mostly on lead on the roads but with a couple of walks a week at Emmarentia Dam or on our pack walking friend Jen's plot, where Dini would be allowed times off lead. We were afraid he would try and slip through palisade fencing and through trial and error learnt Houdini proof methods of walking him so that he would not go MIA or AWOL...Read more...

Story of a Rescue Dog 7: The hard times

Dini_Portrait By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

Things were progressing nicely, but so very slowly... and it wasn't so much that I was impatient as that there was a deadline - Dini had to improve his recalls or he would not be allowed off leash on the beach - and how SAD would that be! He had to have his injections (they were due plus we were off to KZN where Rabies is even more rampant than here). And he had to be properly groomed because he would be in and out of the wind, sea and sand and had to be cropped and Frontlined. I promised myself that no matter how traumatic grooming was, he would never again get matted! Read more...

Story of a Rescue Dog 8: The Final

Dini_Portrait By Dido Panagiotopoulos

"I was a feral dog living in the veld and then under a grandstand at a school. This is the story of my rehabilitation, as told by Dido, my forever mom:"

It is now just over three months since I met and adopted Dini. I have worked intensively with him overcoming his instability and insecurities. The seaside holiday was a huge turning point. Cesar Millan always says how dogs love to move as a pack/ migrate as a pack - well this seems particularly apt in Dini's case, and our holiday to the seaside really helped him bond with us. He also finally was getting enough exercise to be absolutely exhausted and rid of any neurotic energy. Just after 6am every morning I took them along the beach from Port Edward for a long 2 hour walk. I was anxious about Dini's recalls but he always came back... eventually (LOL!)! He was awestruck by the sea and from a dog who was terrified of water he became a guy who would run along the beach dodging in coming waves. He would also skip along the edge of the rocks where the waves were breaking and gave us plenty of grey hair as he hopped skipped and jumped after crabs and seagulls over the sharp edges of rocks and shells. Cesar also says you don't get the dog you want but the dog you NEED... well I learnt a huge amount about myself!, and about learning to LET GO! Adrienne, the behaviorist helping us said to me I didn't want a (another) velcro dog)...actually, I really did... but there was no way Dini would be it! Walking I never had to worry about my other three... but Dini has such a curious free spirit , so I had to learn to LET GO and remind myself he had lived and served free and feral. Before Dini I would never have classed myself as a neurotic over-protective "parent" now I knew I was and had to reel myself in constantly. Read more...

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