Luna has been with us for 7 months now so I thought that I'd write an update of her progress.
She's had her ups and downs and just as we resolve one problem another one seems to crop up.
Her personality really started to show once she'd got used to being with us, she's really loving, but also very determined and there was a time, for a couple of months, that I was getting a bit exasperated as she tried asserting herself with Aragon, but with him being the alpha male he wasn't having any of it. They were okay with each other for most of the time, but if one was on the sofa with me and the other one came close there was a lot of baring of teeth and growling at each other.
I spoke to a fellow dog walker about it one day and he gave me some advice, which I took onboard and started straight away, with great results.
I'd always let my dogs on the sofa as well as sleeping in my bed at night (I had to have them either side of me in bed, in case they decided to have a spat while I was asleep).
I decided to stop both of them jumping onto the sofas, bought their beds into the lounge every morning and put them in the kitchen every night where both dogs now had to sleep.
Luna was fine being in the kitchen at night, but after 7 years of being allowed to sleep on my bed Aragon cried for a few nights. It was like having a baby, going downstairs several times a night to settle him. I'm happy to say that both dogs are happy in the kitchen at night, Aragon even demands to go to bed at 10:20 every night and Luna goes running after him.
Another problem I had to solve was that Luna started running up to people barking at them, Aragon would run alongside, barking at her and I was worried that people would think that they were being attacked, so I had to put Luna back on the lead for a few weeks. She started reacting to people much better so I'd let her off the lead again, but after a few walks she started doing it again, so it was back on the lead again. This went on for a couple of months, I kept trying her off-lead, then having to put her back on it again.
She is now constantly off-lead, she's lost her fear of people and trots up to them, wagging her tail, expecting strokes and treats from everybody.
The last problem we had when out walking off-lead was her reluctance to have her lead put back on at the end of walks. She'd run up to me, then run straight past with a big grin on her face. I realised that it was becoming a game to her so I gave up trying to catch her to put her lead on, I'd park the car next to the field and open the boot, she'd follow me and jump straight in, (she now trots up to me and lets me put her lead on with no fuss).
We went through a phase of Luna barking at any noise she heard outside, whether it be car doors slamming or people walking past the house. If anyone came to the house she'd go berserk and would set Aragon off too. I'd trained Aragon to go into the lounge to be shut in when people knocked on the door and Luna would follow him in there, but the barking was horrendous so I had to find a way to calm them down. Luna has stopped barking at noises outside, but they both run to the bottom of the garden barking at birds and people in the garages behind our garden which is something else we're now having to work on.
I imagine that people reading this will think that adopting Luna has been a nightmare and probably wonder how we haven't given up on her, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.
Luna is such a happy girl, always wagging her tail, demanding belly rubs and adoring cuddles from Jake (my son) and me. She has happy feet, when she's excited she does this little prance, like a show pony, tapping her front paws on the ground. When she wants a cuddle she puts her front feet on the arm of the sofa (usually where the laptop is) and burrows her head into me. Then she'll flop onto the floor, exposing her belly and giving me a half smile (which looks like she's baring her teeth), lifting her front paw demanding a belly rub.
We love her so much and couldn't imagine life without her now, there have been obstacles to tackle, but it's all been worth it, the important thing to remember when adopting any dog is that you don't know what they've had to deal with in their past, especially a dog who's lived on the streets for several years (in a country which has little tolerance of stray dogs).
Thanks again to everyone at Holbrook for their work in re-homing the rescued dogs in their care, I hate to think of where Luna could've ended up if it wasn't for their compassion and commitment to finding the right homes for their dogs.
Comment from Holbrook Animal Rescue "We are so grateful that people like Cheryl exist, who have the patience and commitment to give one of our dogs such a wonderful home. We do have a volunteer dog behaviourist who provides support for all our newly adopted dogs. In our next blog we will tell you a bit more about her and her training methods".