Monday, 19 March 2012

Wolf’s Courage

During my visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I learned one of the most difficult tasks was taking Isla (my girlfriend’s first rescue dog) for a walk. Kiersten’s neighborhood was full of wandering dogs; some owned, some unowned... all appearing hungry and somewhat timid of humans. At the bottom of the hill was a group of dogs that were owned, but allowed to roam freely and were not very social. On the top of the hill were dogs that were owned or strays that also roamed freely and also unsocialized. There is a tendency for most dogs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be territorial and they would be aggressive towards Isla and other dogs that wandered onto their turf. I would usually have to pick Isla up when we were confronted by a pack of roaming dogs. Most dogs I encountered tended to be afraid of humans because they were abused by having rocks thrown at them or worse, but when they were in a pack they acted aggressively, especially when walking Isla on a leash.

There were occasions when a few of the local strays would walk with Isla and me, forming their own pack. I would start off with one dog and arrive back at the house with five other dogs trailing behind. Isla became the pack leader and the other dogs would visit our yard to play with her during the day. One day I was walking Isla and a small German shepherd started running towards us. I was weary at first because he was a male dog and they tended to be after Isla when we walked around the neighborhood. Isla and him met nose to nose, but he seemed more interested in me. He came walking up to me. This was highly unusual as most dogs were afraid of me- even the ones that would walk with Isla and I, would keep me at an arms length. He walked right up to me and hugged my leg and let me pet him.

I began to see the German shepherd on a daily basis and he was always friendly towards me as he licked my face, while his tail wagged fervently. He was such an adorable dog and I decided to name him Wolf Blitzer after the dashing CNN anchor. I would bring him food whenever I saw him in the morning and at night because I felt bad that he was a stray and did not have a home, let alone a consistent source of food! I could not fathom, for the life of me, how someone could have abandoned such a sweet and loving dog- or any dog for that matter! It must have taken a great deal of courage for Wolf to be so friendly and trust me because I could have easily been a human that would throw rocks at him or hurt him. He soon started showing up at our door looking for food and playing with Isla and Roo. We soon found out that he was a great cuddler and kisser and it earned him the nickname handsome Wolfie. He is still getting used to baths and interaction with people outside of Kiersten, but overall an amazing dog. We found him a home in Bequia, but unfortunately he was still in the process of being socialized, so Kiersten has been fostering him and we will eventually bring him back to the States.

Wolf is a lucky St. Vincent dog! He spends his days at Kiersten’s new place, playing with Isla and Roo and digging holes to China, or whatever is on the opposite side of the world of St. Vincent. He has toys to stimulate him, chicken to eat, treats that clean his teeth, and a comfy couch and bed to sleep on. We had him neutered shortly after he moved in with us and got all of his shots. Although he had some medical issues, we caught them early enough and thankfully they are a thing of the past. He is adjusting to walks on a leash and collar and becoming more socialized every day. If Wolf did not have the courage to come near me, he would still be wandering the streets- scrapping by hour to hour, getting attacked by bigger dogs, picking through trash, impregnating other strays, and possibly dead on the road, especially if a van ever saw him in the street. There are so many obstacles for stray dogs in St. Vincent and without caring animal advocates, animals like Wolf end up being viewed as “nuisances” and are deliberately killed, whether by poison, being ignored, physically attacked, drowned, and so forth.  Thankfully Wolf is soundly asleep with his pals Isla and Roo dreaming of living in the US where he hears there are lots of doggy treats and endless opportunities of off-leash parks to explore...

Nick-VSPCA Social Media Strategist 

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