Imagine a world...

Evil T's wonderful wife K posted a beautiful meme today about dogs taking bad owners to the pound. It made me think of a moment I had with Bolo yesterday.
We were getting ready to go out for a training run, so Bolo was squealing and pounding on his crate door in excitement. I had tried to coax him into being quiet, I had rewarded the brief moments of silence with praise, I had tried ignoring him, I had growled and yelled and banged the crate door... Nothing was working, he kept yelling.
Eventually I had had enough, so I opened the crate door, reached in and tugged his collar to take him outside for a time out.
Bolo came out of the crate willingly as soon as I touched his collar, but when I first put my hand into his crate, I was shocked to see him recoil from my hand. He scrunched his eyes shut and squished himself right back into the far corner of the crate. It was like a person flinching from an oncoming ball... Or a blow.
Now I will freely admit that I have on occasion smacked Bolo on the rump. I have even tapped him on the nose, but never with more than two fingers. J is the same. Neither of us would ever dream of belting or beating Bolo, especially in his crate, which is what I think he expected. Even Bolo, our noisiest and most troublesome dog, would not be treated like that by us. And when I say noisiest, Bolo has won ribbons for his distinctive carry on.
So, why did he recoil from an intruding hand? Those people who know Bolo's history will know that when he came to J through the SHCV Rescue group, he was filthy, gaunt and refused to acknowledge people or other dogs. He had been owned by an alcoholic who had left him chained without shelter, socialization or puppy training. It took a huge amount of effort on the part of the volunteers to get him to a point where he could be considered for rehoming, and that was unsuccessful, so he's been with J ever since.
I knew that Bolo had existing issues from his horrible history, particularly in regards to his socialization with other dogs. But these days he is a lovely dog, who wants to curl up with us on the couch, who plays happily with Czar and Ishka, who runs hard in harness. He has enough to eat, he gets affection and praise, he gets stimulation, exercise and success.
It makes me sad, that even after all these years, it is not enough for him to relax. Even after all these years, Bolo remembers being beaten, probably for being too noisy. The person who treated him in such a way, when he was a small pup, should be put in a pound. Extra hugs for my big lap dog tonight.

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