I work with animals every day. This is what I do and I love it. In our family there are 9 horses, 2 goats, several cats (never sure how many but I feed the neighbourhood apparently) and currently two dogs. One of the things that brings me such joy when working with animals is the balance I find in their energy. There is a flow which is gentle and good in nature and I enjoy living in the middle of it. However, every once in a while an animals crosses my path which doesn;t fit into the energy of this place. Sometimes we work with horses from a local refuge. These guys can come in undernourished, scared and undereducated. Often they have been handled roughly or outright abusively and dealing with fear in these prey animals has its challenges. To the best of my knowledge and experience, I find it is the herd itself that tends to heal a broken horse. As the human in the gang, I have to provide food, water, exercise and good solid (abusive free) boundaries. We teach animals how to treat us – just like we do with people. But it is the herd that brings balance back to an energetically compromised animal.
Our house holds few animals; only two dogs and a cat which rarely makes an appearance since the arrival of our newest reformee, Archie the Pit bull terrier cross. Jake, our black Lab mastiff cross is as anyone who has met you will tell you, the perfect dog. Calm, sentient, intelligent. he is my best friend and up until recently went with me everywhere. We hoped that the energy would transfer to Archie like it does in the herd and that jake’s naturally zen nature would relax the dog, but sadly it only partially worked that way. Originally, Archie’s story is what appealed to us. He had a sympathetic face and was believed to be completely socialized because of his past experiences of living on the street and having to be around people so much.
But Archie also came with his own history untold by his foster home because they were not able to read the signs he was giving. Archie doesn’t handle changes in his environment very well. He is an extremely nervous and energetic dog who is hyper aggressive when he plays and thinks that cats are large chew toys. He is also very nervous when new people enter our house (which is all the time!) especially with teenagers and boys. If he doesn;t know where someone fits into our pack right away, they are not allowed to enter the house and more and more often he is using his teeth to express this. These pieces of information were left out when we adopted Archie but honestly I don’t think any of the agency knew. For the past 6 months I have been trying to “train” Archie out of these behaviours but am now concluding that sadly, these are breed behaviours and I can;t change the basic nature of any animal or person.
His greatest penchant is for nipping at teenage boys. It’s not hard to see that Archie has a problem with males in general.Since his previous owner was a drug addicted young girl, I expect she did not have pleasant experiences with men herself. Archie is extremely attached to me and extremely affectionate. He almost sings when he is happy. He is rarely “bad” around me. He also never exhibits this nipping behaviour where I have been able to reprimand or at least predict the behaviour was coming. It just comes and he dashes for cover knowing he has done something wrong. I love all animals, but some of them are not meant for certain situations, and now having come to know the terrier breed type a bit more, I would say that they are not reliable farm life dogs.
I am trying now to find a home for Archie where he doesn’t have 13 different people just walking in every day. Where there aren’t random cars at odd hours and people riding their horses up to the front door. Where the is an absence of teenagers and a quieter existence. A big yard and a big jolly ball and he will be as happy as pie.
One more thing to hand over to the Universe…sigh.