Philobiblon: Champ has gone back to Battersea

Friday, March 03, 2006

Champ has gone back to Battersea

An update for those who have been following the saga: I took Champ back to Battersea Dogs' Home today. He is a lovely dog, but mine was simply not the right home for him. He needs, I believe, a multi-dog, multi-person household, where he will always have company and won't overbond with any one person. I did seriously think about getting another dog for him for company, but there was no guarantee it would be enough, and getting a house-husband just to keep the dog company seemed to be going a little far.

All of my attempts to train him to stay on his own - even for five minutes - only succeeded in raising his stress levels. Yesterday I stuffed his Kong (toys that are designed to make getting food a game) with a frozen yoghurt and liver mixture, the yummiest (for a dog!) mixture I could think of. I went out for 20 minutes and he whined and howled the whole time, and did not touch the Kongs.

And such attempts were making him so nervous that he never properly slept during the day, but was always alert to my slightest movement, in case that meant I was going out.

It just was not meant to be. And Battersea will find him the right sort of home, so it is not any sort of tragedy. I'm trying to maintain a sense of proportion.


Anonymous Jo said...

Oh no - sorry to hear it didn't work out. Poor Champ (and Natalie). Here's hoping they can find the right home for him.

3/03/2006 05:08:00 pm  
Anonymous david ware said...

Good for you--and for Champ, too. Working in animal adoption here, I've seen eager and good adoptive families try to "make a fit" with a dog, even when 'all occasions inform against it.' They are driven by a desire to do their best by the dog, and would be horrified if one were to suggest that they are good "parents," just not the right ones for a particular animal. Even the most careful pre-placement evaluations of adopters can't guarantee a good match--we depend upon adopting families to be honest when things aren't working, and to be willing to try again with another one. In a different environment, Champ may well be magnificent--and you get the gold star with ribbons for making that next placement possible.

3/03/2006 06:30:00 pm  
Blogger clanger said...

You put Champ's happiness before your own, which is a wonderful act of unselfishness in a world lamentably short of such virtue, and the most any pet-owner can do.

Well done you.

3/03/2006 07:35:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thank you all. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments.

I know I did the right thing, but coming home to an empty house (which frankly I had fled for a couple of hours) and starting to pack up Champ's bedding and toys was not easy. You've made the house feel less empty.

3/03/2006 08:41:00 pm  
Anonymous pip said...

I feel sure that this cannot have been an easy decision to come to, especially after all the love and care you had given to Champ since he came to you. Like all the other commenters I applaud your guts for doing the right thing for Champ, and I imagine for you in the long run.

Once you have got over your loss, which you will in time but not in any way forgetting Champ, will you try again? I hope so because a battered or abandoned dog deserves to have a home like yours.

3/04/2006 08:49:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Yes, I do plan to get another dog from Battersea, when I've got over this ... probably a couple of months, I suspect. I'm in two minds about whether I'll try another greyhound - Champ was a lovely dog, an ambassador for the breed, in every respect except for the separation issues, so really there's no reason why I shouldn't. But I'm slightly worried about what that might do to my anxiety levels.

3/04/2006 05:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Chameleon said...

What sad news! But you clearly had Champ's welfare and best interests at heart, so no quibbling there. I look forward to some dog blogging piccies if and when you adopt another pooch. People who irresponsibly abandon animals make my blood boil. The haven that is Battersea does excellent work in saving the uncared for.

3/05/2006 07:21:00 am  
Anonymous Pip said...

I'm so pleased you've decided to "get back on the bike" as it were, albeit after a breathing space which is very understandable. I really hope that whether it be another greyhound or any other breed that you choose that it works well for both of you.

I will watch this space and wish you all luck for the next time.

3/05/2006 02:29:00 pm  
Blogger Susoz said...

I'm sorry to hear the situation was so untenable for you both. I can imagine how hard it is to have an empty house again. I wonder if there is a greyhound society that could give you advice for next time (ie how to spot an ultra-nervous dog.) I'm in the process of looking for a new staffy and trying to work out how to distinguish between their usual high spirits and the anxiety that our last one had.... There are no guarantees.

3/09/2006 01:55:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

I have talked to the greyhound society, but I think Battersea in general has more resources and more skills. As I've said, I really haven't decided whether to try another greyhound ...

Good luck with your Staffies, it is so tough to tell, because the rescue kennel environment is so like a home, and even in a home, it is really only after a month or so that the "real" dog emerges.

When you think about it, adopting a dog is just like setting out on a relationship. I've had four rescue dogs, and three of them worked out really well with only minimal problems (well Kelly did "eat the car", but hey, that was fixable with money ...)

3/09/2006 12:19:00 pm  

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