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Sarah B’s feral dogs

WhatsApp Image 2018-08-20 at 09.40.24When feral dogs come to Sarah B, they are in sensory overload. There are so many new, terrifying things happening to them that some completely shut down, some stay at the back of their gardens or hide behind or under their houses, hoping we humans can’t see or hurt them. Others will come and sniff you, but when you extend a hand, they run off.

During the first 24-48 hours after they arrived, we ask absolutely nothing of the feral dog. We completely ignore them as we do our daily chores and interact with the other dogs. It helps them to understand that Shilo or I are not going to hurt them. We do our utmost best to make them feel welcome and comfortable. The only thing we do every time we pass their garden is we talk softly to them so they can get used to our voices. We give them time to adjust to their new surroundings. Some of them pace up and down, some whine, whimper and some howl. They also may not eat for the next 2 days. Our hearts break for these dogs. Living with this much fear must be horrible.

When these dogs arrive and I see their fear, an overwhelming feeling of love overcomes me. Then the realisation strikes me that some never felt human touches before, they don’t know anything about cuddles, never slept in a soft bed and some went to sleep so many nights without food.

WhatsApp Image 2018-08-20 at 09.41.16That is when our “gift” takes over and we do anything in our power to help these dogs become normal like my Bianca which I adopted. She WAS feral and today she is like a normal dog which plays, loves cuddles and allows people to touch her. I think this is where my passion for feral dogs started – the arrival of Keith and Bianca at Dogtown.

The smallest movement towards me, the first slightly lick of my hand, my first time touching them, are one of the best feelings I experience and no one can take that away. We celebrate every time something like this happens although it may seem like nothing to others.

My husband says I have this “special voice” with which I talk to the dogs and their reaction is priceless. They truly react & respond to that voice.

So Shilo and I use a huge amount of patience and love with these dogs and we focus on every little bit of progress to work on, every tiny bit of positivity. Every dog is different, and we take each dog’s character into account. As a starting point we use food and it is normally a winner. We also know that these dogs are tough survivors and some of them will only better up to a point and others will get to be normal dogs.

We are patient, loving and loaded with positivity and when they sit on your foot, sniff your neck or lean against you, we know we cracked it and its still remains the best feeling ever. Feels like your heart will explode and, in your mind, you make plans to take them home, everyone of them! If only…….

Some of these dogs got better and was adopted, but we know that some of them will take more time to get better or maybe they will never……but it’s ok. We have lots of love and patience left for them for forever……We won’t give up….

Susan,

Caregiver

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