This morning I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a foster dog, whom is coming to me from several states away. While she is here she will be having her leg amputated due to an old injury that was not repaired, and by the look in her eyes, she will be learning to trust, love and just be a dog again.
As I was on the phone this morning scurrying to find a crate for this girl, one of my kind and well-meaning friends said: “Oh, that poor dog! I am glad she has been rescued, and now she will be loved as a rescued dog!” I know that my friend means well, seriously, she is one of the kindest people I know, but can I just say I hate the term “rescued”?
The term “rescued” in my mind deems a dog “less than”. Do adoptive parents walk around introducing their children as: “This is my biological son, Michael, and my adopted son, Joseph.”? No!
To think of a dog as a “rescue” dog automatically labels it and puts you in the frame of mind to feel sorrow, or excuse it’s behaviour, and that label holds the dog back from moving forward in life. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard an owner say: "Oh, he bites because he was a rescue dog." or "We don't make her do that because she was abused in her last home." I have some advise for you: Get over it! The dog has! And if the dog hasn't it's because of the emotional baggage you have now placed on the dog by trying to "save" it from it's past life.
When this girl gets here, she will be greeted by a group of semi-well behaved (Chihuahuas are never well behaved…) dogs who will lay a lot of my ground work. These dogs make it easy for me to rehabilitate dog after dog because they were once her and I “chose” to invest in them. She will be treated like every other dog that has ever come through this house. She will be expected to not fight or bite, to potty outside, and as soon as she is well enough, she will be given a job. (Nosework, obedience, etc…)
To a dog that has never been given a chance, or had someone to love it, the best gift you can give it, is to be allowed to move forward with life. Dogs live in the moment, and don’t dwell on the past, so why would we hold them back?