Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Rescue Animals

A Lot Of People, When They Adopt a Rescue, Go In Thinking They're Going To "Save The Day" And Get thoroughly Disappointed.
What I Mean By That Is; They Get Upset When Just Bringing The Animal Home, Giving It Shelter, and Loving It Didn't Magically "Solve" Everything.

I've Heard Them Get Upset, Saying Things Like "My Pet Just Doesn't Love Me Back"
Which Is Sad, Because You Can't Go In Expecting "Normal" Behavior From Anyone Who's Had a Hard Time/Traumatic Experience. They're Going To Need Time. And You As a Pet-Parent, Need To Give Them That Time. Time, Patience, Space, Understanding and Unconditional Love.

One Of My Beloved Feline Sons, Came To Our Family After Being Homeless.
He Was Terrified of Humans,
And It Was Immediately Clear, That He Had Been Violently Abused By Humans In His Past.
Whenever We Would Extend or Lift Our Arms In His General Direction, or Near Him, He Would Flinch, and Go Into a Tense, Defensive Stance; Wide Eyed and Scared Out Of His Mind.

Making It Painfully Evident That Someone, Somewhere, At Some Point,
Had Violently and Aggressively, Put Their Hands On This Beautiful Little Soul.

It Took Him Several Months Until He Didn't Feel The Need To Hide Behind Things Whenever We Entered The Room To Change His Food/Water/Toilet-Sand.
If I Would Walk Behind Him, He Would Suddenly, and Without Notice, Freak-Out, and Spin Around, In Full Adrenalin, Fear-Mode, Thinking I Was About To Pounce On Him.
I Couldn't Lift Him Up, That Was a Definite No-No.
Touching Was Okay, But Only If I HAD To, and ONLY If I Didn't Do Anything Where He Couldn't See My Hands; and Even Then, He Was Tense, So Tense.
And It Had To Be For Short Intervals, That's All He Could Take.
Short Intervals of Human Interaction; Where He'd Brace Himself and ENDURE Being So Close To a Big Scary Human.
Because That's What Humans Were To Him. Big, Scary Beings That Hurt You.

It Took Him 2 Years To Be Able To Deal With Me Putting a Walking-Harness On Him.
To Deal With Being So Vulnerable, To Have Me Wrap Something Around His Body, To Have Me Touch His Belly In The Process.
And Walking Outside With Me, And Getting Scared When I'd Pick Him Up To Go Inside Again.
It's Something We Still Work On To This Day.
And I'm So Proud Of Him.
He's Learned To Take a Breath, and Calm Down, To Make The Scared Feeling Go Away, So We Can Continue Enjoying What We're Doing Together.

A Lot Of People Might Have Looked At Him and Said He Was an Aggressive Animal.
That If He Didn't Show Immediate signs Of Accepting Human-Interaction, There's No Hope.
A Lost Cause.
I Know For Definite What People Do To Dogs In Similar Circumstances.
They Give Them One Test, One Chance To See If They're "Aggressive"; If They Can Deal With Humans Touching Them, Touching Their Food etc.
And If They Don't Respond Well During That One Test, That One Chance, They Give Up On Them, Say; "No Hope" and Kill Them.

I'm Here To Tell You, Just How Wrong Those Assumptions Are.
No One, I Repeat, No One, Is a Lost Cause.

Yes, I Got Scratched, Yes, I Got Bit. In The Beginning.
But Not Because He Was Ever a Bad or Aggressive Soul.

They're Not "Angry", They're Scared, They're Traumatized.
What They Need Is Someone Who Will Look at Them and See All Their Small Victories, and Celebrate and Praise The Heck Out Of Those Victories, Every Time They Come Along.
Someone Who Will Give Them The Time and Effort.
Who Will Tell Them Every Day "I Love You" "No Matter What" "You're Never Going To Loose Me" and Means It.
Who Doesn't Get Upset If They Mess Up, If They Get Scared, If They Bite, Or Scratch, Someone Who Sees That, It's Not Done Out Of Malice.
Who Let's Them Know
"I Know You're Not a Bad Person, You Just Got Scared Is All, I Know That's Why You Acted Like That Just Now. I Know You Always Try Your Best. I See You. Don't Worry, I Love You."

Because The "Anger" Is Only a Hardened Shell Of Protection That They've Had To Develop.
To Survive.
Underneath Is a Personality, Full of Quirks, Just Waiting To Burst Out and Shine.

My Son, Is The Snuggliest Little Fella.
He Might Be Big and Muscly, But He Only Wants To Relax and Love.
He Cares So Much About His Siblings, It's Amazing.
He's Gentle, Kind, Good at Communicating To Me His Needs,
Likes To Follow Me Around The House
(He Likes Just Lying and Relaxing In The Same Room That I'm In, So Whenever I Move To a Different Room, He Follows Me, Even If He Has To Leave His Favourite Chair In One Room and Opt For a Spot On The Floor In Another :D )
He LOVES Snuggles, and Rubs His Head Mightily Into My Hand When I Pet Him.

He Was NEVER a Lost Cause.
This Amazing Person Was Just Tucked Far Far Into a Hard Shell For a Long Time Is All.

He Loves To Hang Out With Me, and Lets Me Know Whenever He Feels Up To a Good Snuggle-Session. And He Lets Me Know When It's Enough.
Just By Raising His Paw Slightly, Slowly and Without Claws, Gently.
So I'll Know To Give Him Some Space.

Out There He Had To Bite First, Ask Questions Later.
So Whenever He Felt Threatened He'd Bite Like His Life Depended On It.
Because It Had, When He Was Homeless.

Now, Because I've Told Him That He Doesn't Have To Be Violent For Me To Understand Something's Too Much For Him, He Doesn't Do That Anymore.
Over Time, He's Learned That,
Hey, This Human Listens To Me, I Don't Have To Physically MAKE Her Stop.
I Don't Have To Be Afraid That She'll Overstep My Boundaries and What I'm Comfortable With.
Because We've Focused On That, To Always Respect Their Boundaries. To Take NO For an Answer.
To Respect NO, Even If It's Just a Nudge of The Paw, Or Annoyance Of the Tail.

That's Where a Lot Of People Go Wrong By The Way.
Just In General.
And I Know, I Used To Be One Of Them.
When You Wanna' Snuggle Your Pet So Bad, You Hold Them Tight and Kiss On Them, Even If They Want You To Let Put Them Down.

THAT'S Why They Start Scratching You, Or Don't Want To Snuggle You Anymore.
Not Because They're "Grumpy" or Started HATING Your Affection.
Its Because They Feel Helpless. Knowing You Will FORCE Your Physical Will On Them.
Knowing They Have No Say In The Matter.
Knowing You Won't Respect Their Needs and Wants.

If You Just Start Listening, and Going by Their Say So.
Going By When They Feel Comfortable. and Backing Off Whenever They Don't Want To.
You'd Be Amazed At How Much of a Loving, Mutually-Respectful, Non-Violent(No Biting or Scratching) Relationship You'll Get To Enjoy With Your Pet.
They Won't Feel The Need To Bite You or Scratch You, In Order To Get You To Understand That You Need To BACK THE FUCK OFF.
If You Just Tell Them. By Both Verbally Going "It's Okay, You Don't Have To Bite Me/Scratch Me For Me To Understand, All You Have To Do Is Raise Your Paw Slowly, And I'll Get The Memo"
and By Using Your Body-Language To Show That You Respect Their Choices.
Be In Tune To Their Body-Language, and Take a Step Back When The Vibe Is a "Maybe No More Now, It's Time To Back Off."

I Have FIVE Cats, All From Different Circumstances, And It's Worked With ALL OF THEM.
Don't Knock It Til You've Tried It! ;)

And Remember, Try Until It Works.
Trying It Once and Going "Well That Didn't Work" Is Lazy On Your Part.
Hey, I'm Just Telling It How It Is. ;)

You Need To Equip Yourself With Time, Patience, Unconditional Love and Optimism.
And One Day, Maybe Not Today, Maybe Not Even a Year From Now, But Someday. It'll Pay Off.
Give It Time.

Something That Also Worked Wonders For My Son Was Having Siblings.
He Was Homeless From Birth, and He Looked To The Others To See "How To Be a Cat" "How To Interact With Other Cats" "How To Play" "How To Play Gently With Others"

It's Important For You as a Pet-Parent To Moderate Their Time Together Until You Know For a Fact That They Will Treat Each Other Gently At All Times.

Don't Get All "BAD PET!"
If They Do Something Wrong Though, That Would Give Them The Impression That Trying Is Bad, Because You Might Get Yelled At. And You Want Them To Try. So They Can Work Out Their Kinks and Get Along Swell.
Just Go; "That Was Not Okay Behaviour, You're Not a Bad Person, I Know You're Not, But What You Just Did Is Not Okay, Don't Do That Anymore. Okay?"
And Eventually, Just Like With Human Kids, They'll Learn.

It's Not a Magic Cure, Giving Them Siblings, By No Means,
And It's a Case By Case Thing, What's Best For Each Individual.
And Each Family.

Something Else That's Important With Rescues Is Always Telling Them You Love Them,
And Showing Them That You Are Delighted To See Them, Every Time You Do.
Even If They Can't Handle The Touching and "Normal" Pet-Owner Cuddling Stuff Part Yet,
Just Seeing That You Light Up When You See Them, Whenever One Of You Enter The Room,
Is Important. So They Know You're Different, You're Not Like Other Humans, Who Hurt Them and Discarded Them. You Love Them. And You'll Be Together Forever.

All This, You Basically Need To Be Your Pets Therapist, Always In Tune With Their Feelings,
Might SOUND Silly. (Especially When The Mainstream World Keeps Trying To Convince Us That Animals Are Nothing Like Us, Even Though They're Exactly Like Us. We're All Animals.)
But It's The Truth.

There's Something That I See Happening Way Too Often.
When People Get Rescues, Either Adopting One or Fostering One.
And That's How Lax They Seem To Be With SECURITY.
You Can't Just Let That Pet Out To Wander On It's Own Right Away.
You Might Even Have To Wait Years Before That Can Happen.
Because They Need To Get Used To Having a Home.
That They Centre Around, That They Come Back To.
They Are Used To Being Homeless, To Having To Fend For Themselves.
And If People Just Let Them Out Willy-Nilly, No Matter If It's a Rescue or Not,
They Will Get Lost and Become HOMELESS AGAIN.
They Might Get Killed In The Wild. Starve To Death Even.
So If You Live In an Area That Allows For, And Is Safe For Cats To Walk Outside By Themselves.
For Non-Rescue Pets; You Have To Wait At Least 6 MONTHS Before You Let Them Out By Themselves.
(Especially If They Came To You As a Baby, It Takes Them a While Before They Develop a Sense of Direction and Are Able To Remember Where They Live, After All, They're Babies ;)

You Need To Walk Them On a Leash, Regularly,
Show Them "Their Turf" Where They Are And Are Not Supposed To Go.

They Don't Know That Stuff Magically By Themselves,
It's YOUR JOB To Teach Them About How Stuff Works, How To Do Things!

For Rescue Pets, If You're Adopting, I'd Recommend Waiting More That 6 Months,
Depending On Whether Your Pet Has Suffered Any Periods Of Homelessness or Trauma.
Take Them For Walks, But Don't Let Them Go Off Leash.
They Need To Be "You Are An Indoor With Humans Pet Now" Trained First Of All.
Let The Whole "This Is Your Turf, Your New Home" Etc. Be Something They Only Have To Deal With Learning Once, In The Home They Will Be Living In PERMANENTLY.

And You Need To Treat This As Serious As It Is.
Your House Is On LOCK-DOWN.
And YOU Are The Warden/Security-Guard. 
Make Sure There Are No Windows Of
"Oops, I Forgot The Window/Door/I Didn't Close It Quick Enough, And The Pet Got Out"
That's Gambling With That Pet's Life!

Well, Sadly, I've Seen One Too Many Cases Of People Letting Foster-Cats Go Outside After living With Them For a Few Weeks, Only To Go MISSING AGAIN.
And I'm Frankly FED UP With How Those People Go;
"Oh My, How Could This Possibly Happen??"
It Happens, Because The Pet Is Let Outside,
And It's Trying To Find It's Way BACK To Where It's Familiar.
And It Gets LOST. :(

My Final Words In This Post Is That; 
Underneath a Rough Exterior, Lies a Gem, Just Waiting To Be Unearthed.
And That's What a Rescue Is.
You Need To Be Prepared To Get The Finest Brush To Brush Away All The Dirt Hiding It, Gently and Slower Than a Snail's Pace.
It Might Take a Really Long Time. And It Might Be Really Hard/Challenging.
And Things Aren't Going To Go By Your Schedule.
But If You Can Do That For Someone, You'll Be Changing Their Life Forever.
And Yours As Well. For The Better.