I never thought I’d be writing another ‘life after the refuge’ post, about a different dog, but you never know what’s round the corner, so here I am.
We lost our lovely SPA adoptee, Mattie, in March ’17. Mattie loved to chase cars, and one fateful day she chased one for too long, and lost. Our other dog, Skype, was with her when it happened. Afterwards he became very calm and just like us, he grieved. It was obvious that he missed his canine companion, so we started talking about heading off to Carcassonne to find him a new friend.
Scanning the SPA Carcassonne site, we saw a puppy that looked quite cute, but when we got there, the puppy had been adopted 35 mins before. It just wasn’t meant to be.
Then Darcy bounded up to Annette (a known fan of long eared hounds), and pretty much said “Have I got the dog for you!!!”. The dog in question still had her stitches in from sterilisation, and the wound was a bit of a mess, but “Paige” was bouncing around a park like she was made of springs. Our first impression was that she was a gorgeous, so we took a walk. Paige was interested in everything except us, so we went home in a bit of an unsure frame of mind. It took 10 days to decide that we wouldn’t want her to go to someone else, and home she came.
The first thing we found out about the newly renamed “Duffy”, is that she is scared of everything. Not as badly as some dogs, but gunshots two villages away would make her cower, tremble, or even try to escape out of a window; blades of grass in the wind blowing the wrong way would make her jump, and any noise from the TV would necessitate leaving the room in haste. Conversely, she moves around in almost complete silence. We have both tripped over her a number of times, purely through not hearing her walk up and sit behind us. She also has in inbuilt ‘off’ switch, and sleeps as soundly as anything if she feels safe – off in to the Land of Duff.
The name Duffy suits her very well, but has so many diminutives, rhymes, and other plays on words that it’s a wonder she responds to shouts of “Duffy!” at all. A non-exhaustive list: Duffy, Duffs, Duff the Fluff, Fluffy, Doofus, Doofus Faloufus, Doofaloo, Ninja, Ninj, Evil one, Duffaflump, Flump, Duffalo, Fluffalo and Thing, to mention the main ones….
Duffy clearly had none at all. She has quickly learned to sit for food and a few other rules are slowly starting to sink in. She can be quite headstrong, but sometimes she just sits and stares at us (or the fire) with a far-away expression, so ‘slowly’ is definitely the word …
The first night in her crate, Duffy was as good as gold. The next nights, she was panicked and yelled the place down. She’s bent the door of her crate and even managed to bend Skype’s Rosewood crate (apparently one of the strongest on the market). We tried leaving the crate open and the office door shut, but she tried to batter down the door. She hates to be trapped and we were losing a lot of sleep so we came to an unspoken compromise. Duffy now goes to bed quite happily, but we barely engage the bolt, so she can break out easily and fairly quietly. We sometimes come downstairs in the morning to an open crate but Duffy still in it, fast asleep. The scariest moment (for her as well I suspect) was when she got out of her crate and tried to come upstairs by jumping over the stair gate. She got stuck between the slats with paws hanging in the air, suspended by her tummy. Lots of screaming and a quick rescue, but she’s never tried it again. She can still get through it if panicked (like in a thunderstorm) but we have no idea how!
Over the Summer we walked both dogs together, but as soon as the hunting season started, Duffy started refusing to go out in the morning; she would hide and tremble, even in the car. Evening walks were better, but there were still traumas. We made the decision early on to not let her off the lead, as a single gunshot or car backfire could have her taking flight and hiding in a different Department in a few minutes. I am fortunate in that I have clients with big enclosed gardens that are happy to let the dogs have a run off the lead, so we do let her off and see her in full flight occasionally.
Skype’s initial reaction to welcoming a new dog into his home was not as calm we expected. Thankfully, within 48 hours that changed and they have been friends and playmates ever since. Duffy is so affectionate and such a cutie that she gets away with an awful lot of things she shouldn’t! Simply with a flick of the ears and a wink of an eye people instantly love her. However, the 2 dogs are now happy to use each other as pillows, and even sleep sharing a crate (usually his). She’s incredibly playful and we think she has a lot of puppyhood to catch up on – and usually Skype obliges to be the punchbag.
The right decision
Welcoming Duffy into the family has been great for us and for Skype (and hopefully another doggy has benefitted from the space left in the SPA). Duffy, 16 months later (her Gotcha day was the 24th april), isn’t scared of TV noise unless it’s a really noisy war film, she’s as affectionate and cuddly as you could wish for, and we count ourselves very lucky that there has been no sign whatsoever so far in either dog of aggression to other dogs or humans. She’s also gained quite a few kilos so her ribs are no longer sticking out like sticks. She does jump up for cuddles with strangers, and can be quite insistent, but once the ears have been scratched, she’ll settle on a dog bed (or usually a sofa), and go off to sleep and snore in the special Land of Duff.