Mac came to GSRRR in October 2014. After he was rescued in June of the same year from the flat in which he had been abandoned, he spent the next four months in council facilities before we were contacted asking if we had a space for him.
When Mac arrived to us, he was in a sorry state. His feet had been severely damaged from being left to walk around in his own faeces and urine and he was suffering from a nasty case of sarcoptic mange.
Mac proved quite a challenge for us initially. As we had not been told about the condition of his health prior to his arrival, we were not immediately equipped to deal with his issues. As all of our holding areas are outside and are flagstoned and/or concreted, this proved difficult considering Macs feet were very inflamed and most likely incredibly painful for him to walk on. We could not risk him getting any kind of nick or scrape and we had to make sure he was in as dry and as soft an environment as possible.
His mange also had to be managed very carefully as the mites that cause it can very easily be transferred from one dog to another. It is also a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transferred to humans and vice versa.
Over time, Macs health slowly improved and his mange completely cleared so he became available for rehoming. However, as we see quite often, as Mac began to feel physically better, psychological and behavioural difficulties began to emerge.
Over a number of years, we have started to notice trends on what various traumas can do to the psychology of a dog. We have had a few dogs that have experienced abandonment and a long period of severe neglect. This causes severe detrimental impacts on how the dog perceives and experiences human interaction and it may differ from what behaviours you would initially expect in these types of dogs.
Rather than suffering from severe shyness or anxiety, these dogs become what we term “aggressively affectionate.” They have little to no boundaries and become extremely pushy and competitive over human affection. This competitiveness is not just limited to other dogs, but also to any human that the dog may see as a challenger for the affection or attention of whatever human they may have latched onto. The dog may also become frustrated when they don’t receive the attention they want, causing them to lash out at the person they wish to interact with or they redirect this frustration onto another individual.
In instances, this can lead to guarding issues towards anything other than who the dog perceives as their main handler and as Mac is a Shepherd cross, he has an added genetic predisposition to guard what he believes is his. He also seems to have inherited majority husky traits which makes him a highly stubborn and independent minded creature. All in all, this makes Mac a dog that requires very experienced and very sensitive handling.
However, by no means is Mac a hopeless case, and he has yet to receive “lifer” status. We strongly believe that if Mac was given the opportunity to receive complete and consistent one on one work with a human, these traits and difficulties could be slowly improved. As we run a very busy rescue with a number of dogs all requiring work, the time that he needs on an individual basis is not within our realm of possibility. He is also very easily distracted by other dogs and is especially not a fan of other males, so even getting his attention span in the right place is next to impossible while he remains with us at the rescue.
Mac has had a few re-homing trials and unfortunately each of them has fallen through as through lack of consistency and/or his prospective adoptees becoming complacent with his issues, so he has been let down on a few occasions. This understandably has caused confusion within Mac and has set him back psychologically. This is why it is exceptionally important to fully take on board what you are being told about taking on a dog with behavioural issues. In more cases than not, complacency and dismissal of the rescues assessment can have even more of a detrimental impact upon the psychology of a dog.
All Mac wants out of life is a human to call his own. Someone who understands that his needs are complex, but not completely unchangeable. He is the type of dog that once he latches on to an individual, he would do anything to protect them. This unfortunately can be his downfall if it is not properly channelled, so it is up to whoever was to take him on to understand this and to control his environment appropriately.
If you would be interested in finding out more about Mac, pop over to our Facebook and contact us so we can have a chat. Like all of our dogs, he will always have a home here but we would still love to see him getting the happy ending he deserves.