I adopted Cash at a PetValue adoption event on January 13, 2018 in Manassas. When I first brought Cash home, he was very, very anxious and skittish. For the first several months, he would retreat any time I walked towards him, and he seemed terrified of every little thing he encountered (like an empty soda can strewn in the grass, or a trash can at the end of a driveway, or a pile of mail I was carrying in from the mailbox, or the umbrella I grabbed when it rained, etc.). As one example, a firetruck blared it’s siren just as it drove by, at very the moment Cash and I were walking out the door for a walk; because of that, he was trembling in fear for the next 15 minutes and then afraid to go out the front door for the next 2 days. He did not play with his toys or wag his tail at all for at least 4 or 5 months. Never barked. He had trouble with house training as well at the beginning. I have to admit, I wondered if I had made a mistake and thought ‘what did I get myself into?’.
But with lots of patience and love, and some tips from a professional trainer (including a couple of weeks refresher crate training, plus keeping him leashed and tethered to me inside the house for a period of time), he has become a whole new dog. It’s like night and day. The transformation was very gradual at first and not without setbacks, but he started turning the corner around the 6 month mark. Little by little, he started coming out of his shell and letting his guard down. He started showing an interest in his toys, and engaging in occasional play, just in little spurts at first. With that came the occasional tail wagging. Over time it became more and more frequent, until the point where he’s a very happy and playful boy every single day.
Looking back from one year on, it’s amazing how much he has progressed. Now he wakes up every morning with his little tail wagging, so excited for the first walk of the day. He loves a good game of fetch and chase and tug-of-war, and he plays with his toys practically everyday (he loves to destroy the plushies, tearing the stuffing and squeakers out). He gets along so, so well with other dogs of all shapes and sizes and he tries to play with each and every one he meets. He’s just the sweetest dog, not an aggressive bone in his body. I feel like I could not have ended up with a better friend, and I’m sure he feels the same way now too.
He’s still a little skittish around new people (especially men) and when there’s any kind of commotion, and he can still have some anxiety issues every once in a while. But it’s very rare at this point and he’s becoming more and more resilient all the time. You can really tell he feels safe and comfortable in his new home and new life.
It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it, 100%.