"1,200 Good Days Are Not Always Enough"


Some could say Opie is the worst dog in the world.
If someone said it, I'd probably agree.
Heck, I've said it myself.
I brought him here near Christmas of 2014.
Right away, I feared I had made a grave error. He ran from everyone in the household. Galloped, really. Hid. It took real effort to catch this emaciated 6 pound creature for any purpose in this tiny house.
He enjoyed nothing.
He would not eat if you stayed with him. At the same time, he was so afraid to be alone, he was too concerned to eat when left.
He was petrified of his crate. He would cry and bark for hours on end if put inside, then when allowed out, he was too afraid to not cower in every corner.
If he was held, he shook violently. If he was sat down, he was in a fetal position and fell over.
He did not know how to be with other dogs.
He marked. And Marked. And Marked. Everything. Twelve times a day. Long after being neutered.
While he wanted to be away from people, when left, even for a few minutes, he would destroy everything in his path from the anxiety his loneliness caused. Remember, crates were so traumatic, we did not even try after the initial start.
He ate books, shoes, belts, movies, toys, jeans, jackets, buttons, wood, paper, wrapped gifts, walls, trim, the couch. . .that was just in one day. It didn't stop.
He barked, he cried, he destroyed, he cowered, he hid, he made the house a bathroom, he ran away. . .and then begged for company. He killed the chicks we hatched out inside when one made the mistake of flying out of the little brooder when it was still too cold to move them outside.
If you're still with me, you have probably gathered that in the grand scheme of bad, there were few, if any, areas Opie hadn't covered and mastered.
So Bad. . .
You know, Bad can mean "not such as to be hoped for or desired," and that is what he was: "Not" what was hoped for or desired.
I began to feel he was hopeless; life was so bad for him, so hard to endure. . .we were reaching a cross-roads where I did not know how this could be considered reasonable, anymore, for his sake and our's.
Make no mistake. . . it is true that damage can run so deep that enough repair isn't possible. I was not sure with this little fellow. I kept hoping.
You might have guessed that isn't where his / our/ my story ends.
Opie has taught me more about what the past does than even my own tragic experiences, and frankly, more than any other rescued animal, and certainly more than people.
Let me go back a bit to tell you about Opie before us. It changes perceptions when you know about before. . .with anything.
I saw a photo of this skeletal, tiny canine standing on a wet, concrete floor in a poor County in a West Virginian pound online. In the second photo, I saw a litter of purebred puppies. His. This pound is in one of the poorest counties in America. No real funding, a high Euthanasia rate and conditions that we would never want our personal pets to endure.
He had been turned in by a backyard breeder that day with the litter. Something was wrong with the pups. They brought the mother in, but the breeder explained she was keeping her to continue breeding. . .but the puppies and the father of were being dumped. Someone's problem now, they were. . .not her's.
That is what we KNOW. Here is what common sense and a life of animal rescue tells me beyond that confirmed story. . .
Opie was a product of decades of shoddy backyard breeding. He lived in a crate where he slept, ate a little poor quality food and eliminated. He was never handled except when pulled out to breed a female. I imagine the people who had him were addicts, I imagine they screamed and raved and never acted like humans should. He barked constantly and was harmed often because it was annoying. His joints, from lack of walking and poor breeding, made the already questionable front legs we see in this breed greatly exacerbated to where you have to note the severe crooked angle when you see him and know that may not even hold up as years pass. He never saw outside. He was isolated and unable to touch others but able to see them from his crate, able to look into their crates and long for friendship, as all dogs will.
When you hear his back story, what I told you at first. . .how you feel about it changes. I am sure of it.
He was about three years old when turned in. For about 1,100 days, all he knew was horror.
And over 1,200 good days with us hasn't been enough to overcome it all. It IS enough to see change, but it is not for him to forget.
I encourage you to stop and consider how this applies to not only to animals, but to the people you meet daily and to those you think you know so well.
"Just get over it," sounds super ideal, but even for a little dog, that has proven insurmountable.
And you know, many beings walk paths without love or joy and stay positive: dogs and people. They are super tough.
But some cannot. Some aren't.
The path to better understanding mankind is to look outside of ourselves. . .
So just remember we aren't all made out of the same stuff: some of us are fragile and need more. Some folks don't really heal. How we handled a thing and how another handles it will never be the same. It cannot be. Will not ever be.
1,200 consecutive days where a hand only brought a scratch and food isn't always going to be enough believe that something bad isn't coming next because 1,201 days ago, there was nothing good.
I sure wish the mistreated children and horses and dogs could ALWAYS turned around and believe in only the good things, but Opie has shown me it isn't always going to be.
These days are okay for the little Dachshund. He sleeps with the rest of the dogs and his chosen person, Christian. He scratches to be let into his "room" with his boy at night to go to bed. Sometimes he will trot away when he knows he will be picked up, but sometimes, he stands there like a champ and just allows it, and it may not seem brave others, but it is brave to us.
He likes to go outside and lay in the sun and chase Lita, his best dog friend. He will eat with an audience or without, and he will raise hell to be fed on time. He will take a treat if you catch him on a good day. And lastly, he will, if he thinks you're not going to touch him or look right at him, whine and jump up and down until he climbs up to sleep by one's foot in the living room.
And about 6 months ago, he stopped destroying every single thing in his path.
So time works some wonders. . . but some is the key word, isn't it?