A lot of people round here have dogs - it being a country area. The vast majority are of the hunting variety - labradors, spaniels, pointers, retrievers etc. Then there are plenty of terriers - good for ratting and rabbiting.
There is also a good percentage of 'rescue' dogs - for people reading this who are not living in the UK - these are dogs nobody wants and are put up for rescuing and to be given good homes. Their stories are often very sad - and often their history is totally unknown anyway.
We are lucky with Tess. We bought her at eight weeks old from a farm where she was bred. They had her mother and father, her aunt and uncle and various cousins, brothers and sisters. They all ran about the farmyard all day and in the evening they went into the farm kitchen. Tess in particular spent most evenings asleep on the farmer's knee. She came home with us on the day we bought her and has had a similar life here, which means she has never had occasion to mistrust anyone.
This is not so with many rescue dogs who have been passed from pillar to post, had several owners, been ill-treated etc. Such a dog is Topsy, the dog my friend J and her husband decided to rescue.
Topsy is a black cocker spaniel - very beautiful and of show quality. She has been used for breeding and has had two or three litters of puppies. She has been kept outside in a shed with a run and has had little or no experience of love, affection, home comforts etc. She is seven years old which in human terms (1yr = 7 years) is almost 50.
She is now in a loving home where she is cared for indoors and given a lot of love and affection. But she is damaged and we are beginning to think that the damage is not repairable. She is afraid of everyone except her new owners and if anyone comes to the door she runs upstairs in terror. When I go to see her she retreats round the corner and will not come out. She is literally terrified of people, particularly of men.
I suppose if we were to befriend a seriously damaged human at the age of fifty it would be a long time before we would see him/her able to trust anyone and it seems the same with Topsy. Isn't is appalling that as humans we can treat an animal in such a way.
I told my friend I would put a blog on about Topsy and see if anyone reading it had any tips on ways in which she could help her to overcome this terrible fear of everyone and everything. Any ideas?