Elizabeth's Daily Journey with TAG
As all of you will know we adopted 3 Turkish dogs and a Turkish cat. We have done it over the last couple of years but if anyone is interested in doing this I would thoroughly recommend it, but tell you honestly what we did wrong and what we did right. Hindsight is wonderful. We have another dog on the cards and that will complete our family.
To adopt any dog can be difficult as you are getting an animal which may have been abused, starved or beaten. Unfortunately they cannot tell you their story but as you get to know them things become very evident.
To understand what I'm hoping to tell, you will have to read the previous stories about my dogs - Elizabeth's Journey with TAG. ( parts 1-5)
Ruby: Ruby survived because she was tough and strong. Now this is good for a street cat , of course, as she can and did chase any other cat away. One look from Ruby and they fled from any dish of food. So we took her home and we have 3 other cats. She is still the toughie she always was, so we have had to take our time adjusting her to food out all the time and letting the others eat. She is getting better but Ruby Rules OK!
This will always be the case now but as long as the rest are reassured there is no problem.
Toorki : Toorki ( Ataturk) had huge problems with commitment. How could a dog be anything else when he is so intelligent ? Toorki was difficult BECAUSE of his intelligence. We didn't understand why he couldn't and wouldn't come to us. We then realised he had a fear of grass and being held by the collar. Every Turkish dog we have had , has had this problem about being held. They are fearful of collar contact- clicker training was needed. Click/touch/tasty food.
Toorki had also been shunted from place to place, landing up in boarding kennels before he came across to the UK. Even when he arrived with us his future was not secure but when we eventually adopted him the real bonding could begin. He always wanted to run- he's a big dog and this would scare me as I can't stand him out of my sight. I did accept though that he would always come home after about ten minutes- a very, long ten minutes for me. I had to train him out of this and did it by walking and walking and walking him.
We now have a wonderful dog- I really mean this. Even our vet who sees dogs every day commented, Hasn't he the kindest eyes?
Zorro: Zorro, Zozzie, Zozzicle (all his names) has been an absolute character. It was as though he was waiting for us all his life. When we put him in the van beside me to leave Turgutreis he NEVER looked back. He KNEW he was heading to his new life.
He had never had a toy or bone or chew ( and he is at least 10 years old) and when he DID get them he would growl at the others. We noticed this was part of the fun. He could really enjoy having a bone if everyone else wanted it!!!! He will bury the bone then guard the burial place with great enthusiasm and dedication, refusing to let anyone pass by so all the dogs, to placate him, go for long circuitous routes around him. If he gets the chance to chew the bone Toorki will, at any time, approach, look at him and Zorro immediately gives up his treasure. This is quietly and confidently done by Toorki- no growls or any outward signs to us , yet repeatedly Zorro gives in.
As befitting a street dog he is a brilliant bin raker. The swing lids are wonderful for him and the fuller the bin the better. Once a street dog? Always............... The times I have forgotten and heard CRASH............ and he's off!!!!! Holding on to any wrapper, paper or egg shell!!!! For an old man he can fairly sprint.
Because he didn't have a MUM before, he is totally besotted with me. He will guard me with his life and I find the street dogs are very loyal like this. Who can blame them? He IS getting braver about Mum disappearing into the bathroom, but the first time he saw me have a shower was hilarious. He SO wanted to be with me but hey ho..... what was she doing? Cattle also running to the fence as he passes utterly amazes him. He has NO idea what they are. Eyes are on stalks. He is a great joy to us and every day we have him is a good day.
Frodo: Frodo was very difficult and I needed help . With hindsight we should NOT have had anyone else into his chalet/ den /cave. He went out there to have a rest after the long European journey and he didn't come out for 4 months. I had a dog trainer come in and she said to sit with him in the room but NO looking or touching until HE wanted. Extremely difficult. He also must be the most learned of dogs as he had radio 4 on all day in the background. I was also glad of it when I spent time with him as it was a long sit with your coffee. What we did was introduce friends to the chalet and they would sit with him as well. I see now I should have left him with me alone because when he decided to come out he had me and his cave as his safe place and HE then decided who he saw and didn't. NO one else is now allowed into his chalet. He comes out to my husband and is quite happy with him outside but would shrink back from him if he went into his cave/ his personal space still. He has come on in leaps and bounds- literally!!!! He boings around like a spring lamb.
We also wondered about Frodo's brother- he is coming across at the end of the year but SO glad Frodo was on his own. He is brave by himself and is our young lab's friend and if Stitch had been with him he would always have been in his shadow, so in that respect we did the right thing. Frodo can now show off to Stitch.
To take any rescue dog is a leap of faith that you will have a dog you can train and will accept you and the TAG dogs we have are intelligent, grateful and loyal. ALSO they are healthy as only the tough have survived. Survival of the fittest indeed. Toilet training for them has been a breeze. When you consider they have been in outdoor kennels for most of their lives it amazes me how very clean they are. Frodo was 4 months inside but not once did he do anything anywhere other than the newspapers I gave him for this act. Whenever he came outside that was it- all toilet outside. He did it himself.
No dog or cat asks to come to you. You have chosen your dog or cat and when things are a little difficult , as sometimes they can be, remember that animal has a sensitivity and dignity that I feel a lot of humans have lost. A day spent with humans or my dogs? My dogs win every time!!!