We adopted an older, spayed, female Chihuahua-daschund cross named Ginger about three years ago. She was being fostered by a kind girl named Stephanie because this dog had been returned to the East Side shelter multiple times for being a problem fit with her past potential adopters.
During the past three years, she has blossomed into a delightful, playful, loving companion – but we have learned what abuse she has suffered. This letter is aimed at the person who was cruel, and abused and mentally scarred this dog.
GINGER SAID: She has been shot at with something.
My husband takes photos with a camera shutter that makes a clicking noise and she slowly creeps quietly into the bedroom behind the nightstand to hide in the dark. It is almost impossible to take her picture because she thinks the camera and cellphone is something that may hurt her. I chop vegetables for soup or stew; again, she slowly creeps into the bedroom to hide. We have one of those plastic guns that use salt to kill flies, and she hides from that noise, so we have quit using it.
GINGER SAID: One of her punishers was a short man with a beard, wearing baseball cap.
She has three levels of barking: a low, growling bark, a normal bark and a screaming, ear-piercing bark. She has slowly calmed down on her barking and the fearful screaming bark.
Her main fearful instigator phantom is a short, bearded male with a ball cap. If someone of that description comes to our house, she screams and screams. She used to scream at everyone, but that has changed and she will go submissively to almost everyone. We have a dear male friend who matches that description, and he has given up after years of trying make friends with her.
Her fear of most men has receded, and she is loving and cuddles with my husband. Yet he still makes her fearful when he comes into the room, then she growls and sometimes barks, but ends up in his lap after he gets settled. But that took years of gentle treatment.
GINGER SAID: She has been punished with a fly swatter and remote control.
Then there is the fly-swatter. I first learned of her fear of it when I tried to kill a fly, and she ran into the bedroom and hid. I can get her to stop barking most of the time just by showing her the swatter.
The first time I used a remote control after she came here to live, she fled like a wild rabbit. It has taken all of this time to make her relax and I actually rub it on her when I pet her.
GINGER SAID: She has been punished severely for going to the bathroom in the house.
She is house-trained, and if for some reason she is closed in and has an accident in the house, she hides and cringes for most of the day.
GINGER SAID: Love and patience can’t overcome everything, but keep trying.
She will always be a very submissive female, but cringing with pee has stopped. She has given her heart to us, and we won’t let her go. She is full of love.
If you don’t like dogs, don’t want one around, then the answer is not to get one and not to hurt them.