Real Rescue Dogs Are Talking…
HIYA!! SAVANNAH HERE!!!
Today I have another interview for my series…
REAL RESCUE DOGS ARE TALKING…
LIFE CHANGING INTERVIEWS WITH SAVANNAH
You may know I have had some struggles getting more of our canine furriends to step up and share their rescue stories with me. But, my furriend Rumpydog (
@RumpyDog) was so kind to put out a call for volunteers on Twitter…and that is how I found my next guest.
So purrlease help me give a warm welcome to none other than
MURPH THE MUTT
APAWS!!! APAWS!!! APAWS!!!
Savannah: Hiya Murph. Thanks lots for stopping by and having a woof and a meow or two with me today. I know you don’t have a paw blog, but you are active on Twitter under the handle of @Murph_the_Mutt. Right?
Murph: First, Savannah, thanks for having me do the interview. I am excited someone is interested in my story—actually; I just love attention of any kind! BOL
And yes I don’t have a paw blog, but my Twitter profile tells it all:
“I’m loosely defined as a puggle. I am considered one of the great canine philosophers of our time. I’m also a part time supermodel. Oh, and I am a bacon enthusiast.”
That’s pretty much me.
Savannah: Well you know I am an equal opportunity interviewer, and anywhere I can get an interview with courageous adult rescue dog like you, then it doesn’t matter which social media you prefer. So Murph, can you get us started by giving some insight into how you arrived at your furrever home?
Murph: Mom and Dad already had my brofur, Gus-Gus, and decided he needed some company. They found me at our local shelter, the Cedar Bend Humane Society, in Waterloo, Iowa. No one is sure exactly how old I was (maybe about two years?).
…this is me and Gus-Gus…I got a bit bigger later on I think…
I had chain marks on my neck, so my parents think I probably spent a lot of time tied to a tree. I hadn’t had much socialization—and I am a really, really lovey dog, so that was rough for me. I’ve been with my parents and our clan (a total of three dogs and three cats!!!) for about five years now. I’m probably about seven years old now, and graying around the muzzle…but it only makes me more distinguished!
Savannah: I am sure it does Gus—I can see that now that you point it out. Nice! Give us an idea Murph what you found to be the hardest thing to get over when you tried to trust your new Guardians.
Murph : When I first came home, I was excited to have a forever family but had some issues with anxiety. I wasn’t too sure about new people, especially men. I was really fearful, and my way of showing fear was barking and trying to be intimidating.
My parents realized that I needed to be in a separate room when I ate because sometimes I’d try to take my brofur’s food and start a fight. Mom thinks that’s probably because I had to fight for food in the past, and it took me a while to realize that my new family would feed me all I needed.
In the meantime, Gus-Gus had to get stitches a couple of times (guess I should apologize, huh?). But that was a problem that was easily solved—he eats in the dining room and I eat in the office!
I also sometimes didn’t want to share my Mom…I wanted all of her attention all the time—probably because I received such limited attention in the past.
Fortunately, I have a Mom who took me to obedience and she learned some ways to help me understand that wasn’t acceptable. Mom and Dad also send me to doggie daycare once a week. That’s really helped my doggie social skills!
They’ve also learned a lot of strategies to help me with my anxiety. For instance, they used counter-conditioning for things I used to be afraid of….Like when new people come to the house (a situation that made me anxious)—I get treats…so I learned that having house guests isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s awesome! They also used techniques like hand feeding me so I would trust them more and learn that they are in charge of my well-being.
Savannah:…hmmmm…hand feeding…now that’s not one we have heard before in this series. I can see that for many cats and dogs that would be a really good thing to try. Now, can you describe some of the ways you and your Mom and Dad worked together to help get you into your recovery and try to overcome your issues or challenges.
Murph: Well, I already gave some woofs about the good stuff with obedience school to help socialize me better.
Another thing, after I was adopted, the vet said I was a great dog but wasn’t so sure of my place in the world—so my parents have helped me find that place! I went to obedience class right after I came home, and that helped a lot with confidence.
After obedience, I even took a course in agility—which helped my anxiety and also helped me to sculpt my sexy bod! I am also lucky that my parents are runners, and they quickly figured out that I need a bit more exercise than my brofurs. I only wish my parents were faster runners—they need to pick it up a bit!
One of the best things that came from going to obedience and agility classes was getting to know the instructor. Our parents signed Gus-Gus and me up for her doggie daycare, and she’s a behaviorist who has helped Mom and Dad SO much with advice about our multi-pet household! She is pretty much a doggie genius!
Often, when my parents come in and ask for advice about a “dog” problem, she points out that it’s actually not a “dog” problem but something Mom and Dad are doing wrong. Silly Mom and Dad!
Going to agility and obedience turned out to be key in making me the amazing guy you see today! Fortunately, I’m very food-motivated (which means I’ll do anything for a treat), so as long as Mom had treats in her fanny pack, I didn’t care much about anything else!
Mom and I never had any intention of doing a bunch of agility competitions, but it was great for my confidence and my bond with her. I wasn’t stressed at all by agility, even though lots of dogs and people were around, and that made Mom realize that being totally focused on something really helped my anxiety. So when we had male guests at our house (which used to be totally stressful for me), Mom started doing these 5 minute training routines (sit, down, shake, etc.) with me and rewarding me with treats to help me focus.
Savannah: Meowzers Murph!! You Mom sounds like she was becoming a “Murph whisperer” for sure! Pawsome!!
Woof a bit more about the success you have had getting more and more from all this obedience and agility learning. Do you think it has helped you show more and more of your REAL SELF?
Murph: Oh Dog! You are spot on Savannah! I am much more the REAL SELF I want everyone to see and know.
I am a calmer dog now, but I’m still Murph—I still run crazy circles around the yard, pretend I don’t hear Dad when he wants me to come inside, and get upset when the cats taunt me!
Sometimes I give my parents fits, but that’s just the Murphdog! I’ve always been really clingy to my parents, and that’s not gonna change. I’m more relaxed though—I know my parents love me and aren’t going anywhere. They’ve also learned a lot of strategies to help me with my anxiety. I ain’t a perfect dog, but my Mom and Dad got their faults as well…I think my parents realized a long time ago that I’ll never be a dog that they can take to the farmer’s market—crowded places like that are just too crazy and stressful for me.
There are some problems we haven’t solved yet—for instance, I flip out at the vacuum…and no matter what Mom and Dad do, that doesn’t change! I mean, I just don’t like the vacuum. Can you blame me? So they just vacuum when I’m outside playing in the yard now!
Savannah: MOL! Murph…I don’t know many cats who even want the evil HOOVER allowed IN the house!! And as for me, I am an indoor only cat and so I can’t go outside and play while they run that evil HOOVER!! You are lucky you can get away from it!
Now, last question, can you offer any advice to our readers to help them support their adult rescue dog, or one they may be thinkin’ about brining into their home, get into its recovery process?
Murph: Of course, every adult cat or dog you might adopt has a history—but on the positive side, I was already potty trained! And I am probably the most affectionate dog in the world—my parents have never doubted how much I appreciate all they’ve done for me!
Savannah: Ok Murph, I am so purrleased you came by to have this interview with me. This was great! Any last thought or words of wisdom you want to share?
Murph: Thanks for taking an interest in my story!
Savannah: Why Murph, you are Real Rescue Dog and You Are Talking…of course I am interested in your story. I am just sad to learn that somewhere in your early life someone chained you.
(Savannah reaches over to Murph and give him a reassuring paw pat)…but look how lucky you Mom and Dad are to have found you. And you got to have a family with brofurs and a cat sister too…purrfect!
That ends ouR Real Rescue Dogs Are Talking interview for February. I hope you found some useful tips and insights from Murph’s experiences.
Please be sure to let Murph know how much you appreciated his coming forward to do this interview. Leave him a comment in this post. I will contact him via Twitter to let him know his interview is published. And if you have a Twitter handle, be sure to send him a Tweet @Murph_the_Mutt
Have a great Tuesday!