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Story - Loki and Elvis

LOKI AND ELVIS WHEN THEY WERE FIRST RESCUED

Loki and Elvis were rescued last autumn and were in very bad way when the dog warden found them and took them to the kennels where they were cared for until we adopted them. They were both utterly terrified when we brought them home. Elvis would try to bolt every time we passed anyone on a walk. Any noise or sudden movement scared them.

With dogs that are nervous and show fear, it's terribly important to ignore both the fear and the source of the fear; otherwise you only reinforce the dog's fearfulness. Instinctively you wart to comfort the dog, but it's the wrong thing to do. (When you walk a nervous dog, use a harness and make sure it's secure). The amazing thing is that they both bear the scars of ill-treatment; they are not at all aggressive. Time helps most of all, and being gentle and calm with them always. When they first arrived, they didn't know what treats were; they were scared of toys. Now they wolf treats and play with some toys.

We discovered Elvis has epilepsy, but he's been free of fits since we got his medication at the right level. Nearly six months on, Elvis passes people with nonchalance, Loki will go and say hello. We have started obedience training and are about to start agility. It will take years to get them to the stage of maximum recovery from their traumas, but they are terrific dogs and are beginning to really enjoy life.

LOKI AND ELVIS SIX MONTHS ON

Kirsty White

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