Our friend Mike likes to say that Sadie was “a total train wreck” when we got her some years ago.
A shelter dog, Sadie had recently had puppies when she was found as a stray, and was extremely run down, weighing half of what she weighs today. You could feel every rib and hipbone in her tiny frame, and her coat was dry, flaky, and totally grey. She had been at the city shelter for nearly three months with one illness after another. It really is a wonder she survived. But worst of all, Sadie must have had considerable trauma, as she was pretty much afraid of everyone and everything. She could not be touched without flinching.
My guess is that, because she is a purebred wirehaired dachshund,
she had been part of a puppy mill or “backyard” breeding operation, and was dumped when she was no longer useful. Our friend Karen suggested the name Sadie partially because she was in such sad shape, and I had never met a sadder dog.
I credit Cesar Millan for giving me the skill I needed to develop Sadie’s confidence and not support her fears. Daily walks and stable pack living have brought her light years from where she was. She is a happy, healthy girl now, and her coat even changed color to black and gold, once she had proper food. It has taken a long time, but Sadie now plays with mom, enjoys a few other human friends, and loves to be petted.
Always suspicious of people at first, however, she still barks at those she does not know well. It is sad, however, that she has never learned to play with other dogs, and probably never will. Because she apparently had to fight for survival, or was never properly socialized, she has never allowed another dog to touch her, even in play. She is better than she used to be, but when all the other dogs play, Sadie never joins in. Attempts to engage her in play are rebuffed, or met with a growl that lets them know to back off.
I do believe she is happy that she is part of a stable pack, and it comforts her to have the other dogs around. I think she would like to play with them, but can never trust them enough not to hurt her, and that she just doesn’t know how to play without escalating it into a fight.
The pain that caused this behavior, I can only imagine. I believe she loves the other dogs in her pack, and is happy to be close, just not too close. She plays the role of “alarm dog”, the first one to bark, and I think they are grateful that she is so vigilant on their behalf.
But boy does she love her mom! Sadie is so attentive to my every move. She knows exactly how I am feeling, and is the first to comfort me when something is wrong. You could not ask for a more loyal friend, and I am so glad that she is happy and in good health. When I look at her now, she is nothing like the shell-of-a-dog she was when she came to live with us. She is my happy, happy Sadie Girl!