There are times when those of us working at The Lost Dogs’ Home wish we could somehow ask the animals that come through our door, how they got into such a bad state – particularly those that have been mistreated.
In July, Frewyn, a cream coloured Poodle mix arrived at the Home’s Echuca Shelter in a very poor condition, he had a severely matted coat and displayed the tell-tale signs of gross mistreatment. If that wasn’t enough, he had a rare congenital condition which would have caused significant discomfort and required specialist surgery to correct.
In the care of the Home’s Echuca staff Frewyn perhaps had his first experience of kindness and affection. His heavy matted coat was removed, he had a good wash and after fully recovering from his surgery began basic obedience training and socialisation.
When Shelter Manager Kate Kemp thought he was finally ready, Frewyn was placed up for adoption. The adoptee specifications included someone who would commit to further obedience training, socialising, regular grooming and most importantly give Frewyn the love and affection he so desperately deserved.
Tony Bennett was one of the many people who came across Frewyn’s story while reading the paper, “I saw him in the paper and knew he needed a loving, home. I was planning to get another dog before seeing the article, I wanted a friend for my dog as well as myself, so it was perfect,” he said.
Tony contacted the Shelter and before he knew it, was at the adoptions area with his wife and Molly, their Poodle and Shih Tzu mix.
No words were necessary, when Frewyn despite being terrified of humans and in particular strangers immediately took timid steps towards Tony.
“There were a few people there trying to get his attention, but for some reason Frewyn walked right up to me. It made me feel great.”
On moving into his new home, Tony recalled how Frewyn constantly followed him around, “He was terrified for a day and I had to stay by his side and continue praising him. He wouldn’t jump on me, he would sit near my legs. I tried my best to make him feel safe. I just spoke to him a lot in a calm voice.”
With each passing day, Tony began to discover more and more the impact Frewyn’s past has had on his behaviour, “I’ve noticed that he does not like the colour white. He still won’t go in the kitchen because the floor is white. When I take him out for a walk, he will stop and sit if we get to a white coloured path. The cars been the difficult one – I’ve got a white car and Frewyn will not hop in, I have to carry him in.’’
“Also he doesn’t bark. Molly makes all the noise and he just keeps quite,” he said. Just over a month since he was adopted, Tony said little Frewyn had come a long way, “There are a few holiday makers and children near where we live, so I take Frewyn down the street quite a bit to get him used to people. At first he would shy away from any contact with new people, but now he has really improved.’’
While Tony is his favourite, Frewyn has also warmed to his partner Annie, “Frewyn has started to sit on her lap too,” he said
“She does all the feeding and I do all the playing. He eats all of his food and if Molly doesn’t eat her meal he will eat that as well. He has got one good appetite,” he added.
While both Tony and Annie have exercised a great deal of patience and commitment towards Frewyn by continuing socialising, obedience training and constantly giving him love and support, it seems that Molly too has helped Frewyn come out of his shell, “Frewyn is also much better on the lead. He wouldn’t go near it initially. I think he was afraid of it because it meant that he would have to go outside and he preferred to stay indoors. Molly’s reaction is completely different. The moment Molly sees the lead she would get excited and I think that helped Frewyn get used to the idea,” he added.
The Poodle pair according to Tony are inseparable, “They are always playing and chasing each other around. They spend the whole day and night together- usually curling up together and falling asleep side by side.”
Frewyn’s new best friend also has to make frequent trips to the hairdresser, “They get more haircuts than me! They’re due now for one very soon!” Tony exclaimed.
Reflecting back on the last month, Tony said his favourite new habit of Frewyn’s so far would have to be how he and Molly always sit at the door upon his arrival home from work, “They wait at the door. I don’t drive a loud car; they just hear me come through the gate. It makes me feel great seeing them both waiting there.”
It is clear Frewyn, true to his name, has finally found some noble friends of his own.
The Lost Dogs’ Home would like to thank Tony, Annie and Molly for opening their hearts to Frewyn.