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 TESTIMONIALS > Helping A Border Collie Rescue Integrate Into The Family
Testimonial By: Laura        Publish Date: 2005-01-01

Hi Eugenie

Pippa’s Story
In December 2001 I decided it was time to get a BC friend for Chaka, my male BC who would turn 2 in April. I given a lot of thought of taking a rescue dog, as there were so many BC’s that needed new homes. In January I was told that the police at the dog school at Hammanskraal had some young BC’s that they couldn’t use and came up for auction. Without really knowing what adopting rescue dogs was like I went off to see the dogs. According to the people in charge all the BC’s were under 2 years, just what I was looking for. There were 4 BC’s and amongst the four of us that wanted them we decided which ones we would take. I decided to take "Tess" because she was the frailest and smallest of the four.
In the car on the way home I looked at her teeth and thought they were very bad for such a young dog. I stopped the car and scrutinized the papers and discovered that she was actually 7 years old. I did not have the heart not to take her.
At home things between her and Chaka started off well until I decided - in my ignorance- to give each a bone. Chaka couldn’t handle it and went for her. I tried to get them apart and in the process was bitten by Chaka. What a shock. Later that afternoon after myself being stitched up my BC friends came to visit. Chaka and Pippa were calmly playing on the grass.
Soon after that the two BC’s and myself went to the sea. We had a wonderful time, but Pippa bonded more with Chaka than with me. I just left them. Pippa was a terrible barker and I did not know how to get her to stop. At Chaka’s agility classes she barked so much that one of the other handlers asked me to keep her in the car. Needless to say what that did to her and the car.
At that stage she was fine with the 2 Maltese I had, but the older of the two, who is now 17 started seeing and hearing less, which made her very tense. It is then when Pippa bit her badly one day when the Maltese came back from the doggy parlour. Pippa wanted to smell her and she felt threatened and jumped away. After Sproete being stitched up and myself feeling quite shaken I was scared to let Pippa near the little dogs, but it was difficult as Sproete loved to walk around the garden and mark her territory. She is still a very dominant girl, even at this age. After about two days everything was back to normal at home.
At agility Pippa was allowed to sit outside and I tied her and Chaka up next to each other, so she felt much better. She still tended to bark a lot and got more tense and worked up without me really noticing. I was very new in the "big dog" situation and never had any problems with my smaller dogs.
After I had Pippa for just over a year and things not really getting better I decided to start her with Obedience to build up her confidence. It was only then that we realised how insecure she was and some form of mishandling in her past came up. She so wanted to please, she didn’t now what to do. She was extremely highly strung, but learnt very fast and I was proud of her. Only then did I realise how much attention she needed from me, and that she had to learn to trust and listen to me and not to Chaka.
After almost a year after Sproete’s attack, Fiela, the other Maltese was bitten. Chaka and Pippa were playing outside with the ball and were very hyped up. As Pippa ran into the house, she bumped into Fiela and bit her. The same story as with Sproete, but Fiela was mush more scared and timid. I didn’t expect it. I felt sorry for the little dogs and was angry at Pippa, but realised that she couldn’t help it and did not do it on purpose.
It was that Friday evening that I remembered a colleague at work telling me about TTouch. I started surfing the web and finally discovered Eugenie’s information. I decided to give her a call. We talked about the issues with Pippa, I sent through her information and made an appointment to take Pippa through the following Saturday.
At Eugenie’s I realised that all Pippa needed was a lot of gentle care. It is shouting that got her worked up and confused. She loved being touched by Eugenie, though she was a bit unsure at first. We gave her a body wrap, which she accepted without any fuss.
I made 2 more appointments and started working with Pippa. She had her body wrap on when we went to obedience. She definitely felt more secure, but still got tensed up with some of the other dogs. This was only the beginning of the road. I started realising a lot of things that I did wrong and that could have prevented the previous biting episodes. I realised that by rescuing a dog, you don’t go and fetch them and they frolic on, just too happy to have a new home. Like most people they carry the scars of insecurity, feeling rejected and often abused.
Through Pippa I was forced to learn about animal behaviour. I am looking at my dogs with different eyes and try not to see it from a human perspective. If it was not for Pippa I wouldn’t have discovered TTouch, what it meant for me, Pippa, the two old Maltese who can’t wait to be touched and even Chaka. I should have had more hands. Even my friends benefited from it.
It is now almost two months after the first TTouch session. Pippa is much calmer, but has her moments. I keep the little ones separate from the BC’s, just to give all of us peace of mind. We all have our moments of being together outside. When I let the little ones out, Pippa comes and leans against me, just looking at them. She has started responding to me calling her and comes, where as in the past she just ignored me.
As Maxine told me once - "every person deserves the dog they get" I got Pippa. I had the choice of trying to re-home her, which would have been impossible, putting her down, which I never could do, or sticking with her and work through it together.
We are now all settling down to a much calmer life style. All of us trying to stress less and just enjoy life. Pippa is blossoming with all the positive attention she is getting and the whole situation at home is quietening down.
Pippa has also started with agility. She is now off lead jumping at least 5 jumps in a row, and she loves going over the A-frame.
Thanks for helping me, Pippa and the other three dogs. We are all benefiting from TTouch.
With kind regards

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