Before I found Tibor, my Siberian Husky, Mitsubishi (the kids named him; need I say more???) passed away. He joined my family shortly after my first husband, Winston, died and was a great comfort for 12 years.
When I asked Mitsubishi why he left, he chided me, saying, “You had me long enough. Other dogs need you.” Tough words, but true.
My second husband, Charlie, was ready to get a new dog. I started looking at pictures of dogs he sent, but nothing clicked.
Then I saw Tibor’s picture and knew he was the one.
A Hot Mess
Tibor was found running loose in West Virginia. He was about 16 months old.
- He had a broken tooth, scars on his tummy, with a hairless spot on his chest.
- He could not navigate stairs.
- Squeaky toys, thunder and fireworks scared him.
- He reacted aggressively to some situations, although he was clearly a love.
- When I sat next to him, I repeatedly saw a large dog biting a man’s arm!
- My sense is that he escaped from dog fighters or guard dog trainers.
Reminder: I am not a dog trainer. I communicate with animals, focusing on relationships and better communications.
Put your safety first when dealing with an aggressive animal. Use whatever resources you discern are for your and your animal’s highest good.
You can change your animal’s name
Tibor was originally named Thunder. Being VERY afraid of thunder, he did not like that name. We renamed him after an extraordinary Medal of Honor winner, Tibor Rubin.
Expressing dislikes and saying no is a learned skill
In his previous “life,” Tibor was not allowed to express his dislikes or say no. With us, he felt safe to express himself. But he did not know how to say “I don’t want to” appropriately.
- Tibor did not like coming into the house after a walk. When we tried to pull him, he would growl and bark. So we stood in the hallway and invited him into the house with love. It worked.
- Tibor loved sleeping on the bed with me. But he did not want to share the bed with Charlie -growling/snapping. I communicated that he had his own bed and it was a privilege to be on our bed. I would gently remind him of that if he started growling as Charlie came to bed. The growls would turn into, “I know, I know, I was just really comfortable…”
Even rescue dogs teach us:
I thought my job was to rescue and care for Tibor. I now see that his issues were opportunities for me to work on my issues.
For example, my most comfortable way of expressing myself or saying no is passive aggressive, including unexpected blowups at my husband.
Here comes Tibor, who is extremely frightened of fireworks and thunder – unexpected explosions of violent sound – very symbolic of my blowups.
I made a commitment to express myself in an unemotional way before I get to fireworks! It has made a difference in my relationship with Charlie, and Tibor seems less frightened over time.