It has been almost a month since Prince and Queeny arrived home. A month full of joy, apprehension, worry, heartbreak and lots and lots of love.
Queeny took to her new environment like a fish to water. Sturdy, strong, outgoing and friendly, she quickly established her position among dogs three times her size. In no time she even challenged Helen for the position of top dog. Queeny never gave me any reason to worry.
Prince on the other hand had my heart in a vice ever since I first saw him at the shelter. Skin and bones does not cover it. His spine and rib cage were extremely pronounced, his coat was feathery and very rough, having suffered from mange, and his demeanour was scared/passive aggressive. He whined a great deal. He also snapped whenever approached, but was quickly cured of that by firm kindness.
It took him a few days to finally settle into his house and get familiar with the exercise and feeding daily routine. But he still kept himself to himself. Despite the fact that he went for walks with the rest of the dogs, ate his food at the same time they did, yet most of the time he preferred his own house and his own company. I was going to give him another week before taking matters into my own hands, but three weeks after his arrival he surprised me.
One morning I was checking on him in his house as usual, but he was not there. I looked around and there he was with the rest of the gang foraging in the orchard which is right next to their pen. I watched for a while and was relieved to see him initiate some horseplay with Troy. He was starting to socialise with the rest of them, all on his own.
Now, nearly one month in, I am gratified that I can no longer see his spine and ribs. Though he is still nowhere near the weight of the others, yet his coat is getting thicker and softer, indicating improving health.
He sleeps right through the night without starting up and howling every so often as he used to. This alone is a very strong indicator that he no longer feels threatened. This has relieved me no end, to know that he now feels safe. He has even stopped growling when he gets his food. He does not feel that he has to defend his food. Finally he now responds to my nickname of him “Pinso”!
He comes to me for petting and some TLC whenever I call. He is also taking over some guard duties with his peers, he barks at people or vehicles outside the gates, and he is running free all over the garden.