Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you…the incomaparable, the complicated, the mischievious, the darling…..Miss Khloe Horne.
Khloe is a very special client at Desperate Dogs because of where she came from and how far she has come. Those of you who visit us often will have seen her, always ready to greet new arrivals at the gate shyly and many of you have asked why she has such a gruff little bark.
Our client, Dana Horne, a very successful business woman with a thriving race car driver appearance/ event consultancy [forthe loveofracing.com for those of you who are nuts about Nascar too! lol] was looking for a dog to complete her life and provide a little ‘love muffin’ for her and husband Greg to adore. She rescued Khloe a few years ago when she saw her outside of Petsmart at an adoption event and fell in love with her. This shy little girl had apparently come from a puppy mill, had her vocal chords slashed [yes, really…this happens often with puppy mill dogs as it keeps the noise down and draws less attention to the illegal and abusive practices at puppy mills] and was incredibly fearful.
Never mind, Dana was instantly in love and just had to take her home.
Within a short while, it was obvious that Khloes former life had soured her view of humans [not surprising at all, really eh?] and she was skittish and snappy around everyone and anyone that came into Dana and Greg’s home, was totally mistrustful of children…… and other dogs? Forget it!
Dana was first introduced to me by our friends at Canine Country Academy in Lawrenceville, who had succesfully worked with reactivity issues in Khloe at home and in a class setting. Dana and Greg were needing to travel and behaviourist Cathy Bruce had suggested that she would fare far better in the Desperate Dogs environment than at a traditional boarding kennel due to her separation anxiety and thunder phobia, neophobia..the list was endless.
When Khloe came for evaluation, she was snappy and even tried to bite my darling Federico [huh, how dare she? lol], she wouldnt approach me at all, refused to leave her mums side and scratched the door down as soon as her mum left the room. Dana was terrified to leave her, as she herself had some issues with big dogs and thought Khloe was going to get eaten or was even going to have a heart attack without mum there. I had to frog march Dana out of the door on that first occasion to get her to leave the premises, almost!
In many cases, the work we do is just as much with the humans as the dogs, if not more so. In Dana’s case, we had to teach her that so much of the fear was stuff that SHE was holding on to, and that Khloe, if allowed to forget it, would be happy to let it go and move on. Over the years that we have been taking care of Khloe, its actually Dana that has come a long way, learning to let Khloe be more independent, letting go of her fear of big dogs and in doing so, allowing Khloe to be more carefree as a result.
Today, Khloe comes here often and plays with great danes, dobermans, snarky little terriers, weimaraners…to her, they are all just dogs and not things to be feared. Her social skills are amazing, she merely turns away from dogs who annoy her and goes to play with someone else, rather like seasoned pro Federico Miller does. When guests, human or canine, come to visit, she jumps up to greet them, and is happy to play with almost any new dog that comes. Human guests get treated to licks and jump ups in an excited manner. Laps are now the new comfy chairs….A veritable joy to see……
As for thunder phobia, well, we just dont see her displaying any fear of thunder here, because she is so confident in the security of the pack, she often sleeps through it..no pacing, no barking, no shaking.
There are lessons to be learned from this story….Khloe needed to let go of her past and in order for that to happen, Dana needed to stop hanging it up like a banner in front of her when she dispayed her fears for her dog. Dogs take the lead from their humans always, when we are confident and act totally normally in a new situation, so will our dogs. If we act all worried, the dog thinks we are all doomed and we’re all gonna die!
Todays story is a shout out to Dana who shook off all her fears, all of her preconceived ideas about big dogs and little dogs existing together, and learned to be a far more effective dog parent in the process. In doing so, she set her dog Khloe free from the shackles of her past life and allowed her to be who she really wanted to be.
We are very proud of Khloe Horne, who’s come such a long way, but even moreso of her mum Dana, who’s had, to quote every awful reality TV show, ‘An incredible journey’ and is a true rock star!