“From the moment Canela first walked in the door our other Galga Sylvie made it very clear she was not happy to have another dog in the house. Despite living happily with her greyhound sister Gracie for 3 years, the slightest move by Canela caused Sylvie to lunge and bark aggressively. Sylvie is an extremely traumatised dog, covered in scars and dumped on the streets to fight for survival. She is still fearful and trusts no one. She wouldn’t let my husband near her for over 6 months, however he gradually earnt her trust. He’s now the most important thing in her life. She adores him. Sylvie saw Canela as a threat to everything she knew and loved – she felt she needed to defend us all and felt threatened by her.
We spent the next 3-4 months keeping them apart. My husband and I spent every evening at opposite ends of the room, with them on leads. All day long we choreographed every move so that they were kept apart.
We seriously questioned whether this was sustainable but Canela arrived with severe separation anxiety and fresh wounds from being mauled by the dog she was in foster with in Spain. The last thing she needed was to be moved again, which would exacerbate her anxiety and insecurity. So we stuck with it and very, very gradually allowed them to have slightly more contact. Four months later, we turned a huge corner! Sylvie observed that we trust Canela, so now she trusts her. She no longer sees her as a threat and she realises that she gets no less love from us because Canela is here. She is now starting to see her as a companion and friend, and they can now lie on the sofa at the same time and are allowed in the dog paddock off lead together.
Because of all this, we haven’t had an opportunity to work on Canela’s separation anxiety, as we’ve had to take one small step at a time. She arrived in the UK with separation anxiety, and it is extreme. If I leave the room she can scream and become quite frenzied and destructive. She is terrified of being alone. Something awful must have happened to her to cause such frantic behaviour. So the next part of our journey with Canela begins. But one thing is for sure, she won’t be on that journey alone and we will be with her every step of the way. She will never be abandoned again.”
Project Galgo are so thankful for the determination, patience and support Canela and Sylvie’s mum and dad have shown them. Managing and negotiating your way through conflict takes a lot of doing – it can be full of frustration – two steps forward and many back – ups and downs. It requires emotional resilience and strength, and this family have given their all. It won’t always be right for all dogs who are struggling to acclimatise to each other but sometimes it really is a case of time and understanding to see some dogs through challenging situations. And it also shows what can is possible with determination!
We also thank Pennie Clayton, our Patron and the behaviourist supporting this foster placement which we are now delighted to tell you is a very happy adoption!