Styx turns 2 today! I think it may be more exciting to me than it is for him but he definitely enjoys being celebrated none-the-less. For those who have joined me here recently, Styx is my second rescue dog. He was picked up as a stray in New Mexico, when no one had come to claim him, the clock was ticking. He was scheduled to be euthanized when a Colorado rescue group ‘tagged’ him, he was then transported to Colorado and put into foster care. He was in Colorado for just a week when my husband and I picked him up for a trial run.
A trial is when you spend up to 4 days with an animal to determine whether or not you’re a good fit. We had absolutely no intention of returning him to the shelter but agreed to the trial terms as we were told he was a little s@#t with no manners or obedience. Dogs are returned often because they aren’t obedient or have a few behavioral issues. Time, energy, commitment, and patience are just a few things dogs should require in humans before being adopted. I can tell you all of those characteristics go a very long way.
Styx was definitely a challenge but not an impossible one. We were told he was 2 years when we rescued him but our veterinarian informed us he was still under a year. He couldn’t even scratch his ears without falling backwards.
Not only was he young but he was exposed to things he had never experienced like the vacuum, the leash, and the car. All things that frightened him. He would bite when unsure, he was not fond of affection or anyone in his space. If we brought a new piece of furniture inside he would bark at it for at least 15 minutes. He chased cars and bikes and cattle with no regard to our calls. At that point the only time he was relaxed was when we were in the woods having a fire and he could be off leash. Maybe because that’s how his first months of life were spent off leash, outside, and on his own.
We’ve had him just over a year and a half now and in that time he has unfurled into the dog he was meant to be. We found what worked for Styx and in doing so, Styx began to trust us, to see us as his pack. He ignores cars when they pass and actually not only ignores them but knows to sit when they are passing. He has learned how to be social without over dominating which used to turn into aggression. He knows sit, shake, sit proper, lay down, and stay. He will show you them all in hopes you reward him with a treat.
He lays before his food until you tell him ‘okay’, he responds to our call when off leash and takes pride in staying near his pack. Except for today when he thought he should take off after a couple of horses, this was a first as he has been in a pasture with horses before and paid them no mind. Of course today when I’m singing him high praise does he do something terribly naughty! He howled for the very first time this month during the full moon alongside the wild coyotes. He absolutely loves the snow (Colorado was a perfect state for him) and catching snowballs.
Styx is an absolute joy to our lives making them richer and fuller and more exciting with each passing day. It has been an honor to be a part of his journey especially the challenging parts. As I learned with Bear, who we rescued as a senior, time is fleeting. So while I’ve definitely had moments of frustration (like today) I have also tried to immerse myself in each one of those moments because one day these will just be stories of pastime.
Everyday is a tail-wagging adventure with Styx. Everyday he looks at the world through instinct and heart. Someday’s too much instinct but never too much heart.
What’s life like with your pet? Tell me below! Animal stories are my favorite!