Growing up, I always knew that I wanted a Husky. Sometimes I think perhaps it was my high school mascot that instilled this desire, but upon deeper reflection I know that my fondness for dogs (and huskies in particular) developed far before entering my teenage years. But I also knew and understood quite well the commitment and devotion required to be a proper parent. I’ve seen far too many negligent owners adopt only to toss away once the novelty wore off. I waited a long time to finally take the plunge and adopt my first dog. In fact, I spent a good two years looking at the SHARP Husky Rescue site before finally coming across what I saw as the perfect match. I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly, but my instincts told me that he was the one.
Bandit initially came to us with what was deemed a ‘severe separation anxiety disorder’ and Melissa tried her best to warn us off taking him. She even used the adage saying ‘the dog picks the owner and not the other way around’. Even though Bandit may have appeared somewhat aloof around us, I just knew in my gut that we were a match. That first day visiting SHARP, my wife and I spent 3 hours discussing the variables. I was stubborn and did not feel the same about any of the others. At the same time, I was feeling anxious of what may occur should we fail to rehabilitate Bandit. We agreed to sleep on it. The next day, we returned to SHARP with a dog behaviorist in tow. It really was more for me than for Bandit as I needed some reassurance that I wasn’t being crazy in taking on this great challenge and responsibility. Despite Bandit’s history of destructive behavior and psychotropic medication, I was up to it. So we loaded Bandit in the truck and off we went.
Upon bringing Bandit home I took a couple of weeks off work in order to acclimate him to his new family and environs. I promptly went out and purchased 3 books on dealing with and treating separation anxiety in canines. We also enlisted the services of that same behaviorist who accompanied us to SHARP. Those first two weeks weren’t that bad as there was always somebody home with Bandit. The tricky part was leaving the house in very small but regular increments to go to the corner or around the block and back. We had to teach Bandit that we were going to always return home. However, with each day that passed, I became ever more dreadful in facing that very first day when I had to return to work and Bandit would be alone for a longer block of time. In preparation for that day, I had purchased every tool and natural calming aid available. Bandit has a Thundershirt with pheromone spray; various calming treats; and all new gear as I took the decision to not keep any of the items that came with him. I wanted a fresh start for Bandit so any poor memories would be left behind. That said, I also acquired a wifi camera that I could use to watch him on my phone while away. This neat device also shows me the room temperature and allows for two way communication.
Lo and behold, that first morning did not go as well as I’d hoped. Bandit knew something was amiss as there was a change to the routine and he succumbed into a panic partway through the morning. I could hear a commotion and quickly left work to drive home. I found him at the scene of the crime. Bandit (what a fitting name), had ripped off the trim to our front door in a valiant effort to escape. Casey and I put him in his crate which we had tried to get him to accept (to no avail) in the weeks prior. I was driving back to work and was almost on the other side of town when I looked down at my phone and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Surely my eyes were deceiving me….Bandit had escaped the crate! So turn around I went.
3 months have now past since we took Bandit home and I’m happy to report that with much care, effort and attention, Bandit no longer shows signs of isolation anxiety. He is a happy, healthy and well adjusted member of our family and we couldn’t be happier to have him. He is quite the character and the neighborhood star as everyone loves Bandit (well except for maybe the Doberman down the street). Bandit’s favorite foods are fish, cucumber and watermelon (‘Can Dogs Eat’ is a great app!). He prefers wet to dry and absolutely loves Greenies dental treats. His favorite activities include jumping through tall grass and terrorizing squirrels, rabbits and cats. He generally gets along well playing with others including puppies and children. He has a very even temperament and we’ve been told he’d make a fantastic service therapy dog. He has brought much joy to our household and we’re eternally grateful to see the change in him.
In closing, we’d like to thank Melissa and the team for allowing us to take ‘Bandi’ home with us. I’d further like to extend my gratitude to Savannah, Dana and Doug Brady of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ who have all played a role in supporting our success. Please continue with all the wonderful work that you all do. May every sled dog story have a happy and everlasting ending.
Adrian & Casey