When we adopted Hudson as a nine week old puppy, he was the most social little guy. He loved everyone and couldn't wait to jump all over you. I loved taking him places because everyone made a fuss over how cute and sweet he was and we couldn't get 10 feet without being stopped and asked to play.
Well a year ago, as brand new pet owners we thought it would be a great idea to take Hudson to our small town's firework show. Right at the beginning of the show he tore away from his collar and leash and ran away. Justin and I chased after him as fast as we could, but he was much too quick for us to keep up with. We were so devastated. We searched for him for hours. Finally, after all the fireworks had stopped and everyone started heading home almost four hours later, we found Hudson. We were searching the streets, calling his name and he finally trotted up to us from the back of some one's house. We cried tears of joy, kissed his face over and over and took our dog home to safety. However, what we didn't realize is that the next day when we woke up, we would have a completely different dog living with us.
A year later Hudson is still as cute as ever and not a day goes by that I'm not thankful we got our dog back safe and sound that Fourth of July. BUT. He is not the social, let everyone pet him dog he used to be. Now when we go for walks he runs if anyone comes up to him, a leaf shaking on the trees make him jump, and any type of noise makes him try to bolt. I started to notice these things shortly after the incident, but told myself it would get better. Now that we live in an apartment where we are forced to have him on leash all the time, we really started to notice it. He has even injured Justin and I a time or two trying to get away from these 'triggers'.
We love our dog more than anything, and he loves us back. He sleeps in bed with us every night and greets us with sloppy kisses whenever we get home. But we are the extent of his love. (Except for other dogs, he loves his dog friends!) He's never been aggressive, just so frightened that walks and outings have become almost unenjoyable for all of us. We recently started seeing a Behaviorist to try and help him through his issues. She told us that what Hudson is going through is very similar to what a veteran might go through after coming home after a brutal war. PTSD. She asked me how I handled the situation and I CRIED. This whole time I had been getting upset with Hudson for not being as social as he used to be. When people would ask me to pet my dog I would try to force him to sit down and let them pet him. How selfish am I? Could I not see how much my dog was hurting? Could I not see how afraid he was? I will never know what happened to him that Fourth of July and because of that we are where we are today. The Behaviorist told me I was going to have to realize that this is the 'new' Hudson and that the old Hudson would not likely come back and that we would have to accept that.
But friends, it's HARD. I want for anyone to come up to my dog and for him to be happy and excited to see them like normal dogs would be. Or to take him for a walk and him not get frightened by his own shadow. When we have visitors over I don't want him to have to hide in our room for half the time they are here. I'm guilty of wishing he was the dog I want him to be rather than the dog he has become. But sadly, I haven't been the owner/protector he needs either.
Some of you may never understand the love you can have for a dog. I would steal the moon for Hudson if I could. The reason it's so easy to love them is because of how unconditionally they love us back, even when we fail. And although this trauma that we are trying to work through is frustrating, Hudson is one of the few things in life who doesn't constantly disappoint me. Maybe it sounds silly, but Hudson is our baby. And he's hurting. We are trying to help him pick up his little doggy pieces and put himself back together.
So that is our Hudson story. And now I am really hoping for some encouragement. I get so discouraged/upset over this situation so much I just HAD to reach out. I hope I have some friends that could shed some light on this situation if you've ever been here. Where do we go from here? Is there anything else we can do for him? Should we just stop trying? I am so lost!