My little buddy, Rufio

Rufio’s story had come to me via a friend at the beginning of October 2016 at which time he had been posted on Gumtree for sale.  He was only 1 years old.  He was with his second family which he had been with for approximately two weeks.  After my phone calls and bidding attempt on Gumtree, I was not successful and at that point could only hope the best for him.   Another two weeks had gone by and my friend came to me to tell me that it wasn’t working out with his newest family again.  I contacted the family on Sunday morning 16th October 2016 and that afternoon with the help of my dearest friend Tracey, he was coming home with me to be my forever little buddy.

Rufio was extremely unsettled, not eating well and anxious about every little thing.  I knew we needed help and was referred to a couple of dog trainers.  Following a phone conversation with Kyra I immediately knew we were in the best of hands and the best of care.

We began training straight away.  On Kyra’s first visit, I remember having to close curtains and blinds as Rufio was pacing and wasn’t feeling settled at all.  Training began in earnest.  Following training, Rufio and I would practice the new skills and looked forward to our next training session.  Rufio’s anxieties were being stripped away in a slow, conscious process and life was getting better and better for my little buddy.

Kyra had made plans with me to work on socialising Rufio with other dogs to help with his anxious barking habit. Kyra brought along her dog Chilli to help.  Chilli is non-reactive to what another dog will do.  Perfect scenario for Rufio to begin to gain his trust and to learn that another dog can be fun to be around and not something to be frightened of.  On meeting Chilli, Rufio lunged and barked and after a few more seconds he got close enough and Chilli allowed him to sniff her all over.  By the end of the training session Rufio and Chilli were walking side by side together.  My heart sang and I was so proud of Rufio.  The promise of a truly remarkable little dog was there.

The next step was to have him socialise with other dogs.  I was looking forward to this as it would help when going to the Vets, which always needed a bit a planning.  I was also looking forward to the day when we could enjoy time at the beach and playing with other dogs.

After a couple of training sessions with Kyra, Rufio and I are now walking along a local dog beach regularly. Rufio just loves to meet other dogs and the barking has stopped.  He cannot wait to get up close and personal with other dogs now and is always keen to say hi with a sniff, a smile and tail wagging.  In Rufio’s case, in his happiest moments, his tail resembles a helicopters propeller, moving around as fast as it can in a circular motion.  This is the way he is now when we get down to the beach.  He has his smile on and helicopter tail in full motion.

Cars and people on bikes are now not something to lunge and bark at, instead he turns his back to concentrate on other fun aspects of being in the great outdoors.

I take Rufio to my Sister and her family’s home, where he gets the chance to play with Chica, a Jack Russell who he loves.  This wasn’t possible at all in the beginning, as it would have been so stressful for Rufio and not pleasant for Chica.

When I think back, Rufio has come so far in a relatively short period of time.  I knew that with everything he had going on, he just needed to be given the love and time to adjust and trust.

We have a bit more training with a little thing he has going on with birds.  Kyra has plans and Rufio and I cannot wait to get this part of his training underway.

I am also looking forward to the day when we can get Rufio comfortable enough to work in groups with other dogs.  I know he will get there, as I have every faith in what he can do given how much he has achieved so far.

I feel so lucky that Rufio did eventually find his way to me.  We have such a great life and he makes me laugh with some of his crazy little ways.

You never know, one day my little buddy could be a “pets as therapy” dog himself.  Walking in the paw prints of his friend Chilli.  He has certainly shown that he has the characterists and intelligence to get there.

A huge thank you to Kyra at Bright Bessy Dog Training.  We couldn’t have come this far without your help.

Sandra Heaton
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