The Eyes of Trump
When I first met Trump and his family, my heart was broken for all of them. My heart hurt for Trump, because as beautiful as he was, he'd been abused in one of the worst and most unthinkable ways. Someone had used his beauty and perfect form for their gain. They had used him as their ticket to fame and money, showing him in dog shows, over and over again, until he literally could do nothing but spin in a perfect left circle. Trump, even as beautiful as he was, was in such complete stress that he couldn't even enjoy life, let alone being a pet with a loving family. My heart hurt for his family, because as much as they'd tried to prepare themselves for a type of dog they were ready for that would fit their lifestyle, they were hoodwinked into loving and caring for Trump, who was in desperate need of so much more than just a loving home. Trump's owner tells his story so much better than I could.
As I write, my beautiful five-year old Tibetan Terrier, Trump, lies close by. He watches inquisitively, wondering when it will be time for a treat or belly-rub. He rests quietly, knowing soon that time will come. I'm grateful for his presence. After all, he is the reason for sharing our story.
I acquired Trump from a breeder in October of 2014. He was being re-homed because his previous caregivers could no longer keep him. I was told that Trump's situation was not a rescue, but just an adult dog coming from one stellar pet home, that needed a new home. I thought this was a win-win situation. This was a dog that needed a new home, and we were older adults ready for a new companion. I had already researched the breed and had thoughtfully considered all it would mean to bring a new pet into our home. I expected an adjustment period, but we would weather it. We welcomed Trump totally unprepared for what followed.
Two weeks passed. "What do think is wrong with his eyes?" My daughter posed this question as we looked at Trump, wondering how to proceed. I knew exactly what she meant. Even though he looked at me, there was a disconnect. It was as if his eyes, his whole being could not focus. When crated, he spun like a top. In the house he ran full-speed counter-clockwise around rooms, furniture, and the kitchen island. He interacted with us mostly when it involved food or being brushed. He would soil inside the house and while we walked him frequently, even that did not help. He was spooked by people, other animals, and noises, which sent him spinning to the left and me tumbling.
With sadness and regret, I decided that I could not live with this dog. I felt guilty and defeated. I had never given up an animal. What would become of him? I felt his behavior would make him a candidate for abuse in the wrong situation. I desperately wanted a good outcome for him. I called the Monroe County Humane Association for advice. The truth is, I wasn't sure if they, or anyone, could help. Rebecca Warren answered the phone. She listened to Trump's story and sensed my despair.
In the next day, she and a veterinarian visited our home in order to examine Trump and observe him there. He was determined to be neurologically sound. They came with vital information as well, much of his medical and show history that was unbeknownst to me. Trump had been a show dog, a Grand Champion, in fact. This helped to explain his behavior. He was most likely reacting to the stress, confinement, and patterns of behavior that his previous life had entailed. Furthermore, he may have lived in as many as four situations before coming to me.
MCHA put me in touch with a network of resources that continue to this day, including the Tibetan Terrier Rescue and providing guidance on how to move forward with Trump and any progress he could or would make. Through the dedicated efforts of our veterinarian, MCHA, and so many resources that were made available to us, three months have passed since that first phone call to MCHA. Trump has made a great deal of progress. This has come in baby steps, first exhibiting an interest in toys and things around him, then becoming more confident, learning to settle, and seeking affection from me and from others. He remains a work in progress. His eyes? They are clear, bright and joyful with little evidence of the chaos he once felt. MCHA made it possible for Trump to find his forever home. Now it's time for that belly rub.