Our Not So Happy Family

I didn’t want Orso, I didn’t even want to go see him when Mitch said, “Come on we’ll just take a look see.”  We had AJ and Charlie and I was quite happy with just two dogs.  Orso was a rescue that one of his co-workers’ son had and needed to find a home for.  He was 10 months old and a huge brown clumsy, lovable dog.  Very calm and just wanted someone to want him.  So we took him home.   Charlie hated Orso on sight.  We thought that Charlie would come around in a few days and all would be calm.  Not so.  The attacks just got worse.  Orso would look at Charlie, or just walk into the same room as Charlie and the fight would be on.  Orso would yelp and scream and Charlie would rip into him.  These attacks were not just a show of force or putting Orso on the bottom rung of the pack.  Charlie wanted him dead and gone.  Blood was usually drawn on Orso.  One day I tried to break up an attack in the yard and Charlie bit my hand drawing blood.  Mitch grabbed him and slammed Charlie to the ground and held him there until everyone calmed down.  That was when I told Mitch that something had to change.  I didn’t want to come home anymore.  Not to the tension and chaos.  I was done. 

The dog behavioralist our vet recommended turned out to be a godsend.  On the first visit she just sat at the kitchen table and talked to us, while watching the dynamics of our inter-relationships with each other.   She helped us realign our pack, spot the signs of eminent danger and how to counteract and prevent the fights.  The change didn’t happen overnight.  It took hard work and vigilance on our part to spot the signs of impending doom.  We are still very aware of Charlie and the “psycho” switch.  Without her, one or more of us wouldn’t be here today.

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