A Letter to Casper

To my dear, sweet Casper,

The couple who bought you actually wanted a baby…I’m not sure what made them decide to get a puppy instead? In a way, I’m not sorry that they chose you because it meant that I got to have you, but not a day goes by without me wishing that you came to me under different circumstances.

Casper the BichonThe couple didn’t know anything about caring for a dog and didn’t mean to cause you so much harm and damage. That said, ignorance is not an excuse and I had to restrain myself from completely losing the rag with them. On the day I first met, you were coughing and thin and extremely wary.  I couldn’t see any toys. Well, there was one toy, a large red ball meant for a much larger breed. It was bigger than you were and made a loud noise as it rolled towards you. You were TERRIFIED. They laughed and said, “He loves to play Hide and Seek with his ball”, but it was clear you were trying to get away.

I asked the couple some probing questions and my heart sank as I began to unravel the sad story of your life so far. From their description, I am pretty sure that you came from a puppy farm, so things weren’t going well for you right from the start. The couple met the “breeder” in a car park and chose you from the several pups he had in the boot of his car.

They took you to their houseshare and you were kept in their bedroom for the majority of the next four months of your life. You were not taken to the vet for a check-up or vaccinations, not even when you started coughing. You were never brought outside. Do you remember the babygrows they made you wear? The ones for human babies? The couple left you alone all day in that bedroom with no toys while they went to college and then on to their evening jobs. I don’t blame you for crying, who wouldn’t in your situation. The other people that lived in the house were not so understanding.

So, it came to this…the couple finally admitted that they were not taking care of you properly. That is what they told me anyway, but I suspect the other housemates had given an ultimatum.

Casper the rescue Bichon wearing his Thundershirt

While they talked, I sat on the floor of their living room wiggling a raggy at you. There was no pressure…I didn’t even look at you. Slowly, I saw you tip-toe towards the raggy. Do you remember the first time you played tug with me? It was that day with that raggy. I guess it was actually the first time you ever got to play properly.

They wouldn’t let me take you with me that day. I saw you try to follow me out the front door and it broke my heart to leave you there.

It took a few days for me to convince the couple to do the right thing. I told them about my dog Pogo and my cat Shelli who would keep you company if I had to leave you. I described all the places that I could take you for walks; the sand dunes at Bull Island, the Dublin Mountains, and many more. I told them all about the training club where you could do agility with me. A few days later, I collected you and took you home.Me and Casper the rescue Bichon

That was two years ago! It took a while to sort out the physical issues. You were riddled with fleas, worms and mites. We fattened you up and got your cough treated. Sadly though, the couple also damaged you psychologically. I have tried so hard to help you but you still suffer with crippling anxiety and fear. I have seen how you completely shut down when you are confronted by something unfamiliar. I know how you suffer from panic attacks at the vets. I know you have a never-ending list of fears: small dogs, big dogs, people with hats, loud noises, people with hoods, people on bikes, old people, people who try to touch you, children, statues, the dark, being left alone, people you don’t know, the pack being separated, men of any kind, swans, heights, new places…etc

I long for the day when you realise that you are safe and I will never let anything hurt you. For now, I will continue to only walk you in places you are familiar with so you don’t have to worry. I will gently rub Rescue Remedy onto your ears when I know you will be faced with a stressful situation. I will bring you to your agility classes and watch your anxiety melt away as you sail over the jumps. I will read book after book and do course upon course until I know exactly how to help you. I will massage you and do TTouch until you learn that it feels good to relax and chill out. I will play tug with you and throw a ball for you to chase until my arms are numb. I will spend the rest of your life doing everything that I can to undo the damage.

My dear, sweet Casper, there is nothing I need from you in return. You have already given me your unconditional love and that is the greatest gift of all.

Love,

Mammy

Casper relaxing at agility!

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41 responses to “A Letter to Casper

  1. There isn’t a dry eye in this house after reading your post about how you came to have Casper in your life. Thank goodness you came to his rescue and have given him a second chance at happiness and being loved by someone like you. He couldn’t have gotten a better mammy!

  2. I am so happy you left a note on my blog so I could find yours…This story brought tears both of pain and joy…Pain for all that poor little Casper suffered and joy that he has found such a loving and caring furever home…You are his angel & I’m sure he knows that

  3. I’m sitting here with my own delicate rescue in my arms and tears in my eyes. Your dedication is amazing and Casper is lucky to have you.

    • Many thanks Jenny. Give Ollie and Mia an extra cuddle from me!
      Ps. You do amazing work too! There are so many cats and dogs whose lives are enriched by the toys and coats that Pawsitive Knits have provided.

  4. Hey Fluffy Tufts Gang, Jet here. Hi Miss Rachel.

    Thank Ceiling Dog you found Caspar in the nick of time. Your letter brought tears to Mom’s eyes. Caspar, what a blessing you now have a safe forever home with a loving human to care for you as you deserve.

    I too, still struggle with fear and anxiety from the “before” time. We do improve over time knowing our guardians love us, care for us and keep us safe.

    May you continue to have joyous days.

  5. Awww what a sweet story about casper! He is so lucky to have found you, and I am so glad that at the least the owners knew enough in giving him to you. He is a beautiful little boy, and completely reminds me of my dog Kirby!

  6. Great story , so glad u found him .. as for the couple who had him .. shams . Don’t sound like theybe great wit a baby couldnt look after a little Casper .. u rock fair play …

  7. Such a sweet story, brought tears to my eyes. Casper’s so lucky that you came along and rescued him, sure you’ll give Casper everything he could ever want, need and more.

  8. What a beautiful letter to Casper Rachel. It is so sad that people mistreat dogs in such a way. Our previous Poodle Misty was extremely neglected when we got her too. It took a long time to win her confidence. I’m so glad that Casper has a loving home where he can feel safe, secure & loved by people who really care for him.
    Have a great weekend

    • Thanks for your kind words Tony. We hear a lot on the news of the physical abuse and mistreatment of animals, but not so much about psychological abuse.

      I think you and I are on the same page when it comes to caring for our fluffy little dogs! 🙂

      • We have a friend who is an RSPCA inspector. He said it’s unbelievable the attitudes some people have when he has to seize people’s animals in cases of cruelty or neglect. He also said it takes a lot of self control to hold back your anger in dealing with such people.

  9. The only gem in this story is that this couple did not have a baby. I shared your story on my Facebook blog, I have posted several topics recently about mill dogs. Thank you for adopting this dog and sharing agility with him, what a wonderful thing. My dogs love agility, and I know it must have been a struggle just getting him used to the other dogs and the crowd. When I start rehabbing a rescue, I begin with taking him to an agility trail. I then ask my friends when we walk about to pat the dog on the head and give him a treat when we pass. It is a wonderful way to begin.

    • Thanks so much for your comments. I agree completely…I am so glad that the couple did not have a baby.

      Agility is a great resource for me with Casper. He has come a long way. At first, we stood far away from the class and watched and even that was too much for him. Now, after a lot of positive reinforcement, he is able to attend the class, though he needs to wear his Thundershirt for reassurance.

    • Thanks so much. I agree with you…not out of self-promotion or pride, but because I believe that Casper’s story highlights the importance of doing proper research and preparation before homing a pup (or indeed a dog of any age)

  10. Casper,
    it will get better and better and you will forget how bad it was in the beginning. You will grow into a brave little dog. I know you will because you have an owner who not only loves you, but knows you.
    Maggie

  11. you’ve made my Mommy and I cry … it’s a beautiful post that reminds us of me. I was badly treated at the petstore and has shell rot. It took me more than a year to trust my mommy and now I love my mommy so much, I have learnt to follow her around.

    you are one lucky dog Casper

  12. Tears are streaming down my face… Thank god you were there to resuce him. God bless you and God bless casper.

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