This moving video from a dog shelter, Takis Shelter in Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, tells me that even the most brutalised dogs can forgive and perhaps forget and respond well to love. Perhaps some dogs don’t recover. Perhaps they are permanently scarred but judging by this video you have to say that most dogs recover and are very eager to be friends with humans. It almost seems to be something instinctive inside of them to be drawn to humans and interact with them. It may be a need for a dog to find a leader to follow. The leader will be a human and hopefully they will be a kind, compassionate and sensitive owner who understands dog behaviour.
The point made about this video is that this dog, Phoenix, is not inherently aggressive. He was simply terrified. And the fear falls away when he realises that the rescue owner or worker wants to be friends. Apparently this dog was chained all his life and brutalised at the same time. It is no wonder that he was deeply traumatised by his experiences. The video is proof that there is no such thing as bad dogs, just bad owners. One commenter said that some people need this kind of transformation as well. I think that is a very apt observation. Another commenter said that he doesn’t believe in hell but he does believe that there should be one for people who hurt animals.
This dog wanted to be loved; sadly he had to wait a very long time for it. It is terribly cruel to have to wait this long and suffer that much before a dog can enjoy life. And then you see him enjoying life and becoming very engaging. It’s a beautiful thing to see but he should never have gone through those terrible moments. It hurts to see how people can be so evil to an innocent animal. The person who brutalised this dog should be banned from having any companion animals for the rest of his or her life. That unfortunately won’t happen because this sort of thing happens an awful lot and it generally gets ignored by the authorities and law enforcement. That’s another story and a shame upon humankind.
The Takis Shelter always needs donations as they say “monthly food and veterinary bills come to over €8000, so donations are vital. Every donation, in any amount, is greatly appreciated by all the animals!”
Some more on dog memories and trauma
My research indicates that dogs, like people, retain memories of abuse and therefore it can affect them for the rest of their lives. Perhaps also like humans they gradually recover enough to behave relatively normally and as the memory fades further normalcy gradually returns to their lives in terms of their behaviour.
Dogs can suffer from PTSD as well, just like people. It may be brought on by physical or emotional abuse as is the case with this dog in the video. Other causes might be the loss of their caregiver, being abandoned to live in the wild or the effects of a natural disaster such as the California wildfires.
Dogs suffering from PTSD might show signs of it through a tucked tail, pinned back years, panting and crouching low to the ground. The dog may also show signs of sudden aggression, depression, hyper- awareness of their surroundings and clinging to their owner in fear.
The people who abuse dogs
It seems to me that people who abuse their dogs are ignorant. They are poorly educated and do not realise the consequences of their actions or are reckless as to the consequences. They are probably externalising their internal anger by taking it out on their dog companion. It is a most heinous crime and the worst of human behaviour because it is aggressive human behaviour directed at a vulnerable animal and a highly sensitive animal who wants to look up to a human as a leader. It couldn’t be worse and it is certainly worse than human-upon-human violence in my view.