Have you ever been afraid of your own dog?
I've wanted a dog for years and was finally able to rescue a sweet Boston Terrier named Pepper 5 weeks ago. She was being passed around from home to home, and I couldn't understand why at first; the entire 3 hour drive home she was SO good and lovable! I felt so proud and lucky to be her mama!
However, I realized something was off when I started taking Pepper on daily walks. You see, any time Pepper sees another dog or animal, she gets hysterical: barking, growling, and violently shaking. The first time it happened she was trying to attack my neighbor's tiny golden retriever puppy; I couldn't believe that such a sweet dog could be so mean! I was honestly scared for the other dogs in the neighborhood. I think she would seriously injure another animal if she ever got out of her leash.
After doing a lot of research, I realized that Pepper's aggression might be due to her not being spayed. I was so hopeful- maybe I could take her on walks after all! It's not fair for her to be cooped up in the house all day with hardly any exercise. So, I had her spayed a few weeks ago and found out she had a tumor on her tummy. The vet was able to remove this for a low cost, knowing I'm a student and that I wouldn't be able to afford costly medical procedures.
Living alone and being in grad school can be a SUPER lonely time. Most of the time I am by myself and working on my research, which can be depressing for someone who loves being around and caring for others. Although I was worried about the responsibility of a dog at first, I knew that I wanted to have a furry friend with me through this journey. I was right; having someone put her paw on my arm as I'm typing away furiously on my computer is one of the best feelings in the world:)
After getting spayed, Pepper's aggression did not subside but instead got worse. I know that her aggression stems from fear and reactivity, and I want so badly to help her! Can you imagine being scared every time you met another person??
I took Pepper to several trainers in the area, but after meeting her they said they would unfortunately not be able to help her. She needs to be around other dogs to learn to socialize, but no trainer wants the liability of having her interact with other people's dogs- which I completely understand. I was losing hope quickly and wondering if I should give her away. However, knowing that she had been passed around from home to home in the past, I could see the same thing happening in her future, which broke my heart. I heard from a friend about a trainer one state over who has worked miracles with other dogs. With a little bit of hope left, Pepper and I rode to meet with her yesterday for an evaluation. The trainer even brought her own dog so that she could see how Pepper reacts! After the evaluation, I learned that a board-and-train would be necessary to help Pepper re-wire her brain and learn to not be scared of other dogs. This trainer has lots of land, 10 dogs, cats, and horses; Pepper would get to spend 4 weeks learning how to interact and actually make friends for once in her life! I was so excited and wanted to hug this trainer that I had just met! That excitement soon came crashing down; the cost was $2,000. I sobbed the whole way home with Pepper sitting in my passenger seat. Her head tilted as if she was thinking, "what's wrong, mom?" I could barely look over at her without starting to cry every time.
Needless to say, these last few weeks have been a roller coaster for me, culminating in the experience yesterday. But, it breaks my heart even as I realize that this is what Pepper's entire life has been like: meeting family after family only to be given away once they find out about her aggression.
I love this dog and we have already formed such a strong bond. She sleeps between my legs at night, and I recently found out she is an amazing ball-catcher! Her favorite thing is when I put her blankets in the dryer to make the warm and then put them over her (which I do an embarrassingly amount of times per day).
As a last resort, I am asking for your help. The trainer is extremely popular and is already booked until April, and I need to have the funds in the next few weeks before it will be too late to reserve a spot. I have already posted many of my belongings on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, etc., knowing that every $5 here and there counts. Please consider giving something, even just a little, to help Pepper. She needs humans on her side for once, and I believe that donors on this site can help give her a chance to finally have a forever home.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I want to be transparent about this request, so please feel free to ask me any questions!
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