Took this big lad out this morning, it's safe to say he does love a branch to carry around with him! After his initial excitement he does slow down and walks well beside you, I don't think he's a boy who likes to do miles though, he'd be quite happy chilling out chewing his tree! ? He can look quite intimidating with his chunky head but there's a big softie in there really! Walkers take lots of water though as he's a thirsty boy!
Bit delayed in this walker's tale from Thursday morning. Couldn't resist taking this gorgeous boy out again for a lovely walk in the sun. Once he's had a few minutes to stretch his legs and gnaw on some branches, Captain calms down wonderfully. He's not a dog to take on a hike, especially not on a hot day. Not to say he wouldn't be good for long walks but you'd have to be prepared for lots of breaks and to bring lots of water. Note to walkers, definitely make sure you top up on water before taking him out, particularly in this weather. He's very relaxed and enjoys a sit down at the benches, spreading out his froggy-legs and having a good old rest. He does show interest in other dogs but, despite his size, he's still easy to control and distract, and I've never once heard him bark. He's very responsive to commands, very gentle, and just a wonderful dog. Can't understand why he hasn't been snapped up!
Another walk with Captain on Tuesday morning. How is this gorgeous boy still here?! Impeccable behaviour as ever. We passed sweet little Buttercup at Grangemoor and Captain showed some interest but was more focused on saying hello to our fellow walkers who popped over to give him some much deserved attention. We moved past Buttercup and co. for a bit of water and a rest on the benches, and though at one point Captain was a bit surprised when Buttercup reappeared and tried to go over to say hello, there was no barking and absolutely no aggression. He's just so happy and so loving.
The lovely Captain says ' Turn that frown upside down! ' This dog is a real big cuddle bear, good on the lead, loves his sticks! And will not say no to a sit down or two Please, when you walk by kennel 4, don't just walk by because of the way he acts, he really does not like his kennel, and is not a true reflection of this wonderful, soft, soppy, but cleaver boy. Take him out for a walk, you will see what a gem this dog is xx
When a dog arrives at Cardiff Dogs Home, alone, afraid, bewildered, and confused, they don't bring their CV with them. They aren't able to tell us about their past, what worries them, what they have endured... All we can really know for sure, is that whoever their owners were, they didn't love that dog enough, because they had abandoned it to it's fate...
Our strays come in with nothing, not even a name, and over a period of days, weeks, sometimes months, the staff and volunteers try to get to know them, to understand them, and it can be like peeling an onion, breaking through the layers, trying to understand what is going on behind the sad eyes, the worried frowns, the nervous barks...
It didn't take us long to discover that Captain was a powerfully strong lad, and what he lacked in lead walking etiquette, he more than made up for in character! We learned quite quickly that Captain didn't cope well being around other dogs. He avoided them whenever he could, he minded his own business, he never ever went 'looking for trouble', when passing other dogs he would concentrate hard on his walker. He never lunged, barked at, or antagonised passing dogs. Captain very quickly became a firm favourite with some of our more confident Pilgrims, who respected his anxiety around dogs, and ensured he wasn't put in situations that made him uncomfortable.
But two weeks ago, Captain was involved in a very unfortunate incident, which ultimately had devastating consequences. Whilst out with one of his favourite walkers, Captain encountered 2 off-lead chihuahuas. Captain's walker called to the owner and asked her to call her dogs, as Captain was becoming more and more agitated by them. The owner was unable to call her dogs away, they were barking and dancing around Captain, and he began lunging at them. The walker felt he had no choice but to put himself between Captain and the chi's, and Captain redirected onto the walker's knee. Captain didn't release immediately, the injury was significant, and as a consequence the staff decided that Captain required a full re-assessment and appraisal of his future.
Dogs who have not been properly socialised are not by definition unrehomable. Cardiff Dogs Home have successfully rehomed dogs who need help and rehabilitation due to their behaviour around other dogs. But for dogs who 'red zone' and redirect onto to humans, the staff have to consider very carefully whether that dog is safe to rehome, whether they are potentially putting rehomers, their friends and family, innocent passers by, at risk....
Due to Captain's known antipathy towards other dogs, his sheer power and strength, and the fact that he had redirected onto his human companion, the staff, in consultation with the vets, made the very difficult decision to let him go. Last Wednesday, staff member Dale took Captain for his last walk. Then the two of them went into the sensory garden, and Captain had two gloriously happy hours playing 'fetch' with his tennis ball, stopping occasionally to flop into the pool, to roll on his back, to prick his ears and listen to the birds, to throw himself into Dale's lap for tummy rubs.....
When he followed Dale into the vets room, he was tired, so so tired, and his tail was wagging, happily. Dale cwtched him, as he had done so many time before, gently and lovingly, and Captain slipped away peacefully.
Whoever his previous owner was didn't love him enough, but we could not have loved him more. It is with inconsolable sorrow that at times like this we have to face the cruel and harsh truth, we cannot save them all.
That was a beautiful eulogy to Captain, Susie. Thank you.
I heard about the what happened with the off-lead dogs shortly after the incident from one of the staff, after noticing Captain's name was highlighted for staff only walks. I was upset but hopeful, though I think a part of me knew that something like this might happen. When we went to the Home a week later and I noticed his name was gone from the list completely, I meekly asked the same staff member if he'd been adopted. Wishful thinking given what had happened not long before. He replied with a very soft and sad no, and I had to excuse myself and have a cry outside. Fudge was brought out to us for his walk and I calmed down a little as we walked - so thank you Fudge for making a very bad start to the morning a little lighter. I know I'm not alone in saying Captain was one of my favourite dogs. Despite his size, I felt safer with him than I did with some smaller dogs. He was strong and there was always a constant weight there at the end of the lead, but it just felt more comfortable. He was the first properly 'big' dog we took for a walk, and I know my Dad had a soft spot for that beautiful boy as well. Any of my friends will tell you I'd be pushing pictures of him from my phone in their faces the day after a walk, cooing over his handsome and smiley face, sometimes referring to him as 'my Captain'. How I wish we could have taken him home with us, but unfortunately our home and family would not have been right for him.
I still am devastated about what happened, but I know there was nothing else that could be done. For the safety of everyone around him, and for his own safety and well-being, this was the only option. I'm sure if Captain was able to understand that he'd hurt someone he obviously cared about, and he cared about everyone, he'd have been heartbroken. I just hope that the member of staff who told me doesn't think I blame them for what they had to do, as I was quite visibly upset and he tried to reassure me that it was the only thing they could do for Captain. I understand completely and know that Captain was well and truly loved at the Home by staff and volunteers. Probably moreso than by whoever owned him before. He couldn't have asked for a better place to spend his time - aside from a real home, of course.
It's still difficult to match up that handsome smiley boy who cuddled up to me on every walk with what happened, but unfortunately under that goofy smile of his there were just too many demons for him to overcome, and the longer he spent in the kennels, the stronger they got until eventually they won out. But despite his demons and his past, Captain, at the end of the day, was a good boy. I'll miss him and his beautiful smile, but he can rest now xx
I had a feeling, I knew about the incident...then I noticed him not on the walkers list, but didn't want to ask for fear of being told the truth That was really lovely Susie, he was loved by all. As I was reading your post, I kept scrolling up to my post above with his big smile on our last walk a few weeks ago I always used to see broken sticks and twigs on my way to the home, and along walks, and laughing to myself knowing it was Captains trail as he loved a good stick. His owners let him down, but he knew more love in the time he was at CDH than any time before. We all love you Captain, i'm crying for you...leave your trail of sticks in the sky, so we can see you, I will be looking xx
So sad and so very very sorry to read Susie's post - which was beautifully written.
Captain, I am so sorry. I wasn't lucky enough to have the chance to meet you but I loved looking at the pictures of you on your thread and reading the write-ups on you - you sound like a little superstar.
I hope the owner of the Chihuahuas learns to control his or her dogs in future. I hope there's a realisation of what the consequence of that negligence has been........and a real sorrow.
Sincerely hope the walker who was with Captain is ok. I'm sure he'd say he was sorry if he could.
Thanks to Dale for making Captain's last hours joyful. Isn't it ironic that people who knew Captain such a short time gave him a million times more than the owner who let him down? Ironic but good to know.
Oh Captain, my Captain - Rest in Peace. You will always matter x