A labrador who was exploited for breeding and abandoned on the streets has been left so terrified by her ordeal that she’s the “most nervous” dog the Blue Cross team caring for her has ever helped.
Seven-year-old Olive, who was found as a stray, was so scared when she arrived at Blue Cross that she would even run away from the wind and cower if anyone reached out a hand to stroke her.
Vets confirmed that she had been used for excessive breeding and, due to her overwhelming fear of everything, it’s more than likely that she had been locked away alone, cruelly kept as a commodity.
Our Newport rehoming unit has been caring for her for more than six weeks and she is very slowly, but surely, beginning to come out of her shell as she learns to trust humans again.
Unit Manager, Hannah Wiltshire, said: “We get nervous dogs in all the time but Olive is just on another level. She’s not just nervous and worried, she’s terrified. For her, many things just bring her sheer terror. It’s so sad to see.
“When she first arrived everything and any movement scared her; even the wind and the trees. If you were stood still and you simply shifted your body weight that was enough to make her run away or lie on the floor in fear.
“When we first got her and because her face is so expressive, we could see the look of terror in her face. In 10 years of doing this job I don’t think I’ve seen a dog so scared.”
Dogs at our Newport unit spend the nights in nearby kennels and Hannah explained that it took Olive a week to build up enough confidence to even leave her kennel so that she could travel to the Blue Cross facility.
“We couldn’t do anything with her at all initially,” said Hannah. “We basically had to treat her how we would a cat. We just sat on the floor in the kennel for 10 minutes at a time and played on our phones, twice a day.
“We left treats behind as she doesn’t eat when you’re there, but would eat them as soon as we left.
“Then, after about a week, she got up when I was in there and we couldn’t believe it. It was a real breakthrough. We managed to walk her up and down the kennel block and then a couple of days later we were able to progress onto her going outside.”
Olive, who is also suffering with hip problems due to her lack of development, is now spending her days in her comfortable home room at the Newport unit so that the team can build her confidence.
It quickly became clear that Olive likes routine and repetition, and the team at Newport are focussing her training around this.
“She likes to do something at least three times, that’s her security. It’s the same with walks; she likes to do the same one and when you take her on a new route she gets anxious and starts panting, but if you do it another two to three times with her she’s okay.
“There hasn’t been the normal kind of improvement that you’d normally see with an anxious dog. Improvement for her is when she’s not panting with anxiety. It’s little steps, not even baby steps, with her,” said Hannah.
Olive spent a week at home with Hannah in which she made great progress; she stayed in her crate for two days as she was too frightened to come out, but once she felt safe she was “bounding around like a puppy”.
And in the last couple of weeks she has started to enjoy car rides and some limited handling.
She is now up for rehoming and Hannah is sure that she’ll continue to grow in confidence with the right people.
“Needless to say Olive needs a quiet and steady home, with owners who do not want a lot of obvious love and affection from a dog for a while,” said Hannah.
“But if you give her the right environment and no pressure she will start showing you the little quirks of her character and start enjoying some gentle fuss. We are sure that in time she will gain more confidence and become a loving companion.”
Could you give Olive a home and show her the love and kindness she has so sadly missed out on in her life so far? Find out more about rehoming her.