Back in 2017, we had the cutest litter of babies come in to Harley’s Haven who we named after the Brady Bunch. One of these little babies with the most amazing ears was named Bobbie. Bobbie was adopted by a home with his one sister, and they had another young pup too, so a pretty full house. As they all started to grow, they really struggled in the home with the dogs starting to do some fighting and squabbling amongst themselves. It escalated to the point where they really felt that Bobbie would do best in a home where he could possibly be an only dog as he was getting pretty reactive towards other dogs, or a home that could really work with him about his behavior.
Enter Camp Mehaffey. Often some of the pups who need to be returned, or have questionable behavior concerns, will end up at our house. We have pretty stable dogs, and are confident dog people, so over the years have been able to really work with some of these guys who need a little extra work and TLC to give them what they need. So, when Bobbie’s owner reached out about his behavior and how he was not doing well, I offered to take him to see what we could do to help him. At the time he was about 9 months old, and he settled right into our lives like he had always been here. It was really impressive how he slid right in, and won over even Harley, a known curmudgeon.
Killian is such an amazing example of a great dog needing a different situation to succeed. In his first home, he was fighting with the other dogs and getting reactive towards people. This is a dog who could have easily gone on to be labeled that he had to be an only dog, or worse, that he was aggressive and mean towards people! Neither of these are the case, and as soon as we got him into our home, we knew he just needed some guidance and a different situation to succeed! He was immediately respectful of our older dogs and avoided them when they got cranky, and was so respectful of them. This fact helped us to know right away that his was all workable, and he could definitely live with other dogs as long as it was the right home!
Killian has grown into such an amazing dog, and has walked in the shoes of Harley, gladly taking on the role of the curmudgeon of the group. He is wonderful with other dogs, especially puppies. He does take a little time to warm up, but once he does, he is awesome and patient with them, and ultimately very playful! He is a little hesitant when first meeting people, but again, with a little time he warms up and is super friendly and outgoing! It really amazes me how much his personality reminds me of Harley. He has a lot of the same mannerisms that Harley did, and has this sort of cranky old man vibe, that I just can’t get enough of.
Killian really does embody an example of a great dog, who needed a change. I think that there are many times where a dog is in a situation where he/she is not getting what they need to succeed, or that they even just needed a totally different environment to be the best version of themselves. Killian needed a stronger pack structure with older, more confident dogs. But with that in place – he became a wonderful and well-adjusted dog. I knew from the moment he arrived that I was going to want to keep him, though it took about 2 months for Tom to come around to the idea, he eventually did and now loves him just as much as I do. I always try to tell my clients when they have a dog who is acting out – let’s talk about behavior and the home structure and pack structure. So many wonderful dogs get labeled with issues, where maybe they just needed a little extra training, or pack structure, or any other small change that can really affect their behavior longterm. Killian is a great example of a dog who succeeded as soon as he was put into a different environment. He has not only succeeded, but has really flourished, since living with us – and I’m so thankful every day that he got returned so that I get to love him. Not all returned dogs are broken – some just need another chance in a different home to find what they need to be the best version of themselves.