Neu Ku went through the biggest change of his life this week. He went from being a Soi Dog living on the streets in Bangkok, Thailand to an extremely loved house dog in Denver, Colorado. When I picked him up from the airport he was traumatized, shaking and confused. I felt guilty, because I was the one who did this to him. I made him leave what he was so familiar with and sit in a crate for two days on a plane not knowing what was coming next, even though I did.
In the months leading up to this day I questioned my decision a lot. Would he miss his freedom? Would he like being a domestic house dog? Would he be okay in the cold? Would he ever adjust? I decided that due to his submissive nature and due to the fact that he had a tick disease and was living in the middle of the highway, he wouldn’t last long and it was very likely that he would be added to the gutter grave of dogs that simply weren’t quick enough. I made this decision because when he found us in Thailand, he seemed to ask for something better, from us. He was different from the other dogs, and seemed to yearn for a life where he didn’t have to worry or fight or be mistreated, just like any of us, so I put my concerns aside and decided to bring him back, because if I didn’t I knew it would forever haunt me.
Just moments after receiving him and taking him out of the crate in the parking lot our connection was renewed. He was terrified, but then he had a moment where he seemed to remember and jumped to give me a hug and a kiss… It was a moment where I was reassured that I did the right thing.
Over the next week he began to bloom. He played, he loved, and every ounce of worry began to melt away. Of course living in a home for the first time brought some challenges such as potty training, not chasing the cats and of course listening… He is so used to being independent and is slowly learning that I have his back now and I know what is best. Not eating door stops for example is of course not best for him! 😉
Then of course some slightly more serious challenges began to arise. Are you ready for this?! He has resource guarding! OF COURSE he has resource guarding… I began to think of what life was like for him out there. I am certain anything he valued was taken away from him from other dogs and other animals. The odd part is that it only seems to be towards the cats. Anything he values such as a toy or food is as risk of being taken from him in his eyes. Our adventure on reversing that will come next week so stay tuned, I am not ready myself!
The benefits of a street dog is they are well socialized. Noises, cars, other dogs, people, bikes, construction, music, etc. do not phase him. He did live in the 12th largest city in the world after all. So this is not where he falls short, however there are a lot of difference in CO and getting him to behave a certain and acceptable way is also important. He is constantly out on adventures learning the way of life in Denver and getting compliments the entire way. He seems to realize that people treat him better here… He also seems to really like that, I can tell his self esteem is thriving, which is an interesting transition to observe in a dog.
Overall I can tell that Neu Ku is enjoying his new life. We have a long road ahead of us, but we will get there. Just like any animal we save there is going to be a lot of work and reassurance. If we continue to do what we think is right we will be okay. When an animal asks to be saved sometimes you have to go the lengths to make it happen regardless of how far you have to go, in the end it will be worth it and “it only gets better from here.”