Sunday, 13 October 2013

Saving Caesar - The Book

It was around a year ago that I gave up looking.  I had just received another order of books about dogs.  Dog behaviour, welcoming a dog into your home, helping to calm your dog and, finally, dog psychology.  I also had two novels about rescue dogs, both of which I started to read at around the same time.  The novels showed how each dog's individual characteristics made them special and important, where as the fact books spoke as if all dogs were pretty much the same.  They gave general rules on introducing your dog to your home, other dogs and other people.  They talked about feeding, ailments and had lovely illustrations of well behaved dogs.  They were a bit like a canine instruction manual.

"Keep your dog busy by playing with a ball..."

The problem was, in the case of the novel/life story dogs, they were both were extreme cases.  The stories therefore, although amazing, were far beyond what most rescuers experience.  The guide books that I bought assumed that your dog would adhere to certain rules and didn't cover the emotional aspects of adoption at all.  I wanted a book that would tell me what to do when I had just worked all day and come home to find the house in ruins after Caesar had been left for a couple of hours alone.  I wanted to know if it was normal to consider returning a dog like this to the rescue centre.  I wanted to know if this was the right thing to do.  I felt guilty if I kept him when I knew he would have to be left alone but guilty if I, the first person who had come forward, returned him to the kennel only a matter of weeks after adopting him.  I also wanted to know if what he was experiencing was normal for a dog that has just spent six months in a kennel.  

The day we reserved Caesar at the rescue centre...

As we began to see a light at the end of the tunnel with some of Caesar's behaviour, I started to wonder how many other people had experienced something similar.  Through conversations about Caesar, I had come to realise that I was anything but alone in the problems that I was facing.  This realisation, though, came months too late.  Before this, I had spent hours trying to find an 'answer' to our problems.  I had felt completely alone.  Now, though, I was starting to feel confident with Caesar.  He was managing in the house most of the time and incidents of home-wrecking were happening more on a weekly/bi-weekly basis than on a daily one.  One day, we had a particularly bad incident where he tore up my coat and, in order to cheer myself, I reached for the blue spotted diary which we used to keep when we first got him.  Damien and I laughed our way through the pages - it wasn't until this day that I had realised just how much we had already achieved with him.

Perhaps this T-shirt might remind me that we're supposed to be best friends!

I began to type parts of the diary up on my laptop; a permanent reminder of what we had achieved.  And, as I did so, the seeds of an idea planted themselves into my brain.  I should write a book.  Not an advice book, nor a dramatic book about the horrifying way that dogs are treated.  But a true story about adopting a difficult dog.  I have no advice to give; I am a first time owner and I never even had a pet dog as a child (well not really anyway).  
The first time a dog had ever been in our house.

The book is simple.  It follows me through my first experiences with dogs and into my adoption of Caesar.  It covers everything from visiting the rescue centre to attempting to start agility classes.  It is about feelings, experiences and there's a little humour in the mix too.  I want it to be a light in the darkness for all others who are trying to be a rescuer but are finding their patience pushed to the limit.  In 50,000 odd words it says 'you're not alone'.  These three words would have meant the earth to me eighteen months ago.

This blog focuses on life with Caesar today as opposed to the first year of his adoption.  

I'd love to hear your feedback:
  • Would you read the book?  Why/why not?
  • Is there anything that you would like to read about in particular?  Any areas of interest that would be included?