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On November 2009 to the Seslavci municipal dog pound came the Benkovski Group—a pack of dogs caught on the same day at a water pump station. They were expected to be castrated and never return to the station… 

A couple of days later we were at the municipal dog pound in Selsavci to see who we can help and give a temporary home to. Two were the lucky ones: Zhorko, who is the subject of this story and Zhuzhka – a kind mother all of whose puppies had died and she had just been castrated. Why the two of them? Because both were horrified by the iron grid walls of their cell. They were packed in a single cell along with the remaining fifteen from the Benkovski group. Zhuzhka, who had on a number of occasions climbed into the neighboring cells we found isolated in the dark inside cells. She was with us for over 2 months. She was exceptionally kind, loving and good-spirited and, at the moment, is happily adopted in the Netherlands.

Here’s Zhushka when we took her and when she was ready to go to her new home in the Netherlands:

Zhorko we found with his head stuck in the iron cell grid. He had been standing there, no one knew for how long, and he was shrieking helplessly. We helped him free his head from the grid and we saw that he had a number of sores and torn ligaments on his body—one could see the ribs through the skin. Apparently the rest of the dogs in the overcrowded cell had taken advantage of him while was stuck and helpless and had began to bite him (that same week, another dog passed on in the exact same way). And so, Jorko was expressly neutered and an hour or so later he was comfortably resting at our place.

In the first 3 weeks Zhorko was left alone in the company of the remaining 4 dogs, who were very alive, kind, and outgoing. We had hoped that, while recovering from his physical wounds, Zhorko will also manage to warm up to the other dogs and over time warm up to us. But the effect was different: At first, Zhorko refused to integrate with the dogs or us. Every attempt at contact with him led to stupor and shrieking.

Over time the problems deepened.  The more freedom and quiet he had, the more this panic and fear worsened. There was absolutely no aggression whatsoever, on the opposite: there were days when he did not eat or drink and just stood huddled in a corner just so he avoid coming to house and socialize with us. It did not take us long to realize that we had to interfere more actively and show this frightened creature that dogs and people could be well disposed.

And that is how we began the program of Zhorko’s socialization, which was intense, so that we could break the impasse. After a period of reading, asking around and thinking sincere  efforts at gaining his trust.

In the videos below you could see Zhorko’s progress within his socialization training sessions that took over a month of intense work:

The beginning – Zhorko is totally frustrated by human presence or even human voice
Progress – Some contact could be established
Another progress – Zhorko is proactive
ONE MONTH LATER – see how he started turning into a jolly good fellow !

Zhorko Today …

Zhorko has turned from a starved, wounded and stupefied by fear dog into a happy, fun-loving pet seeking attention and care. His barking is the loudest of all and you can hear him from time to time when gets a little angry at us, with his funny falsetto voice, when his meal is not delivered promptly; or when when we get home after work. Kind and charming, Jorko is now trying to be liked. He communicates great with the rest of the dogs and with people and can walk on a chain with ease.

We hope that Jorko’s socialization continues in his new permanent loving home. He is still a bit shy around new people and at the moment we’re trying to introduce him to everyone who enters the house, as well as to take him with us whenever we go visit friends. But the most important thing is that Zhorko is now ready to love and be loved. He came a long way on his path to socialization: a path only a few dogs have walked successfully. We remind him of that every day, so that he be ready when he joins his new permanent owner, and the he puts behind all the bad memories from Selsavci.

In Zhorko, we have put in a lot time, perseverance and care. We hope that we will see him adopted by good people, for which he so carefully prepared himself all this time.

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