Marley the Malamute is a very very lucky boy indeed. He was brought into the pound by a dog warden who was adamant that he was not fit for rehoming and needed to be destroyed. The pound staff were told that he had bitten two people and was a danger to the public. Neither of the alleged biting incidents had been reported to the police by the victim, so there was no evidence to back up this claim. Even stranger, the kennel staff reported Marley to be a 'gentle giant', who had show no signs of aggressive tendancies whilst at the pound.
Well, we simply couldn't let this boy die. With our help, the pound staff persuaded the local council not to euthenase Marley and to allow us to find a specialist rescue space with the tools to take on a dog with complex needs.
We arranged for a qualified behaviourist to visit Marley at the kennels and give him a thorough assessment to determine whether Marley was indeed 'dangerous'. The behaviourist reported that Marley was in fact a very nervous dog, who found much of the world around him rather scary. She described a dog that would try to retreat from situations he found worrying, or stressful. Her tests showed that when Marley felt under threat, his preferred option was 'flight' rather than 'fight'. She did say however that inappropriate handling styles (such as 'aversive' or 'dominant' training methods) which cornered Marley and gave him no escape route could well result in him having to bite if his handler failed to give him the space he needed and there was no other way to escape a situation that was causing him distress.
With this in mind, we set about finding Marley a very special rescue space - one where his needs as a nervous, fearful dog AND his needs as a Malamute (a breed which is not suitable for the uninitiated) would be understood and met.
After four months of searching, we are delighted to report that we have found Marley a FANTASTIC rescue space with Snowdonia Animal Sanctuary, a rescue that specialises in rehabilitating dogs with special needs that need some help working through their issues.
Snowdonia has a fantastic track record with fear aggressive dogs and lots of experience of working with Malamutes. We really couldn't have found a better place for Marley to begin his new life, a new life which we hope will be one without fear or stress for him.
Marley left the pound yesterday, to quite a fanfare and a lot of tears. He will be sorely missed by the staff but knowing he is going to such a fantastic centre and has such a promising future ahead of him now.
Good luck Marley! Be happy!