By Kristiana Dean
For those that don’t know Royal and Regal they are shy, suspicious of strangers and bark to ward people off. For those that do know them, they are complete hams! These two are my Dog Buddies, I’ve known them since they came into the shelter. I’m “one of the pack” with the other volunteers and they play and snuggle with us like normal pups.
They came to EHS a year ago from a rescue in Taiwan. When they came in they were so scared and always on guard. They cowered in their kennel together and didn’t want anyone to get close to them. Royal was always barking at us. We couldn’t get leashes on them easily and had to coax them into the backyard with liver treats. They didn’t understand toys …they played with leaves, chasing each other in a corner of the yard. They always stayed very far away from the volunteers and moved away if we approached them. We spent a lot of time just showing them that we weren’t a threat by using slow movements and a lot of treats. It took a long time for them to trust us.
I think the turning point for me happened a few months after they arrived. Regal stopped barking at me and started associating me with treats. She would come up and eat from my hand and let me sit near her. One day I came in to a surprise! Regal was letting me pet her! She had made a ton of progress with her coordinator and some other volunteers, and I was part of that circle of trust. Eventually she realized she loved cuddling and belly rubs were the best things ever! For everyone that put in the time, this progress was so rewarding to see. She’s so good now! Always looking for pets and treats from me and the volunteers that she’s familiar with.
Regal has always been the brave one of the couple. She scopes out the situation because she knows Royal will protect her and Royal waits until she’s comfortable to lower his guard. When Regal and I became friends, Royal learned to tolerate me. Then eventually like me as well. Fast forward a few months and he’s now this super-goof with me that pushes his head under my elbow for forehead scratches. If I’m too distracted by Royal and Regal wants attention she’ll paw at me. Then she waves a paw at Royal, “beat it, I was here first!” And Royal replies with a snort “I live here too, lady!” OK guys, I can pat one head and rub one belly if you quit squirming! Royal also loves to be brushed and will relax to the point of falling asleep.
Before they didn’t even know how to play, but now their personalities now really come out. They chase each other in circles around the yard at full speed. If there’s ever a squirrel in the tree Regal will take off and bark at it and Royal will follow. They figured out how awesome tug is with a rope toy or stuffed animal. When it comes to being companions all they really need is each other, but they really enjoy playing with their friends too. I’m pretty sure Royal thinks I’m another dog. He’ll bounce around me with the rope toy and he plays “keep away” because he’s way too fast for me to keep up.
I’m on the dog walking crew for Royal and Regal because they need two people to walk them. When we started we took them to quiet areas to have them sniff around. They originally only wanted to go 10 meters from the car before getting scared. Now we know that Royal is a bonafide Water Doggo and loves to swim! Most of our walks are near a body of water, like the lake, because we know he loves it. Recently, I worried that they wouldn’t like walking in the snow but turns out Regal likes sliding around on ice. That’s something I haven’t seen before with any dog! I’m now capable of spotting squirrels a mile away now because I to prepare my arms for flying excited pups! Walks usually last an hour. If they encounter any people or dogs they don’t know we just move off to the side and they stick beside us because they are still nervous about these random encounters. They don’t bark much since they know we’re protecting them.
I hope these two get adopted soon and get a family that sees how silly and wonderful this pair is. I’ll be sad to see them go because my Dog Buddies will be moving away. But I’ll also be super happy to know that they’ll be in a home that cherishes them and meets their needs.