This is the story of a neglected little dog, entrusted to a SPA, and a teenager who needs to gain self-confidence.
Bouba is a 15-year-old schapendoes. He’s been the Florence family mascot for over 10 years. And Thibault’s best friend, their son, then 13 years old. To say that his presence operated on the whole family is still too little.
On one side, there is a small schapendoes which arrived very young at the SPA of Brignais (Rhône). His former “buyers” did not want to keep a dog that did not meet their expectations. Let’s say that, to say the least. Bouba (that’s his name) arrived like this: ultra fearful, thin… Was he beaten, neglected? When you abandon a dog, you don’t leave his biography attached to his collar.
On the other, there is a small family, that of Florence, that of Thibault, their 13-year-old son. Thibault is a teenager like so many others: he has trouble concentrating, his schooling has no meaning for him. We are talking about learning disabilities, hypersensitivity. Parents are not the type to give up, they consult Professor Olivier Revol in Lyon. It is in contact with it that they learn that the presence of a companion animal — of those who require daily contact and care — can do good: restore confidence and empower them.
And this is the story that is born, between a neglected little dog and a teenager who needs to gain self-confidence.
“I had signed a contract with my son, explains Florence, in which he undertook to really take care of his dog: to feed him at regular times, to cuddle him, to walk him… I made him understand that having a dog required a commitment of time, care, attention and, also, expense! The explanations are calm, clear, honest: a dog is neither a toy to pass the time nor a simple gift. It’s a new link. And what we put in it.
Good advice from the SPA
“The 1D time we went there, we explained our problem. They listened and replied that they did not see a dog, at that time, that responded to our situation. We left a little disappointed, but also reassured by the professionalism of the SPA. commented Florence.
Indeed, if adoption is a generous act a priori, it is necessary – unless you have a great experience of dogs – to choose the animal that will adapt to your way of life. In this case, for Thibault: a dog with an easy character and who likes contact.
“Three weeks later, Florence recalls, during another visit, we discovered Bouba, a small schapendoes folded in on itself. With the information given by the SPA, we understand that it could be the right one. He only wanted to be reassured. He was shaking so much that we had to carry him to get into the car and then the elevator. »
Dog training teaches the dog… like its master
When Bouba arrives in his new home, his masters take him to a groomer. Getting a makeover to start her new life, the idea was pleasant. But the professional cannot carry out his work: too much anxiety, Bouba only knows how to tremble. He’s not ready yet.
His new masters understand this. Florence gently takes Bouba in her arms to go in the shower. Shampoo, slow and careful movements. It’s the first steps that count.
At first he would pounce on the food, steal it if the opportunity presented itself. The family learns about canine behavior (there are excellent books and sites): to know a dog is to learn at the same time the messages that must be sent back to him by his masters. And above all, knowing how to set up a reassuring framework that respects their needs.
“Gradually, Bouba’s behavior changed, enthuses Florence, and that of our son, at the same time. Thibault got up every morning 30 minutes earlier to take care of his dog, attentive to his needs, responsible… he was able to establish a relationship of trust and infinite tenderness with him. Bouba has become a member of the family! »
Taking care of a dog requires a certain rigor. It is this discipline that allows you to structure your life and learn to take care of someone other than yourself. This is particularly the case if the family includes children: the presence of the dog can have a real educational and empowering dimension. In addition, pets contribute to the appeasement of anxiety: the animal is a refuge and a confidant.
Do you want the happy and true epilogue of this story? Thibault is now 26 years old, he holds a double master’s degree and manages a team of 70 people.
And his Bouba? He’s a happy dog!
By Nathalie Dunand
List of the benefits of a dog on his master (a dog structures and empowers): Click here.