For a dog that has always lived on the streets, they have never known anything else and therefore there isn't a great deal of room for sadness. We see this on a regular basis in the work that we do. Dogs that have always been homeless and had to rely on scraps and finding their own shelter tend to actually be quite happy to do that and the times that we have taken these dogs in for various treatments they are actually extremely happy to return to their outdoor life because that is all they have ever known. Being in our kennels or even in our yard is something that actually, at least initially, depresses them.
The opposite, where a dog spent its life as a pup being looked after by a person or family, only to be tossed away once it starts acting like exactly what a dog acts like - chewing on stuff, using the bathroom indoors when the owners don't train it, etc - these dogs experience tremendous depression because they have always had a life where they lived differently.
This is very noticeable for us when we encounter new additions in the temples where dogs are frequently dropped off by families that no longer want them. They avoid the other dogs, they don't really socialize, they sometimes refuse to eat and they get excited whenever a car comes by and while I don't know exactly what is going on in their dog brains, I fear that a lot of it is hope that their owners are just taking a little while to come back to get them. In the 4+ years that I have been doing this, the owners have NEVER come back to get them.
These dogs experience extreme difficulty adjusting to their new lives as they lack the skills necessary for survival in "the wild." We have to pay extra special attention to them and it actually takes a lot longer than you might think for them to adjust to the only life option that they have available to them at this point... in most cases, they do not get re-adopted even though we try our best to make that happen.
These dogs are frequently bullied and retreat to areas further and further from the main area and we have to be extra careful to monitor them during the times that we can get them to eat. They become afraid to eat because they are not familiar with the competition for food that exists in these environments. They likely spend all of their time in fear of everything around them and are confused as to why their bed and their safe home no longer exists.
Imagine finding yourself homeless for some reason one day and when you do achieve sleep all you do is dream of the comfort you once had only to wake up and realize that the nightmare is your actual life, not what you see while you are sleeping.
This is one of the most tragic things that we encounter in our work and for the people that do these drop offs of unwanted animals - they are really terrible people. There are so many ways in which this situation could have been handled differently including an adoption program. Even if you have to keep the dog outside in your yard for a time, this is highly preferable to just abandoning your dog at a temple far enough away that it can't find its way back to the only home that it has ever known.
We are currently working on a program like this for Thailand but if you live in another country there is a really good chance that there are re-homing shelters that can help to facilitate exactly this sort of thing for you. Please, instead of abandoning your dog at least LOOK to see if your area has a no kill shelter that can assist in finding a new home for you dog. According to the shelters that I have experience with in the western world, the people who work in these places do not speak badly to anyone who drops their dogs off... quite the contrary - they applaud your decision to do closer to the right thing by doing what you can to ensure that the dog at least has a chance at a new life.
Also, before you take on a cute little puppy, you need to understand that having a dog is a very long commitment that you must be absolutely certain you are financially and time-wise able to take on. Also, if you are thinking of getting a dog, please have a look at shelters and resist the urge to pay for a dog. Shelters around the world are filled with all manner of dogs including popular "brands "like Pugs and Corgis.
im_wid_stray, thank you for the photos, they are truly inspirational and I think a very accurate representation of what abandoned dogs go through.
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