the blackdog

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can’t wait for the snow! by DigitalBite

“Hukkum was an accident - my mother always said that he adopted us, not the other way around. Being Muslim, we were not supposed to keep dogs in the first place.

Hukkum first appeared outside our house one day. He was skinny and timid. He enjoyed our company but would not let us touch him, so we left some food for him, hoping that he would eat it. But even at the lowest point in his life, he would only eat fish products and would not touch wet foods at all. We continued feeding him while keeping a lookout for his owner whom we believe he had since he knew basic commands. In the meantime, he wandered around the neighbourhood, following random strangers back to their houses. Once, he followed my mother on a long walk to the bank, waiting for her to be done with her transactions and then following her back home.

This happened for a while until the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) pulled up outside our house and went after him. In a state of panic, he chased the catchers down and they left him alone. We knew what would have happened to him if he had been caught. We reached a compromise and brought him indoors, hoping that his owner would appear soon. Having a dog in the house, a big dog at that, was very new to us. We had to learn about his bladder and bowel movement patterns, recognise and differentiate signs of aggression and playfulness, and to rein in his excitability. When his owner failed to show up after three months, we knew that Hukkum was ours.

Everyday, there is something to learn from and about Hukkum. We thought it was funny that falling leaves startled him, but we learnt that it was a part of his anxiety issues. He is afraid of dark-skinned men, opened umbrellas and foreign objects. With firm handling, consistency and patience, he has given us a lot of time to learn about his signals and to communicate better with him, making us better and happier dog owners in the process. He has taught us time management, observational skills, patience, and more importantly, compassion.

At the core of this is a supportive family, one that has never thought of rehoming Hukkum or putting him down. We have lost many pious friends and we have been shunned by neighbours, and it means a lot when a more traditional generation is willing to stand by this dog and to put their weight down whenever they can.

There are no bad dogs, only bad owners, and Hukkum has really shown me that. I have no idea what happened in his past, but I want to make his future a very blissful one.” - Renu, owner of Pixie and Hukkum, instagram.com/thedoubletroublepups

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