Spencer looks up hopefully near the dinner table

Spencer looks up hopefully near the dinner table

Spencer 2.0 is about our adventures with Spencer, whom we adopted on 20 April 2012. Estimated to be about 18 months old, Spencer was abandoned by his previous owners without any identification. He was left to fend for himself in the street half-blind due to extremely bad issues with his harder’s Glands (a condition often called Cherry Eye in English). By the time we were done, Spencer had had 4 surgeries, a punctured eye (which healed miraculously thanks to the intervention of our wonderful vet) and was finally “fixed” by a doggie ophthamalogist (yes, that exists) who fixed his Cherry Eye, Diamond Eye (droopiness of the eyelids caused by them being too long) and entropion (eyelids rolling inwards so the lashes scratch the cornea).

Spencer is an adorable, super cuddly dog. He’s extremely well-behaved around the house. There’s just one wee problem: Spencer is highly prone to stress and fear, and fearful dogs don’t always hide: sometimes they try to scare away the Scary Thing — this is called fear aggression. Spencer is scared of strangers. All strangers. As in anyone who is not Greg and me. We’re working on that. But when your dog weighs more than 40 kg (nearly 100 lbs) any sort of aggression needs to be treated seriously.

Why Spencer 2.0?

This is actually Spencer’s second blog. The first was on another platform that closed. So the 2.0 makes sense in that context.

More importantly, though, it refers to his re-education. I called the first blog “Surviving Spencer”, which I think reflects my mindset at that time. Greg told me the first article was depressing. He’s probably right. It was a particularly difficult period when we seemed to be in a downward spiral and didn’t know if we would be able to cope. What we’re basically trying to do with Spencer’s re-education is to rewrite his operating system. We are simultaneously trying to teach him better ways of coping with stress and fear and teaching him that he doesn’t need to be stressed and scared in the first place. We are reprogramming his emotional reactions to the world around him. There are no magic formulae for this, and it’s not going to happen in one nicely edited video episode, but we hope that he and we will have a long and happy life together as a result.


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