Finding Ivan

This weekend marked one year that my big furry guy, Ivan, took a place in my heart and family.

Ivan One Year-001

It was a little over a year ago I decided to do something about a big piece that was missing from my heart and life, a dog. I adopted Ivan from the Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue, forever making him a Lilly.

Ivan One Year-003

I’m not really sure of the life Ivan had before his foster family, which found him only nine months before I adopted him. If I had to guess, it wasn’t a good one. Around his neck, he carries a scar where fur will no longer grow. I suspect in his previous life he was tied up with a rope. He has a small rip on the tip of his ear and another scar right above one his eyes.

The first several months after adopting Ivan were a mix of excitement with feeling unable to provide him with what he needed. If I’m being honest, at times it was really rough. Ivan suffers from separation anxiety, severe at times in those first few months of being together. I learned quickly how he didn’t like to be left alone and if he was going to have a happy life, I needed help.

Ivan One Year-004

Weeks of training, trying different tactics and pulling every piece of patience I could muster, we finally found a “routine” that works for the big guy.

I think I tried it ALL: Crate, thunder jacket, kong toy, calming treats, D.A.P. plugins, desensitizing, leaving clothes with my “smell” — any and everything.

Even though at times his anxiety can make an appearance, a combination of treats, D.A.P., classical music and the biggest thing, moving out of an apartment, made him the happiest. 

Ivan One Year-007He loves it when I sing him songs. His favorite hobby is sleeping…snoring very loudly. When he feels his best, he rolls on his back and plays with his football toy.

Now I can’t picture my life without this big 90-some lb guy in it.

Look how handsome he is with his new bowtie!

Ivan One Year-010 Ivan One Year-011