Abílio is a sweet, loving and playful old boy. He adores cuddles, treats and walks and often plays with a tennis ball by himself. But he has a complicated background which means he has to be very comfortable with someone before he shows that side of himself.
He was found as a stray with a chain still around his neck and taken to the municipal shelter. Locked in a kennel, he was very unhappy and didn’t trust people at all, baring his teeth at everyone. Then another dog, Sandy, arrived at the municipal shelter and completely transformed Abílio.
We agreed to take both Abílio and Sandy and they were incredibly happy together. Abílio trusted everyone and we didn’t see him bare his teeth at all. He was adopted and headed to his new home in Belgium. It was a busy household and Abílio didn’t feel comfortable with all the different people coming and going – it wasn’t the fault of the people who adopted him, but he was back in a situation he didn’t trust and so started showing aggression again. We agreed to fly Abílio back to Portugal, since we knew he was happy with us and Sandy.
It worked, and he was back to being the happy boy we knew, but sadly Sandy died just a few weeks after Abílio returned to us. All of these experiences changed him. When he knows and trusts you, he will be the sweet loving dog the volunteers know. But he is very defensive of his pen and will snarl at anyone who approaches – we respect that, he is telling us that the situation is too difficult for him. If someone walks into his pen with a volunteer, he is absolutely fine and will demand cuddles from the new person, but he needs the volunteers to show him that new people can be trusted. He is also fine with anyone who will take him for a walk, which he absolutely loves.
We can’t adopt Abīlio abroad now. We can only hope that we can find him a home with someone in Portugal, someone who can visit regularly and let him learn to trust them. For someone with experience of dogs, his limitations are easy to deal with as long as he doesn’t feel under pressure. Anyone who is willing to let him be him will be rewarded with a lot of love.