Observations of a Dog Trainer/Temperment Evaluator
At your request I spent an afternoon observing Patrick in his current surroundings at Garden State Veterinary Center. I know you wanted an unbiased, honest opinion about how he was progressing.
Based on what I observed, I do have some serious concerns about his recovery. By that, I do not mean his physical health; they have done a wonderful job healing Patrick physically, it is his emotional/mental state that I am primarily concerned with.
This is not a criticism of the devoted people caring for him there; it is just that his behavioral recovery would not be their area of expertise. They may not recognize Patrickís needs along these lines. A dog does need much more than affection.
In Patrick I observed a fearful dog who snapped at a child out off anxiety, and who cowers at the excited attention he is being bombarded with. He is for the most part kept isolated and not being socialized properly with other dogs. (He will no doubt meet up with other dogs in his life and this is critically important.) I also feel he is not being given adequate exercise. Brief walks to the same tree to urinate or defecate before being ushered hurriedly back into his room are simply not enough to foster a confidant, well adjusted and fulfilled dog.
His insecurities are being unknowingly reinforced by well meaning people as they are not allowing Patrick to explore his world and develop any confidence on his own. He does need to overcome things with encouragement in order to develop his confidence. It can be detrimental to an animal to assume they are scared of everything and to shield them from everything based on this assumption. It is also the wrong way to approach helping him overcome his anxieties. Why would we want to keep him in a fearful state of mind? That is no way to live his life.
Patrick is in serious need of integration into the real world, training and socialization. Simply put, Patrick needs to be allowed to simply be a dog. This is a critical time for him.
We also canít ignore the fact that Patrick is a celebrity and should be an ambassador for his breed. I wouldnít want to see a follow up in his later life that showed he had attacked another dog, bitten a child or developed anxiety based issues. The way he is being treated now is not in his behavioral best interest. With the correct behavioral guidance Patrick can help spread the word that Pit-bulls (even severely abused pit-bulls) are wonderful dogs. It would be incredibly irresponsible of us not to properly train and socialize this dog.
Everyone really owes it to Patrick to give him EVERYTHING he needs to heal and lead a successful life.
I canít emphasize enough that he needs full temperament tests to evaluate exactly where he is behaviorally and socially. He may already have food and resource guarding issues that need to be addressed. MOST IMPORTANTLY Patrick should go into a foster home immediately before being place into his FOREVER home.
I think the foster home should remain anonymous so that you know they are not in it for the attention. It should also remain anonymous for Patrickís sake. He needs time to be a dog and learn important life lessons. He needs some peace so his mind can heal as well as his body. He is not Michael Jackson, he is not a commodity; he is a puppy who is missing out on proper education at a critical time in his life.
You are absolutely correct to want to see that he has all that he needs beyond physical care to ensure he is set up for success in his life.