At the shelter, “Silas” was evaluated as needing to be the only pet in a home. As a pit bull mix, this made it even harder for him to get adopted. I’m so glad that the staff at Humane Society of Huron Valley were willing to consider my rescue experience and consider not just how he interacted with Ragnarok when we visited, but how I managed their interactions.
It was far from a fairy tale meeting of dogs destined for brotherhood. They were growling, a little nippy, aggressive postures. By the end of the visit, the staff felt confident that my redirection and positive reinforcement would create a safe home for them together. Having worked with so many traumatized dogs, I know that very, very few dogs are truly aggressive by nature. Most “aggression” is fear, automatic response to past trauma, and can be rehabilitated if they’re lucky enough to be worked with 24/7 by an experienced rescuer. With the sheer volume of homeless animals, few get that kind of intensive therapy.
We drove home from HSHV that day with the boys already curled up together. The change to the unfamiliar “home” saw scuffles over toys, food, and the best sleeping spots. It took weeks of patient redirection before I could leave them safely unsupervised together. Finally being able to go to the grocery alone, I restocked heavily on treats, because they had earned all I had.
I’m so proud to say that Armageddon became a successful foster brother to other rescue dogs, some with their own aggression issues. The day that he got bitten, I was too proud for words, because he did not escalate, his calm response allowed me to separate and de-escalate the situation safely. Just one year prior, he would have been the instigator, and instead he made de-escalation possible.
Finally, Armageddon started helping me raise orphaned newborn kittens – this dog who once was unsafe with any other animal can now be trusted to be the gentlest, most nurturing foster parent any kitten could ever ask for. His specialty is teaching extremely fluffy kittens to groom thoroughly by gently nibble-combing their mats out, over and over, every day, until they get big enough to keep up on with their own fur. All that nibble-combing and he never once pinches the skin, no matter now tiny and delicate the kitten.
He’s still possessive of certain toys and still needs reassurance that I don’t love him any less when I am also paying attention to others, and he remains overly enthusiastic in greeting new people, but he has become such a sweet, gentle hero. He can even play fight, all out wrestling, with no worries of escalation. Our forever cat loves to play wrestle with him!
He even found a fallen nest and brought me an injured grackle chick, cradled so gently in his huge mouth. Sadly, the other chick broke his neck in the storm that brought their nest down. I never would have seen them if Armageddon hadn’t saved little Squawker. He sat by his artificial nest, keeping watch over the baby for three days while we searched for a wildlife rehab with room for him, and Armageddon rode with us curled around his nest in the car on the three-hour drive to the sanctuary we finally found.
He is Armageddon, and he belongs here, with his brother and sister. I am so glad I got to give him the intensive care he needed to work through his issues and live his best life, and save other lives. I’m so grateful to HSHV for giving us a chance as a family and saving my sweet boy from whatever caused the trauma we overcame together.
I am so grateful for my Armageddon, snuggler supreme. <3
Silas now Armageddon