Two years ago, home-based business owner Tin Gocheco rescued a young Siberian Husky from being stuck inside a cage. From being a skittish and uncoordinated puppy, J. Walker has transformed into a beautiful, veggie-loving dog who was named after Scotch whisky (can you guess what it is?). Tin shares their delightful pet adoption story with Waldo’s Friends.
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Waldo’s Friends (WF): Did you have any previous experience with animals and/or pet rescue?
Tin Gocheco (TG): I have had pets all my life. It started with puspins [note: short for pusang Pinoys, which are mixed breed cats living in the Philippines] that my brother rescued decades ago. I knew adopting a pet requires a lifetime of commitment and requires being responsible for this creature. Because of this, I became more empathetic toward abandoned pets.
WF: How did you come to adopt Walker?
TG: Walker had no name and no home to call his own. He spent most of his life in a cage for about six months or so. When my cousin brought this to my attention, I could just not leave him there. I was expecting to see a husky, but what I saw was an uncoordinated scruffy rat. He was skinny, extremely skittish, and could not walk well. I think being in a cage for so long was partly the reason he could not walk straight. He would wobble and fall.
It also helped that he imprinted on my beagle, Bailey. Walker followed him around that first afternoon, and I took him home with me that same day. He had his tail down when we took him in the car. Walker was so scared that he had the runs when we got to the vet. During his first night, he kept pacing around the room. I thought it would be best if I slept on the floor with him. He settled down with me after midnight.
WF: How did Bailey react to Walker’s imprinting on him and having another dog around during the first few days?
TG: Bailey is a naturally mild-mannered dog. He doesn’t really go with a group of dogs as well, so having Walker follow him around was definitely weird for him. Walker would constantly initiate play (booping Bailey on the head then running away) and would also steal Bailey’s toy. Bailey couldn’t really do anything except to maybe bark and look at me as if saying, “He is being naughty, Mom!”
WF: What were the first few obstacles you had to face after adopting Walker?
TG: Walker was a fleabag. He had no medical records so the vet had to administer all the necessary vaccinations. Our vet also gave him flea and tick treatment at that time. We were lucky that Bailey took it at the same time, so both dogs were protected. Us humans, however, got flea bites on our arms and legs. We had to vacuum everything and soak everything in neem.
We also had to monitor Walker’s eating habits because he is an extremely picky eater (versus Bailey who would dive toward his food at any given time). The two dogs don’t really fight for territory, but they do resource guarding with toys, food, and treats. There was one instance in which Bailey charged for Walker’s food bowl. Chaos ensued, which resulted in Bailey’s punctured ear. Walker immediately started licking his brother’s bleeding ear, but of course, we had to rush Bailey to the vet for stitches. From then on, we would make sure Bailey is closely watched while Walker is eating.
WF: What makes Walker unique?
TG: Walker enjoys veggies, especially leafy green ones. He would watch us prepare them while standing on his hind legs, waiting for us to give him a leaf. Then, he would proceed to take the leaf to the couch and “play” with it. Aside from that, he likes belly rubs, walks in the park, and watching TV shows with dogs in them.
WF: Earlier, you mentioned living in a condo. How has that affected Walker’s growth and need for regular outdoor exercise?
TG: Walker grew strong and fluffy. We did not expect him to be this big. Haha! It’s just really challenging as we have to drive to the nearest park for his exercise. He also runs from room to room at night whenever he feels like it, but the main exercise he gets is whenever we go to the park.
WF: Are there any funny stories you can share about Walker?
TG: Oh gosh, the funniest one was when we went out for 10 minutes and left them to free roam in the house. Walker had separation anxiety and thought it would be a great idea to strip off the front door. He has a penchant for renovating our apartment!
WF: How has your life changed after adopting him?
TG: My life has been turned upside down. I lost a million slippers, socks, and pieces of clothing, but I have learned that having these dogs in my life makes everything worth it.
WF: What’s your advice for people thinking of adopting a rescue animal?
TG: Do it. Open your home to them! Doing so gives animals a second chance at life, and this makes all the difference in the world. Expect a bit of behavioural concerns and spend time with them as much as you can as to establish trust. For first-time parents, be extremely patient and set your pets up for success. Read, research, and consult with your vet.
Follow the adventures of J. Walker on Instagram.
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