Editorial: A long, hard road ahead for rescued dogs

The 66 dogs seized from a Langley property on Feb. 4 will heal physically, but emotional scars may be with them for life

In the video, the dog is shaking with fear.

It has just been rescued from an alleged puppy mill.

People at the SPCA have trimmed off the filthy, matted fur and bathed it.

The dog is safe, but it doesn’t know it.

And it starts to back away from the camera lens, terrified.

It was one of the 66 dogs seized from a Langley location earlier this month by the SPCA.

The animal protection agency took away 32 adult dogs and 34 puppies on Feb. 4, including Old English sheepdogs, Bernese mountain dogs, soft-coated Wheaten terriers, poodles and Portuguese water dogs.

The starving dogs were living in small, stacked crates and cages, in dark, unheated buildings.

They had serious medical and psychological issues including broken bones, missing ears and eyes, infections and abscesses, dental disease, severe matting and overgrown nails.

None will be available for adoption right away, the SPCA has warned.

And when the rescued dogs do find homes, we can expect that they will need especially skilled and understanding owners.

Because while the physical scars can heal, the psychological damage will take a lot longer.

Long after they have been rescued and removed to new, loving homes, abused dogs can still suffer extreme anxiety, terrified at strangers or cringing at a raised voice or hand.

People who work with emotionally wounded dogs will tell you that helping them recover from their ordeal takes a very long time and lots of love and patience.

And that it is very much worth the effort.