Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Dog Returns to Life


The image is still indeliby etched in my mind: a stunning red brindle dog is curled up into as small a ball as possible, as though she could will herself away from the place she now found herself by making herself as small as possible: in a municipal shelter surrounded by barking, restless dogs and unfamiliar human faces. Maizie clung to the corner walls of the kennel, shivering with fright, leaving the treats pushed into her kennel untouched, and avoiding the attempts by staff and volunteers to unfurl herself and come closer.

But gradually, Maizie did begin to let people in: one staff member in particular, Tim took a special interest in her. He would sit at the other end of her kennel and patiently wait for her to come to him. A volunteer did the same, stroking Maizie tentatively at first, and then shortly thereafter, tenderly and without disruption to soothe her wounded soul. What had happened to Maizie to make her so terrified? With gentleness, Tim and the volunteer were able to win her trust, and she would wag her tail with delight at the sight of them. Progress.

And then a miracle happened, just six days after she had arrived at our shelter: a prospective adopter came in to look at another dog and was instantly smitten with Maizie. Tim brought her to the meet-and-greet area at the back of Kennel A where the prospective adopter and Maizie could take the time to get to know one another. He came every day for a week, still torn between a dog at another shelter and Maizie. By the following Monday, the decision had been made: Maizie would be the one to come home with him.

It was not easy going at first. Maizie had lots of fears-- mostly of certain people. But she bonded with her new human, trusting him quickly and easily. He took her to training classes to help alleviate her fear of new people, and carefully introduced her to new and different experiences. The day she jumped in his car without hesitation was a banner day! Now Maizie goes to dog parks and frolics with other dogs, is comfortable around most people, and in truth acts like the puppy she was probably never permitted to be-- with an adorable and endearing underbite that suggests a Boxer heritage.

How fortunate that Maizie was rescued so quickly; how her life now, filled with good food, access to the best medical care, soft pillows, an array of squeaky toys : ) and lots of t-l-c is so different from what it must have been like before. Would that all our dogs would have such happy endings.

3 comments:

Sam said...

I'm very happy to read this, Pam!

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